The Destin noise crisis: Is it real or imagined?

Dusty Ricketts
Jack Simpson

Mayor Scott Fischer wants city council to write some new laws to cut down on what he calls “too loud” music coming from HarborWalk Village and Destin rental homes. Most employers, employees, customers and residents disagree. This is obvious by their feedback in the Sept. 15 edition of the Northwest Florida Daily News, a sister newspaper of The Destin Log. You really need to see all their comments to understand just how unpopular these proposed new laws are. The full feedback column is available by emailing me at the address shown at the end of this column. Here are a few brief excerpts from that feedback column:

“This is ridiculous. I voted for Mayor Fischer and I regret it, certainly won’t vote for him again. He comes up with one stupid thing after another. The City Council should be working on saving the taxpayers’ money, not to shut down the harbor.”

“You said it so that I didn’t have to. Would anyone have voted for this guy if they knew how deep he was in bed with Holiday Isle properties? It’s a tourist town guys. You moved here knowing that. When I hear noise, I hear my hard-working friends making money to take care of their kids.”

“City wants to do everything they can to turn tourists away. Cracking down on vacation rentals and noise from bars simultaneously.”

“If you don’t wanna hear the noise, move to a more quiet area. Nobody is forcing you to stay.”

In the mayor’s defense, he is a relative newcomer to Destin. He wasn’t here when the harbor district was dying. We were losing our top-notch entertainment, upscale retail and fine dining to areas east such as Sandestin’s Baytowne Wharf, Destin Commons, Grand Boulevard and 30A. Something had to be done.

That’s when the city partnered with a developer to create HarborWalk Village. It was a minor miracle! The harbor district was resurrected better than ever. The rest is history.

The irony here is that current city officials may try to undo the beneficial partnership that prior city officials had negotiated. That partnership is serving us well. Let’s hope that cooler heads in city council will prevail.

The mayor and I both live a short distance from the harbor on Holiday Isle and are surrounded by rental homes. I haven’t heard the loud music that he frequently describes. He is quoted in The Log saying, “… we simply want people to not keep their neighbors up all night long when they’ve got to get up and get their kids to school the next morning and go to work.”

That has not been my experience. I became a part-time Destin resident in 1974 and a full-time Destin resident in 1983. That comes to about 15,000 nights that I have slept soundly and not been kept awake by loud music even once. We had a saying in the military, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This one doesn’t need fixing.

Now, it’s your turn to let others know how you feel about this controversial issue. Please email your comments to The Log or to me at the addresses shown below. Thank you for your feedback.

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 To contact Jack directly, email