A battle of proposals, “to build a private drive on a county right-of-way or to abandon the right-of-way,” is coming to the Walton County Board of Commissioners (BCC) at its August 27 meeting.
DEVELOPER DEMANDS A PRIVATE DRIVE
A developer who has already bulldozed unannounced a 300-foot gash through one family’s property at Inlet Beach is now asking Walton County to authorize a private driveway across land belonging to a total of forty property owners to access his 1/3 of an acre lot. Inlet Beach Capital Investments (IBCI) has so far rejected the option of accessing its property via a curb cut on U.S. 98, as other tracts do.
Instead, IBCI is asking for nearly 20,000 square feet of other people’s land to create a private driveway in the guise of extending Pompano Street as a county road. IBCI said in a letter to commissioners, access [through the right-of-way] would “provide the greatest value to our property,” by giving the developer a direct path to Orange Street beach access. Its proposal will be heard at the Planning Board on August 13.
On July 20, all of the affected owners of Inlet Dunes Homeowners Association and the Kidd family submitted a petition to the County Commissioners objecting to the driveway plan. They are asking the county to abandon the right-of-way on their land for all but public utilities.
They asked the Commissioners to consider:
1. IBCI does not own any of the land requested for the driveway.
2. Taking the land for such a road would damage forty (40) other private property owners.
3. The County has no authority to take such land for the private benefit of an individual.
4. The U.S. Government Patent Deed that established this right-of-way limits use of the right-of-way to “roadway and public utilities.” The County has no need for this road.
5. IBCI does not need this driveway to access its property. It already has eighty (80) feet of frontage on U.S. Highway 98.
6. The Florida Department of Transportation has stated that, if the owner of Lot 173-3 were to request a curb cut onto US Highway 98, it would be granted. IBCI has refused to request a curb cut, stating that “access [through the right-of-way] provides the greatest value to our property.”
We urge the County Commissioners to reject this request for a private driveway across other peoples’ properties.
The Kidd property, located at the corner of US Highway 98 and Orange Street, has been in the family since Lynn Kidd, a returning World War II veteran bought a lot at what was then known as Soldier Beach.
The Kidd family has posted a website, Facebook page, and 3-minute video to encourage a letter-writing campaign to the Commissioners before August 27.