Walton County Commissioners are moving forward with attempts to purchase more property to enable people to get to the beach.
Tourist Development Council Director Jay Tusa updated commissioners on possible properties available for purchase at Tuesday night's Board of County Commission meeting.
Tusa informed commissioners that County Attorney Mark Davis has discovered that the Highland House property located just east of Ed Walline Park does have an easement that belongs to the county that could be used for access to the beach.
"It took a surveyor," explained Davis. "We determined the easement on the north side of the parcel in the upper left hand corner was never abandoned so we still have an easement. The parcel next to it is the county's and ties into the beach."
The Highland House is located at 4193 County Highway 30A and rests on 1.25 acres. This parcel is valued at $435,600 with a market value of $818,213.
Tusa asked Commissioners for direction in moving forward.
"The house on the property is pretty big and would offer some nice parking," he said.
Tusa also advised them that the property located due south of Highland House has just come on the market and asked for direction in whether to pursue that one as well for beach access.
This parcel, referred to as the Elimon property, is located at 64 S. Spooky Lane, and rests on .316 acres. This parcel is valued at $1,109,921 with a market value of $2,501,468.
"That one has 1,000-feet of beach and it would amount to about four acres," he said. "It's an important piece."
There is already a boardwalk there with a bridge that crosses a drainage ditch that is now a neighborhood beach access, but if the county purchases the property, it would become a regional access seeing a larger volume of people.
These parcels were the only ones Tusa could report on at the meeting as he said updated information on the proposed Miramar Beach property was not returned to him in time.
However, District 2 Commissioner Cecilia Jones said the Miramar property is the one she is interested in having a contract on as a regional access is needed in that area.
District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander concurred.
The Miramar property consists of 2.03 acres. The land is valued at $51,390 with a market value of $51,390 and is situated just east of Seascape on Scenic 98.
Tusa said he would get updated numbers on the property and have it for the commissioners at the next meeting.
However, he advised that prioritizing would be essential as he has determined the county has about $16 million to spend for property purchases, but if all properties being considered are purchased the total would come to about $28 million.
"We don't have enough to buy all of these," he said.
District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson made a motion to allow Tusa to move forward and get appraisals on the Highland House property, the Elimon parcel and the Miramar Beach parcel.
The motion passed unanimously.
The county has already purchased beachfront land at Dune Allen for a regional access and at Tuesday's meeting, Brian Kellenberger director of beach operations, asked for approval of Genesis Engineering to design and construct the access and parking for $120,000. Commissioners approved his request.