SANTA ROSA BEACH — With Commissioner Tony Anderson absent, Walton County Commissioners voted Tuesday to postpone any decisions surrounding developmental plans for the Walton Dunes Regional Beach Access.
Instead, a presentation will be offered prior to the March 10 commission meeting, which will now be held in Freeport, rather than the South Walton Annex.
While County Administrator Larry Jones said this was to allow for early voting at the annex, some visitors didn’t agree with the decision.
"If you recall, just a month or so ago, Commissioner (Melanie) Nipper requested a delay in a vote because of her medical issues and that was denied," Walton resident Donna Johns told the board. "So, if it’s going to be denied for one commissioner, it should be straight across the board for all of them."
Johns also didn’t agree that the conversation should be had in Freeport, when it deals with a South Walton development.
"I think that the people in South Walton would prefer it to be held in South Walton," she said.
Along with prolonging the Walton Dunes Regional Beach Access, commissioners also voted to move forward with drainage improvements to Western Lake.
Phase one of the project, which will begin near Wood Beach Drive, will cost more than $512,000. It’s contingent on RESTORE treasury approval.
According to Melinda Gates, Walton’s environmental coordinator, the improvements will be funded by the RETORE Act, along with a stormwater tax taken from the southern portion of the county.
"The objective of the project is to implement conveyance and stormwater upgrades around Western Lake to improve stormwater drainage in neighborhoods that are currently lacking infrastructure," Gates wrote in an email.
She added that it would also provide temporary storage and treatment of stormwater runoff, which will capture pollutants that would otherwise end up in waterways.
Looking ahead, Jones didn’t expect the county to have any issues getting RESTORE approval.
"We have all reason to believe that approval is coming, it’s just a matter of getting it in hand before we move forward," he said.