By LEAH STRATMANN
The second and final reading of ordinance 2010-02 regarding beach bonfires was read and adapted by the South Walton Fire District (SWFD) commissioners at the regular monthly meeting last week.
Assistant chief Marc Anderson outlined the guidelines for the commissioners and showed them a brochure the district will be handing out to those seeking a permit for a beach bonfire. The district is assuming responsibility for permitting from the county. The new ordinance closely mirrors the previous county ordinance on beach bonfires and establishes a procedure for requesting a permit, a fee structure and guidelines for conducting a beach bonfire.
Commissioner Jack Abit commented on the fee structure when he said it was unfair to charge the beachfront property owner nothing, but the guy living behind him had to pay $50 for the privilege of building a fire.
When the vote was taken, Abit voted nay because of the fee structure, but the motion was carried. The ordinance goes into effect immediately.
“The SWFD feels it is a natural fit that we have some oversight and awareness of open burning taking place in south Walton, in particular on our beaches,” said fire chief Rick Talbert in a press release dated the day after the meeting.
Anyone wishing to obtain a beach bonfire permit must come to the SWFD Station 3/Headquarters, located at 911 N. CR-393, Santa Rosa Beach, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and complete a temporary beach bonfire permit application, which requires a $50 fee payable by check or cash only.
“The beaches of south Walton provide the perfect settings for birthday and graduation parties, end of day summer barbecues and uniquely coastal Thanksgiving celebrations that include bonfires. The SWFD wants to ensure that these gatherings are safe and only leave fond memories and footprints in the sand,” said deputy chief Sean Hughes in the same press release issued on Dec. 7.
For more information concerning beach bonfires contact fire marshal Sammy Sanchez at (850) 267-1298 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leah Stratmann may be reached via email@example.com