Commission Chairman Rob Williamson

More signs coming to State Road 87

More signs coming to State Road 87

Love them or hate them, more signs in the same style as the Navarre Beach welcome sign may be coming to Navarre along State Road 87. The new signage is part of a proposed beautification project along the road that welcomes many tourists to the Navarre area. The improvements would cost an estimated $525,000. The […]

The Santa Rosa exemption

The Santa Rosa exemption

When the U.S. Senate returns to Capitol Hill in September from its monthlong vacation, the members will be considering national issues such as reforming health care and rewriting the tax code. But along with the big issues, there is a measure on the agenda that will directly affect only two counties in the Florida Panhandle. […]

Casino Beach fundraiser benefits Thursday Respite program

Casino Beach fundraiser benefits Thursday Respite program

Casino Beach Bar and Grill in Pensacola stepped up to help their neighbors in Navarre July 19 through the Thursday Respite Fundraiser. During the event 20 percent of all drink and food sales made at the restaurant and bar were donated to the respite program. Owner Matt LaFon said it was the least he could […]

Commission rejects bid to allow beach vendors

Commission rejects bid to allow beach vendors

Gourmet lemonade and homemade popsicles were on the chopping block Monday as the Board of County Commissioners unanimously squashed an attempt to change beach vendor regulations. Currently, the county ordinances do not allow mobile vendors on public beach land, but lemonade business owner Tamara Davis and popsicle makers Phillip and Janell Stephens want to change […]

New deal may be imminent for beach restaurant

New deal may be imminent for beach restaurant

Tentative plans for local restauranteur Bob Benaquis to sublease the vacant restaurant site on Navarre Beach may have fallen through, but that hasn’t stopped property leaseholder Sylvia Martin from closing in on her goal to find a tenant. Located at the front of the parking area for the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier at the foot […]

Williamson slams Holley by the Sea over stormwater drainage

Williamson slams Holley by the Sea over stormwater drainage

At the first stop on his third annual listening tour, Board of County Commissioners Chairman Rob Williamson took the opportunity to chastise the Holley By the Sea homeowners association in Navarre for its lack of drainage infrastructure. During the informal July 6 roundtable at Tiger Point Community Center in Gulf Breeze, Williamson, District 4 commissioner, […]

Big plans not welcome at beach restaurant

Big plans not welcome at beach restaurant

Coming over the bridge onto Navarre Beach, visitors are greeted by nesting shore birds and rolling sand dunes. They are also greeted by a vacant building in need of repair. Once a bustling Italian restaurant, the building has sat empty collecting sand for a year and a half. The vacancy has cost the county an […]

Gulf Coast Discovery Center seeking new site

Gulf Coast Discovery Center seeking new site

Navarre Beach’s Gulf Coast Discovery Center has cleared another hurdle toward construction, but it’s also facing a new set of questions. The Discovery Center project was approved as part of a larger multiyear plan for BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill RESTORE Pot 1 funds submitted by Santa Rosa County to the U.S. Treasury, which will […]

Tropical Sno still a go on the beach

Tropical Sno still a go on the beach

Tropical Sno, located on Navarre Beach, cleared the final hurdle to keeping their doors open June 22, but they are going to have to find space for some extra parking spaces. The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to support the zoning board’s recommendation to change the future land use for the snow cone and […]

Pier partners pardoned for contract violation

Pier partners pardoned for contract violation

Threatened with possible eviction from their Navarre Beach Pier business, the embattled principals who run it bought more time this week with a three-year-late payment of $3,250 on their revenue-sharing pact with the county. County Attorney Roy Andrews backed off his recent ultimatum to Coastal Concessions LLC over the company’s unauthorized subcontract with an outside […]

Wildlife refuge clears last hurdle for move to Navarre

Wildlife refuge clears last hurdle for move to Navarre

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge can officially call Navarre its new home. The Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a motion Monday to rezone a roughly 2.2-acre piece of property to allow relocation of the refuge’s rehabilitation center, animal ambassadors and marine rescue unit. Read the full article in the April 27 issue of Navarre […]

Holley by the Sea may lose LOST funds

Holley by the Sea may lose LOST funds

Millions in improvements to drainage in Holley by the Sea (HBTS) could lose a funding opportunity following the second meeting of the Board of County Commissioners to discuss the future of the new local option sales tax (LOST) funds. Read the full article in the April 20 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com […]

County, FDOT study Navarre 98 alternative route

County, FDOT study Navarre 98 alternative route

Congestion from U.S. Highway 98 through Navarre might have an alternative route in the future as the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) discussed Monday the approval of a feasibility study for creating an alternative. Read the full article in the April 13 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 […]

Wildlife refuge relocation delayed again

Wildlife refuge relocation delayed again

Unexpected medical problems have prompted postponement of a decision on the fate of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge’s attempts to move to the Navarre area. The site under discussion is a parcel of donated land in Holley on Cloptons Circle, off State Road 87.  Refuge officials announced in December 2016 that they were seeking to […]

Dispute spotlights gap in tracking officials’ messages

Dispute spotlights gap in tracking officials’ messages

The current national Sunshine Week initiative (March 12-18) to educate the public about the importance of transparency in government finds Santa Rosa lagging in how it watchdogs officials’ mobile phone text messaging. Unlike a growing number of Florida counties, Santa Rosa has neither formal guidelines on officials’ use of text messaging nor modern tracking technology […]

Commissioners at odds on need for pier master plan

Commissioners at odds on need for pier master plan

County Commission Chairman Rob Williamson has a vision of what the Navarre Beach pier should look like in coming years. He said he would like to see coffee and ice cream shops, retail opportunities, rental activities and an expanded stand-alone restaurant. “I believe we could be tripling that revenue,” he said. The Board of County […]

Congressman talks politics, faces critics during tour of Santa Rosa

Congressman talks politics, faces critics during tour of Santa Rosa

U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz spent most of his inaugural Open Gaetz Day Thursday touring Santa Rosa County and discussing his views and the views of his constituents on issues including Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, building a wall at the Mexican border and Obamacare. Read the full article in the March 2 issue of […]

Fear of lawmakers’ retribution questioned

Fear of lawmakers’ retribution questioned

Don’t be a “Fraidy Cat.” That’s what current and former lawmakers advise in response to the recent timidity of Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Rob Williamson about supporting resolutions that oppose bills backed by influential Tallahassee legislators. Williamson expressed concerns twice last week about two requests for board resolutions—written statements in disagreement with proposed new […]

Thursday concert series moving to the beach

Thursday concert series moving to the beach

Discussion of the future of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday’s concert series got intense at Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting as chamber president Judy Morehead and Commission Chairman Rob Williamson tangled over past conversations involving the event. The NBACOC has applied to have the 2017 concert series on Navarre Beach Gulf-side […]

LOST committee lost in the weeds

LOST committee lost in the weeds

Debate over what projects will be funded and who decides on those projects left the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) without a clear path forward for the estimated $39.5 million to be collected on the half cent local option sales tax, or LOST, Tuesday following the board’s annual Planning Workshop. Read the full article in […]

Oversight or hindsight?

Oversight or hindsight?

The county has published their proposed spending plan for an estimated $39 million in local option sales tax funds, and not surprisingly folks aren’t happy with the distribution. The projects listed are clearly important. The first responders’ radio tower that is listed at a price of $750,000 should have been built years ago. It is […]

Future of sales tax funds unclear

Future of sales tax funds unclear

Debate over what projects will be funded and who decides on those projects left the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) without a clear path forward for the estimated $39 million to be collected on the half cent local option sales tax, or LOST, Tuesday following the board’s annual Planning Workshop. A proposal by County Administrator […]

Deputy raises approved

Deputy raises approved

Santa Rosa Sheriff’s deputies could expect raises as early as Aug. 1 thanks to a reallocation of up to $290,000. Santa Rosa County Commissioners voted to allocate the sum for 2017 as well as up to $1.6 million from the 2018 budget toward one time raises for the sheriff’s deputies. The $290,000 is part of […]

County looks into disabled adult needs

County looks into disabled adult needs

As ARC of Santa Rosa, the county’s only exceptional adult day training facility, struggles to keep services in the county, the county commission is taking a deeper look into the need for these services. ARC of Florida CEO Deborah Linton said county commission chairman Rob Williamson approached the group to request that they bring a […]

Nominees for sales tax oversight committee named

Nominees for sales tax oversight committee named

Collection of a half penny sales tax is underway and county commissioners made their final recommendations Monday for the Infrastructure Surtax Committee, a citizen oversight group. The tax, passed by Santa Rosa voters, is expected to net roughly $35 million over its five year lifetime. These dollars are limited to infrastructure uses including transportation and […]

Tourism Development Office wants more staff

Tourism Development Office wants more staff

After three months of research and a roughly $14,000 tab, a strategic plan presented to and approved by the Tourism Development Committee board Friday would request additional tourism staff be placed on the county’s payroll. Plan creator Bill Geist of Zeitgeist DMOproz said the focus of the plan is to make the TDC a “trusted […]

Getting medical marijuana no easy task

Getting medical marijuana no easy task

After more than 70 percent of Florida’s voters approved an amendment to the state’s constitution broadening allowable use of medical marijuana, law makers at the state and local level were scrambling to put regulations in place and sort out fact from fiction as Amendment 2 went into effect Jan. 3. As the Florida Senate Health […]