Judge’s order could remove hundreds from Walton customary use case

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Jim Tucker, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Jim Tucker

    Jim Tucker Beach Fanatic

    Jul 12, 2005
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    A ruling by Walton County Circuit Court Judge David Green, published Tuesday, could remove as many as 700 property owners from the county’s customary use lawsuit.

    It could also signal that Green is prepared to call into question what one attorney termed Walton County’s “shot gun” approach to seeking a declaration of customary use along 26 miles of coastline.

    “If I was the county and I received this order I would realize I have a big hill to climb,” said Dana Matthews, one of many attorneys representing private property owners battling the county over beach property rights.

    A hearing will be held Nov. 12 at which Green will entertain arguments to dismiss the county’s customary use lawsuit in its entirety.

    Green’s order was issued following an Oct. 21 hearing at which attorney George Mead argued the court did not have proper “personal jurisdiction” to rule in the customary use lawsuit either for or against his clients, Sunset Beach Homeowner’s Association and Villas at Sunset Beach Owner’s Association.

    Green agreed with the motion’s premise that “statutes related to service of process,” the means by which “jurisdiction of the court over persons and their property” is established,” were not followed in the case of Mead’s clients.

    The judge specifically emphasized the county’s failure to follow Florida Statute 163:035 governing customary use, including “provisions which describe the method by which persons and property are to be brought within the jurisdiction of the court for determination of the rights of the public to use portions of their property.”

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  2. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

    Jun 20, 2005
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    Thanks for posting. It is a decently written article by Tom McLaughlin.


    Tom’s obvious despise for the Huckabees and other gulf front owners comes in loud and clear. This isn’t the first article where he uses an aerial shot of Huckabee’s home to bolster his own opinionated stand while flimsily trying to add drama to the story with a well known individual. But “gossip” sells while good journalism sometimes gets a yawn.

    I say this because of the TOTALLY UNRELATED and FALSE premise that any beach in the Old Blue Mountain Beach subdivision WAS EVER PUBLIC as indicated in the screenshot below from the same article. Apparently Tom doesn’t read SoWal, otherwise I think he’d would have had second thoughts.

    Just to clear the air.... The original developer of Old BMB directly owned the sandy beach but burdened the sandy beach property to be used ONLY by those that owned property in the adjacent Old BMB subdivision (the neighbored accesses, themselves, are the only exception). Now the original developer (corporation) is nowhere to be found. Rather than the property being “without an existing owner”, the adjacent properties filed quiet title to put that property under ownership. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CHANGED with the use of the property - only (and all) owners in the adjacent Old BMB subdivision are still able to each and every beach front lot (sandy part).

    Only a judge can rule on a quiet title filing. And I can guarantee that no judge would ever allow public beach property to be quiet titled into private property unless they want to lose their job. It’s obvious that Tom McLaughlin has drank the FBFA kool-aid. And as I’ve mentioned before, Mark Davis, the previous county attorney who is a staunch supporter of customary use, was the attorney of record for many of these quiet titles.

    I’m not one of these “fake news” zealots, but in this case, oh well.


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