Annexation Wars

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Panama City Beach officials are talking legal action after a change of heart by the Panama City Commission. Tuesday night Panama City commissioners reversed their vote on annexing across the bay. Now, some threatened beach officials are looking to Bay County to referee the dispute.

Panama City Beach holds the franchise for utilities to this area. If Panama City annexes the property we could see another pipeline running alongside the new bridge. Beach councilwoman Gayle Oberst says Panama City commissioners made a bad choice Tuesday night when they decided to go forward with annexing this area.

Originally, the Panama City Commission voted not to annex the Holiday Lodge area because of problems providing services. Tuesday night an attorney for the Holiday Lodge developer asked the city to reconsider. Already on-guard beach officials last week moved to annex the tiny access road, which would take beach city limits all the way to the bay right near the Holiday Lodge property.

Oberst says the council will continue to annex Powerline Road.

"We have always had a good relationship, but you don't see us going over the bridge and annexing Carl Grey Park," says Oberst.

Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan says he will not let any developer put a pipeline in or across Saint Andrew's Bay. Oberst says the cities cannot sue each other without mediation. She says that's up to Bay County to decide. The county set up the utility franchise areas and Oberst says they need to stick to that and then decide what city the Holiday Lodge area should be in.

If the beach can annex up to the Holiday Lodge back door both the beach and Panama City will have equal claim to property. One reason the developer may be leaning toward Panama City is its building height restrictions are looser than both the beach and Bay County.