Developer Hopes to Bring Miniature Golf Course to Okaloosa Island

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OKALOOSA COUNTY-- Since June, one property owner and a local developer have come up with the idea of bringing a golf course to Okaloosa Island.

Visitors and residents to Okaloosa Island may soon have another place to show off their golf skills. A few months ago, developers began brainstorming the idea of adding a 36-hole miniature golf course off of Santa Rosa Boulevard.

Okaloosa County Growth Management Director Elliot Kampert said the project is geared towards a family-friendly environment. "So looking at the surrounding area, I don't think the putt-putt course is incompatible use," Kampert said.

"The owner agreed there would be no alcohol there, at one time there were talks of an arcade, they have withdrawn that aspect of the proposal, and they have also agreed to use dark sky lighting."

However, there is one issue: Under an Okaloosa Island ordinance, a mini-golf course does not fall under the allowed commercial uses for that location.

"The particular covenant, for those three parcels, or property is what is called the B2 Zone, which is supposed to be for hotels, motor courts, lodging accommodations," Kampert said.

According to the Okaloosa Island Architecture Review Committee the three parcel property has been deemed a good land use, and a great spot for tourism. Okaloosa County Commissioners can change the ordinance to allow building this golf course, if they feel it will benefit the area.

"Now the board does have some discretion, as provided in the covenants to waive, or amend the covenants with adequate notice to the adjacent property owners," he said. Both Kampert and Developer Vince Bruner say it is all about attracting more tourism, and family-friendly facilities to the island.

"We have had Gulfarium for a long time, we have great beaches, but after you get off the beach there are other things people are interested in doing, and they have families and kids, so not having a putt putt course near by is great consideration," Bruner said.

On August 19, the Okaloosa BCC will discuss this proposal, hold public comments and then vote on the proposal.