Councilwoman Sandy Trammell says the city of Destin has a "parking issue," and looking into open deck seating as it relates to the city's parking requirements may be a good place to start.
"We have no standard for any outdoor seating as it is," she said during Monday night's City Council meeting. "This isn't going to affect anyone that's out there now; anything that's in existence is grandfathered in."
As it currently stands, the city's land development code does not factor outdoor seating decks into its formula when it determines the number of parking spaces required for a specific use in the city, such as retail stores or restaurants. Per the code, "full service restaurants" are required to have one parking space for every 100-feet of gross floor area.
As part of her request, Trammell said she would like to see the city take into account areas of restaurants that can be closed in and used for seating year round.
Councilman Jim Wood added that the city has had a "required parking problem" for quite some time, and that wouldn't change unless they come up with a solution.
While city leaders were all on point with the idea, unanimously passing a motion to research parking standards, local developer Claude Perry told city leaders he was "very worried" about their decision.
"I'm confused as to why this tinkering with what we have already gone through many, many times," he said. "I understand the parking problem; there's no secret that I opposed the harbor boardwalk until we solved the parking problem."
For Perry, the problem was that in the current economic climate, it's already hard enough to attract quality tenants to the harbor. If the city begins to count outdoor seating areas toward a restaurantís parking requirement, Perry said they would be taking an amenity away from those trying to lease or sell space.
"I ask you to be careful when you consider this," he said.
For now, city staff will research the topic and put together a report for the city council at an upcoming meeting.
CITY TO CLOSE FOR HOLIDAY
In observance of the Independence Day holiday, all city facilities will be closed Thursday, July 4. All city facilities excluding the Community Center will be closed Friday, July 5. The Community Center will hold regular hours and regularly scheduled programs on Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6. Additionally, the Destin Library will be closed on Saturday, July 6. If you have questions, please call 837-4242.
In other business, city leaders:
∑ Named July Parks and Recreation month in the city of Destin.
∑ Extended the lease at the Destin History and Fishing Museum for an additional 25 years. The new lease includes the space that was the "Destin Senior Center."
∑ Approved funding up to $14,000 with Shackleford Construction for repairs to the Harbor Flushing Station.