Blog

  PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
  • 01/06/2021 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    While deployment continues unabated across the U.S., a small coalition of groups and leaders are trying to put the brakes on 5G in a bid to learn more about the technology.

    The COVID-19 pandemic and 5G technology found themselves unlikely bedfellows earlier this year, as more than 70 cell phone towers in the United Kingdom and Europe were burned by those who blamed network rollout for the spread of infection.

    The arson attacks brought a rebuke from Mobile UK, the trade association that represents UK telecoms providers. In a statement, the group called the attacks "senseless," and said that links between COVID-19 and 5G are "false and have been continuously rebuffed by scientists."

    Such retaliations have come at a social cost. Mobile UK spokesperson Gareth Elliott said in an email that there have been 130 arson attacks and over 200 instances of "abuse to staff." Elliott did not have a cost estimate for the tower repairs.

    The attacks, an extreme reaction, were the result of rumors started on social media and other internet outlets that linked the technology with the global health crisis. And while the United States has not yet seen any reported copycat attacks of tower arsons, the Department of Homeland Security and NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association have both warned of such activity, particularly during the 5G Global Protest Day on June 6 this year.

    CLICK HERE to continue reading the article....



  • 12/23/2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Media Advisory/ Public Notice

    Escambia County Legislative Delegation Sets Public Hearing

    Pensacola, FL - Members of Escambia County’s state legislative delegation will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Pensacola State College Jean and Paul Amos Performance Studio; 1000 College Boulevard Pensacola, FL. 32504.

    Delegation members will hear presentations from government entities, organizations, and take public testimony on proposals for the 2021 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature. The delegation will also consider local bills; including an act to consider term limits and oversight of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

    Any member of the public is welcomed to attend. The Escambia County Legislative Delegation consists of Senator Doug Broxson, Representative Michelle Salzman, and Representative Alex Andrade.

    To request an appearance form to be placed on the meeting agenda, individuals should contact Senator Doug Broxson’s office at (850) 595-1036, or email: brown.kevin@flsenate.gov no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, January 13th, 2021.

                                                                      


  • 12/14/2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    December 9, 2020

    Dear Santa Rosa Island Authority Commissioners,

    On Monday, December 7th, 3 of our Pensacola Beach Advocate board members met with Paolo Ghio, Dr. Campanella, Commissioner Bender,  legal counsel for  Escambia, and  several members from Verizon via a zoom call.  The discussion was about placement of 5g small wireless facilities (SWF)  in public row without any public hearing or notice to residents.  In other words, one day you wake up and a tall, ugly, green pole - transmitting what some people believe to be very unhealthy high frequency radiation - is installed  in order to implement 5g technology. What we learned was astonishing.  

    First of all, Verizon has a plan to install approximately 20 SWF on the beach.  At the meeting, Paolo stated that he has the master plan and we requested a copy of it.  This process began 18 months ago yet no documents were ever  presented to the Island authority for review,  nor did  the design or placement  of the  poles go through a committee.   Lawsuits for various different reasons have been filed  across the country  to  stop  the rollout of 5g technology.  Health concerns, environmental impact and violations of state and local laws are just a few of the reasons cited for these lawsuits.  Many cities who began the rollout early have now stopped due to the  overwhelming number of complaints from residents who believe that these poles affect property value, are aesthetically ugly and don’t compliment their neighborhood surroundings, and are too close to their homes.  In fact this industry specifically asked the state of Florida to pass a law to  waive their requirement to hold public hearings about the placement of these poles because it is such a controversial issue.  They did…..hence all the cities and municipalities filing suit both in Florida and around the country.  

    In 2018, Escambia County adopted an ordinance to regulate matters regarding the placement and aesthetics of these (swf).  I asked the county permitting department about the process  and they stated that “if Mr. Ghio had not approved the applications then they would not have approved the application.”  The county also has negotiating rights as to where these  poles can  be placed.  I am assuming that according to the terms of local,  state and Federal rules we would have begun a negotiation process.   During this time we could have asked for an environmental impact study as it affects the nesting birds, turtles, and humans, or we could have held a public hearing on placement and design.  I asked if they were going to install them in the national seashore and he said no.  We could have created our own guidelines to an extent but none of that was done.  We could have argued as the law and our ordinance contends  that we are a barrier island  and barrier islands matching certain requirements are exempt.   It was pointed out to me that we are not our own municipality nor do we have our own governance.  Well it doesn’t look that way under your website page entitled “who we are”,  and the permitting started here.  The point is  that the approval and placement of these ugly and highly controversial 5g poles (swf) started here,  there was no public notice,  and the telecom industry wants it that way for a reason.

    Now here is what else we learned,

     -they have no idea how many more applications they will need to make

     -the powers that be at Verizon have no idea where these poles are or how close they are to our homes

     -they could not tell  us what the final inspection plan will be before they are turned on. 

     -Paolo did not know who from the county or from Verizon would be doing a final inspection or when they would be active.   A subcontractor is responsible for the installation.  

    As Dr. Campanella  asked “Why did you start at the beach?”   They replied “usage.”  Really?     

    Please do not allow any more installations (Including those applied for and approved) until proper studies and reviews are completed.    Please present the master plan and hold public hearings. Please  consider a design that is more conducive to the island,  and please review the legislation to insure that we actually have to place them  on the beach.  Dr. Campanella also commented in our meeting that perhaps there should be a moratorium until the technology is more fully understood. 

    Sincerely,

    Rhonda Dorfman

     PBA President



  • 12/10/2020 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    At our annual meeting several weeks ago, Pensacola Beach residents shared with the group concerns about short term rentals in their neighborhood. Complaints included noise and safety concerns as well as observations of public urination, drug dealers making deliveries, blocking of the beach for weddings, and more. Some noted their weariness of having to constantly call the authorities and nothing changes except having another huge group of “party animals” the following week. Commissioner Bender, who was at that meeting, made a passing comment about the short term rental ordinance at Flagler Beach. Using that as a spring board, the PBA has reviewed that ordinance as well as several others across Florida to come up with a “Sweet 16” list of items that should be included in any short term rental (STR) ordinance for single family homes and condominiums on Pensacola Beach;

    1.       Properly identifying these properties as COMMERCIAL - Is a property that is actively used to generate income for the owner residential or commercial? Does a residential property have a sign permanently placed in the front yard or on line advertising it for rent? What about advertising a home as a wedding house, event house, or party venue? Zoning concerns aside, if a homeowner is actively competing with hotels and/or banquet halls, then they should be classified as commercial and be licensed and inspected just like those facilities.

    2.       Ensuring proper licensing through the S.R.I.A., Escambia County or the State of Florida – to make sure a property owner is following all of the rules, proper licensing would be absolutely essential. Flagler Beach requires a rental permit application which would also include a copy of the deed, general liability insurance, a complete fire inspection, a copy of the State license issued by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, a copy of a Sale Tax Certificate, and a copy of the Local Business Tax Receipt application.

    3.       Minimum life safety requirements – items like emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and pool safety would fall under this category

    4.      Maximum occupancy limits – the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 2018 Edition Section 7 Means of Egress Occupant Load Factor Table 7.3.1.2. (Page 84) notes there should be at least 200 square foot per person. There are some locales that use 150 square feet, and some limit occupancy to 2 per bedroom with a maximum number ranging from 6 to 16 people. The NFPA requirement of 200 square feet seems to be logical and not an arbitrary number.

    5.       Advertising must comply with all ordinances - Any advertising of the short-term vacation rental unit should conform to information included in a Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate, particularly as this pertains to maximum occupancy.

    6.       Solid waste containers – Flagler Beach mandates one 35 gallon trash container with a lid that securely fastens per 4 transient occupants. Trash cannot be at the curb until the day before pick up and must be removed no later than sunrise the day after pick up. As we recycle in Escambia County, the PBA would recommend one or more of the containers be a dedicated recycling container.

    7.       Noise limitations and quiet hours – Escambia County Code of Enforcement Section 42 – 67 already has the following rules in place; In no event shall a person operate or cause to be operated or create any source of sound in the core area of Santa Rosa Island in such a manner so as to create a sound level which exceeds 70 dbAs (sound level measurement) when measured by a sound level meter at or within the property boundary of the receiving land use. On the remainder of Santa Rosa Island, outside the core area, in no event shall a person operate or cause to be operated or create any source of sound in such a manner as to create a sound level which exceeds 65 dbAs (sound level measurement) between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and which exceeds 55 dbAs (sound level measurement) between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when measured by a sound level meter at or within the property boundary of the receiving land use. This should already be enforced, but we are told that officers have not been properly trained in the sound monitoring devices that the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department already owns. We do not think that is acceptable, and call for the proper training and enforcement to begin immediately.

    8.       Routine inspections – Scheduled and drop-in inspections are a very good way to monitor compliance.

    9.       Identifying the responsible party – there should be an owner or an owner’s representative available 24/7 in case of an emergency or violations. The contact information for that person should be clearly posted for the renters as well as the authorities.

    10.   Displaying local rules & emergency information – dogs, glass, campfires, and driving that are prohibited on Pensacola Beach along with Leave No Trace and Turtle Lighting rules should be prominently posted as well as emergency numbers and the location of the nearest hospital, police and fire departments.

    11.   Parking limitations – street parking is prohibited and the minimum off-street parking shall be provided as one (1) space per three (3) transient occupants in the Flagler Beach ordinance. This does not seem to be onerous.

    12.   Fees & Fines – the fees for initial certification and annual recertification should be set low enough to encourage compliance and high enough to help offset the cost of inspections.

    13.   Offences & Violations – as there may be a new group of renters each week, there needs to be a running total on owners with an escalating schedule of fines for repeat violations. Fines, liens, revocation of rental certificates, and civil or criminal penalties should all be included in any ordinance.

    14.   Immunity from prosecution for local officials enforcing the STR ordinances – no government agency or employee should have to worry about doing their job properly. We agree.

    15.   Sign ordinance – this would outline limitations on the size, height, type, placement and illumination of front yard advertising for a STR.

    16.   Uniform enforcement – new rules and regulations will be meaningless without the full force of local authorities to reign in the revelry.

    Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wisely said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Simply put, your rights as a homeowner are protected up to the point where you infringe on someone else’s rights. We have some homeowners here that are out of touch, negligent, or uncaring about how the activity at their “home” affects their neighbors. People that come to Pensacola Beach to enjoy a vacation or a weekend party behave differently than they do “back home”. It’s time to hold both the homeowners and the renters accountable for not being mindful and respectful of their neighbors and surroundings. These 16 elements of a proposed SRT ordinance, enacted and enforced, will do wonders restoring peace and tranquility to our beautiful island paradise.


  • 12/07/2020 12:26 PM | Anonymous

    Madison Arnold | Pensacola News Journal

    Escambia County staff are looking into a potential ordinance to help better regulate short-term vacation rentals.

    Commissioner Robert Bender said he directed legal staff to research an ordinance that could increase communication between the county and those with vacation rentals with some sort of required registry of owners, management companies and their contact information. The goal of the ordinance would be to better know which homes are rentals and how to get in contact with owners or managers should a problem arise with their guests.

    The state doesn't allow for much local control over short-term rentals and it preempts local governments from banning the industry.

    "There was always question about what could be done because of the preemption," Bender said, adding that some ordinances similar to what county staff are researching have popped up around the state and withstood legal challenges.....

    Click HERE to continue reading full article.

    https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2020/12/07/escambia-county-looks-short-term-vacation-rental-ordinance/3808421001/

  • 11/24/2020 2:20 PM | Anonymous
    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

    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!



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