Public vs Private Beach [threads merged]

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

  1. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    2,914
    Likes Received:
    712
    John G, was just reading something. It seems that it is not a requirement for the Sheriff, an elected official, to be a Certified Law Enforcement Officer in the State of Florida.Maybe with your ideas on how to address the many law enforcement issues within our county, you should have run. Bringing the problems you have found to the light of day would be an immense public service. Even if you didn't win, you wouldn't be so narrowly constrained to those you reach on SoWal. Just a thought, because last I checked, Sheriff Adkinson was running unopposed.
     
  2. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    630
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach
    Regarding Beach access and use in Walton County:

    The fact is that up until a few years ago anyone and everyone in South Walton walked and played and set up chairs on any area of the dry sand without being harassed. As more and more tourists arrived this heated up and beach front homeowners got frustrated with the activities happening behind their beaches. The Walton County Beach Activities ordinance was adopted to address bad behavior but one or two BFHs decided this was a time to lawyer up and see if they could challenge the Florida Supreme Court ruling in Tona Rama vs Daytona beach by restricting and stopping the customary use of the sandy portions of the beach behind their homes.

    "The City of Daytona Beach v. Tona-Rama, Inc., was ruled by the Florida Supreme Court as a means by which the public can establish rights to utilize the dry sand areas of Florida beaches for traditional recreational uses." Up until this false claim of restriction of use by BFHs we all used the beaches without harassment. My idea for a walk on the beach is not a "Flash Mob" or a "Hippy Dippy" protest as it has been characterized. The walk on the beach is merely a reconfirmation that all areas of the dry sand both through both private and public property are available for use by any person.

    Some have claimed this is a taking of private property. This is not a taking of private property in any way. It's just defending the right of well behaved people to use the beaches as regulated by the Beach Activities ordinance in Walton County.

    This is not a protest or the middle finger to Beach front homeowners. I have the highest respect for all beach front homeowners many who are my friends. In fact most I talk to would not dream of stopping people from using the beach behind their homes and are disgusted with the signs and the harassment taking place. Clearly the principal cause of all this is the lack of enforcement of the beach activities ordinance and pressure needs to be placed in the proper areas to make every effort to beef this up. I respect the fact that some people are not behaving correctly behind their homes and it must be very frustrating when there is no clear path for them to get satisfaction when bad behavior occurs.

    As an aside, the A Better South Walton Board takes no official position on this or any other issues except seeking solutions to the betterment of South Walton. I am only one of many private citizens who feel they have the right to peaceably access the dry sandy areas of the beach as we all have since humans walked upright.

    This will be settled in the courts and hopefully a much higher court than Walton County but in the mean time people will be empowered to use the beaches as they always have. And for now, with Tona Rama vs Daytona Beach ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, the public has the upper hand. For now, no person has the right to stop anyone from accessing the dry sand. There is no law on the books that can stop any of us from using the beaches of South Walton as we always have and that is the truth.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  3. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    297
    Dave R., You now seem to be the only person that hasn't agreed about the WCSO SOP.

    What are your thoughts about it? (SOP)
     
  4. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    545
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach
    This Letter To the Editor appears in this weeks DeFuniak Herald

    Editor,

    On May 26, 2015, Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinsonimplemented a Standard Operating Procedure (#15-004) “to provide direction to members when answering calls for service related to allege trespassing on private property on Gulf front beaches in Walton County.”

    The SOP states in Section VII. Enforcement: “If residents of Walton County wish to have trespass laws enforced on their coastal properties, the Sheriff’s Office will need several documents…copy of owner’s deed (certified copy preferred)…copy of Plat…copy of driver’s license…A signed, sealed and certified survey by and submitted to Florida Department of Environmental Protection…The property boundaries of the upland owners property are adequately marked on the ground indicating the boundary between the mean-high water line and their upland property. The Erosion Control Line must also be shown on the survey…and property staked in the event the owner’s property has such line established thereon by FDEP.”

    Section VII: “Deputies may enforce trespass laws on identified private property in the area inland of the wet sand area on gulf front beaches which have not been nourished, provided they receive copies of the documents required in this SOP.”...”Deputies may exercise their discretion in enforcing trespass laws, but may not physically arrest anyone for trespassing on such beach areas. A Notice to Appear may be issued…but only if the owner or agent….is present to sign an affidavit of complaint…”

    And finally, “all deputies shall use discretion in making decisions to cite anyone for trespassing on beach areas, based on circumstances of each particular case.”

    Seems pretty clear that the Sheriff’s Office SOP acknowledgesprivate beach front property, doesn’t it? It also seems like deputies are free to interpret the law as they wish.

    So, on one hand we have a Sheriff’s SOP telling beach front property owners how to ensure their rights, and on the other hand he is encouraging people to ignore those rights. He tells beach front property owners to mark their property and the Board of County Commissioners tells people to take the markers down. Does it get any sillier than this?

    Yes, it does.

    Now we have a group of folks who also believe private beach front property really doesn’t exist, even though the WCSO acknowledges it does. “Stand Your Sand” is planning to have a walk on the beach on June 4th and have people join hands as they walk 10 miles from the east or 10 miles from the west to establish “customary use for all”. Their notice goes on to say, “let no barriers or signs impede us on our beaches on this day or ever. This to claim the Beaches of South Walton from the dune line to the water line for customary use for all to fairly and equitably use and enjoy for eternity.”

    The folks who are organizing these walks go on to state, “During Stand Your Sand traverse and ignore any and all barriers, signs, ropes and chains that are in violation to the Walton County Beach Activities Ordinance….Reserve the right to stop on any portion of the dry sand for a rest to stay properly hydrated to ensure good health and enjoy the view. Please do not litter. Please behave responsibly and leave only your footprints. Please be respectful of beachfront homeowners and avoid confrontations. Be respectful of the Walton County Beach Activities ordinance. Do use and enjoy the beaches as people have for centuries. The walk on the beach is in no way an official event. It is only an idea. All people have the free will to act on an idea or not. We all have the right to walk on the beach; no permit needed.”

    Sounds like they are inciting civil disobedience, doesn’t it? Oh, no, not in their minds. They say it’s only an idea and we all have free will. (Hee, hee!)

    If they thought what they are proposing was entirely legal, whywould they need disclaimers?

    They claim they have the right to walk on the beach. But there is no right to trespass on private property, except in the minds of law breakers.

    Then there are some elderly people like myself, who are longtime beach front property owners. Many of us are in fear these hand-holding protestors might get carried away as they squat on our private property. Intimidation is clearly illegal. Florida Statute 825.102, Abuse of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult states, “(1) Abuse of an elderly person or adult means: (a) intentional infliction of physical or psychological injury upon an elderly person or disabled adult; (b) An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly person or disabled adult; (c) Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or psychological injury…A person who knowingly or willfully abuses an elderly person or disabled adult without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the elderly person or disabled adult commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084.”

    So here’s what we have. A Sheriff who contradicts himself. A Board of County Commissioners that is clueless. A band of brigands who believe it’s up to them to decide what is legal and what is not. And dozens of elderly beach front property owners, many of whom have been in Walton County for 40+ years, who are fearful of what might happen if the beach walkers get out of control.

    Is our Sheriff planning to provide protection for the beachfront owners during this Kumbaya event, and intervene in any effort by the beach walkers to encroach upon or harass my fellow owners, or destroy our private property?

    Have you ever wondered why so many protestors seem to “know their rights”, but they conveniently forget their responsibilities as law-abiding citizens?

    Joyia Spann
    Seagrove Beach, FL
     
  5. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    26,691
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Location:
    South Walton, FL
    Thanks for sharing the Letter @Bob Hudson I'm sure there are quite a few who agree with Joyia Spann of Seagrove Beach. I know many more who just do not buy her view and never will. Regardless, the Stand Your Sand event is just a walk on the beach - amazing that beach front property owners would believe that our local beach lovers would ever do anything to "destroy" beach front property. These are the people who have always taken the time to love it, protect it, go to beach clean ups, speak out about off shore drilling, and help educate visitors about leave no trace, safety and sea turtles - more than anyone. She is against a peaceful walk. Fine. She doesn't have to participate. But she has NO clue about the people here who are participating and supporting the idea behind it.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  6. FoX

    FoX Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Messages:
    491
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    off the beach
    Brigand! :lol:
     
  7. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    297
    Teresa, while it soundclearlys that you don't agree with the letter to editor sent by the elderly , and multi year resident, private property owner; you quickly skip right over the most important piece of her opine. It's genius.

    That is that Sheriff Michael Adkinson, by creating a formal SOP on beach Trespassing, has admitted that SOME of the SoWal beach front is in fact Private.

    This goes back to my reference to Andante Condos where his wife manages several units for well to do owners.

    This will be a key factor in any legal proceeding as the "sheriff" is the highest law enforcement in the land (County).

    His SOP provides great ammo for the private property Attorneys to attack this County as he (Mikey) is the top of the chain and does represent the County.

    Yet still, Dave R had no comment about the SOP? Wonder why?

    Enjoy your weekend with all the tourists, parking issues, glass on beach, dogs on beach and all the other violations that are ignored in the name of Tourism.
     
  8. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,269
    Likes Received:
    177
    I and many others do.

    Reasserting, it is nothing more than an organized hippie dippie lynch mob with Dave R leading the "assault".

    This county and country seems to have a bad case of self-entitlement. I don't know if there is any cure for that. Perhaps those inflicted should take a close look at Venezuela's current events (as an example).

    Memorial Day....sad that private beach front property owners, a definite minority and U.S, citizens, are being intimidated during this holiday week.
     
  9. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    630
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach
    As I said before this will be settled in the courts. It is my hope the Walton County Commissioners will not be intimidated by Beach Front Homeowners litigation. Clearly in the Destin example they buckled, waffled and folded; shame on every one of them.

    The Tona vs Rama case provides all is needed for any City or County to follow through with a defendable ordinance. The idea of a walk on the beach is a perfect, peaceful and pristine example of Customary Use. I have mentioned that like any day on the beach people should behave with decorum. Of course as is the case with humans there is no guarantee either the walkers or the homeowners will have the willpower to do so.

    In my view Sheriff Adkinson is acknowledging that in the customary use language of Tona vs Rama there is no clear, enforceable definition of trespassing. The beach front homeowners would love for their argument of no access to stand up but like sand in an hourglass it eventually will fall under the weight of itself. I could be wrong but time will tell.


    Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 3.31.13 AM.jpg Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 3.25.22 AM.jpg Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 3.34.41 AM.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  10. LarsAtTheBeach

    LarsAtTheBeach Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    953
    Likes Received:
    169
    A view to ponder (pun intended):

    When I was a kid, and even as a young adult...going to the beach was such a simple thing. A bathing suit, a towel, maybe a small cooler. We went to swim, catch some rays, and people watch. If you had a chair +/or umbrella it was a luxury.

    Seems nowadays going to the beach has become a major event for many. Tents. Chairs. Wagons. Coolers on wheels the size of a small car. Stereo setups qualified to broadcast and charge admission.
    Some of these folks are creating mini cities on the beach. It's absurd. IMHO.

    If I was a beachfront owner I wouldn't enjoy a tourist refugee camp (LoL) set up behind my place.
    However, if you are a small group or quiet respectable family, I'd have no problem. And being me, I'd probably stop and engage you in conversation. Unless of course you wanted to be left alone.

    We are in our 4th decade as locals on this beach. And even though none we have visited in the state are as beautiful, we often vacation to others simply because some can be aweful peaceful.
    It can be very relaxing to spend the day on the beach w/o the loud music, wall to wall vendor setups, and people who bring the kitchen sink along...

    And nothing to do but listen to the surf and ponder.

    Cheers!
     
  11. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    214
    Nice post. You know we've jumped the shark when you see all these bonfire / catering setups.

    But those are quaint in comparison to the recent introduction of "luxury" beach setups complete with big screen TVs and sofas.
    No I am not joking.
     
  12. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    26,691
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Location:
    South Walton, FL
    I just would like to see no signs of any kind on the beach and no vendor chairs unless filled with actual people (excluding resorts). We're ruining the whole beach experience.

    Customary use is also critical along with excellent beach rules and enforcement.

    It's complicated though. Because of condos and resorts that maintain their private beach accesses which should be allowed. But people should certainly be able to walk along the from another point and have a sit.

    I believe these issues stem from a growing beach town with increasing population as well as tourism. And a lack of planning and leadership.
     
  13. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    630
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach

    Well said Lars. I think we should all accept that certain times of the year we all need to tolerate more folks on the beaches. We just need proper code enforcement when people get out of line. Forcing people off "private" beaches will never work and be the source of unending conflict but working together to ensure proper code enforcement will.
     
  14. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    2,218
    Likes Received:
    467
    Anyone been watching PCB tv news? Well they want Popup tents removed from the beach their BCC or TDC gave them a week to make it happen...Now that's earning your pay and solving voters request....No Kicking The Can Down the Road in Bay County. Also they have solved vendor problem...move them ALL
    Back 20' from wet sand....Oh, but hey they have renourished beaches...
     
  15. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    2,218
    Likes Received:
    467
     
  16. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,804
    Likes Received:
    297
    I think the common theme all of us can agree on is that of the Beach Vendors, agree?

    If so, we now have a common thread to all champion.

    I have my opines, that's clear, but if we all agree on the Vendor issue, why not attack that now, upfront and united?

    Im on board. Anyone else?
     
  17. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    2,218
    Likes Received:
    467
    I'm In
     
  18. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    2,218
    Likes Received:
    467
    Tv scene
     
  19. Misty

    Misty Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    468

    When you alienate half this boards population with your hostility and sarcasm and constant harsh and unwarranted criticism of all things Sheriff Adkinson...I seriously doubt you'll find anyone willing to board your sinking raft!
     
  20. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    630
    Location:
    Santa Rosa Beach
    Time to make a stand in the sand

    Tallahassee Democrat
    Opinion Column

    Time to make a stand in the sand

    Dave Rauschkolb, My View 4:16 p.m. EDT May 25, 2016

    It is important to be good neighbors. Sharing the resources we hold dear in all of Florida – and where I live, in South Walton County – is critical to the well-being of our citizens, visitors and economic interests.

    It appears that South Walton County could become Florida’s ground zero in the private beach vs. customary use conflict. In the past few years, a handful of beachfront homeowners has grown into a coordinated group determined to claim the sand behind their homes as private. This group wishes to allow no use of the “private” dry sandy areas for the public to participate in customary recreational activities. They are placing “No Trespassing” signs, ropes and chains across the beaches.

    All the beaches of South Walton and Florida have been uninterrupted in their human use for many centuries. A doctrine of “Customary Use” gives all of us reasonable access and enjoyment on private and public beaches.

    In deference to beachfront homeowners, I agree that certain unsavory activities that may occur on the beaches behind their homes must and should be regulated. Those regulations – exercised with appropriate action by law enforcement – should be all the insurance beachfront homeowners need to ensure peaceable, customary beach activities behind their homes anywhere on Florida’s beaches. In Walton County there is a Beach Activities Ordinance in place that already addresses this.

    I challenge the Florida Legislature and the governor to work to together and finally adopt a law guaranteeing Customary Use for all Florida’s citizens and visitors. It is clearly the right thing to do and far, far overdue.

    Customary use, which is the law of the sand in Hawaii, Oregon and Texas, grants permanent public access based on ancient, peaceful, uninterrupted and reasonable use of the beach by the public. One would hope Florida could adopt a similar law.

    It is critical that the sandy areas of Florida’s beaches are open for all to enjoy; our tourist driven economy is dependent on this perception and reality. Any threat to our beach access and use is a threat to our local and statewide tourism driven economy. As a business owner in South Walton County for over 30 years, I take that threat very seriously.

    I encourage the handful of beachfront homeowners who are pushing to limit access to our beaches to save their money and stand down. South Walton and Florida residents and visitors will never allow our beaches to have limited access and use.

    Until a few years ago this was never an issue, and people enjoyed every grain of sand on our beaches without intimidation. I am sure most people feel strongly enough about defending our right to enjoy Florida’s beaches to see this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

    Let us come together and stop fighting over the sand, and go back to enjoying the beaches with our families and friends as we always have.

    Dave Rauschkolb is a beach lover, and property and business owner in Walton County.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List

Share This Page