PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Palm Beach County Freedom Beach Initiative sent a letter to county commissioners asking part of Gulfstream Park, near Delray Beach, be designated as a clothing-optional beach.
There are several layers to the process of designating a nude beach. The Park is in Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams' district so he has forwarded the proposal to the Tourism Development Council to research the idea.
Beachgoer Katja DeJesus is all for losing more layers at the beach.
"I'm from Europe so I grew up in nude beaches, topless beaches, so we never really had an issue," said DeJesus.
She's on board with Karl Dickey's proposal. Dickey sent the letter to Palm Beach County Commissioners naming Gulfstream Park, but is open to other beaches in the county.
"I was just getting frustrated with me and some friends, we have to drive an hour south, hour and a half north to go to a nude beach and it seems kind of silly," said Dickey who feels there's great opportunity for Palm Beach County to benefit from the idea.
The Beaches Foundation in Miami reports parking revenue at Haulover Beach spiked from 258,000 dollars to 587,000 in three years after part of the beach became clothing optional. A study on Florida's Nudist Tourism shows Blind Creek Beach in Fort Pierce brings in an average of 600 visitors on the weekends. Abrams said the county commission would also have to get input from the Parks and Recreation Department.
"See how it fits in with the family friendly image that we spend a lot of money trying to promote throughout the country to bring tourists here to Palm Beach County," said Commissioner Abrams.
Parking is free at Gulfstream Park and there is concern that could change if part of the beach is marketed to naturists. Some beachgoers like Elizabeth Rutkowski say adding a parking fee might be a deterrent. Rutkowski doesn't know if she would still keep coming to Gulfstream Park.
"I don’t hang out at nudist beaches so I’d have to experience first to see how I felt" said Rutkowski.
After the information gathering phase, a county commissioner would have to bring the idea to the board to decide whether to move forward and place the proposal on a meeting agenda for public comment and a vote.