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BEACH CODE UPDATES, MARCH 1, 2019

At the Thursday, February 29 Walton County Board of County Commissioners meeting, the board authorized several changes to the beach code (formally known as Walton County Municipal Code Chapter 22 Waterways and Beaches Activities).

For your convenience, we have compiled a simplified version of those changes below, along with a brief explanation of each:

  • The code regulating dogs on the beach was changed to make the time allowed consistent throughout the year to 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. year-round. (Previously, the time varied depending on daylight savings time, which was confusing for some.) Walton County Municipal Code 22-31(b)(2)
  • Code revision to make sharing of dog tags (dog permits) punishable by revocation of the owner’s dog permit for the beach. (This ensures permit holders do not transfer dog tags to unpermitted dogs, which would mean those dogs had not been screened by Walton County permit authority for rabies shots, etc.) Walton County Municipal Code 22-31(b)(2)
  • The code requiring tents to only be placed on the upper third of the available public beach is now exempted at Grayton Beach only, due to concerns about dangers presented by driving on the beach at that location. Walton County Municipal Code 22-54(q)
  • Code regarding signs on the beach was changed from allowing only signs made of wood to now allow signs made of wood or PVC, which is believed to be more weather resistant and easier to maintain. Walton County Municipal Code 22-55
  • Code was changed to allow drone operation by those permitted by the TDC or otherwise authorized by Walton County. (Previously, no drone operation of any kind was allowed to take off or land on Walton County beaches. This code change was motivated in part in recognition of professional photographers’ increasing use of drone footage.) Walton County Municipal Code 22-58
  • Code was changed to allow Walton County to contract with managed vendor programs. (This allows Walton County to work with the South Walton Beach Service Association on a pilot program that will go into effect for the Inlet Beach and Ed Walline Regional Beach Accesses. This pilot program will end the practice of vendors putting out “ghost chairs,” and puts a beach attendant at each access where the program is in place. The operational start date of this program is currently April 1, 2019.) Walton County Municipal Code 22-60((b)(3)
  • Code was changed regarding vendor equipment storage, requiring beach vendors to either remove all equipment from the beach each night, or store equipment in designated beach boxes which are limited in placement and number by the TDC. Walton County Municipal Code 22-60(b)(1); 22-60(d)(6)
  • Code was revised that previously allowed owners adjacent to the north of public beach to authorize beach vending on that adjacent beach. The revision allows upland property owners to authorize beach vending on public beaches only on beaches that have been renourished. Walton County Municipal Code 22-60(d)(8)

Draft changes can be found on Thursday’s BCC agenda HERE.

Changes go into effect immediately, excepting storage box rules and the managed vending program, which as noted above will go into effect on April 1, 2019.

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