Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chairman's Message: What Vision of Destin’s Future is Best?

The newly appointed Mayor and City Council have their hands full….with the ‘burden’ of deciding the best way to bring the city forward for the next 50 years of growth and beautification.
Comprehensive Plan
Part of the burden lies with some major decisions that are to be made regarding the comprehensive plan as it relates to development (new applications, height restrictions, permissible land use, impact on area). As I have stated previously in this forum, the Chamber supports responsible growth with a focus on maintaining a business and family-friendly environment in Destin.  If changes are to be made, let them not include any moratorium on development that would chase away strong projects and new professional jobs.
Underground Utilities
A new wrinkle to the burden that is being raised by some within the City is the question of whether or not to purchase the electrical utility from Gulf Power with the ultimate goal being to underground the city’s power lines. The benefits to burying the lines are obvious - far fewer power outages (even in high winds) and a much cleaner, more professional look that is synonymous with destination cities, such as Naples and Orlando. The negatives are also obvious - the project would come with a very high price tag that residents would pay to enjoy, and the cost to repair the underground lines is higher.
The Chamber is not making a statement for or against Underground Utilities at this time, but this is an item to watch for, and we encourage you to educate yourself as to the pros and cons. In a strict business sense, there are many benefits to having Destin present itself in the best possible manner - real estate would become more valuable and demand for commercial space would likely rise. The real question is cost - how do we pay for it? 
Stay tuned…
Upcoming EventsThe Chamber is committed to providing and partnering in events that create environments for strong business networking, such as:
·         5th Annual Paddle at the Porch (8/20/16, on the beach behind the Back Porch)
·         50th Anniversary Event (9/15/16, at The Henderson)
Be well and enjoy the summer!
Jonathan Ochs
Trustmark National Bank
2016 Destin Chamber Chairman

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