Beach scooter rental dispute goes to Florida Supreme Court

Panama City Beach Faces Lawsuit Over Scooter Rental Requirements_-6708453871284499624

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) — A dispute about a Panama City Beach decision to ban the rental of motorized scooters has gone to the Florida Supreme Court.

Classy Cycles, Inc. filed a notice last week that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to take up the issue after a November ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld the ban, according to documents posted on the Supreme Court website. As is common, the notice does not detail the arguments that attorneys for Classy Cycles will make.

The appeals-court ruling rejected arguments that Panama City Beach did not have the power to ban a business unless it is a legal nuisance and that such restrictions are “preempted” by state laws. The case stems from two ordinances passed in 2017 to prohibit the overnight rental of scooters and to completely prohibit scooter rentals effective Sept. 8, 2020. Classy Cycles, Inc., took the case to the appeals court after a Bay County circuit judge upheld the ordinances.

The appeals court focused, in part, on the city’s home-rule powers in addressing potentially dangerous conditions.

“We find no error in the trial court’s determination that a geographically small city has the right to restrict a business from operating within the city when the undisputed facts demonstrate that the restriction is for the safety of the city’s citizens and visitors,” the ruling said.

“We also find that (a state traffic control law) does not preempt the ordinances because it provides the city the right to pass restrictions on types of vehicles which may be operated in congested areas.”

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