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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is going to court over being able to use his backyard access to the beach.
Joining with several of his neighbors on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Huckabee has filed a federal lawsuit over a county government ordinance which has prevented use of what the property owners see as their “backyards.”
Following an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis which closed beaches in the state amid the COVID-19 crisis, Walton County has stepped up enforcement of the order and social distancing ordinances. But in a lawsuit filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Huckabee and his neighbors claim their constitutional rights are being violated.
The emergency motion was filed requesting a preliminary injunction to stay the county’s action in preventing the property owners from “being able to use or even set foot in their own backyards,” Law & Crime reported.
“The county’s ordinance forces family members into a confined space within their house rather than allow them to social distance and recreate in their sandy backyard,” a memorandum filed with the lawsuit said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Or it forces them to public locations to recreate potentially closer to many other persons increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19,” it continued. “Either way, it is counterproductive. And it is beyond reasonable dispute that any hypothetical, negligible benefit conjured by those who passed the Walton County ordinance cannot possibly outweigh the profound trammeling of the present plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
The homeowners claimed the South Walton sheriff, code enforcement officers, and other officials “have been and are currently patrolling and occupying the private beachfront properties” without permission. They were also accused of threatening to “arrest or fine Plaintiffs, their family members, or invitees on their private properties.”
“The Amended Ordinance is arbitrary and capricious. The Amended Ordinance purports to be designed to ‘prevent the spread of COVID-19’ yet it has the opposite effect,” they argued.
“The Amended Ordinance prevents the Plaintiffs, many of whom own residences along the beach, from utilizing their own backyards to quarantine or stay safe at home. The chances of a family or landowner catching or spreading COVID-19 is far less in his or her own private backyard (where no one else should be less they be trespassing) than traveling to the grocery store or hardware store or other essential business,” the complaint read.
Huckabee and the others claimed the order was a violation of the Fifth Amendment as it is essentially a “temporary taking” of their private property. A hearing on the case is set for Monday by phone.
The former GOP presidential candidate reportedly built the beachfront home, which is between Santa Rosa Beach and Grayton Beach State Park, east of Destin, back in 2011.
Huckabee spoke to Fox News from his home in Santa Rosa back in 2018 when he rode out Hurricane Michael.
(Source: Fox News)
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