Head to Idea Camp this Tuesday Night!



Some people were good at sitting still at school.  

They could look at the teacher patiently and listen until it was their turn to talk.

And then there was those of us who couldn’t wait to jump in or had a hard time fighting the urge to go someplace else in our heads…..

If you can relate….you need to join the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce and attend IDEA CAMP  this upcoming Tuesday night, February 26th at 5:30 pm at the Kingfish Restaurant and Sushi Bar  inside the Wyndham at Bay Point.

If you are someone who needs to be engaged….then you need to come to IDEA CAMP!

This IDEA CAMP is not your typical sit down and listen kind of event, it is anything BUT that.  

It is a fast paced, high energy sharing of ideas with a handful of speakers who are small business leaders just like yourself.

This is an informal event with an opportunity for learning and a little bit of networking in a more casual, intimate setting.

And the best part, because it is being built around the concept of “doing things differently”, it is an event that is a live, organic thing, changing and growing, just like its’ participants.

PCB Daily founder and owner of Panama City Beach Luxury Properties Jason Koertge spoke at the inaugural IDEA CAMP and will be facilitating at this event.

My mother and Beachy Beach Real Estate Broker, Karen Smith will also be speaking this time, on the topic she seems to own…ENTHUSIASM.  I am pretty sure the woman could find a way to get excited about towel lint.

If you want some of that enthusiasm then you need to come to IDEA CAMP!  Also speaking will be Kandi Gardiner, Michael Mace, Zachary Dickerson and more.

Idea Camp  events are made possible because of the support of Southwest Airlines with Tuesday’s event locally sponsored by North Florida Financial and Emerald HR Solutions, Inc and of course, Kingfish Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Bay Point.

The first event they gave away airline tickets, this time, word is they have a gong.  No long-winded speakers allowed here!

Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Members attend for FREE and guests may attend for only $20. 

Participants enjoy a two hour program with interactive learning, networking, light appetizers and one drink ticket,…oh and a chance at the gong. 

If you can not make this event, mark your calendars for Thursday March 21st and get ready to share, learn, and network at G.Foley’s in Panama City for next month’s IDEA CAMP.

For more information, email Marta Rose: marta@pcbeachchamber.org.




Jason Koertge, PcbDaily Featured in 850 Magazine

None other than your’s truly was featured in the summer edition of one of the area’s newest and hottest business magazines, 850.  Dubbed “The Business Magazine of Northwest Florida,” I like to call 850 the Fortune for the Panhandle and is published by Rowland Publishing, who also publishes Emerald Coast Magazine and Bay Life Magazine.  With feature articles that are applicable to me as a small business owner, it has always been a good read.

Pick yourself up a copy, and turn to page 71.  The photographer had me doing all kinds of fun stuff, and the picture they ran with is of me sitting on a street corner, seemingly meditating in Sage pose, balancing my video camera and DSLR.  The photograph has me looking more narrow than I think I look naturally – but it was fun none-the-less.

One part blog, one part news Web site and one part community forum, pcbdaily.com is a hybrid on the cutting edge of the online new medium,” it begins.  Talking about pcbdaily, what I’ve done to create it, how it’s grown and where it’s going, the article is flattering and seems to elevate me in a way perhaps I’m too modest to do myself.  Thanks Rowland!

850 comes out quarterly right now, with the goal of being a monthly in the next 12 months and features articles about little people like me and big people like Bud Finlaw, owner of BookIt.com and covers a range of business topics.  So, head on over to 850BusinessMagazine.com and subscribe.

PCBDaily has moved!

_mg_9861Well, I’ve moved, to be precise.  If you have been wondering “hey, what’s that Jason character been up to, pcbdaily has seemed sparse lately.”  Then your wondering is definately justified.

We had our baby begining of December, then family came in town, then Christmas, then New Years, then we moved New Year’s weekend (that’s why the Pier Park vid won’t be up until tonight), leaving me almost totally incapacitated and barely able to keep up with the bare minimums on everything.

img_9766Nevertheless, we are moved, settled in and the whole event has borne me an office of my own. No more sharing a room with the kid’s play area and Spongebob square pants.  The new diggs will afford me a whole new level of productivity.

We have much planned for 2009 on pcbdaily, and for Panama City Beach, this is a whole new year.  With elements in place that we’ve never, as a community, had before, this year will be paramount.

Thanks for reading!

This Week in Pier Park – First Retail Sign and Paved Street

Sometime in the last week they paved the road down the main Boardwalk of Pier Park in Panama City Beach. I was there last Tuesday and was told by a friend that it was paved when he walked it on Christmas. It never ceases to amaze me how quick some things happen.

Quiznos Sub is the first to have their retail sign up. They will open with the rest of The Boardwalk in February. Windows have been going in and will continue to be installed through next week. Enjoy the pictures below. Click on them to make them larger.

Click here for all posts on Pier Park.

Panama City Beach TDC Meeting Notes – Sea Turtle Lighting Ordinance – cont.

Notes from the December 21, 2007 TDC Turtle Lighting Ordinance Workshop

The December 19th meeting reconvened with 8 board members present.  Gary Walsingham was absent.

Board attorney Doug Sale advised the board he felt they had three possible courses of action.  The first option was to approve draft ordinance 12.20-1 that is a refined version of his 2.18.2007 draft.  12.20-1 provides for some limited grandfathering of existing light sources for economic reasons regardless of whether they meet the public safety exceptions in the draft. However, Sale advised that U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service communicated to him that the limited grandfathering proposal included in this version is unacceptable.  The second option was to approve draft ordinance 12.20-2 which is acceptable to the Service.  12.20-2 removes the limited grandfathering clause and instead provides for a extended compliance period until May 1, 2013.  Sale advised that the third option was to do nothing.

Sale also reiterated that not recommending an ordinance acceptable to the Service would likely put further beach renourishment projects (including the scheduled 2008 program) in jeopardy. However, Sale explained that there is some uncertainty about whether the Service has the statutory authority to require a lighting ordinance as a condition of our beach renourishment.

Yanni Patronis expressed concern about whether passing a lighting ordinance for beachfront property would result in further revisions that include non-beachfront property that may be found to have an effect on the turtles. Sale responded that he did not feel this was the case because the Service would not be able to make a connection between non-beachfront lights and renourishment.

Mike Bennett asked why the board was not also considering including nest relocation in the ordinance.  Lorna Patrick, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, advised that they no longer considered relocation an acceptable solution for lighting issues.  Patronis explained that he felt that PCB was an excellent location for relocations since our tourist season coincides with the nesting season.  Patrick stated that relocation would not be needed if ordinance 12.20-2 passed.

Marty McDaniel asked Patrick whether the Service will agree to look at other options(e.g. relocation), rather than non-beachfront lighting, in the event that regulation of beachfront lighting was found to not be enough to protect the turtles.  Patrick advised that she could not speak for Service but expressed confidence that no further action would be required if 12.20-2 passed.

Gayle Oberst explained that she was worried about the costs of compliance for all beachfront property owners, not just commercial businesses.

Buddy Wilkes asked whether it was possible to increase the bed tax to help cost-share compliance costs with private property owners.  Sale explained that this would be possible.  CVB resident Dan Rowe also suggested that the proceeds of the current 3rd beach renourishment cent could also be used.

The floor was then opened up for public comment.  Julian Bennett discussed other alternatives that could be explored instead of passing a lighting ordinance.

Julie Hilton expressed her belief that the proposed ordinances would not meet the goal of helping the turtles.  She referenced Wednesday’s testimony of the wildlife and lighting experts whose appearance her company facilitated.  She reported that the compliance cost of draft 12.20-1 for her four hotels would be $5 million which would be economically disastrous for her company.  She did, however, express that she could agree with draft 12.20-2 or her own draft that she then distributed to the board.

Charles Hilton expressed that the 5 year compliance period in draft 12.20-1 could not be met for his properties since the problems were unfixable.  He stated that rebuilding was the only option.  Hilton also advised against the board passing an ordinance for appearance purposes that they did not expect to be enforced.

Betty Briard, a property owner in Aquavista, suggested that the board either postpone the issue for further study(especially due to the fact that new drafts were just distributed today) or decide to challenge the Service.  She also expressed her opinion that the individual owners in Aquavista would likely ignore any ordinance that passed just like they ignore rules passed by their own property owner’s association.  Briard also questioned how much the TDC was spending  on this process of considering a lighting ordinance.

Doug Gilmore from the Driftwood Lodge and Osprey Motel discussed the nests that were located behind his properties this past season.  He explained that he believed that 100% of the hatchlings successfully reached the water.

Diane Brown asked the board to ignore Wednesday’s assertions by Dr. Fletemeyer and lighting designer Robert Laughlin that the Service was relying on untruths.  Brown disagreed with any assertion that the public would be disappointed with an ordinance being passed.  In support, she referred to the 2002 West End Pilot Turtle Protection Ordinance which she claimed continues to be supported by the community at large.  Brown also stated that it was her belief that the costs of compliance being quoted by some property owners were exaggerated.  She also suggested that if the Board decides to allow compliance through May 2013 that they require property owners to submit a plan of compliance no later than May 2009.  She also suggested that any discussion about the option of nest relocation be discontinued.

Lighting contractor Terry Selders explained that many older buildings on the beach could not possibly be retrofitted to comply with the proposed ordinances.

Robert Winston suggested that the Board not recommend a new lighting ordinance.  He expressed concerns about public safety, especially involving our spring break visitors.

After the public comments, Gayle Oberst expressed her support of draft 12.20-1.  Oberst made a motion providing that the board agrees to recommend that the Bay County Commission and the  Panama City Beach City Council enact ordinances based on draft 12.20-1.  The motion was seconded by Mike Nelson and passed by a vote of 5-2.  Chairman Phillips departed prior to the vote
and the Patronis and Rick Russell cast the dissenting votes.  Neither Patronis, nor Russell, made any comments concerning the motion.

Audience member Diana Brown then asked what the effect would be on the 2002 Pilot Ordinance.  Attorney Sale directed the question to Bay County Attorney Terrell Arline who advised that that decision would be up to the County Commission.

Editorial by Bryan J. Durta:

It is my opinion that the Bay County Commission and the Panama City Beach City Council should reject the TDC’s recommendation and instead enact Turtle Protection Lighting Ordinances based on draft 12.20-2.  This draft was prepared by TDC’s own attorney after considering both the needs of the community and the desires of the federal government.

Are the Hiltons, Julian Bennett, and their experts correct that the lighting ordinance desired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would result in few additional turtles reaching maturity and that better alternatives exist?  Probably, but is it really wise for Bay County to take on the state and federal government which fund the majority of our beach renourishment costs?  And what will be the costs of this legal battle?  Are the property owners who oppose a complying ordinance going to form a co-op to pay the county’s legal expenses?  Will the national press brand us as a environmentally unfriendly community?  If so, how will this effect tourism?

Does this community really want to put our beach renourishment project at risk based on financial concerns expressed by just a few property owners? More property owners expressed concern when cutting Spring Break funding was on that table than expressed concern over the lighting ordinance.  And are these financial concerns being exaggerated?  Phillip Griffits, Jr. of the Sugar Sands Beach Resort explained to the Board that his property spent $30,000 bringing his 70 beachfront rooms and public facilities in complying with the West End Pilot Ordinance.  While he acknowledges that he is probably not in 100% compliance due to conflicting public safety laws, he believes that the Service considers him to be a model property that has sufficiently complied.

While every property is unique, I believe that further investigation is needed before accepting the assertion of Paradise Found Resorts that they would need to spend over 14 times more per room to comply than the Sugar Sands did.  And what will be the financial loss to the community if the Service does succeed in preventing any future beach renourishment on Panama City Beach?  We need to remember that the Service potentially has the ability to prevent any renourishment even if we have the financial means to pay for it ourselves.  And are the concerns about public safety valid?  Are turtle-friendly communities such as Rosemary Beach and Watercolor having crime and safety issues that are just not being reported in the media?  And what about all of the new accommodations on Panama City Beach that have been built over the last 10 years in compliance with the turtle-friendly lighting requirements?  Are they having more public safety problems than the older properties?

While I agree that government regulation is getting out of hand, it is just not wise for Bay County to take on the responsibility for fighting the federal government on this issue.  It is in our best economic interest to follow the lead of vast majority of Florida’s beachfront counties and enact a turtle lighting ordinance that has the support of the federal government.

Pier Park Pictures – 75 retailers announced

With over 75 retailers announced and more to be announced in the near future, the progress at Pier Park is smoking. I’ve been onsite taking pictures every one to two weeks and I still seem to be getting passed up. I can’t keep up with how quick they are working.

The official Grand Opening for The Boardwalk is on schedule for February 15th, 2008 and will include anchors Margarittaville, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Borders Books and Music, Dillard’s, Fresh Market, JCPenney, and Old Navy. Panera Bread, Target and The Grand Movie Theater are already opened. For those of you who are locals and have not eaten at Panera Bread, I highly recommend it. My wife and I frequent it often and love it.

One of the things that I love about Pier Park is that it isn’t just another shopping mall. The architectural detail and the strategic layout of the entire project is goaled at making you feel good about being there. Paul Adjaharian, Vice President for Simon Property Group, says that it is the goal of Pier Park to make you feel good when you are there, the buying will take care of itself. Pier Park will be a place for people to gather and spend time with one another and family. I know my wife and I will be spending plenty of time there.

One place I can’t wait to spend money at is Margaritaville. I’m looking forward to eating on the second floor terrace watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. The City Pier sunsets are awesome.

Click here for an entire list of announced tenants and a basic map as to where they will be located.

Click here for all the information I have on Pier Park.

Also, below are some pictures that I took on Tuesday.

I’m currently working on the story board for my next Pier Park movie. I’m hoping to start shooting that this week and have the video done by the first or second week in January.