Frequently Asked Questions
It is similar to a public easement to use the dry sandy portion of your beachfront property. It opens your private property up for public use. Further, you will have no control over who uses your beach property and cannot ask anyone to leave.
Purchasing beachfront property is very expensive and because of a lack of planning by the county, there is little opportunity to expand public access without infringing on private property rights through a finding of Customary Use.
The need for more beach open to the public is due to unlimited development. Existing and new inland developments can use your property as their beach.
A declaration of Customary Use means your beach front property is open for public use. It’s a taking of property through an archaic legal maneuver – declaration of Customary Use – without compensation.
Public use includes locals and tourists. Tourist visits have grown at a compounded rate of 6.8 percent per year for the last 15 years. In 2018, there were more than 4 million visitors to Walton County.
Massive increases in density of short-term rentals are planned. Therefore, more beach for public use is needed.
You would forever lose the constitutionally protected property right of “exclusion” – deciding who can and cannot use your property.
You would no longer have a guaranteed spot on your property for your family and guests when visiting your house.
Owners this year have experienced significant backlash from tourists and locals who are sometimes disrespectful, invade your privacy, or slander and harass you when you or your family members are merely trying to enjoy your beachfront property.
The value of your property would diminish because your property would be open to the public.
The county, rather than you, would control the dry sand portion of your property. You will own in name only and continue to pay taxes on it.
More than 13* miles of beach, which is over 50* percent of all beaches in Walton County, is already open to the public through neighborhood and regional beach accesses (NBA & RBA, respectively) as well as public beach created by the beach nourishment that established an Erosion Control Line (ECL).
* Note mile calculations: Walton Shoreline=26.0; Walton - NBA=1.3; Walton - RBA=0.5; Other Public=7.3; ECL=4.8; Total=13.4 or 54%
No, prior to 2016, only two out of 67 counties in Florida instituted Customary Use on portions of their beaches.