Commissioners prohibit beach vending at one 30A beach access

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County Commissioners agreed to not allow more beach vending at public accesses on Tuesday.  

Residents around Eastern Lake near Seagrove on 30A told the county at a workshop on March 21 that they did not want beach chairs, umbrellas, or bonfires at the small section of public beach.  

“I received a lot of emails I want to say close to a hundred or better, and 90 plus percent of them did not want vending on this location. And so, therefore, I’m voting no as well,” Donna Johns, District 4 commissioner said.

Public speaks out against beach vending at Eastern Lake on 30A

Local residents overwhelmingly stated they were against any vending around the coastal dune lake, stating the lake is too much of a shifting environment that needs to be protected.  

“I can’t stress to you enough about the ecosystem and how fragile it is. You know, most of these were discovered over 10,000 years ago by the Indians. Their depths are only maybe 15 feet. If you have a lot of vendors that are setting up on the beaches they’re going to deteriorate,” Nina Horn, a resident said.

Commissioner Danny Glidewell made the motion to not allow vending for a year, but that was not enough for those in the audience.  

“The default should be no vending, the default shouldn’t vending that we have to come here every year and fight for our rare coastal dune lakes which are a unique ecosystem that must be protected forever if Walton County is going to start standing by preservation and conservation so we can all have pride in our county,” Lynn Nesmith, Eastern Lake resident said.

After further discussion, the board unanimously voted to prohibit beach vending at Eastern Lake indefinitely. Changing the approved motion would require future board action.

St. Andrews Marina contract is still being negotiated

Commissioner Johns directed staff to look into the vending policies for other beach accesses; stating she’d like all vending to be under the county-managed program or not at all.  

Acting County Attorney Clay Adkinson said the issue will be brought up at the next South Walton annex board meeting. 

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