Home Commercial Panama City Residents Speak Out on Commercial Boat Launch Ordinance

Panama City Residents Speak Out on Commercial Boat Launch Ordinance

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) — In April, nearly a dozen Bay County boat ramps changed to neighborhood use only, after water visitations caused an overflow of parking in the streets. But all that commercial activity had to go elsewhere. Panama City executives said they were tired of hearing about some of their ramps being saved and they were doing something about it.

City leaders are discussing ways to regulate commercial activity at five of the city’s seven boat launches. But they didn’t want to do anything without first hearing from the community. They held a public workshop Thursday at City Hall to do just that.

Panama City residents are making their voices heard after the idea of ​​reducing commercial use of some popular boat ramps was put on the table.

“If we knew the instance that caused all this. Right now it looks like it literally came out of the middle of nowhere and hey, let’s see what we can regulate and do it,” said a Panama City resident.

City leaders are looking for ways to manage the crowds, and the cars some residents have complained about are taking up all the space.

“We’ve had complaints from citizens who can’t park and don’t have access because of all this commercial activity going on, so we’re going to address that,” Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki said.

Officials said the situation only got worse when Bay County cut off commercial use on eleven ramps.

“That kind of led to some of the issues that we had in Carl Gray with unlicensed business operations,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said.

Charter captains argued they don’t see the problem with parking, as most of them get in and out before the lunch rush begins.

“Now I don’t know about kayaks and I don’t know about jet skis and all that other stuff. It’s a whole different ball game than charter captains. We go in and out. If I’m there more 30 minutes wastes my time and I start to get a bit restless,” said a second Panama City resident.

It’s something city leaders said they were considering.

“I knew most of the problems we had probably weren’t coming from the angler,” Brudnicki said. “You haven’t seen too many kayakers here today, have you?”

Commissioners agreed that the original proposed order, only allowing commercial activity in marinas in St. Andrews and downtown Panama City, was too strict.

“We’re looking for something a little more practical for the general public,” Street said.

City attorneys are seeking to completely overhaul the potential ordinance and it will return to first reading as soon as it is complete. City officials said they don’t know when this new project will arrive, but they don’t expect it to be ready in time for the commission’s next meeting.

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