Adjusting for Growth

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Before the proposed condominium projects fill Panama City, officials are looking forward to the obvious impacts new residents will have on the area.

Mayor Gerry Clemons is ready to start the discussion about passing along the expected cost of new development.

"There will be, with these new condos coming to the downtown area, there's going to be a lot of cost of bringing adequate water to the condominiums to deal with the sewage."

But in addition to transporting water and sewage, the mayor says the hardest impact will be on the roads and current traffic system.

Keeping the city's appearance at its best is one reason the mayor is ready to discuss the money involved. The fees would affect developers and not current residents and could include placing power lines underground in addition to storm water and park maintenance.

Panama City Commissioner Kathryn Hanline owns a small business in Millville, just a few blocks from the site of a proposed mid-rise and high-rise condo.

"We just got to face it and deal with it, limit it to certain places, if we can, encourage the growth. We want people to come to town, but we don't want to ruin everything. We don't want to destroy the quality of life people have enjoyed."

The owner of the Caspian Cafe in Downtown Panama City says business owners are ready for the development and willing to even compete with more business.

"We're going to bring more culture here. I hope that more restaurants, more business are going to open here downtown and change the face of downtown Panama City."

The City Commission will discuss these options at Tuesday's meeting at City Hall at 4 p.m.