Lupin Beach gets 3-2 split BCC approval despite opposition

Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 02:18 PM.

Those against the project were not able to share their thoughts on the proposed development at the Technical Review Board meeting Oct. 11, and they again were all-but brushed aside at Tuesday’s meeting.

“At every stage of this project, from conceptual approval, technical review committee, final approval by the commissioners, the planning staff, planning commissioners, Walton County Commissioners kept limiting input on issues from the public,” said Connelly.

County Attorney Toni Craig said it was too late to take any action at the county level as far as appealing the project. That time passed a long time ago, according to Craig, who said any appeal must be filed within 30 days of a development approval.

The development initially passed through the conceptual approval in 2010, with yes votes from then-commissioners Scott Brannon, Larry Jones, Cecilia Jones and current commissioner Kenneth Pridgen. Sara Comander was a commissioner then but did not vote at that meeting, as she was absent. The project approval was about to reach its three-year expiration date, which would have been Feb. 23, 2013.

Scott Shirley, and attorney representing Walton Magnolia Lane resident Haines O’Neil, brought up one of the major issues with the project — building on, shifting and the diminishing the land’s large primary dune ridge.

According to county regulations, only limited construction is to be seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line, which is marked at the landward toe of the primary dune ridge — the ridge the developers plan to move, which has historically protected surrounding properties through hurricanes and other storms.

“We found out via the O'Neil's attorneys that a major 33-foot-high dune seaward of the CCCL would be cut down to 24 feet and would be ‘shifted or moved’ … and that a six-foot-high retaining wall would be constructed for a single-lane street for access to four residences to be built seaward of the CCCL,” said Connelly.

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