For many years, the Town of Palm Beach cleaned all public and private beaches (trash and washed up garbage) in the community. In 2008, local government ran into tough economic times, tightened its budget, and, as a consequence, beach cleaning service was severely slashed in the Town.
Using a tractor, Palm Beach continues to clean and rake seaweed on the public beaches but oceanfront residents are now solely responsible for keeping trash off their beach property (Ordinance: Sec. 74-188. Littering).
Recently, the Palm Beach Civic Association was approached by several directors and beachfront homeowners, mostly on the north end of Town, who wanted to know more about cleaning their beaches.
On February 22, 2012, the Civic Association held a beach cleaning workshop for oceanfront homeowners and property managers. The following experts were invited to address the gathering:
• Town of Palm Beach
o Jim Bowser, Town Engineer
o Rob Walton, Chief Code Compliance Officer
o Rob Weber, Beach Coordinator
• DB Ecological Services: 561-376-5502
o Christine Perretta
• Scott Lewis Gardening & Trimming: 561-689-6283
• Universal Beach Cleaning: 561-272-1400
o Clayton Peart
Here are the steps to cleaning your beach:
Manual Beach Cleaning
Cleaning a beach by hand (manual cleaning) can be done at any time of year without a permit from the Town or a state agency. Even during Turtle Season, March 1 – October 31, a homeowner or a vendor can manually clean the beach as long as the turtle nests are not disturbed. Shovels are prohibited, but hand-held rakes are permitted.
Mechanical Beach Cleaning
If you have a large area of beach and would like to use a tractor (mechanical cleaning), the following regulations apply:
• A permit is required from the Town, at any time of year, to put a vehicle of any kind on the beach.
• During the Turtle Nesting Season, March 1-October 31, a permit is required from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
• A qualified environmental service must be secured to monitor turtle activity seven days a week during the turtle season.
• You must identify a legitimate beach access to get cleaning vehicles on the beach. A permit is often required to prepare the dunes for mechanical equipment.
• The Town of Palm Beach currently will not allow private beach cleaning vendors or vehicles to use the limited public beach access points.
Code Enforcement of the Beach Cleaning Ordinance
The Town enforces a regulation that beachfront owners must keep their beaches clean. Residents may be ticketed for non-compliance.