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  PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
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  • 11/24/2020 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    5G Is Great Until It's Sitting in Your Front Yard

    While 5G is supposed to be revolutionary when it comes to the telecommunications industry, it might have negative impacts on community life. From aesthetics to health, community concerns are driving the push back against 5G.

    RAYMUR RACHELS, THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION   |   FEBRUARY 11, 2020   |  NEWS

    (TNS) — In 2019, the state of Florida passed legislation written by AT&T that limited the ability of local municipalities to govern the rollout of 5G.

    While 5G provides "more data faster," 5G frequencies do not travel very far. Telecom's solution? "Small cell wireless facilities" approximately every 200 feet in public rights-of-way.

    With competing telecom carriers and no requirement for co-location of equipment, you may have multiple pole installations in your front yard.

    Click HERE to continue reading the full article

  • 11/24/2020 2:11 PM | Anonymous

    5G towers are popping up at Pensacola Beach. Here's why residents are worried

    Madison Arnold | Pensacola News Journal

    As 5G towers begin to pop up on Pensacola Beach, residents want more public input and local control over where the poles are placed, citing concerns over their potential negative impacts on locals, wildlife and property.

    At least seven towers have been placed or permitted on Pensacola Beach, according to Escambia County records. But with most local control stripped over placement of the towers by a state law, some of the residents are surprised to see the poles go up near their homes without public input.

    "When I found out what it was, of course, and saw that (go up), I was like, 'OK.' I said, 'I'm calling.' I said, 'Where's the public hearing?'" said Rhonda Dorfman, president of the Pensacola Beach Advocates group, which represents beach residents. "It kind of frosted me that no public hearings or no public notice is given before one of these towers go in front of your house." 

    ........Click HERE to continue reading full PNJ article


  • 11/19/2020 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    Below is the email Rhonda Dorfman (PBA President) sent to the Escambia County Commissioner regarding the permitting process for 5G towers.

    From: Rhonda <rsdorfman@att.net>
    Date: November 18, 2020 at 12:14:05 PM CST
    To: permits@myescambia.comdistrict4@myescambia.com
    Subject: 5g Towers

    Hi,  

    Could you please explain the permitting process for 5g cell towers?  

    Are environmental studies being implemented per federal legislation?  What are the plans for emissions studies to insure emission levels are safe? As a barrier island why is Pensacola Beach not exempt from having the poles installed.  

    Do you have a master plan we can review at the Pensacola Beach Advocates? We would also like to request a public hearing before you place or collocate anymore poles on the beach.  

    Thank you for your prompt response and answers to these questions.

    Rhonda Dorfman
    PBA President



  • 11/12/2020 12:36 PM | Anonymous

    Ocean Hour Cleanup Dates & Locations for November 2020

    Cleanup sites for 11/14 are:

    Wayside Park - 1401 E. Gregory St. Pensacola. Meet at visitors center on the water side.

    Graffiti Bridge - Meet in parking lot.

    Park West - 1340 Fort Pickens Road, Pensacola Beach. We will meet in the soundside parking lot.

    Cleanup sites for 11/21

    Bartram Park - 211 Bayfront Parkway, PNS 32502

    Navarre Beach Causeway Bridge landing, Navarre FL32566

    Cleanup Site 11/28

    Bruce Beach - 601 Main Street, Pensacola FL 32502

    If you have your own gloves, bucket or grabber, we encourage you to bring your own due to the pandemic. We will have our regular supplies on hand if you don't have these items (Gloves, grabbers, buckets, bags). Bring sunscreen and bug spray if needed, and lots of water. Closed toe shoes recommended. Please wear your Ocean Hour shirt!

    Back to our regular hours 8:45-10:00 am. See you there!



  • 11/01/2020 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Flagler County Short Term Rental Ordinance

    Listed below are several articles that outline the reasons behind the Flagler County ordinance and the continued push back from those that own "hometels" and their supporters. The articles also include solutions to several of the common issues/complaints the county was receiving with "hometels".

    The following articles are listed in chronological order:

    2015 - https://flaglerlive.com/75159/short-term-rentals-ordinance-flagler/

    2017 - https://flaglerlive.com/113731/vacation-rentals-hoa/

    2018 - https://flaglerlive.com/117484/mealy-vacation-rentals/

    2020 - https://flaglerlive.com/150584/vacation-rentals-deregulation/

    2020 - https://flaglerlive.com/150997/vacation-rental-plan-to-end-home-rule-falters/

    Read more about St. Augustine's Vacation Rental Regulations below:

    https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/01/28/st-augustine-commissioners-approve-short-term-rental-rules/

    Read about Miami-Dade County Ordinance Regulating Short Term Vacation Rentals:

    https://www.miamidade.gov/building/standards/residential-short-term-vacation-rentals.asp

    Below is a link to the Flagler County Short Term Rental Ordinance

    http://www.flaglercounty.org/document_center/growth%20management/Short%20Term%20Vacation%20Rentals/Ordinance%20%202016-01.pdf

    The ordinance above addresses several things including occupancy, parking, safety, inspections, etc. It looks as if they had some push back about fines and suspension of certificates which required some sections being amended. Based upon this document, it doesn't appear that PBA will have to invent the wheel here, just modify it to meet Escambia County/SRIA acceptance.

    -Research complied by Bill Ray (PBA Secretary)


  • 10/26/2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    Although we've gotten lots of pushback from the SRIA, we continue to pursue every avenue to stem the flood of "hometels" on Pensacola Beach.  To that end, we've been trying to ascertain how many short term rentals are operating outside of their lease parameters.  We started by working with the "Permanent Residents of Ensenada Quatro" group, who complained to the SRIA and insisted that they enforce the terms of the lease at 4 Ensenada Quatro, which require that the leaseholder use it as his permanent residence. Eventually after more than a year of providing the SRIA with data, signed statements, etc., the leaseholder was sued for violating the terms of his lease and and eventually settled for language that allows him to use his home as a vacation home or 2nd residence but does not allow short term rentals.

    All of the original leases  in the Santa Rosa Villas subdivision had two clauses that required that the leaseholder reside in his property.  We've (residents of Ensenada Quatro) pulled and examined three more leases of homes that are short term rentals.  Two of them were changed in the 1990's, which effectively removed the language requiring the residence, but the third still has the original language.  We asked the SRIA to enforce the terms of that lease and they refused to do so until we provided them with months of data proving that the owner does not reside at the property. There are several more houses in the subdivision that are renting short-term, but the SRIA's attorney said that they will not take action on them unless there's a complaint with evidence. 

    Our question is WHY DO WE HAVE TO ENFORCE LEASES? Isn't that what the SRIA is supposed to do? And why do they not inform buyers that the lease requires them to live on the property full-time?  The buyer at #4 had no idea when he made an offer that he couldn't do short-term rentals, and we've asked some of the other new neighbors if this requirement was disclosed prior to purchase of their homes and they said NO.

    We're interested in pulling leases from other neighborhoods to see if they also have residency requirements.

    We also want to discuss the powers that the SRIA has through the lease system to regulate the size and use of "homes" in the residential areas.  We want SOMEONE to define what a single family home is.  A 9 bedroom, 9 bath house with a commercial kitchen (or two) is in no way a home.  The SRIA requires all plans to be approved by them IN ADDITION to the County.  Let's put some requirements in place to stop future "hometels" from being built.

    The other action I'm personally working on is to find the unauthorized rental agencies operating on the beach without commercial leases.  The interesting fact is that the SRIA essentially punishes businesses that legitimately  set up shop on the beach vs those that operate from Gulf Breeze, and this has already cost us tens of thousands of dollars in lost lease fees.

    They also noted that two businesses are operating ON the island without commercial leases, and they confirmed that the leaseholders who are renting more than one property from their leasehold home are in violation as well.  

    Terry Preston -  Government Affairs Committee Chair

  • 10/26/2020 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    Committee Report on Hometels and Wedding Venues in Pensacola Beach & How They Impact the Local Area

    How do hometels and wedding venues impact residential neighborhoods and/or hotels on Pensacola Beach?
    1. Parking
    2. Noise
    3. Excessive Trash
    4. Are not required to pay commercial lease fees on every transaction
    5. Safety/Fire Hazard
    6. Are not required to be ADA compliant

    What truly enforceable laws/ordinances/policies are currently on the books?
    1. Parking

    What quasi enforceable laws/ordinances/policies are currently on the books?
    1. Noise
    2. SRIA event permit

    What makes a hometel/wedding venue a residential lifestyle inconvenience vs a safety issue?
    1. Noise is an inconvenience.
    2. Excessive trash is an inconvenience bordering on a health safety issue depending on how long it sits, whether there are enough receptacles, where said receptacles are placed on trash day.
    3. Street side parking, especially when it’s on both sides of the street and in front of fire hydrants, is a safety issue.
    4. Large gatherings and open flames with no mandated sprinkler system is a safety issue. (Why do hotels have to install working sprinkler systems?)

    What can be done to reign in hometels and wedding venues?
    1. No street side parking. If you are a permanent or long term resident, you should know your neighbors and be able to borrow driveway space if you are hosting a party.
    2. Research if there is a phone app that can accurately measure noise and understand the difference between legally loud and just annoying.
    3. Research trash guidelines and regulations. Work to implement enforceable regulations. (Ask Dale.)
    4. Research various leases. (Follow up with Terry about what they are doing.)
    5. For known venues — running a commercial business in a residential neighborhood are in violation of their lease. Is it possible to come up with a hybrid lease with appropriate fees.
    6. Signage. How many signs are too many?
    7. Tropical Storm/Hurricane (before/after) — enforcement of leaseholder sticker? First to be mandated to leave? Impact on evacuation? Impact on infrastructure.

     Liz Hewson - Spring Break Committee Chair


  • 10/26/2020 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    Minutes from the October 15 Pensacola Beach Advocates Annual Meeting

    The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM. Refreshments were served at 5 PM. President James Crittenden led all in the pledge of allegiance while Pastor Jim Coyl of the Beach church led us in an invocation.

    President Crittenden started the meeting by giving a recap of the previous year. He mentioned his goals for filling out the pyramid and getting more people involved in the organization.   He recapped the significant things that were achieved from the spring break meeting before Covid shut down the beach and he talked about those who violated short term rentals during this period and the problem with them in general. 

    The next item on the agenda was for the election of the 2021 board. Bill Ray, Jack Womack, and Glenn Windham were all presented as candidates and gave a brief presentation as to why they wanted to serve on the board.  Rhonda Dorfman read a statement by Lyn Castel and nominations were opened to the floor to see if anyone was interested in serving on the board.  No further nominations were offered so they were accepted as the new board of directors for the 2021 PBA board.  Subsequently the board of directors met on October 20th and elected officers.  The new PBA officers are Rhonda Dorfman – President, Jack Womack- Vice President, Glenn Windham - Treasurer, and Bill Wray – Secretary.  Lyn Castel is serving as a general board member. 

    The President also gave a report from Lauren Campanella who chairs the environmental committee and it briefly detail the reasons why the baby shower in the Christmas parade were canceled… Due to Covid and the fact that the storage unit has been cleared out… And that government permitting, these two events would proceed in 2021. 

    The president then led the discussion on the most important item of the night:  unregulated real estate.  This prompted comments from the chair of the spring break meeting, Liz Hewson, and you can see her comments in the attached report.  She also stated that she was not happy with the hurricane evacuation plans that the county implemented during hurricane Sally and the lack of fire protection when fire trucks were ordered off of the beach during that time period. She thanked the police for keeping everyone safe before, during and after the storm.    

    Discussion on the impact of unregulated Real estate or Hometels, which are larger than average homes intended to rent to 20 or more people, produced a lively discussion before the Q and A. It prompted a response from Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender. He mentioned the limitations placed upon the county by the state and about some fiscal ways in which unregulated party and short-term rental homes could be monitored for compliance.  He also stated that in 2014 the Florida state Supreme Court struck down the case dealing with the ability to regulate private property.   He mentioned Flagler Beach as a possible model.  Terry Preston, the governmental affairs committee chairperson gave a rundown on illegal leases, nonconforming leases, and commercial lease activity that is not regulated. Please also see attached her report.              

    Questions were posed to officer Pachucki who was in attendance from the Escambia sheriff’s office.  All were regarding illegal parking, noise, and other enforcement issues. 

    Constituent comments were directed to the fact that nothing happens unless the constituents call in and complain. Constituents were asking that something proactive be done by the Island Authority about all the zoning enforcement violations. 

    Newly installed board member Jack Womack asked and gave an example of the right of way enforcement letters and then the lack of compliance. SRIA representative Thomas Campanella stated that they would just have to start the letters again and get the ball rolling again and then other constituents at the meeting stated that  questions are still not being answered and complaints not followed up.  During this time. The powers that be were thanked for getting residents back onto the island quickly after hurricane Sally. 

    After the Q&A process board member Rhonda Dorfman presented the idea for the neighborhood street representatives and asked all who were willing to sign up for their street. The purpose of this group is to act as a liaison from their neighborhood to the board to keep everyone informed on what is working and what is not working in their neighborhood. It is hopeful that this ad hoc committee will help bring more participants into the Advocates Affairs.  Commissioner Bender was publicly asked to meet with the new board to discuss a document that outlines the role of SRIA.  

    The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 PM.


  • 12/10/2019 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    SRIA BOARD MEETING TO INCLUDE ROUNDABOUT TRAFFIC PLANS DISCUSSION

    I wanted to make the PBA membership aware there will be some discussion of the proposed roundabout plan at the SRIA Board meeting this Wednesday, December 11th at 5:00pm.

    I do not think there will be a public Q&A time, however it is my understanding the engineers will be there to present their roundabout plan to the Island Authority and Commissioner Bender. If you want more information on the roundabout plan and have nothing else going on drop in on the meeting. The items on the agenda are listed below.

    10. UPDATE BY DAVID FORTE, TRAFFIC OPERATIONS AND PLANNING DIVISION MANAGER, ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT, ESCAMBIA COUNTY

    11. UPDATE BY VOLKERT ON THE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PLANS

    Respectfully,

    Jamie Crittenden 

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