Neighborhood balks at county plans for beach access parking

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 03:18 PM.

“We fought to make sure we had beach rights and beach access rights,” said Helderle’s neighbor Tim Conway, who has lived on Montigo for nine years.

The county did not get involved in the legislation, which to Helderle raises some questions about their ownership of the 60-foot-wide right of way.

“When the residents of a neighborhood have to take it to court, you would think then that it is the property of the subdivision,” said Helderle. “The county never got themselves involved.”

But Clint Smith with Public Works says that although the neighborhood may have at one time had legal ownership of that parcel, a Florida statute may iron out some questions about the disputed ownership.

Walton County has been maintaining the property, and Smith says under Florida Statute 95.361, if an entity maintains a piece of property for seven or more years, the maintaining entity essentially claims ownership.

But if that is the case, current Montigo owners had no idea about the property-ownership switch.

“We’ve always been told it’s a deeded access of Gulf Shores Manor,” said Conway.

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