TDC looks at solutions for unruly teenagers around Seaside

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After video surfaced showing thousands of teenagers surging around Seaside during spring break, Walton County officials are trying to find a solution. 

“The environment they’re creating in our community is almost unbearable,” Amy Wise-Coble with the Tourist Development Council (TDC) said.

Most Walton County officials agree that the 2024 Seaside spring break was out of control.  

Thousands of teens removed from 30A as deputies try to control crowds

“When they came in and put that curfew on the beach. Boy, that buried us because that’s when we took everybody off the beach and into the communities,” Wise-Coble said.  

Reports from homeowners said the unsupervised teens jumped fences and damaged property. 

To combat the issue, the TDC is looking at creating a new ‘Family Break Certification’ program for rental companies.  The certification would create stricter rules for adults on family vacations.

Something a few companies already have.  

“We start checking all of our single-family homes after 9:00 at night, we’ve always had that policy of how many adults have to be in the home. We do evictions. We do this year, three or four weeks,” Tim Taylor with Ocean Reef Resorts said.

“There are good professional operators that are already doing these things. And then there’s some bad actors in the community. And I don’t know that putting together a certification program is necessarily going to turn the bad actors around,” Brian Moffatt with the TDC said. “But I do think that as much as we as a community can kind of shift that expectation option, I think will, you know, kind of bring everybody else around as well.”

The plan is in the early stages. With agreement from the council Tuesday, Wise-Coble said she will move forward to get more buy-in from companies and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.  

“I truly believe the weeks that the beach curfew was not in place we weren’t getting near the level of complaints as when they put the beach curfew in. So there’s no question I’m working very closely with the sheriff’s department so that we can deliver on what we are,” Wise-Coble said.

The issue will be brought back to the council, and later the board of county commissioners for approval. 

Wise-Coble and Algarin said they are open to public input.

To contact the council with ideas or thoughts, click here.

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