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Santa Rosa Beach homeowner flies Trump banners, code enforcement threatens fines

Walton County Code Compliance officials told the homeowner the banner was in violation of the...
Walton County Code Compliance officials told the homeowner the banner was in violation of the Scenic Corridor Code.(WJHG)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - If you’ve driven down County Road 30A lately, you might’ve noticed some banners that have heads turning.

The first banner saying “Trump Won” was put up back in May.

Walton County Code Compliance officials told the homeowner the banner was in violation of the Scenic Corridor Code. On Saturday, Homeowner Melvin Peavy added another banner saying “Let’s Go Brandon.” He said it’s all to send a message.

“I want people to know that we all have rights in this country and we’ll stand for what is right and we have to make a stand,” said Peavy.

A stand Peavy is taking after he said the Walton County Code Compliance is taking away his first amendment rights.

“We confirmed with the planning office and the land use attorney, both were in agreement that since this is not a political election cycle, that that particular sign was a violation,” Code Compliance Street Manager Michael Lynch said.

A violation other residents did not agree with.

“A lot of people are making it about politics and about Trump and it’s not even what this really started about and Marvin will tell you, it’s about freedom of speech,” Santa Rosa Beach Resident Matt Morris said.

While some people might still say it’s political, code enforcement will also tell you it’s not.

“Well the code itself doesn’t speak to the content, it’s all about just the signage,” said Lynch.

Signage the county magistrate said as of October 25th would come with a hefty fine if not taken down.

“They started fining me $50 a day, but there’s no way to pay the fine,” said Peavy.

Lynch said there’s been a lot of misunderstanding on how the fines work.

“It’s not something someone can just come in daily and pay fines. A second hearing is required to actually assess the fines,” said Lynch.

On November 17th, code enforcement is scheduled to take Peavy back before the same magistrate for the second hearing.

“I have yet to be informed. My attorney’s have not been informed. We know nothing about a meeting on November 17th,” said Peavy.

Peavy said it’s not about the fines, but fighting for his first amendment rights.

Peavy tells us he’s hired an attorney out of Tallahassee who has done several lawsuits on Walton County signage problems. He adds he has no plans to take down his banners and he plans to fight for what he believes is right in this situation.

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