By DOTTY NIST
New permits for driving on the beach in Walton County are now being issued as a result of the beach driving permit lottery that was held on May 16.
According to the Walton County Administration, 195 applications for beach driving permits were received. Administration selected 150 applications through the lottery. The “lottery winners” were then eligible to obtain beach driving permits.
The lottery was part of the changes approved this year for the county’s beach driving program. The 150 new permits represented an expansion to the program after county commissioners had made the decision last year not to issue new permits, just permit renewals. Another change for 2011 was that not only county property owners but also non-property-owner registered Walton County voters were able to apply for beach driving permits.
Permit applicants chosen in the lottery are able to get their permit right away but will have until May 31, 2012 to obtain their permit. The 150 new permits will not be vested, so these permit holders may or may not receive a permit next year, depending on whether they apply for the lottery and whether their applications are chosen at that time.
According to the Walton County Clerk of Courts, current issuing authority for beach driving permits, so far 91 beach driving permits have been issued to “lottery winners.” Administration noted that a couple of applicants selected in the lottery have decided not to obtain beach driving permits, so holders of applications coming next in the lottery sequence will be contacted and will be able to apply for a permit.
In addition, 604 beach driving permit renewals have been issued to permit owners who have a vested status in the program.
The permit fee for beach driving permits is $125 per year. Additional information on beach driving permits is available by calling the Walton County Clerk of Courts at (850) 267-3066 or (850) 892-8115 or by visiting the web site www.clerkofcourts.co.walton.fl.us.