Customary Use Will Happen On Sowal Beaches

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

  1. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    You're absolutely right. All deeds are absolutely worthless if government can confiscate private property without due process and/or adequate compensation. Yet, "we, the people" are the ones who voted in the commissioners who have committed this atrocity. It's the "It doesn't affect me" syndrome. Very sad and dangerous.
     
  2. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    The joke is also the format WE are required to file a complaint. Why is it so important to know WHO is making the complaint? So the tourists can retaliate against the one that reports? If we are walking on the beach and see glass bottles on the beach, we should be able to call a # and report this violation to one of the several officers to respond. I'd expect those "officers" to educated, eliminate and adjudicate the issue quickly. This is not rocket science, but the TDC and their staff seem to like to make it such.

    The system is completely flawed and the amount of $$$ dumped into the positions is sickening.

    Tents are a whole other story. Can't wait to see the most recent statistics of the citations issued.

    Tourists know how our dysfunction system works and they know the system. We essentially pay people to drive $50k + 4x4' Trucks on the beach and smile and wave. A monkey can do that and for much less.

    The TDC has far too much money and they basically pay people to find ways to spend it.
     
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  3. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    At least the TDC form is free and doesn't cost thousands of dollars.
     
  4. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Well, its time to resurrect this post again due to the arrest of the idiot with a gun (that's in a separate section, where my comments will be a bit more productive in nature with some constructive criticism of the TDC Code Enforcement leadership).

    I spent some time today speaking to a nice young couple, visiting from Ohio. I bumped into them at the beach access and noticed they had a large tent (in its rectangular package and it was a 10x10, as many are that I see and I've seen larger 12x12's).

    I asked them for a moment of their time and they obliged and we had a great conversation. They told me about how Code Enforcement stopped them yesterday and gave them some instruction as to where a tent can and cannot be set up, for example to the left of the Private Signs, to the right of the Private Signs,, etc., we all agreed it was confusing, but Thanks to the Code Officer that actually tried and did SOMETHING.

    Now, this couple told me that they had absolutely NO IDEA about the "tent rule" and that nothing in their rental advertisements, rental agreement, reading material in the unit, nothing had anything about the "tent rule". They actually brought the tent from home.

    I think they have a good point. How are our visitors supposed to react when told about a "rule" that they have no idea exists? I really got their point and told them I had my own personal opinion of the tents and the Private Beaches, but I was more interested in their concerns about Lack of Notification and how that process can be corrected. What kind of First Impression is that? "We'll my wife and I arrived to the beautiful beaches of South Walton and put up our tent, like dozens of others did and we got to meet Code Enforcement Officer who totally confused us about where we can be and what we can do. I WISH I KNEW ABOUT THIS BEFORE I HAULED ALL MY STUFF DOWN THE STAIRS."

    Now, before someone says, oh, that's just an excuse, I say, is it? The TDC has Millions of Dollars and I've yet to see anything go out in media advertising about the tent rule. Nothing is posted at beach accesses about tents. Perhaps TDC can start to Educate instead of Adverti$e?

    If the TDC was smart, they'd start a campaign to all the stores that sell beer and have a pamphlet that the clerk can hand out as people are about to buy Glass BOTTLES instead of CANS. A simply warning that "No Glass Is Allowed on the Beach" and "Subject to Fine", goes a long way. They'll still sell beer, and plenty of it. We all see visitors (and some locals alike) buying 12 pack bottles and going to the beach...

    Additionally, a lot of this responsibility falls to the Vacation Rental Management Companies. Why are they not educating their customers? Do they not care? Are they too busy? What is the reason? Maybe some do, but apparently many do not.

    What about the WCSO and the SWFD? They too are on the beach and everyone should be making attempts to help educate (when feasible) tourists about our Rules and Regulations. It's really pretty simple.

    I guess this is what happens when politicians pass rules and make up ordinances without any thought as to how to implement them seeing that there was basically ZERO Enforcement to begin with...
     
  5. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    All good points, John G. I know that some rental companies ARE educating their customers and recommending that they use umbrellas ONLY that are 7 feet in diameter or less and that they do not use tents of any size, whether they are on public or private beach. They felt that this method alleviated much of the confusion. At the last meeting of the BCC, some add-on signage at accesses was discussed to assist with getting the message out. The Code Enforcement officers, theTDC Beach Ambassadors, and to some extent the volunteer Beach Ambassadors are all helping. The volunteer Beach Ambassadors do more educating about turtles, other wildlife, etc., but can gently work in regulations if they can be done in a very friendly, non-threatening way as they are not Code Enforcement. With a few exceptions, Code Enforcement is educating the public right now, not threatening them. Change is hard, but progress is being made. Constructive suggestions to the TDC about various means of educating the public BEFORE THEY ARRIVE in Walton County or at least BEFORE THEY ENTER THE BEACH, will definitely help smooth the process.
     
  6. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    John G, you assume the BCC, WCSO, TDC intend to enforce the beach ordinance or care. Walton is more concerned about turtle rights than enforcing private property owner rights.
    I have ONLY seen the TDC and WCSO drive by the canopies/umbrellas/tents on public beaches the days I have been on the beach.

    Ordinance 2017-10
    4. The following are the sole [only] uses permitted for members of the public on the dry sand areas of the beach that are owned by private entities: traversing the beach; sitting on the sand, in a beach chair, or on a beach towel or blanket; using a beach umbrella that is seven (7) feet [6 foot now?] or less in diameter; sunbathing; picnicking; fishing; swimming or surfing off the beach; placement of surfing or fishing equipment; and building sand creations. [what prohibits five 6-feet umbrellas next to each other from forming a 30x6 foot canopy on private property?]
    5. The following are specifically prohibited for members of the public on the dry sand areas of the beach that are owned by private entities: use of tobacco; possession of animals; erection or use of tents [REGARDLESS OF THE SIZE].

    Ordinance 2017-05 is a total of 24 pages. Explain that to tourists. Explain that to residents!
    Page 2. “Beach equipment means items generally used for swimming, sunbathing or beach recreation, including, but not limited to, beach chairs, umbrellas, tents, hammocks and volleyball nets [fishing poles and lines?].”
    Page 4. “Tent means a portable shelter of skins [I didn’t make this up], canvas, plastic, or the like, supported by one or more poles or frame and often secured by ropes fastened to pegs in the ground. The term tent includes, but is not limited to, camping tents, beach tents, and sun shelters. The term tents does not include baby beach shade tents.” Not sure what a baby beach shade tent is but I have to get me one big one."
    22-53. “This chapter shall govern conduct on the beach and water bodies south of Hwy 20 [including the BAY]."
    22-54. “q. It shall be unlawful for any person to use, erect, or possess [laying on the beach] a tent greater than six by six by six feet (6’x6’x6’) [or 36 square feet in total?] at any regional or neighborhood [public] beach access owned, leased, or dedicated to, or maintained by the County or TDC. In no event shall this provision prohibit a private property owner, or his or her guest or agent, from using, erecting, or possessing a tent of any size on his or her real property between one hour after sunrise and one hour after dusk.”
    “r. It shall be unlawful to place beach equipment on the beach within fifteen (15) of the water’s edge or within 15 feet of the toe of the dune or line of permanent dune vegetation on any regional or neighborhood beach access [or private property?].” 15 feet from the water?

    Violators to face fines over Walton County beaches tent ordinance
    Now that’s good PR for BCC TDC [not]. Ready, Fire, Aim. BCC shot themselves in the foot again. No pun intended.
     
  7. Will B

    Will B Moderator

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  8. beachmax

    beachmax Beach Comber

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    Let's not conflate two different issues. The situation in California is about long standing beach access. There are no private beaches in California. The Walton County situation is about the county disregarding long held judicial rulings as to how customary use is to be determined. The court has held that customary use is determined by a judicial review of each individual parcel as the facts and circumstances of each parcel may be unique. Walton County is not objecting to private access and one's ability to enforce no trespassing on the access property.
     
  9. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Agree BeachMax. No comparison to Walton BCC customary take.
     
  10. Beach days

    Beach days Beach Lover

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    Let's call code enforcement on all of the temporary sea walls constructed on beach front. From what I remember they where temporary fixes. That should help out all the home owners who wish to be in control of the beach. They should be able to walk to it , right past where their homes where located. The only reason some are still here is the county let them put temp. Walls up after hurricane.
     
  11. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    I just heard that the Judge sided with the County Commission on Customary Use in the first lawsuit. The Alford case. Anybody else have any info? If true, what a victory this is for the people of Florida and those people who visit our great state and especially for the people of Walton County. “This Sand is your sand, this sand is my sand.”
     

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  12. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    True, but I celebrate every day Customary Use is the Law of the sand in Walton County. Hopefully other coastal counties will quickly follow suit with their own Customary Use ordinances.
     
  13. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    If only the Vendors would be Abolished from Public Beaches. Taking up space and selling SAND they don't OWN.
     
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  14. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    I'm celebrating too. My new churro business on the beach is going to be off the hook!
    I might even go door to door on the beach with them. Unless they have No Solicitor Signs clearly displayed.
     
  15. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    C9065E5A-CF6B-4FEF-BC78-2CDFEBF530EB.png I have no idea how to upload this, so I took a picture of the part that says the Alfords won on their sign suit.
     
  16. formosa64

    formosa64 Banned

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    I don't know what you heard - but the court order states the Judge _declined_ to rule on the issue/complaint as presented. This does not mean he sided with anyone, nor does it mean he upheld Customary Use as is being reported by News Channel 7. I'm surprised a reporter took the bait and peddled fake news.
     
  17. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Any thoughts from you Dave? Or am I misinformed?
     
  18. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    Attached is Nov. 22 substitute order in Alford v. Walton County.
     

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  19. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Cliffs Notes Version Please... Seems things may have changed now?
     
  20. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    The beach obstructions amendment is still deemed unconstitutional as written and has to be stricken from county code. The judge ruled on the customary use question, found that the county had authority to approve the customary use ordinance. Individual beachfront property owners can still challenge customary use in court for their specific property.
     

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