7-day beach driving permits end

Published: Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM.

The Board of County Commissioners ended a brief experiment in beach driving Tuesday.

Commissioners unanimously eliminated the weekly, or 7-day, beach driving permit less than one year after passing an ordinance approving the temporary permits.

The original idea behind adding the 7-day permit was to reap additional revenue from visitors not staying more than a few days or a week and not wishing to pay for the annual permit, the price for which commissioners raised to $250.

However, the temporary permits caused more problems than could be mitigated by any additional revenue and exposed a loophole through which some visitors would risk a violation – with a fine of $250 – rather than pay for a seasonal pass.

Additionally, the Tourist Development Council advisory board had expressed dismay with the permit allowing drivers not familiar with Gulf County beaches, dune systems, turtle nesting protocols and the like on the beach.

“The 7-day permit definitely caused some problems,” said Commissioner Warren Yeager.

Commissioners amended the ordinance to strike the 7-day permit and also adjusted the fines.

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