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Please Help Protect Our Coastal Dune Lakes!

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by South Walton Community Council, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. South Walton Community Council

    South Walton Community Council Community Organization

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    On behalf of the SWCC Board of Directors, let me take this opportunity to wish you safe and happy holidays.

    I also want to use this opportunity to remind you of the January 8th Planning Commission meeting (5pm, Courthouse Annex) which will be the first public hearing on the revisions the County is proposing to the Coastal Dune Lakes Protections. We will be sending the message below to our commissioners and invite you to send a similar message asking the commissioners that the Chapter 4 Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan revisions be taken off the Planning Commission agenda and that public workshops be scheduled so the public has the opportunity as a community to discuss the dune lakes and their protections.

    I first provide the SWCC message and then the Commissioner's emails:

    "On January 8th the Planning Commission will entertain recommendations from the Planning Department regarding The Coastal Dune Lakes. The recommendations, as currently written, will significantly reduce the protection afforded Walton County Dune Lakes as currently provided by the Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, the proposals call for the transfer of the protections for the lakes from the Comprehensive Plan to the Land Development Code. Provisions contained in the Land Development Code are subject to variance requests.

    The Coastal Dune Lakes of Walton County are rare and unique bodies of water found in only two other places in the world. The special place Dune Lakes occupy in the world's geography speaks to their importance.

    SWCC believes that any reduction in the protection provided the Lakes and the science underlying the reductions should be discussed by all the citizens of Walton County who have been given stewardship of these global treasures.

    As such, SWCC requests and recommends that the Planning Commission postpone the discussion of the Dune Lake proposals and schedule public workshops to allow for complete and open discussion of the issue by all citizens of Walton County."



    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD] Bill Chapman[/TD]
    [TD] District 1 Commissioner[/TD]
    [TD] chabill@co.walton.fl.us[/TD]
    [TD] 9446 Rock Hill Road
    Ponce de Leon, FL 32455[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] Cecilia Jones[/TD]
    [TD] District 2 Commissioner[/TD]
    [TD] joncecilia@co.walton.fl.us[/TD]
    [TD] 552 Walton Road
    DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] Bill Imfeld[/TD]
    [TD] District 3 Commissioner[/TD]
    [TD] imfbill@co.walton.fl.us[/TD]
    [TD] 6570 US Highway 90 West
    DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] Sara Comander[/TD]
    [TD] District 4 Commissioner[/TD]
    [TD] comsara@co.walton.fl.us[/TD]
    [TD] 263 Chaffin Avenue
    DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] Cindy Meadows[/TD]
    [TD] District 5 Commissioner[/TD]
    [TD] meacindy@co.walton.fl.us[/TD]
    [TD] 70 Logan Lane
    Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    Regards, Mary Konovsky
     
  2. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Is there an active Coastal Dune Lake advisory council? I do believe it is time for attention and protection to be given to our most beautiful resources in South Walton. What a treasure our lakes are. I do hope the County will dedicate time and attention to Coastal Dune Lakes by way of workshops and ongoing protective measures.
     
  3. South Walton Community Council

    South Walton Community Council Community Organization

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    We are getting closer to the January 8th meeting of the Planning Commission where they will hear, as part of their regular agenda, the proposed revisions to Chapter 4 of the Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan regarding the coastal dune lakes protections.

    I am attaching an updated version of the proposed revisions dated 12/18/14 for your review. Here are my observations, though I am not a legal expert.

    This new version contains explicit language on page 6 regarding the right to request variances from this section of the land development code, which also implies that some, if not all, of the coastal dune lakes protections included in the Comprehensive Plan will be removed from that plan.

    SWCC is opposed to this change and it sets a dangerous precedent. If you heard the discussion at our public forum, County staff presented its perspective on what a comprehensive plan is. Staff sees it as a visionary document that should not have specific policies regarding development criteria and rights.

    My question is this - is this removal of language from the Comprehensive Plan the first step in gutting our Comprehensive Plan of any policies regarding land use and conservation of the environment?

    Our Walton County Comprehensive Plan was carefully developed and is one source of protection for many of the environmental features of South Walton County. Furthermore, when I look at comprehensive plans from other areas and cities, they do contain and are explicitly described as containing policies regarding land use and conservation.

    The new version also contains some changes asked for at the SWCC public forum including a return to the 25% limit for “development.” However there is still the language allowing clearing for storm water management. There is also some additional new wording that qualifies this limit and I am not clear on all of the implications of the new phrases.
    I will keep reading and talking with people to get a more complete understanding of the new version and keep you updated. Also, feel free to share your reading of the document with all of us at SWCC.

    The final important point I want to make is that it is still imperative that we turn out for the January 8th Planning Commission meeting (5PM; South Walton Courthouse Annex). We need to continue to let our public officials know that we expect that public workshops would be held when important ordinance changes, such as those to the coastal dune lakes protections, are being considered so that the public can be fully informed and have the opportunity to voice its opinion. Please continue to write your commissioners, inform your friends, and attend the important meetings.

    Happy Holidays, Cheers and Best Wishes, Mary K.

    LDC_ORDINANCE_4_02_00_4_03_00v2.12.18.14.docx
     
  4. Shirl Williams

    Shirl Williams Beach Comber

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    Did the BCC recently receive a legislative appropriation for CDL protection/enhancement?
     
  5. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    Stone's throw from Inlet Bch
    Yes, they got $623,000 in appropriations to fund environmental assessments, culvert replacement and the creation of an environmental management plan for the dune lakes.
     
  6. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    Bump- this meeting is the first big hurdle of 2015 for South Walton. Why the BCC would take any action on one of the most precious environmental (and tourist attracting) resources without public input is beyond most people's comprehension. Please attend the meeting or write the commissioners. Then it is on to the Hampton Inn debacle on the 14th!

    From the SWCC's exec director, Mary Konofsky-

    "On January 8th the Planning Commission will entertain recommendations from the Planning Department regarding The Coastal Dune Lakes. The recommendations, as currently written, will significantly reduce the protection afforded Walton County Dune Lakes as currently provided by the Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, the proposals call for the transfer of the protections for the lakes from the Comprehensive Plan to the Land Development Code. Provisions contained in the Land Development Code are subject to variance requests.

    The Coastal Dune Lakes of Walton County are rare and unique bodies of water found in only two other places in the world. The special place Dune Lakes occupy in the world's geography speaks to their importance.

    SWCC believes that any reduction in the protection provided the Lakes and the science underlying the reductions should be discussed by all the citizens of Walton County who have been given stewardship of these global treasures.

    As such, SWCC requests and recommends that the Planning Commission postpone the discussion of the Dune Lake proposals and schedule public workshops to allow for complete and open discussion of the issue by all citizens of Walton County."
     

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