DESTIN – City officials soon might crack down on various commercial activities at Destin’s parks.
The City Council tonight plans to consider the first reading of a proposed ordinance that is similar to an existing one that prohibits commercial activities on Norriego Point. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Annex, 4100 Indian Bayou Trail.
According to the proposed ordinance, commercial activities consist of “any sale, rental, service, lesson, instruction, tour or other activity conducted by any person or entity other than the city, or city employee(s) or contractor(s), for which there is charged any fare, fee, rate or other consideration, or which is otherwise conducted directly or indirectly in connection with any business.”
Commercial activities also include: the provision or receipt of any rental commercial watercraft, such as pontoon boats, personal watercraft and kayaks; the picking up or dropping off of customers of any rental commercial watercraft; and the loading or unloading of customers, watercraft of any type, and related items.
“Over the past several years, the city has experienced an increasing problem with individuals utilizing city parks as a place to conduct commercial activities for private gain,” City Planner Hank Woollard said in a memo to the council. “Such commercial activities cause unnecessary wear and tear on park and recreational amenities and interfere with the use of park and recreational facilities by the general public.”
The proposed ordinance contains a number of exceptions. For example, it would not restrict: commercial activity that is part of a special, city-approved/sponsored event; city-licensed beach vending; city-permitted concessions for sporting events; or city-permitted rentals of kayaks, paddle boards and other water-related items.
Licensed and registered commercial watercraft may be launched or recovered at the Joe’s Bayou Recreation Area boat launch as long as operators follow certain rules, such as paying the daily launch fee.
In addition to those and other exceptions, the council is leaning toward allowing, by permit, two small weddings per day at both the Shores at Crystal Beach Park and June White Decker Park beach accesses.
Each wedding party would be limited to 25 or fewer people. Each park would be allowed to have one wedding between dawn and noon and one between noon and sunset.
The proposed ordinance would not require a permit from photographers who take photos for commercial purposes.
If the first reading of the ordinance gets approved, the council would likely be asked to adopt the ordinance at its Aug. 21 meeting.