Annual Meeting Minutes
October 29, 2019
Beach Community Church
Pensacola Beach Advocates President, Terry Preston, opened the meeting at 5:30 p.m., welcomed the membership, and introduced board members Peter Nemeth, and James Crittenden. Board members Ben Clabaugh and Lauren Campanella were unable to attend. She also introduced guests Angela Crawley, representing Commissioner Robert Bender; Tim Tolbert, CBO, Escambia County Building and Animal Services; Wes Marino; Pensacola Beach Public Works; Robbie Schrock, SRIA; and Jason York and Chip Simmons, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.
Terry listed the accomplishments of the Pensacola Beach Advocates since our last annual meeting, including a collaborative effort with the SRIA, County and Sheriff’s Office to return Pensacola Beach to a family-friendly Spring Break destination; participating in Lease Workshops with the SRIA; injecting truth and clarity as often as possible into the false narrative of the “Save Pensacola Beach” campaign; adding protective language to the eventual beach ordinance that was recently passed; sponsoring the Sea Turtle Baby Shower, Sea Turtle Soiree, and collaborating with the Beach School and Ocean Hour on collecting plastic bottle caps to recycle into benches. All efforts will be listed on the website.
No early nominations were submitted; however two members Charlie Rotenberry and Rhonda Dorfmann were nominated at the meeting. Charlie is not eligible due to residency and/or ownership restrictions in our Bylaws, but he agreed to join the Government Affairs Committee and request a review of the Bylaws to perhaps make them more inclusive with an At-Large board position for an off-beach member. Since the only board member not running for re-election was Terry Preston, Rhonda and the returning board members were elected by voice vote.
Terry gave the updates on both committees. The Governmental Affairs Committee intends to continue to pursue a collaborative effort to ensure that Spring Break visitors enjoy a safe, legal vacation. They will also continue to follow and support a lawsuit that the SRIA is pursuing regarding violations of lease restrictions requiring the lessee to occupy their leasehold property. They will continue to draw attention to the number of businesses posing as single family homes, not following noise ordinances and not registering events of over 35 people with the SRIA. They will also continue to remind the Escambia County Commission of the $9,000,000.00 in taxes and fees per year that Pensacola Beach contributes to the county over and above expenses.
Terry also updated the Beachkeepers report, mentioning that for the second year in a row, over 1,000 people participated in the Sea Turtle Baby Shower, which is a great way to inform and educate in a fun, family-friendly environment! She also encouraged members to contact Lauren Campanella if they wish to participate in the Surfing Santa Beach Parade or the Sea Turtle Soiree. Other initiatives may be underway as well, which we’ll update members on when they are planned.
Terry opened the floor to discussion and suggestions for issues that members are concerned about. Discussion ensued regarding “hometels” and illegal duplexes renting, the fact that residents are tasked with enforcement, which is not supported to the degree that we would prefer, and traffic management plans including roundabouts, which we do not support in their current form. Chip Simmons stated that the Sheriffs now how a properly calibrated sound meter; however they had no trained officers to operate it. HE is sending two officers to training soon, so we can expect sound complaints to have a more proactive response from Law Enforcement in the future. Tim Tolbert corrected our misunderstanding that multiple kitchens are the deciding factor as to whether a house is a single family home or not. Tom Campanella said that some leases actually allow duplexes in neighborhoods that are zoned as single family, and encouraged everyone to read their leases. He also said that the illegal Air BnBs that do slip through the cracks are due to nobody at the SRIA being assigned to specifically research these. Terry mentioned that almost every SRIA meeting has at least one petition to allow a pool install in the setback areas due to the “house” taking up the entire buildable area. These are routinely granted.
The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Click HERE to view the minutes in PDF format.