NEWS

Council passes multiple ordinances

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie | ablanks@thedestinlog.com

The Destin City Council on Monday fielded multiple issues, including defining the area known as “South Harbor Festive Market Place” and establishing a tree removal moratorium. Here is a run down of some of the key issues discussed:

Tree removal moratorium

The council approved a second reading of a tree removal moratorium, which places limits on the removal of protected trees within city limits. The measure was initially presented by council as a tree cutting moratorium, but it was brought to their attention Monday night that that terminology was misleading.

The council passed the moratorium, but not without people pointing out they have no way to enforce it.

“I don’t know who is qualified within the city to even tell me the difference between a water oak, a live oak and a hickory,” said Aubrey Santucci, a member of the public and consulting arborist who spoke to the council. “Who’s a paid city staff member that can go out and say, ‘Hey I know this is a protected tree?’ We just don’t have anybody.”

Council member Chatham Morgan agreed that enforcement was a problem. 

“We want to get a good ordinance in tact and it’s not going to be perfect, and I think it will evolve," Morgan said. "… I understand the sense of urgency. Enforcing it is going to be very tricky.”

South Harbor Festive Market Place

The council approved 6-1 a second reading of the South Harbor Festive Market Place ordinance, which sets the paramaters for open containers of alcohol in the city’s harbor district.

“We have established the boundary for the open container area to be southward of the sidewalk that runs along the south side of Highway 98,” said Destin City Manager Carisse LeJeune.

Mooring Field in the harbor and bayous

Councilman Tuffy Dixon brought up the potential need for establishing a mooring field in the Destin harbor and bayous.

“The junk that is going on in Crab Island has ended up in our harbor,” Dixon said. “This is something that is going to overtake us. We’ve got to get a handle on it.”

The council discussed the possibility of mooring fields, regulated areas of the bayou and harbor that could control businesses that anchor there.

Website redesign

City of Destin Public Information Manager Doug Rainer announced that the city’s website, www.cityofdestion.com, will debut with a new, sleeker and more user-friendly design sometime within the next week.

“It’s probably one of the best sites I’ve seen for any of the local governments anywhere … I can guarantee you this is really, really good stuff,” Rainer said.

The website redesign was free as part of a contract agreement with CivicPlus, the company who designed the city’s website four years ago.