Lynn Haven Commissioners deny zoning change for Bay Haven Charter Academy

By: Meagan O'Halloran Email
By: Meagan O'Halloran Email

Lynn Haven city commissioners rejected a planning commission rezoning recommendation Tuesday night, virtually killing Bay Haven Charter Academy's plans for a campus at the Industrial Park.

The school had been fighting the city for a zoning change until last week, when the city's planning commission approved the change. The school had been hoping to relocate it's North Bay Haven Academy campus from the old Panama Christian School campus to Industrial Park but city commissioners denied the zoning change, leaving Bay Haven officials considering their options.

"We're going to cooperate with our neighbors and work with them to find resolve that's mutually beneficial for all parties. That's what you do. You try to work together as reasonable people" says Dr. Tim Kitts

Dr. Kitts is hoping he can still strike a deal with the city and open North Bay Haven in the Sallie Mae building sometime in 2012.


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  • by Bert Location: Lynn Haven on May 12, 2011 at 04:28 AM
    Aren't you proud of our leadership?
    • reply
      by Bobcat Parent on May 12, 2011 at 07:51 AM in reply to Bert
      Whose leadership? Bay Haven's or Lynn Haven's? Personally, I put a lot of trust in Bay Haven's leadership but this one stings. Why would they buy a building that they were not SURE could be used as a school? I dont get it. They get everyone hyped up on moving, then dont deliver. Now what do we do? this whole thing looks like a huge waste of time and money. We are no closer to a new school and own a building that we cant use. Again, why did we buy it in the in the first place. Shouldnt of all this have been sorted out before we spent the money on the building? Its obvious why Sallie MAe wanted to dump the building, it was costing them a fortune to operate. Now it is costing Bay Haven a fortune. I know everyone is afraid to say it, but this is poor decision making buy our (BH) leadership if you ask me. Who is in charge of this ? We need some explanations, fast.
  • by Michael Location: Panama City on May 11, 2011 at 08:44 PM
    All the new industry that has come into the city of Lynn Haven is locating in the Industrial Park where Trane and Jensen are at. This Industrial Park is better due to its location to Hwy 231 and all the 18-wheeler traffic. No new industry is going to locate in the Industrial Park in question. 18-wheelers having to drive all the way through the middle of town and the North Harbour residential area to get to that Industrial Park. Look at the history.....there are only 2 businesses in the park (Merrick & Natural Light). The only other businesses that were ever there were Sallie Mae and the Bendix Corp./Honeywell. If the city of Lynn Haven was so worried about getting businesses to relocate to this park, why didn't the city buy the Sallie Mae building to try and lure a business there??? The truth is that no one had a problem with the Sallie Mae or Bendix/Honeywell building sitting empty, until Bay Haven stepped up and bought the property.
    • reply
      by Amy on May 12, 2011 at 06:42 AM in reply to Michael
      Good point! I think Bay Haven needs to sue now!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 12, 2011 at 07:46 AM in reply to Michael
      honeywell is not empty there is a business in there get your facts straight and as a parent I would not want to have to worry about my child being hit by a 18 wheeler oh sorry only the rich kids go there they are dropped off
      • reply
        by Cathy on May 13, 2011 at 07:41 PM in reply to
        You have no idea what you're talking about? Only rich kids? That's a joke. Kids with parents who were lucky enough to get in on the Bay Haven lottery? Yes. Kids with parents who are willing to be involved in their children's education? Yes. Does income have anything to do with it? No. Get your facts straight.
      • reply
        by Emily on May 14, 2011 at 03:24 PM in reply to
        I agree with Cathy. Why do you think only "rich kids" go to Bay Haven? Just so you know, there are plenty of kids that ride a bus to and from Bay Haven....not everyone is dropped off. And what does your comment have to do with them moving into a new location?! I have an idea....instead of you telling someone else to get THEIR facts straight (about Honeywell being occupied), you should get YOUR facts straight before you place a comment about something you know nothing about.
  • by Really Concerned Parent Location: Lynn Haven on May 11, 2011 at 02:59 PM
    Alot of people that live in that neighborhood had major concerns about the TRAFFIC this school was going to bring to our roads. There are alot of small children that live on those back roads and it was going to be crazy traffic every morning and afternoon!!!!! Why most people aren't against the "GREAT BAY HAVEN" like some of yall believe, they do disagree with its purposed location, sorry!!!!
    • reply
      by Dave on May 12, 2011 at 06:43 AM in reply to Really Concerned Parent
      Did you forget about all the Sallie Mae traffic already? Didn't they have over 400 employees?
    • reply
      by Lori on May 12, 2011 at 08:13 AM in reply to Really Concerned Parent
      Those young kids need to be off those back roads anyway! Where was the issue when Sallie Mae was there?
    • reply
      by Cathy on May 14, 2011 at 08:47 AM in reply to Really Concerned Parent
      That is a ridiculous argument. Regardless of who moves in there (if anyone, at this point) there will be increased traffic, just as there was when Sallie Mae was open. At least with a school there, the traffic patterns are totally predictable. I wish people could come up with a reasonable argument, instead of disparaging Bay Haven Charter Academy and coming up with ridiculous reasons why they shouldn't move to this site. Lack of understanding or just sour grapes? I'm relatively new to Lynn Haven (and Florida, for that matter) but I'm becoming very disenchanted with the local politics. Seems like a lot of backbiting and dirty goings on. I find it VERY interesting that our standing mayor was unable to attend a meeting where he would have be required to put his opinion on record and how this sudden change in attitude about the zoning is taking place in the middle of a mayoral election. A little too coincidental? Absolutely.
  • by Susie Location: Panama City on May 11, 2011 at 02:18 PM
    The commissioners did the right thing. There are other businesses in the complex who have a right to their say. Just because it's "for the kids" doesn't make it the right place to be. Bay Haven is trying to sneak in without having all their "I" dotted or "t" crossed. They need to complete the entire process and then see if they can have a school there
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 11, 2011 at 04:08 PM in reply to Susie
      Do you realize that Bay Haven contacted the city planner prior to closing in December, and that they have written confirmation from the city planner that schools are allowed in Hugh Nelson Industrial Park? The ULDC was changed, by this commission, in June 2010, specifically to allow schools in industrial areas. You can see it for yourself on the Lynn Haven website.
  • by Eli Location: Bay County on May 11, 2011 at 09:26 AM
    Spring 2010 Lynn Haven amends its ULDC to allow schools (preschools, elementary, high) into industrial zones. Why they didn't amend the Comp plan as they legally were required to, who knows? But no one, businesses or otherwise had any problem with schools in the industrial zones until AFTER Bay Haven bought the Sallie Mae building. In February 2011 the city voted 5-0 to send whatever zoning proposals their own task force came up with. Last night 2 of the commissioners went back on their word. I was always taught you're only as good as your word...
  • by Verine Location: Panama City on May 11, 2011 at 07:58 AM
    Ok, I feel totally mislead by Barnes!!! He threw it out there at a previous public hearing at Lynn Haven City Hall that he used to be Vice President of Bay Haven and that his record stands on supporting schools and then he turns a complete 180 and votes "no". We voted for him on the premise that he seemed to support the move to Sallie Mae, what a rat bag! He should have been honest at the hearings on this and said that he did not think it was a good idea before the election, so we could have voted against him. Well played Barnes, you are a true policitian you kept everything under the table and played it cool. I have to wonder how many other Lynn Haven parents voted for you thinking you would be a yes vote. That will not happen again!!
  • by Doug Location: Panama City on May 10, 2011 at 09:55 PM
    Sounds like the city found more tax dollars with a business than they could get from the academy.
    • reply
      by Concerned Parent on May 11, 2011 at 07:28 AM in reply to Doug
      No...they didn't find anything. It will sit there empty!
    • reply
      by Melissa on May 11, 2011 at 07:50 AM in reply to Doug
      The school even offered to pay the tax dollars that the city would have lost by allowing the school to move to the building--
      • reply
        by Don on May 11, 2011 at 10:45 AM in reply to Melissa
        That was VERY generous of the school, especially when they were going to use OUR tax $$ to pay for it.
    • reply
      by Verine on May 11, 2011 at 08:01 AM in reply to Doug
      What business, what happen to the never showing up Virginia company that wanted to move in there? With the economy the way it is right now that building will sit for another couple of years until things improve. Just dirty polictics and personal grudge.
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