The main change: You can get a permit (one of the extra 150 being offered) if you are a registered voter, which means you don't have to own property in Walton Co.unty to get a permit, you only have to have a voter registration card.
The application: A voter registration application is complete if it contains the following information necessary to establish the applicant's eligibility pursuant to s. 97.041, including:
1. Applicant's name.
2. Applicant's legal residence address. (can live at home or rent, does not need to own Walton County property)
3. Applican't date of birth (can apply at age 16, vote at age 18)
4. Be a citizen of the United States
5. Hold a valid Florida's driving license or a Florida Identification Card.
They were also going to open the 150 lottery on January 3rd. Folks could line up and get a permit that would allow them a 6 month permit that would take them to June. They would pay the full 125 dollars. Then they would have to stand in line and pay again for a full year permit in June. One Commissioner felt that they should accept all applications for a week and then draw 150 lucky winners.
They also told us that anyone with a handicap could get a permit any time through out the year. They also had added military personel in Walton county could apply for a permit without meeting any of the other regulations.. (The military was a new addition) (Many of us wondered and expressed our concerns how notification (fair notification) would be made by January 3rd, after all it is Christmas and New Year's)
Some of the folks in attendance were complaining, and rightly so, that they had lost their permit because they owned property but didn't have a structure on it. They had met all requirements but this one, so they lost their permit in 2010. (With the new Ordinance this requirement is deleted , so now those folks will fall into the "150 group fighting for a permit pot") They were concerned that they paid taxes, had permits up until the change in 2010, and now would be up against someone in the 150 group, that didn't own property, but did have a voter's registration card.
There were those that spoke, who forgot to renew their application, either because they didn't know, or they were out of state, or in surgery, or out of the country, or working the oil spill and they asked to be considered for the grandfather group. Some even said, they had never had a permit, but they wanted one that year and couldn't get one. The board didn't seem to buy into any of this...and just kept telling them they could get one of the 150 new permits. I got the strong impression that if one person was granted grandfathering then all would have to be granted. I am sure that many folks had good reasons for missing out on renewing their application but I didn't see the board reacting to any of the stories.
Some in the audience suggested that the county should issue different kinds of permits...week day permits, week end permits, drop off permits (just let them get their stuff down to the beach). Not sure these drop off folks realize that we have limited parking down on Hotz so what do they do with their cars while down on the beach? I am sure that suggestions like this would be a nightmare for the Tax Collector Office. Some said there shouldn't be a limited number of permits period...that they should give anyone who wanted one a permit. Many of these folks thought Grayton could have 1000 cars down there at one time with no problem. That told me, they haven't been down to Grayton Beach for awhile.
I suggested when I spoke, knew it wouldn't fly, but tried...that perhaps a permit issued to a Grayton owner be issued to the address, the home itself, as Grayton folks passed their homes down in the family...that way there would always be a permit available in case the original owner of the permit passed away. That would eliminate a lot of the concerns of the folks that live in the neighborhood where the one driving on beach is located. They didn't comment, but looking at their faces they acted like I was wasting their time with that suggestion. I believe Grant and Billy, presented a similar option to the board via letter.
Anyway, one good thing, they opted not to take a vote tonight...the Commissioners said they had heard a lot of things that they needed to rethink
I can't tell you how important it is to voice your concerns...if you feel strongly one way or another let them know. I am going to get a copy of the newest ordinance up as soon as I can...so you can see the additional changes and wording that was added today before our meeting on Feb 8th. The contacts for the Commissioners are located on the right side of the blog I would contact all five Commissioners not just Ms. Jones, as all 5 vote.