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Volusia Co. residents fight proposal to end beach driving behind Desert Inn

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - In a week, Volusia County leaders will vote on taking cars off a section of Daytona Beach as part of a deal to make the Desert Inn a Westin hotel.

But some residents are stepping up through social media, preparing to speak out against it.

"I'd love to have the Westin here, but I don't want to give up more of our beach for it," said resident Greg Gimbert.

Gimbert is one of more than 500 members of the Facebook group, Free Daytona Beach. They're pushing for support at next week's council meeting.

Many have different reasons for why they like beach driving, but they all have one message about taking cars off the beach at the old Desert Inn.

"If they feel that's what they need to make their project work, then their project is just not a good fit for our town," Gimbert said.

But many residents don’t mind a beach free of cars.

"I like the no driving,” said tourist Kelly Carter. “I think it's safer for everyone not to worry about cars on the beach."

The owners of the Desert Inn have offered to build a public parking lot across the street from the beach. But that's not what those like Gimbert want.

"Yes, they voted to put this up for consideration, but now it's time for them to consider it inappropriate and vote no," Gimbert said.