I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

They Really, Really, Really Do NOT want us to #OpenOurBeach......

Condo Owners near the County's 330 foot parcel of Beachfront property love to use our beach as their own "private" beach.  They even advertise it!  Now that we're going to #OpenOurBeach--a group of condo owners are going to court to try to stop us.  They like it the way it is, because it is a comfortable status quo for them.

First, the folks that never wanted us to do what we voted to do (namely, to open our 330 foot Gulf-Front parcel in Perdido Key for habitat conservation AND Public Beach Access) intentionally perpetuated a comfortable status quo where no action was taken on our land at the beach.  The parcel just sat there.  No habitat fencing, no signage describing the sensitivity of the area, no "no trespassing" signs or "keep out" signs cautioning beach goers not to venture into the dunes.  Nope. Only a "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" sign at the road, along with a locked, fenced gate to keep folks from parking there. And no public beach access.  For four years.

This pleased some special interest developers and a number of nearby condominium owners who really wanted no development at all on that site while the condo owners enjoyed unfettered access to what had become their own "private beach."

It was great for those that already "had theirs" but it was untenable for the county taxpayers, the OWNERS of that parcel who, by this purposeful inaction, were being kept OUT of accessing this prime Gulf-front land.

Every excuse in the book was being put forward--but none of it withstood even the slightest bit of scrutiny. Some people said it was all "political"--but they were wrong.  It isn't political, it was never political, it's about doing what is right.  And so shortly thereafter ----the BCC's Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to grant a conditional use permit for public beach access at this location after the BCC voted to put funding forward to #OpenOurBeach.

So now come the lawyers of the Condo Owners, trying to get the Circuit Court to overturn the BCC and BOA decision to #OpenOurBeach.  They have filed this document hoping to slow down our work to #OpenOurBeach.  What a shame, how disappointing.

But it's not surprising to those of us who've followed this. Because these special interests really, really, really don't want you and I going out there and using "their" beach.  It's shameless.

But we will fix it and we will throw a massive beach party this year, this summer, when we #OpenOurBeach.

For those that are just now tuning in to this mess--if you want the full backstory--just hit the #OpenOurBeach hashtag in this blog's search bar (or on my commissioner's facebook page) and you will get it all.


Mike McCormack said...

Jeff, I look forward to that party! It will be a joyous day for sure!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Doug Underhill trying to keep this for himself, isn't that corruption? Seems he has GOBs trying to assist him in his endeavors.

Ms.Magi said...

Yeppers, love parties ..thanks for keeping ON this Jeff .. Good job!!

Anonymous said...

So Underhill just announced WEAR TV is doing a piece at 10 PM that the lawsuit is to keep the county from screwing up the old sundowner property. And people liked and shared it. Give me a break. The county owns it. He locked the gate.,I hope he is going down for this. Did he run to the news AGAIN? Citizens are the rest of the BOCC are dupes if they can't see through this. Waiting til 10 to see how this is spun.

Anonymous said...

It is so obvious who is behind this if you take the time to read through the writ (aka appeal) It is Jaqueline Aimee Rogers. If you read the writ, it is her sworn testimony they are going on. So if these claims are valid, the Board of Adjustment needs to get with it but it is her stopping the taxpayers and citizens from going to their own beach and is using the knowledge she gained by attempting to fight Wilson Robinson.

Same person who runs the Escambia Citizens Watch facebook group that supports Underhill, is any one tired of her yet?

Last night at three AM she tried to pretend she didn't know anything about it, then started putting down the links and had screen shots ready to go. Said she hadn't read it. Heck I bet she wrote it! It was staged. Bad act. She was blown off at the Board of Adjustment and came back and dug in with all she had and mad. Watching the Watcher.

"The Song she Sings over the Entire County"

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous 7:30--the media actually called me after they went to my blog and read the posts. I think opening the beach for the people is the "high ground" in the court of public opinion and the BS stance of "We have to buy more property and NOT use the land we already have" is the loser argument in this instance. Regardless of what the one commissioner opposed to this is saying, or what he has said previously, he will be on the wrong side of the argument. He will not have the high ground on this, and those that support opening this beach for public access and protecting the habitat will be on the right side of this issue. That's where I am.

Anonymous said...

High ground is good ground. Will trust your judgement.

Blessed said...

Irregardless of the subject matter, this lawsuit will certainly test whether the county is conducting its business in a legally binding way. Should be interesting to see the outcome. Hopefully, it wont get held up too long in the slow moving legal process.

Jeffery Cudd said...

Thank you Commissioner!!

Anonymous said...

Well, Jeff, honestly, I kind of have been sort of angry about the exploitation that could happen on our beach if it opens. Unfettered access can really wreak havoc on the beach, and it is kind of unfair. People just drop their trash on the beach like it's nobody's business, thinking they have a right to invade and downgrade it. Male or female, it's shameless.

I can agree with open beach access as long as there aren't constant violations that shamelessly exploit the beach. In fact, it looks like folks have been trying hard to open it when this issue was getting popular but it met barrier after barrier. I'm sure condo owners have been whining, complaining, and trying to fix the things they can't change, only making it harder for open beach access.

So I can see why the issue has dragged on when things beyond the control of the public keep happening. The next thing we need is a big oil exploiting our natural resources and not respecting the rightful boundaries of the beach.

So yeah, I do agree with open access, it's just I am kind angry about the possible invasion and rule violations from the public too!

Marshall Brinson said...

Until Access #4 is opened to the public, it should be marked with signage to keep the condo owners off of the property. If they cared so much about the beach mouse, why did they build, to start with? They only care about the beach mouse in order to keep the commoners away from their private beach Get this open and let's party! πŸΎπŸŽ‰

Anonymous said...

This is not on the Feb 7 agenda. Email posted said it would be brought to that meeting.