From its classic surf culture to its world-renowned NASCAR track, the Florida city of Daytona Beach has a truly unique vibe. Indeed, the city -- and much of Volusia County -- is well known for its unrestricted beach access, even allowing motorists to drive and park their vehicles right on the sandy coastline in some places.
Much to the chagrin of local residents, however, the stretches of beach in Volusia County allowing cars have been significantly reduced over the last several decades, dropping from 45 miles all the way down to 17 miles due to a variety of local ordinances.
Indeed, plans are now currently underway to take away another two miles of beachfront parking lot in Daytona, something that has sparked an ongoing legal battle.
The Volusia County Council approved legal ordinances last year calling for beach access to be prohibited to all vehicles behind two planned hotels and along a two-mile stretch of undeveloped land provided that any builders also construct parking lots to accommodate beachgoers.
In response to this move, the Let Volusia Vote PAC was formed by a group of concerned citizens, and they promptly gathered the necessary signatures to get a ballot proposal in place that, if passed, would require voter approval for any proposed reductions in beach parking.
The county responded by filing an ultimately successful lawsuit claiming that the petition was unconstitutional. The decision was subsequently appealed and is currently pending.
It will be fascinating to see what ultimately comes of this case pitting tradition against modernization. Indeed, for as many people as there are who want to continue accessing the beach with their cars, there are just as many who believe that this century-old ritual is dangerous, environmentally unsound and standing in the way of progress.
Stay tuned for updates …
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