County Puts Locked Gate on Holley Point Waterfront Access

Posted on January 29, 2021 by ROMI WHITE

Known as the Holley Point Boat Ramp, this county-owned waterfront access has been used for generations for fishing and accessing East Bay

Some Holley residents are upset after Santa Rosa County put a locked gate on a county-owned waterfront access on Holley Point Road, and it was discovered that the two adjacent property owners are working to purchase the property from the county.

Neighbors Debra Roberts, who purchased her home in 2002, and Michael Fruchey, who purchased his home in 2010, told South Santa Rosa News yesterday that they plan to purchase and equally divide the existing waterfront access between their homes.

However, other property owners in Wells Subdivision, which was platted in 1954, have deeds which provide them access to East Bay through the easement provided by the original developer.

Other locals are also upset that a waterfront access they have used for decades is now blocked off.

“We’ve had it for generations,” said Jamie Morrison, who lives nearby and raised his sons fishing at the access. He also had relatives who have fished at the spot since the early 20th century. Morrison said he and other family members still frequently use the access to check conditions in East Bay before going floundering. “It needs to stay open.”

Roberts told South Santa Rosa News she didn’t have a problem with the community’s waterfront access by her home until drug issues in the area escalated, prompting her to reach out to the county.

South Santa Rosa News reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for a history of incident and arrest reports for the site. According to the Sheriff’s Office, only one arrest has been made there last summer.

Roberts claims more records of drug issues at the site are not available because she intentionally avoided calling the sheriff’s office dispatch due to phone apps which tip off suspects using scanner information. She said instead she would call deputies’ directly using their cell phones.

But the Sheriff’s Office reports their communication is encrypted and that scanners cannot intercept it.

District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech said he met with (Roberts and Fruchey) a couple of times to hear their concerns and explained the request for vacation process, which would enable them to buy the property from the county, if approved by commissioners.

The Board of County Commissioners will discuss the issue at their February 4 meeting.

District 2 Commissioner Bob Cole says he plans to oppose the private purchase. “It has been board policy to not vacate if there is any opposition,” Cole said.

Additionally, District 3 Commissioner James Calkins says he will vote against the purchase because it would deny waterfront access to the community. Calkins also believes that if there is a drug issue that it should be resolved by working with law enforcement.

A majority vote of the five Santa Rosa County Commissioners will decide the matter. Call 850-983-1877 to voice your opinion in the matter.

The February 4 meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton.