Destin to consider regulating portable restrooms

Tony Judnich
A path leads to a portable toilet on Holiday Isle in Destin. The toilet was removed last fall but it prompted Destin City Council to consider regulating such structures. [FILE PHOTO]

Because of a public meeting-notice issue, a proposed ordinance on portable restrooms was pulled from Monday’s City Council meeting agenda but is expected to be discussed at an upcoming session.

The proposed ordinance would limit the use of portable toilets to the sites of permitted construction projects and permitted special events in Destin.

Destin officials said such possible restrictions stem from the placement of a portable toilet last summer on part of an almost 12-acre, vacant beach lot known as Parcel B. The lot is next to the Destin Pointe Resort, on the west end of Holiday Isle, and is owned by Legendary LLC President/CEO Peter Bos.

Legendary had the toilet placed on the beach for visitors who were shuttled there from the Emerald Grande resort. Before Monday’s council meeting, Bos said the toilet was set up after Destin Pointe residents complained that people were using the sand dunes as restrooms.

But “city staff received a number of complaints about the (toilet) being placed in the (Destin Pointe) neighborhood,” Destin officials said in a memo to the council. “Ultimately, it was determined by planning division staff that the portable toilet should be regarded as an accessory structure.”

The city’s Land Development Code requires a permitted primary use/structure to be in place before an accessory structure can be permitted.

“The portable toilet was deemed to be in violation of the LDC and a code enforcement notice of violation was issued to the property owner,” Destin officials said in the memo.

But the city’s code enforcement special magistrate later ruled against staff’s determination because the LDC does not specifically identify portable toilets as accessory structures.

In the end, “The property owner wasn’t ordered to remove it,” Destin spokesman Doug Rainer said.

The proposed ordinance would “provide some regulatory authority for the city to rely upon when atypical portable toilet situations occur,” city officials said.

Bos said the toilet that was put on Parcel B was removed from the lot last fall, at the end of the high season.

Still, “People need bathrooms where no bathrooms exist,” he said.