Carrabelle has put a hold on fencing
In 2009, Carrabelle took assignment of the lease for
Residents of the
Hartman said DEP representatives asked the city to take steps to end beach driving. They asked that the city erect temporary fencing at the end of
“The DEP is looking to us because we hold the lease,” Hartman said.
He said DEP representatives pointed out a sign posted on
Commissioners said in the past, Carrabelle did not enforce the beach driving ban because the beach was not within the city limits.
Robin Hilton, a local realtor, said people ignored the sign because nobody enforced the law. She asked that a Carrabelle patrol car be sent to the beach periodically for enforcement.
“Whenever we got calls in the past to go down there, we were told it was the county’s jurisdiction. My two previous chiefs said it was the county. I have no problem with ticketing and towing cars but I have to have a mandate,” Kincaid said.
“I’m not for cars running down the beach because you could run over somebody and kill them,” Mayor Curley Messer said.
“I don’t think we have any choice. If the state says it’s the law, you do it,” said Commissioner Frank Mathes.
Commissioner Olivia Massey said mullet fishermen do not drive on the beach, but use an access road that runs behind the dunes. “They have used that access road for 40 years,” she said.
Messer said he didn’t want to stop people from fishing.
“I’m not real happy that the state is now looking to the city to enforce state laws,” Commissioner Brenda La Paz said.
“We took assignment,” Hartman said. “It’s our problem.”
He said if the city planned to continue with plans to develop the beach with bathrooms and parking, DEP would expect them to create a stormwater management system.
Massey said a stormwater system would cost thousands of dollars to install. “We don’t have that money,” said Mathes.
Hartman said Carrabelle leased the land to improve it and create a tourist attraction. “It’s the nicest beach anywhere on the bay. You can get the money to build a bathhouse and you will really have a drawing card,” said developer Gene Langston.
“If you let the state take it, they will make it just like anyplace else,” said Hilton. “We have something unique here.”
Former city commissioner Gathena Parmenas said the city should avoid further expense by returning the beach to the state.
Messer instructed Hartman to request the DEP send a representative to the next city meeting to discuss
Hartman said he believed most of the city’s concerns over the beach and enforcement of driving laws were financial. “I think a lot of good ideas were passed around at the meeting,” he said.