PCB breaks ground on City Hall
Panama City Beach officials gathered to break ground on its new $3 million City Hall building right before its regular council meeting Thursday.
“This City Hall has been talked about for 20 years, and it’s a much needed part of Panama City Beach,” said Mayor Mike Thomas.
The building will be funded with reserve funds, and construction for it is scheduled for next month. Officials said the new City Hall could be completed by next year.
The new City Hall will be a one-story, 14,000-square-foot building with 12,601 square feet of office space, and 1,472 square feet of storage. The existing building stands at 8,038 square feet. The new building will be located west of the Public Services building on the south side of the municipal complex on South Arnold Road.
Officials said a new facility was needed because the current building is running out of space.
At the City Council meeting, officials approved the first reading of an ordinance that prohibits camping, loitering and prowling around public transit shelters.
The ordinance states no one should block the entrance to a shelter, loiter or prowl within 50 feet of a transit shelter “at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals” that might authorize a reasonable or immediate safety concern for people in the vicinity.
Considerable circumstances that might warrant immediate concern include someone fleeing from law enforcement, a person refusing to identify himself or herself, and obvious attempts of a person to hide himself or herself or an object, according to the agenda packet.
“The goal of this ordinance is to prohibit loitering or other prohibited activities at public transit shelters,” said Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman. “We want to ensure the safety and welfare of those citizens and visitors using the transit within the city of Panama City Beach.”
Officials have received complaints that people were seen camping, prowling or loitering around transit shelters.
If someone violates the ordinance, they can be fined $100 for the first offense and $250 for the second offense. On the third offense or with two or more violations occurring within any six-month period, violators can receive a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500, a jail sentence of 60 days or less, or both.
Bay Town Trolley has a total of 41 stops in Panama City Beach. Whitman said officials are having several issues at shelters on the east side of the city.
In addition, officials passed the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting “no trespassing” signs or signs with a similar message on the beach. The ordinance applies to the area that stretches landward from the mean low water line of the Gulf, to the frontal dune, or to where there is no frontal dune, to the permanent vegetation or construction line, whichever is more toward the sea.
Source: Panama City News Herald