South Walton State Parks and Forest
Point Washington State Forest
Grayton Beach State Park
Deer Lake State Park
Update on Cypress Lake
The motion to dismiss hearing was held April 19. Judge Green granted a “leave to amend’, which means we have 20 days to amend the answer to the motion to dismiss to be more specific in how Beach to Bay, SWCC and the two individuals named in the lawsuit are harmed by the Cypress Lake development more than the general public. The attorney for Cypress Lake then has 15 days to rebut our amended complaint.
The trial date is set for late October or early November.
Make an Earth Day contribution to Beach to Bay Connection to preserve and protect our state forest and parks in South Walton.
Send checks to:
Beach to Bay Connection
412 Hilltop Dr
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Beach to Bay Connection Inc. and South Walton Community Council filed a lawsuit against Walton County and Ashwood Development on January 10, 2018. Both are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, thus all donations are tax deductible.
Beach to Bay Connection Inc. is involved due to the failure of the PUD to provide minimum buffer requirements adjacent to Topsail Preserve’s east and southern borders. The density and intensity of the development will adversely impact Topsail Preserve, one of Florida’s most environmentally biodiverse and sensitive ecosystems.
Several ways to donate:
Go to www.letitbeforest.com and donate through PayPal. Donate button is on the top of the opening page. This is the information website for Beach to Bay Connection, we also have a Facebook page let it be forest.
Mail a donation to
Beach to Bay Connection
412 Hilltop Dr.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
For more information or other ways to donate call 850-267-2227
Basis of the Lawsuit: Inconsistencies of the Cypress Lake PUD Development order with Walton Counties Comprehensive plan
PUDs are supposed to promote innovative planning and are allowed deviations to the land development code based on benefits to the public; they must be compatible with the surrounding area. The Cypress Lake PUD does not promote innovative planning, has no public benefits, and is not compatible with the densities and intensities of existing development and environmental conditions in the surrounding areas. It exceeds the maximum density and intensity standards allowed for a mixed-use project on Neighborhood Infill land.
Walton County approved 125 single-family and duplex townhomes 16 residential condominium units and 53,000 square feet of office restaurant and commercial use on 22.36 acres.
Mixed-use developments are supposed to calculate density and intensity based on the proportion of the land used for each purpose, residential or nonresidential uses. The developer has calculated residential density using 100% of the 22.36 acres as residential development. It also uses 100% of the acreage to calculate intensity, the commercial part. This is “double dipping” the land use, using it twice for calculating land use.
The real density is 12.98 units per acre. The proportion of residential land use for Cypress Lake is 9.63 acres of the total 22.36 acres, therefore the project density is 12.98 units per acre, not the 6.3 units calculated by the developer. Neighborhood infill land use category allows for 8 units per acre thus Cypress Lake exceeds residential density.
The Project is inconsistent with the much lower density developments to the east and south, and Topsail Preserve to the west and north. Estimating from county maps nearby neighborhoods are much less dense, Beachview Heights appears to be about 2 units per acre, Flamingo Village/Emerald Walk 3 units per acre, and Cypress Dunes 6 units per acre. Cypress lake at 12. 98 units per acre, and commercial, is incompatible.
Cypress Lake PUD Fails to Provide the Required CR 30A Scenic Corridor Setback
Not only does the developer fail to provide the required 20-foot scenic corridor set back they locate 80 parking spaces and turn lanes within this area.
Cypress Lake PUD Buffers incorrect and does not provide residential sidewalks.
Cypress Lake PUD has 10 foot buffers. The buffers should be 25 feet on the North and West where it abuts Topsail Preserve. They should be 20 feet on the east and south where it abuts low-density single family residences.
Neighborhood Infill parcels within the CR 30A Scenic Corridor are supposed to have sidewalks on both sides of residential streets, Cypress Lake does not have this.
Additionally, the county failed to advertise, process and review the Cypress Lake PUD correctly.
Thank you for your support
Florida Division of Recreation and Parks held a public workshop September 21 to take public comment on a new Mangement Plan for Topsail Preserve.
Public comment by email will be taken until October 5.
Topsail Hill Preserve protects the most outstanding assemblage of natural communities on the coast of the Florida Panhandle. Topsail Hill Preserve is the only place on the planet where dune lakes exist entirely within conservation land, the rare Choctawhatchee beach mouse habitat is undisturbed and wet prairies and coastal scrub are found intact. All of the private land in South Walton will someday be developed, we must leave our state parks and forest as untouched as possible. Enjoy but don’t destroy!
Email now FL_StateParkPlanning@dep.state.fl.us You can copy and paste the following or write your own comment. Put your name after the comment.
Subject: Keep Topsail Hill State Preserve as a Preserve,
Dear Topsail Hill State Park Planner,
The acquisition of Topsail Hill Preserve was for the conservation of natural communities found in the Florida Panhandle. Recreation in the preserve must not diminish the resource. Priority should be given to improving the existing facilities already developed within the park, redesign beach bike parking and enhance restroom facilities. The trails within the preserve should remain bike and pedestrian only, motor vehicles should be restricted to the current use area. No additional beach boardwalks should be added to the Topsail Hill Preserve!
Thank you for your support
Walton County Board of County Commissioners are looking to construct a highway between Highway 395 and the eastern edge of Deer Lake State Park. All of this land is either Point Washington State Forest or Deer Lake State Park.
A road anywhere in this area will impact nature trails, fragment the habitat, disrupt hydrology and destroy plant and animal communities. This issue is likely to be voted during a County Commission meeting very soon.
Walton County can request land for a highway but Florida Forest Service can deny it. We will update as the issue moves through the process.
Email the commissioners and tell them: The only options are a road on the eastern edge of Deer Lake State Park or no road at all. No Roads in Point Washington State Forest or Deer Lake State Park.
District 1 Bill Chapman email@example.com
District 2 Cecelia Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 Melanie Nipper email@example.com
District 4 Sara Comander firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5 Tony Anderson email@example.com
Forward this to your contact list.
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Let the State Parks and Forest lands in South Walton be what they were acquired for, conservation and passive recreation! These lands are for the use and enjoyment of the public, AS LONG AS THE USE DOES NOT DIMINISH THE RESOURCE.