Answers to your questions about private property on sandy beach
On Friday, March 20, the City Council met and closed the sandy beach and the public accesses. The Council will meet again at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 26 to discuss extending the closure. This is additional information for those who own property on the beachfront.
BEACH CLOSURE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Who can be on the sandy gulf beach?
Owners of beach front property are the only persons permitted on the beach. All other people are prohibited from the sandy gulf beach. This includes guests, employees, and agents of owners.
How do you prove you are a property owner?
You may prove you are the property owner by producing either:
- A valid government issued photo ID listing your beachfront property as your residence; or
- A deed to the beachfront property recorded in the Official Records of Bay County listing you as the property owner and a valid government issued photo ID.
What if I can’t produce proof of my ownership?
Any person present on the beach who represents to a City official that he or she is a beach front property owner but cannot produce proof will receive a warning and will be prohibited from the beach until he or she can produce the required proof. In many cases, deed information can be quickly obtained from the Property Appraiser's website, www.baypa.net., which generally includes a link to the recorded deeds for the property.
Where can a property owner go?
Property owners shall have access to the sandy gulf beach within 30 linear feet seaward from the nearest structure, improvement, or the toe of the dune on their deeded property. However, Fee Owners may not access the sandy gulf beach seaward of the high water mark (the wet sand) as that land is held for use by the public even if that high water mark is within the thirty feet access area. Owners may not travel east or west on sandy gulf beach of their property line.
What are the penalties?
Any person violating the Ordinance, either a property owner accessing prohibited areas of the sandy gulf beach, or any member of the public accessing any portion of the sandy gulf beach shall be subject to either a civil citation up to $500 or by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or both.
Here is a link to the ordinance passed by the City Council Friday afternoon, March 20.
Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at email@example.com.