I grew up on the island and, at one time, I could drive the beaches from end to end. Surfing and fishing was far different and beach access meant I could access the public beaches easily with fishing gear, cooler, car and friends in the car with me. Over time, the island became more crowded and driving the entire beach became a safety concern.
While I understand the changes will probably never allow unrestricted driving, the unwritten “DEAL” or the “UNDERSTANDING” with locals and advocates for beach access, including many locals with a very long history on the island like Lowell Hall, was to stay away from further reduction of access to the beach. On Tuesday, the tiny area remaining in the city may be cut in half and, if you read the proposal, a number of restrictions may be added, including a “study” required to demonstrate need if the area is ever increased, special training and a permit?
SYNOPSIS: Parking on the beach has been permitted at the Sadler Road public access since the City Commission approved an “on-beach” parking area south of the north right-of-way line of Sadler Road to a point 600 feet south in the late 1980’s.
The City Commission wants to discuss reducing the parking area on the beach at Sadler Road from 600 feet to 300 feet which would put the terminus of this parking area at the southern property boundary line of Seaside Park if the Ordinance passes.
Source: www.fbfl.us Agenda 2/6/18
While I understand both sides, I disagree with further reducing the area or access in any way. I also feel anyone with a Nassau County tag should be able to access the areas without permit or any proposed special beach driving training, given available remaining space. Living in Florida my entire life, being trained for driving on the beach is somewhat absurd, in my opinion. I would hope, if training is proposed, the training is optional with a signature noting it was declined.
Paradise is changing and I find the repeated return to elimination of or reduction of beach access painful! Living on the island for the past 54 years and a native, I think I have a right to a strong opinion and the right to feel a little offended.