CCFJ.NET: Private Beaches In Florida Spark Battle With Residents And County
Article Courtesy of NPR
By Greg Allen
Published September 13, 2018
Santa Rosa Beach, in Florida’s Walton County, is a quiet place with sugar-white sand, a pleasant surf and signs warning visitors to stay out. The largely rural county on Florida’s Panhandle is at the center of a battle over one of the state’s most precious resources: its beaches. Most of the 26 miles of beaches are already privately owned. As of July 1, homeowners with beachfront property in Walton County can declare their beach private and off-limits to the public. The new law has sparked a standoff between wealthy homeowners and other local residents.
|In Walton County and in Tallahassee, where Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law, an earlier version of the bill was known as the “Huckabee amendment.” Fox News commentator and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has a beachfront house in Santa Rosa Beach. Since the bill went into effect, opponents of the law have speculated about Huckabee’s role in getting it passed.
In January emails to Kathleen Passidomo, the bill’s sponsor in Florida’s Senate, Huckabee thanked her for helping protect property rights from what he called ” ‘customary use’ abuse.”
“Having grown up dirt poor in Arkansas, I never thought I would see saltwater in person, much less live on a beach,” Huckabee writes. But he says he has been appalled at what he has found on his beach property. “I’ve found used condoms on my walk-down, glass bottles broken, dog feces, litter. Sharp tent poles that can cut bare feet and worse. Large tents with large groups with boom boxes make using my own property very difficult during high season.” Read more: