Photo: NWF Daily News
“…Walton County is notifying coastal private property owners that its crews will no longer collect garbage from the beaches at their homes or condominiums.
County Attorney Sidney Noyes told county commissioners Tuesday that enough owners had refused to back off previous requests to keep county vehicles off their land to warrant the decision to halt all garbage collections.
‘Unfortunately, even though some of these individual private property owners have rescinded their requests, others are not willing to, so it looks like we will not be able to continue the garbage collection service on private property,’ Noyes told the board.
Noyes said letters would be sent out Tuesday or Wednesday to inform all owners that as of Aug. 13 they would be responsible for picking up their own beach trash, something Walton’s Tourist Development Council has done for years…
The county’s move is the latest fallout from the July 1 implementation of a new state law. HB 631 wiped out Walton County’s customary use ordinance and gave private beachfront owners the ability to post no trespassing signs on their property and prevent people from accessing dry sand areas there…
Sheriff Michael Adkinson, whose deputies have been called upon regularly since July 1 to mediate property disputes on local beaches, has said consistently his deputies are not going to charge anyone on the beach with criminal trespass.
Nonetheless, Commission Chairman Bill Chapman argued at Tuesday’s meeting that the county couldn’t risk collecting trash on private property for fear an arrest would result.
‘I don’t want to see legal action taken, criminally, by our guys going up and down there and picking up the trash,’ Chapman said. ‘I don’t want guys driving being subjected to arrest by the sheriff because we’ve violated a demand letter.’
..Litigation seems to be on the horizon. Attorney and customary use advocate Steve Uhlfelder warned commissioners Tuesday that by refusing garbage collection the private property owners were strengthening an argument against customary use. He urged them to continue sending crews to pick up trash in defiance of the no trespassing warnings.
‘Don’t go along with it. Go pick up the trash and maintain the beaches, otherwise you will be giving up some legal arguments,’ Uhlfelder said. “I don’t think you should be dictated to’…”
— Tom McLaughlin, nwfDailyNews.com
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Photo: Pasco County
“The tents, blue tarp, stacks of pallets, barbed wire and general junky look at the side of Hicks Road in Hudson are gone.
The business, called Home Discount Depot, popped up in August 2017, with an illegal sign and without proper zoning permits.
‘This purported to be a retail hardware store,’ said Kristi Sims, senior assistant county attorney for Pasco County. ‘It’s not there anymore.’
Neither are the dilapidated buildings that had been the USA Flea Market on U.S. 19 near Bayonet Point nor the ramshackle trailer homes at the Lazy Breeze Mobile Home and RV Park outside Dade City.
They are some of the high-profile cases handled by Pasco County since it created its ‘high-return enforcement’ strategy a year ago. The tactic targets the owners of blighted structures or repeat violators of the county codes that are intended to preserve the public’s health, safety and welfare…
Of the cases deemed worthy of high-return enforcement, the county determined 185 buildings were blighted or damaged beyond repair. Owners knocked down 63 of their structures. That is what happened at USA Flea Market. But the county demolished 55 other buildings and put liens on the properties, hoping to recoup its costs when the properties are sold. Forty-three demolition cases are pending.
Among other highlights:
…Following Hurricane Irma, the county focused on illegal or so-called non-conforming pole signs that pre-dated the regulations requiring new businesses to install low-to-the-ground monument signs. Ten owners removed the signs or converted them to monuments, and 16 others signed agreements to do likewise. Forty-six others repaired the existing signs.
That information reignited a debate among commissioners on the merits of the county’s sign rules. Commissioner Jack Mariano said new businesses on U.S. 19 should be allowed elevated signs on poles, but [Commissioner] Starkey argued the visual clutter meant passersby couldn’t differentiate one store from another.
‘No one is proud of how (U.S.) 19 looks,’ said Starkey.
The sign debate might be irrelevant to new customers, suggested County Administrator Dan Biles, who moved to Pasco County a year ago.
He pointed out that he found businesses through internet searches for customer reviews and driving directions via his smart phone, not storefront signs.”
— C.T. Bowen,Tampa Bay Times
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“Forty-three volunteers from Okaloosa and Walton counties and people from the park’s campground gathered at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park recently for a beach cleanup.”
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“Florida Power and Light provided on Saturday a different kind of service than providing electricity to homes and businesses. The utility and Miami-Dade County teamed up for the 36th annual Baynanza Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day. The event gave more than 200 volunteers a chance to remove waste from the Biscayne Bay shoreline and take part in the largest shoreline cleanup in South Florida.”
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