Welcome to OILA

Okaloosa Island Leaseholders Association

An organization for all property owners and leaseholders of Okaloosa Island

Learn More Join OILA Protect Your Property

Our Mission

We coordinate affairs between our property holders and the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners in order to preserve the public lands on Okaloosa Island. We advise the county in the application of island's protective covenants and assist leaseholders and the public in their rights and obligations.

Dollars Donated
Associate Members
Voting Members


Our directors are elected from our membership body and serve voluntarily.

Brian Harrington


Brian is a retired Army Green Beret and local business owner. He and his wife, Silvia, built their home on Okaloosa Island in 2017.

Louis Belanger

Vice President

Louis is a consulting engineer. He and his wife, Catherine, have owned property on Okaloosa Island since January 2007.

John Donovan


John is a retired attorney and has been serving as secretary since 2019.

Jim Simpson


Jim is a retired Air Force colonel and a retired city of Austin Texas manager. He has been a member of OILA for 25 years.

Dylan Hunt


Dylan has been a Okaloosa Island resident since 1993. His profession is in management consulting working for Accenture. He and his wife, Amy, bought their first home on Okaloosa Island in 2011.

Stan King


Stan is a retired Air Force colonel and pilot for Delta. He and his wife, Victoria, have owned property on Okaloosa Island since 1976.

Frank Adcock


Frank is a retired Emergency Medicine physician. He and his wife, Sheila, have owned property on Okaloosa Island since 1973.

David Jones


David is a semi-retired swimming pool contractor in FL and AL. He is currently serving as the president of the Island Princess HOA.

Jerry Boggess

Jerry Boggess


Jerry retired from the Navy. He is president of the Water's Edge HOA. He and his wife Dawn have 4 kids and 7 grandkids.

You shouldn't complain if you're
not prepared to do something. Mike Mitchell, Okaloosa County Commissioner, 1976

Upcoming Events

Stay connected with the community

Next OILA Meeting

Get involved in OILA. Our next meeting is 11/13/2023 at the island firestation at 7:00 PM.

Save the Monarch

Beautify Women Veterans Memorial Park by creating a monarch butterfly habitat! The goal is to plant 400 milkweed seeds in the natural landscape of the park. If you would like to help, please contact Jim Sat 850-585-2116 or by email at sanleanna@cox.net

Island Holiday Decorations

Volunteer to help decorate for the holidays.

Why Does OILA Exist?

According to OILA’s Bylaws, Section 3 explains: “The general nature of the corporation shall be: to coordinate affairs between leaseholder members and the Board of County Commissioners in their role as heirs to the obligations and privileges of the Okaloosa Island Authority, to preserve the public lands on Santa Rosa Island, Okaloosa County, to advise and assist the county in the application of the protective covenants that affect leasehold members, and to advise leaseholders and the public in general in their rights and obligations under said leases.”

In short, OILA exists to:

1. Coordinate the affairs between leaseholder members and the Board of County Commissioners (BCC).

2. To preserve the public lands on Santa Rosa Island.

3. To advise and assist the county in the application of the protective covenants that affect leasehold members.

4. To advise leaseholders and the public of their rights and obligations under said leases. Interestingly, Okaloosa Island’s Protective Covenants and Restrictions (PC&R’s), which Okaloosa County is charged with implementing and enforcing recognizes OILA’s purpose as outlined in the PC&R’s as follows:

Part G: Subsection 8. “Rights to Prescribe Other Restrictions, Zoning, etc.” provides additional areas where the County is formally required to coordinate with OILA as well. In fact, the PC&R’s applies equally to everyone who lives or operates a business on Okaloosa Island and OILA’s role is to ensure those PC&R’s are honored and enforced as written. Moreover, protective covenants enforce a standard of uniformity across a development or in our case, zoning boundaries listed as follows:

Zone B-1 – Private Residential Areas
Zone B-2 – Apartment, Hotel Court and Hotel Areas
Zone B-3 – Light Commercial & Concession Areas
Zone B-4 – Parks, Beaches and Freeway Areas

Most importantly, PC&R’s give buyers peace of mind when they purchase a home by allocating restrictions that would otherwise undermine both property values and the character of the community they chose to live or invest in. In many ways restrictive covenants obligates the property owner to refrain from some specific activity or use on their property.

Equally important, they also require the County to refrain from some specific activity or use on their property that would otherwise undermine the property values of the homes impacted by such activities.

Okaloosa Islanders have the right to expect the protections provided them in the PC&R”s.

Yet, understanding why OILA exists leaves the question of why the original architects who developed Okaloosa Island chose not to create a mandatory Leaseholder’s Association? No, I am not clamoring for a Homeowner’s Association that forces membership, rather I find this unanswered question perplexing given the formal nature of OILA’s purpose.

What I do know is that the voluntary nature of OILA makes it most challenging to communicate and acquire consensus in matters most important to the diverse interests of OI residents.

Indeed, the uniqueness of Okaloosa Island can be seen in the contrast of building type, purpose, and lifestyle between South and Northside of Santa Rosa Blvd (SRB). The 2-mile stretch on the Southside of SRB is dedicated to Condos and Hotels that accommodate vacation business interests while 1.5 miles of the Northside was dedicated to single-family residential neighborhoods where vacation rentals are prohibited.

The Okaloosa Island Authority established the PC&R’s to protect their vision of a true mixed-use community. That was the design, that was the intent, and that is what our PC&R’s say.

Accordingly, the legitimate power of OILA’s voice rests solely upon its membership. The Board of Directors has virtually no authority to act beyond or outside the will of its membership. But our membership rolls have hovered around 300 for the last several years. While condo owners may not share the unique interests of single-family residents and vice-versa, the power of our collective voice increases our leverage among the BCC. For example, many Okaloosa Islanders on both sides of SRB have shared their disappointment that Commissioner Ketchel reversed her promise not to make changes to SRB that the majority of Island residents did not support.

In November 2021, the BCC unanimously tasked County Attorneys to look for ways to dissolve the formal relationship with OILA. The question then becomes, can the County be trusted with honoring, protecting, and enforcing our PC&R’s on their own and as they are written? In a word, No! That is like a fox being trusted to watch the chicken coup! In fact, Commissioner Boyles explained during this same meeting that he senses the proverbial blood of disunity among Islanders, and he seeks to exploit this disunity for the BCC’s insatiable desire to develop every square inch of land to promote destination tourism. Bottom line is that our BCC’s enduring agenda places their goal of increasing tourism revenues at any cost over the interests of their own tax paying citizens. Whether it is the endless sea of Beach Vender chairs and umbrellas or putting public parking lots right behind our residential homes, we all have a vested interest in protecting our unique lifestyle and quality of life. Said differently, who do you trust more, the BCC’s agenda or OILA’s goal of looking out for you?

The saying “united we stand, but divided we fall” couldn’t be truer! Regardless of whether you own a condo or a house, if you call Okaloosa Island home, I strongly encourage you to become a member of OILA and increase our collective voice that seeks to safeguard our unique lifestyle, property values, and quality of life.

-Brick Bradford

Island History

In 1928 the Island was sold by the War Department (with the exception of the Fort Pickens Military Reservation) to Escambia County for $ 10,000. In 1938, Escambia County conveyed to the Department of the Interior, without cost, all of the Island (except Fort Pickens) with the intent that the Department would develop the Island as a park. In 1941, the Interior Department conveyed the eastern half (a total of 4,300 acres in Okaloosa County) of the Island to the War Department for use as part of Eglin Field.

In 1948, legislation was passed which deeded 875 acres of the Island to Okaloosa County. This land included the three miles of the Island located immediately south of Ft Walton Beach and the small island south of Destin. In making the transfer of title, the Federal Government retained the following restrictions and limitations on the property:

Use of the land by the County or its lessees only for public recreational purposes. Right of the U.S. to use the property in the event of a national emergency without rental or other payments to Okaloosa County but subject to existing private rights and payment of just compensation for taking control over improvements on the property. Excepted and reserved from the conveyance were perpetual easement interests for air space and access right of way. In 1953, by special act of the Florida Legislature, the Okaloosa Island Authority was created as an instrumentality of the County and vested with administrative authority over the portion of the Santa Rosa Island owned by the County.

Because of the limitations and restrictions held by the Federal Government in the original deed to the Island, financing was difficult for both commercial and residential construction. U.S. Public Law 87-860 which was approved in 1962 removed these restrictions. As a result of this law, it was necessary for the Federal Government, through the Corps of Engineers to survey the Island and determine price.

In 1963, the new Quitclaim Deed was delivered by the Corps of Engineers to the Okaloosa Island Authority. In turn, the Authority presented the Corps with a check for $55,000. This transaction removed the limitations and restrictions on the property except for a 75-foot aerial easement. In 1975, legislation was passed by the State of Florida which abolished the Okaloosa Island Authority and transferred the duties and responsibilities of the Authority to the County Commissioners of Okaloosa County. This legislation also authorized the levying of ad valorem taxes on real and personal property on the Island and confirmed that all valid, existing restrictive covenants, easements, and zoning, previously established by the Authority shall remain in full force unless and until they are amended by the County Commissioners in the manner provided by law.

In 1995, the County Commissioners approved allowing leaseholders to obtain fee simple title to their property. Island residents Sam and Joyce Hester were the first individuals to receive quit claim deeds to Okaloosa Island property.

-Jim Simpson