Walton County Customary Use Decision

Defuniak Springs, Fla. - The battle of the beaches in Walton County continues but will soon come to an end. Today, Walton County Commissioners addressed the controversial topic of customary use and set the rules that will now be in effect.
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners meeting was standing room only again, as the commissioners discussed the hot topic of a customary use ordinance. The current ordinance protects the public's long standing customary use of the beaches, establishing a buffer around private permanent structures and sets penalties of violations.

"Today, the board looked at the customary use recommendations made by the committee. They made several recommendations to add or change the current one that's in place and going to into effect April 1st. There were a few small changes made based on those recommendations. They certainly were not wholesale changes. It remains mostly intact as it started and it still will going into effect April 1st," explained Louis Svehla, Public Information Officer for Walton County Commissioners.

During the meeting, the changes the customary use committee suggested were discussed to be made before the ordinance goes into effect.

"There is not going to be a lot that will be noticed per say. There are still certain things you can't do on the beach, whether it's public or through customary use. Intoxication or parties causing issues on the beach, it's not going to be allowed regardless of what this does," said Svehla.

Some of these changes included sizes of the beach tents, umbrellas and language of the ordinance. The commissioners also addressed what people can expect going forward.

"As far as customary use, most homeowners aren't going to see a difference. There will be people walking along the beach there will be people sitting on the beach but certainly they need to know that if they see anything that's against the law, they can report that as they always have to Code Violations or to the Sheriff's office," said Svehla.

After the changes were brought to the attention of the commissioners, they agreed with a vote.

"But certainly now our public will be able to perverse the beach to go from property to property. They can certainly sit down and enjoy the dry sand but other than that, the ordinance is pretty much intact as it was approved several months ago," explained Svehla.

County officials are confident in their decision about the customary use ordinance and think it will be beneficial to everyone. The revised ordinance will officially go into effect this Saturday, April 1st.

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