Beach Development Battle

By: Courtney Hayes
By: Courtney Hayes

Dozens of old, rundown motels have already been bulldozed on the beach, but one still stands in the Lakeview Drive neighborhood. Now plans for a 13-unit town home complex have some residents cheering and others worried about the future of their neighborhood.

Over the years new homeowners have moved in and built around Lakeview Villas. Now they want the old motel to move out of their new neighborhood.

"We'd like it to be gone, because of the type of people who are living there, lower class people, and it's a real rundown motel," says Bill McNulty, a nearby resident.

The motel's owner, Barbara Hindman, wants the property rezoned from residential to residential town homes so that a developer can build a 13-unit town home complex. Everyone agrees the motel should be torn down, but opponents of the proposed town home development are fearful their residential neighborhood could go the way of the rest of the beach.

McNulty would rather see single family homes here, but supporters of the town home project say homes are not cost-effective.

"Each one would sell for a million dollars. It's cost prohibitive at this time," says Evan Brusilow, a supporter of the development.

Brusilow says the majority of residents on Lakeview Drive would like to see town homes replace the old motel.

"I have signed affidavits from residents. Seventy eight percent want this to happen. We'd like the commission to listen to the majority, not the minority and approve the rezoning," says Brusilow.

Panama City Beach commissioners will make their third and final vote on the issue Thursday at a 2 p.m. meeting. The city's planning board turned down the proposal so the motel's owner will have to secure a 4 to 1 vote by commissioners to build the town homes on Lakeview Drive.


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