Florida Beachfront Campground Closing
Destin, Fla.’s Community Land Trust has no way to help Destin Campground residents stay there after the longtime campground is sold, trust chair Nancy Weidenhamer said last week.
“We have no money and no land,” Weidenhamer told the trust board at its Aug. 27 meeting. “That’s where it sits.”
The city bought the campground for $4.4 million this year to build a road. Campground residents have until December to find another home for their tents, RVs or mobile homes, according to The Destin Log.
Last month, Weidenhamer said that since the city won’t be able to build the road for a couple of years, she’d spoken with a trust official about letting the trust – a not-for-profit group trying to make housing more affordable for Destin’s workers – run the campground and allowing some of the residents to keep renting a lot there.
The catch, she told the board, was that the residents would have to stay somewhere else for at least a month, to avoid the legal complications of having them as tenants when the city took over the land.
The board members discussed finding places for residents to stay for that month, but Weidenhamer reported last week that nothing had turned up.
The trust told The Log that even if it had, City Attorney Jerry Miller is “uncomfortable” with the idea of any campground residents staying on after the closing.
Board member Cyron Marler said that some of the mobile home owners have another problem: Although the state will pay part of their moving expenses, and some of them have found campgrounds in Okaloosa County to relocate to, weight limits on the Mid-Bay and Marler Bridges are adding to their costs.
“They have to have a big truck to move,” Marler said. “The entire weight is included, trailer and truck together and if it’s too high they have to go up (U.S.) 331” to get to Fort Walton Beach. “That adds another $500 to whatever the trucking fee is.”Marler said the owners will also have to pay tap-on fees for power and sewer before inspectors will give the trailer a certificate of occupancy, which adds to the upfront costs of the move.
Weidenhamer said she’d run out of ideas for how to help the workers living in the campground. “I don’t know where to go from here; I don’t know what to even try,” she said.