Calkins Pushes to Reopen Locked Boat Ramp, Erect Signage at County Water Accesses

Posted on February 2, 2021 by Staff reports

Santa Rosa County District 3 Commissioner James Calkins wants county staff to remove a locked gate put up at the end of December, blocking access to what the county park department calls Holley Boat Ramp #2 and locals call Holley Point Boat Ramp.

Last week it was discovered District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech had been working with the two adjacent property owners, Debra Roberts and Michael Fruchey, who want the county to vacate the ramp so they can divide it equally between themselves, ending public access.

The locked gate measures 20 feet and has been blocking neighbors from East Bay access since the end of December

Piech claimed the gate was locked due to allegations of drug activity at the ramp by Roberts and Fruchey. However, a records request to Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office proved officers were only dispatched to the site one time over the past year.

After asking county staff to remove the gate and being denied, Calkins then directed for the issue to be placed on the board’s February 4 agenda.

“One of my top priorities as a County Commissioner is to ensure public access to our waterways,” Calkins said Monday. “What I’m afraid of is that if they block one, they will use it as a catalyst to close others.”

District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole, also plans to oppose closing the access.” It has been board policy to not vacate if there is any opposition.”

An aerial view of the boat ramp from 1966

Recent aerial view of the site via 

Sources tell South Santa Rosa News that the county administration plans to claim the ramp is a storm water alley.

In an interview with WEAR ABC 3 news, Piech described the ramp as a 10-foot alley.

But the erected gate put up by the county measures around 20 feet, and the subdivision plat states the easement is 20 feet. Additionally, a property appraiser’s office staff member said the access is at least 20 feet and possibly wider near the shoreline.

Additionally, Calkins plans to ask his fellow commissioners to support erecting signage at all county waterfront parcels to let citizens know it is public land.

“It’s the people’s land. Taxpayers own that land, and it should be available for their enjoyment,” Calkins said. “We need to ensure that our beaches remain public. Access to the water from communities around our area is vital.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the process of researching this story, South Santa Rosa News has discovered hundreds of acres of unmarked county-owned waterfront property, including parks and accesses. We are working to document those sites and will post updated stories in the coming weeks.