The election is over. Well-intentioned but woefully naive voters have chosen those who camouflaged themselves as pious, honorable men. Beneath the masks, these are men who don't flinch at raping the environment or giving free reign to others whose greed knows no bounds. For these men, no manipulative fabrication to justify their motives can be too disgusting. Their policies tear this land apart and set north against south in a new kind of uncivil war. Future generations of children will be burdened with the blunders of these representatives. I am not describing just the presidential election; I am referring to the Walton County Board of Commissioners, with the exception of Cindy Meadows. Indeed, Ms. Meadows will be the lone voice of reason on the board until the electorate finally wakes up and puts other people of her quality in office.
Recently those four men on the BCC voted in policies that treat South Walton as a pretty little whore to be pimped out until she is used up. They approved changes to the comprehensive plan which allow developers to do to South Walton what "tricks" have always done. Monday, November 22, 2004, voted in changes on limitations on building density in the V-zone (the area most impacted by storm surge) and the 100-year floodplains, obviously disregarding the safety of the people of this county.
For Scott Brannon, "property rights" outweigh safety concerns. Mr. Brannon maintains government should not regulate what a person should be able to do with his land. He ignores the impact that dense development has on existing residents and communities. An old saying suggests that Mr. Brannon has a "right" to swing his fist, but his right to swing his fist ends at someone else's nose. Changing density regulations clouts the citizens of South Walton on the chin with brass knuckles. The cost of all the roads, sewers, etc. - the critical infrastructure to support higher density development – will be shouldered by the taxpayers. Added congestion will require more police officers, paramedics, firemen, and schools. Resources, especially water, will be strained. Evacuation will become gridlock. Insurance companies will have to consider the greater potential for damage and destruction; homeowner and windstorm insurance premiums will skyrocket. Tax rates will have to increase to fund rebuilding after disasters.
Furthermore, changing density regulations desecrates the delicate balance of nature in South Walton. In the past, density restrictions on developers prohibited filling wetlands; in the past, the “wetland buffers” were protected. Because of the board’s vote, Walton County is now the only county in the state of Florida that says a part of the wetland itself can be used as the buffer for the wetland.
The board's recommendations must now be approved by the Florida State DCA (Department of Community Affairs) in a decision scheduled for January 6. South Walton Community Council is circulating a petition which objects to the proposed changes. Interested individuals can email the South Walton Community Council (SWCC) at email@example.com, or they can write SWCC at P.O. Box 1661, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. They may also call and leave a message, providing their name and address, and asking for a petition at 850-314-3749.
Don’t bother contacting the four commissioners who voted for these recommendations. This newspaper's editorial has already exposed the underhanded way they went about informing the public of these changes. They don't care what people think. And it is no wonder the four commissioners feel emboldened to take that attitude. Judging from the letters published on your editorial pages, many of the people in the north end of the county resent the South Walton residents because of their perceived wealth and different perspectives. The "who's your daddy?" mentality continues to mire Walton County in a nasty history of mismanagement and a "wink, wink," back scratchin' philosophy. The good ol’ boys continue to marvel that “those uppity people down south think that just because they fill the biggest percentage of the coffers, they should have some say in how things should be run.” This mentality dominates not only government but also schools and libraries.
As Walton County looks more and more like that pricey whore, Destin, down the road, other people will be moving away as we did when we saw the writing on the wall, or rather the condos behind it. I still subscribe to this newspaper to keep up with what is going on, and I applaud the efforts of Cindy Meadows and the South Walton Community Council who represent the voice of reason. It isn't too late to care, but you have to put in the effort to fight for what is right.
Wow! Heckuva 1st post! I am a property owner in SoWal but unfortunately not a resident ...Yet :wink: We chose the 30A area after a miserable 2 night stay in PCB. When we turned off of 98 onto 30A it was like we literally entered a different world 8) . The very few times we drive into Destin we are also reminded how much we love 30A. Are you saying that the 30A area is in danger of being overrun with Highrises :x ? Can a non resident property owner do anything about this? :?:
i believe the short of it is that currently, in walton county, property exists that is zoned NPA Infill (for example), allowing a density of 8 units per acre. However, that property which may be 10 acres (for example) has not been subdivided. According to the books for Walton County, if that property was located in a flood plain, you could not sub-divide it, even though it was zoned 8 units per acre. Many parcels in South Walton currently exists as represented by the above example.
Walton County Commissioners, with the exception of Cindy Meadows, whom I apploud, recently voted to change this. The State still has to approve the measure before it will pass into law. There are many builders/developers who are running out of land on which to build in South Walton, and they have pressed the County Commission to pass the new changes. Cindy is the only Commissioner who lives in South Walton, and she is carrying the County on her shoulders.
As a concerned Walton County property owner, you should let your voice be heard, esp at the State level. Also, Cindy needs all the reinforcement she can get, so pass along your thoughts to her as well.
90 Spires Lane, Unit 7-A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL. 32459
Phone: (850) 622-3059
Fax: (850) 622-3067
As for high rises, the folks in the North part of the County, would love to see high rises all along the Bay. They stand to make a fortune if it happens, and if anyone could do it, this Commission could be the ones to make it happen.
Please understand that more is involved than my snip-it entails, but that is my explanation in a nutshell.