Nassau County residents irked by beachgoers defecating on public beach

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Fernandina Beach residents are crying foul about people using the public beach as a private restroom.

It’s happened at least twice recently along the same four-mile stretch of beach on Amelia Island between Sliders Restaurant and the Carlton Dunes Hotel.

The filthy habit has disgusted locals and visitors alike. They said there’s no excuse for it, especially with plenty of public restrooms open 24 hours a day along the shoreline.

“That’s just terrible,” said Holly Lavin. “The kids would freak out. I would freak out. It’s just really gross.”

Some residents complained to the county and sent them proof: two photographs showing people breaking the law and, for lack of a better word, relieving themselves on the beach.

Nassau County Attorney Mike Mullin acknowledged county staff knew about the problem. He expressed confidence on Monday that the complaints were the result of isolated incidents.

Beachgoers said it appears to have happened not far from Peters Point Beachfront Park on South Fletcher Avenue, where they have seen people set up tents and camp out on the beach.

In 2016, the Nassau County Commission overturned a law requiring campers to have a permit and bring a portable bathroom with them. That may be part of the problem.

“I understand near Carlton Dunes there have been some campers,” said Lori Grienter, who lives near the beach. “And they’re legal apparently as long as they move their tent after one night.”

Some residents said the county should close the beach at night, not just the parking lot. But others said they’re not certain that would fix the problem since it has happened during the day.

County staff said while they believe these incidents are rare, they plan to continue monitoring the situation to make sure it doesn't become a regular occurrence.

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