Photo: YourObserver.com

“Longboat Key beach enthusiasts have for years had the run of the town’s nearly 11 miles of Gulf of Mexico shoreline, which up until this summer included a 209-foot stretch of privately owned seawall on one of the town’s most iconic properties.

But a few weeks ago, following repairs to the seawall following Hurricane Eta in 2020, the owners of the property known as Ohana at 6633 Gulf of Mexico Drive, posted signs that their property, which extends to the water’s edge, was now off limits…

The only way to avoid trespassing on Ohana Hale Estate Land Trust property is now to wade into the surf, which often breaks right on the seawall, or make a 1-mile detour along Gulf of Mexico Drive using the two nearest public beach-access spots.

The seawall that extends all the way to the state’s erosion control line is unusual and dates back more than 50 years, town attorney Maggie Mooney said. ‘All of a sudden, we see signs saying that they had an invisible fence and a dog in training, and that’s where we all went, “Oh, OK. Things are changing,”‘

Longboat Key Turtle Watch Vice President Cyndi Seamon said of volunteers who scour the beach regularly during nesting season. Mooney explained the public’s right to access the beach area seawards of the state-drawn erosion control line (ECL).”

— Mark Bergin, YourObserver.com

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Citizens for a Scenic Florida