PANAMA CITY BEACH Some people already consider the Beach Club Motel an eyesore, even before it caught fire May 30th. Shortly after, city officials began the process of convincing the owner to demolish the structure.
On June 7th, the city inspected the property, after which the building was deemed unsafe. City planning officials recommended it be demolished or repaired immediately.
Initially, the owner David Pearson, went along with the decision. In an interview the day after the fire, Mel Leonard, Building and Planning Director for Panama City Beach, said Pearson had "indicated that he is gonna pursue demolition of it the tricky part now is, is his time frame may be different than ours."
But Pearson has apparently had a change of heart.
"We then got just a couple weeks ago, a response from the developer who thinks their property is in fine condition the way it is," Leonard said, "and they don't have any plans to do anything."
City councilman Keith Curry said that the response feels like Pearson was "just kinda blowing us off and pushing us down the road."
The city is now giving Pearson 21 days to sign a demolition contract or repair the property. Following that he will have 30 days to begin the process and then 30 days to complete the process. Leonard noted that if the developer wouldn't go through the process, the city would help them by doing it themselves.
If Pearson does not repair or demolish the motel by November, city officials could place a lien against the property. They could also find him $100-per-day for a month and bill him the cost of the repairs or demolition.
"I'm all for capitalism and you getting a great deal," said Curry, "but if you own that piece of property, you own it. Be a good neighbor, don't be a deadbeat developer."