The fee simple title on Pensacola Beach isn’t as diabolical and evil as some want the public and Sen. Bill Nelson to believe, according to Congressman Matt Gaetz and County Commissioner Grover Robinson.
“There continues to be misinformation, largely amplified by the Pensacola News Journal, indicating that this is somehow a private takeover of the beach,” Gaetz told Inweekly. “That is not true. There’s not a single speck of sand on Pensacola Beach or Navarre Beach that the public is currently able to use that they would not be able to use after we pass this bill.”
Commissioner Robinson said argument that claims the public would lose access if the fee simple bill is passed just isn’t factual.
“Let me ask you–how public it is if you just want to walk into somebody’s house on the beach,” he said. “They’ll call the sheriff, they’ll come pick me up, and they’ll take you in. It’s not public because the beach house is privately leased to the homeowner.”
He continued, “Going to fee simple is not changing anything on that. The stuff that is public—the sidewalks, access roads, parking lots,conservation areas, areas between the dunes and the Gulf, and the all the different parts around it that are really truly public—I’ve made sure in the bill’s language that it is kept that way in Escambia County and it is that way into perpetuity.”
He pointed out that currently the Board of County Commissioners could lease those public areas by 3-2 vote. The fee simple law prevents that from ever happening.
“The things that are in preservation and conservation would be that way into perpetuity.”