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New sign raises access concerns for beach walkers

A sign was recently placed reminding pedestrians of private property near the Gulfside Road public beach access.

Beach walkers are being asked to be cognizant of where they are walking at the Gulfside Road beach access via the placement of a sign that reminds pedestrians of private property and unsafe conditions along rock groins.

The placement of signs on property on Longboat Key has sparked conversation around pedestrian access to the 10-mile stretch of beach. Some residents have expressed frustration and concern that the sign is the first step toward a similar situation as is present at the Ohana property, which makes a section of the beach impassible by pedestrians.

“The regular beach walkers who were unhappy to lose the access previously afforded to them to traverse the Ohana seawall property are even more unhappy to see the Town of Longboat Key join the movement to further impede beach access in the placement of this sign,” Commissioner Deborah Murphy wrote in an email to Town Manager Howard Tipton. “As beach erosion negatively impacts the recreational use of this public amenity, I believe the Town of Longboat Key should consider adopting proactive beach access policies which first seek to identify the feasibility of any access workarounds prior to installing restrictive signage.”

The main concern is signs on the property could lead to a similar situation created by the Ohana seawall, which sparked the outrage of residents and frequent beach walkers.