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......
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.