The Bay County Commission will take up the issue today during their meeting, with at least three Lake Powell residents writing letters to the county stating that they are concerned that the development would negatively impact the environment and create congestion. Others have contacted the county to ask questions about the proposal.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — A proposal for a new 80-home planned development community near Lake Powell has some residents concerned about the environment and congestion.

The Bay County Commission will take up the issue today during their meeting, with at least three Lake Powell residents writing letters to the county stating that they are concerned that the development would negatively impact the environment and create congestion. Others have contacted the county to ask questions about the proposal.

“Further congestion and development in such a pristine area is of great concern,” reads a letter from Jansen Sallers, who lives on Ann Miller Road on the lake. “We want to see the natural environment of such a lovely dune lake remain unspoiled.”

D&X LLC is requesting a planned unit development approval that would give the green light to the project, to be built on a nearly six-acre site located at the southwest corner of Lake Powell Drive and Lakeview Drive. The site is located on property behind and to the east of the Publix store at 23026 Back Beach Road.

Sandy Mandigo, who lives on Ann Miller Road on the lake, said Monday she is concerned the new residents will use a community park off Lake Powell Drive to gain access to the lake when they don’t have lakefront property. She said she’s also concerned that property values will be negatively impacted by allowing a townhome community in the single-family neighborhood.

“Our community, it’s a small area. (The property) is zoned commercial now and they are trying to change it to high volume residential,” she said.

Ian Crelling, community development manager for Bay County, said the zoning on property does allow commercial but also townhome uses. He said the landowner is not asking for a zoning change, just the planned unit development approval.

He said the neighbors who are opposed to the project don’t like that many more new homes going in so close to Lake Powell.

“But that’s technically allowed, so they are not getting any variations on that through this proposal," he said.

Jerilyn Huggins, whose family owns property on Lake Powell, expressed concerns about the proliferation of new homes near the lake. She wrote that having a development like this in close proximity to Lake Powell and Camp Helen “will negatively impact the environment as it has existed for hundreds of years.”

“All do not see the beauty in (the lake's) natural state and will not appreciate it to care for it,” she wrote. “As such, I am opposed to further development of property in the Lake Powell area.”

Cypress Environmental, a consulting firm hired by developer, wrote in its report that “biological/ecological issues were not identified that have potential to affect future development activities.”

The company is asking the commission to reduce the right-of-way width from the usual 60 feet to 40 feet. The proposal calls for putting in sidewalks throughout the development as well as providing a 10-foot-wide multi-use path on the south of the property.

Crelling said the developer as part of this proposal is agreeing to build a connector road with multi-use path from Lakeview Drive into the Publix, allowing residents to get there without having to travel out onto U.S. 98.

“It would certainly help the neighborhood and would help all the pedestrians in the neighborhood to get from A to B,” Crelling said.

Other planning cases the commission is considering on Tuesday include:


A request by Eric Scheimreif for a rezoning from C-2 Plaza Commercial to C-3A General Commercial low on property at 6822 Highway 22. He wants to build a temperature-controlled, mini-storage facility in the unincorporated Callaway area.
A request by James Holsombake for a small-scale amendment to the Bay County Comprehensive Plan for a .38-acre tract at 2921 Canal Ave. in the Hiland Park area. The property now only has a shed on it and he wants to build three homes.
A request by HSC Panama City LLC to change the zoning from C-2 to C-3A on 4.3 acres at 271 Comet Ave. North in the unincorporated Callaway area. The company wants to build a retail store.