Cove Residents Upset Over Plans for Alley

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PANAMA CITY - A Panama City man is involved in a dispute with some of his neighbors.

He's asking city officials to give him ownership of the alley behind his home. The alley is already the hot topic among the homeowners.

Michael Hobbs owns a house at the corner of Beach Drive and East 2nd Place in the Cove. "He can stand in his front yard and see St. Andrews Bay," Planning Board Member Waylon Graham said.

Hobbs also owns two lots behind his home, on the other side of this alley. He's asking the City Planning Board to vacate the alley and deed it to him.

Graham said, "He [Hobbs] wants to close that potion of the alley so that his property can join together. Basically, what he wants to do is fence it all and landscapes it and just have a big back yard."

Sounds nice for Hobbs, but some of his neighbors aren't thrilled with the idea. "Some of the adjacent property owners don't want the alley closed if it's going to affect them being able to get in and out of their property from the alley," Graham said.

In fact, the alley has already become an issue. Until recently homeowners put their garbage cans in the alley for pick-up by city trucks, but Hobbs built a fence along the side and back of his property.

Now the garbage trucks don't fit. "A number of people were, I guess you could say, annoyed because the city trash trucks could no longer get through the alley to pick up trash. So that required the homeowners to take the trash out to the front street instead of putting it out on the alley where they like to put it," he said.

Several neighbors have hired lawyers to try an block Hobbs' plans. Planning board members will make a recommendation to the city commission, which will have the final vote.

NewsChannel 7 reached out to Hobbs and neighbors, they did not want to talk to us on camera. The planning board will come together to go over the dispute on September 15.