Florida Supreme Court declines to hear Classy Cycles case

Bay County Scooter Ordinance under consideration_8900525_ver1.0_640_360_1497640501423.jpg

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WMBB) — The Florida Supreme Court will not hear a case involving a a Panama City Beach Business and the city.

Classy Cycles, Inc. had hoped the Court would take up the issue after a November ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a ban on the rental of motorized scooters inside the city.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Florida is the final chapter in the City’s long defense of its scooter rental regulations,” said Assistant City Attorney Cole Davis. “This decision fully puts the issue to rest. The order again confirms what the City Council knew in 2017 – that government closest to the people serves the people best. Throughout this litigation, the City prevailed on every issue before the court from the Bay County Circuit Court, the First District Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court. The City’s long history of protecting the Constitutional home rule authority continues.” 

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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