INLET BEACH — Controversy seems to have found a home at 210 Winston Lane.


The property’s previous owners, the managers of the Barbara R. Jackson estate, drew the ire of their Inlet Beach neighbors in January by proposing extravagant development plans.


RELATED: (Jan. 2020) Inlet Beach residents worried about impact of 2 developments


The home and the beach behind it were sold in May after the scheme fell through, and now a new owner has stirred things up by allowing a vendor, Rent Gear Here, to peddle beach umbrellas, chairs and recreational items to all comers.


County officials say the vending is perfectly legal. When Dallas resident Jan Priest purchased the Winston Lane home, she also acquired paperwork from the previous owner that allows her to permit a beach vendor to operate behind it.


Inlet Beach residents are livid, not only that the county would consider renting beach items out of a private residence a legitimate practice, though not considered a business, but at the scope of the Rent Gear Here operation.


"Shy of customary use, there hasn’t been an issue as controversial in this neighborhood," said Rich Jaffe, president of the Historic Inlet Beach Homeowner’s Association. "Telling us that beach vending is not a business is total, unadulterated, BS."


Residents, led by Mike Scher of the Barbary Coast Homeowner’s Association within Inlet Beach, intend to air their grievances at Tuesday’s Walton County Board of County Commissioners meeting.


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The Walton County Code of Ordinances, as currently written, states that beach services are considered an entity exempted from land use codes, according to Brian Kellenberger, the county’s director of beach operations.


When adopted many years ago the county never envisioned how big an issue private property rights on its beaches would become, or the congestion along the coast it would someday see, or the explosion of the beach vending industry, he said.


"At the time the code was first developed they adopted language to say beach vendors do not have to abide by the land use code because it was thought they would be servicing the people at the house or property they were working," Kellenberger said.


"We had no idea a beach vendor would contract with private property owners to serve people outside of the private property."


Kellenberger said the vending on private property is not happening only at Inlet Beach, but up and down Walton County’s 26 miles of coastline. He said he expects changes will be made this year to the land use code to address the issue.


Walton County Planning Director Mac Carpenter said the county’s Beach Activities Ordinance is evaluated each fall and changes to it could be made at that time. Priest’s permit to allow beach vending expires in January of 2021.


Scher, the HOA president, said the county is "playing whack-a- mole with their arguments" concerning the legality of beach vending on private property. They are blurring the distinction between what is a business and what is considered residential.


He claims officials are also attempting to tie land use terms to an area, the beach, where they don’t apply.


"I think what they are doing is not allowed in the county land code," he said.


Not only is Rent Gear Here renting to people outside the 210 Winston Lane property, Jaffe said, the agency is aggressively running people away from beach considered public within a 33 foot radius of a public beach access next door to the home.


On Wednesday three rows of umbrellas, chairs and people stretched across, and beyond, the 122-foot beach lot behind the home at 210 Winston Lane, which is bordered on one side by the eastern boundary of Rosemary Beach and the other by another private parcel.


"It was bad enough when the Jacksons owned the property and let a small company manage the vending. Now the big guns like Rent Gear Here have made a concerted effort to cram more and more chairs onto the beach," Jaffe said. "This is a clear violation of our neighborhood plan, and our neighborhood plan is supposed to supercede all."


Jaffe also contends Rent Gear Here, whose managers did not return a phone call seeking comment, had extended its permit to allow another vending business to also operate on the Winston Lane property.


"Rent Gear Here holds a permit, third parties doing business do not," he said. "Those people don’t have permits to do business on that beach, but they are."


He also claims the dunes between the Priest home and the beach are being trampled by Rent Gear Here employees.