Customary Use Will Happen On Sowal Beaches

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Dave Rauschkolb, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Thank you.

    So, as I thought, this is far from over. Especially with the County wanting grills and food and bev vendors on beach. Churros are coming!

    Look for multiple individual lawsuits...

    This is not a "Win" for either side, just a delay in the inevitable...

    The media outlets provided a very crappy explanation of this.
     
  2. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    While the judge did say the county had the authority to pass ordinances, a fact not in dispute, the customary use ordinance being one such ordinance, the court did not rule that the ordinance itself was legal. The judge was able to dodge that question because of the manner of the pleadings before it in that one case under consideration. Other cases still before the court pose other and more complete questions pertaining to both the constitutionality of the ordinance's provisions as well as to the constitutionality of the process. If one takes the time to read the entire opinion, one will see the judge rather strenuously lecturing the county on its sloppy practices in passing the ordinance. Any reading of the opinion which would purport to cast it as a definitive and dispositive judgment in favor of the county is incorrect. The jury is still out.
     
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  3. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Home Rule was an important factor in Walton County's favor as I understand it.
     
  4. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    That is correct, plus the fact that Walton County is a non-charter county.
     
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  5. Jim Tucker

    Jim Tucker Beach Fanatic

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    Great. Owners can put up signs, chains and fences. And vendors own a large portion the public property. Paradise lost.
     
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  6. formosa64

    formosa64 Beach Lover

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    Ok as I read this new order replacing the previous order (why he did this is curious) what the judge ruled after all that reading in his "new" judgement replacing the original one where he refused to rule on the matter of customary use. He simply (after lengthy discussion on the entire history of Customary Use) states that the County's rule is not void as the Alford's argued. He still does NOT rule upholding it for the County and acknowledges that it has several issues and challenges that could be made - which the Alford's did not make.

    Maybe I'm wrong - but I don't see the ball moving in either direction by this new order.
     
  7. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Loews reports run on grills,small fridges,portable generators by 30A vendors inc.
     
  8. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Un-customary_use-isms

    "This sand is my sand [I pay the annual property taxes on], this sand is not public sand!!" Yay!

    Everything is as it is until it isn't. I'm celebrating every day after July 1 of Constitutionally protected private property rights Walton property owners have had and have until and if it ever changes

    And yes, the courts will decide the law of the sand eventually but until then folks...Customary Use is NOT the law of the sand in Walton County.

    I celebrate every day the property rights owners have had and have that is the Law of the sand in Walton County. Hopefully other coastal counties will understand if they wish to declare their own Customary Use ordinances they will have to have due process as the Plaintiff with the rule law in a court of competent jurisdiction (unlike Walton County).
     
  9. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    This is popping up all over Facebook;

    "If you grew up here and have any historical photos of your family using the beach in Walton County the Walton County Commission and their Legal Council may want to use them for the case to restore and codify Walton County's Customary Use ordinance. Please contact the County Administrator Larry Jones @ jonlarry@co.walton.fl.us or post here so we can get to county ASAP.
    We can’t let special interests control access to our public beaches. Every resident and tourism related business is dependent on this. And, our children and grandchildren are counting on you to ensure OUR beaches are without boundaries. My kids will NOT be denied any grain of sand on OUR beaches. Stand up and be heard Walton County!!"

    Why is it so hard for the County to understand they already control 50% of the beaches they give to vendors for free?
     
  10. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    I was told by someone who was there that at a recent meeting following the announced meeting with REALTORS March 15th that Tony Anderson said; “Walton may have lost the battle; but we’ll win the war.” I didn’t know going to war against 900 Walton property owners was a duty of our elected representatives. That this law is a good thing for Walton County because it makes Walton's job easier to litigate against all 900 property owners. I think Tony is dreaming.

    That David Pleat, attorney for Rosemary beach, at this meeting said that his personal opinion was Walton County was very smart to have the revised bill language amended during the session, and that he’d guess that 95% of the beachfront owners will not file to intervene during the 45 day period after the notice Walton has to provide owners. That the owners that do challenge customary use; have the burden of proof to show Walton’s customary use evidence does not apply to their parcel. I’m not an attorney but I thought the Plaintiff (Walton County) had the burden of proof.

    It was said Tony Anderson agreed with Pleat and that Walton County was banking on not even a 100 beachfront owners to challenge Walton County and that the number of owners challenging Tony is betting it will be a number that Walton County can handle. That was not the case for the 2015 beach fortification where 95% of the beachfront owners did not sign an easement to permit fortification on their property that would create public beach on their property. Larry Jones said most beachfront owners don’t care about customary use and that an attorney that is suing the county on behalf of his client, is a beachfront owner in Walton County, was very helpful in getting the bill amended; told Larry that at the legislative hearing the public can walk on his beach anytime. Walton County is banking on property owner’s complacency.

    May be third hand news to you but I believe it from what I've saw Tony Anderson say at the legislative committee hearings.
    At least most of the legislators were able to see through Walton's misrepresentation of customary use and other's misinformation like Surf Rider and Florida Wildlife Federation. I'd be glad to list the misinformation if anyone wants. And I challenge anyone to backup the misrepresentations and misinformation with facts.

    Senate Judiciary Committee 1/10/2018
    http://www.flsenate.gov/media/VideoPlayer?EventID=2443575804_2018011061&Redirect=true
    21:20 Walton Attorney David Theriaque
    35:28 Toney Anderson
    46:09 Pete Dunbar Florida Bar
    51:11 Gary Hunter an attorney who understand what the bill states and customary use
    1:21:16 Ron Book resident Rosemary Beach

    Community Affairs Committee video 2/20/2018
    Community Affairs
    53:38 Commissioner Tony Anderson
    1:25:44 Gary Hunter attorney who knows what he is talking about.

    The REALTOR association is formulating a position to publicly support Walton customary use; which in effect is against private littoral property rights. REALTORS should be neutral and stay out of the "war" against private property rights. What if property owners prevail? REALTORS will be on the wrong side of property rights and misguided local politicians. If REALTORS do pick sides and if I ever sale by multi-million dollar beachfront real estate it will NOT be with a local REALTOR company.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
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  11. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    As I understand it the Bill that just passed in the Florida Legislature that nullified Walton County's Customary Use Ordinance goes into effect on July 1st. Signs, chains, ropes and "get off my property!" are really not valid or correct; not just yet. When it is in effect we will need to obey the law and educate our visiting tourists on the rules of the road.

    What the rules are going to be will take some time to define. Evidently every beachfront homeowner has to follow a procedure to secure a "private beach" within the parameters of the new Bill. I would imagine there will be a patchwork of "private" and public beaches which will be very confusing for everyone.

    For example, much of Old Seagrove is public with access, a few of the homes have "ownership" to the waterline and others do not and still others have public beach below their homes. It will be imperative the communities that have public beach insist on keeping the age old accesses open and not allow the Beach "owners" to take legal measures to close them like at Headland Ave which should be reopened in my opinion. At any rate Customary Use is technically still in effect. Anyone have a legal opinion that proves that wrong?
     
  12. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    I believe you have burden of proof on the wrong Party. It would seem to me that the plantif bears the burden of proving their case.

    Didn’t the first case limit the county’s ability to ban signs based on a violation of free speech ?

    I’m not an attorney !
     
  13. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    The first case completely overturned that part of the Beach Activities Ordinance banning signs as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

    And, yes, when the new statute takes effect July 1, the burden is statutorily on the county to prove its claim of customary use on each and every individual piece of privately owned beach it wishes to claim. Property owners may intervene in each case, but they do not have to defend their ownership nor disprove CU. One could reasonably expect such owners to retain counsel and intervene despite the legal presumption going in that there is no CU to disprove, only a claim of CU alleged and to be proven by the county.

    I'm not an attorney, but I can read and understand the language of the statute, and I'm quite familiar with the legislative intent.
     
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  14. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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  15. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    Fact or Fiction (Huckabee) will you please report whether you promoted this bill that banned customary use and whether you will dispute your gulf front property?

    I think you you be willing to stand for what ever you are saying behind closed doors.
     
  16. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    For starters, I am not Gov. Huckabee and I'm sure he would get a kick out of anyone thinking I am. To clarify, I have this amazing skill called empathy:sarc:I can actually see both sides of the debate over customary use and don't begrudge anyone for their viewpoint or support one way or the other. I DO think that name calling and demeaning, etc. are counterproductive and tend to bring out the worst in both sides. I think property rights are significant and important to protect. I also like to share. That's how I was raised. I have no pull whatsoever with the powers that be in Tallahassee, so no, I did not "promote" the bill in any way other than I think that to have ANY private property rights diminished, facts and evidence in a court of law is the right way to handle it. Hopefully this clears up any confusion you may have on my position.
     
  17. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Good info. Thanks for posting.

    I believe Walton County did the best thing for our community by making all beaches open to the public, resolving a local problem that was only getting worse with signs, ropes and calls to the law. We needed resolution. But here we are again. Back to the battle of the beaches.

    I understand Beach front owners concerns. But I can't support signs and fences on the beach keeping people from using the beach. We didn't grow with restricted access to certain beaches with a few exceptions. Yes crowds do bring problems for some beach homeowners. Why can't we address those problems with rules and enforcement? Surely there are common sense solutions found in other Beach towns. And certainly not all beach front homeowners want to declare their beaches private. Even though they may wish for better management of vendors and enforcement.

    I remember when dogs were banned from the beaches. And we thought that was the worst thing ever to happen. Massive crowds at the BCC meetings. We got past that and it turned out to be a good thing (we didn't think so then). We just need to keep trying to make the beach experience better for all of us. And protect them from all harm whatever that may take. Our beaches are truly beautiful and worth the effort regardless of where you may stand on these issues. Love this beach town from its beaches to its Bay shores. A special place to live, work and play
     
  18. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I think a return to good ole fashioned manners and respect would resolve a lot of the world's problems, including the beach.
     
  19. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    I agree. So long as people act in a manner that respects the beach, ergo the property, the reasonable majority should get along just fine.
     
  20. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    I know someone is just dying to tell me why 50% of our beaches are given to vendors FREE OF CHARGE which restricts access to PUBLIC BEACHES WHILE INSISTING that public beach access isn't being restricted when clearly it is?

    And...why do folks want to make light of the issues vendors cause?

    You can't fix the problems by refusing to acknowledge they exist!
     

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