Should more people be driving on the beach?

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“Much of the year the beach is not utilized. We should maximize use of the beach.”

DEBORAH WHEELER @WaltonSunDeb

Every spring, Walton County accepts applications for coveted beach driving permits. And every year, hundreds of applications are received.

However, out of those hundreds, only 150 are chosen.

This leaves a few hundred people disappointed.

Anthony Woolf is one of those.

Woolf would like to see another tier added to the lottery system that would issue permits for driving on the beach in the off season only. Toward that end, on July 11 he will ask the Board of County Commissioners to set up a focus group to work out the details of making this happen.

“A second-class permit would allow those of us who did not win the first time to access the beach when no one is there,” he said.

Woolf said he won a permit in 2009 but has not won since.

“Much of the year the beach is not utilized,” he said. “We should maximize use of the beach.”

Winners’ names were drawn May 15 and have 30 calendar days to purchase the permit at the Walton County Administration office and receive their decal.

Applications must be submitted with proof of residency from either voter registration or a driver’s license.

There are around 800 permit holders who are grandfathered, said Administrative Clerk Candy Posey.

“To be grandfathered in you must have maintained a permit every year since 2011,” she said.

Permits are also issued to handicapped drivers and 15 charter boat captains who launch off Grayton Beach.

Posey said sometimes lottery winners don’t purchase their permit, and when that happens that spot goes back into the lottery.

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