Panama City withdraws support for late-night alcohol sales ordinance

PANAMA CITY — As the saying goes: out with Ordinance 3059, in with Ordinance 3060. 

The City Commission has withdrawn its support for the controversial late-night alcohol sales ordinance and instead approved the first reading of a new ordinance that city officials believe will alleviate recent Spring Break headaches. 

Ordinance 3060 aims to establish annual guidelines for making emergency declarations, prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in commercial parking lots, provides a new nuisance definition and addresses spontaneous “pop-up events.” The final reading of the ordinance will be held during the commission’s next meeting on May 10. 

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford, Chief J.R. Talamantez of the Panama City Beach Police Department, second right, and Chief Mark Smith of the Panama City Police Department, right, hold a news conference about a shooting in Panama City Beach on March 27. Multiple police agencies converged on an area around Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach during Spring Break chaos.

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City Attorney Nevin Zimmerman said Ordinance 3060, modeled after a Panama City Beach ordinance, allows for a more tailored declaration of emergency, giving authority to the mayor or city manager to declare an emergency to shut down a business if the circumstances are appropriate.