Issues of Interest

BEACH ACCESS Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order clarifying the process that local governments should follow in order to assure public access to private beaches. Many perceived the law denying the public from beach access in front of private property and some counties were passing ordinances based upon this interpretation. The order imposes a moratorium on executive state agencies adopting any rule or restriction to inhibit the public’s access to Florida’s beaches; directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to serve as an advocate for access rights; urges local government entities to not adopt any rule or ordinance that would restrict or eliminate the such access; and urges state attorneys to protect Floridians’ constitutional rights.

STORM UPDATE The Atlantic as seen three named storms so far this year. Northwest Florida hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions estimate a loss of $600 to $700 million due to subtropical storm Alberto, which was the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season and hit the Panhandle over Memorial Day weekend. Hurricane Beryl weakened to a tropical storm as it approached the Caribbean Sea on July 9th and fizzled out in the North Atlantic on July 15th. Hurricane Chris developed off the coast of North Carolina, traveled north and disappeared in the north Atlantic on July 12th.

ORLANDO AREA CODE As Central Florida’s population continues to grow, a new area code is needed to accommodate all the telephone numbers. People getting new phone numbers will start being assigned a 689 area code instead of the current 407 or 321 area codes.

FIU BRIDGE RECORDS The Miami Herald filed a lawsuit May 4th against the Florida Department of Transportation, saying the agency refused to provide requested documents relating to the March 15, 2017 bridge collapse that killed six people. The Department of Transportation said they cannot release the documents because of an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. A Leon County judge refused to dismiss the case, preferring to wait until federal transportation safety officials provide input.

HUD The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has given Florida $616 million in federal hurricane recovery housing assistance. The funding will be administrated through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program to address needs in the hardest-hit counties and zip codes in the state.