Volusia residents rally against possible beach driving ban

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Volusia County commissioners will vote next week on whether to ban driving on the beach behind an old hotel.

The new owners of The Desert Inn want to turn the hotel into a Westin, and are asking county leaders to restrict driving on a section of the beach.

Residents fear if the county ends beach driving in that one section, it will eventually be banned everywhere.

“It’s a unique access and freedom that we only have in Daytona Beach. It’s what our town (has) been built around,” said resident Greg Gimbert.

Dozens of people from the “Free Daytona Beach” Facebook group showed up at Colin’s Park to express their outrage over the potential ban.

Two weeks ago, county officials postponed a vote to keep cars off a section of the beach near the proposed hotel, but now it’s back up for discussion.

County staff prepared an ordinance that would stop driving and parking around the hotel.

“I don’t want our county council to bow down to developers,” said one member of the Facebook group.

County leaders will vote on the issue Thursday.