Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by SHELLY, Jan 25, 2008.
Inlet Beach residents worried about impact of 2 developments
In 2010 and again in 2012, the Walton County Commission voted to allow development on the tract of beach extending west along Walton Magnolia Lane from the border of Camp Helen State Park.
The development was approved twice by a slim commission majority over objections from Walton Magnolia residents. Bill Chapman is the only county commissioner still on the board to have voted to approve the project in 2012. Larry Jones, the county administrator, was a county commissioner in 2010 and voted in favor of development.
Ebsco Industries, which developed Alys Beach, is overseeing the residential construction. The beachfront acreage has been owned for years by the Comer family, which once also owned the land where Camp Helen State Park now sits.
Efforts to reach an Ebsco official for comment were not successful.
Carpenter said that when the commission approved the construction of 20 homes on Walton Magnolia Lane, plans called for single-family structures of a moderate size.
That was before VRBO and AirBNB.
The homes that have thus far been built are huge and are being marketed as vacation rentals — single-family homes built with the expectation of housing many people.
One of them, a four-bed, four-bath home with a private pool advertised by 30A Escapes sleeps up to 16.
Neighbors like Mitchell, and Jaffe, as president of the neighborhood association, have many concerns about the ongoing development.
The road itself is barely wide enough for two cars to pass one another, and at this time there is only one entrance and exit to the neighborhood.
Mitchell said the road has consistently flooded during heavy rainfall, and last July 4 it was underwater to an extent that he couldn’t get his truck through for three days.
“They’re going to have to improve that road. It’s crowded now, and there’s never been a major storm that didn’t wash out that intersection at the top of the street,” Mitchell said. “With all these new houses, not to mention the big ones, there’s going to be a lot of traffic and a lot of people staying there. If we have a crisis ... .
Carpenter said the developers have plans to improve Walton Magnolia Lane by putting down an additional inch of asphalt, and a common area at the lowest point of the road will be equipped with a permeable concrete successfully used at Rosemary Beach that will absorb all of the runoff in the neighborhood.
“All of the water that comes to that lot now will still come to that lot, which is subject to flooding, but it will be temporary. And it’s not pushing the water to anywhere else, but instead actually taking the water from the other lots,” Carpenter said.
Last week, as work was getting under way to put homes on five lots at the eastern end of Walton Magnolia Lane, a crane took down small cottage that had stood on top of a long, untouched dune.
The Lupin House, as it was known, had been constructed in the late ’60s or ’70s, according to news accounts. It belonged to the Comer family, which was involved in planning the new development.
The demolition was a final gut punch to longtime residents as the inevitable development of the last stretch of pristine beach got under way.
“I’m just sorry to see it happen,” said Scott Franzen, who lives in a town home complex at the edge of the development. “To me, this is the one last beautiful place in Florida.”
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