Public Beach Access up for a Vote

By: Kavontae Smalls Email
By: Kavontae Smalls Email

Panama City Beach -- There are about 50 public beach access points along Panama City Beach, but the future of one of them may be up for grabs during April’s Panama City Beach elections.

Imagine your home sandwiched in between two public beach access points. The owner of a house on Orleander Street in Panama City Beach finds herself in that position and wants one of the public beach access points running parallel to her home shut down.

The property owner does not live at the site, but rents it out to guests. When she contacted Panama City Beach City Manager, Richard Jackson about closing down Beach Access 45, he told her the city cannot simply close a public access point.

“Our charter does not allow the city council to simply abandon an easement” said Richard Jackson, Panama City Beach City Manager.

Since 1982, the public has been allowed to vote on a referendum, on whether or not to close public beach access points.

“The council is in a position where they can either support it or speak against it, it’s just something the people get to look at and form their own opinion and vote on it” said Jackson.

For beach goers using the access points near the home, access point 44 seem to get more attention than access point 45.

“I do think there seems to be too many [beach access points] around their home, but this one seems to be a major one, I’ve sued it the entire Spring Break” said Jessica Strong, beach goer.
“Obviously there’s not too much difference as far as distance between them so clearly not huge deal in this particular location” said Brian Bell, beach goer.

Chris Gallo is renting the property for the week. He says since he has been staying there, he noticed one side definitely gets more foot traffic.

“Staying here for the week, I’ve noticed that 44 is more advertised and obviously used more than 45” said Gallo.

On April 17, voters get to decide whether or not beach access 45 remains open, and only if they decide to close it, can the Panama City Beach City Council take action.

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  • by Mike Location: pc on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:24 PM
    No access should be closed! They knew it was there when they purchased the property. Bid-A-Wee should be made to open their's also! They are not maintaining them and there is trash all over the place near the accesses. The city needs to install 2 hour parking meters in front of Bid-A-Wee's access as they do not own the ROADS! These residents have created an eyesore with their UGLY colored gates and trash around their steps.
  • by Jay Location: PCB on Mar 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
    Why is this even going to a vote? If the accesses are being used by the public then clearly they are active, and needed. Were they not already there when the owner purchased the house? Enough of people trying to privatize their beach, especially those who don't even live there! The whole city is not like Bid-a-Wee!
  • by Deb on Mar 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM
    Only reason 44 is used more is because since 45 was moved the city doesn't maintain the pathway along the sidewalk or the beach path. It is way to overgrown! You can barely walk through it let alone carry a cooler or chair with you to the beach! It's AWFUL!! Also need to put in some stairs. If cleaned up more people would use it.It was a good access before the Paradise Palms moved it, it was a path but now No one maintains it! Keep it and clean it up, put some new stairs like you did on 44 and you'll see more foot traffic!!!
  • by Connie Location: Frount Beach Road on Mar 15, 2012 at 04:55 PM
    This is all rental. Maybe in spring break most of the children may use 44. But in the summer months that we stay April thur November I have watch from my deck that i can see that 45 is used all the time by owners and tax payer are using 45.
  • by Kenny Location: Frount Beach Road on Mar 15, 2012 at 04:25 PM
    This is just during spring break that 44 is being used more. I spend most of the summer months acrooss the street and use 45 and i have watched most of the adults use 45 that lives lives and pays taxes use this access. The spring breakers that are using this access (44) are not eving staying in the area.
  • by Dave Location: pcb on Mar 15, 2012 at 02:39 PM
    She needs to be quite before we bring up no parking and no handicap access!
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