Amelia Island Net

....local news and opinion

Beaches

Beach Parking Pandora’s Box

Parking on Amelia Island, parking meters, kiosks and beach access fees seem to be a popular debate with the CoFB commission.  I believe the same sort of proposal was brought before the last commission more than once by the prior City Manager.   As Tony Crawford said, "You’re opening a Pandora’s Box of problems."    I agree.   If you charge a fee at one access or at larger accesses, what happens to the adjoining property.  Mr. Crawford noted the nearly 600 parking spaces available in total.  Administration cost, effect on street parking, ability to have non-resident friends park near homes….and simply the tradition of actually offering free access to the beach as one of the unique differences separating Amelia Island from the rest of Florida should be considered. 

If you consider the Peter’s Point debate with annexation traded for removal of driving access, this might be one of the biggest reductions of beach access since the early 80’s.  

I am not in favor of paid access for beach parking, kiosks or parking meters.  I also am concerned by the change in access proposed at Peter’s Point.  Thousands of locals use this beach and enjoy driving access.  Reducing this in exchange for annexed property is a bit odd.  Beaches don’t belong to the property owner with ocean frontage.  The area we all think of as beach is really the mean high tide line to the surf and beyond.   Exchanging this area for tax revenue…..I think it might be better to consider representation as well as revenue.  

How difficult will it be to remove paid parking or restore beach access once removed? 

Who Owns the Beaches in Florida?

DSC04261This is a very interesting take on erosion control and property ownership in Florida.  It might create a “rethinking” of how we handle erosion control along the shore on Amelia Island.  With dredging and erosion control, what will the implications be for the island if the court’s position is upheld. 

Another issue….in some parts of Amelia, we had additional streets, lots and homes before Hurricane Dora.  Look up an old plat to the east of Ocean Avenue on North Beach. 

In 2003, Florida officials decided to renourish 6.9 miles of beach in Destin, Florida to repair damage from hurricanes. In the process, the State created a new boundary line between the oceanfront property owners and the public portion of the beach. Although the beaches in Florida have always been public up to the “mean high water line,” this new line, which the state called the “erosion control line,” effectively allowed the State to claim a portion of the beachfront that previously lay above the MHWL.

Who Owns the Beaches in Florida?

Palace Saloon and Corona Light Help Save July 4th in Fernandina

palace firework fundraiserWhether you agree with public funding of fireworks in Fernandina or not, you can only admire Wes Sheffield and the Palace Saloon for taking an active role in saving the 4th of July display. 

It makes little sense to, essentially, turn off the lights when the economy is down.  Fireworks across the country does more than celebrate the birth of our country.  It provides a shot in the arm to local business.  Where tourism dollars provide, as one commissioner said, “a free ride” for the taxpayer, the money generated is even more important.    While I don’t think we get a free ride, I do see the benefit of embracing local spending and local dollars generated….while being patriotic.  I hope you will all consider taking part in tonight’s event or in some of the other fundraising efforts to save the celebration….a local tradition since the 60’s.

Boardwalk at Main Beach….Sand and Irony

 

Before Beryl hit the island and before any storm sand was blown over the walk, we were out riding with the kids.  It doesn’t look like anyone has been blowing the boardwalk at all.  Sand covers the walk in many places and it does not appear to be well maintained at all….or only sporadically.

If we build a new boardwalk, I would also suggest very specific boardwalk maintenance, or we will soon have another sand-covered walk.   I have mixed feelings about the boardwalk project.  I can see the underlying structure and I can see the dune covering the walk.  I also know dunes.  Dunes cover anything if it blocks air flow.  Slow the air and sand drops under the barrier.  The boardwalk is just another barrier.  If we build another walk without frequent clearing of sand, the dune will grow to meet the barrier again.

Underneath the dune and just to the east of the boardwalk are granite boulders, extending as much as 20 feet down.   This revetment is common knowledge to locals, but I think has been covered for so long, most residents don’t remember.  I find it a little funny…not in the ha-ha way, but in the ironic way….we are unable to rebuild the boardwalk without permits after the boardwalk, essentially encouraged the dunes over an absolutely huge granite boulder revetment/wall. 

Hurricane or Tropical Storm Beryl? Monday 7AM….after the storm

Tropical Storm Beryl came ashore with near hurricane force winds.  Early this morning, my son and I took a drive around town to look for downed trees and damage.  Fletcher really had the most dramatic damage, with large sections of missing shingles, downed wires and even  a missing roof on one home.  See the picture below….the entire roof blew off, landing across the street. 

All in all, the damage was less than I expected.   A little digging out at the beach and some trees across the road….the usual shingles missing…..along with a roof here and there. 

 

 

Oddly enough, some of the biggest oaks were almost untouched.  Rooflines like the one below had patches of missing shingles and the roads were nearly covered in places, but as storms go, this was far less damaging than I expected. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tropical Storm Beryl Changes W/E Amelia Island Plans

The group, www.facebook.com/groups/ameliaislandnet is enjoying some discussion of Beryl today.   Tropical storms often become the time to break out hurricane lamps and stay home with family and friends.   How high are the winds, are the tides going to be greater than normal, staying home or driving to the beach? 

While I personally enjoy stormy weather, I hope the island remains safe and everyone uses a little common sense this weekend.  If you’re new to the area, please try to stay out of the water and be aware of the rip currents or sideshore current often present near storms.  Children should not play along the edge of the water, especially at higher tides when the depth can increase dramatically very close to shore. 

Remember, swimming with the current along the coast is a more effective way to exit a rip.  It is far less important to get out fast and far more important to avoid using your reserve of energy ineffectively in a panic.   Floating is easier in salt water.  If you’re out of breath, take a break by floating or changing strokes.  

                  • Garbage Service, please wait until Monday morning to take out cans.
                  • Fort Clinch and Talbot Campgrounds have been closed.
                  • Warnings are up at all monitored swimming areas at the beach and these areas are closed for swimming.
                  • No evacuation is planned.
                  • As much as 6” to 10” of isolated rain is possible. 
                  • Gusts as high at 65 mph have been reported already.
                  • Memorial Day Ceremony has been moved to the Atlantic Avenue Rec Center starting at 11:00AM.

 

 

Beryl is headed our way. I’m sure most of you know already, but it does look like rain and a little wind. The biggest possibility of damage is probably from flooding, wind gusts or tornado activity if we have any on the island. You should put the furniture or movable items inside and take normal precautions for wind. Tides will be higher, but do not appear to be overly dramatic. That said, I would expect more than the forecast because the path is far more direct than the typical storm track here on Amelia Island and consider what the tide will be here when the storm does hit.
As always, power might go out, so if you’re in the mood for a hurricane party, this would be the night. The most unusual part of this storm is the path. Over the years, storms tend to form further south and often are not moving directly toward the island.
Hurricanes are serious. This is actually not a bad practice run for a real storm.

Amelia Island Fernandina Beach Network

Excellent Glasses….Nice Logo…Margaritaville Sunglasses

Writing a website sometimes has it’s advantages.  I was recently asked to review a pair of Margaritaville sunglasses.   Although I spent well over 30 years surfing, grew up in Florida and tend to buy high end sunglasses fairly often, it still was nice to be the Florida local chosen for an opinion.   Thanks again Gencey!

This new company has done just about everything right.  The fit is great, the lenses are just right and the styling is low key, but tasteful.  Even the case is cool; with a zipper youglass keeper can actually use and a light tan color exterior about the shade of beach sand.  The included sunglass cord has a nautical themed attachment that looks brass, with the “Margaritaville” logo.  If you look inside, the port and starboard sides have different colored IMG_3042[1]screws in the hinge for the right and left sides….the “watching the sun bake” inscribed inside the earpiece makes it all perfect. 

sunglass1If I were to compare these to other glasses…. I owned a pair of Costa del Mar glasses, very similar in color and style, but I felt they fit a little tighter and without the spring hinge you’ll see on this pair, they were hard to wear for long.  I felt the lenses were very similar to Costa Del Mar and close to another pair of Maui Jims I dropped last month.    I’m comparing to a pair of each about a year old.

Anyway, if you like glasses, are into the Florida lifestyle or want something with just a little more detail, this is my new favorite accessory.

What will Main Beach be in 20 more years? Like Pelican Beach Park or a Paid Parking Lot?

I remember the days when I drove onto the beach at Main Beach and took the scenic route to the South End, looking for schools of fish or a good peak when I was a teenager.  With friends, I used a seine net to pull in fish, surf fished, or just found a secluded part IMG_2738[1]of the beach to enjoy on days off.  Main Beach had a waterslide, go carts, putt putt and a skating rink….along with a country bar and small grocery store.  The parking lots you see now were dirt and instead of a boardwalk, the granite rocks everyone forgets were often exposed.  Years later, I’m not so sure we aren’t moving away from quality use of the space.  When I drove from one end of the island to the other, the population and use on Amelia Island was far lower.  Concentrating parking in one place, essentially to generate revenue and make a parking lot…..well, why?

In the News Leader, you’ll find a summary of the issue.  http://www.fbnewsleader.com/articles/2011/10/06/news/00newspaidsandparking.txt  See the specific discussion of kiosks at Main Beach and Sliders.

Parking is always partly public and partly private.   I see the expansion of parking onto the beach as a way to allow commercial use, charge a fee for this and do it all without requiring paved parking.  As seating and uses adjoining parks increases, the debate we keep putting aside….rises again…and again…and again.  Generating revenue from parking.  Why do I oppose this kind of revenue generation?  Well, for one reason, I don’t think it would work in the way intended.  To charge a fee to park on the beach, you also need to hire an attendant, have someone patrol the area, pick up the beach, post signs and account for the area in off season when you’ll have a tiny fraction of the use.  Then the sea turtle issue or environmental issue arises if you’re charging for parking in one area.  Nests would be relocated.   Well, then you have the issue of driving and children.  I remember a girl run over by a truck here on Amelia Island years ago.   Once you take driving or parking off a public beach, how do you put it back without a taking of rights from someone else?  Is making, essentially a public parking lot of a beach something we really want?  See the link below for the way Satellite Beach handles a beach park area.  Years ago, I surfed this beach and others.  The evolution of the parks in Central Florida is interesting.  I can see actual parks and well managed areas.  Creating an environmentally unfriendly parking lot….essentially making parking for nearby businesses on the beach, in my opinion, is hard to justify. 

What do I want for the future?  I’d like to see Fernandina evolve in a number of ways, but at all times, preserve the future standard of living.  Undoing a paid parking lot on the beach, in my humble opinion, is not as easy as making it.   

        • Preserve the green space.
        • Try to think about the future of the island not just the problem you have today.
        • Stop looking for revenue generating schemes and cut beginning at home. 
        • Main Beach, in particular has evolved to become a nice oceanfront park with plenty of access.  Driving on the beach is not the same as creating a paid parking area on the beach. 

 

Having been completely renovated in 2007, Pelican Beach Park is a wonderful place to have a family gathering or company picnic.

The park has 6 pavilions you can rent all equipped with various size grills. The smallest pavilion can accommodate 12 people while

the largest can hold up to 70.  Rentals are available between 9:00am till dusk.

Pelican Beach Park Rental Facility

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