Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. - A quarrel over the future of South Walton continues. Some residents and developers continue the fight over a bed and breakfast. South Walton residents might soon see the project break ground.
Walton County Commissioners convened for a rehearing for a project, called Summerhouse Bed and Breakfast, that was originally shot down in 2016. Developers, once again, are asking the commissioners to reconsider.
"The application by Mrs. Bottoms is to develop her partial of the property that she has owned for a very long time. She is going to build a 25 unit bed and breakfast," explained Dan Abbott, Weiss Serota Helfman lawyer/attorney.
Making many neighboring residents angry.
"This was ill planned, ill founded and unfortunately, it was a very bad decision by three of the Walton County Commissioners, who as usual, voted in favor of the developers," said Rich Jaffe, Historic Inlet Beach, Homeowners Association President.
After hearing from the public, Commissioner Tony Anderson motioned for a vote to approve the project. The Summerhouse B&B passed with a three to two vote.
"These people flat out said, they know the State will not license this facility as a bed and breakfast, and yet, they are being allowed to build it anyways," explained Jaffe.
"Under the County's development regulations, she needed what is called a major development approval and that was the approval that was sought and granted," shared Abbott.
The 25 room, bed and breakfast is planned to sit right along Highway 98 near Inlet Beach. Residents of that area are furious with the outcome and have several concerns.
"So, the State regulations that require 15 rooms or less in a bed and breakfast mean nothing to three of these commissioners and, or the applicant here," said Jaffe.
With the County's approval now in hand, Summerhouse B&B officials say they are looking forward to putting a shovel in the ground and will begin building as soon as possible.
Residents from Inlet Beach said they are not ready to give up yet. They say they will continue to work on their land development code to prevent similar developments in the future.
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