PCB City Council Passes LSV Regulations, Discusses Half-Cent Tax

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The Panama City Beach City Council held first readings for several Land Development Code changes Thursday morning. 
The changes were at the suggestion of the Planning Board. Those include a requirement for all new single-or multi-family dwellings of 1.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet in particular zoning district, an ordinance clarifying the definition of a permanent building and modular home, and an ordinance requiring certain properties to go before the Planning Board to expand, enlarge or modify a non-conforming development or use. 
The ordinances must still go through a second reading before being formally adopted.
Low speed vehicles came before the Council for a final time as well.
"Based on the comments that were made, what I've done is given you three different ordinances," said the city's attorney. "One that just gets rid of that 1500 feet requirement, one that reduce it to 500 feet and one that keeps it at 1500 feet. So you have some options before you today to kind of decide how you want to go with that."
The ordinance has been going through changes for months as city staff met with business owners and tweaked the rules. Thursday morning, council members reduced the distance from a residential neighborhood from 1,500 feet to 500 feet. In addition, staff removed a clause which gave the City Manager the ability to determine if the LSV stores were compliant. This is coincides with the 300 LSV cap for the city. 
However, some businesses were still dissatisfied with the conditions. 
"That makes us out of compliance because they built next door to us," said Rick Roof with California Cycles. "There's no regulations to stop them from building next door to us, but we have regulations that says we can't be next door to them. So keep that in mine when you're talking about this. It's kind of like we have to go both ways. It has to be two ways."
The ordinance passed the Council and goes into effect immediately.  
A School Board member also addressed council members questions about the half-cent sales tax for school renovation and construction. 
"Back in August - actually it was probably earlier than that - the summer of 2010, a half cent sales tax committee was put together and came up with a list of all different projects throughout the district and they prioritized those particular projects," said Steve Moss, Panama City Beach's representative on the School Board. "Arnold High School wasn't on that list because in 2010, Arnold High School and Bozeman High School was relatively new."
Moss gave a presentation on how the half-cent sales tax is distributed among Bay District's schools. He acknowledged a few of Panama City Beach's schools haven't been distributed some of those funds, like Arnold and Breakfast Point Elementary. The priorities list for the District was made in 2010. He said the Board can only prioritize - not add. Council members asked Moss to consider more money for Beach schools because they believe that's where most of the half-cent sales tax originates. Moss said despite those schools not receiving half-cent sales tax funds, that doesn't mean they aren't getting any money. 
"Although Arnold is not on that half-cent sales tax list, we have spent almost $2 million at Arnold in LCI funds - local capital improvement," said Moss. "So although they're not getting half cent sales tax funds, we are doing a lot of improvement and upgrades at Arnold using LCI fund. Matter of fact, there's five projects scheduled at Arnold just this summer."
When the opportunity to add more projects to the list, there are several involving Arnold High School Moss said he hopes to add.

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