Who owns the beach?

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by SoWalSally, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. SoWalSally

    SoWalSally Beach Fanatic

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    State defines beachfront property lines
    BY ROBBYN BROOKS FLORIDA FREEDOM NEWS SERVICE

    DESTIN ? Authorities now have one of two documents in hand that will help them successfully enforce Destin?s beach access policy.
    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued a statement concurring with the city?s position of private property lines.
    ?They researched all the deeds inside the city of Destin and no deed goes beyond the mean high water line,? Destin Grants Manager Lindey Chabot said.
    Officials with the city of Destin and the Okaloosa County Sheriff?s Office met almost a month ago to discuss what is considered trespassing and exactly where the public can and cannot legally be on the beach.
    Occasionally over the past several years, residents with homes on the beach and some beach vendors have had confrontations with beachgoers over where they may legally spread their towel and sit on the sand.
    Chabot said the DEP agreed that a measurement of 20 feet upland of the water line is a reasonable assumption of where private property ends.
    Beachgoers can?t be disruptive, but if they are there to enjoy Destin?s beaches, Chabot said, they are free to put down a towel or chair seaward of that measurement.
    Sheriff?s office spokesperson Catherine Dokey said the department is still awaiting documentation from the city to clarify what policies are deemed enforceable.
    ?We want it to be clear when we have those situations, we know how to respond,? Dokey said.
    Until the letter is provided, sheriff?s deputies will not enforce any questionable beach access disputes on the spot, Dokey said. Deputies will ask complainants to sign an affidavit, and an offense report will be created, she said. Those who may be in violation will be given a notice to appear in court, and warrants will be issued for those who ignore their notice to appear, she said.
    ?We?re just kind of in a holding patter right now,? Dokey said. ?We are just trying to keep the peace.?
     

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