Policy on Personal Beach Chairs vs Vendor

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by dragonflycafe, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    This is another one of those things that wasn't a problem 5 years ago. Just like the ropes, chains, and signs. Now, we have more tourists and more vendors and the old "rules" just aren't working any more. So, we need our government representatives to step up, come up with some new "rules", and enforce them. The vendor problems will not solve themselves. They will only get worse if nothing is done.
     
  2. JustAnotherTourist

    JustAnotherTourist Beach Comber

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    I also visited the Seacrest Beach area last week and was SO dismayed to see a solid line of chairs stretching from the Sandy Shores neighborhood all the way down to Rosemary. We bring our own two chairs and one umbrella and could not find a single tiny piece of water front sand to sit on without hiking down to Paradise by the Sea and "trespassing" on "their" sand. We stay in Sunset Beach which shares the access with the big Seacrest neighborhood across the street. That access has always been busy, but it all my years coming here I have never seen the chair vendors so bad. It's a sad day when you can't sit at your own neighborhood access without sitting behind three rows of chairs.

    It seems like the chair vendors are being hired to basically build temporary fencing every day marking off "their" private beach. The menacing PRIVATE PROPERTY signs and chair set ups created a terrible vibe on the beach between vendors and people who want to carry in their own chairs. I witnessed angry confrontations between chair vendors and people who tried to set up around them. One person tried to sit between the property lines / a gap in the chairs and was told to move because they "have" to keep the lane cleared for water sport rentals. BS. The mood on the beach that week was anything but chilled out and relaxing. The look of the beach was the exact opposite of what is being heavily marketed by local realtors, rental agencies, the tourism board and sites like SoWal.com and 30A.com.

    People who have never been there before probably assumed you HAVE to pay $60+ a day to rent a chair. Some people do want to rent chairs, but not everyone. There has to be room on the beach for both. I understand there is a complicated public vs private debate, and that these guys are just doing a job that they have been hired to do, but there has GOT to be a better solution. Most of these chairs sat out all day at less than 50% occupancy. I even thought I would "outsmart" them one day and set up my own chairs at 7 a.m. but they were already out there in full force at that early hour!! I don't want to sit right in front of a rental chair anymore than they want me to.... and I would practically have to sit IN the water because they set up so close to the wet sand.

    Seems like an easy solution would be to not set them up until people actually arrive to use them. If they arrive at noon, they sit behind other visitors who've arrived early. If they leave early, the chair gets picked up or dusted off and reset for the next guest. No moving other people's chairs. Leave a towel on your chair if you're leaving for lunch and coming back later. Or restrict vendors to 50% of the area, and not the 50% right next to the water! But it all comes down to enforcement and it seems like these vendors have been allowed/hired to have the run of the beach, to the detriment and disappointment of MANY visitors. Everyone I chatted with that week was shocked at how much valuable beach real estate the vendors were taking.

    As to the discussion above, our beach set up consists of two $30 Nautica chairs and a $40 SportBrella from Sam's Club. The umbrella is very sturdy and we can safely stake it down if it gets windy. This set up has served us well for years and we don't mind carrying it over. A set up to last for years for the same price as two days of chair rentals - makes sense to me! Now if only we could find a piece of water front sand to put it on! I really do try to "beach like a local" but these rampant chair vendors sure do make it hard!!

    IMG_4745.JPG IMG_4750.JPG IMG_4769.JPG IMG_4770.JPG IMG_4852.JPG
     
  3. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    I understand your pain. At SoWal.com we don't intend to heavily market the beach, but I know it looks like it. All I've ever really wanted to do is share what I see, and hope someone somewhere appreciates it. I like to post photos and videos and a lot of them are pretty beach pictures that don't necessarily show a lot of people or chairs. But I do post those also, and I sometimes editorialize about what is good and bad in SoWal. If I post a photo of an empty beach, it's not a promise of what you will see. It's a pretty picture.

    We do heavily market our business partners that advertise on here to support OUR COMMUNITY website. However I would still be posting photos and video even if I wasn't paid. We don't have any beach chair rental companies advertising with us, or any other beach vendors except a caterer and an adventure company, but we do have some resorts who advertise with us where chair rentals are expected by people who stay there.

    As for your experience, as far as I know most of the beach from west of Alys Beach to east of Rosemary Beach is private. The resorts and associations on that stretch regulate vendors. I guess if you stay along that stretch you have to pay for a prime spot, and a house or condo also. If you are staying somewhere that owns 100 yards of beach to share among 500 rental houses, there might be an issue with crowding. Not a negative for people who like a lot of action and interaction.
     
  4. T-Boy

    T-Boy Beach Comber

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    Got these chairs at Academy and they do just fine:

    Rio 5-Position Backpack Chair with Cooler | Academy

    The backpack makes them very easy to carry and frees up your hands to carry something else. All you need is a small shade umbrella and sand anchor to go with that and you can skip the whole vendor issue.
     
  5. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    As for your experience, as far as I know most of the beach from west of Alys Beach to east of Rosemary Beach is private.

    I didn't think any of the Beach was "private"...
     
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  6. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    Not for much longer:sosad:
     
  7. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Why does it appear that some feel it's OK for "resort areas or resort towns" to have a Private Beach, but not an individual homeowner?

    It's all the same beach.

    Where's all the push back to Rosemary, Watercolor, Watersound, etc.?

    Seems odd.

    Not a good argument.

    The real issue will quickly become not where you CAN sit on the beach, it will be HOW you get there (access).

    Just wait.

    Pandora's Box is open.
     
  8. dragonflycafe

    dragonflycafe Beach Lover

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    Couldn't have said it better myself. Like I stated previously, I have been vacationing here for more than a decade (which is nothing compared to many) and the vibe on the beach at Rosemary/Seacrest absolutely sucks. The signs, the ropes...this is all new. Since I've seen (justifiably) angry people on the beach I've driven down to Grayton and enjoyed the beach there. Which makes me question...

    Why were there no vendors there but vendors throughout my stops at Blue Mountain and Dune Allen...those beaches looked just as packed w vendors yesterday.

    Another question...is this one of the reasons why there is movement toward incorporation of South Walton? To help with disciplined development?

    If I see this, I cannot imagine what actual residents must be going through. We have often thought of buying here but want to see how things shake out before we invest. And so far, as gorgeous as the area is, I see so much future development that I can't imagine what the beaches will look like in 10 years.

    And to address another Sowal reply... Anything "west of Seacrest and east of Rosemary is private beach" that sounds like the entire 30a? I thought all beaches in Florida were public...did this recently change?

    Great thread and all the info is appreciated. I love this area and also have a weird interest in city planning so it's fascinating.
     
  9. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    They sholdn't be private either but the point is that people who go there expect to be told what they can and can't do ro where thay can and can't site on the beach. They want to pay for an umbrella on the front row and that's what they come for.
     
  10. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Beach enforcement Jeff 850-428-0089 or jeff@visitsouthwalton.com, or
    Harold 850-428-7814
    Director of Beach operation brian@visitsouthwalton.com
    850-267-4578
    District 5 county commissioner Cindy Meadows meacindy@ co.walton.fl.com

    Copy,your post and forward,showing your concerns about the Vendor situation and your lack enjoyment of Sowal beaches.
     
  11. MRBS

    MRBS Beach Lover

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    I hear your argument in that view john g. the thing is that multi unit resorts have NO more right to exclude random sand sitters than any OTHER beach front owner. ANY beach front owner as ANY beach GOER should expect and be able to rely upon the assurance that individual bad behavior will be punished pursuant to existing nuisance ordinances or new ones as the need may be. Those pictures are thoroughly depressing.
     
  12. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    But where's the outrage from the Stand Your Sand Group, or a formal stance from A Better South Walton? They appear to be the same group, but not the same group.

    Why can the big resort communities get a "pass" and Gulf Front Owners get the hate?

    Time to streamline this argument and have it so it's not so slanted and basically, discriminatory.
     
  13. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    Because the resorts are business entities that contribute much to our community and economy. They are good neighbors. Gulf front owners who kick people of their beach and put up chains are greedy bastards.
     
  14. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    From what I can see on those pics, the signage is not proper according to the 810th chapter of Florida Statutes. You would think that if they are going to quote that chapter that they would at least READ it...

    (2.a.Conspicuous no trespassing notice is painted on trees or posts on the property, provided that the notice is:
    (I) Painted in an international orange color and displaying the stenciled words “No Trespassing” in letters no less than 2 inches high and 1 inch wide either vertically or horizontally;
    (II) Placed so that the bottom of the painted notice is not less than 3 feet from the ground or more than 5 feet from the ground; and
     
  15. Wuchie

    Wuchie Beach Lover

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    You must be renting quite a few chairs and/or umbrellas because my husband and I were just there in the spring and paid less than $200.00 for a week .... 2 chairs, table, and umbrella.
     
  16. Jackalope

    Jackalope Beach Lover

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    Beach chairs, beach rights, overcrowding, local economy,infrastructure, local government, special interest groups. Merge all the threads to one. "This town needs an enema".
     
  17. Marmot

    Marmot Beach Lover

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    Consider the beaches in Seagrove from N Dothan Ave to Nightcap St, this stretch of beach is Public. No private property signs and low vendor usage.
    Also, requesting public to please support an additional beach access proposed by TDC on Headland ave to this area of "public beach". Beach front owners on either side of this county owned land are attempting to block construction of a walkover and bike rack.

    Hope you find a peaceful "piece of water front sand" to put your chairs and umbrella on.
     
  18. Everytime

    Everytime Beach Fanatic

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    image.jpeg
    I've been visiting the area for 28 years and I've been a member on the SoWal forums for 11 years. I've been following these discussions over the past couple of years as I've noticed the area, beaches, restaurants, roads and other amenities get more and more crowded.

    I definitely see, understand, and respect the multiple points of view of ALL sides in this discussion (there aren't just "2 sides").

    I do want to continue the discussion, though, about the large communities being allowed to place no trespassing/private beach signs (and I've even heard of wristbands or other ID being required), while smaller developments or single family owners are not allowed to place such signage or require such credentials.

    It is stated above that the reason for this difference which some see as an inconsistency is because the larger (and more upscale) communities are "businesses entities that contribute much to our community and economy." I don't disagree that these businesses and/or their owners contribute to varying degrees in civic and community contribution as well as revenue generation. But does that give them more leverage to tell an inland-dwelling, non-beachfront property-owning resident of SoWal, or a visitor, for that matter, that they can't walk or hang out on their beach, yet it doesn't give a single unit beachfront property owner, or a small unit condo association, the same power?

    To be honest, I wish everyone could "beach" wherever they want to, without annoying other beachers or crowding people out or blocking their view. But I see signs less prominently at houses and small condos than I do at the "large communities" including Seaside as pictured above in last week's Walton Sun...
     
  19. pmd8

    pmd8 Beach Lover

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    This is the most asinine statement I've seen on this forum.
     
  20. pmd8

    pmd8 Beach Lover

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    [​IMG]

    How is this legal? The chairs are on the wet sand.
     

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