PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Some Panama City Beach business owners are still seething over a new ordinance designed to prevent parking lot parties.
They say the regulations beach council members approved Thursday night puts and unfair burden on them to breaking up large crowds on them, or face hefty fines
Business owners like Jim Bradley in Panama City Beach say recently the parking lot parties have calmed down, but other times they can get out of hand.
“It was making the ability to do business very difficult,” Bradley said.
Bradley is the owner of shipwreck limited. He said the pop-up parties in his lot on Front Beach Road can attract up to 100 people. He said he has had to close his store early in order to protect his employees, which hurts business.
“We can’t be the police when you have that many,” Bradley said. “It’s not like five cars you know when you have 20, 30, 40 cars and you have 100 people, who’s going to be the person to go out there.”
Bradley and other business owners say hiring personal security is just too expensive.
And if they don’t, the new rules upped the fines from 100 dollars to 500 dollars on the first offense.
Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said these rules aren’t meant to create a divide but rather a partnership.
“What these ordinances do is say hey we want to be a partner with you, we want you to have a thriving business, but we want you to be held accountable and not put profit over public safety,” Talamantez said.
Chief Talamantez said his officers will always respond when they are called, but they have many situations to deal with.
He said they want to have open communication with these businesses and try to work together the best they can.
“We help with the problem, the parking lot is clean and clear,” Talamantez said. “They need to take control of it because we need to go to the next problem.”