By DOTTY NIST
Conceptual plans for the Headland Avenue Neighborhood Beach Access were presented on Sept. 5 at a public workshop hosted by the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC).
The workshop took place at the South Walton Annex.
In May, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) had voted to have TDC staff bring forward conceptual plans for beach access improvements at the location, which is on the south end of the Headland Avenue right-of-way in the Seagrove-area SeaHighland subdivision.
There are public beach accesses at the south end of a number of other roads within the subdivision, and these accesses have been described as heavily used.
The Headland Avenue location has been described by the TDC as an existing, unimproved beach access. In past years, beachgoers used a sand path leading to the shore from the south end of Headland Avenue, but in recent years landscaping installed by adjacent property owners has made use of the sand path difficult.
At the workshop, Brian Kellenberger, TDC director of beach operations, introduced John Fielding, engineer for the Headland Avenue Neighborhood Beach Access project.
Fielding displayed plans for the access. Those included a standard boardwalk and dune walkover with seating area, paved area with bicycle racks, a shower for rinsing off after swimming, a small drainage collection and infiltration system for stormwater, and concrete sidewalks that are to connect with the multi-use path along CR-30A. No parking for vehicles other than bicycles is planned
Kellenberger described plans for the beach access as similar to the nearby existing Dothan Avenue Neighborhood Beach Access.
He noted that the proposed access leads to a long stretch of beach that is dedicated to the public.
In response to a question, Kellenberger said some of the existing landscaping at the location would be removed and that plans were for all landscaping put in to be native to the area.
The beach access plans got a positive response from members of the public attending the workshop. However, proposals to put in beach access improvements at this location in recent years have been controversial, and Kellenberger thought it would be likely that citizens would continue to speak out both in favor and in opposition when the plans go before the BCC for consideration.
He anticipated that the conceptual plans would be on the agenda for the 4 p.m. Oct. 8 regular BCC meeting at the South Walton Annex.
Conceptual plans for the access that were presented at the workshop may be viewed online at: https://tinyurl.com/y326zxx8