In my last column, I urged Destin residents to get involved in what happens at Destin City Hall. The current issues involve Sunday morning alcohol sales, new short-term rental regulations and Mayor Scott Fischer’s proposed Gulf Power buyout that he promoted in a Jan. 10 Destin Log guest column. I recommended everyone read it to learn both sides of this most-controversial issue.
An even later controversy concerns the proliferation of illegal “snipe” signs littering our landscape. It will probably only worsen as we approach the March 13 city elections. Here are some of the other current issues:
Proposed Sunday morning alcohol sales seem certain to pass. Two of Destin council members have ties to the restaurant business and that’s OK. Visitors to our area have been frustrated trying to buy beer just before a Sunday charter fishing trip. Or perhaps, a Sunday morning Bloody Mary. Not everyone is happy with it, but Sunday morning alcohol is already available both to the east and to the west of Destin. This change would make it available in Destin as well.
The short-term rental task force has been given an almost impossible mission. The city council has tasked them to draw up some new regulations that are better than existing regulations. That won’t be easy. There is only one problem with existing regulations; they have never been enforced. Even though we have such a simple solution at hand, these dedicated men and women meet every Wednesday at City Hall and struggle to do what city council wants. I sit in on those meetings and share their frustration. Look for more on this difficult task in future columns.
The mayor’s proposed Gulf Power buyout is still opposed by most Destin residents. This is evidenced by public meeting comments as reported in The Log and its sister newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News. That same opposition is found in official email records at Destin City Hall. This controversial idea will probably get kicked down the road in hopes of changing residents’ minds. Another special meeting on this divisive issue will be heard at the Destin City Hall Annex this coming Monday, Jan. 22 at 5:30. Please be there and let your opinion be known. Our power bills and taxes depend on it.
City Hall staff has ordered Code Enforcement to remove those ugly illegal signs that are littering our landscape. They are known as “snipe” or “bandit” signs. They advertise everything from buying ugly houses, giving massages and how they want us to vote. City Code Enforcement removed 40 such signs in just their first week. I won’t embarrass the offending mayor and council candidates by calling out their names; they do it for us.
I have lived in Destin since before it became a city and have never seen us so divided as we are now. The purpose of these weekly columns is to spark interest in the community and bring us closer together through public participation. And that’s a good thing. Let’s keep it up.
Jack Simpson has owned and managed rental properties in Destin since 1974 and has lived in the city since 1983. His column is designed to start conversations in the community. To respond to Jack’s column in The Log, email your letter to the editor or guest column to firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Jack directly, email email@example.com.