750 passionate locals made their voices heard regarding the public use of beaches.

The Walton County Board held a public meeting at South Walton High School with the issue of customary use in the spotlight. 

“This was the meeting to consider the customary use ordinance for Walton County,” said Daniel Uhlfelder, Florida Beaches For All attorney. 

The first half of the meeting was originally planned to have county attorneys and representatives present their evidence of affirmation of public use, such as signed affidavits.

However, it was postponed due to 13 properties not receiving their required certified mail notifications.

“Unfortunately due to some issues with some notification of a couple properties that didn’t get the certified mail required notification. They pulled that back,” explained Louis Svehla, Walton County Public Information Manager.

“Under the statute there’s three ways to get noticed and apparently one of the ways was not provided for certain Gulf front owners,” noted Uhlfelder. 

“We felt that it was best, in the legal team there under their direction, felt that it was best that we re-notice everybody and postpone this meeting and have that sixty days out,” said Svehla.

Despite that, the meeting still proceeded and allowed the public to comment on the issue to the board.

“The customary things that have always been done whether it would be walking on the beach, fishing from the beach, laying on the beach,” added Svehla.

“It’s a God given right. It’s a right we have been born with, that we have had for thousands of years. That right we’re going to continue to fight for it. We’re going to be back in November, just as strong and just as many supporters,” said Uhlfelder.

“So you have advocates who are certainly for that and you have some who are not. They are both passionate about those beliefs on both sides. This was an important meeting, even though everything that was planned and what the intent was didn’t happen. It’s still always important to be able to hear from the public. It’s more information that the board can get, it’s more information that the public can hear. It will certainly be beneficial going forward as the county goes through this process,” emphasized Svehla.

The postponed evidence presentation is planned to be held on November 3rd.