Real Estate

Nudists Plan Protest at County Commission Over Haulover Beach Construction

Patrons of Miami's only nudist beach are worried they'll be getting an eyeful of Miami-Dade's newest erection -- a big ol' boat house right in the middle of their parking lot. Nudists are headed to Tuesday's county commission to protest plans sponsored by Councilwoman Sally Heyman for a large boat storage facility in Haulover Beach's North Parking Lot. Richard Mason, president of the South Florida Free Beaches/Florida Naturist Association, claims the facility will inconvenience Haulover's regulars.

"It takes up as much room as two football fields and will leave many naturist beach users hiking with their beach gear an extra mile because there will be about 100 less parking spaces," Mason wrote in an email. "Not to mention more traffic.

The boat storage facility is a revision to a plan first introduced in 2001, which initially called for the building to be put elsewhere. Heyman's resolution, which says the whole renovation will cost $70 million, doesn't explain why the proposed location has been changed.

Mason's group already cried foul over the new plan back in August during a public meeting in Sunny Isles. Along with the parking and traffic issues, protestors claim that the new facility could have a negative environmental impact, with the destruction of several mangroves and native trees, and could foul up the park.

"The proposed Revised General Plan gives parked empty boats priority over tourists and local visitors to the beach," the group states in a letter on its website. "This is not only poor planning, it is also poor public policy for a tourist based economy."

Haulover Beach is one of the best known nudist beaches in Florida and across the world. According to the official Haulover Beach website, it's made top 10 lists on Trip Adviser, CBS News, the Travel Channel, and others when it comes to beaches that encourage birthday suits. As many as 1.5 million people visit Haulover every year, with roughly 900,000 of them shedding their tops and bottoms to tan in the buff.

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Jon Tayler