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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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  • 05/10/2021 7:35 PM | Anonymous

    Hello Beach Residents! Welcome Guests! Welcome to this gorgeous place we call home.

    Spring is definitely in the air and the changes coming to Pensacola Beach are as fresh and welcomed as the weather. Just as we welcome in a new season we would also like to welcome Ms. Leigh Davis our new S.R.I.A. Executive Director and Mr. Juan Lemos, our new Director of Development and Environmental Services. ThePensacola Beach Advocates would like to officially welcome them to the most beautiful place they will ever work.

    We are so fortunate to have such qualified individuals assume the reins as Executive Director and as Environmental Services Director for the S.R.I.A. The S.R.I.A. Board also has a new chairman at the helm and it is our local elected member, Dr. Thomas Campanella. Just like the winds are always changing on the beach, I am hopeful that this new leadership brings many welcomed changes to our local governing body. At the Advocates, polling of our members suggest we can improve the governance of local matters on the beach. During this research, we discovered SRIA is defined as a dependent board having authority over the municipal affairs on the beach.

    As you know all of our county commissioners have an appointment to the board, and we the residents have an elected representative. Do you really know what S.R.I.A has the authority to do? The statutes gives them the ability to not only manage the leases on the beach but to do so much more…and they have the ability to enforce it. If you are a member of PBA, check out the document on our website. It reads like a city charter.

    I bring all of this up because recently we have had problems similar to those of other beach towns in the state of Florida. We have had a proliferation of “hometels,” 5g poles that were erected without proper committee approval, unlicensed businesses operating illegally, and decisions made unilaterally that should have been heard and debated by the SRIA board. At S.R.I.A. board members have committees that they have been assigned where most matters should be discussed before decisions are made. It seems like policies get created, but very little input is given by the board members who are appointed to serve.

    The majority of residents do not want the S.R.I.A. to go away. In fact, the staff receive very commendable remarks. We want our dependent governing board to bare their teeth, show some grit, and flex their muscles where the statutes say they can. I hope that the relationship our chairman and new executive director will bring to the table will be one of extensive dialogue, debate, and exchange before decisions are made. Welcome to the most beautiful beach in the world… let’s keep it that way. If you would like to join the Pensacola Beach Advocates please go to our website at pbadvocates.org and join today. Make your voice heard exponentially when we meet, share, and educate on matters that count for the residents and leaseholders on the beach. Also save the date -June 5th - for the Sea Turtle Homecoming and Baby Shower. Permits and planning are in the works.

    Rhonda Dorfman

    PBA President


  • 04/29/2021 1:54 PM | Anonymous

    Dive a little deeper and you’ll discover Pensacola Beach hosts a fragile and diverse eco-system with abundant wildlife and plant life: from the inquisitive Bottlenose dolphin to the mighty Bald eagle to the rarest of all sea turtles – the Kemp’s Ridley. All call our pristine beach home. Did you know we even have carnivorous plants on Pensacola Beach? (Don’t worry – Sundews prefer to eat insects.)

    The SRIA recently launched a new, content-rich website showcasing the many unique creatures and features of Santa Rosa Island. The Pensacola Beach Eco Trail website is an extension of the physical “Footprints in the Sand” Eco Trail on Pensacola Beach, which consists of nearly three dozen informative, educational signs scattered across the island. An interactive map hosted on the website guides visitors along the physical trail, which stretches from just outside the Gulf Islands National Seashore Fort Pickens gate to Park East – just before the Opal Beach area.

    Stunning imagery and videos illustrate the wide variety of plant and animal life that can be found here. Nearly all of the photos and videos showcased have been graciously shared by 21 local photographers and videographers, and the written content for the site was contributed by subject matter experts.

    So, dive in here to discover the many natural wonders of Pensacola Beach. Or, better yet, grab your hat and binoculars and go explore the actual trail along our beautiful barrier island in person, with the aid of the virtual map embedded on the site.

    Read the full article HERE.


  • 04/20/2021 7:55 PM | Anonymous

    Meet the New SRIA Executive Director!

    Santa Rosa Island Authority invites you to get to know the new Executive Director, Leigh Davis.

    Monday, May 3rd

    5:30-7:00 PM at The Beach Church (920 Panferio Dr. Pensacola Beach)

    Thursday, May 6th

    10:00am - Virtual Meeting via Zoom



  • 04/05/2021 7:40 PM | Anonymous

    Florida Sea Grant Escambia County  University of Florida IFAS Extension

    There is a Zoom Meeting to inform and train anyone who would like to help locate Beach Vitex. We will go over this project, the plan, and the spreadsheet attached, as well as show you how to identify and report the plant in your area.  We will also find out from you where you want to survey.  You can select any water body where the seeds of the plant, if they fall into the water, would reach our coastal beaches. 

    Topic: Beach Vitex Survey Training

    Time: Apr 8, 2021 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://ufl.zoom.us/j/93519511660?pwd=WVorNDlnM3FNeVZYdUg2TmowVDRDZz09

    Meeting ID: 935 1951 1660

    Passcode: 725723


  • 04/02/2021 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    Two surveys were sent out last month asking active PBA members their opinion on various things such as making Ariola Dr. one way (East), creating residential parking permits for leaseholders, etc.

    Below are the survey questions and the responses.

    Part 1 Results:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-6WHTRMBK9/

    Part 2 Results:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-XBVMPG6K9/

    If you are an active PBA member,  always keep an eye out for emails from Pensacola Beach Advocates and be sure to respond to the surveys and emails. Your answers are very important and help us make important recommendations and changes.

  • 03/05/2021 9:01 AM | Anonymous

    Wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T have spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying state and federal legislators to game the system, and they’ve also spent a tremendous amount of money influencing local elected officials. Wireless companies and site developers are now accelerating the placement of 5G cell poles and antennas in Pensacola neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic when City resources are stretched thin and staff struggling each day with new developments.

    Other cities halted the rushed 5G roll-out until adequate science-based health information shows the public will not be adversely affected by chronic exposure to 5G radiation emissions near residential homes. The wireless industry plans to place poles every 250 to 750 feet in Pensacola neighborhoods, which would virtually turn our community into a wireless pin cushion. Other cities implemented smart policies and comprehensive design criteria to minimize the aesthetic impacts of these poles. Mayor Robinson says the City Council “… has no ability to regulate this once so ever.” (February 27, 2020 City Council Meeting)

    The Florida Legislature preempted cities in many ways with a terrible state law. Now it’s your turn to make your voice heard. Florida League of Cities President Tony Ortiz called on us to contact our State Legislators and “preach the gospel of Home Rule" … “when they do, things will change.” Want a say over 5G cell towers …, PNJ, Feb 23, 2021. 

    Email your State Legislators – Broxson, Andrade and Salzman – today

    Share with concerned neighbors, family and friends ... commit to share with 3 others, and get them involved. 

    A sample email or letter (Subj: 5G in Pensacola and Local Authority):

    I am your constituent, and I ask you to repeal Florida Bill SB 1000 and amend Florida’s Small Cell Statute, Fla Statute Sec 337.401(7). Florida’s Small Cell Statute is replete with provisions that serve no interests other than those of the wireless industry. Perhaps the worst is Sec 337.401(7)(d)(3)(f), designed to prevent cities and counties from requiring wireless carriers to provide notice or hold public meetings that would allow constituents to ask questions and become more aware of plans for new cell towers or wireless facilities near their homes. This provision serves no purpose other than to undermine citizen engagement.

    The practical application of Florida’s Small Cell Statute is that it strips municipalities of local zoning authority, thus allowing site developers to locate poles based purely upon their corporate interests and in total disregard of community stakeholder values. Florida Legislators were hoodwinked when wireless industry lobbyists made assurances they knew were untrue and promises they never intended to keep. Home Rule is supported by an overwhelming majority of Florida residents. The Florida Legislature should stop enacting state laws that interfere with local authority and the ability of local officials to manage their own affairs. The best government is that closest to the people. Accordingly, I ask you to repeal SB 1000 and amend Florida’s Small Cell Statute.

    Sincerely, 

    [YOUR NAME]

    # # # #

    If you want to personalize your letter, insert your personal experiences. Please email your State Legislators – Senator Broxson, and Representatives Andrade and Salzman today. Then, if you have time, follow it up with a phone call. Listen to their feedback, and please forward it back so we can further refine our message to local elected officials and federal officials.

    Email Senator Doug Broxson at Broxson.Doug@flsenate.gov and/or call his office at (850) 487-5001. His legislative assistants are Kevin Brown and Cindy Harigel. If you prefer regular mail, his address is 418 Senate Building, 404 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100. 

    Email Representative Alex Andrade at Alex.Andrade@myfloridahouse.gov and/or call his office at (850) 717-5002. His legislative assistant is Katie Doughty, and his secretary is Trevor Schaettle. If you prefer regular mail, his address is 308 House Office Building, 402 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300.

    Email Representative Michelle Salzman at Michelle.Salzman@myfloridahouse.gov and/or call her office at (850) 717-5001. Her legislative assistant is Debra Malsberger. If you prefer regular mail, her address is 1401 The Capitol, 402 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300.

    I called all three this week, and left a message with Representatives Andrade and Salsman, and spoke with Senator Broxson’s assistant Cindy Harigel. It didn’t take long. A few helpful hints: 

    • Contact your legislators using a variety of communications methods – by phone, letter, email, fax, social media or by visiting in person. Be concise, yet specific. Tell your legislators what effect Florida’s Small Cell Statute has on you, your family, your home value and your ability to enjoy your home, your neighborhood, and more.
    • Timing is everything … wireless industry lobbyists are engaging our legislators with excuses.  
    • It is important to stick to one issue, make your main point clear and back up your opinion with facts. For the greatest impact, personalize your letter to tailor your experience

    If you receive a reply email or letter, or have a conversation and get feedback (I encourage it), please share with me at johnherron@me.com or call me at (858) 699-4903. Thank you. Feedback helps us refine our message, and to stay sharp and on point. 

  • 03/02/2021 8:28 PM | Anonymous

    When trying to understand the “Event Homes” industry on Pensacola Beach that are marketed to world via the internet, it’s appropriate to keep in mind the lease language for the land on which these “homes” are built on. Most have the boiler plate language of “leased to Lessee as a residential property for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a single family permanent type residence thereon”.  Think about that, as well as the absurdity of “Event Homes” blending in with residential neighborhoods while considering these direct quotes of real estate agents, owners, and renters that were found on websites advertising them on Pensacola Beach:

    Great place, everyone was comfortable and the reception party of 55 was no problem!

    The first full year on the rental program (2019) - over $182K in gross rents with $200K+ potential.

    Open spaces underneath the home make it the perfect venue for an elegant wedding or a large family gathering (maximum 50 people)…Nonrefundable event fee is $2,000 (plus tax)

    Fully furnished, this home has been on a rental program and is perfect for Large Family Reunions & Corporate Retreats.

    Our entire family (40 of us) stayed in this beautiful house during Labor Day weekend.

    This house, with nearly 6,000 square feet, will hold plenty of guests for any type of party - we had 70 people attend the wedding

    Home is on vacation rental program. 2018 annual rental $106,955. 2017 rentals $109,965.  Consistently produces around $110,000 in gross rental revenues.

    The 2nd level family room is 1,200 sq. feet that has both GULF and SOUND views and can be used as a reception or inside wedding area in case of bad weather. Owner rents tables and chairs for weddings/parties.

    BONUS SLEEPING AREA 1- 2 sets of stacked custom twin bunk beds located in a(n) over sized hallway.

    Low land lease of $190!

    Our home is ideal for weddings, anniversaries, or special occasion gatherings. There is off-street parking for up to 12 cars. There is room for sports team bus. ATTENTION ALL INVESTORS. THIS IS NOT A FLIP. This is a legitimate investment opportunity that has generated in excess of six figures annually...

    Are these “Event Houses” really the single family residences called for in the land lease? Are they residential or commercial? The PBA has called for the SRIA or the Board of County Commissioners to enact and enforce a meaningful short term rental (STR) ordinance to license and inspect rental homes like the hotels they compete with.  However, local officials’ ability to enact such an ordinance may be limited by HB219, which is currently under consideration in Tallahassee. That bill would cede STR control to the State. Please take time to review the pending legislation and let Rep. Andrade, Rep. Salzman, Sen. Broxson, and the PBA know your thoughts about local control of STR. We would also encourage you to contact Commissioner Bender regarding enacting a strong STR ordinance for Escambia County. Our contact information can be found at http:www.pbadvocates.org

    Office Contact Number:

    Rep. Andrade: (850) 595-0467

    Sen. Broxson: (850) 595-1036

    Rep. Salzman: (850) 941-6091

    Comm Bender: (850) 595-4940

  • 02/24/2021 9:12 PM | Anonymous

    Leaders of the Florida League of Cities visited Pensacola on Tuesday to deliver a message that if residents like their cities to have control over their own affairs, a concept known as home rule, then they need to make their voices heard to the Florida Legislature.

    Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson hosted Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz at a joint press conference Tuesday. Ortiz is president of the Florida League of Cities and was in Pensacola to "preach the gospel" of home rule.

    "This is a gospel that needs to be preached to the whole state," Ortiz said.

    The power of home rule was illustrated in the past few years when the Florida Legislature pre-empted local government's power to regulate small cellphone antennas in public rights of way. Many Pensacola residents were upset to find out a 5G cellphone pole was going up in front of their house, and city officials had limited powers to regulate them.

    "Our hands are tied in a lot of ways by what happened (in the Legislature)," Robinson said, adding that home rule for cities is guaranteed by the 1968 Florida Constitution. "The League continues to (have the) position that these pre-emptions shouldn't be done, and that they are really against the '68 Constitution. And that we should have the ability to set our own standards."

    Ortiz said the pre-emption on small cellphone antennas is likely to remain unchanged unless the Legislature hears from residents.

    "If those residents start calling, and those legislators start seeing the masses calling and getting engaged, they're going to start changing," Ortiz said.

    Other issues up for debate this year in the Legislature include a bill that further restricts local governments' ability to regulate short-term rentals and puts regulation in the state's hands, as well as a bill that would allow people to operate businesses out of their homes even if that is against city zoning rules.

    Ortiz said passage of the bills would create "chaos" in local communities.

    Many of the bills the League is opposed to are being put forward by the Republican leadership in the Legislature.

    Ortiz, who is a Republican, conceded that the legislators who have been voting in favor of home rule lately have been Democrats, but he still believes home rule is a bipartisan issue.

    "I don't know if this is a constant," Ortiz said. "I hope it's not. But we like to engage each and every one of the members to make sure that it's not. Because funny enough, the Republican Party historically has always favored home rule."

    Robinson, who also is a Republican, said he agreed and pointed out there isn't a partisan way to fill a pothole. He said he believed partisan politics shouldn't play a role at the local level and was glad Pensacola had non-partisan elections.

    "It's not about parties and sides," Robinson said. "… We are allowing the sides to tear at the fabric of what is most important, and that is community. And that's working together to solve these problems. We've got to pick up garbage. We've got to fill potholes, we've got to do those kind of things to make our community better."

    Ortiz said legislators should be representing their communities and talking with residents and local leaders about what's happening in Tallahassee.

    "We need to make sure that those in Tallahassee are paying attention and are coming back to the municipalities, talking to the residents and talking to the local elected officials before they go to Tallahassee and legislate on our behalf," Ortiz said.

    Jim Little can be reached at jwlittle@pnj.com and 850-208-9827.

    Click HERE to view the full article

  • 02/24/2021 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    Published Feb 23, 2021

    The Florida Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Implementation Group released its Draft Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment, including 11 projects within Escambia County and adjacent localities. NRDA invites the public to comment on the full suite of 19 restoration projects through Mar. 29.

    A public webinar will be held Mar. 11 at 4 p.m. CST. Those seeking to attend can register with this link.

    "This is an opportunity for our local community to get involved with the welfare of our wildlife, beaches and local natural resources," said Matt Posner,  senior advisor of Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program and Natural Resources Management Department RESTORE program manager. "We encourage the public to reach out and share their support or feedback about the projects that directly impact their community."

    The draft plan seeks to award $62M in funding to directly benefit residents, visitors and natural resources across the state of Florida. The plan's current draft allocates more than $43M to Escambia County and its surrounding localities. The plan proposes projects for restoring natural resources and services adversely impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The local proposed projects are included in the chart below.

    Follow this link to learn more and review the plan. The public can provide feedback by submitting comments onlineduring a public webinar or by mail via the following address.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    P.O. Box 29649 Atlanta, GA 30345

    Project Name

    Lead Implementor

    Grant Amount

    Engineering and Design for Pensacola Beach Park West Fishing Pier and Access Improvements

    Escambia County

    $353,100

    Pensacola Beach Fort Pickens Road Wildlife Lighting Retrofits

    Escambia County

    $540,000

    Johnson Beach Access Management and Habitat Protection

    Department of Interior (DOI)

    $3,200,000

    Perdido Key Sediment Placement

    DOI

    $6,773,000

    Baars Park and Sander Beach Kayak Fishing Trail Access

    City of Pensacola

    $1,402,000

    Pensacola Community Maritime Park Public Fishing Marina

    City of Pensacola

    $3,190,000

    Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration (Gulf-wide)

    Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

    $10,342,500

    Florida Shorebird and Seabird Stewardship and Habitat Management (Gulf-wide)

    FWC

    $10,500,000

    Reducing Threats to Sea Turtles through Removal of In-water Marine Debris (Gulf-wide)

    FWC

    $3,667,400

    Increased Observers and Outreach to Reduce Incidental Hooking of Sea Turtles (Gulf-wide)

    FWC

    $1,394,000

    Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network (Gulf-wide)

    FWC

    $5,000,000

    Gulf Breeze Parks Boating and Fishing Access Upgrades

    City of Gulf Breeze

    $1,221,000


    Click HERE to view the full article

  • 01/26/2021 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Santa Rosa Island Authority welcomes beach residents and property managers to the 2021 Spring Break Safety Meeting.

    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 2 at 5:30 P.M.

    Location: The Beach Church - 920 Panferio Dr., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

    Join us Tuesday night  to discuss this year's safety and law enforcement plans. Help us keep Pensacola Beach a safe, family-friendly and fun spring break destination enjoyable for all!

    For more details, visit www.visitpensacolabeach.com 

    Click HERE to view the PDF flyer.

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