Have you listed or sold a property near one of the lakes in the South Walton area recently? If so, I hope you are familiar with the Coastal Dune Lakes Protection Zone. Otherwise, you may have some trouble in your future.
Many of the lakes in the South Walton area, south of Hwy 98, are classified as Coastal Dune Lakes and as such include a protection zone that goes well past the boundaries of the lakes. The protection zone includes tributaries, creeks, and other bodies of water that feed into the lakes.
So if you’re thinking that the listing you have that’s not on the lake but is near it is safe, maybe not.
Are you asking yourself what you can do to find out? I’m glad you are. The first thing is to learn about the area. ECAR has put together a page on our website with links and information about the lakes and the protection zone.
The information on this page comes directly from official sources in Walton County and includes links to additional information and disclosures you can give your seller and buyer.
Why is this a big deal? I’m glad you asked that too. It’s very important because the properties inside the protection zone have major restrictions on what can be done on the property. Including limiting the size of buildings, or changing existing structures on the property.
You do not want a customer coming back to you angry because you didn’t warn them about this. Or worse, having to go to court over this.
If you find that you are in a transaction for a property in the protection zone, there are a couple of things you can do in the MLS to help make sure all parties are aware of it. First, be sure to make the Waterfront field with the Coastal Dune Lakes option.
Then add the appropriate disclosures in the link above to the Documents on the listing. Back that up with a comment in the Agent Notes or Remarks field. Provide the same disclosures to your seller.
Do the MLS rules say that you have to do all this? No, but you should not do only the things that the MLS rules say you must. Do what you know is right. A lot of things cannot be governed by the MLS rules, but are still important to do.
Questions? Call us at 850-244-2411, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®
Fort Walton Beach, FL