Goose Bayou Slated for Development

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It's not the first time a chain of untouched marshland has been sought out for profitable development. In the past, Bay County has not allowed developers to build on Goose Bayou's Pine Islands.

So this time around, property owner Frazier Bingham and developer Fred Webb asked Panama City to annex several acres of the land and rezone it from its conservation land status under the county to residential.

City commissioners agreed to allow development in vote Tuesday night, much to the dismay of more than 1,500 people who signed a petition opposing it. They say the city's decision will open the door to more development at Goose Bayou.

"It's not the 13 houses, it's the cumulative impact. Plus, they're basically saying they'll develop the rest of the 280 acres. They will try and it sets a precedent," says Ginge Ketcham, a Goose Bayou resident.

Frazier Bingham says he has a right to develop his land out at Goose Bayou, and Developer Fred Webb says there will be no environmental effects from construction there.

"I've known you guys for a long time now and I'm not going to tell you guys a lie. If we pass all the tough regulations from the state I promise you that when you visit this area two years from now you'll see no environmental damage," says Developer Fred Webb.

Residents in the area aren't waiting to witness the effects of Webb's development. They plan to take legal action against the city's decision to annex the land.

In anticipation of this action, Webb has already told city officials that he would cover the cost of any lawsuit.

Bingham and Webb must now take their plans for development at Goose Bayou to the state for environmental and legal review.