Height Restrictions

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In a 3-2 decision, the commissioners changed the zoning from Carillon Beach to the Panama City Beach city limits from seasonal resort to commercial along Front Beach Road.

The change would impose a height restriction to 50 feet in an area that now allows buildings up to 230 feet. The change would affect property on each side of Front Beach Road along the unincorporated county stretch.

Commissioner Jerry Girvin made the motion late in the discussion about land development regulations and was supported by Mike Ropa and John Newberry. Ted Garbutt owns 54 lots on the west end, including the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat.

Garbutt says he watched his property value decrease in a matter of five minutes.

"We have three commissioners that have basically decreased everybody's property value by at least 50 percent or more. This has been a total injustice to anybody who lives in the county on the beach on the west end especially."

Gary Hunter is an attorney who represents a group of developers just waiting to start building.

"It affects hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in land on Front Beach Road and is a complete surprise.”

Later in the meeting, the commissioners came back and changed their decision. In a unanimous vote they allowed beach side property owners to keep the 230-foot height limit while restricting height across the street to 50 feet.

There is still one more public hearing about land development regulations including this decision that will be held at 5 p.m. on September 21.