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Petition seeks 'clothing-optional' stretch of Jacksonville Beach

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Angela Anderson has created a petition on change.org to set aside one mile of coastline in Jacksonville Beach for nude sunbathers.

But some can't bare the thought.

"If girls want to wear a thong and have their behind hanging out, then go for it," said Lota Lukas, "but I think all the way having a nude beach in the Jax beach area is a little crazy."

Others agreed with Lukas' assessment.

"Have you ever been to a nudist community?" asked Kathryn Stanford. "It's not pretty."

But some said people shouldn't be "clothes" minded.

"We were born naked, so why can't we be free?" asked Courtney Cupidore.

"It's also art," said Morgan Herrera. "You appreciate humanity and who looks like what."

Anderson's petition, which appeared to be posted earlier this month, has drawn more than 500 signatures asking Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham to designate about one-quarter of the coastline in his jurisdiction as clothing-optional.

The petition's current goal is 1,000 signatures.

"Many people assume that nudists are over-sexualized and vulgar," Anderson wrote in her online petition. "These negative stereotypes and judgements (sic) have been assimilated by America's cultural links to Puritan and Victorian moral codes, as they have connected nakedness and sexuality together."

Latham quickly dismissed the idea.

"Quite frankly, it's contrary to the objectives of creating a family friendly Jacksonville Beach," Latham said. "My recommendation to anyone who would do that is to find some private property somewhere where you can do that."

Latham said he has spent a lot of time overseas.

"There are a lot of topless and nude beaches in Europe, and the sailors look forward to going over there," Latham said. "When they get there, what they find is not a bunch of models walking around but a bunch of the general public you'll see out there, and that includes from age 6-60 — and it's not quite as pleasant as you might think."

A web search turned up only one beach in the Sunshine State where nude sunbathing is formally sanctioned: Haulover Beach in North Miami Beach.  The Absolutely Florida site lists several others where people "dare to bare."

Channel 4 is trying to contact Anderson, who lists herself as a Jacksonville resident, to get more information about her campaign.