I am writing in reference to the excellent coverage of the recent BOCC meeting concerning revoking the RV ordinances and beach clutter ordinances in Gulf County. I believe most of us long-time Gulf county residents have noticed large increases in the number of people visiting our beaches and bays this summer, as well as more and more people making Gulf County their permanent residence. I think most of us are excited by this trend. With this increase comes other issues, however, and I would like to address several of these.
First, I think it is essential to understand why more people are visiting and moving into our county. Is it because of the unique natural beauty of our beaches and bays, our friendly and Godly community, and our more relaxed way of life, or is it because they believe that eventually we will become more like Panama City Beach, with more people, more traffic, and more stress? Most of us believe it is the former, not the latter, and want to encourage slow, responsible, sustainable growth for ourselves and future generations.
While I understand the county staff’s frustration at enforcing these important ordinances, it is important to remember that our county’s revenues, and the county Staff’s very paychecks, depend on clean beaches and maximizing property values. As I stated in the letter to The Star I wrote in January 2015 supporting the RV ordinance, “The challenge for us is to come up with a fair balance of protecting the rights of these inhabitants, and your OBLIGATION as stewards of our county to protect and improve the revenues of the county so we can continue to enjoy it’s services and provide jobs for it’s fine employees.”
What is your vision for Gulf counties future? Is it strip malls, pole barn fish camps, unregulated beach and bay usage and a complete change of our way of life, or is it neighborhoods, families, and a preservation of what makes our county a great place to live. Because today it may only be recreational vehicles and Beach clutter, but tomorrow when a developer rolls into town with a big bankroll and needs the height restrictions removed and our density requirements changed it will not be that difficult to do it!
It is now essential for each citizen of Gulf county to contact his or her commissioner and ask what your commissioner’s vision for Gulf County is, and don’t accept “jobs and happiness for everyone.”
Ask them to specifically describe their vision, and whether they are committed to the rules and regulations that will keep our county a nice place. We are at a crossroad, and in ten years we will look back and say, “if only we would have done something THEN. “ Well, THEN IS NOW, AND IF NOT YOU AND I, THEN WHO?
Frank “Dusty” May, DMD
Port St. Joe