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Hear from professionals why the CU battle will now last eight years

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Sowal Al, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Sowal Al

    Sowal Al Beach Comber

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    HB 631, previouc BOC’s, other county wins/losses, original Sowal CU ordinance... watching (listening) this video of the lawyer portion of the CU meeting on Saturday is the best education you can possibly get on what we are about to go through, how it happened, why it happened, and the possible outcomes with timelines. Both sides are represented with compelling discussion on what will happen now on our beaches.
     
  2. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Well worth watching. Thanks for posting.
     
  3. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Lover

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    Help me out here. This whole issue is some beach front owners claiming people haven't been using the beach? And therefore shouldn't be allowed to ever use it again?
     
  4. Sowal Al

    Sowal Al Beach Comber

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    Nope. From what I can tell from research, and listening to this meeting, it’s the exact opposite! The state and county sold beachfront property that was sold at a huge premium and deeded as private property down to the water. Been that way since like 1920, whenever it started. The county didn’t keep up with tourist growth, by managing or buying enough public beach or roads or parking, etc., then they allowed some family members of Board with beach chair companies to dominate the public beach that was available. So as beach supply didn’t meet demand, got crowded, they tried to undo the private sale of property by taking back private property from the owners in 2016 with a CU ordinance to cover their butts. That was illegal because it violated state law. So the State overwhelmingly passed a law called 631 to make the Board and all FL counties, follow the State Constitution and sue all of the beachfront owners with a land grab called CU, and let the courts rule on it. They are misinforming the public by telling them CU has always been there. But apparently it never has. But they voted in this meeting to sue all Walton County beachfront owners to basically steal their property, instead of doing their jobs and properly managing budget, beach access, infrastructure. They’ve convinced the rest of residents of county that the beach is theirs, creating a mob mentality of entitlement. The taxpayers don’t know any better because they haven’t heard what we did in this video. It’s really ugly for the county.
     
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  5. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    So, you are saying that every county in Florida is impacted by 631?
     
  6. Sowal Al

    Sowal Al Beach Comber

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    Not a lawyer or legislator. But when Fl house and Fl senate write and pass a law, isn't it a state law?
     
  7. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    So are you saying that it is affecting every costal County?
     
  8. Sowal Al

    Sowal Al Beach Comber

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    Watch the attached meeting video. It's covered quite clearly.
     
  9. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    I've seen people refer to customary use as "taking" someone's property away from them, I've seen it described as something new, and the one that has me puzzled was the comment at the meeting that if we get customary use, there will be Holiday Inns all up and down 98...huh?
    All customary use is, is exactly what it says. It isn't anything new. We only want to be able to enjoy the beach as we always have. I've been on our beaches pretty much all of my half-century of life. Sure, there were houses on the bluff, Unless you had a reason to look, most of us didn't know that their deeds read to the MHWL. But the fact is, the owners didn't mind us sunbathing, walking, playing, fishing on "their" beach. There was an understanding that it was a natural resource for all to enjoy. It was incomprehensible that anyone except maybe Sandestin would tell you that you couldn't be on the beach. And then somehow, the little beach cottages went away, megahouses took their place, and the notion of exclusive beaches was born.
    We don't want to take your property away. We don't want to pee in your dunes, use your stairs, hang out on your porch, or otherwise disturb you. All we want is to enjoy the beach as we always have.
     
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  10. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Lover

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    I watched the entire video. I'm not a beachfront owner, nor part of an HOA that is. I am not connected to any of the law firms or attorneys involved.

    Yes, I want to be able to go to the beach and enjoy it like I have for years. And I fell into the emotional reaction of "I've always gone to the beach and should still be able to!!". But emotions don't win in court and that's where this is headed.

    As more than one attorney pointed out, previous BCCs sold property to developers, even to the point where it is disclosed on documents that the county could retain ownership of the beach itself and STILL the county sold the properties. And even recently, the county just went along with or at least did not contest the quiet title actions, It was also pointed out that lack of vision and foresight is why the county and its residents are in the predicament that they/we are in. The lack of true MASTER planning. And it still exists today. Meanwhile, the TDC keeps the advertising locomotive rolling and the number of annual visitors keeps increasing. To come to a place where infrastructure is woefully inadequate for what we have coming now, much less any more?

    I think Walton County is going to make the problem much worse by moving forward to sue the BFOs. As one attorney stated, if WC wins they will still be sued and it will continue to drag on. If WC loses then "that's it", CU is NOT established and the county's residents are really out. Further, WC is now going to try and establish CU AFTER BFOs quiet titled their individual properties AND state law has been codifed. Completely bass-ackwards.

    I think the county should:
    • Spend the funds that it would project spending on attorneys fighting this to acquire more BF properties. Problem here is as one attorney stated, if the county believes in CU, why is it buying BF properties?
    • Build in more infrastructure (sidewalks, multi-use paths, street improvements with smoother traffic flow in mind, and on)
    • Immediately declare all county owned properties to be vendor free zones. NO COMMERCIAL VENDING ON County owned beaches. One of the attorneys pointed this out; that 50% of county beaches are allocated to beach chair vendors. Does anyone think that this and who is behind this allowance will not be presented as litigation proceeds? The county is really really exposed here. WC needs to cover their backside NOW and make the county beaches vendor free.
    • Declare a moratorium on advertising WC beaches.
    If the Erosion Control Line (ECL) is not established east of Topsail Preserve, (ECL is established west of Topsail due to beach renourishment projects), then get ECL established, get with BFOs and work toward a compromise where seaward of ECL is public and call it a day. Abandoning this available compromise and going for it all could result in nothing.

    For you who listened to the arguments, or were there and heard them, what are your thoughts?
     
  11. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    I sat through all five-plus hours and don't recall anyone saying that the county commission sold any property to developers.
     
  12. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    I don't know of any instance where the county sold land to a developer.
    First, people were able to buy U.S. Government lots. These were quite large (I forget exactly the dimensions but my daddy had four of them). The method of transfer was by patent, or patent deed.
    Next, the buyers of said Government Lots would subdivide. This is where a surveyor would make their money, as each lot in a subdivision has a legal description. According to the developer's wishes, this is where the sandy portion of the beach was either deeded for public use, or for individual lots to the MHWL. Remember, in those days there was nothing to guarantee a beachfront owner that somebody wouldn't find a way to build between the toe of the dune and the water.
    And so, as properties are sold and bought, that legal description remains the same. The County didn't do it. Quiet Title, yeah someone wasn't paying attention. But individual subdivisions, no.
     
  13. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    Thanks, that's helpful. I recall hearing about land grants too, from the federal government. I know the county has sold parcels in the Mossy Head Industrial Park to people starting businesses there and possibly some miscellaneous parcels not needed over the years have been surplussed and sold, but have not heard of the county selling any beachfront property.
     
  14. Shannon Lince

    Shannon Lince Beach Lover

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    My opinion is sales were not what the attorneys were referencing. They were speaking to the county _approving_ subdivisions for private beach property/development. In every subdivision there was a dedication by the developer either on the plat or in the C&R's. The developer in some cases dedicated the beach property to the public, in other cases (many we all know about) the beach property was dedicated to the owners with no rights to the public. Attorney Dana Matthews (#2) spent time explaining dedications. I'd start at 13:30 of session 3 to get the tail end of Attorney #1 for land progression...

    The county commissioners had the legal responsibility and authority to approve or disapprove a planned subdivision. They still do. All the commissioner's signatures are on the plats approving a plat and dedication. They could have said "we won't approve unless you dedicate the beach to the public" (or some flavor) --- but they didn't. Every buyer from that approval point forward relied on those approvals, parameters for the property.

    Not sales. As Dr. Miller said - by 1920's 95% of the beach property was already in private hands.

    Additionally with that testimony, Dr. Miller proved that no one has been stealing public beach property with Quiet Titles.

    That's what I heard and matches my understanding.

    Shannon
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  15. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    It wasn't that the County did the selling, but they did approve plats, etc that included private beach and/or private accesses. The real take away is that there is, in fact, a pattern of private property on the Walton County beaches since at least the 1920 era. The County is acutely aware of this fact and have tried multiple ways to be able to establish public usage for private property without seeking a ruling from the courts. BTW, quiet titles are not people acquiring public beach. Most quiet titles are part of a neighborhood as well, just without all the i's dotted and t's crossed back in the day. Yet another false narrative.
     
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  16. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    Mr. Huckabee

    You have embroiled our once peaceful small beach town in a fight that should have never been started.

    You get quiet title of your beach front, pay half the amount of property taxes (30K) as your similar sized and aged neighbor's house (he pays 60 k). Why is that?

    You have ruined this community for me and many others who can not afford beach front.

    I believe in karma - hence the tag name boomerang - and I only wait to see yours.
     
  17. Sowal Al

    Sowal Al Beach Comber

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    Quite sure the Esteemed Governer won’t be spending time responding to you. Here’s why...your facts are wrong, which means you didn’t listen to the video which describes the reality of how we got here. You’re “Boomeranging” the crap online propaganda that proves that you’re not informed. To him, and the rest of the educated, your just part of the mob, willing to be an emotional sheep, without putting forth effort to get informed on this important issue to our community. The Governer has zero, nada, nuthin’ to do with the CU problem in Walton County. Don’t be so gullible Boomer. Watch the video. Take notes. Become part of the solution, not the problem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  18. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    Yes i watched the video. I agree that the TDC has brought too many people here - advertised too much after the economic down turn and the oil spill. Overloaded the carrying capacity of our beaches.

    But that does not mean the beach front owners who never had a problem with us using the beaches before should take that use away either.

    Do you have a problem with Mr. Huckabee paying half of what his neighbor does in property taxes for a similar sized house built in the same time period?

    And emails have indicated he was part of the bill process - they are on this site.

    I am a full time resident who mourns the empty vender chairs taking up the beach, the relentless TDCads to come to south walton, the overdevelopment, the loss of my right to sit on the sand.
     
  19. boomerang

    boomerang Beach Lover

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    I agree with Emerald drifter - there has to be a better way.

    stop the TDC advertising

    Stop the venders on public beaches

    buy more beach front properties

    make a deal for use of the sand to the ECL line

    Walton county could have made the beaches for public use and they did not

    they could have stopped the quiet titles and they did not

    do we trust that they will win this suit?
     
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  20. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Lover

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    Yes, you and ShallowsNole (she definitely knows) are correct. I researched this and realized this was a mistake. But the SoWal forum only allows for edits for a certain amount of time and I waited too long. Thank you for correcting me and more importantly, thank you for adding to this discussion.

    A LOT of the county's money is about to be spent on lawyers. There are many more amenities and infrastructure that can be acquired / improved upon with those same dollars.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

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