County Approves Ordinance For Beach Access; Daytona Shores Officials Oppose

By on October 5, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL – The Volusia County Council approved 4-3 an ordinance that could give the County authority to provide beach access east of A1A, but the ordinance has caused some tension with Daytona Beach Shores officials, who said the Council violated state law by suing the Shores.

During the County Council meeting Thursday morning, the Council approved the measure that specifies that all County property between the beach and the roadway is public right-of-way. That could allow for beach parking and access between A1A and the beach. Council members Heather Post, Billie Wheeler, and Council Chair Ed Kelley opposed the ordinance.

Daytona Beach Shores is opposed to the ordinance, saying that the County has ignored the City’s efforts to resolve the issue. “Not one of the cities that will be affected by this ordinance received any notice of the ordinance or were asked for input,” said Daytona Beach Shores mayor Harry Jennings.

According to Jennings, the County has sued the City of Daytona Beach Shores three times over the City’s denial off two off-beach parking lots off of A1A and a Shores ordinance which prohibits parks and off-beach parking east of A1A. He accuses the County of violating state statute by moving ahead with the lawsuits.

Jennings says the City tried to negotiate with the County before the lawsuits were filed; however, Councilwoman Deborah Denys countered that the Council was only given three minutes at the Shores meeting to present the County’s side of the issue. Denys supports the ordinance, and she wanted to extend the courtesy of giving officials from the Shores the ability to speak.

Council member Joyce Cusack explains that beach access is what the ordinance is all about. “It is our responsibility to do what is good for all of the citizens of this great county, and one of those commitments and obligations is that we do not prohibit access to the beach in any way by any city,” said Cusack.

Some other Council members shared their concerns about the ordinance. Council Chair Ed Kelley said that with the passing of the ordinance, the Council could wind up with lawsuit four or five.

“I really regret the situation we’re in now. I think there’s been fault on both sides with communication,” says Council member Billie Wheeler. Wheeler, who was previously a member of the Daytona Beach Shores City Council, says there was backlash from the City at first, and the Council then “got their bristles up,” and vice-versa.

In response to the concerns of Daytona Beach Shores, the Council did also unanimously vote to agree to a conflict resolution procedure with the City in order to try and resolve the dispute.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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