Panama City Beach City Council members made one land deal Thursday night and passed on another one.
The council agreed to buy a piece of property that will become an important part of the future public transportation system. After much debate the council members approved the purchase of the old Deer Ranch property on north Thomas Drive, across from Ripley's Believe It or Not museum.
This plot of land will become the multi-modal hub for the city's proposed tram system. The tram will eventually carry tourists and locals from that point, along front beach road and all the way to Pier Park.
The property owner, Loren Smith, originally asked $6 million for the land, but Thursday he agreed to sell the parcel to the city for five and a quarter million dollars. Council members approved the deal by a 4 to 1 vote. Councilman Ken Nelson voted no.
The other big land deal on the agenda never really materialized. Developer Charles Faircloth went back before the city, asking for a change in the comprehensive plan.
Faircloth wanted the city to make the change which would one-day allow him to build a high-rise condo in the Miramar Heights area on the west end.
The single-family home owners in that area showed up in-force to speak against the plans, but they never got the chance. The council members failed to make a motion to change the comprehensive plan, so the idea failed for a lack of a motion. After that there was no need for a public hearing.
The Panama City Beach city council also elected councilman Bobby Bolton to join vice mayor Jeff Ferguson on the Tourist Development Council board of directors. Bolton fills the vacancy created last week, when council member Ken Nelson stepped down from the TDC.