Public vs Private Beach [threads merged]

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by SoWal Staff, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Yes Grayton Beach access is one of the worst ones. I used to be able to clean the whole beach by myself about 15 years ago. It became too much for me.
     
  2. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Is Walton County "Ground Zero"?

    Coastline — 1,197 Statute Miles

    Tidal Shoreline — 2,276 Statute Miles

    Beaches — 663 Miles

    Are we to believe that only SOWAL has this problem...Seems that with this much shoreline and all the retired land owners with nothing better to do, similar cases have already been heard and judicated...Hence the law should have already been spoken..just sayin..
     
  3. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    Part of the problem in SOWAL is that we have a very high proportion of property owners that are investors and/or part time residents who are largely unaware of the quiet title and other actions by beach front owners that are compromising current and future beach access.

    More specifically, the quiet title actions used to acquire beach front were pretty much one sided legal actions that slid under the neighborhood's and public's radar. Not anymore.
     
  4. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    FYI Quiet Titles
    A quiet title action is a lawsuit that is brought in circuit court to clear a party’s title to real property. The purpose of a quiet title action is to eliminate all claims to title, which might stand in the way of a title insurance company issuing a clear title insurance policy. Liens, claims by prior owners, and other matters affecting title are called “clouds” on title. The purpose of a quiet title action is to eliminate any of these “clouds” on title.


    In short, quiet title actions help to clarify title issues involving real property. All parties who might claim an interest in the real property are notified of the lawsuit and given a chance to assert their interest in the real property. If nobody ( or County)comes forward, then the court can issue a judgment quieting title in the Plaintiff’s favor. This is the ultimate goal!!! of the quiet title action. However, if someone ( or county) does come forward, then the court must determine the interests of the parties in the real property and enter a judgment accordingly.
     
  5. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Are you saying the county was notified about the quiet title and did nothing?
     
  6. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    My take on quiet title is that it only addresses the potential cloud on a title as it relates to the party identified in the lawsuit. In the case of Beach Highlands and Old Blue Mountain Beach, the suits were directed at the now dissolved corporations that developed those subdivisions. These suits did not "quiet" any potential claim to title by other parties.
     
  7. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    One other point to be made is that the beach front owners in the aforementioned cases never had title to the beach or white sand area; and therefore did not have any clouded title issues on "their" property.

    They acquired title to the beach or white sand area property by taking advantage of the fact that the beach ownership was never clarified by the original developers; probably because the developer's believed it was to be used by the whole neighborhood.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  8. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Jimmy, since you posted the link of the letter, can you please share your opinion of its content?
     
  9. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    jkmason, nobody has disagreed with your evaluation of the situation at Beach Highlands. I personally have acknowledged as much.

    Regarding Old Blue Mountain Beach, you are without a doubt "barking up the wrong tree". Even Mark Davis (county attorney) acknowledges this. There's no sense to continually harp on this particular situation.

    The perpetuation of the image that beach front owners are "stealing" beach front property through quiet title action needs to be restrained. Not all readers are as informed as you.

    I presented a question to all a little while back if anyone knew of any other quiet title situations but haven't heard anything new. So far I only have heard of Beach Highlands and of course, Old BMB which is clearly the transfer of title from one entity to another.

    Now, admittedly, this has nothing to do with possible customary use. And again Mark Davis states this as well.
     
  10. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    I posted it because it was pertinent to this topic and yet another opinion on the matter.

    As for my opinion on its content, I don't like how the author has made it an us-against-them
    issue and there is no mention of any sort of compromise. And I'm not sure I agree with the
    author's claims about the economy either.

    But as for customary use, folks who have used these beaches for years (even the "private" parts)
    feel like they are being denied access to them when gulf front owners put signs, chains, fences,
    etc. all the way down to the water line. I don't like seeing all this junk on the beach and I don't
    like being harassed for walking down the beach or sitting on the beach respectfully enjoying
    myself away from private structures.

    On the other hand, I also understand why gulf front owners might want to put up the signs, fences,
    etc. like this. All it takes are a couple of rotten apples behaving badly and lack of enforcement. I
    really don't like how some folks leave their garbage all over the place and disrespect our environment.

    IMO, we don't have to take a sledgehammer to this problem. But we do need to start doing
    some simple and easy things to correct it, otherwise it's going to keep festering and get worse.
     
  11. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Jimmy T, thank you for a very fair analysis of the article and your opinion. I do hope things can be worked out - this I believe, we can all agree on.
     
  12. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    J T, you have hit the mark with your review.

    I agree about the US vs. Them and that is not the way to go. Unfortunately, the misinformation being speed only fuels that.

    I liked your comments about the "bad apples" and I'd add to that, it's not a few but more like a small orchard (grown over the past several years).

    No surprise, I agree with the Lack of Enforcement piece as well. I've spouted off on that in numerous posts on both Sheriff Mike and the TDC code enforcement.

    Instead a blaming each other, the source of the problem, which you've identified, should be addressed.

    1). Enforcement

    2). Quality of Visitor to our area

    Had those two things not drastically changed, we would not have 14 pages of posts on this and everyone would be happy in SoWal...

    Instead we sit poised to repeat the sins of the past and get lawyers involved.
     
  13. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    Regarding quiet title in old blue mountain beach subdivision: I am simply not confident that all parties to the quiet title lawsuit were properly included. At a very minimum the other homeowners should have been included. Just my opinion. As I look into it further, perhaps I will come to a different conclusion.

    From Memoirs of a Title Examiner:

    "A “Quiet Title Action” is just that. It is an action, brought by a plaintiff, or plaintiffs, for the purpose of determining, with certainty, title to a specific parcel of land. The final judgment allows the prevailing party to move forward, free from the interest of the defendant(s). A proper quiet title action will present all necessary parties before the court. If a necessary party is left out of the lawsuit, such party will not be bound by its final adjudication. The plaintiff’s attorney will diligently determine all parties with a legal interest in order to properly join them in the suit."
     
  14. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    I'm getting teary-eyed with all the good will that is emanating from this thread, but just pronouncing the word enforcement doesn't make it magically happen. The truth is neither the TDC nor the WCSO feel this is their job, and without a clear, unambiguous definition of the law pertaining to customary use, they would be hard pressed to adjudicate every situation that arises. The BCC has punted it until after the elections, so it is up to each and every one of us to ask every BCC member and candidate one simple question: do you or don't you support the people's right to customary use of the beaches, and then have them define it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  15. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Why?
     
  16. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Degummit! If things get a little rough you call me hostile ("calling a lie a lie"). If the exchange appears to be going civilly, you start to cry! Is there a middle of road where we need to be to keep you happy?

    First, regarding no trespassing enforcement, that's not a TDC job. Maybe John G is talking about other "illegal" activities that need enforcement. But since you are mentioning customary use, I assume you're discussing trespassing as far as "adjudicating every situation that arises".

    Second, WCSO must enforce valid no trespassing claims as part of their duty, whether you live in Defuniak Springs or in South Walton. Private property rights don't just disappear just because the beach happens to be involved.

    You need to keep in mind, the claim of customary use is just that, a claim, for now. And in the end (whenever that will be), customary use certainly will not be applied across the entire 20+ miles of beach.

    Previously I asked everyone, how is one to protect their property from trespassers if the southern boundary is in dispute because of the MHWL? Nobody really addressed it - no surprise. Without the ability to REASONABLY use the MHWL as the southern boundary, then a gulf front lot whose southern boundary is the MHWL has NO BOUNDARY. Anybody can go anywhere on the property. Again, the only LEGAL southern boundary defined on our deed is the MHWL.

    Perhaps our title should have included this highly legal and specific language:
    "And if the WCSO does not enforce the MHWL boundary, God be with you because there is no other legal fallback southern boundary for your private property."
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  17. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    BMBvagrant, I think you are being a little melodramatic. No one is disputing enforcing the trespass laws on anyone's lawn, home, deck, pool or walkovers. Only the white sand portion of the beach is in dispute and some portion of that area is south of the MHWL.
     
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  18. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    Melodramatic, and imprecise. Customary use is a right that has been a part of the public's rights since well before any of this property was platted. When you bought your bundle of rights, it did not dissolve the public's rights. You seem a tad arrogant to think your particular piece was never subject to customary use. Have you sat on your porch and watched for two hundred years?
     
  19. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Thank goodness regarding the deck, pool, etc. Your observation is very reasonable.

    My post may be melodramatic, perhaps - but only to the degree to make a legal point which nobody can defend without being "reasonable".

    If one can't (or refuses to) reasonably acknowledge another's southern boundary, the WCSO would have no legal basis to enforce no trespassing on any part of the property based on the legal metes and bounds described on the title. Things are in legal black and white for a reason. And for the WCSO to take a position that the property line stops at the dunes is very bad situation (as you ultimately suggest) when there's no legal basis for that determination as recorded on the deed and current law.


    SURVEYS:

    An annual survey would mean nothing as many here are loudly demanding without understanding the true meaning of MHWL ("a living, breathing boundary" - (c)2016 BMBV). Here's why:

    Let's say a tropical storm removed 3 feet of sand elevation the day after a survey. The MHWL would IMMEDIATELY shift away from the gulf to the north. But if you used the survey from the day before, then much of the beach would be underwater that used to be north of the MHWL when the survey was made.

    Technically, that becomes the state of Florida's waters. And the difference is no longer the upland owner's property. The survey would be outdated in just one day.

    One day, a person could be trespassing based on the "current" survey. The next day (sitting on the exact same spot), the person would be on state property.

    Of course the same holds true in reverse.

    Just remember, I didn't create the concept of MHWL. And I'm just trying to be reasonable in it's interpretation.

    Of course if one keeps throwing in customary use and pureeing it with the MHWL (2 unrelated concepts, LVT), then no reasonable discussion can be had relative to the enforcement of private property rights as the laws are written now, not tomorrow's possible outcome (i.e. customary use).

    So Danny, let's just assume for a minute that we know where the MHWL is located at any point in time. Do you think gulf front private property owners would then have the right to exclude the public from their beach as the laws are written today using this MHWL?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2016
  20. MRBS

    MRBS Beach Lover

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    So if we rent in old seagrove in the magical forest with multiple beach accesses off 30a where do y'all think we can we place our umbrella and chairs with peace of mind that we will not be asked to move? Thank you. Planning our vacay.
     

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