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