County Commission Talks Spring Break Changes - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

County Commission Talks Spring Break Changes

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In the last few weeks, Bay County residents have turned out in significant numbers for public meetings to speak their minds about spring break.

Tuesday, the Bay County Commissioners expressed their support for some major rule changes.

It wasn't a topic on the agenda, but a small number of residents addressed the issue during public participation.

Multiple commissioners spoke in support of changes to the industry, but Commissioner Mike Thomas says it's coming soon.

He said city and county law enforcement met with a big group of bar owners on the beach, who are willing to and have already started working with them to gain control of the spring break crowds.

He expects adjustments to be presented at the next Panama City Beach council meeting.

"We've have changed a lot of rules, we've just got to chance a lot more," said Thomas. "Rather than tweaking it, we are fixing to fix it and I think the people will be proud of what we are going to." 


Also at the County Commission meeting, Commissioners discussed a conflicting engineering report that the City of Callaway released last week about the AWT-2 lift station.

The rotten smell and dangerous conditions at the sewage lift station have had city and county officials disagreeing for quite some time.

The county has had two engineering reports done, which offer a different solution than the recent report from Callaway's firm. Commissioners expressed their frustration with the back and forth on this issue and unanimously voted to direct county staff to follow the original interlocal agreement and do whatever action is needed to fix the issue.

"Through the interlocal agreement there are steps lined out as to what to do, what steps to take to rectify a problem," said Commissioner Bill Dozier. "There is definitely a problem there, so as the operator we need to move further to take those proper steps."

Utilities and legal services for the county are taking a look at the agreement further to determine what course of action will be required.


Also, the county approved a planned unit development(PUD) order for a new subdivision that will be located on the west end of the beach just north of Pinnacle Port at Carillon Beach.

Many people expressed concern about aspects of the plan, like fire safety and traffic issues.

Although, the 117-unit neighborhood is still in the early stages and the developer will have to come back to the commission for approval before any work is started.

"The PUD development opportunity to set and look at it from transportation, fire safety... every aspect," said Commissioner Mike Thomas. "It allows you to sit down and make one decision. They could divide it up into lots and sell it and we'd have to fight everybody out there. This is an opportunity to for that area to develop into some kind of ration good community.

The tentative plan will take up about 40 acres of property just off on Highway 98 and it will be built in two phases.