Destin Beach Project Okayed in Court

A group of Destin property owners are weighing their options after a judge ruling against them in a land dispute.

A court decision went in favor of a plan to renourish about a two-mile stretch of beach in eastern Okaloosa County.

The group called Save Our Beaches wanted Judge Robert Barron to grant a temporary injunction against work crews that are planning to rebuild beaches in front of their property.

They're afraid that portion of land will then be declared public property.

But Judge Barron ruled their attorney failed to prove three out of four issues.

"For those reasons stated the court will here by deny the motion for a temporary injunction."

The decision was a relief for Destin city officials who view it as a go-ahead for the project.

City Manager Greg Kisela was pleased.

"We're going to proceed were very excited about the court ruling and were going to proceed with the beach restoration project."

Shannon Goessling, the Attorney for the Save Our Beaches group, is disappointed.

"The court had the opportunity to keep government from infringing on private property rights and they chose not to do so and in essence that means that your property and my property are now at risk because the last defense for property rights is a court of law now the court of law has abandoned our clients and now their rights are infringed upon."

Jo Gilbert, one of the owners, said she didn't feel as though she owns her property anymore; she just rents it until the government decides it wants it.

"It's just wrong it is in violation of the constitution of the United Sates. The simple matter is the city of Destin has just not justified coming onto private property and using it for public purpose with out the permission of the owners."

The property owners plan to appeal Judge Barron's decision, and they hope to get it into court before the work crews can reach their beaches.

The renourishment crews are in Walton County right now, rebuilding a five-mile stretch of beach next door to the disputed Destin land.


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