Reinventing the wheel: Becnel, homeowners disagree on Ferris wheel

Published: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:51 AM.

In his 40-plus years as a real estate developer in areas such as Naples and Hawaii, Becnel said he has never experienced such roadblocks.

"I've never encountered such a dysfunctional political system," he said. "Walton County is there to hinder — it's backwards. Go to Crestview, and they invite you in; they encourage you. Planning departments are supposed to assist you."

Calls to the Walton County Planning Commission were left unanswered. However, Louis Svehla, public information manager to Walton Board of County Commissioners, explained to The Sun developments within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort are typically put through minor development planning. It was at the July 9 BOC meeting that Meadows requested to make the Ferris wheel a major development and recommended that the Board conduct the hearings and determine approval instead of the planning department. 

Despite the work ahead of him, Becnel said he will continue to fight, not just for the Ferris wheel, but for his legal rights.

"That's my nature," he said with a shrug. "I'll continue to work through the process and evaluate my legal position. In the United States a development order is not a popularity contest, it is a legal right."

  WHAT’S NEXT: The Ferris wheel proposal is set to tentatively go before the board of county commissioners at its September 12 meeting.


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