Homeowner's association files suit against Escambia County over Perdido Key Beach access

Article Courtesy of  WEAR TV

By Renee Beninate

Published January 6, 2018


ESCAMBIA COUNTY — In mid-December a lawsuit was filed by the Seafarer Owners Association against Escambia County.

The group is a homeowner’s association for a condo in Perdido Key.

They don’t want a piece of county-owned beach property next door to be open to the public.

It was bought by the county in 2013, but since then has been closed off.

"This is just someone trying to close us down because they don't want it,” said County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh. “That's the bottom line. Always rememberthey got theirs and they don't want the public to have access. They want to keep that area of beach as their private little beach."

The lawsuit claims the county’s board of adjustment didn’t take the proper steps in November to issue a conditional-use permit.

Homeowner's association files suit against Escambia County over Perdido Key Beach access.


That permit is necessary for the county to begin designing the public access.

It also claims the board made this decision without enough evidence about its impact.

Commissioner Bergosh said that’s not the case.

"We feel like we did everything right. We checked every box, dotted the I's, crossed the T'sI think the judge will toss it aside, I don't think it will go anywhere,” said Bergosh.

Doug Underhill is the only county commissioner who does not want public access at this location.

"Each of the arguments that are made in the lawsuit are precisely the things I told the board you need to be careful about before you move down this very political road of 'Open Beach Access Four',” said Underhill.

Supporters and protesters have voiced their concerns to the commission already.

Opponents believe public access will have a negative impact on the environment and the protected Beach Mice population that lives there.

Underhill agreed.

"Building another 22- parking spot public access, another cheap access with no other amenities is not what the people of Escambia County deserve. We need a proper access on the island,” said Underhill.

We reached out to the attorney handling the case for the condo association, Will Dunaway.

He declined to comment and said the lawsuit speaks for itself.

Burgosh said if everything goes as planned the land could be opened to the public as early as this Summer.