Panama City Stays on Their Side of the Bridge

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Some Woodlawn residents are breathing easier after their next door neighbor withdrew his request to be annexed into Panama City. City commissioners were supposed to vote on the issue Tuesday afternoon, but the developer pulled the item off the meeting agenda.

Less than an hour before the meeting the developer took the issue off the table. City officials say the developer probably couldn't handle the political heat.

"Clearly I voted in favor of annexation. I think a condo would look better than what they have now. The next question is why. And they probably decided they didn't have three votes to pass it, and they wanted to spare up the agony of a long debate," says Panama City Mayor Gerry Clemons.

Or it may have been all the Woodlawn residents that showed up ready to protest the city's plans to annex.

Either way, the Holiday Lodge property will remain part of unincorporated Bay County for now, and Mayor Clemons says the annexation issue probably won't come back up, at least for Panama City. That leaves the county to pick up where the city left off.

“A lot of people don't want to be annexed into city, but yet the developer doesn't want to be at a disadvantage. I understand that, so hopefully we can make a little better climate within county for everybody," says Bay County Commissioner George Gainer.

People living next to the Holiday Lodge property agree.

"We're not against the development. We're just against Panama City annexing the property for development, mostly because of density issues. So, we're not oppose to building a condo there and replacing the Holiday Lodge, as long as they do it within the county guidelines," says Woodlawn Resident, Gary Gorman.

Panama City Beach has been interested in this property as part of a bridge-to-bridge annexation plan.

Mayor Lee Sullivan says he was surprised that the developer backed out. He thought Panama City would approve the annexation of Holiday Lodge. In any case, Sullivan says he'll continue trying to gauge public opinion on annexing bridge-to-bridge.


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