West End Property Development Blocked

PANAMA CIT BEACH -- In 2006, la borgata was billed as the next hot development in Panama City Beach.

Plans depicted an upscale community of residential townhomes and retail space. Developer Ronnie Gilley even enlisted the help of some of his country music friends like Alan Jackson.

"Back in 2005 the residents in the neighborhood were all for it. I mean, it was going to be high-end with townhomes and this was a good thing. But then, i understand, the economic collapse came, and they did not want to develop it based on the dollars and cents," says neighbor of the land Luby Woroch.

Gilley got indicted in a bribery scheme to legalize gambling in Alabama, and the property went to new owners. They've explored a number of options, including a 101-lot luxury RV park in 2011.

Neighbors successfully fought against it and a number of other proposals, including this most recent.

"They came in and wanted to change from a regular business and professional to an actual commercial zoning, that would have led to a bit more traffic and a bit more noise," said PCB Mayor Gayle Oberst.

This type of request, known as a planned unit development, or PUD, has a limited shelf-life.

Neighbors believe they've once again dodged a bullet. But they say they'll remain vigilant.

"Absolutely, because we don't want just any old thing coming into our backyards," said Woroch.


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