Restaurant Owners Not Happy with Walton County Commissioners

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If County Commissioners have their way, South Walton business owners will be building a whole lot of new parking lots.

The county's proposal would require the owner of a home larger than 1500 square feet to have two parking spaces, and an additional space for every 500 feet.

The changes would really hit restaurant owners, requiring them to have one parking space for every 100 square feet, and one space for every 2 employees on the largest shift.

Some businesses have been grandfathered-in and would be exempt from the changes.

But if they expand or had to rebuild, they would lose that exemption.

"We have what meets the requirements now and if we have to go with the new ordinance that would mean me I would need about 52 parking spots which doubles the size of my parking lot that I don't have,” Hanie Nasri, General Manager of Marie’s Bistro.

Business owners believe the proposed parking ordinance will hurt existing businesses and keep new businesses from opening in South Walton.

But they say they're most upset because they didn't know anything about the proposal

"It was shocking and disappointing that they weren't even going to let us know, no workshops they weren't going to publicize it on the paper or internet. It was just going to fly under the radar,”. said Louis Petit, Co-owner of Louis Louis Restaurant and Bar

Several formed what they’re calling the Walton County small business association.

They started with five members and have quickly grown to 100.

"We have something going on, let's form an organization and lets move forward and fight the county about this,” said Petit.

The commission will hold a workshop meeting on the issue Tuesday September 17th at 1p.m., and business owners are expected to be there.

County Officials did not return News Channel 7's calls to comment on the issue.