March 2019 PKA Annual Membership Meeting:
The Perdido Key Association held its 2019 Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Eden Condominium. Featured speaker District 2 Commissioner Doug Underhill addressed many of the issues important to Perdido Key property owners and residents, including the Perdido Key Shared-Use/Multi-Use Path – generally on track despite the loss of some expected funding; the Pensacola Pass Inlet Management Plan – study approved by the Board of County Commissioners; Florabama traffic – incremental progress, but elevated pedestrian cross-over unlikely; possible public beach access and parking at 16400 Perdido Key Drive – an initiative he opposes and has an uncertain fate; and, the Perdido Key Master Plan (the “People’s Design Document”) – discussions continuing with the principal developer. Commissioner Underhill noted the importance of the Habitat Conservation Plan as a defense against overdevelopment. He also provided detailed responses to the multiple questions, which seemed much appreciated by the audience.
PKA president Charles Krupnick then reported on PKA initiatives during 2018. In addition to periodic testimony at government decision-making bodies on issues relevant to Perdido Key, PKA co-sponsored International Coastal Cleanup Day in September and conducted Adopt-A-Highway cleanups of a portion of Rt. 98 every quarter. He highlighted the very successful June World Oceans Day event at Perdido Key State Park where an estimated 400 people came to view a variety of ocean conservancy relevant exhibits, plus sculptures in the beach sand and colorful kites in the skies. An unapproved version of the 2019 meeting minutes will be posted in the Archive page of the Perdido Key Association website in the near future.
Hazardous Waste Regional Roundup at Bailey Middle School:
The next Regional Roundup sponsored by the Escambia County Waste Services Department will be near Perdido Key at the Jim C. Bailey Middle School, 4110 Bauer Road, on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 8 AM until Noon. This is a good opportunity for Escambia County residents (but not commercial interests) to properly dispose of electronic items, household hazardous material, and up to four tires per vehicle free of charge. For more on the event and on accepted and not accepted items, go to https://www.myescambia.com/our-services/waste-services/regional-roundups.
Building Permits and Lawsuits in the Florida Keys:
The effort to control development in the Florida Keys by ceasing to issue building permits for environmental and hurricane evacuation reasons in 2023 will likely face multiple lawsuits. The Miami Herald reported “that property owners are likely to sue the state when they either can’t build what they want or don’t receive what they consider just compensation from the state.” The issue has local relevance because Perdido Key has a residence and hotel cap in place to help control development. For more on the issue, go to the February 23, 2019 article “Government preparing to be sued in 2023, when the Keys stop issuing new building permits,” by David Goodhue at https://www.miamiherald.com/article226639119.html.
A “Solid” Year for Sea Turtles:
Escambia County had 96 sea turtle nests on its 37 miles of beach, with the largest number (59) at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Although less than the 217 nests identified in 2017, the 2018 number (all loggerhead sea turtles) is considered “solid” for the year. For more on this issue, see the February 20, 2019 Pensacola News Journal article “Escambia sea turtle nesting numbers solid, despite red tide and new hands-off policy” by Melissa Nelson Gabriel at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/beaches/2019/02/20/seaturtle-nesting-numbers-steady-escambia-county-low-santa-rosa/2880843002/.
Latest on Lionfish:
Recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Sea Grant meetings on lionfish produced some interesting findings. Among them was that the number of lionfish reported has declined since 2014, with many divers having difficulty finding them above 120 feet. Along with this is a decline in the number of divers interested in selling lionfish. Whether lionfish have reached their carrying capacity at Northwest Florida’s natural and artificial reefs is not known, so divers and those working various technologies to remove lionfish are encouraged to continue their efforts. This information is drawn from a February 27, 2019 Rick O’Connor e-mail titled “An Update on the Lionfish” in conjunction with National Invasive Species Awareness Week (February 2, 2019 – March 3, 2019).
Happenings at Big Lagoon State Park:
In addition to its wonderful natural attractions, available campsites and paddleboard/kayak rentals, Big Lagoon State Park has yoga every Saturday morning from 10-11, a concert at the amphitheater planned for March 20, 2019, and “PAWS in the Park” scheduled for April 13, 2019. Contact the Park Rangers at 850 492-1595 or Concessions personnel at 850 492-5131 as appropriate for additional information.
Neighboring Community News Pensacola – Pensacola was again listed as one of the most affordable beach towns. SmartAsset determined that Pensacola was the second most affordable beach town in America, with Gulfport, Mississippi on top of the list and nearby Ft. Walton Beach ranked 9 th. For more on this issues, see the February 12, 2019 Pensacola News Journal article “Pensacola is 2nd most affordable beach town in America, per study” by Jake Newby at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/2019/02/09/pensacola-named-secondmost-affordable-beach-town-america/2816254002/.
Gulf Breeze – The Gulf Breeze City Council is expected to pass an ordinance to allow golf carts on city streets with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less. Drivers must be 15 years or older and have a valid driver’s license. For more on the issue, see the February 19, 2019 Pensacola News Journal article “Gulf Breeze slated to pass long-awaited golf cart ordinance” by Annie Blanks at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2019/02/19/gulf-breeze-golf-cart-ordinanceexpected-pass-council-meeting/2905379002/.
Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Airport – Allegiant Air announced new seasonal service from Destin-Ft. Walton Airport to Des Moines, Iowa, Huntington, West Virginia, Little Rock, Arkansas, Rockford, Illinois, Shreveport, Louisiana, Toledo, Ohio, and Wichita, Kansas. For more on the route expansion, see the February 12, 2019 USA Today article “Allegiant announces 19 new routes: big winners are Florida Panhandle and Nashville” by Ben Mutzabaugh at https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2019/02/12/allegia nt-air-19-new-seasonal-routes-focus-florida-and-tennessee/2842600002/.
Pensacola Beach – TripAdvisor named Pensacola Beach as the fifth best beach in the United States, with Florida’s Clearwater Beach taking the first position. For more on “best beaches,” see the February 28, 2019 Pensacola News Journal article “TripAdvisor names Pensacola Beach to list of top 5 U.S. Beaches” at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/beaches/2019/02/26/tripadvis or-names-pensacola-beach-list-top-five-u-s-beaches/2993423002/.
Also on Pensacola Beach, the 2019 “Bands on the Beach” schedule sponsored by the Santa Island Authority was announced in the February 17, 2019 article “Pensacola Bands on the Beach Lineup Announced” at https://www.pensacolabeach.com/pensacola-beach-bands-beach-lineupannounced/. The April to October attractions perform on Tuesday nights at the Gulfside Pavilion on Pensacola Beach, beginning with “Not Quite Fab” on April 2 and “Rhinestone” on April 9.
Coastal Fishing – The Alabama red snapper season for private vessel and state-licensed guide boats will be the three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from June 1 through July 28, 2019. The gray triggerfish season opens on March 1, 2019 in Alabama, Florida, and Gulf of Mexico federal waters with a limit of one per person and minimum size of 15 inches. For more on these issues, see the February 8, 2019 Outdoor Alabama Weekly article “Gulf Council Plans April Vote; Alabama Sets Snapper Season” by David Rainer at https://www.outdooralabama.com/news/david-rainer and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation February 21, 2019 Press Release at http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/gulf-gray-triggerfish-opens-march-1-newbag-and-size-limits.
March Calendar Mar 02: Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire & Pirate Festival in Milton Mar 02,03,05: Pensacola Mardi Gras Parades Mar 08,09,15,16,22,23: Pensacola Ice Flyers at Pensacola Bay Center Mar 09: Regional Roundup of hazardous waste at Jim C. Bailey Middle School Mar 09: McGuire’s Prediction Run 5K in Pensacola Mar 09-10: Orange Beach Festival of the Arts on Canal Road Mar 14: Science Hour on “The Emanuel Point Ships: Florida’s Earliest Shipwrecks” at Escambia County Central Office Complex Mar 16-17: Annual Arts and Crafts Festival in Fairhope Mar 17: Saint Patrick’s Day events at local restaurants Mar 23: Beach Run/Walk for America’s Warriors at the Flora-Bama Mar 23: Interscholastic Equestrian Association Horse Show at Escambia County Equestrian Center Mar 27: Blue Angels Orientation Flight at NAS Pensacola Mar 27: Sea Turtle Presentation at Visit Pensacola Mar 29-31: The Wharf Boat and Yacht Show Mar 30: Mobile Chocolate Festival at The Grounds The following websites provide additional information about events taking place in our great Gulf Coast region: https://www.visitpensacola.com/ http://mygulfcoastchamber.com/ http://www.visitperdido.com/ http://mulletwrapper.net/ https://myescambia.com/ http://www.emeraldcoastfl.com// http://alabama.travel/festivals-and-events http://www.cityofmobile.org/calendar/ Perdido Key Association Board of Direct