Ordinance limits no tresspassing Perdido Key beach signs
Escambia County Commissioners have passed an ordinance that limits to one no trespassing sign per property line back to the dune line for those owning beachfront property on the island. The vote passed five to zero during the May 4 Escambia County Commission meeting. The revised ordinance stipulates that the signs can be no more than 10 feet from the dune line. The previous ordinance allowed three signs.
The ordinance also requires signs to be no larger than 24” by 24” with a maximum height of 6 feet.
The number of no trespassing signs on the beachside of Perdido Key Dr. condominiums has increased greatly in the past five years as mostly condo owner associations have aggressively marked their property.
Charles Krupnick, director of the Perdido Key Association, spoke at the May 4 meeting and urged the county to reconsider and at least let property owners keep the three signs they were allowed to place because it is a “concern” for many property owners.
“One sign, 10 feet from dune line, as indicated in the proposed ordinance will be interpreted by many beachgoers as the boundary of private ownership with the rest of the beach open to public use,’’ said Krupnick.
Krupnick also asked Commissioners to post public/private beach boundary information at public beach access points so the general public is aware of just how far the private property setback line is from the condos.
District I County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh, who represents Perdido Key, said deeds from the federal government’s sale of Perdido Key to the county include a 75-foot beach access easement for public use on beach property west of Perdido Key State Park and in the vicinity of Beach Access 1.
According to Bergosh, the 1957 deeds transferring property from the Federal government to private ownership specified the southerly 75 feet of the Gulf front lots were “subject to a perpetual easement for a beach for public use generally.” Research on the finding continues and Bergosh expects the issue to end up in court.
“You’d have high-powered lawyers on both sides but it’s going to be pretty difficult for a judge to look at original deeds and talk about a 75-foot easement on the southerly most 75 feet of all the Gulf front parcels for a perpetual easement for public use,” Bergosh said. “I think that’s too much to set aside. Plus given the testimony of people like me and people who even to this day go out there and don’t obey the signs because they know about it.”
But he said each of the 64 deeds uncovered in the research state that the southernmost 75 feet of the Gulf parcels have a perpetual easement written into the deed when the lots were declared surplus and sold by the federal government.