The Destruction of Inlet Beach
Roberts, Paul Craighttp://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/04/17/destruction-inlet-beach/
Publisher: Paul Craig Roberts
Date Written: 17/04/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20650
As Inlet Beach undergoes development to turn the site into a tourist vacation spot and with no support from the county government or develepment laws, the local community is slowly driven away.
Today the real estate interests of Walton County advertise the area as "the world's most beautiful beaches." Once they were. Fine white sand that never burns the feet even in July and August and extends for miles east and west, crystal clear water, mint green up close, emerald blue in the distant. It is still like that, except development has brought walkovers and trash bins on the beach side of the walkovers. The county employees who collect the trash left by beach goers are too lazy to use the walkovers. Instead they drive on the beach. So do the private companies that have managed to privatize the beaches to their profits by setting up endless rows of beach chairs and umbrellas. This replaces the beach with endless ruts that resemble a dirt race track. There is no level ground on which to place a beach towel. Thus, the ruts create a clientele for the beach chair companies. Deputy sheriffs add to the ruts by driving up and down the beach to police it. The pleasure of walking on the beach has disappeared as the experience now is like traversing snow drifts.
Development on a massive scale came suddenly to south Walton county, because St. Joe, excessively harrassed by environmentalists because of the paper mill at Port St. Joe, closed the mill and went into the real estate business. One million acres that had been better protected by St. Joe Paper Company than US National Forests, were opened for real estate development. This coincided with Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve money printing activity that dropped interest rates and made real estate development especially attractive.
Inlet Beach residents saw what was coming at them. The original families were mostly still in possession, and they wanted to preserve what was theirs. The part of the community south of US 98 organized and during 2000-2006 forced through the Walton County Commission a large scale amendment that limited density to one unit per quarter acre and designated all land not bordering US 98 residential.