Power Paragliding Event Grounded by Organizer Over Ordinance Dis - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Power Paragliding Event Grounded by Organizer Over Ordinance Dispute

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The event organizer of the world's largest power paragliding event held on Panama City Beach has shut down operations just 3 weeks shy of its 5th anniversary.

The reason: a dispute over a beach city ordinance.

The ordinance itself didn't shut the event down, but according to the event organizer, a clause that gives the city power to shut down the event forced his hand.

"There was no way I could run this event under threat of shut down," said Captain John Black.

Just shy of its 5th anniversary, the 2013 Beach Blast "Fly in Paradise" is grounded.

Since its inception, the unique power paragliding event is a draw with participants from countries all over the world.

As the sport grew each year, the city felt it necessary to add rules and regulations.

"This is a new and up and coming sport, so we've set up guidelines though his input," said City Manager, Mario Gisbert.

Gisbert said the ordinance passed last month was drawn from Black's original contract, but would make room for height and fly over restrictions, set take off points and enforcement measures.

Black said the shut down threat clause under section 6-34 gives the City power the stop the event at will.

"The City says, "well, that's highly unlikely that this would happen, um...we've been compared to spring break where we've had zero arrests. You tell me whether this is highly unlikely to happen. I don't trust the city," said Black.

News 13 asked Gisbert if they would stop the event at random.

"We tried to make it very clear to him that the intent is not to shut anything down….It's kind of like the third strike, you're out. It's not the intent that something happens and you shut down the whole event," said Gisbert.

The ordinance states that should repeated violations occur, the city would contact the event organizer to make adjustments in prevention, before making the step towards shut down.

Black said it comes down to support from the City, which he feels he never received.

The City said they've never stopped him from holding his event, even now.