Important Call to Action Regarding our Coastal Dune Lakes

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by South Walton Community Council, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. South Walton Community Council

    South Walton Community Council Community Organization

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    The coastal dune lakes in Walton County that so define our community are the least contaminated and least corrupted left. The coastal dune lakes that once adorned Bay and Okaloosa Counties have been blocked off, filled in, walled and contaminated to the point that they are becoming eyesores and detriments in their communities.

    On Tuesday, June 23rd, at 9:00am at the DeFuniak Springs courthouse the BCC is to vote to reduce and/or eliminate the existing protections on the rare and beautiful Walton County Coastal Dune Lakes.

    The proposed relaxed language to be used to modify the existing protections in both the Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan is at a minimum poorly structured and poorly worded.

    As it is currently proposed it is open to misinterpretation and allows variances that would not be scientifically supported.

    The proposed modifications and reduction of protections have not been publicly posted, nor have they been publicly vetted in public meetings or workshops.
    The South Walton Community Council urges its members to write and call the county commissioners urging them to:


    • Postpone any impending decisions and/or votes pertaining to Coastal Dune Lakes;
    • Publicly post any proposed changes to the Coastal Dune Lake protections well in advance of any meetings;
    • Provide public workshops to present and review any proposed changes to the Coastal Dune Lake protections;
    • Hold any and all future meetings on this topic in south Walton.


    The commissioners’ contact information can be found at http://www.co.walton.fl.us/Index.aspx?NID=112


    In addition, The South Walton Community Council urges its members to attend the BCC meeting this Tuesday, June 23rd, at 9:00 in DeFuniak Springs to express your concerns and insist that any vote be postponed. The courthouse is located at 76 N. 6th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433.

    The rare and beautiful Coastal Dune Lakes are the pride of Walton County and one of the most important economic engines of our area. Any changes in their protections must be carefully examined scientifically and publicly.

    For more information, contact SWCC at info@southwaltoncc.org.
     
  2. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    I just copy/pasted most of this to FB for those friends of mine that arent on SOWAL. Thank you for the heads up!
     
  3. Bluznbeach

    Bluznbeach Beach Lover

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    Did the BCC decide anything today?
     
  4. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    This morning the Walton County BCC voted to ease restrictions/protections on the Coastal Dune Lakes. I don't have details.
     
  5. seal

    seal Beach Lover

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    Unbelievable.

    Personally, my only hope is that the next economic crash will stop this zealous, wild-eyed development and encroachment on these precious Coastal Dune Lakes. There is plenty of available land elsewhere.

    I'm sure someone here can add more details, but I have heard about a major residential development on the Eastern shore (south of the Hwy 98 bridge) on Lake Powell.
     
  6. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    That's is in Bay County, which shows why the State of Florida should have protected our lakes long ago. Each is precious and should have special status above and beyond local politics.

    Removing septic tanks, sensible stormwater management, pollution and fertilizer-free buffer zones would be a good start. Lakeside residents should be all for it.
     
  7. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Two questions:

    Why would the BCC do this? It should be in everyone's best interest to do everything possible to protect our coastal lakes.

    If we were to incorporate, would we be able to add more protections and restrictions for our coastal lakes?
     
  8. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    The restrictions placed on people that own property on or near the lakes are rather drastic, and I'm not so sure the general public is aware of them. Currently, you are restricted from disturbing more than 25% of your property, by any development whatsoever. This means that the footprint of your house, plus all walkways, decks, parking areas, etc., whether permeable or not, cannot exceed 25%. It further states that, if you had built your house, or bought a house that was grandfathered in, before this ordinance was put in place, if your house was ever partially or totally destroyed, you would not be able to rebuild your house to it's existing footprint. In essence, this is not only devaluating your house, but also devaluating your property, no matter when you bought it. These restrictions, by the way, also apply to property not adjacent to the lakes, but situated within 300 feet of a lake, and, under some interpretations, within 300 feet of any tributary of the lakes. So this affects a lot more property owners than you might think.

    While some restrictions are, of course, necessary, a whole lot of people think that the restrictions should be eased a little and applied in a more case by case basis than a broad brush ordinance that adversely affects a vast number of property owners. Some people have advanced the idea that, since a bundle of their property rights have been taken by this existing ordinance, they are well within their rights to have their property tax assessments reduced accordingly.

    As with most issues around here, it is my hope that common sense will prevail.
     
  9. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Maybe the restrictions need to be reworked in fairness to property owners on or near the lakes. However, these coastal dune lakes really do need as much protection as we can give them. I do hope common sense along with serious environmental protections will be put in place, but I don't know who CAN do this in our current state of affairs in Walton County.
     
  10. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    The county Comp Plan and LDC have always allowed and will continue to allow rebuilding if a home is damage by 50% or more. It is my understanding that saying these homes could not be rebuilt was misinformation.

    The whole issue is extremely complicated and needs a lot more work. We owe it to these lakes.
     
  11. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    I've been to several meetings on this issue, and that is the way the ordinance reads: if your house was destroyed, you would only be able to build back to the 25% footprint, even if your house had been larger than 25% since 1951 or whatever.

    And we aren't just talking about the house footprint. We are talking about walkways,driveways, etc.

    These are some of the provisions that need tweaking. I don't think anyone is talking about wholesale scrapping of the ordinance. Just giving some long time residents some assurance that their property isn't being de-valued.

    Can anyone give us some insight on what exactly happened at the meeting?
     
  12. poppy

    poppy Banned

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    I have to wonder how many people bought these lots without being informed about the 25% restrictions.
     
  13. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  14. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    Yes, that's an important point. The ordinance has been on the books for a long time, but has only been enforced during the last ten months.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015

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