I purchased my house in 2011 and my neighbor purchased his home in 2012. As you can see in the aerial photo, there was a lagoon at the rear of our property. The Mean High Water Line (MHL) was along the edge of the lagoon.
The Mean High Water Line is a border or boundary that establishes where private property ends and State and/or Federal public property begins . Along this MHL boundary is an easement, meant for the public to have access along the water. So we and our neighbors simply walked along this public easement along the water's edge to have access to the beach beyond the lagoon.
Over the next few years, the dune along the Gulf shore filled in and the openings of the lagoon to the Gulf waters closed in. While the lagoon is open to the Gulf waters, it is described as "tidal" and "navigable", which is considered a part of the Gulf waters. Once the lagoon openings close, it is no longer "tidal" or "navigable", so at that time a lagoon simply becomes a pond or water feature.
The closing in of the pond was recognized by the authorities and the MHL is now located along the shore line of the Gulf. By the MHL being along the Gulf shoreline, the upland property owner's land extends out to the MHL and the accretion of land typically becomes the upland property owner's land. This is typical Federal and State procedure for a moving shoreline.
One of the neighbors to the southeast of our property knew this, and also knew that since the MHL had moved from the edge of the water feature, there was no longer a Federal or State easement for the public to walk along the water's edge. He lawfully erected a fence and put up a no trespassing sign and blocked all public access to the beach .
So that is what changed and how we lost direct access to the beach.
We now have to walk just short of a half mile to Big Carlos Pass along Estero Blvd. There is no sidewalk on our side of the road, so we have to cross Estero Blvd at our homes and then cross again when we get to the drawbridge. There are no crosswalks.
It is no secret how dangerous walking along Estero Blvd is during season, and more especially how dangerous crossing Estero Blvd is during season.
I have children and grandchildren. My neighbor has children and grandchildren. Should our children and grandchildren be subjected to the dangers of Estero Blvd to get to the beach when we own beachfront property?
Sign and Fence the property owner erected Blocking our Beach Access