UPDATE: Nassau County Commissioners voted on their ordinance Monday night. It passed 4-to-0. The ordinance was drafted by the county to fight the new law that will separate public from private on the sand.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Counties across Florida are preparing ordinances to fight a bill signed into law by Governor Rick Scott that separates property from public beach goers and private beach owners on the sand.
The line of separation is marked by the mean high water line, but beaches with taxpayer funded nourishment projects are exempt.
Nassau County residents met Saturday at Peter’s Point in Amelia Island to pass out affidavits. The public was asked to write down why they want to keep the beach public and then they had it notarized and collected to be passed on to a judge.
The bill was passed with bipartisan support, for that reason no one at Saturday’s event believed it was a political issue, they believed it was about money. They want to fight the new law because they believe a line shouldn't be drawn in the sand.
The Surf Rider Foundation reports that 60% of Florida beaches are already private. Some families say the defeats the purpose of being a state known for tourism.
Nassau County commissioners will hold a final vote on their ordinance fighting the new law Monday night at six.
They are hoping to collect around 10,000 affidavits, which they will hand them over to a judge, along with their ordinance. The judge will make a decision. They say they will take it to a higher court if need be.
First Coast News reached out to Governor Scott’s Office with questions over the new law, his communications director sent us this statement:
“This law does not ‘ban’ or privatize any beach in Florida. If a local government wants to expand the public beach area, this bill simply outlines the legal process to accomplish that.” – John Tupps, Gov. Scott’s Communications Director