If the Escambia County Appraiser ever gets the legal right to tax both the land and improvements on Pensacola Beach, then the county intends to offer fee simple title to the Beach leaseholders. The draft Federal legislation to allow this to happen includes language that prohibits the County from obtaining a windfall profit by “selling” the land to the leaseholders, but the draft Federal legislation does not address some other important issues.
On May 5th, the Escambia Board of County commissioners will vote on a resolution that spells out their intent with respect to how fee simple title will be offered to Pensacola Beach leaseholders. That resolution will state that:
- Wherever possible, fee simple title will be offered directly to sub-lessees.
- Lease fees will be eliminated for all leaseholders, including those that do not accept fee simple title.
- The County will maintain an entity (replacing the SRIA, but as yet undefined) on Pensacola Beach to provide the current level of service in the areas of public safety, maintenance and recreational promotion.
- There is no intention to amend the Pensacola Beach’s portion of the Escambia County Master Plan, rezone residential lots for commercial or condominium development, or alter the residential building cap.
The PBA thinks it is important for the BOCC to express their intent on these issues, and we are very pleased to see the BOCC take this important step. It clarifies many matters for beach leaseholders and charts a path for the future. Thanks to Matt Dannheiser and the PBA committee members who helped make this happen. And be sure to thank Grover Robinson for his support the next time you see him.
Update: In May 2011, the Escambia County Commissioners adopted a resolution stating their intent on how they would implement fee simple title on Pensacola Beach. We are happy to report that PBA’s four points were approved unanimously. It provides a roadmap for implementing fee simple title and protects the Beach from over development. It does not bind future Boards from making other decisions, but it sets a benchmark. Don’t let your guard down!