Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sarasota County Turns a Cheek from Protecting Access

We are sad to report that the Commission meeting last night was a complete let down. Commissioners voted unanimously not to proceed with regulations to ban signs and beach obstructions within 25 feet of the mean high water line.For a County that was first going to pursue legislation and now is backing down from both legislation and a local ordinance, its a sad day for the public.

Sarasota County balks on beach access law

Owners' signs and obstructions will not be banned

SARASOTA COUNTY - Siesta Key's powdery white beaches have seemed more like quicksand lately for county commissioners, sucking them into a heated debate over public access that culminated Wednesday in a decision to back off new regulations.

Instead, Sarasota County will continue to address beach access issues case by case.

The new rules were proposed after a series of high-profile clashes between beachgoers and property owners on Siesta Key. Commissioners felt the public was being improperly barred from certain areas.

But many beachfront property owners opposed the solution advanced by county officials.

About 50 people attended Wednesday's meeting, with more than a dozen speaking against the new rules.

Confrontations between Siesta Key property owners and beachgoers have become more common in the last three years, starting with the posting of No Trespassing signs on Shell Beach.

Sheriff's deputies frequently have been called in disputes at Point of Rocks, where a homeowner went so far as to stretch "crime scene" tape across the beach.

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Related Links:
Backtracking on beach access

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Surfrider Foundation Takes to the US Supreme Court

Mike Sturdivant (Emerald Coast Chapter), Steve Combs (Atlanta Chapter) and Julie Lawson (DC Chapter) were just some of the Surfrider Foundation members at the US Supreme Court Dec 2. They were able to hear the entire oral argument and speak with some of the lawyers and government representatives. A summary of the case can be found on Surfrider's Legal blog.

A decision is expected in June.

Write-ups of the hearing can be found at:

New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
Orlando Sentinel
Miami Herald