Bonita Beach-goers speak out against homeowner over beach access

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Bonita Beach homeowner posts “no trespassing” signs on the beach outside their home. (WINK News)

Pushed away from paradise.

Warning signs are up at a popular beach telling people to stay away. But can the property owners keep you out?

It’s a battle over the beach front. Where exactly is a beach-goer allowed to enjoy the sand if it’s in front of a private home?

Nannette, who asked for her last name to remain anonymous, wants an answer to that question.

“She said, ‘If you don’t get off my private property, I will call the police,'” said Nannette.

The Bonita local is no stranger here; she visits the beach three to four times a week using the public access.

But recently, a homeowner posted signs and called her out for trespassing.

“Never a problem, so I don’t know if she just bought it and decided? I’ve never had a problem. Never,” said Nannette.

We spoke with that homeowner and while the law is on her side, the property line is a moving target. Legally, that private ownership extends down to the high tide or water line, then, it becomes public.

The homeowner said she would like the county to put up signs at the beach access points that clarify the rules.

“If I was on her property and was behind her fence and refused to leave, then that’s trespassing. But I was down by the water in my chair minding my own business,” said Nannette.

“They have every right to bring the chairs down to the waterfront, but you can’t tell other people to get off the beach because this is all state land, this is all public land,” said Marc Ferranti, who lives in Bonita Beach.

Beach-goer Melinda Swallow says she hopes the issue doesn’t hurt tourism. “I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone, especially someone who’s visiting. That would be terrible.”

So everyone can put their toes in the sand and enjoy the view.

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