The Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday capped the height of any residential structure at 60 feet.
The board, during its regular monthly meeting, acted while amending its comprehensive plan.
There had been considerable discussion in South Gulf County about the proposal in the plan to “raise” the cap on height to 50 feet.
“We just don’t have the equipment” to fight a fire at that height, said Lissa Dulany, a member of the South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department.
Administrator Michael Hammond said the issue “had been blown out of proportion.”
The new comp plan maintains current language that no residential dwelling may have more than three inhabitable floors.
He said the county has never had a height limits, per se and added later that he knows of no residential structure in the county taller than 53 feet.
One of the issues was the Eglin protection zone which remains in effect for a portion of Cape San Blas and does mandate a 50-foot height limit to clear radar interference.
Due to an error, Hammond said, that once embodied a radius that took in areas like White City, but the zone had been recently reduced to just a portion of the Cape.
Outside of the Eglin protection zone, commissioners approved a cap height limits at 60 feet.
That, McCroan said, would also provide some flexibility for homeowners as they rebuild with many forced to raise the foundation level of their home.
The motion exempts industrial, manufacturing and towers.
The industrial was significant as the county Planning Development and Review Board recently approved a proposal from Skyborne Technology to build a hangar that would be 300-feet wide by 138-feet wide by 96-feet tall at Costin Airport.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the BOCC also approved using some grant funds recently provided by the Department of Economic Opportunity to aid in building an access road and running water to the hangar.
Skyborne expects to use the $3.5 million hangar to store the company’s large airships, one of which is about 60 percent complete, said Mike Lawson, president and CEO of Skyborne.
“That will help us establish a base for our customers,” Lawson said, who said he hopes to have the hangar completed sometime in the summer.
Having that base, Lawson said, will also attract additional companies carrying new technologies.
“We can now go to our final plans,” Lawson said after noting county approval was a crucial step.
Lawson added the company is excited about the high school drone program as well as Gulf Coast State College’s proposal to create a drone pilot “boot camp” for exiting military that will be available to those same high school students.
A workforce pipeline would be created.
“We are pretty dadgum excited about that because it kind of goes with everything that is happening,” Lawson said.
“We’ve come a long, long way.”