Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Also may I ask again that you keep an eye out for your 2010 Membership Application and Ballot. I have enclosed a newsletter from your president Grant Blackwell and a self-addressed stamped envelope for you to return your membership application and ballot and your check for annual dues. It would be great to have these returned as soon as you get them, saving me the expense and time of not having to send out a second reminder.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Here is what they passed out: (If you click on it you should be able to read it.)
I am confident that non permanent residents owning property in Grayton Beach will have if they wish the right to purchase a Driving on the Beach Permit. I for one would like this issue to come to a conclusion and a vote be taken by the Commissioners on the proposed (CORRECTED) draft. I think that if our non permanent residents can apply and receive a permit then we have won because just a few short months ago that right and that wording wasn't even in the original draft.
I would like to see everyone just take a breath and then RELAX...no need to get stirred up unless there is "a lump in our pot" that we aren't aware of. I truly think Grayton Beach Residents both Permanent and Non-Permanent are going to be happy. Check in later for News.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
There are others in the neighborhood who have also set up feeding stations on their property.
Lately there have been some calls made to animal control about the cats, and there has been a "cat round up"...in the round up cats that were considered "feral outside" pets, cats that were fixed, and little kittens were all picked up. After 7 days or less, we all know what their fate is. There is only one non kill shelter in our county located in Freeport and it is full at this time, so all captured cats are sent to the Animal Shelter outside of Chipley.
Here in the county local cat lovers pay to have the feral cats fixed, the vet clips an ear so at a glance you know if a cat has been fixed. Then the cat is returned to the area where it was picked up. It seems that clipped ears on our Grayton Cats really didn't seem to matter in these recent round ups.
Did you know that an outside cat only has a life expectancy of 1 to 2 years? It is indeed sad that a creature whose life is already a tough one due to previous human neglect, now also has to worry about being caught and eliminated.
If you are a cat feeder in Grayton please make sure you are feeding the cats on your own property, check to make sure that all have been fixed, if not call one of the capture/fix/release groups in the county so that a trap can be set up. If we can fix the cats that we now have in Grayton then their population will not keep increasing.
Any questions or Suggestions Contact Ann @: email@example.com
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Like the Rodney Dangerfield of the American Southeast, Florida's panhandle never gets the respect it deserves. Dubbed the "Redneck Riviera" by dismissive northerners, northwest Florida, in fact, contains some of the most diverse recreation choices along Florida's drastically under-appreciated Gulf coast, and some of the best options for visitors seeking an affordable family vacation. From Destin to the west, where you can hire a fishing or sailing charter, to the smattering of National Seashores as you move east, there's really something for everyone. Seaside's planned community is so "perfect" it was the setting for the The Truman Show, yet you'll also find old-school Florida towns with funky shops, tiny hotels, pristine beaches, and the perfect cottage to rent.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Bonnie Kate (Blue) Covell, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend, died peacefully at her home in Pensacola, FL on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, surrounded by her family.Bonnie was born August 2, 1930 in Fayetteville, NC to Neill Bonnie and Mary Eliza "Mayme" Blue and raised in Raeford, NC.
She attended Queens College in Charlotte, NC where she was student body president, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1952 in Biological Sciences. After graduation she taught high school biology.William Arnold "Arnie" Covell and she were married June 14, 1955, after which she worked in a research laboratory in Atlanta while Arnie completed his internship at Grady Memorial Hospital.
The family moved in quick succession to Highland Park, ILL, Winston-Salem, NC, Gainesville, FL, Panama City, FL before settling in Pensacola, FL in the summer of 1963.Bonnie was active in both real estate investment and community service. Some of her interests included Impact 100, Meals on Wheels and Grayton Beach preservation efforts. She was a Stephen Minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church and enjoyed working with her friends preparing the Trinity Tidings.
Bonnie was preceded in death by Arnie, her husband of 51 years; her parents, Bonnie and Mayme Blue; infant daughter Jan Claire; brother Neill James Blue and sister Patsy Jean (Blue) Hoffman.
She is survived by her four children; son William Reid "Bill" and wife Peggy of Bartlesville, OK; daughter Jean Blue (Covell) Silva and husband Joe of Panama City, son James Patrick and wife Michelle of Gulf Breeze and son Scott McNeill of Grayton Beach, FL; seven grandchildren, Joe, Katherine, Sam, Tristan, Bailey, Sarah and John; cousin Katherine Blue Fountain of Rocky Mount, NC; nephews Joe, Mike and niece Ann Hoffman; her nieces and nephews by marriage Jill Lancaster, Jan Jernigan, Jack Jernigan, Jenny Jernigan, George Jernigan and Tracy Bethea and lots of cousins.
A memorial service will be held 10:00am Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Pensacola, FL with Dr. Hugh Hamilton and Rev. Frank Beall officiating.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3400 Bayou Blvd. Pensacola, FL 32503 or Covenant Hospice, 5041 N. 12th Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32504.
HARPER-MORRIS MEMORIAL CHAPEL is in charge of arrangements.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We are hoping that all of our Grayton Residents and Property Owners will join the Grayton Beach Neighborhood Association on our first mail out. As mailing and printing services are costly a good return of applications on the first mail out would really be appreciated.
We have already set the date for the Annual Meeting and party....April 3rd. This is Easter Week-end. So mark your calendars now. We are planning on a Bar-b-Que meal at Shirley's after the morning's meeting.
If you have recently changed your email please make corrections on the Membership Application as we will be using email mailings to update our membership along with this blog of Grayton News and happenings.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
(Wording in black comes directly from Mr. Burke's handout, those in red are my personal comments.)
"As we researched this issue it became clear that additional language was needed to limit the number of permits, but allow for the greatest use of the permits possible. Several residents have weighed in on this issue and their comments have been considered in this memo."
( I truly believe that all of the emails and letters that were written by our members expressing their opinions made a big difference. I really appreciate all of your letter writing.)
"The Tax Collector's Office informed us that over the past five years we have issued permits to 1,835 different people, an average of 1,038 permits per year. Of the total 1,835 permits, 1347 have been Walton County full time residents: thus, approximately 488 have been issued to non-full time residents. The suggestions listed below take these numbers into account."
(These number seems very high to me, and very confusing ...but what caught my attention were the words "TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE". This is not accurate, there are folks who own multiple permits ..some more than four per family. As I mentioned before at this time the County can not get an accurate number of multiple permits issued as there is no way to run a "sort", as parcel numbers are not entered into their system at this time. I was personally told by Ms. Skipper that the only way to check to see if a person had more than one permit was to run a single name at a time through the database, so I question these numbers. The numbers were also questioned by the Commissioners. Mr. Burke said he would go back and check the numbers with the source that shared them with him. He also agreed that looking at them there seemed to be problems with the math.)
For those that are not permanent residents and are only interested in non-permanent residents you might want to move down to item 2 and skip 1.
"1. "Walton County Property Owners, Residents, 1400 permits Total
Walton County real property owners, who are residents of Walton County, and immediate family members residing with the property owners in Walton County may obtain a permit for the use of properly registered and authorized vehicles along the designated limited access areas on the beaches of Walton County. Proof of real property ownership (such as deed or tax receipt) and proof of residency (such as voter's registration card, homestead exemption card, or driver's license) must be presented to the Tax Collector at the time of application to document the requirements of this section. For property titled in the name of a business or owned by multiple owners, the person applying for the permit shall show proof that they own a controlling interest in the property or that they are otherwise entitled to obtain a permit for the property. "Controlling interest in the property or that are otherwise entitled" means that the person applying for the permits own more than 50% ownership interest in the property or has a resolution signed by the other owners of the property that grants the person applying for the permit the authority to apply for the permit. A copy of this beach access permit and the application showing the name of the individual to whom it was issued must remain in the vehicle while being operated on the beach.
There shall be a limit of 1400 Walton County Property Owners/residents permits issued each year. Only two permits may be issued for each parcel of property. In the event that the number of qualified applicants exceeds 1400 permits then a lottery shall be instituted to determine which applicant receive permits."
The lottery idea was thrown out as soon as the rough draft was read to the Commissioners. No one liked the idea of trying to run a lottery. The number 1400 was thrown out and the number 1000 permits was suggested. Then the number was changed to 700 permits (only suggested not a firm number) Two permits per property was discussed with some suggesting that only one permit be issued, as the goal was to reduce the number of permits issued by the county. There was some discussion about allowing "immediate family members" to apply for a permit on their own. There was some discussion about having a home on the lot to qualify, as many permits had been issued to owners of vacant lots in the past. This "home suggestion" would also help to reduce permits issued. The previous requirement that the vehicle be registered in Walton County was also discussed and a change noted that the vehicle just needs to be properly registered and had to meet the 4 wheel drive requirement. No person shall receive a permit unless and until the ad-valorem taxes for the real property are current was discussed and pretty much agreed on. Again Nothing was FIRM as far as the final draft....just ideas thrown around by the board and discussed. The Commissioners agreed to send their final suggestions to Mr. Lyle Seigler, Interim County Administrator, within ten days so that he can meet with Mr. Burke and they can come up with a New plan. (His email is firstname.lastname@example.org)
"2. Walton County Property Owners/ Non-Resident 435 Permits Total
Walton County real property owners may obtain a permit for the use of properly registered and authorized vehicles along the designated limited access areas of the beaches of Walton County. The vehicle being registered shall be owned by the Walton County real property owner and registered in Walton County in the name of the real property owner. For property titled in the name of a business or owned by multiple owners the person applying for the permit shall show proof that they own a controlling interest in the property or that they are otherwise entitled to obtain a permit for the property. "Controlling interest in the property or that they are otherwise entitled" means that the person applying for the permits owns more than 50% ownership interest in the property or has a resolution signed by the other owners of the property grants the person applying for the permit the authority to apply for the permit. A copy of the beach access permit and the application showing the name of the individual to whom it was issued must remain in the vehicle while being operated on the beach.
There shall be a limit of 435 Walton County Property Owner/Non resident permits issued each year. Only two permits may be issued for each parcel of property. In the event the number of qualified applications exceeds 435 permits, then a lottery shall be instituted to determine which applicants receive permits."
The lottery idea was dropped as soon as it was shared with the Commissioners as no one wanted to deal with a lottery. The number of 435 was suggested to be changed to 250 permits. There was discussion also to drop the requirement of the vehicle being registered in Walton County. It should be just properly registered and also be a 4 Wheel drive vehicle to qualify. There was some discussion that only one permit be issued per lot. There was also some discussion that a home be located on the lot. (The same as for permanent residents) The best part of Mr. Burke's draft was that at least now the county is not ruling out non resident home owners from applying for a driving on the beach permit ( we are now an item 2 in the suggested plan.) Our letter writing campaign seemed to have helped in this change for sure. Toward the end of the discussion, one of the Commissioners suggested that maybe all beach permits should be issued on a first come serve bases...so that if you wanted to be sure to get one of the "numbered ?? permits" that you need to do it as soon as they are opened up for renewal. (June 1st). Another Commissioner suggested that all those owners who already had a permit just be grand fathered in, but then that seemed to be "shot down" by the Commissioners as that would not reduce permits. It was clear and pretty definite that no person shall receive a permit unless the ad valorem taxes for the real property are current . It was a lively discussion. Again nothing said or discussed was a final decision. The Commissioners were directed to write up their thoughts on the issue and send it to Mr. Lyle Seigler, Interim County Administrator who will then get with Mr. Burke, the County Attorney and they will draw up a new draft. My Seigler's email is email@example.com in case you have any thoughts you wish to share with him. You can find the Commissioners emails in a previous post.
"3. Walton County Charter Fishing Operations (20 Permits Total)
Walton County residents that are also licensed charter boat captains and operate charter fishing operations in Walton County ("Charter Operators") may obtain a permit for the use of properly registered and authorized vehicles along the designated limited access areas of the beaches of Walton county. The vehicle being registered shall be owned by the Charter Operator. Proof of residency (such as voter's registration card, homestead exemption card, or driver's license, proof of current captain's license and proof of current commercial fishing license must be presented to the Tax Collector at the time of application to document the requirements of this section. A copy of this beach access permit and the application showing the name of the individual to whom it was issued must remain in the vehicle while being operated on the beach. Charter Operators shall only be required to obtain one permit which shall permit the use of the vehicle and the trailer.
There shall be a limit of 20 Charter Operator permits issued each year. Only one permit shall be issued per Charter Operator. In the event that the number of the qualified applications exceeds 20 permits, then a lottery shall be instituted to determine which applicants receive permits."
Since I have no personal opinion other than to say when there are more than 10 charters out on the beach at one time their trucks and trailers do take up a lot of space...I think that it is a good thing that the County is putting them in their own category.
Hopefully this update has been helpful.
Monday, October 26, 2009
October 25, 2009 2:49 PM
Kimberly White, Florida Freedom Newspapers
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Private vehicles’ access to Walton County beaches is among the sticking points in a draft of a Habitat Conservation Plan.
Fishermen, representatives of the Walton County Coastal Recreation Association and Turtle Watch volunteers voiced their concerns about the draft during a meeting last week. Most of the debate centered on proposed restrictions on vehicles on beaches, particularly on about 1,000 feet of sand in Grayton Beach.
“There’s a lot of anxiety in the community any time there are any changes,” Robert Ernest, president of consulting firm Ecological Associates Inc., said after the meeting. “People get anxious about how it’s going to affect them, and I think it’s pretty evident that the relatively few folks that drive on the beach to launch boats are very concerned about the limitations that the plan might impose on them. They showed up in force and that was good. We got some good input from them.”
The Habitat Conservation Plan is a federal requirement designed to mitigate damage caused by sea walls built after Hurricane Dennis in 2005.The plan aims to protect five federally listed species — three species of sea turtles, the Choctawhatchee beach mouse and the piping plover — while still allowing the public access to beaches.
Among the recommendations in the draft is that burn barrels and bonfires be prohibited during the turtle-nesting period from May 31 to Oct. 31, which coincides with the peak tourist season. Also, beach vendors would not be able to set up in the mornings until hatching and monitoring activities have been completed.
But what upset people the most was planned restrictions on driving on the beach. Private vehicles are allowed on parts of Grayton Beach, Inlet Beach, Seagrove Beach and Walton Park. Billy McKee, the county’s environmental planning manager, said existing regulations allow vehicles on the beach from sunrise until 10 p.m., although anyone who is launching a boat or picking one up is exempt from those hours.
“The (Beach Activities Ordinance) does not address nesting seasons or time of year or any of that, and that’s one of the things that would need to be done for sure,” McKee said.
Under the Habitat Conservation Plan’s draft, driving on the beach generally would be restricted to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., or whenever turtle nesting has begun and ended. McKee was optimistic that a compromise could be reached when stakeholders have an opportunity to talk to Sharon Maxwell, the Turtle Watch president.
“People are assuming it’s an us-against-them thing, and I don’t think that’s the case at all,” he said. Johndra Culp, a Turtle Watch volunteer who spoke at the meeting, said later that some residents agreed to come to future Turtle Watch meetings. She said she thought a solution could be reached relatively easily, especially because some people were interested in being trained to monitor turtle nesting. “I think we can reach a win-win situation to where we can both do our jobs and we can help them and they can help us,” she added.
Friday, October 23, 2009
As someone who spoke at the October 13th meeting and also someone who wrote and mailed letters to all five Commissioners, their lawyer Mr. Burke and the Draft Writer Mr. Demers with my concerns about the proposed draft I have heard nothing. No calls, no emails, no replies to my letters. Since none of the above shared any of their thoughts with me about their insights on the matter after hearing the public speak at the Oct. 13th meeting I have nothing to share with you. It remains a mystery if there will be any changes at all in the draft.
I will be at the Oct. 27th meeting when the draft is again open for discussion. Hopefully the Commissioners will share any new thoughts or changes that they have come up with before they open it up to discussion. Will post any updates after the meeting on the 27th.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Southwest Airlines is coming to the New Northwest Florida International Airport
Actual Press Release: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=92562&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1344724&highlight=
At 1:00pm central time today, Southwest Airlines officially announced they will be flying out of the new Northwest Florida International Airport in Panama City Beach
Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines made the official announcement. He said the airport would be serviced by an all Boeing 737 fleet. There will be 2 daily flights to 4 destinations, for a total of 8 flights. Southwest will start selling these flights in December
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A link to the Draft in question: http://www.co.walton.fl.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1405
Your Board, as individuals aren't even in agreement on this issue.
* Some feel that something needs to be done and the limiting of non residents is a step in the right direction. They like the draft as it stands now.
*Some feel that the ability of a permanent resident to have more than one beach permit, because family members living in the home can also apply for a permits is OK. Even though the draft states the vehicle has to be registered to the main property owner, and according to the application itself only the person listed on the driving on the beach application is the legal driver on the beach.
*Others feel strongly that all property owners (all are Walton County taxpayers) should have the same rights, be they permanent residents or non-permanent residents.
*There are those that feel only a property owner that has a home on their Walton County property should qualify for a beach permit and there should be only one beach driving permit per house. No empty or vacant lots should qualify.
I am guessing that no one will be totally happy with the final results. The Commissioners and their legal team have hard choices to make. I certainly don't envy them at all.
Another personal view:I feel that the only beach that the county has now that allows driving on it, is in our community. Our community is made up of old families that have been home owners in this area for generations. They have paid taxes for years. Young family members take over older homes, and make them their vacation homes. Some dream of the time that their Grayton Beach home will become their permanent retirement home. I personally remember riding on the beach in an old truck with large wheels at the age of 6 (59 years ago). Driving on the beach in Grayton has always been, it is as much a part of Grayton as our white sand is. Our community will certainly take a hit if this draft is passed. In looking at our membership rolls, there are about 176 property owners in Grayton, give or take, who are not permanent residents. They make their homes outside of Walton County. They pay high taxes without any homestead exemptions. They have owned property in Grayton for generations. Now, the way this draft is worded, they would be denied the right to apply for a beach permit that those with a permanent residency are granted. In my humble opinion this is not fair, this is not right, and it just doesn't seem legal. The county needs to look at this matter closely and make it both fair in the wording and in the results.
When the county closed the other three county beach areas that allow driving, they never stopped issuing driving on the beach permits. They continued issuing them even though the one beach area left has less than 900 square feet of space. Just this past September they issued 44 new beach permits. One solution to the problem would be to reopen the closed beaches, two of which had 1600 square feet of space. Another is to limit the number of permits a household can have...one per household. If the goal is to reduce the number of permits a limit of one would be a step in the right direction.
I encourage you to let the County Commissioners know your feelings on this matter. Your opinions certainly don't have to agree with mine or any other Board member. You need to let the Commissioners hear your opinion. If they hear all views from the public then it should make their decision easier. The results of their final decision would be based on all views and not from just a few outspoken individuals. I am providing you the information for contacting them. Please take the time to do so before their next meeting on the 27th. Let's let them hear from Grayton Beach!
415 Highway 20 East Freeport, FL 32439
(850) 835-4860 Fax (850) 835-4836
17400 State Highway 83 North DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
(850) 834-6328 Fax (850) 834-6385
1483 County Highway 1087DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
(850) 892-8474Fax (850) 892-8475
417 Highway 20 West Freeport, FL 32439
(850) 835-4834 Fax (850) 835-0295
70 Logan Lane Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 231-2978 Fax (850) 231-3872
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I emailed Mr. Demers to get clarification...this is his response:
You are correct that if this is approved, in order to obtain a beach driving permit:
1. You must be a permanent resident of Walton County.
2. You must own real property in Walton County,
3. The vehicle being registered must be in the name of the real property owner/resident.
There are several ways to prove that you meet the above requirements; some of them are listed in the draft ordinance. There is no provision for non-residents in Grayton to be exempt from this new provision. I will provide your email to the County Administrator to be included as public comment to the Board of County Commissioners.
These changes are being considered in order to reduce the number of vehicles allowed on the beach. If we don't find a way to reduce the beach traffic, we may loose the ability for anyone to access the beach with vehicles. I am sure that other suggestions on how to reduce the beach traffic are welcome and would be considered.
Gerry A. Demers,
CBO Director Development Services Division Walton County,
Florida Phone: (850) 267-1955 FAX: (850) 622-9133
Monday, September 28, 2009
One Way Hotz - as of this date no new news from the County Commissioners on this matter. The letter that was submitted by a small group of concerned Grayton Residents was received by the Commissioners. Since that time, other concerned residents have stepped forward and have added their names and support to the letter.
Driving on the Beach Permits- The county formed comittee presented their recommendation s to the County Commissioner. There is to be another hearing (which is a final reading) on October 15th. Your GBNA will be represented at this meeting and the results will be posted on the blog.
TDC Handicap Boardwalk Issue
After holding two community meetings and listening to those in attendance and also having to deal with the small Beach Mouse issue, the TDC is going to try and use the existing boardwalk at the end of Garfield and with some modifications make it handicap friendly. They need state approval but it does seem to be the best solution. you can read the original post at:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
For those folks with out emails...keep checking the blog as all updates will be posted here also.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
You can read a great summary from our own Kelly B. at this link:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
A group of concerned Grayton residents held a meeting to work on coming up with a solution to the parking woes on Hotz street. Their goal was to come up with suggested solutions that would be better for the Grayton Community other than turning Hotz into a one way street. This group was not formed under the GBNA. The GBNA bylaws (can be read on blog) prevented us from doing that with out a majority approval of our membership. Time did not allow us to do a mailout.
The group met on September 2nd and brain stormed as many ideas as possible. Then the group drew up a letter to hand deliver to Commissioner Jones on Sept. 8th. I have permission to share the letter here on the blog: (names of signers have been removed)
September 8, 2009
The Honorable Cecilia Jones
Commissioner, District 5
70 Logan Lane
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Re: Grayton Parking Issues
Dear Commissioner Jones:
Please accept this belated thank you for the community meeting you arranged and conducted relating to Grayton Beach’s parking problem. We appreciate your proactive approach and commend your willingness to seek community consensus on a problem that has a direct impact on the health and safety of Grayton Beach residents and guests. Grayton Beach is a wonderful community with many historic assets, and it must be protected so that future generations can enjoy this unique coastal village.
Last Thursday, a majority of Grayton Beach full-time residents and owners held a meeting to discuss the parking and traffic flow issues of downtown Grayton related to emergency vehicle access. This group represents four living generations of Graytonites and families dating back to the beginning of our 120-year history. Our consensus is that Hotz Avenue parking can be adjusted to maintain two-way traffic and still provide emergency vehicle access. We also propose that Residential Preservation Parking Zones be established for the residential properties that are located outside of the Hotz Avenue business district. Finally, we encourage the county to work with the Hotz Avenue businesses to develop off-site parking alternatives for their patrons. While we do not have all the answers, we believe that the County’s objectives can be met with minimal intrusion into the community.
As was discussed at the original meeting that you hosted, the idea of a one-way on Hotz Avenue between DeFuniak Street and Garfield Street seemed, at first blush, to be part of the solution. In hindsight, however, we question the wisdom of changing the traffic patterns in Grayton Beach in a way that would effectively promote the commercial interests in the community above and beyond the long-time, historical residential interests in Grayton Beach. We worry about the negative impact that a one-way street will have on the lives of full-time and part-time residents who live in “old Grayton.”
As background, the issues that we face in Grayton today were, unfortunately, partially created by Walton County. Specifically, approximately 10 years ago the County directed Hall Engineering to look at the parking issues associated with the growing commercial activities in Grayton and to develop a new parking plan. The plan that was ultimately implemented eliminated the parallel parking on both sides of Hotz, which had existed for decades, and replaced it with the current angled-parking configuration. It was this action that created the bottleneck and safety problem that now exists in Grayton. As a community we cannot allow our safety to be compromised and we greatly appreciate that you have made our safety your priority.
Although the current number of downtown parking spaces would be maintained under the plan to make Hotz Avenue one-way, this design would have the unfortunate result of forcing all vehicles – every single car and delivery truck – to travel through the narrow residential streets in old Grayton. This part of Grayton is the most heavily populated, and visitors and residents with small children are always out and about in the yards and walking down the streets to get to the beach. While many cars already travel down these roads, we strongly believe that the increased traffic burden caused by making Hotz Avenue one-way would be detrimental to the community, and would create even more safety issues.
After discussing the various proposals today, we have determined that the simplest solution, the one that has the least negative impact on the community, may be to just return to our former parking pattern, or at least a hybrid of the former parking pattern. Specifically, the community would be agreeable to angled parking on the north side of Hotz Avenue and parallel parking on the south side of Hotz Avenue (or vice versa). While this solution will eliminate a few parking spaces, it will significantly widen the traffic corridor on Hotz Avenue, immediately restore the two-way traffic flow to this integral road in Grayton, and allow residents and emergency vehicles alike unencumbered access to all of Grayton.
Sadly, this issue is one that should have been addressed years ago. While Grayton has always enjoyed its commercial establishments, the increased number of restaurants and businesses and the increased popularity of these establishments has amplified the burdens on our neighborhood way past the “tipping point.” For the past few years, the increased pressures that these businesses have brought to our community include parking issues, noise issues, speeding issues, and general loitering and nuisance issues. Our small historical community is at its breaking point.
While we are happy to have the local businesses and hope for their continued success, it is unfair that the residents of old Grayton bear the brunt of the impacts of the growing parking problems. Now is the time for the commercial interests in Grayton to help solve these problems. Specifically, if there is not enough parking in downtown Grayton – and everyone agrees that there isn’t – the businesses will need to seek additional property (outside of Grayton) to lease or purchase for an overflow parking lot. Not only would this relieve the current stress on Grayton but it would be a gesture of good will on the part of the businesses. These businesses have an obligation, when possible, to relieve the daily burdens that would not exist in Grayton but for their operation.
What we would ask of you, as our Commissioner, is that the block of Hotz Avenue between DeFuniak and Garfield Streets continue to act as a 2-way street and as the main parking for “downtown” Grayton businesses. In order to safely accommodate emergency vehicles, we ask that the parking be changed from angled to parallel on one side of Hotz Avenue. We ask that parking be prohibited on the sand access to the beach – a huge safety issue blocking emergency access to the beach - and that the County Commission help us, as a community, come up with a rational way to deal with the problem of restaurant/business patrons parking on private residential property. The people of old Grayton are tired of barricading their driveways to keep commercial patrons from parking there and they are tired of maintaining a constant vigilance in order to protect their property from trespassers.
To this end, we believe that Residential Preservation Parking Zones must be established pursuant to a new ordinance or through the use of existing ordinance(s) to limit commercial business parking to Hotz Avenue and defined right-of-way immediately adjacent to commercial businesses. Stated another way commercial parking should not be permitted in the residential portion of Grayton – an ordinance would provide the sheriff enforcement authority rather than the current enforcement which requires residents to protect their property and call tow trucks. This is an unfair way to live and no resident of Walton County should be required to tolerate this intrusion.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue. Our safety and quality of life is in jeopardy. Solutions exist – realign the parking on Hotz Avenue so that emergency vehicles will always have clear access, eliminate commercial creep into our residential community by the establishment of Residential Parking Zones through appropriate ordinances, require businesses to provide adequate off-site parking for their patrons, and eliminate parking on the western sand access to the beach. The citizens of Grayton deserve no less and our safety mandates such consideration. Commissioner Jones, we stand ready to work with you and the businesses to resolve these issues and thank you again for your service to Walton County.
Summary: Proposed Beach Vehicle Ordinance
Currently, any property owner in Walton County may obtain a beach driving permit for their 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Why does this need to be changed?
There are too many vehicles on the beach from Spring Break to Labor Day. The beach is too congested and poses a critical safety issue, and the number of vehicles allowed on the beach needs to be reduced.
The proposed ordinance requires that the permit applicant must:
.....own property in Walton County
.....be a registered voter in Walton County
The proposed ordinance also requires that the 4-wheel drive vehicle being permitted be:
....registered in Walton County in the name of the real property owner.
There is an exception for people who own property in Grayton Beach:
If a person owns property in Grayton Beach, then property ownership alone will qualify them for a beach driving permit. The boundaries of Grayton Beach are Hwy. 30-A to the north, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Grayton Beach State Park to the west, and the western shore of Western Lake to the east, which includes those properties platted as being part of Grayton Trail. (i.e., not Lakeplace, not Gulf Trace, nothing north of 30A)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
if the one way Hotz Street occurs... (read entries below)
.......all car traffic will have to exit via Lydia. This means residents/ guests from Garfield and Banfil.
....All large delivery trucks (food supplies/packages/appliances) to the above areas will have to exit via Lydia.
....fisherman and their large boats will have to exit via Lydia.
....Folks living on Defuniak down from Lydia (southern end) will have to exit via Hotz, Garfield, and then Lydia.
.....This will make narrow little Lydia (which is almost impossible to widen) a throughfare in Grayton.
Please let the county Commissioner Jones know how you feel about this. You can email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call her at Ph: (850) 231-2978
Also please let your GBNA Board know your opinions on this . You can send us your opinions at:
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
*It would appear that one way traffic on Hotz is eminent. It is going to progress quickly. I doubt some residents of Garfield and Lydia are fully aware of this plan even though all of our members with an active email have been notified.
* Grant Blackwell visited with Ms. Jones and expressed his personal view that delivery trucks operating during the day should be allowed to egress back from the Red Bar area against traffic back to Defuniak without going through the neighborhood of Garfield and Lydia. He expressed his views that having delivery trucks coming through this area would be unnecessary during the day and the folks on Garfield and Lydia should be spared this extra traffic.
*The County after surveying Hotz now plans on moving some parking spaces forward a couple of feet to widen the traffic zone and of course re-stripe the parking to accomodate one way parking and traffic.
Beach Permits are on the agenda for next week. MS Jones is going to ask to table this as Mr. Blackwell told her that GBNA are resolved to research and consider alternatives to the current ordinance via a committee recommendation.
If you would like to serve on such a committee, please let Grant Blackwell know. His email is listed on the left side of this blog.
8-19-2009 Survey being done down on Hotz Street
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
AUGUST 12, 2009
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss solutions to traffic flow problems on Hotz Ave. The meeting was sparked by an event on the July 4th weekend when a fire truck had difficulty traversing through downtown Grayton.
Commissioner Cecilia Jones
Interim County Administrator Lyle Seigler
Interim Public Works Director Starsky Harrell
Sheriff Mike Adkinson
SW Fire Chief Rick Talbert
1. Making Hotz Ave. one way going east bound from DeFuniak St. to Garfield St. Public works would reclaim right of way to the south which would provide a few more feet to move the parking spaces out. They would also re-stripe the road along with the parking spaces to make them suitable for one way traffic, and post necessary signage.
This solution did bring up other questions such as, “Is Lydia St. wide enough to accommodate the additional traffic? Public Works is going to look at what is required to make this possible.
2. Leave Hotz Ave. two way traffic, but convert the parking to parallel parking to provide the adequate space needed for emergency vehicles. Public works would reclaim right of way to the south which would provide a few more feet to move the parking spaces out. They would also re-stripe the road along with the parking spaces to make them suitable for parallel parking.
This solution would remove some of the much needed, parking spaces that are there currently.
There is still a parking issue created from the local businesses, large rental properties and people going to the beach. Representatives from both the Red Bar and Shorty’s were present and committed to working with the Community to find solutions. The overall feeling was that they needed to provide off site parking for their customers. The idea of pursuing State property to put in a parking lot that could be used by everyone was brought up and met with mixed feelings.
Sheriff Mike Adkinson also offered to work with the businesses to provide off-duty Deputies to help with the parking problems.
A committee was formed to find solutions to the parking issues which both representatives from the Red Bar and Shorty’s agreed to be on along with several local residents. Anyone interested in joining this committee can contact Commissioner Cecilia Jones at email@example.com .
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Here is a video link that will tell you all about whale sharks.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
When: August 12th @ 4:00 PM
Where: 70 Logan Lane (D 5 Commissioner's Office)
Who: Grayton Beach property owners and residents
Sheriff and Public Works Officials
To discuss and hopefully find a solution to the recent fire truck incident on July 4th. The emergency vehicles were unable to maneuver through Hotz Street to a call, due to the parking that blocked the road way.
If you have questions or comments on this subject you may contact Ms. Jones at the following email address:
Saturday, August 1, 2009
If you get a chance pick up a copy of the Emerald Coast Magazine (Aug-Sept 09) issue has some great pictures of old Grayton too.
Friday, July 10, 2009
My SIL had one of those moments the other day...he was fly fishing from his kayak about 150-175 yards off the beach...and wham he had a hit. After about 15 minutes of pulling and tugging and not turning over he pulled out this little beauty.
Needless to say, he was very proud to show off his catch. The fish was released after having his photo taken.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Reading of May meeting Minutes Pat
Financial Report/ Approve invoices Shirley
Membership Update Anne/ Shirley
PRIORITY BUSINESS ( as suggested by President)
1 JULY 4 CELEBRATION and PARADE
Are we officially sponsoring event? VOTE
Parade Time: 8:30 AM
Promotion of Parade: New signs, etc.
Management of Parade
a. gathering up on Hotz (who is going to organize)
b. Security: Communication with Sheriffs dept. ( need for private security?)
c. Rules and Regulations accordingly.
d. End of parade, funding and organizing watermelon festivities.
e. volunteers needed?
2. LAKE ACCESS REVIEW...................................................Grant Blackwell
The county is goint to survey each area (4) that are on the county plat map that gives right of way to the lake.
a. Plat .........Scott Provow
b. County will send the results of their report to Grant
3. Storage Unit..............Purchased, volunteers for erection.
4. Speed Monitor Sign ..........Presentation of proposal ...Grant
Other New Business;
Establishment of confirmation of 1600 foot beach right of way..............Grant
Other as offered by board...........
OLD BUSINESS (Recommended tabled or assigned to committees)
Logo........Grant, Pat and Kitty.
Neighborhood Watch.... Grant
State Park walk Path... Grant and Scott
Holiday and Decorating Committeees ( other than 4th July)
Web site and Communication .... Ann, Scott and Pat
Historical Committee...........Ann and future volunteers.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The meeting was held at Scott Provow's house, and began with a membership review presented by Ann:
176 membership packets were sent out to all property owners, based on last year's memebership, on February 20th. Those with multiple lots were all listed on one form to save mailing fees; others were mailed reminders about their dues. As of May 1st, GBNA has 148 paid memberships representing 181 lots. These numbers represent $4525 that has been added to the GBNA Checking Account for operating funds.
Comments were included on some of the membership forms. These comments ranged from specific issues that homeowners felt needed to be addressed, to general comments about preserving the uniqueness of Grayton Beach. *For more details on the report and comments, see the 2009-2010 Membership Report by Ann Morrell.
The most oft mentioned issues included:
- Requests to pave Sandy Lane
- Concerns about placing picnic tables and other structures along Lydia public lake
- Speeding on all streets
- Inadequate monitoring of beach vehicles
-Add or restrict parking on Hotz
-Trash and dumpster overflow in public alleys
-Sprucing up the Pine street access
The April 18, 2009 financial review is attached. As of May 13th, an additional $775.00 in new and renewing membership fees and a $200.00 donation increased our 2009 deposits to $5025.00.
*Members are reminded that the minutes of the meetings are available at:
Old Business/Ongoing issues for 2009:
· Storage unit - Grant will purchase and place the pre-approved 8x12 structure on Rivard property, to be used for storage of seasonal and annual meeting decorations and other GBNA items
· Lake access - this issue was discussed at length at the annual meeting, and will continued to be discussed with the new board
· Beach committee - the new board will put together a proactive volunteer committee to address any future county beach issues
· Grayton Beach History committee - Billy Buzzett has volunteered to spearhead this group which includes Shirley, Kitty, Pat and Ann
· Web site - Scott, Ann and Pat will work this summer to investigate the best options for simplifying online communications
· Annual Spring meeting and party - this past meeting and party, although smaller in scope, was deemed a success. current discussions focused on choosing the best date for next year, possibly Easter weekend.
· Fall meeting - Nothing fancy this year - pot luck and informal is what's on the menu.
· Speed monitor - Grant will actively investigate our options with the county. We are prepared to purchase a digtital speed sign that will be anchored by the county and moved randomly by Grant to see if it helps with speeding.
· Logo - Kitty, Grant, Ann and Pat will review all entries
· State Park/Pine Street walkover - The State Park personnel have taken charge of the walkover. They have the specs, materials and manpower, and will continue to allow us to use the path.
· TDC communication - Important TDC personnel: David Sell - maintenence, and Sonny Mares - director
· Noise ordinance - apparently Grayton's noise ordinance works so well here, the county is considering it for adoption elsewhere
· New Bars etc. - recommend that the county make sure that parking and building permits are in compliance with existing code
· Landscaping - discussed setting up a cleanup day for some of the public areas, including reed removal at lake accesses and removal of the dead tree by the main entrance sign. Triangle landscaping will continue.
· Holiday planning and decorating - July 4th parade on schedule. Kitty will make a flyer and place in visible locations. After parade get-together will take place at Grayton Properties with watermelon and lemonade - they will purchase supplies and provide receipts for reimbursement.
Grant suggested looking into Directors & Officers liability insurance for board members. Cost is roughly around $500, but will find out more info and report to the board.
2009-2010 Officer Elections:
President - Grant Blackwell
Vice President - Scott Provow
Treasurer - Shirley Sahlie
Secretaries - Pat & Ann (Membership reports)
New board members agreed to meet on the second Thursday of each month. The next meeting is June 11th @ 4:00, at 30A Resorts. Check e-mail for changes in location, time and dates. Homework for next meeting is to review the by-laws (located on the blog site).
Respectfully submitted 6/09/09 by Pat Murphy
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
AN ORDINANCE OF WALTON COUNTY, FLORIDA; REPEALING ORDINANCES 1996-15 AND 1997-30 RELATING TO THE CONTROL AND ABATEMENT OF EXCESSIVE NOISE IN GRAYTON BEACH, CHAPARREL ESTATES, HIDDEN HARBORS, AND HOLIDAY SHORES; PROVIDING FOR AUTHORITY; PROVIDING FOR APPLICABILITY; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR GENERAL PROHIBITION; PROVIDING FOR MEASUREMENT OF NOISE; PROVIDING FOR VIOLATION PROCEDURES; PROVIDING FOR PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR JUDICIAL CONSTRUCTION; SEVERABILITY; AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Walton County (the “Board”) finds that excessive and unnecessary noise interferes with the quality of life and can interfere with the health, safety, and general welfare of the public; and
WHEREAS, in particular, excessive and unnecessary noise can cause adverse psychological and physiological effects on humans; and
WHEREAS, the Board finds it is in the best interests of the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Walton County to establish reasonable regulations for the abatement of excessive and unnecessary noise.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of County Commissioners of Walton County, Florida that:
1. Repealer Clause: Walton County Ordinances 1996-15 and 1997-30, codified as Article V. Divisions 2 and 3 of the Walton County Code, is hereby repealed in its entirety.
2. A new Article V. Division 2 of the Walton County Code is hereby created to read:
DIVISION 2. COUNTY-WIDE
Section 9-136. Authority. The authority for the enactment of this Ordinance is Section 125.01, Florida Statutes, and the State Constitution.
Section 9-137. Applicability. This Ordinance shall be applied only to facilities and operations about which an affected person has lodged a complaint with an authorized enforcement agent or agency within the unincorporated areas of Walton County.
Section 9-138. Definitions. For the purpose of this ordinance, certain words and phrases used herein are defined as follows:
Noise shall mean any sounds or vibrations which annoy or disturb humans or cause or tend to cause adverse psychological effects on humans, and which may be harmful or injurious to the health or welfare of a reasonable person with normal sensibilities or unreasonably interfere with the normal conduct of life, use of property, or outdoor recreation.
Officer means a Walton County Sheriffs Department Officer or Walton County Code Enforcement Officer.
Person means any individual natural person, public or Private Corporation, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, or any other entity whatsoever or any combination of such, jointly and severally. Person shall include any owner, agent, or employee of a business establishment or other entity.
Plainly Audible means any noise that can be heard by a person using normal hearing faculties, at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more from the real property line of the source of the noise.
Real property line means an imaginary line along the ground surface, and its vertical plane extension, which separates the real property owned, rented or leased by one person from that owned, rented or leased by another person, excluding intrabuilding real property.
Section 9-139. General Prohibition. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this ordinance to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any noise disturbance which:
a. Produces or reproduces noise in a manner to be plainly audible between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more from the real property line of the property from which the source of the noise is located; or
b. Produces or reproduces noise in a manner to be plainly audible within a fully enclosed single-family dwelling at any time at a distance of three hundred (300) feet or more from the real property line of the property from which the source of the noise is located. A single-family dwelling shall have all windows and doors securely closed in order to be considered fully enclosed.
Section 9-140. Measurement of Noise. A Walton County Sheriffs Department Officer or Walton County Code Enforcement Officer who hears a noise that is in violation of Section 9-139 shall measure the noise according to the following standards:
a. The primary means of detection shall be by means of the officer’s normal hearing faculties.
b. The officer must have a direct line of sight and hearing to the real property of the source of the noise so that the officer can readily identify the offending source of the noise and the distance involved. If the officer is unable to have a direct line of sight and hearing to the real property of the source of the noise, then the officer shall confirm the source of the noise by approaching the real property suspected of being the source of the noise until the officer is able to obtain a direct line of sight and hearing, and identify the identical or same noise that was heard at the place of original measurement of the noise.
Section 9-141. Exemptions. The following are exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance:
a. The unamplified human voice.
b. Railway locomotives or cars.
c. Bona fide agricultural equipment used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.
d. Maintenance of public facilities.
e. Law enforcement activities, including training.
f. Outdoor hunting or hunting sports. The discharge of firearms in rural areas in the normal course of legal hunting activities or customary shooting sports such as skeet, trap, and target shooting.
g. Emergency signals.
h. Refuse collection vehicles.
i. Organized athletic contests or sporting events.
Section 9-142. Violation procedures.
(1) Complaint procedures; warnings.
a. When a complaint is received, officer shall promptly investigate the charges. The person making the complaint will not be required to identify himself/herself and may remain anonymous.
b. When an officer determines that the noise emanating from a piece of property is in violation of Section 9-139, the officer shall issue an official warning to (1) the person or persons responsible for compliance with this ordinance and (2) the person or persons making the actual noise. The warning shall state the violation, shall advise the offenders to cease and desist the violation, and shall advise of the possible penalty if the person or persons fail to eliminate the noise or reduce the noise so that it is within permitted limits and is not plainly audible.
c. The person or persons receiving the warning shall have five (5) minutes to comply with the warning.
d. A warning issued under section 9-142(1)(b) is valid for a period of thirty (30) days, and such warning shall remain in effect against the offending person or persons for the same or similar type violations for a period of thirty (30) days.
(2) Arrest; termination of offending noise.
a. If the noise is not eliminated or reduced to allowable limits within five (5) minutes after the warning, or if the noise is abated after warning and then reoccurs within thirty (30) days, the person so warned and not complying shall be arrested for a violation of this ordinance and upon conviction shall be subject to the penalties designated in Section 9-143.
b. If an arrest is made, the officer shall have the power and authority to immediately terminate the cause of the offending noise, including prohibiting any further noise from musical instruments or mechanical or electronic sound-making devices or equipment for a period of twenty-four (24) hours.
(3) Joint and several responsibilities. The owner of the business, tenant/lessee of property, or a manager, overseer, agent, or any other person lawfully entitled to possess the property or manage the business premises from which the offending noise is emitted at the time the offending noise is emitted shall be jointly and severally liable for compliance with this ordinance and each shall be punished for its violation as shall the person or persons actually causing such noise. It shall not be a lawful defense to assert that some other person caused the noise. The lawful possessor, manager, or operator of the premises shall be responsible for operating or maintaining the premises in compliance with this ordinance shall be applied to such person or persons as well as to the person or persons actually causing the noise.
Section 9-143. Penalties.
a. All violations of this Ordinance shall be investigated, cited, processed, adjudicated and punished in the same manner as a misdemeanor, in accordance with F.S. §125.69. Upon conviction, a violator may be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed 60 days, or by both fine and imprisonment, for each violation.
b. The imposition of a fine under this section shall not prevent the county or a private person from instituting a civil action at law for damages or injunctive relief in order to prevent or abate violations of this ordinance. A violation of this ordinance is declared to be a public nuisance.
Section 9-144. Judicial Construction. NO provision of this noise ordinance shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action, or legal remedy there from.
3. Should any word, phrase, sentence, or section of this ordinance be held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be illegal, void, unenforceable, or unconstitutional, then such shall be severed from this ordinance and the remainder of the ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.
4. This ordinance shall take effect as provided by law.
Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Walton County, Florida, at a duly advertised public hearing, this _______ day of _____________________2009.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF WALTON COUNTY, FLORIDA
Sara Comander, Chair
Martha Ingle, Clerk of Court
Monday, May 11, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Your new board was elected...Mike Valentino Grant Blackwell, Ann Morrell, Kitty Taylor and Scott Provow. Ann Morrell will serve one year finishing up the term of Frank Moultrie, the others will be serving on the board for two years. Rounding out the seven board members are Shirley Shalie and Pat Murphy.