Surfside residents push back against proposal to allow more chairs on beach

Stunning ocean views and tropical weather are part of the reasons people move to Surfside.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Stunning ocean views and tropical weather are part of the reasons people move to Surfside.

The town’s tranquil beaches are also where turtles nest.

But some residents now believe all that is at stake.

Surfside resident Camilo Pino is deeply concerned over a proposal by the town’s vice mayor to change policy that currently limits that amount of chairs on the beach.

“It’s very simple. They’re going to ruin the beach,” said Pino. “It’s going to be polluted, it’s going to be crowded, it’s going to be’s going to be ugly.”

Residents like Rodrigo Butori say the new proposal would allow an unlimited amount of chairs on the one mile stretch of beach in Surfside.

“I want to be able to get to get to the beach on any given day and find it like this, right, find space to set up my space and enjoy the day,” said Butori.

Residents fear unlimited beach chairs will mean more people, more trash, and a threat to turtle nests.

“The symbol of our town is the sea turtle,” Butori said. “And to think that we might be taking a measure that limits their development that limits their nesting at the’s quite an irony.”

The sponsor of the changes, Vice Mayor Jeff Rose, would not talk to Local 10 News about the proposal.

According to official documents, the changes are being considered because:

“...the current Ordinance severely limits the operators and property owners from providing this level of service through its strict constraints on number of chairs...These limits have in turn exposed the Town to challenges and lawsuits, including litigation brought on by the Grand Beach Hotel.”

Opponents of the proposal gathered outside Surfside Town Hall during the day ahead of Tuesday night’s commission meeting, where the issue was discussed.

In the end, commissioners voted three to one that they want to make changes and allow venders to set up more chairs, allowing a daytime staging area per 100 feet.

Commissions will now meet again at a future date to discuss the details.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.