Santa Rosa County is cracking down on illegal RV usage on Navarre Beach, after county administrators learned of people improperly hooking up to the county’s water and sewer systems while residing in campers.
County engineer Roger Blaylock told County Commissioners last week that there has been a “proliferation” of illegal RV activity on Navarre Beach.
“What they’re doing is connecting to our utility services illegally,” Blaylock said. “Navarre Beach has never allowed people to reside in the RVs, the exception was during Ivan, there was a couple of cases where the houses were totally destroyed, and the board allowed people to move in while the unit was being reconstructed. But we have a couple of cases where, I do believe, there’s some … misinterpretation of the code allowing people to reside in RVs on Navarre Beach, and that’s just not the case. We’re going to disconnect the water to those units.”
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District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech told the News Journal on Friday that the issue involved mostly people with RVs residing on their personal property.
“In the restrictive covenants for Navarre Beach, temporary structures aren’t allowed,” Piech said. “We have folks that have RVs next to their houses or on plots of land in some cases, that are tied into our water and sewer utilities.”
Piech said the county attorney has sent two cease and desist letters to Navarre Beach residents so far this week informing them that they need to disconnect their RVs from county utilities. If they don’t comply, the county could take the next step, which can be a fine or utility disruption.
Camping in Navarre Beach parking lot is illegal
A separate issue that has arisen on Navarre Beach is people camping out overnight or for extended periods of time on the boat ramp and parking lot area directly adjacent to Juana’s Pagodas.
Navarre Beach Fire Rescue Chief Danny Fureigh said the campers block people’s ability to utilize the public boat ramp.
“On any given morning, there are at least five RVs parked at the boat ramp, they have their jacks down and their awnings out,” he said. “I think they utilize the showers and stuff like that, but it’s clearly posted that you can’t camp overnight there, but I haven’t seen any enforcement.”
Navarre Beach resident Terry Pirman says he thinks the county should look into making some sort of legal campground on Navarre Beach for people to stay at when they visit Navarre in their campers.
“I don’t understand why it would be a big deal for a person to park their camper at that boat ramp area, I mean it’s a big parking lot,” he said. “If they want tourists to come here and visit, and a lot of those tourists come with RVs, we should provide a safe space for them to park the doggone thing.”
Piech said the county is aware of both issues, and since both are against the island’s covenant, officials are taking both matters seriously.
“Is it harming the water and sewer? I can’t say whether it is or not,” Piech said. “It’s more about the covenants and following the rules that are out there.”
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.
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