SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A Santa Rosa Beach homeowner is suing Walton County.
Theresa Tolbert and her husband have lived off of Bishop-Tolbert Road for 43 years, a private road in Santa Rosa Beach.
Last year Atlanta developer Adam Brock bought 84 acres nearby to build apartments.
“It’s been a private road for 43 years that we’ve lived here and just within the last year since he proposed this development, the county now wants to take it and make it a county road, but we’ve maintained records all the way back from when President Taft first signed it over to the first homesteader,” Theresa Tolbert said.
Tolbert and her husband own 70 acres of land and their deed states that they own up until the middle of the road.
This development would strip them of four acres.
“We aren’t against development,” Tolbert said. “We know that’s going to come, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that and make a mess where there’s going to be stormwater issues, runoff, and ruin other people’s property just so one developer with one project can get his project done. It’s not fair. It’s not right for the people that are already here and there are property rights. We believe in property rights,” Theresa Tolbert said.
She added that the county has refused to do any work on the road for years.
“We’ve asked the county to do some maintenance in the past and they told us it was a private road and that they would not do any maintenance. We could not get our mail delivered here because it was not a county-dedicated road. It was a private road,” she said.
Theresa Tolbert said even though the state and federal government agree with them, the county is still claiming to own it.
She said the lawsuit isn’t about money, but about principle.
County officials declined to comment citing the pending lawsuit.
The developer will go in front of the board on November 22 for final approval.
Below are the two lawsuits Tolbert has filed against the county.