New Motions Filed: Customary Use Battle Leaves the Sand and Enters the Courtroom

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Our entity Florida Beaches for All is seeking to assist the county in getting customary use affirmed… that’s our goal to get into the case.”

The Customary Use battle on the beach continues and Thursday, April 11 marks a big day in the fight.

Supporters of public beach appeared before a judge with a motion to intervene.

“It’s not personal but, it gets personal to the extent that we are personally affected. And, my children will not be able and are not able to use the beaches that I have used for the last 33 years,” explained Dave Rauschkolb, Florida Beaches for All, Board Member.

Since July of last summer, Walton County’s battle has escalated, moving from the beach to the courtroom.

Only a small majority of filings have been made in support of Walton county’s complaint. Of that small number, one of those is Florida Beaches For All.

“Florida Beaches for All was established for this specific purpose of preserving customary use. So, we believe it’s important to that the entity that we represent be able to join the lawsuit to support that cause,” said Daniel Uhlfelder, Florida Beaches for All.

Originally, the customary use ordinance allowed all beachgoers to use the beach for recreational activities but, House Bill 631 made the ordinance null and void, weighing in the favor of the private beachfront property owners.

“In this case, Florida Beaches for All simply does not have that interest. They just want to be in the case and involved in the case but, the Statute clearly identifies that it’s the landowners’ beach being sued by the county are the ones entitled to intervene,” said Kent Safriet, Attorney at Law, representing Private Beach Owner’s.

“We feel that the county represents Walton County citizens but, Florida Beaches for All should be able to represent citizens who live in the county, citizens who visit the county from other states and come here to use the beaches,” said Rauschkolb.

Dozens of South Walton residents filled the courtroom. Many, proudly wearing their stickers as moral support.

“I just want to be one of those people that stands up in support. I’ve got on my tag (points to tag) and I am here hoping that we get a say, a further say along side of the county,” shared Laurie Reichenbach, South Walton Resident.

 Judge Green did not approve or deny the motion to intervene. He told both parties he would consider and let them know, via written response, in the near future.

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