FLACPR.com was created by Walton beachfront owners, for Walton beachfront owners. FCPR is not endorsed by any law firm; to do so is illegal. Please consider contributing to FCPR’s efforts to prevent the erosion of your beachfront property rights.
Over 600 total interventions from individuals, associations and condominiums have been filed on behalf of more than 4,500 of owners, who are taking steps to actively protect their property rights against Walton County’s lawsuit. Many owners have retained an attorney to protect their rights.
If Walton County’s lawsuit is left unchallenged, this means that the sandy beach portion of your property would be subject to public use and you would have no rights of exclusion. That means your right to enjoy your private property is now under attack in court by your Walton Commissioners.
To protect your property rights, you must actively intervene. You cannot rely upon your neighbor to protect your rights. Act quickly to defend your rights, or you could lose some of your property rights forever.
- Motions will be heard in the Customary Use case on June 4th and 5th. The motions will be heard by Judge Green. They are tentatively scheduled to start at 9 AM. The order of the motions to be heard has not been set yet. Please cCheck back here for updates.
- House Bill 6063 and the companion Senate Bill did not make it out of committee in the past legislative session. It is expected that these bills will be brought up again in the 2021 session. Please check back here for updates.
- On January 6, 2020, House Bill 6063 was introduced by Rep. Evan Jenne (a Broward County Democrat) in the Florida House of Representatives to repeal your rights as a beachfront owner. In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed a law that invalidated Walton County’s Customary Use Ordinance that purported to establish Customary use on Beachfront owners’ private property. That law, now codified at section 163.035, Florida Statutes, requires a county to prove Customary Use in a court of law before a neutral judge rather than merely adopting an ordinance to declare your private property open to the public.
As many of you are aware, Walton County has initiated that process in which nearly 800 Gulf front owners have intervened to protect their property rights. If HB 6063 passes and Section 163.035 is repealed, Walton County will immediately adopt an ordinance establishing Customary Use on your private beachfront property instantly opening your property to the public. You, as a beachfront owner, will then have to file your own lawsuit against Walton County, and you would carry the burden to prove Customary Use does not apply to your property.
This year’s Legislative Session began January 14, 2020. Beachfront Owners must oppose HB 6063 to maintain their basic due process rights provided by section 163.035, Florida Statutes.
- Walton County has now contacted all Beachfront Property Owners, but 1. If you received your notice you have 45 days to intervene. Please seek legal advice today!
- At the Case Management hearing on March 2, 2020 Judge Green has said that the Motions to Dismiss that don’t include Discovery can be heard in 60 days over a 2 day period. Once those hearings get scheduled, that information will be posted here.
Walton Commissioners, as the plaintiff in this lawsuit, have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the public’s use of your private beachfront property has been ancient, reasonable, without interruption, and free from dispute.
NOW is the time to consider your property right options, to seek legal advice, and to consider whether or not to intervene. For your convenience, the names and contact information for attorneys that other Walton County beachfront owners have used are below.
FCPR is not endorsed by any law firm
D. Kent Safriet
Hopping Green & Sams, P.A.
119 South Monroe Street, Suite 300
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Thompson, P.A
100 North Tampa Street, Suite 2050
Tampa, FL 33602
David B. Pleat
Pleat & Perry, P.A.
4477 Legendary Drive #202
Destin, FL 32541
348 Miracle Strip Parkway, S.W., Suite 7
Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
T. A. (Ted) Borowski, Jr.
Borowski & Traylor, P.A.
P. O. Box 12651
Pensacola, Florida 32591-2651
A. Wayne Williamson
Williamson Law Firm, LLC
P.O. Box 1248
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Dana C. Matthews
Matthews & Jones, LLP
4475 Legendary Drive
Destin, FL 32541
Philip A. Bates
Philip A. Bates, P.A.
25 West Cedar Street, Suite 550
Pensacola, FL 32502