Public vs Private Beach [threads merged]

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

  1. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    After catching up on all the new posts after the meeting, I can't help but see that "word" being used again; ENFORCEMENT.

    If our elected sheriff would have been doing his job (enforcement of rules / laws on beach) back in his fist term, we would not have anywhere close to the beach issues we have now.

    It took law suits to get to the bottom of the illegal wedding house. Money spent on noise meters with zero training for officers and now you never see a noise meters, where'd they go? Dogs and glass on beach, oh that's code enforcement's job...just look at there annual report to see how good a job they do...pathetic.

    The blaintant lack of enforcement towards visitors has gotten us to this new argument of Customary Use. That plus the failure of renourishment is what brought us to this.

    Now, some people feel the right to act out on there envy of those that own beach front property and seek to take it from them. Disgusting.
     
  2. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    Isn't customary use what got people putting out signs and fences in the first place? For the logic "I've had a no trespassing sign on my beachfront for 18 months so that means no one can trespass".

    @John G I would prefer not having more cops on the beach. Thank you very much. And wedding disruptions should be discouraged and prevented in the first place, not by trying to shut them down by Barney Fife with a gadget. Instead of spending millions to invite people here to abuse us we should be spending it on education about what is allowed and what is not allowed. How to act when you are here. How to treat our environment and locals with respect. Let's put our foot down. Time to stop letting all the spoiled rich treat SoWal like their exclusive playground.
     
  3. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    Yes, customary use is what caused the signs and fences. Unless some sort of guidelines are established that law enforcement can enforce uniformly, I see nothing but a vast wasteland of lawsuits stretching out for decades.

    To me, I would like to see some deputy presence on the beach, telling people to stay off the dunes, and pick up their trash, and then, have the deputies pulling up the signs and posts that stretch thru the "half" of the beach that shall remain customary use.
     
  4. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Unfortunately, they won't be pulling up signs. It's the WCSO's new SOP for beach tresspassing that calls for these signs. Look at section VII, A5.
     
  5. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    Just saw a post on Facebook touting a new condo in Seagrove with 335ft. of "PRIVATE BEACH"...the blame should be put right were it all starts.. with the developers,realtors, and PR firms advertising our beaches like this in order to make a mere $48 million off of a 2 (maybe 3) acre site...complete with 31 units. With sites like this saying that the beach is private its no wonder we have people thinking it is private. I think if some of them got sued for false advertising they would stop selling/telling people the whole "PRIVATE" thing
     
  6. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Help me out here. Can you clarify what you mean when you say, "...owners own ALL (3) access points( state of Florida approved not TDC)..." ? I always thought the developer deeded the accesses to the county and therefore the county is responsible for maintaining these accesses. By the way, "you" have some really beautiful walkovers (Trex material from the street to beach, nice handrails, public parking spaces, etc.) - not typical for an association funded walkover.
     
  7. sunspotbaby

    sunspotbaby SoWal Insider

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    The State parks do a great job keeping the dunes apart from 'customary use' with minimal posts and rope. Use the same logic with gulf front owners....especially the ones that have put out hundreds of feet of 'walkover'. They are all trying to establish new property lines for themselves.
     
  8. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    This issue should have been addressed several years ago instead of kicking the issue down the road. Now we have come to a place where our economy is threatened and there is a real danger that our area could lose millions of economic impact which means the livelihoods of thousands of Walton County citizens could be adversely effected. If the vast majority of the beach is private then everything north of 30-A and old 98 is going to experience a huge drop in value. Since a large portion of the business traffic is generated by those properties, then the amenities (restaurants, stores, attractions etc.) are going to experience a significant decrease in profits and many will be unable to sustain their business model and will close. Without these amenities the area will be less attractive to many visitors and the beachfront properties themselves will experience a drop in profitability. Since many in the North end make their living working in the South, the loss of business will cost them their jobs and they will move on which will hurt the North economy and so the entire county is regressing economically. Tax revenue will decrease and county government will suffer. In order to make up for the revenue shortfall government will raise the tax rates which will significantly impact the beachfront properties and force many to sell or move into foreclosure. Before long you will have the ghost town a few seem to desire and the rest of us will be poorer or will have left to find an area that has the foresight to protect and defend their economy. It would be better for everyone if we could agree to work together and find common ground, but if not, then we must move to protect what has taken hundreds of years and much blood, sweat and tears to produce. The beaches have historically been common ground and our economic model has always been built on this premise. Private beaches in the long-term only benefit a very small minority of our citizens. But it will destroy the rest of us. It is what it is.
     
  9. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    AMEN
     
  10. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    Exactly. The conspicuous silence from real estate agents (except from a couple of them) agreeing with Customary Use is deafening.
     
  11. Red Dawg I

    Red Dawg I Beach Lover

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    Well I am about to make some folks mad, but if the beach in front of your house is private and I can't walk on it, sit on it, or lay on it, then you should not receive any money from FEMA, or any other source to fix your property when/if you have damage from a storm.
     
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  12. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    Red Dawg, it may come as a shock to you, but there are many of us on the beach who bought our Gulf-front property fully cognizant of the risks and expenses associated with potential storm losses and have never intended or desired public assistance in rebuilding from any storm losses.

    I bought prepared to accept the risks and expenses that might come from storm damage to my home here, and I don’t want your money or anyone else’s to cover my losses, with the caveat that I pay large premiums for insurance policies with large deductibles, very large in the case of storm damage. I expect those with whom I have a binding contract to honor their end of our agreement should the need arise.

    Those are private contracts I pay with my money to firms in the business of selling such insurance. I have never participated in Cover Florida other than paying what amounts to an excise tax on my private insurance premiums with a private company to subsidize insurance coverage for others, not for myself. Am I perhaps subsidizing your homeowners or car premiums, or do you also decline to accept public funds and subsidies by declining to use Cover Florida?

    In the event I lost my entire investment and my home in a big storm, that should not be your responsibility or cost you a penny. I’m fine with that. It is, after all, my private property. I don’t want FEMA grants or anyone else’s money.

    Do you think ranchers in Montana or any of the three or four coal miners left in Appalachia should pay a penny to cover your losses in the event of a storm? I don't think they should have to cover mine. With rights come responsibilities. I’ve always accepted my responsibilities for the consequences of my own actions. Hope you are of a similar mindset.

    And by the way, I, like many on the beach and off it, am a law-abiding, charitable person who gives greatly of himself and his time and money to others, and I have for decades. The Alinskyites are, as is the usual case, falsely maligning others for their selfish purposes. ALL lives matter. Yours, mine and our neighbors and our fellow Americans.

    I’m old enough to fondly remember JFK’s admonition to “Ask not what your country can do for you….” If you don’t know the rest of that statement, it’s worth your while to look it up.
     
  13. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Actually, we are paying for it because what impacts your beach impacts mine. To protect mine we have to protect yours. As for private contracts let's look at contracts with regard to large corporations who agree with employees on pensions and then give them to the government to administer. If those folks you have contracts with can't or won't pay guess who will be.
     
  14. Jim Tucker

    Jim Tucker Beach Fanatic

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    It's a crying shame the beach was ever made private. It is a mess that is going to bring out the worst in humanity. The only people who are going to be happy are the lawyers. I have heard beachfront owners say they don't want help. They want the beach. If there is a problem, they want to solve it. They want their beach left to their care.

    Well I've seen what that care involves. Doing whatever they want after a storm by building illegal seawalls and dumping illegal sand. You can try to justify it but I feel certain those seawalls are going to make erosion worse in the long run. And that most of them are going to end up destroyed and scattered all over the beach with a cleanup bill of a billion dollars.
     
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  15. Red Dawg I

    Red Dawg I Beach Lover

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    Yes, I remember JFK's admonition. Very pleased you have covered yourself, sorry to say don't think everyone has. Again this was my opinion of the situation. Just don't agree the beach should be private. I would never go onto your steps, or boardwalk, but your beach should be available for me or anyone to walk, sit or lay on. I understand some tourist don't respect private property and when they rent a home or condo feel like they own the whole 26 miles. But when you choose to live in a tourist based area you should have known you would have to deal with all types, good and bad.
     
  16. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I am not interested in denigrating anyone or impugning their motives. We are all in this together. Many of us are "all in" as we have invested everything we have in Walton County. So we need to work together. No matter what anyone prefers or does not prefer, nature and years and years of decisions have made this a premier tourist destination. Killing the TDC is not going to change that but fences and barriers will. Being unfriendly will too. So we need to recognize that everyone benefits from the amenities that the tourist industry brings to the area. The tourists pay for the beach cleaners and lifeguards. Property taxes pay for the increased law enforcement patrols. Everyone will pitch in to help when another storm hits us. If you have a fire or a medical emergency people like Bob Wells will risk their life to save yours. All that is required of anyone is to act like a good neighbor and be part of the community. Fences and unfriendly signs are counter-productive as are vendors invading private property and people encroaching on private walkovers and improvements. This issue would be best solved if everyone would just go back to circumstances 8 years ago and then work on solutions for the problems that existed and led us to this place. But if we cannot find our way back, then a divisive and bitter fight will ensue because people's livelihood is at stake.
     
  17. BeachArkie

    BeachArkie Beach Lover

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    Odd how on the plats they used to permit those seawalls the beach is identified as public.
     
  18. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Defuniak Herald » Citizens ask commissioners to ensure public access and use of the beach

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2016
  19. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    That is a broad generalization. There may be some walls that infringed on public beach, but most were actually within the confines of the property boundary. Perhaps you have just seen an area where there is some infringement.
     
  20. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    What's ancient and customary is the battle between the "haves and the have nots". And I don't mean that in a mean spirited way. Until the County, TDC and local developers were overly successful in increasing and promoting the usage density in our area, there was not really an issue with the occasional "trespass" on private property beach front property. We all tried to get along - and did so for the most part without signs and ropes.

    Most of us (I believe) who "bought" beach front property did so for the love of the laid back nature of our area - not for the conscious execution of keeping others off the beach.

    But now, things are changing due to growth. Some say for the better and some say for the worse. I'm somewhere in between. I've heard it (and said it) a thousand times - "It's so much nicer here than in Destin and Panama City" and I sincerely believe it's because of the historical restraint placed upon growth in our area. But historical growth restraint is about to fly out the window.


    So.....I offer this thought for your consideration:
    After this recent beach workshop meeting, it is blatantly obvious that the majority of the population (and government officials) want the beach to be public regardless of the means or ramifications.

    I propose that we immediately remove the 4 story building limit in exchange for deeding the private beach front property over to the county and allow high rises to be built like they have in Destin and Panama City Beach. After all, isn't this the direction we're heading? Shouldn't everyone in the world have the opportunity to visit our beaches once they become public? Wouldn't that be just peachy for business owners and the local struggling economy? Why not?...Soon we will have a brand new bridge feeding the frenzy. And shouldn't we expect the county's investment in roads, bridges and infrastructure to be recouped from more tourists' money?

    The beach front owners could sell their property for more money and the public would get their beach. Everybody is a winner!

    Actually, this already happened (more or less) at the the off-beach Redfish Village Condo Associstion (80 units) who owns a beachfront lot near the BMB Regional Access. The county allowed them to use their lot for private beach access against all existing county regulations ONLY BECAUSE Redfish Village allowed the public full easement rights to the this small beachfront lot (this was one of the ordinance exceptions in this matter). I challenge you to count how many "public" tourists are using their lot vs. the wall to wall of Redfish RED umbrellas that are set up in the morning before the public even wakes up.

    As a side note, isn't this the same problem occurring at public accesses? In my opinion. the government allows beach vending on public beach where there shouldn't be any.


    Back to customary use:
    In any sense of the word, this would be a taking of private property without compensation.

    I just heard someone say, "What the hell are you talking about? This is a taking based on customary use!" No, customary use is a very convenient way of saying, "You have it - we want it."

    I guess to be fair, we should support the Native Indian's customary use rights to hunt and live anywhere they see fit. Shouldn't they should have full rights to all private and government property including everyone's backyard, parks, businesses, even the beach? Yea, I didn't think so. At least when the white man removed the Native Indian from THEIR land at GUNPOINT, the white man provided them with reservations (a very minimal compensation, by the way, for disrupting their way of life). But now they have casinos!

    So far, I've heard nothing regarding compensation for what I consider to be a taking. As a matter of fact, unless the beach front owners just simply bend over and take it, it will COST them significant legal fees just to protect what is rightfully and legally theirs (based on the white man's records at the courthouse). And from first hand experience, most of the county commissioners do not give a damn about how much a private citizen has to spend to defend their legal rights. And if one can't afford to fight, one will lose against the county regardless of the issue.

    Simply put, be careful what you wish for. The beach is a finite resource regardless of who "owns" it.
     

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