Explanation of Indicator
Pressures from development are depleting the supply of coastal property available and accessible to the public. As coastal land is developed, the potential for public purchase of the land diminishes because the price of developed land is often beyond the financial resources of the government. Thus, the best source of land available for public purchase is undeveloped private lots. This indicator shows the ability of the government to obtain coastal footage of land for use by the public. Information on footage is also useful to the state in its decisions of which properties should and could be acquired through the state land acquisition programs.
Further, the ability of the public to view the beach from the road or across privately owned property is obstructed when private property is developed. This obstruction of view is discussed in the Lucas v. California Coastal Commission decision, 107 S. Ct. 3141 (1987), which notes that the public may believe they cannot access the beach when their view is obstructed by private development. Because undeveloped property does not obstruct the view of the coast, the footage of undeveloped coastal properties is a good indication of the ability of the public to view the beach and their perceived ability to access the coast.
Information concerning public access points can be obtained from Phil Flood, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Environmental Resource Permitting, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000, or at (904) 487-1262.
The data are available in hard copy format at no cost.
The information was collected statewide for only 1991.
These data have several limitations. Because the data were collected for only one year, no comparisons can be made to determine whether undeveloped lands are rapidly disappearing or being developed at a moderate rate. At best, the data could be used as a benchmark for future data collection and to give a general idea of how much undeveloped land is available for state purchase. Also, the data were collected only for the state’s twenty-four sandy beach counties and include only private properties which contain over 500 feet of shoreline.
The data should be collected for every coastal county and should be updated once a year in order to assess the trends in coastal property development. The data should be collected by each county’s planning department. The planning departments should determine the current undeveloped footage available by conducting visual surveys of land and then record the footage of each lot which is undeveloped. These departments should also determine the potential for future growth by reviewing permits for development and utility connections and identifying coastal properties which are zoned for future development in their local land use plans.