Tourism: Walton County has more and more visitors coming every year. Many issues arise from this, to include more home and buildings, more roads, traffic, parking, and enforcement to protect our beaches, wildlife, other natural resources. Do you think Walton County, and especially South Walton, have struck the right balance on tourism? If so, why? If not, what would you do differently?
Philip Cryar - District 1 - Republican
No, we are too dependent on tourism dollars, but we need backup stimulus for our economy. We also need to catch our infrastructure up with our demand to allow both tourists and local citizens/workers to commute easier.
Lisa Johnson - District 1 - Republican
Did Not Respond
William "Boots" McCormick - District 1 - Republican
No to the "right balance". As I stated above, we need an aggressive infrastructure plan. Couple with that we need to hold ALL to comply with the currant rules. We have a lot of regulations in place , but if we don't inpower and hold accountable the enforcement arm , does it matter what we try?
Mike Barker - District 3 - Republican
I understand that tourism is an important part of our economy. However, because of the rapid, uncontrolled development that is happening in South Walton County, we are at a point that our current infrastructure has to catch up in order to accommodate our current level of tourism. Then we plan and develop in a sensible way to allow for growth.
Teddy Stewart - District 3 - Republican
Did Not Respond
Tony Anderson - District 5 - Republican
Did Not Respond
Debbie Heard - District 5 - Republican
The balance has shifted exponentially in the last few years. I think our tourism focus should be studied & revamped. By analyzing our transportation and infrastructure issues, beach access, vendor operations and code enforcement to plan our target audience we can develop a sustainable tourism plan for the future. Walton County has so much to offer our visitors. With our new TDC location we can move towards leading those visitors to so much more than just our beautiful beaches. Promoting our rare natural resources and involving tourist in activities surrounding our coastal dune lakes, Choctawhatchee Bay, springs, forests, excellent fishing locations and underwater museum to name a few we can instill the same love and respect we locals have for these resources.
Dr. Carolynn Zonia - District 5 - Democrat
Walton County has so many opportunities for ecotourism and exploration beyond our Beaches. The emphasis from the TDC is on year to year increases in tourist numbers in their report to the BCC. I want to explore if TDC has other goals in the marketing of Walton County. I would like to explore how we can ensure that other venues in the County are getting lifted up as destinations and experiences for visitors not to miss. As far as issues related to numbers of short-term renters in each unit and parking, I believe these can be addressed by ensuring adherence to rules already in place. The number of bedrooms is available to the public by searching on qpublic.net, and required parking for each unit should be easily available to the public. It is unfortunate that we have seen an erosion in observance of the rules and not enough staff to adequately ensure adherence. In order to maintain Walton as a great place to live and visit, we must do a much better job of enforcement. Also please see my answer under Code enforcement below.
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