Panama City begins cracking down on code enforcement violations

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City city officials said they would begin cracking down on code enforcement violations after the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael. Now, they are following through  and are beginning to host code enforcement hearings. 

25 Panama City property owners sat in front of a magistrate judge on Thursday morning to address their still damaged property after the storm. Citizens had the chance to speak on behalf of their violations. 

“It is up to the magistrate judge to determine the time frame that he or she will present to that citizen to correct that action,” said Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen. 

This is the city’s second code enforcement hearing.

“It is important that we have this code enforcement,” McQueen said. “It is not to be harsh on anyone but it is to enforce a standard that we have all accepted as the common standard for the city of Panama City.” 

For some like Ralph Haben, these code enforcement hearings will help with their properties moving forward. 

“Currently, we are in negotiation with the insurance company,” Haben said. “Today I think was probably a good thing because it is going to bring things to a head, because now we have 30 days to take action.” 

McQueen says it is important to build the city back up stronger than it was before the storm. 

“We are expecting a lot out of this community to be the premier city in the Panhandle of Florida.” “We need to get our private properties, whether they are residential or commercial properties, back up to a standard of excellence.” 

The city will hope these code enforcement hearings monthly. Starting in January they will hold two meetings per month 

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