Five things to know: County Commission meeting

  1. Commissioners table floating alcohol ordinance

When a floating restaurant-like structure appeared in Santa Rosa Sound last month just behind Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors’ Grill, questions among residents abounded.

Shortly after the appearance, County Commissioner Rob Williamson said he wanted the county to pursue an ordinance to bar these types of establishments. He said Santa Rosa should follow the example of Okaloosa County’s effort to disband similar practices at Crab Island.

On Monday, County Attorney Roy Andrews brought forward the first step in making that happen, but the floating structure in Santa Rosa Sound had by then disappeared. So, too, did the appetite for the ordinance.

Williamson said he may be willing to consider allowing a future floating business if it was more family friendly.

“It’s not necessarily a negative. Like anything, it’s in how you do it,” he said.

The proposed ordinance would have made it illegal to sell, purchase or consume alcohol on floating structures and would have required them to be moored at a marina each night. Andrews said the ordinance would have been written to exclude commercial boats.

The commissioners agreed to table the ordinance unless another unwelcome business crops up in Santa Rosa Sound.

  1. Dive reef inching toward reality

Walter Marine has been selected as the firm to lay the foundation of Navarre Beach’s new fishing and diving reef at a cost of roughly $1.22 million following a bid process.

Design and installation of the reef is being funded by a $1.4 million National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) grant, which is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill payout. As a stipulation of the grant, these funds can be used only for design and deployment of area reefs.

This grant has already aided in the expansion of the existing near-shore snorkel reef off Navarre Beach. That work was also completed by Walter Marine following a bid process.

The new reef will be located about 1 mile offshore. It will stretch 2 miles parallel to the beach starting at the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation line and running west in front of the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. The reef will be 60 feet below the water’s surface.

Walter Marine will create the reef structure by deploying 500 to 700 pyramid-like structures that will grow organisms and provide habitat for a variety of fish over time.

  1. Beach wheelchairs coming to Navarre

Shortly after installing a mobi-mat to allow wheelchairs and mobility devices to access the waterfront, Navarre Beach will also see two new beach wheelchairs. Costing about $2,700, these two chairs have large, almost spherical wheels to allow them to roll over sand and are constructed of lightweight PVC piping and mesh.

The chairs roll easily along beaches throughout Florida. If approved by commissioners, Navarre Beach’s chairs will be available for check out, free of charge, at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier in the near future.

  1. Andorra Street scheduled for repaving

Andorra Street will be among the roads resurfaced this year utilizing funds from the county gas tax. It is one of six primary road resurfacing projects that were submitted for commission approval.

The Andorra project, which will cost $152,600, includes leveling, new road surface, turn-lane repairs and improvements to the road shoulder. County officials do not plan to completely close the road during repaving.

  1. Senior Center slated for funds

The Holley Navarre Senior Center is set to receive $5,000 from District 4 recreation funds to make improvements to its building’s safety and energy efficiency.

The initial request by the center was roughly $43,300 and would have covered new insulation, hurricane-proof windows and a new vinyl-covered chain link fence.

In the proposed budget amendment, the county recognized the center as serving a long-term need within the community.

All votes are subject to final approval by the commission on Thursday.

As seen in the May 12 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.

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