Grayton has lots of underground utilities including TV/internet cables, gas lines, phone lines, and electrical lines. Before you DIG please call 811 annd the companies will come out and mark where the lines are. There is no cost for this service.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Letter from Grant Blackwell, President of GBNA

January 30, 2011

Grayton Beach Neighborhood Association

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Every year about this time I send out a letter to review the events of the prior year and discuss issues facing us for the New Year.

OIL SPILL: I guess there has never been any bigger news than the oil spill. We were all affected by it and most especially the fear for our way of life here in Grayton. If you were not here it is difficult to describe the helplessness felt by those that live here. Every day you waited for the oil invasion. We watched as a promising economic recovery for the area succumbed to investment fears and travel plan changes by tourists. Our business owner members all suffered financial loss as did our Grayton property owners that depend on rental income. Then, as suddenly as it started, the oil was gone.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY: 2010 started with a boom. Real Estate sales for the first quarter of 2010 were up some 35% as compared to 2009. When the oil spill happened the real estate sales just came to a halt. Spring break season which was just prior to the oil spill was a banner success. But the tourist stayed away in droves after the spill.

Now thankfully we are back on track. Real Estate sales in Walton County are not only above the 2009 numbers, but are in fact 15% above this time last year. The recovery seems to be on again. Vacation rentals promise to be outstanding for Spring Break and beyond. Two weeks ago the song writer festival was in town and the area was buzzing even given near record low temperatures. Things look bright for 2011.

BEACH PERMIT ORDINANCE: I know many of you are concerned about the beach driving permit ordinance. If you will recall, last year the County Commissioners passed very unpopular changes to the beach permit ordinance. The goal was to reduce the number of permits, but with the addition of a grandfather clause many residents that did not renew their permits in 2009 did not qualify for a 2010 permit. Unfortunately, many Grayton residents were among those left out of the system. Even our friends and neighbors outside of Grayton, feel strongly that Gratyon residents should be assured of the ability to get a permit.

The Board of Commissioners is going to have a public hearing on more changes Feb. 8. As with last year’s changes, there are language and qualification criteria that many of us find unacceptable.

Billy Buzzett wrote ordinance language with input from some passionate informed residents, including your board members that would have assured that every Grayton resident be able to qualify for a permit. Unfortunately, our Commissioners would not present it for public consideration. The Commissioners have in fact proposed other changes that you can review on our Blog. (  I encourage you to read this  proposed amended ordinance and write every Commissioner and express your personal desires and concerns.

Grayton is not a town, a city or municipality. We are a part of Walton County and governed by the County Commissioners. Our Commissioners have shown no indication of fully understanding the history of Grayton Beach and recognizing the importance of Grayton and its economic and social impact on the area as a whole. Make your voice known and stay informed. On our blog you will find the email address and phone number for every Commissioner. This will not be the last major decision they make relative to Grayson. We simply must speak out to help them understand Grayton’s significance to Walton County.

MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE: You will be receiving your membership package in a couple of weeks. Please take the time to complete the information and return it as soon as possible. In this package will be ballots for voting for the GBNA board of directors. We have four directors rolling off this year. Some have agreed to serve another term if there are not enough interested residents to fill the board positions. Your GBNA board meets 6 to 10 times per year dependent upon the issues and projects at hand. If you know someone that you would like to see on the board, or if you would like to serve, please forward the information to me now (via email) and I will be happy to contact them.

In your annual membership package you will find two other new items. First, you are going to be asked to vote for an approval change for our by-laws. This change will allow your GBNA board to speak on your behalf to the county commissioners. We took a show of hands vote at last year’s annual meeting and it was unanimously approved, but we need to actually document the votes. We are also going to publish a Grayton Member Directory and you can decide if you want your information listed or not.

ANNUAL MEETING AND BAR-B-QUE: Last year we had our annual meeting on Easter weekend. It was a great success. We had over 100 people and a good time was had by all. We are planning the event this year again for Easter weekend, Saturday April 23rd. Please mark your calendar and plan on joining us.

LOGO: Folks we need a logo for the GBNA or Grayton. If you or a member of your family are gifted in this manner or are in the printing or graphics business, we would love some help in getting this done. We will use it for print materials and for the entry sign in to Grayton.

I want to hear from you. I want your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. I need to know of anyone that you think might enjoy serving on the board by February 9. Please e mail me at , you can also email the board at and I encourage you to visit the blog often for updates on Grayton. Be sure to review it now for information on the Beach Driving Permit Ordinance.   or google Grayton Beach Neighborhood Association.

Kindest regards,
Grant Blackwell, President GBNA Board of Directors

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