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Collier could upstage state with its own beach ordinance

Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-13 06:36:18-04

A state law that requires beach access disputes to be settled in court is set take effect July 1st. But Collier County could become the second municipality to pass an ordinance allowing its local government to settle the issue. 

A similar ordinance is pending in Naples.

"It seems like a very good ordinance, it protects the public's interest on the beach," said beach access advocate Graham Ginsberg.

County commissioners will discuss the proposal it at the June 26th meeting.

Supporters of the law, say local leaders are turning it into a political beach ball aimed at derailing Governor Rick Scott's campaign for Senate.

"People who don't want to see him in the U.S. Senate started this whole campaign, saying things about rich people on the beach," said State Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples).

Passidomo says since Florida became a state, beach access disputes have been traditionally settled in a court.  The new law would just make it official.

"This law in no way shape or form will impact negatively the public's access to the beach."

But Ginsberg doesn't see it that way.  He began his beach access crusade after an unpleasant experience on Vanderbilt Beach.

"I was kicked off, myself and my family were kicked off the beach at the Ritz-Carlton a couple years ago."

The manager at the Ritz-Carlton says the hotel owns a portion of the beach behind the property, but rarely have any conflicts with beach goers sharing the area.