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Porch Pondering

Posted on Sep 01, 2015 in Seaside's front porches , September–October 2015

The Night Crew, a group of Seaside’s early architects and town planners, raise a glass on the front porch of the Architect Shack. Photo courtesy Seaside archives

A thorough investigation of Seaside’s front porches

Recently I came across an article in the Washington Post about a court case that had made its way to the Iowa Supreme Court. I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no, the case didn’t have anything to do with potatoes, though all the justices do use potatoes in lieu of gavels. The case actually concerned whether or not it was legal for Iowans to get drunk on their own front porches.

The case in Iowa made me curious about where we Floridians and Seasiders stood in regard to the legality of drinking on our own front porches. Spoiler Alert: The Iowa Supreme Court (or Supremies, as they like to be called), decided it was completely legal to drink on your front porch in Iowa. However, they failed to mention anything about front porches in Walton County. I realized that to untangle this Gordian knot, I would need to consult the one resource I knew had much to say about front porches — The Seaside Urban Code.

I ventured deep into the bowels of the Seaside Community Development Corp. office, overcoming many obstacles, including a door that was kind of stuck until you pushed it a little, before finally arriving at the Chamber of the Code. In the center of the chamber, illuminated by a beam of light emanating from the cavern’s ceiling, stood a lone pedestal on which lay a thick ancient tome, its front cover obscured by layers of dust that had lain unstirred for centuries.

Wiping off the dust (my allergies were really going haywire by this point), I read, written in an elaborate script, the name of the prize I sought — Ye Olde Seaside Urbanical Code. Peering into its worn pages, I looked for guidance on the question that had been troubling my mind, and discovered this wisdom — “The front porch shall be in length a minimum of the designated percentage of the street façade.” At first I despaired, thinking that the Code had nothing to say on the subject of throwing back a few cold ones on your porch. Then it dawned on me. Because the Seaside Urban Code does not explicitly instruct us not to enjoy alcoholic beverages on our front porch, by saying nothing on the subject, it must be implicitly condoning and even encouraging us to tie one on. Resolution at last!

After solving my dilemma, I became curious about what other actions the Code might also condone. I’ve compiled a list of activities the Code doesn’t ever literally touch upon, but which, I believe, it strongly insinuates we should take part in:

1) Starting an illegal cockfighting ring.

2) Recreating the 1980s film “Top Gun” with your own practical effects.

3) Holding a midnight séance

for a dead relative.

4) Hosting an NFL game

during the off-season.

5) Planking.

In conclusion, next time you’re sitting outside on your front porch enjoying a cool refreshing mint julep in the heat of summer, or perhaps a hot toddy in the depths of winter, you can rest assured that you do so with Seaside’s blessing.