Business owners unite against parking proposal

Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 04:47 PM.

It's difficult to get a roomful of people to agree on anything, but many small business owners in South Walton are united in opposition to a new proposed parking ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would require all business owners to have a set number of parking spaces at their sites that are calculated using a formula using square footage and number of employees. At present, there are 108 small business owners in South Walton who have come together to oppose the proposal.

"All business people here are concerned about the new parking ordinance and we took responsibility to form a group consisting of small business owners," said William Schissler, owner of Frank's Cash & Carry in Grayton and Freeport . "When you take the number of square feet and employees formula, for me to be in compliance I need 42 parking spaces in Grayton. In Freeport we need 100. I don't have that much land. They say we are grandfathered in. But if a big storm comes through and leaves me with extensive damage I would be required to bring my business into compliance; or if I want to sell.”

Grayton Beach attorney Gary Shipman's practice would also be affected by the ordinance. He is offering his time and expertise pro bono to guide the newly formed group.

Shipman currently has 16 parking spaces for a 4,000-square-foot building. If the ordinance passes Shipman would need 40 spaces. However, he has nowhere to get the extra spaces.

"Other than Publix or Walmart, no one would be in compliance," he said.

Shipman said that when word spread about the proposal, a complaint was registered with the Planning Department, and then a workshop was scheduled.

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