Beach driving debate in Volusia County continues

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The battle continues over beach driving: some people want to ban cars completely for economic growth, while others want to keep the unique tradition alive.

"It's fun to drive on the beach and park here so you can lay out on the beach," said Sara Price.

"I've lived here four years and driving on the beach is awesome," said Cody Gustafson.

"We don't have enough parking to have anybody else not drive on the beach," said Amber Webster.

Volusia County leaders are proposing a couple of ideas to help resolve the situation and boost local economy. One would have developers like Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe and Desert Inn the option to get rid of beach driving in exchange for off beach parking. It also proposes to eliminate the same stretch that goes from Silver Beach Avenue and University Boulevard in exchange for something else.

Let Volusia Vote, a political committee, says its against taking the cars off the beach completely and it should be up to residents to decide.

Councilman Josh Wagner also supports beach driving but is willing to work with fellow council members on the proposed ideas.

"Support a homeless shelter, to support a transportation tax, to utilize tourist dollars to pay for parking on the beach for the first 5 years and to allow the state Legislature to change the law to safeguard 95 percent of beach driving," Wagner said. "At that point, I'm simply saying I would adjust my vote for 5 percent of beach driving that presently exists today."

Daytona Beach city commissioners will meet on Wednesday to discuss the option for developers to request no beach driving. Volusia council members will meet on Thursday.

About the Author: