Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by SoWal Staff, Feb 29, 2016.
john g: tried to fix my post to clarify what my response is to your inquiry. sorry for the error!
In 2005-2006 after the hurricanes, it was the county that was scraping the beaches at the shoreline adding the sand to the base of the dunes to reduce more erosion and to protect the dunes from more damage. I am sure these property owners did not say one thing about them trespassing, and to get off of their property at that time, and will not stop them when the next storm hits.
An incendiary situation, wow, what is funny is you are the one who has taken it that way. First, I very seldom go to the beach and when I do it is for work. Secondly, I think there is a customary use by people and it should be continued. Third, just because I disagree with you doesn't make me an instigator. Now saying that, we will just have to agree to disagree.
I am like Bob Wells, I seldom go to the beach except on business. But I did go a lot when I was younger and want my children and grandchildren to continue to have the privilege if they desire to go. This week my son and I have traveled together a great deal for work and have discussed this issue at length. He, like me, is pretty conservative and a believer in property rights. So this issue is very conflicting to us. I understand the position of the property owners but I also understand the great harm to our county that comes from that position. The general public also has rights that have been customary for hundreds of years and these rights cannot be ignored either. These rights certainly include access and the right to walk and sit on the sand. The overriding need right now is to determine what the law will be and stick to it so that everyone is clear and policy can be set to implement that law. This uncertainty is the absolute worst position we can be in.
The recent NW FL Daily article on the beach issues in sowal, by Tom M., is quite good.
What I found interesting is that it basically mirors the issues I've (and others), raised...Vendors and Enforcement are two main points.
I also enjoyed reading Sheriff Mike's comments in the last part of that article. He now places blame for his non-enforcement on the BCC... Funny how he's quick to place blame and makes NO MENTION of "his" SOP that only fuelled this fire recently.
I've yet to see anyone go to the beach, access it via a bona fide public access and have any issues.
The issues start when someone wanders onto someone else's Private Property and sets up camp.
No one is being prevented from East to West movement or being told you can't be in the water or on wet sand. There is a ton of misinformation being spread by the panic merchants.
This is all going to cost the County Millions...and Million$, with the same result as the push for renourishment = failure.
Walton County Board of County Commissioners meeting 4 p.m. on April 12 at South Walton Annex.
On the regular meeting agenda is a request to retain attorney David Theriaque for research on historical beach use data and to develop or assist with mechanisms to improve public access and use of Walton County beaches.
No "re-nourishment" was done on some of the beaches BY THE GOVERNMENT (that I know of) somewhere after Ivan or Dennis.
And adding sand to shore up the dunes to prevent a home from falling in is definitely not considered taxpayer funded "re-nourishment".
I understand where you are trying to come from, but sorry, it doesn't hold sand. And you don't win beach front private property with that statement, this time.
Was that non-hostile enough?
And you keep saying "that I know of" which leads me to belive that you aren't sure either.
Vagrant: I later qualified my statement that what I remembered as "re-nourishment" was actually "sand-scraping", by the government, and that it might take lawyers to determine whether "sand scraping", which, in fact, rebuilds a dune, is considered "re-nourishment". There's no doubt in my mind that the scraping was a government project, paid for by tax-payers money.
Bob, I never suggested you were an instigator. Sorry if it came off as such.
Misinformation presented during an obviously emotional issue (for some) only fans the flame. There are too many who just simply feel entitled to another person's property and will use ANYTHING to substantiate their claim and make themselves feel better. Things like garbage pick-up, "fanthom" dredges, beach scraping, insurance, driving from Grayton to Destin on the beach etc. are brought up as so called evidence to support many's positions. Legally (tough word for some - not you BTW), none of these ideas are valid to convert private property to public. Yet they are constantly argued by the uninformed. You see, I used the word "uninformed", not #%$## people....hostility is waning.
I never would have thought a Bernie Sanders would have so much traction in this great country of ours. Perhaps the Greatest Generation is a fading memory to be replaced by socialism based on some of the above arguments. But I digress...
The single most honest (and possibly valid) thing I've heard in opposition to private property rights is this customary use argument. And if you re-read this thread as I just did, you'll see that I have stated this as much on a couple of different occasions.
And, from Mark Davis, the Walton County Attorney:
“We may discover that some beaches have been customarily used … and others have not,” Davis said. “That is entirely within the realm of possibility.” (see article dated 4/9/16)
So Bob, I hope you can understand my passion for attempting to protect what I "legally own" and worked (and still working) very hard to own, maintain and enjoy.
And I will try to understand the concept of Customary Use.
I still think the Creek Indians own all of Walton County based on Customary Use.
BMBvagrant, the Creeks (The local branch was called Euchee) have been gone for quite awhile so their claim may be a little hard to prove. But since I am part Creek on my Father's side, I will be glad to take all the beachfront for my own if you like. (Just kidding)
BMBV....another example of my customary use of our beaches......imagine a day when you just wanted to be alone and quiet on the beach at sunset...no crowds or kids yelling but you get to a walkover and find people crowded around that access. Your only option is to walk to the east or west to be away from said people/kids...but now you run into a sign that says "Private Property".....what am I to do now? I am a local..I am not going to pee in the dunes or stare into your windows. I am not there to try and take your property. I just want some quiet time with the sound of the waves and not be harrassed by some rent a cop..
No one, not even the "rent a cop" can stop you from going east or west to get away from the crowd. What I believe a lot of the people on this forum is not comprehending is that you can walk east or west all you want. And you can go find that quiet place to get away from the crowd. The private signs only stop you from "camping" 10 feet from the water line. Anything below that, have at it.
But what if I dont want to just WALK up and down the beach?? Maybe I just want to sit down in sand that doesnt get my butt wet and have a cocktail and watch the sunset? I am NOT trying to interfere with with someones "property rights". I am aware they paid a pretty penny for that view. What has got me riled up is the fact that for about the last 15-20 years realtors and developers have been pushing this "PRIVATE BEACH" thing and not really informing people that ALL Florida beaches are Public seaward of the MHWL...not the CCL,not what a "boundary" survey shows. The boundaries of a coastal property are not like the ones in Atlanta or Birmingham or where ever.....that can be determined by X amount of feet from the middle of the road...but some gulf front owners are taking these people at their word and think they own to infinity and somewhere 2 miles out in the gulf because that boundary survey doesnt show a definitive seaward line.As I have said before.. the MHWL is an imaginary line in the sand that can only be determined by a topographical survey and it changes every year. What you owned last year might not be what you own this year. Gulf front owners might have lost 10 feet this year..they might gain 15 next year..I am not a registered surveyor and I need documentation from someone who IS..
And the people that bought here need to remember WHY they bought here.....SOWAL has a very unique atmosphere, we are laid back and most really dont want confrontation. I can remember when the folks with the beach front house would yell and wave at ANYONE on the beach and offer them a drink or invite them to the cookout they were having...I also remember teaching my kids that they didnt go running up in the dunes and they NEVER went on someones walkover/stairs...
Interesting three part article about the Beach Highlands neighborhood quiet title controversy.
"The suit revolved around the plat of Beach Highlands, recorded in 1960. (Plat Book 3, Page 47). It showed an area south of the gulf front lots that was simply designated as “beach.” At the time, the entire property was owned by the Beach Highlands Corporation. The dedication, which was approved by the county commission “for record,” read as follows:
The undesigned [sic] corporation is duly organized under the laws of the State of Florida and the owners of the real-estate included in this plat, do hereby authorize the same to be recorded in the public records of Walton County, Florida and do hereby dedicate for public use all streets, alleys, roads and public places as shown on said plat.
The property owners whose lots abut the beach sued the Beach Highlands Corporation (which was dissolved in 1967) to establish that they own the beach to the mean high water. Because the Beach Highlands Corporation is long dissolved, and because none of the members of the last known board of directors is still living, the court appointed an attorney ad litem to represent the corporation. That attorney simply admitted the allegations of the complaint, resulting in the court granting summary judgment to the beach front owners. In essence, the suit was unopposed."
Who Owns the Beach? Part 1
jkmason, that was an interesting read. I never understood what the "quiet title" stuff was all about at Beach Highlands - now I think I do. And that situation is different from most private beach front properties whose titles were clearly deeded to the MHWL from the very beginning.
An excerpt from the article that I found interesting:
......Thus, absent a specific lawsuit establishing the extent and nature of customary use, the public is relegated back to the area below the mean high water line.
There are other approaches that Florida and other state courts have considered in public access cases, but none of them have garnered general support. The states that have ensured public access to beaches have generally done so through state-wide legislation. Approaching the determination on a parcel-by-parcel, lawsuit-by-lawsuit basis is simply unworkable in the long run. Currently there is no precedent in Florida for a local government – city or county – to make a “customary use” determination for its jurisdiction.
It may be "simply unworkable in the long run", but it certainly appears that won't stop Walton County from trying to pursue this fiasco on a "lawsuit-by-lawsuit" basis. Walton County is now desperate due to a lack of Proper Planning, Period.
The county has been caught with their pants down on this issue now that the nourishment project is dead. And they must now do something (or show that they are trying) so they (elected officials) can stay "politically solvent".
To me, it's as if a political legal lynch mob is forming against private beach front property owners - highly encouraged by the BCC's vast majority of very vocal non-gulf front owning constituents. Plus they are backed up by millions of taxpayer dollars at their full legal disposal - very hard to fight back unless one has the financial resources.
I am sorry that you sometimes can't find your peace and solitude when you visit the beach. It certainly is not like it was 5 years ago.
And that's what owners of gulf front properties near public accesses are having to endure.
Because of the tremendous, so-called growth, the public is now spilling on to our beach for some of the reasons you describe. And they are now interfering with our owners and guests from peacefully enjoying our own beach as we used to do for so many years.
Exactly, 100% correct.
We can thank Dawn and the TDC for all the increase.
It's supply and demand. Demand is up, supply is down. In economics, that's about the time for a price increase.
You solve this issue by;
Owners to increase rental rates, year round. Price out the riff raff.
County to crack down, if not completely remove, vendors from County beaches.
Hold Sheriff Mike accountable for not enforcing trespass and for requiring people to have signs, ropes, etc. It's his SOP...
Have to TDC immediately cease funding marketing and look for ways to solve problems, not create them.
Enforcement the current rules and regulations we have for dogs on beach, glass on beach, parking, etc.
Not that hard.
Separate names with a comma.