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Neighbors Oppose High-End Motorcoach Park Plan

December 3, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Property along Back Beach Road in Panama City, Fla., once envisioned as an upscale townhome and condo development with ties to county music star Alan Jackson, is now targeted for an RV park, or “upscale motorcoach resort,” officials said Thursday (Dec. 2).

The proposal already is drawing criticism and petitions from neighbors, the Panama City News Herald reported.

Mel Leonard, the city’s planning and building director, said Thursday the new scheme will be up for review at the next planning board meeting scheduled Dec. 13.

Leonard said he already had received several inquiries about the plans from nearby residents and predicted a “lively” meeting.

“It’s going to function like a campground,” he said of new designs for 14.5 acres. The designs call for multiple 2,800-square-foot lots, each with a 250-square-foot storage building that also could function as cramped living space.

Four years ago, the property was touted as the future site of one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums, as well as 45 three-story townhomes. Also planned were a clubhouse, fitness center and two saltwater swimming pools.

Jackson, known for such hits as “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” made a cameo appearance in November 2006 for the groundbreaking of the 189-unit development on the southeast corner of Back Beach Road and Kelly Street.

Two years ago, that project was put on hold because of the downturn in market condition, Richard Kjellander, vice president of operations and development for Ronnie Gilley Properties, said at the time.

Nearby resident Christine Jordan said Thursday she was gathering a petition opposed to the RV park from residents of the Sunnyside community, including all residents living between Back Beach and Front Beach roads.

“We are working to organize all of the neighborhoods, telling people what’s going on,” she said. “This is a much far cry from upscale townhomes.”

She said nearby residents, most of whom are county residents, were particularly concerned about the transient nature of inhabitants of the potential park, which actually will be located in the city, just across the county-city line.

Leonard said that because the new plans do not include a zoning change, but only an amendment to an already approved master plan, the decision by the planning board will be final. A review from the city council will not be needed unless the planning board’s vote is appealed, he said.

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