Panama City Beach Council to Discuss Mopeds; Leave No Trace - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Beach Council to Discuss Mopeds; Leave No Trace Ordinances

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Panama City Beach considers adjustments to its "Leave No Trace" ordinance. The law that seeks to keep the beaches pristine has drawn sharp criticism from those who have seen their tents, chairs and towels disposed of.

Currently all personal property left between the toe of the dune and the water line from 9 pm to 5 a.m. will be removed and disposed of by workers.

The ordinance enforced in July of this year hoped to dispose of unnecessary clutter on the beaches.

Despite some controversy, officials say the move has been effective, but now they hope to clear up some of the confusion this ordinance may bring.

At Thursday's council meeting, the ordinance will be presented to the board with changes for a first reading.

Those include changing the active hours from 9pm to 5am, to 7pm to 7am.

Additionally the phrase "unattended" will be added in the description of property left on the beach as a means to clarify that attended items will not be touched.

Wednesday, Mayor Gayle Oberst explained the decision behind these adjustments.

"We're looking at man power and safety for the turtles and the environment and the people who've been enforcing this have been very careful. They've tried to talk to people and let them know. There are signs on all the entrance ways down on the beach telling you that. What we're doing is we just want to reinforce, you need to leave the beach clean," said Oberst.

If passed at Thursday's meeting, it will move for a 2nd and 3rd reading before adoption.

The beach is also working to ensure beach moped rentals are safe and financially secure. Thursday the council will hear the first reading of two ordinances that deal with moped issues.

The first ordinance deals with the prohibition of cross collateralization. In this case, it's using the pooled deposits of a group of mopeds to handle the damages of one.

City Manager, Mario Gisbert, explained how this new ordinance would protect renters.

Basically what we're doing is safeguarding the people that come in and rent mopeds so they aren't overpaying in the long run when they come in and rent several mopeds versus just one moped," said Gisbert.

This ordinance prohibits scooter rental companies from using this practice. It's a measure to cut down on the temptation to take advantage of riders, according to the council.

The other ordinance handles the physical moped and its safety inspection.

Previously, the beach police would come to rental places to inspect the vehicle. If passed, this ordinance would require for each vehicle to be brought to the PD and pass an inspection to earn a decal.

Gisbert explained the overarching goal for both ordinances is to protect the rider, and rental inspections are a courtesy to the safety of our tourists.

"In a vehicle that is rented like this, these mopeds and these kids and families that are coming in and renting these things, you want to safeguard those individuals and make sure that they do have a functioning horn, that their brakes are working, and that their brake lights are working. So, when they are renting these units, part of the service that we provide to the community is making sure those pieces of equipment are safeguarded," said Gisbert.

Both ordinances will be read at Thursday's council meeting at two pm at Panama City Beach City Hall.