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Date of Issue: June 23, 2010

Supreme Court decision has Island connection

Florida Solicitor General Scott Makar grew up on Anna Maria Island and recently argued a successful case for Florida beach nourishment before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling June 17 upheld a Florida Supreme Court decision that the state did not take private property without just compensation when it renourished private beaches in Walton County.

Representing the state before the Supreme Court was Florida Solicitor General Scott Makar, who grew up in Holmes Beach and graduated in 1977 from Manatee High School.

The case began in 2004, when Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. and Save Our Beaches Inc. filed for an administrative hearing that challenged the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s permit for Walton County to nourish its beaches. The two groups combined to appeal the case to the Florida Supreme Court in late 2008. That court also ruled against Stop the Beach Renourishment Inc. with Makar representing the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court took the case in August 2009, and Makar made his defense Dec. 2, 2009.

Manatee County natural resources director Charlie Hunsicker said a ruling against the state would have had disastrous effects for future county beach nourishment projects.

“It would have meant we would have had to pay property owners a lot of money to renourish their beaches. It would have meant we would renourish less beach and less often,” Hunsicker said.

With the favorable ruling, he said property owners might be less inclined to challenge a future beach nourishment project, including the county’s planned 2014 effort.

Makar said he was glad he had a personal connection with Florida beaches when he argued the case.

“The beach nourishment case was definitely one of personal interest to me. I still recall growing up with the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island, so it was very special for me to be involved and defend the case,” Makar said.

Makar married Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead, who won three gold medals and one silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Makar and his family now reside in Jacksonville, where his wife is a law professor.

 He was appointed solicitor general in February 2007.

While his family no longer resides on the Island, Makar does have a brother living in Cortez and Makar frequently vacations on Anna Maria Island.