New TDC Regional Beach access opposed by Beachfront owners

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by hi n dry, May 12, 2016.

  1. hi n dry

    hi n dry Beach Lover

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    On June 8th 5:30 at Annex there will be a workshop for public comment regarding TDC proposed Regional access at Walton Dunes/ Beachfront Trail. This is located on east side of Eastern Lake at end of Lakewood Drive.

    If approved this would be the only TDC Regional Access from Seagrove to Inlet Beach.

    The proposed access would provide convenient toilets and parking near the beach.

    The terrain at this site would be particularly advantageous for the physically challenged and elderly to easily access the beach without the struggle of going down a long switchback ramp as is required at most accesses on 30A.

    County improvement of this site with a walkover would stabilize the dunes and protect dunes and habitat from being trampled and eroded.

    Background: On April 12 the BCC approved this Regional Beach Access at Walton Dunes on Beachfront Trail at end of Lakewood Drive on east side of Eastern Lake. However, beach home owners along Beachfront Trail protested the decision and requested a public workshop. As a consequence the BCC scheduled a meeting for public input on June 8th.

    The public’s right to use the beach is meaningless unless “off beach" residents" that drive to the beach can access it.

    The county has an obligation to the public to add facilities on this public property .

    It would be a travesty to allow a few nearby owners to block the development of a much needed Regional public beach access.


    Regarding attached picture: the green area on left is location of proposed Regional Beach Access.

    On right is beach posted "No Trespassing..to waterline...no walking or leisure activity..". This signage is in front of property owned by some of those opposing the public TDC Regional access.
     

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  2. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    What's the objection with a regional access there?
    Beachfront "owners" to the left and right of the public parcel look like:
    DUNES OF SEAGROVE DEV INC and WALTON DUNES...
     
  3. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    It will not do us any good to purchase beachfront land if we will not enhance it by adding parking and bathroom facilities as well as walkovers. Commissioners need to have the political will to proceed with projects that are best for the majority of our people.
     
  4. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Lover

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    Crazy self-entitled lunatics
     
  5. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Who are we talking about...the BCC?
     
  6. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    Whoa, the goalposts just got moved by the beach Nazis...no WALKING on the sand!!!:floor:
     
  7. MRBS

    MRBS Beach Lover

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    and if you so dare, don't stop to leisurely enjoy watching a dolphin at play. Sad sad sad.
     
  8. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Beach Lover

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    I don't understand the comments or this string. There is already a beach access here and parking. Any development along the beach would require removal of the dunes which I wouldn't think anyone would want. And adding beach walkovers when there are already flat land paths through the dunes is nonsensical.
     
  9. MRBS

    MRBS Beach Lover

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    I was not aware that dune removal would be required. is that correct? for clarification, my comment was with respect to that hideous sign.
     
  10. outofadream

    outofadream Beach Lover

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    Not the BCC...I'm talking about the"beachfront owners"
     
  11. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Beach Lover

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    The dunes border the driveway/road providing access to 20 or so homes, so the only way to put in parking would require the dunes to be removed if the current design is implemented. IMHO this plan permanently destroys the sacred beauty for which we all love this area. Especially when the county already has a parking lot servicing this access and they could put an ugly bathroom facility in that parking lot if they so choose.
     
  12. mar1na

    mar1na Beach Comber

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    Although I completely understand the need for more beach access in appropriate locations, I respectfully advise all those in favor of the Walton Dunes access to please educate yourselves prior to voicing your opinions to expand this beach access. There is a current parking lot that is completely underutilized even during peak seasons.In contrast, the beach area is over utilized during peak seasons from all the condo/home rentals in the area within walking/biking distance. So, the beachgoers that do travel to the area (which is .6 miles off 30A taking 2 different neighborhood streets), usually turnaround and go elsewhere even though they have ample space to park but because there is no beach real estate to enjoy for them. We have repeatedly asked the county to perform a study to show this information as part of their beach access analysis. We ask all of you to please visit this area as well - you will see a neighborhood with many pedestrians, cyclists, and children playing in the streets because it is, in fact, a neighborhood. Advocating more vehicular traffic to this area will cause a major safety issue for our residents and tourists since the county has not provided any proper walking or bicycle paths - collisions with cyclists are already a major issue on the two 90 degree turns that do not have any safe path for pedestrians and cyclists. Promoting more vehicular traffic to this area is a negligent act.

    Please remember that allowing the BCC to make such intrusive changes within a neighborhood is a precedent setting action - even though this particular vote is not affecting your neighborhood, there may be a vote that does in the future - sowal residents need to be supportive to ensure long term precedent setting actions are not taken that will lead to the permanent decline of the area. And yes, there is a dune that will be destroyed with the expansion proposal for Walton Dunes. This dune was washed away during the last hurricane many years ago and is now finally built up to provide valuable protection to the nearby homes and structures. It is unfortunate that the county and some residents are so quick to make such permanent decisions to remedy parking issues that present themselves only 12 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a year (less than 25% of the year) - not to mention that this particular area has never had a parking issue with the existing lot. There are several better options to alleviate such a temporary issue without causing permanent damage to the beauty of the are and intrusion to the many neighborhoods. One example is to coordinate with Deer Lake State Park just as was done with Top Sail State Park. Deer Lake State Park is completely underutilized, so that would be the perfect place to initiate action to provide more parking for those desiring to come to this particular area of beach - I believe the Topsail State Park was given 20-25K from the county from Memorial Day to Labor Day in exchange for unlimited tourists to park free between those dates. Obviously, this would be a much better first step and provide some proof of concept as to what beaches the driving tourists desire to go to when parking issues are at its peak. Shuttles are also an option that the BCC has discussed in the past and is a vital method in the Naples, Florida area that is promoted by both residents and tourists alike because it retains the natural beauty of the area and provides door-to-door service from their cars to the beach access. As a community, please help your fellow neighbors by encouraging the BCC to perform the necessary analysis to thoroughly understand the issues before them and to think outside the box for solutions that will be positive for residents and tourists without making unnecessary permanent changes. I assume everyone would want this level of thoughtfulness to part of the decision making process if a permanent change physically and environmentally was being proposed close to your home.
     
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  13. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    So if I understand correctly, is it only "public land" with dunes that we should not build on?
    Clearly the gulf-front residents on Beachfront trail and Deer Lake Beach Drive have no objections to building on the dunes. Look at the satellite map or drive down here and see the development, the subjectivity speaks for itself.
     
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  14. wastinaway

    wastinaway Beach Comber

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    Mar1na, I hope you are able to make it to the meeting. I agree with what you said. The Beachfront Trail access is the one closest to my home, and I'm there at least once a week, and much more in the summer. In all that time, I've never seen the parking lot full, so the idea of building ANOTHER parking lot where the dunes are is a terrible idea. There is property for sale immediately adjacent to that parking lot (corner of Lakewood Dr and Dunes Estates) that could easily be purchased and have a bathroom facility built on it to make this a "Regional" access.

    The critical issue in my mind is making this entire area safer with proper sidewalks and paths. The sidewalk from the parking lot to the beach could be widened so that folks aren't forced to walk in the street when more than 2 people are on the path. Sidewalks should be installed and/or connected all the way down Lakewood Drive to eliminate the safety hazard my family and all others who walk to this access face, including the two blind curves you mentioned that have no sidewalks at all.

    I'm not against more regional accesses, and I'm not against putting one on Beachfront Trail. I think that everyone who wants to go to the beach should have a safe, relatively convenient way to do so. But if the County is going to tuck one in a neighborhood like this, the safety of the entire neighborhood should be considered so that we don't create a way for some to get to the beach while making it even more unsafe for others to do so.
     
  15. mar1na

    mar1na Beach Comber

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    Just for the record - I am not a gulf front property owner and I understand that is an entirely separate issue the county is looking to resolve - please don't bundle these two issues. As Commissioner Meadows stated in the last BCC meeting - there are no other county owned public beach NBAs that are off 30A that have been expanded to be an RBA. The issue here is the county diving deep into a neighborhood where we have no safety measures in place to handle any increase in traffic as well as the existing parking lot is not being used.
     
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  16. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    I think a reasonable solution would involve; for safety installing a widened sidewalk around curves and to existing lot, creating some additional parking spaces by property (handicapped, etc...), a bathroom and walkovers. This can be done with minimal dune & neighborhood impact. This would be an enhancement to the neighborhood and not have a large impact. I am sure this would be a reasonable compromise.
     
  17. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Beach Lover

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    That's a compromise?? Really?? A compromise would be to either eliminate the bathroom or put it in where the existing parking lot is.

    I'm guessing you have never been to this area since here is no way to "minimally impact the dunes" with what you have suggested - It would require nearly complete removal - and why would you add walkovers when there is a flat paths already to the beach??
     
  18. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    Maybe for handicapped access??......btw, I am a full time resident, familiar with area and ride my bike through there regularly.
     
  19. WMW

    WMW Beach Comber

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    Just curious, should only private property owners be able to build walkovers and not public? Look at the area satellite map, there are many private walkovers.
    Also in the long run, walkovers assist in dune protection. Please consider a reasonable solution.
     
  20. mar1na

    mar1na Beach Comber

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    Actually - the best action for the county to take is:

    1) Mitigate the current safety issue that all property owners and tourists have been voicing for over 2 years by installing wide and appropriate sidewalks/bike paths.
    2) Conduct a comprehensive study which includes a traffic analysis, safety analysis, and usage analysis - why go through the expense and intrusion of paving over the dunes if people aren't filling up the existing spaces that are available? A study needs to be completed to ensure this is an appropriate course of action for this area
    3) Promote the state parks - our state parks are desolate - they are beautiful and wide, but rarely do beachgoers utilize them - this is an issue not just with Deer Lake State Park but all along 30A
    4) Investigate options for offsite land acquisitions to place paved lots where an increase in traffic will not adversely affect residents and tourists and implement a shuttle system for the peak 12 weeks out of the year when parking may be an issue (as state previously, the Walton Dunes beach access existing lot does not have a parking issue even during peak season)

    Solving a parking issue where one does not exists will not alleviate the overall parking issue on 30A. Tourists are drawn to beach access areas where they can walk to shops and restaurants, which is one of the reasons the Walton Dunes beach access parking does not have a parking issue - there are no restaurants or shops within walking distance.

    Implementing hasty solutions will be the downfall of South Walton - as a community we must implore the BCC to take the necessary steps prior to implementing a permanent solution.
     

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