Michael Hannon letter to the editor


I read the recent article referencing beach refurbishment and the suggestion that Ponte Vedra Beach needs a special tax district to address beach refurbishment and renourishment. But the initiative did not include any mention of an even greater need — improved/increased public access to the north end of Ponte Vedra Beach and the greater concentration of residents in that area.

Any attempt to add a special tax district to the north end of Ponte Vedra Beach should contain a concrete plan to acquire additional land and provide beach access with restrooms and parking in close proximity. What is the value of living so close to the beach if there’s no convenient beach access, other than paying for a private beach club membership that few of the residents in the north end of Ponte Vedra Beach can afford?

This morning, July 1, 2018, the parking lot at Mickler’s Landing was full, which is generally the case on any nice spring or summer weekend. Early approved beachfront property plats in north Ponte Vedra Beach contained generous “beach access easements,” but they did not allow for parking in close proximity to those beach access points. In fact, parking along right-of-ways in close proximity to the public beach access easements has been greatly restricted over the past 35 to 40 years to the point they are almost non-existent.

Florida has magnificent beaches often described as a great playground. North Ponte Vedra has not asked the county to supply parks and recreation to match the expanding population created by the flood of rezoning that continues to add residential housing units. Or perhaps the county should stipulate any developer wanting increased zoning should provide an allocated amount the county could use to purchase beachfront property to satisfy the growing need for beach access and beach services of parking and restrooms.

We have impact fees, but where are the funds to support the impact of increased demand for convenient beach access? The County Commissioners should consider the great park that already exists but lacks access for the want of parking and restrooms in close proximity.

Everybody in North Ponte Vedra Beach wins if the county provides convenient beach access with adequate parking and restrooms. Who wins? The municipality with the great beach access.