PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – At Tuesday’s meeting, Panama City commissioners heard residents and business owners in a public hearing on a proposed downtown social district.
The district would allow patrons to carry alcoholic beverages outside, given they’re in a marked, Downtown Improvement Board-approved cup.
Both supporting and opposing arguments were heard. A notable critic of the plan was Mayor Michael Rohan.
“When I first heard about the social district, I was at a meeting and I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard in my entire life and then I started thinking about it, and then I did some research, as I pointed out during this meeting and I think it’s a terrible idea. I think it’s absolutely horrible,” said Rohan.
Rohan argues the plan would increase law enforcement and trash pickup costs. He also speculated that the district could increase the Panhandle’s divorce rate.
“We have one of the highest divorce rates in the state up here in the Panhandle. So I would imagine if we threw some alcohol on that fire, we could probably get even a higher divorce rate,” said Rohan.
The City, along with the Downtown Improvement Board, says it will address concerns and modify its proposal prior to a final vote. Commissioners plan to hold a final vote at their next meeting on November 14th.