Moraya Bay restricts beach access
North Naples condo draws ire for restricting ...
NAPLES — A North Naples condominium passed Wednesday on its daily ritual of setting out cones to mark a stretch of beach as private.
For more than a week, Moraya Bay has been the focus of angry beachgoers since it began keeping people off the beach in front of the condominium at the end of Bluebill Avenue on Vanderbilt Beach.
Collier County commissioners voted Tuesday to take whatever steps are necessary, including going to court, to preserve public access to the beach.
With nothing to discourage them Wednesday, beachgoers spread across the beach that had been off-limits the day before.
“It looks like a free country,” said Lillian Caselli, 77, of Cape Cod, as she watched people enjoying a bright sunny day on the sand in front of Moraya Bay.
The lack of cones marking the beach doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the dispute.
Moraya Bay spokeswoman Inga Wilson said Wednesday that the condo has not changed its position on its rights to private use of the beach.
In a statement Tuesday, Moraya Bay developers said they are prepared to meet with Collier County representatives to find a solution to the dispute.
Wilson said the only reason a worker would not put out the cones Wednesday was to keep people from throwing them back over a fence at Moraya Bay.
Beachgoers said a worker began putting the cones out Wednesday morning but was stopped by a Collier sheriff’s deputy.
North Naples district commander Lt. Andy Prisco said sheriff’s deputies had nothing to do with keeping the cones off the beach at Moraya Bay.
Collier County spokesman John Torre said a county code enforcement officer was scheduled Wednesday to go to Moraya Bay to issue a notice of violation to the condominium if the cones were on the beach. The cones violate the county’s sign code, he said.
A county parks and recreation worker, though, reported that the cones were not on the beach Wednesday morning, and a code officer was never sent there, Torre said.
Florida law says beachfront property owners like Moraya Bay own the sand out to the erosion control line — the line the condo was marking with the cones and with wooden sticks topped with strips of pink tape.
One legal theory holds, though, that the public has used the beach in front of Moraya Bay for so long that the condo cannot keep people off it now.