Destin property owners refuting beach renourishment?

by April 14, 2008 • 4 comments

An article in the News Herald this morning reported on a case before the Florida Supreme Court addressing the Walton County beach renourishment efforts. As the article reads, property owners are suing to prevent this and it may cause renourishment efforts to be their responsibility when they want to do it and how much effort/money they want to put into it.

The argument is that it may be the “unconstitutional taking of private property from beach-front homeowners.” Am I reading this wrong? Beach renourishment, in my opinion is a great thing for the property owners. As a property owner on the beach, why would I not want this? If I had 100 feet of beach in between my home and the water, and now I had 50 feet, I would want back that extra 50 feet.

I know the beach restoration project in Walton County has had problems in the past, with concerns of the sea turtle nests.

As reported, if the renourishment is found unconstitutional, the property owners would have the responsibility to cover the restoration costs.

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1 Don April 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

The title “Destin property owners refuting beach renourishment” might be misleading. There is currently a case in the Florida Supreme Court brought by several Walton County property owners. It is my understanding that 6 property owners are involved. The vast majority of property owners in Destin want beach restoration. A group named Citizens for Healthy Beaches in working to bring restoration to western Destin’s beaches. See the Destin Log Article:

http://www.thedestinlog.com/news/owners_4189___article.html/property_destin.html

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2 Hugh April 15, 2008 at 7:49 am

Part of the problem may be the same one encountered by Bay County, that being the county wanted a permanent easement across the beach in exchange for the renurishiment. Many owners have title policies that show ownership to the waters edge. Many Bay County property owners did not give the easement for the renurishiment even though the county threatened to skip their property during the renurishment. The County ultimately gave in and performed the renurishment without the easement.

These Title Policies showing to the waters edge are not in conflict with the walking easement the State has to the Mean High Water Line. This line is determined by the state and is a 17 year average of the high water line. The current average high water mark is in the water for Bay County.

Bay County may one day get into the same arguement that Destin and Walton County is in regarding the old queston of “Who ownes the beach”.

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3 Jason April 15, 2008 at 9:15 am

great information, and good point. Thanks.

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4 Don April 16, 2008 at 5:14 pm

When a beach is restored there is line established by survey called the Erosion Control Line (roughly the Mean High Water Line). After restoration the state owns the sand seaward of the ECL. Water front property owners have “riparian rights” whereby they gain or loose ground as sand is added or removed by nature. Their argument is that they loose their “riparian rights”.

The decision of the Florida Supreme Court will affect all of Florida and many are concerned that their decision could prevent beach restoration anywhere in Florida. It could go to the US Supreme Court and have greater impact.

Current article about the case:
Verdict still out on beach restoration –
State Supreme Court heard case nearly a year ago –

http://www.thedestinlog.com/news/href_4267___article.html/nwfdailynews_www.html

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