This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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Thank you again to Acting Mayor Scott Singer for advancing the threat of a 10,000 Sq. ft. 4 story building intruding on Boca Raton’s pristine beach at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd; at one time an unbuildable land parcel sitting on the Coastal Construction Line. Currently 2500 N. Ocean is a location inhabited mostly by nesting sea turtles all along the dune. As if this threat were not enough, our beaches are now also under further threat by Tallahassee legislation, HB 631, signed into law on July 1, 2018; a legislation raising confusion with the customary free access on our unique public asset, the beach. Residents and tourists alike have always had a protected guarantee that Florida’s beaches are public land up to the average high water line, referred to as ‘the wet sand’. HB 631 calls this into question by allowing property owners to claim to the ‘dry’ sand in front of their structure as private property; a moving target with the rise and fall of the daily tide and the impacts of beach erosion. The solution is for the local government to use the process set forth in HB 631 that attempts to balance protections of public access and private property rights. Commonly referred to as the ‘customary use doctrine’. Boca Raton City Council should place this topic on the August agenda as a discussion item informing the public on the issue and, if necessary, initiating whatever protective action necessary before the anticipated building permit is requested for the 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. location.
Publisher of BocaWatch
HB 631 is quite confusing. However, if I read the articles about it correctly, “the new law simply creates a uniform process for a county to apply to the courts to affirm areas of customary use”. So… unless Boca already has such an ordinance which clearly identifies all beach areas which for “customary use”, I suggest we proceed to create such an ordinance now. Not having such an ordinance opens us to the possibility that a condo on the beach will block off their area of dry sand as “private” (perhaps like the N. side of the inlet?), and then a legal battle will ensue paid for by Boca taxpayers.
If the beaches were Privatized then those who wished to enjoy the beaches could pay for the privilege of doing so. Why should folks who don’t go or don’t like the beaches be FORCED to pay for them?