NASSAU CO., Fla. -- Another county is joining the fight in the ongoing public versus private controversy at the beach.
Just before July 4, a new law, House Bill 631, will go into effect across Florida that gives more rights to private beach owners over public beachgoers when it comes to access to the beach.
Nassau County Board of Commissioners have been holding meetings for weeks as they draft an ordinance with the community and local attorney's input. The ordinance is meant to protect public access and reverse the new law that will go into effect on July 1.
The tone at Thursday night's meeting was one of overwhelming support for the commissioners fighting the new law.
The law states that the public’s use of the beach is from the median high tide line to the water and private owners have the upper, dry portion of the beach.
If a public beachgoer wants to challenge that, they can use the "Customary Use Ordinance", which means they will have to prove that the area they want to use has historically been used for public recreational activity.
In about three weeks, with the help of the county attorney and local resident Lowell Hall, they’ve collected over 7,100 notarized affidavits with various reasons as to why people want to fight the law.
Opinions on the other side of the issue are hard to find in Amelia Island. Some residents tell First Coast News that the other side of the issue is comprised of legislators who are too far removed from the situation, unaware of its impact. That's what they are hoping to change.
On Saturday, they will host a meeting from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Peter's Point in Amelia Island to sign more affidavits. The vote will take place at the final meeting on Monday, June 25 at 6 p.m.