Regarding your December article “Ocean Ridge closer to beach enforcement plan”:
No one has an issue with protecting property owners’ rights and that should include the dunes and sand. Since the commission is choosing to literally draw a line in that sand, I hope I can tell where it is. I guess after the second or third citation I will figure it out.
The real issue I have is with the second to last paragraph, which states that the long debate over signage and beach lines is about property rights and not about restricting beach access. Give me a break!
The property rights argument is a recent addition and frankly a separate legal issue. We already have laws protecting personal property. If they need to be better enforced, so be it.
The real telling example of the true motivation of the debate is when the commission, of which I was then a member, took up the action of making the A1A and Woolbright Road intersection safer for pedestrians. A group of residents mustered the troops and came out very strongly against any safety improvements.
The issue of property rights never was discussed. In fact, the argument was that “they” (I guess as opposed to “we”) can already walk a few blocks north or south to access the beach. I assume the property rights of those beach owners were a little less important.
At a recent commission meeting, a new commissioner spoke passionately in favor of an ordinance change making it illegal for a vehicle to stop or stand at any public crossover. This commissioner used the Beachway Drive crossover as an example of an accident waiting to happen. This is on a street with stop signs and a 20 mph speed limit.
But where all credibility was lost for me that night was that the commissioner arguing vehemently for safety was, as a private citizen, one of the most outspoken opponents of the A1A safety improvements. Once again, give me a break! I guess our definitions of a dangerous intersection will have to differ.
All this being said, the concern I have is the attitude of the commission. As I attend these meetings and listen to these discussions, they revolve around where the “public” can have identifiable beach access, where the “public” can stop or stand or unload, where the “public” can lawfully enjoy the beach.
Well, I am the “public” and so are over 90 percent of the citizens of Ocean Ridge who do not own beachfront property. Who do the commissioners think they are speaking about when they discuss the “public”? When people speak to these concerns at meetings the answers are, “The police will have discretion (wink-wink). We really don’t mean you (wink-wink).” What kind of policy are we instituting? Who is representing the interest of the Ocean Ridge public?
At the end of the day I am saddened. Ocean Ridge is a great town, and the population has always been super friendly. The current commission seems to have let a small coalition of disgruntled citizens turn their actions very mean-spirited. This does not seem like the town we have all enjoyed.
Edward J. Brookes