Battle lines drawn in sand over beach driving in Fernandina

Beachgoers start petition to stop plan to limit beach driving

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Parking on Fernandina Beach could soon be limited to four-wheel drive vehicles if the Fernandina Beach City Commission gets its way. 

The first vote passed earlier this month. The commission has to vote a second and final time to make it official. Commissioners say it would prevent cars from getting stuck in the sand but some beachgoers are not happy about the plan.

A group is circulating a petition around Fernandina Beach supporting beach driving on Amelia Island. The petition has over 750 supporters with a goal of 1,000.

People who signed the petition say it’s easier to drive on the sand and park without lugging beach gear. They also argue there's limited parking off the beach. Those who are disabled say it helps them enjoy the beach and gives them more access.

Fernandina Beach is one of a few local beaches where you can drive on the beach and park your vehicle to enjoy the sand and surf.

Beachgoer Marissa Nelson is against the new beach driving plan.

"It doesn’t make any sense. We have a Rav 4 and we haven’t struggled to get out here," Nelson said.

Others agree.

"(If) it’s hard sand, it’s not that big of a deal, you can drive a two-wheel drive vehicle on here all day long," beachgoer Ethan LeJune said.

But others say they can see why city commissioners want only four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach.

"I kind of understand (the) four-wheel-drive (rule) as long as they don’t take that away from us because some of the two-wheel-drive vehicles get stuck here anyway and it causes a mess," beachgoer John Genovesi said.

He owns a four-wheel drive truck and drove it on the beach Sunday.

You can read more about the beach driving limit proposal or sign the petition against it.

The Fernandina Beach City Commission has one final vote before the measure is approved or voted down.

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