Judge rules in favor of city vs. scooter company

Panama City Beach city officials are standing by their decision to eventually ban rental scooters in the city by enforcing two ordinances that impact the use of rental scooters, but they aren’t doing so without a challenge.

In June, the owner of California Cycles scooter company sued the city of Panama City Beach after council members passed two laws phasing out the local rental scooter business.

“The city did put together an ordinance that would basically sunset the scooter business in 2020, that was one. Another one is basically saying that you could not have a rental scooter after 7:00 at night until 7:00 in the morning and that’s regulating the business, not the operation of the scooter, nothing to do with the vehicle itself but strictly with the business itself,” Panama City Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert said.

The city then asked a judge for a summary judgment. That’s when the judge ruled in favor of the city.

“So the city will be allowed to follow through with the sunset of the business in 2020 and also the 7:00 curfew on the business not being able to provide scooters after 7:00 at night until 7:00 in the morning,” Gisbert said.

We reached out to the owner of California Cycles, Colleen Swab, who responded with a statement saying “This is an attack on all small business’ in Panama City Beach… this is just a small piece of a much larger ongoing court case.”

“It’s just dangerous at night. The lights normally aren’t as bright as they are on other vehicles and this really gets to the meat of what we want to accomplish to try to clean up a little bit and safety-wise,” Panama City Beach Mayor Mike Thomas said.

Panama City Beach officials say they saw the lawsuit coming before it was filed, however, they say they had faith in their legal team and it prevailed.

City officials also say the ban of the overnight rentals from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. could be seen as soon as mid-January.

Source:  News Channel 7

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