Mexico Beach Business Owner Fights Leave No Trace Ordinance

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. - Crazy Waverunners & Parasail owner Hector Vazquez has been running his business on Mexico Beach for the past sixteen years. What makes this year different than the rest is the Leave No Trace ordinance. 

"It will put me out of business because they want me to move everything from the beach. It will be impossible for me to do it," said Vazquez.

Vazquez says he received a written notice citing failure to comply with the Leave No Trace ordinance due to unattended items on the beach.

He says he thought he had a few days to remove his items, but this morning proved otherwise.

"This morning, when I came here to work, I was with my employees and security guards, and they started removing my stuff from the beach. I told them, 'I'm here. The stuff is not unattended.' They still kept removing my stuff from the beach," said Vazquez.

"Hector has been talked to privately and publicly many times that his business is no different than an individual. We've given ample time to go ahead and try to make arrangements to try to get the items off the beach, and he did not," said Mexico Beach City Manager Mel Smegelski.

Vazquez says he made efforts to comply. 

"At first, when they told me I had to move the stuff, I went and bought a tractor to move the stuff from the beach. I started moving the stuff from the beach, and it was too many people around. It was too dangerous for me to do that with a tractor," said Vazquez.

Currently, the ordinance does not differentiate between commercial and personal ventures.

"It should be an exception for vendors," said Vazquez.

"We did the same thing to him that we've done to others. During the course of the past few weeks, now that it's into the tourist season, we've taken quite a few items off of the beach every morning, and his items are no different," said Smegelski.

There will be a town hall meeting on April 19th to discuss possible changes to the ordinance.


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