By DOTTY NIST
Beach vending has been discontinued on a section of Grayton Beach at the request of beachfront property owners, according to Jim Bagby, Walton County Tourist Development Council executive director.
Bagby said the section in question extends from the western drive-on entrance to the beach to the west toward the western section of Grayton Beach State Park. This is land that the county leases from the state for public recreational use.
The leased section is bounded on the north by privately-owned property, Bagby noted. The section, he said, does not extend all the way to Grayton Beach State Park but ends a number of lots away from the park property.
In Walton County, vendors provide beach chairs, umbrellas, and other items for beachgoers within the terms of permits issued by the county.
The Walton County Beach Activities Ordinance states that “(n)o vending on public beaches shall occur without written annual authorization from the county and any private property owner whose southern boundary line is contiguous to the proposed vending location.”
Bagby said the property owners’ reason for asking for vending to stop adjacent to their property was their feeling that those operations had gotten “out of control,” with vendors’ set-ups “taking up the entire front row” along the beach.
The Beach Activities Ordinance states that “(b)each chairs and umbrellas must be placed at a reasonable set back from the water’s edge, and, on public beaches, must allow for private set up space and access aisles for access to the water.” However, these rules have not always been complied with by vendors in recent years.
“The county commissioners have received a lot of complaints on beach vending, and we look forward to discussing any changes that the commissioners might want to make for the next season,” Bagby said.
By DOTTY NIST