Walton County schedules Feb. 28 Beach Activities Ordinance public hearing

THE YEARLY UPDATE to the Walton County Beach Activities Ordinance is planned for Feb. 28, with most proposed changes related to beach vending. (Photo by Dotty Nist)

By DOTTY NIST

Proposed changes to the Walton County Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance will be considered at a 10 a.m. or as soon as possible after 10 a.m. on Feb. 28 public hearing at the South Walton Annex.

For the first time, this yearly update of the ordinance, if approved, will provide for an agreement to be entered into between the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and a vendor for “managed vending services” at any public beach access, with the terms of the agreement to apply to vending at that particular public beach access.

At the Jan. 23 Beach Activities Ordinance Workshop, the county commissioners directed the formation of a committee to make recommendations for a managed beach vending program. Committee members were appointed at the Feb. 12 BCC meeting, and the new committee held its first meeting on Feb. 14.

Another new proposed vendor provision would require delivery vendors to either remove their equipment from the beach every day or store them in properly-permitted beach storage boxes.

In other changes related to vending, a revision is proposed to the current provision requiring written annual authorization from any private property owner whose southern property line is adjacent to a proposed vending location in order for vending to occur. The annual authorization would be required only on beaches seaward of the erosion control line. This is a line established in connection with large-scale beach nourishment projects that currently exists only along the beach in the Miramar Beach area.

Other proposed changes to the ordinance apply to permits allowing leashed dogs on the beach for property owners and permanent residents and would extend hours for dogs on the beach slightly to between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. They would also penalize any permit holder who transfers their permit to another person with revoking of the permit for one year.

The ordinance with proposed changes may be viewed online at: https://tinyurl.com/y5vy9mdg