Okaloosa County to Hold Public Hearing on Outlawing Deep Holes and Large Tents on Beaches

Okaloosa County will have a public hearing on April 16, 2024, where commissioners will discuss proposed regulations regarding hole digging and tent sizes on beaches.

Okaloosa County commissioners have voted unanimously to approve a public hearing regarding proposed changes to beach regulations on holes and tents.ย 

The hearing, scheduled for 0830 on April 16, 2024, at the Okaloosa County Administration Building in Shalimar, Florida, will address concerns related to hole digging and beach tent sizes.

According to documents prepared by the Okaloosa County Commission’s staff – the proposed changes come after theย death of a girl that took place in South Florida earlier this month.ย ย 

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Proposed Ordinance Changes:

The public hearing focuses on two critical aspects of beach regulations. Firstly, a proposed ordinance is changed to limit hole digging on beach properties.

Okaloosa County Staff aims to adopt language similar to neighboring Walton County, where holes dug on beach property must be attended to and filled before leaving, with size restrictions of three feet by three feet and a maximum depth of two feet.ย 

They say this measure would address safety hazards and environmental concerns associated with large, unattended holes on beaches.

Impact and Rationale:

The proposed restrictions on hole digging respond to concerns about safety hazards, especially in the early morning when beach rakes are in operation to clean the beaches.ย 

Large, unattended holes can pose risks to beachgoers and wildlife, such as sea turtles, which can become trapped in these holes while attempting to reach the sea. By limiting hole sizes and mandating attendance and filling, the county aims to mitigate these risks and maintain a safer beach environment.

Tent Size Regulations:

In addition to hole digging, Okaloosa County Staff has also proposed changes regarding beach tent sizes. The proposed regulation suggests that tents may be at most 10 feet by 10 feet, with larger tents requiring a permit. As you might have guessed, the measure aims to manage the use of large beach tents, ensuring that they do not obstruct public access or create safety hazards.

Addressing Concerns and Public Input:

The upcoming public hearing allows you to voice your opinions and provide input on these proposed changes.ย 

Discussions during the hearing are expected to focus on balancing the need for beachgoer enjoyment with safety and environmental considerations.

If you can’t make the meeting, but want to get your thoughts to the commission about the hearing –ย you can email them here:

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