PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
  • 08/10/2022 5:29 PM | Anonymous

    Leanne Potts and her husband, Scott Warnke, have been leasing out their two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot cottage in Dauphin Island for the past four years.

    Their renters, she said, have been quiet. Some are retirees who visit the state’s only barrier island to experience its reputation for prime bird watching. Others simply come for a weekend getaway.

    “We feel like we’ve improved the island,” said Potts, who grew up in Mobile, learned how to swim as a young girl on Dauphin Island and now lives in Alpharetta, Georgia.

    “We’d like to continue renting it out,” she said.

    But a proposal restricting short-term rental houses to mostly the West End of Dauphin Island could prevent Potts and other property owners from renting out to visitors.

    The proposal is contained within a 350-page rewrite of Dauphin Island’s zoning code, and it is stirring passions on social media and a debate over whether town officials should restrict the growing industry that is dominated by companies like Vrbo and AirBnb.

    It is also creating an odd divide in a town of around 1,800 residents, pitting full-time residents against the short-term renters in an East End versus West End struggle over where vacationers should go.


  • 08/10/2022 5:25 PM | Anonymous

    DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) – Dauphin Island officials are proposing a short-term rental ban on the east end of the island.

    The proposal has many residents and visitors upset. If approved, the ban would only allow vacation rentals on the west end of the island.

    The planning commission has been brainstorming this idea for the last year and a half. What the proposed plan would do is ban short term rentals, which includes anything less than six months, in all of the areas that are shaded yellow on this map, essentially isolating the short-term rentals to the west end of the island.


  • 08/06/2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous

    Below are the results from the 2022 PBA Issues Poll. 

    Click HERE to view the questions and responses from the 1st poll

    Click HERE to view the questions and responses from the 2nd poll. 

  • 07/18/2022 8:57 PM | Anonymous

    Published Jul 18, 2022

    For the second year in a row, the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) presented Escambia County District 4 Commissioner Robert Bender with the Presidential Advocacy Award for his work during the 2022 Legislative Session at their annual conference in Orange County, Fla.

    “Advocating on issues that are important to our community is something that I’m honored to be recognized for,” said Commissioner Bender. The FAC Presidential Advocacy Award recognizes County Commissioners who have shown exceptional leadership in advocating with FAC during the 2022 Legislative session to advance counties’ legislative agenda.

    Commissioner Bender was also presented with the Advanced County Commissioner Level II (ACC II) designation from the Institute for County Government (ICG) at the award ceremony. The ACC II designation signifies the Commissioner's completion of the most senior level of comprehensive study program designed by ICG.

    The ACC II education program focuses on transforming counties and the state of Florida by producing strong, versatile leaders with the necessary tools to address challenges across multiple fields and governing bodies. Commissioners are given the opportunity to participate following their graduation from the Certified County Commissioners (CCC) and the Advanced County Commissioner Level I (ACC I) program.

    “As the highest designation offered by ICG, commissioners are challenged to confront the most intricate and complex issues that face Florida,” shared the Institute for County Government’s Executive Director, Eric Poole. “These commissioners who volunteer to dedicate time and energy into earning this designation exemplify the quality of leaders we have on a local level in Florida.” 

    In addition, Commissioner Bender was elected Treasurer of the ICG Board of Directors, selected as the Committee Chairman for the Florida Association of Counties Finance and Tax Policy Committee, and was re-elected to the Florida Association of Counties Board of Directors.

    Alongside Commissioner Bender, 12 commissioners earned the designation at the award ceremony as the third class of graduates to complete the program. Since the inception of this program, there have been 41 graduates.

    Founded in 1929, the Florida Association of Counties has represented the diverse interests of Florida’s counties, emphasizing the importance of protecting home rule – the concept that communities and their local leaders should make the decisions that impact their community. The Florida Association of Counties helps Florida’s counties effectively serve and represent their communities through Advocacy, Collaboration, and Education.    

    Click HERE to view the full article

  • 07/13/2022 11:47 AM | Anonymous

    The Florida Department of State's Candidate Tracking System tracks candidates throughout the elections process presenting candidate status, campaign finance activity, personal photos and contact information. This information is updated regularly as candidates update their information.

    Click the link below to view the Candidate Tracking System.

  • 07/13/2022 11:43 AM | Anonymous

    As executive director of the Seaside Institute, Thomas Cordi is engaged in learning how best to meet contemporary challenges.

    The nonprofit institute is committed to creating sustainable, connected and adaptable communities based on the core tenets of New Urbanism — an outlook that discourages sprawling, single-use neighborhoods and champions walkable, diverse developments.

    Maintaining a sustainable community is not without its challenges, however, and the Seaside Institute is relying on New Urbanist experts for advice on how to best proceed.

    “One of the problems we’re facing now is that there’s been a balance tipped in favor of tourism over residents,” Cordi said. “We love tourism, but we want to readdress this balance, increase the number of people who live here and enhance their quality of life.”

    One of the Seaside Institute’s chief initiatives this year is making Walton County the next big “Zoom town.” Cordi said the area already is feeling the effects of the “remote work revolution” that resulted when the COVID-ı9 pandemic spawned a new work-from-home era.

    “This is an alternative form of economic development,” Cordi said. “Rather than trying to lure big companies like Amazon to our county, let’s lure talented young people, investors and those who want to live here because it’s beautiful and full of incentives.”

    The Seaside Institute has invited representatives from the country’s three most successful Zoom towns — Tulsa, Oklahoma; Bentonville, Arkansas; and Tucson, Arizona — to share their success stories at a future seminar.

    “Walton County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States, and people are moving here in droves,” Cordi said. “Studies have shown that in Zoom towns, there’s a multiplier effect.” For every move-in, multiple jobs result.

    For example, Cordi said a Seaside Institute board member, Carl Tricoli, moved to Walton County from Houston. Tricoli purchased property and is currently developing ı0 homes on the beach. He has hired advertising firms, Realtors and construction companies.

    But to attract a bigger talent pool and become the next big Zoom town, Walton County must reevaluate its infrastructure, Cordi said, and take “affirmative steps.” That could mean the addition of more shared workspaces, strong fiber internet, new cultural entertainment venues and affordable housing.

    “We don’t have a lot of affordable housing here on 30A, which can be a problem,” Cordi said. “We want to build an affordable town here based on New Urbanist principles. It’s a plan we started in the ’90s and never implemented. We’re still working on it, but right now, there’s plenty of room up north in Freeport and DeFuniak Springs. The entire county can become a magnet.”

    One of the problems faced by coastal Walton County, Cordi acknowledged, is its “tremendous” mobility issue. Traffic is a nightmare come tourist season, there is no public transit and parking is rarely available along Scenic Highway 30A.

    With a population influx, things could get worse.

    “We’ve been doing mobility studies since 20ı5, and we are trying to work with the county to deal with them,” Cordi said. “One of the tenants of New Urbanism is the high cost of free parking. We want to get people out of their cars. We have a transit hub developing in Grayton Beach where people are going to be able to park their cars and get on an electric bike or an electric shuttle that may even be autonomous.”

    There are traffic problems, too, along U.S. Highway 98, where a project to add more lanes has been underway for four years. That’s not the best move, Cordi said. “If you have a weight problem, you can loosen your belt a few notches, but you still have a weight problem.”

    The Seaside Institute’s annual Seaside Prize Weekend this spring was dedicated to walkable cities and streets. The institute hosted numerous New Urbanist speakers and welcomed city planner, author and lecturer Jeff Speck, who spoke to Walton County stakeholders, planners and residents about pedestrian-friendly communities.

    Speck, along with Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, wrote Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, a text Cordi calls the “bible” of New Urbanism. In it, urban sprawl emerges as the devil.

    “Sprawl creates these transportation problems because if you live on 98, you have to get in your car just to go buy a quart of milk,” Cordi said. “I think people are becoming disenchanted with sprawl. It’s giving rise to a new New Urbanism. They’re rethinking, redesigning urban neighborhoods toward mixed-use developments.”

    Communities evolve and face new challenges. That’s why adaptability is one of the Seaside Institute’s core tenants, Cordi said.

    Denser, less environmentally destructive developments also relate to the institute’s mission of sustainability, a movement for which Cordi has long advocated.

    Cordi is a former political science professor and executive director of the Associated Students of the University of California Auxiliary. His student union was the first in the country to invest in solar power. Cordi also presided over the nonprofit organization Sustainable Tallahassee, where he successfully implemented recycling programs and promoted solar power and electric vehicles.

    He is relying on that experience to change the ecology of Walton County and is calling for a sustainability plan comprising tree ordinances, recycling programs and an emphasis on ecotourism. The institute previously engaged local business leaders with their “Go Emerald Green” symposium series on YouTube, where they explored sustainable business practices.

    The Seaside Institute’s architects and planners can carry them only so far, and cooperation from the community and the county will be essential in shaping the future.

    “If we keep developing the way we are, we’re going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Cordi said. “We’d like a redesign of the comprehensive conservation development plan. We were involved in that in ı994, and we made predictions about what consequences would happen if actions weren’t taken. They’re coming true now.

    “We don’t want to put moratoriums on development, but we want smart development. We want growth to be smart growth, where we build the infrastructure as we develop. Our county has a lot of potential, and we don’t want to squander it.”


  • 06/22/2022 11:52 AM | Anonymous

    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 Posted by Jeff Bergosh at 6:35 PM 

    At this afternoon's Tourist Development Council meeting we went through a number of items related to the proposed yearly budget.

    We voted upon  the good idea of establishing some reserves for contingency within the budget--which passed unanimously.

    We also had a primer in public records law and the Florida Sunshine Law from BCC attorney Steven West.

    Toward the end of the meeting, the chairman brought forward a cleaned up proposed 2023 budget for TDT funds usage for the board's consideration.  (pictured above).

    After Chairman David Bear went through the proposed budget line by line, it came time for a motion to approve which I made and which was seconded by Shirley Cronley.  With a motion and a second on the floor, discussion ensued with Ronnie Rivera asking what could be done about the $562,000.00 in budgeted administrative overhead fees to the Clerk of the Court (which appear to have grown geometrically as collections have increased this year).

    Discussion went back and forth between Bear and Rivera about how the fee is calculated, which typically has been a flat 3% of collections figure given to the clerk for her staff's effort(s) in supporting this board and managing these funds.  Mr. Rivera obviously wanted the acurate number in that slot--not a formulaic one..which makes perfectly good sense.(Currently, the auditor general is looking into the spending and accounting of these funds, requested by TDC Chairman David Bear, and a clear answer as to what specific ammount [the whole 3%--or up to 3%--of the collections] is authorized has not yet been given.)

    So what does it cost for the Clerk to support the TDC and the TDT funds?

    Fortunately for us all--Mike Davis from the Clerk's office was still at the meeting------- so I asked him to come to the podium to tell us how much it costs the clerk to manage these funds and support the TDC.  He gave the figure "about $330,000.00"  so I took that number and asked if we budgeted $350,000 for the clerk's administrative overhead--would that work?" to which Mr. Davis agreed.

    So I subsequently amended my motion to approve the budget,  inserting $350,000.00 for the Clerk's administrative costs (it had been a flat 3% which generated $562,500.00) and taking the delta of $212,500.00 from what was originally budgeted to go to the clerk for overhead/administrative costs, and adding that number to the 2023 surplus--increasing that number $1,487,500.00 for 2023.

    This amended motion was voted upon and passed via a roll-call vote 5-1 with Jim Reeves voting "no."

    Jim quipped, before he voted no, "I think this might create a controversial vote for the Board of County Commissioners to approve."  to which I responded "I think I can find at least three votes for it."

    Read the full article HERE

  • 05/09/2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    What: Hands Across the Sand returns to Pensacola Beach

    Where: Gulfside Pavilion, 20 Casino Beach Boardwalk, Pensacola Beach, FL

    When: Saturday May 21, 5 pm – 6:30 pm

    PENSACOLA—Join hands with fellow residents, business owners, and tourists as we take our annual stand against oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and a transition to clean energy. Hands Across the Sand takes place on beaches around the world, as communities come together to send a powerful message of protecting the beaches and coastal areas we love. 

    We’ll meet at the Gulfside Pavilion for live music, education, and inspiring speeches about protecting our white sands and blue-green waters. At 6 pmwe’ll walk to the water’s edge to hold hands in silent remembrance of the 2010 oil spill and in support of a transition to clean energy from the sun and wind. 

    Hands Across the Sand comes at a time when the longstanding Congressional moratorium on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida is about to expire, leaving our state vulnerable. Yet the transition to the nearly infinite power of clean renewable energy is well underway, with explosive growth in solar and wind energy as Americans embrace the future.  

    Event partners include Healthy Gulf, 350 Pensacola and Surfrider Foundation Emerald Coast. For more information visit Hands Across the Sand Pensacola Beach on Facebook or call 850-687-9968 or email

  • 03/07/2022 5:30 PM | Anonymous
    News Release Date: March 1, 2022

    Contact: Stephenie Wade, 850-932-2612

    GULF BREEZE, Fla. -- Gulf Islands National Seashore will host a virtual public meeting on March 8, 2022, from 4 to 6 p.m. to solicit feedback on various sustainable road options being evaluated for portions of J. Earle Bowden Way (Highway 399/Route 11) and Fort Pickens Road (Route 12), on Santa Rosa Island, Escambia County, Florida. 

    In 2004, Hurricane Ivan severely damaged the roadways within the park and subsequent hurricanes and tropical storms have further eroded park shorelines. These natural barrier island processes have led to problems with minor storms and routine weather events pushing Gulf waters and sand onto roadway surfaces resulting in road damage, road closures and unsafe roadway operating conditions.

    The National Park Service (NPS) is working to identify and evaluate potential sustainability options for these two roadways within Gulf Islands National Seashore. The NPS has not initiated formal planning, identified a preferred direction, or pursued funding to implement any design options at this time; however, the NPS is interested in the public’s insight and ideas on the project purpose and a range of potential options.  

    For more information and to provide comments on this project, please use the following link:

    As a result of COVID restrictions, the seashore will hold a virtual public meeting to solicit feedback. 
    Those interested in participating can join using the following information.


    Phone:  +1-312-626-6799 with Webinar ID 86573697314#; +1-929-436-2866 with Webinar ID 86573697314# 


  • 01/26/2022 8:38 AM | Anonymous

    With the 2022 session of the Florida Legislature underway, I want to share with you some water and Gulf-related bills that might be of interest to Pensacola Beach residents:

    First of all, let me remind us all that nutrient pollution that causes outbreaks of toxic algae is one of the biggest water issues Florida has faced in recent years. Pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus caused a slime of blue green algae that clogged lakes and rivers, as well as the destruction of seagrass that contributed to the worst year for manatees ever as hundreds starved to death in 2021. Off the Gulf coast multiple red tides have come ashore, believed to have been made worse by nutrient pollution.

    The Governor’s Blue Green Algae Task Force made recommendations for solutions nearly three years ago, but none have been implemented. Now Senate Bill (SB) 832/ House Bill (HB) 561)has been introduced to carry-out some of the recommendations, such as requiring septic tank inspections every five-years, require that waterway restoration projects be carefully prioritized and for past projects to be assessed for effectiveness. This is a good step forward that will help reduce pollution in our waterways, with nutrient pollution also a problem in multiple waterways in the Pensacola-area.

    Unfortunately, a bad bill has been introduced that would accelerate the loss of our vital seagrasses like the turtlegrass in Santa Rosa Sound. It’sSenate Bill (SB) 198/House Bill (HB) 349),which authorizes the creation of seagrass mitigation banks to offset impacts from development projects that destroy seagrasses. This would actually make it easier to destroy seagrass by promising to restore seagrass elsewhere, even though seagrass restoration through plantings has mostly been a failure. With our local Pensacola Bay system already having lost around 90% of its historic seagrasses, we can’t afford to lose anymore and are working to make sure this bill does not advance.

    Finally, I wanted to point-out a bill that actually addresses the root cause of climate change and sea level rise that is having so many impacts on Florida. Senate Bill (SB) 366  and House Bill (HB) 81 would require that all electricity in the state be derived from renewable sources by 2040, and would create an advisory committee to reach these goals. Right now Florida is one of only about a dozen states that does not have such a requirement in place.

    It’s the continued use of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas that cause the carbon emissions that are warming our planet. Our local rate of sea level rise has accelerated dramatically in the past 25 years because of this, putting shorelines along Santa Rosa Island and elsewhere in more rapid retreat. While the transition to renewable energy is already underway, large monopoly utilities and fossil fuel companies have worked to slow that transition in order to maintain investor profits. These bills would be a great step forward in prioritizing Florida’s residents and businesses who support renewable energy and the waterfront communities threatened by rising seas.  

    These are a few of the bills we are following that affect us in NW Florida, and we encourage residents to call, email or otherwise speak with their state elected officials on these and other environmental issues of importance. Thank you and happy 2022 to all.

    For a healthy Gulf,

    --Christian Wagley

    Christian works for Healthy Gulf, a nonprofit organization devoted to the Gulf of Mexico and the waterways and communities along its shore

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