Planning Board/City Council workshop productive
The Panama City Beach City Council held a joint workshop with the Planning Board Monday and discussed possible changes to rules related to variances to make the process more user-friendly for the public. Ordinance 1476 was proposed to amend the variance process.
Members suggested adjusting the appeal process timeframe from 10 to 15 days and clarified the appeal process. Officials noted that a variance denial by the Planning Board typically results in an appeal to the City Council.
Planning Board Chairman Mark Sheldon said the board, which has several new members, welcomed the workshop as a means of getting Council input and feedback.
“We should have a workshop every year,” he said. “Direction from the Council is important to us. We want to hear the vision you have. When I first joined the Planning Board, the City Council laid out 10 things you wanted us to do. We tackled those wishes of the City to make Panama City Beach a better place.”
Sheldon said Planning Board members want to be proactive in recommending changes in the Land Development Code (LDC), when changes are needed. He cited height incentives as an example of a procedure that didn’t make a lot of sense. The City is doing away with that process, which limits the height of developments to 150 feet where permissible.
As part of the discussion, Councilman Geoff McConnell asked the board to begin drafting updates to the comprehensive plan concurrently with the update of the strategic plan that is directly tied to the budget process. Members agreed this would be valuable.
The board will also address guidelines for the Highway 79 Corridor from a beatification standpoint.
Both groups called the workshop productive. “We want to be sure we have a Land Development Code that matches the vision of the City,” Sheldon said.
The LDC is the City’s roadmap for development and specifies land use, zoning, site designs, parking and more for all parcels of property in the City.
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