Jason Koertge has an awesome vacation rental business in Panama City Beach that focuses on remarkable properties right on the gulf. They range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, they’re clean, and amazing. He can be found lurking at PCBLP.com.
There seems to be some popularity with the concept of using a motor-coach RV park as a last ditch effort to generate revenue on a vacant piece of land. This is a topic that’s come up before with the community standing up in opposition.
Well, it’s come up again.
The land that’s being proposed.
The subject land in the limelight is owned by Royal American Development and is the current home to the welcome center for Royal American Hospitality (same principal owners). The land is adjacent to the gulf front resort, Boardwalk Beach Resort and was originally intended to be phase II of the Boardwalk Condominium development.
The actual parcel itself is about 400 feet on the gulf and rests between the Top of the Gulf condominium resort and the Boardwalk Condominium tower.
A need to generate revenue.
The story here seems to be the same. The market tanked before they could sell the other building so it has sat pretty much vacant every sense.
As with the LaBorgata piece of land, you probably have a developer who spend a lot of money on the land, pre-development costs and is badly in need of a way to stop the bleeding. I assume there are monthly costs associated with holding the land, an annual tax bill, etc. Of course, this is just an assumption.
But the desire to turn a non-revenue generating parcel into something that makes money is honest enough, right? But at what expense?
On paper, the plan is to turn this into an RV park, although no conceptual plans were turned in with the rezoning request. The land owner is requesting the approximately 5.6 acres be rezoned from T-2 to T-M.
As noted in the application Data and Analysis document, the reason for the request reads as follows:
The applicants have indicated that they intend to develop the site into an RV park. However, if the rezoning were approved the site could be used for mobile homes, travel trailers, motor homes, motels, hotels, condos, town homes, apartments, churches, clubs, lodges, parking lots, parking garages and mobile home sales.
It is the breadth of possibilities that seems to have local property owners up in arms. The potential for developing anything that could adversely effect their property values in an already depressed real estate market is being reported as unnerving.
The document then goes on to read:
A plan amendment is not required for this request. As such, the request is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan since the T-2 zoning district and the T-M zoning district are both part of the Tourist Future Land Use Map designation of the Comprehensive Plan. This means the City must provide competent substantial evidence in the record of the meeting if it is to deny the request.
Continuing later in the document:
Surrounding parcels are zoned T-M, T-3A and T-2. Condominiums are located to the east (Top of the Gulf) and west (Boardwalk) of the subject site and an RV Park/Campground, T-shirt shop, and golf course are located across South Thomas Drive to the north. A proposed RV Park on the subject property is compatible with the uses to the north. . . [With] adjacent property owners. . . the impact on property values of the condominiums is the potential issue. As with all properties, if an adjoining property is not maintained and kept in a clean and neat condition; properties in the area can be adversely impacted. . . However, the applicant manages several units within the Boardwalk Condominium and will likely manage the subject property such that their values are not adversely impacted. Whether an RV park in this area will diminish property values of adjacent condominiums is very difficult, if not impossible to determine. . . The RV Park/Campground across South Thomas Drive did not prevent the construction and increase in property values of the Boardwalk condominium. . . For these reasons, staff cannot determine that the presence of an RV park on the subject property will cause an adverse impact to adjoining property values especially if the use is well maintained and managed.
The document concludes:
Because the quest is consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, the burden of proof is not with the owner but rather the City to base a decision on competent substantial evidence especially if the request is denied. Based upon information gathered to date, Staff is unable to identify a substantial reason to deny the request. However, judicial decisions have indicated that direct testimony of nearby property owners at a public hearing can be considered by a Board and used as competent substantial evidence in denying a request if such evidence indicated the owners will likely be adversely impacted by the approval of the request.
What all this means and what to do (IMPORTANT).
I’ve been to a few of these meetings and the board is reasonable in hearing the opinions of the audience. The developer should be amicable regarding the proposed development and how it will effect property owners, but if you’re an owner and you want your voice heard, you need to be at the meeting.
The document reads that there is no reason to deny the request unless the local property owners have substantial evidence that they’ll be negatively effected.
So, if you don’t like this, do your research on how this can be detrimental to your property, show up to the meeting with the facts, and be ready to present. But, planning on coming to yell at the board, yell at the developer (or his engineer) or cite emotional turmoil won’t strengthen your argument.
The meeting will be held at Beach City Hall on February 13 at 2 pm cst.
So, what do you think, should they put an RV park next to Boardwalk Condominiums?