DESTIN — City officials anticipate holding a workshop in June to discuss potential Stahlman Avenue/U.S. Highway 98 intersection upgrades, which are related to Destin’s crosstown connector project that has just been put on hold.

“Once a date is secured, a public notice will be issued” about the workshop, city spokeswoman Catherine Card said.

The meeting was suggested by City Councilman Parker Destin at Monday’s council session, when a majority of the council agreed to have staff take no further action on the connector. Council members Chatham Morgan and Skip Overdier cast the two “no” votes.

More right of way acquisition and construction of a two-lane road between Beach and Benning drives would complete what many view as the final phase of the connector, which would provide an alternate east-west route north of busy U.S. 98.

But many residents fear the completed project would bring more traffic to their neighborhoods. And Parker Destin shared another point.

“I know that if we connect this, all we’re going to do is create a giant, long logjam all the way down Stahlman,” he said at the council meeting.

Destin said he already sees lengthy lines of cars on Sibert and Calhoun avenues just west of Stahlman that prevents customers from reaching his family’s seafood restaurant on Calhoun.

Such gridlock would “be abundantly worse if we do that connection,” Destin said. “I’m not in favor of it for personal reasons. I’m not in favor of it because I know that the people who live on Sibert (and Calhoun and Forest Street), they don’t know what’s coming, and we will divert a tremendous amount of that traffic that’s trying to avoid the dysfunctional Stahlman right into those neighborhoods. Until we get Stahlman figured out, I’m not supporting this” connector.

Several council members noted that the Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization's long-range plan calls for major upgrades, such as the installation of turns lanes at Stahlman and U.S. 98.

“The TPO says it could be done by 2040,” said Destin, who wants it done much sooner.

Mayor Gary Jarvis, who supports the connector but does not have general voting power on the council, informed the County Commission on Tuesday about the council’s decision to halt the project.

The commission last year approved contributing $4.8 million in county bed tax money for the connector segment between Benning and Beach drives.

Jarvis said the city has spent about $5.4 million on right of way acquisitions for that segment. The city has $2.7 million from the Florida Department of Transportation for additional right of way acquisitions, and more than $26 million was spent in previous years on other parts of the connector.

Jarvis said the council’s decision to stop the project was “a head scratcher,” but he hopes things change.

“I’m going to continue working on this issue,” he said.

Commissioner Kelly Windes, whose District 5 includes Destin, said the council’s decision is “rather disappointing” in light of the commission’s unanimous decision to help pay for the connector.