Does new law restrict public access to Florida’s beaches? Not exactly.

Many of you have expressed your concern about the bill recently signed into law regarding restricted access to Florida’s beaches.  We asked our Town attorney, Jay Daigneault for his interpretation as it relates to the Town of Redington Beach.  His summary follows:

Town of Redington Beach’s Current Customary Use

“In my opinion, the Town has what would likely be considered a customary use ordinance currently in place and would therefore be exempt from the proposed application of the new law.

Section 6-134 of the Town Code is as follows:

Sec. 6-134. – Public access.

Where the public has established an accessway through private lands to lands seaward of the mean high tide or water line by prescription, prescriptive easement or other legal means, development or construction shall not interfere with such right of access unless a comparable alternative accessway is provided. The developer shall have the right to improve, consolidate or relocate such public accessways so long as they are:

(1) Of substantially similar quality and convenience to the public;

(2) Approved by the local government and approved by the department of natural resources whenever improvements are involved seaward of the coastal construction control line; and

(3) Consistent with the coastal management element of the local comprehensive plan adopted pursuant to F.S. § 163.3178.

A second ordinance related to customary use may also be found in the Town’s Code. Section 19-1 states that, “[n]o person shall place any thing or object on or do any act in or upon any…, beach access easement within the town which shall obstruct or tend to obstruct such street, avenue, alley, way, parkway, park, park turnaround, causeway, beach access easement, ditch, drain or gutter, or the proper use thereof.”

Because these ordinances were in effect prior to January 1, 2016, I believe at this time that the Town is not subject to this legislation. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have concerns regarding this matter.”

/s/ Jay Daigneault, Esq.

Town Attorney