PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A petition has been created calling for the repeal of a new Florida law that will give hotels, condos, and private residences more control over their beachfront property, potentially barring public access.
With the law, property owners will be able to decide if they want to restrict the public from using their portion of the sand from the high tide water line up.
The Care2 petition says the law will give property owners too much leeway to shut out the public from Florida beaches. Since it was created, it has gathered over 23,000 signatures. In addition to Floridians, tourists from all over the world have signed the petition. Click here to view petition.
“Beaches are an integral part of Florida's tourism and should be open for all to enjoy,” the petition reads. “Sixty percent of Florida's beaches are already privately owned. This new law will put even more power in the hands of landowners to further restrict where, when, and how people can access the beach.”
The new law is the first of its kind in the country and ultimately goes against Florida’s long-standing "customary use" policy, which allows the public to use privately owned parts of the beach if they can show that it's been used for years by the public.
The law also takes away a local city or county’s ability to restrict private beaches.
The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.