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Destin City Council takes action to regulate commercial activity in Bayous

In a unanimous decision, the Destin City Council voted to move forward with drafting an ‘anchoring’ ordinance that will regulate commercial activity within the city’s bayous. Councilman Kevin Schmidt spearheaded the […]

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In a unanimous decision, the Destin City Council voted to move forward with drafting an ‘anchoring’ ordinance that will regulate commercial activity within the city’s bayous. Councilman Kevin Schmidt spearheaded the proposal during the city council meeting held on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

  • While the city has jurisdiction over Joe’s Bayou and Marler Bayou, they currently lack the necessary ordinance to enforce any restrictions on commercial activities in these waterways.

During the meeting, Councilman Schmidt explained that while the purpose of the proposed ordinance is to regulate commercial activity in these areas in general, the topic came up due to an inflatable bounce house operation setting up in the area. 

According to complaints and social media posts, an inflatable bounce house and water slide is reportedly being set up near the Joe’s Bayou Recreation Area. Witnesses claim that people are being shuttled over from Crab Island or parking at Joe’s Bayou Recreation Area to use the inflatables. Commercial activity is not allowed at Joe’s Bayou Recreation Area.

  • Additionally, inflatables have been reported behind the Destin Army Recreation Area off of Calhoun Ave.

“If it’s not in Joe’s Bayou, it’s in Choctawhatchee Bay. If it’s not in Choctawhatchee Bay, it’s in the Harbor,” added Schmidt. “Right now off of Indian Trail, there’s a massive barge parked 100 yards off of somebody’s backyard. Can we do anything about it? [Okaloosa] Sheriff’s Department says not really.”

He emphasized that the intent was not to hinder fishermen or any charter boat captains seeking safety, as they would be protected under a safe harbor provision.

  • Once the draft is completed, it will be presented to the council at a future meeting for discussion and approval.

Additionally, the council voted to direct staff to work with other jurisdictions to find a solution to overnight commercial anchoring in areas just outside of the Destin’s waterways.

One Response

  1. So are these people being shuttled out to these areas and being left and then shuttled back ? I thought it was against the law to dropped people off in the water .

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Community Comments

“Agreed…that was our favorite spot for locals to go…under the Marler bridge…to swim and watch the boat traffic. Was beautiful!”
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“I have heard this before but without the details. Thanks.”
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“That was a good story it brought back a lot of good memories. I lived there about 35 years ago met some good people ate a lot of good food...”
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“Please open our bridge under neath the Destin bridge please we grew up here only for the locals this is crazy honestly the locals really have Nowhere they can go...”
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“We must do whatever it takes to remove the current sheriff. He is a failed leader, no doubt about it nothing but an excuse maker, totally incompetent in over his...”
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“...and food for enjoyment! Big smile.”
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“can okaloosa county residents can get a year pass for henderson beach park?”
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“Congratulations on giving back to your community. This is an awesome need when young people are returning to school. Blessings over blessings to you this upcoming season.”
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“I’m not at all a sociallist or liberal. I just want safety for myself and others. Ron Desantis pledged money for this. I was refrencing Europe in regards to e-bike...”
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