PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
  • 02/24/2021 9:12 PM | Anonymous

    Leaders of the Florida League of Cities visited Pensacola on Tuesday to deliver a message that if residents like their cities to have control over their own affairs, a concept known as home rule, then they need to make their voices heard to the Florida Legislature.

    Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson hosted Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz at a joint press conference Tuesday. Ortiz is president of the Florida League of Cities and was in Pensacola to "preach the gospel" of home rule.

    "This is a gospel that needs to be preached to the whole state," Ortiz said.

    The power of home rule was illustrated in the past few years when the Florida Legislature pre-empted local government's power to regulate small cellphone antennas in public rights of way. Many Pensacola residents were upset to find out a 5G cellphone pole was going up in front of their house, and city officials had limited powers to regulate them.

    "Our hands are tied in a lot of ways by what happened (in the Legislature)," Robinson said, adding that home rule for cities is guaranteed by the 1968 Florida Constitution. "The League continues to (have the) position that these pre-emptions shouldn't be done, and that they are really against the '68 Constitution. And that we should have the ability to set our own standards."

    Ortiz said the pre-emption on small cellphone antennas is likely to remain unchanged unless the Legislature hears from residents.

    "If those residents start calling, and those legislators start seeing the masses calling and getting engaged, they're going to start changing," Ortiz said.

    Other issues up for debate this year in the Legislature include a bill that further restricts local governments' ability to regulate short-term rentals and puts regulation in the state's hands, as well as a bill that would allow people to operate businesses out of their homes even if that is against city zoning rules.

    Ortiz said passage of the bills would create "chaos" in local communities.

    Many of the bills the League is opposed to are being put forward by the Republican leadership in the Legislature.

    Ortiz, who is a Republican, conceded that the legislators who have been voting in favor of home rule lately have been Democrats, but he still believes home rule is a bipartisan issue.

    "I don't know if this is a constant," Ortiz said. "I hope it's not. But we like to engage each and every one of the members to make sure that it's not. Because funny enough, the Republican Party historically has always favored home rule."

    Robinson, who also is a Republican, said he agreed and pointed out there isn't a partisan way to fill a pothole. He said he believed partisan politics shouldn't play a role at the local level and was glad Pensacola had non-partisan elections.

    "It's not about parties and sides," Robinson said. "… We are allowing the sides to tear at the fabric of what is most important, and that is community. And that's working together to solve these problems. We've got to pick up garbage. We've got to fill potholes, we've got to do those kind of things to make our community better."

    Ortiz said legislators should be representing their communities and talking with residents and local leaders about what's happening in Tallahassee.

    "We need to make sure that those in Tallahassee are paying attention and are coming back to the municipalities, talking to the residents and talking to the local elected officials before they go to Tallahassee and legislate on our behalf," Ortiz said.

    Jim Little can be reached at and 850-208-9827.

    Click HERE to view the full article

  • 02/24/2021 9:01 PM | Anonymous

    Published Feb 23, 2021

    The Florida Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Implementation Group released its Draft Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment, including 11 projects within Escambia County and adjacent localities. NRDA invites the public to comment on the full suite of 19 restoration projects through Mar. 29.

    A public webinar will be held Mar. 11 at 4 p.m. CST. Those seeking to attend can register with this link.

    "This is an opportunity for our local community to get involved with the welfare of our wildlife, beaches and local natural resources," said Matt Posner,  senior advisor of Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program and Natural Resources Management Department RESTORE program manager. "We encourage the public to reach out and share their support or feedback about the projects that directly impact their community."

    The draft plan seeks to award $62M in funding to directly benefit residents, visitors and natural resources across the state of Florida. The plan's current draft allocates more than $43M to Escambia County and its surrounding localities. The plan proposes projects for restoring natural resources and services adversely impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The local proposed projects are included in the chart below.

    Follow this link to learn more and review the plan. The public can provide feedback by submitting comments onlineduring a public webinar or by mail via the following address.

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    P.O. Box 29649 Atlanta, GA 30345

    Project Name

    Lead Implementor

    Grant Amount

    Engineering and Design for Pensacola Beach Park West Fishing Pier and Access Improvements

    Escambia County


    Pensacola Beach Fort Pickens Road Wildlife Lighting Retrofits

    Escambia County


    Johnson Beach Access Management and Habitat Protection

    Department of Interior (DOI)


    Perdido Key Sediment Placement



    Baars Park and Sander Beach Kayak Fishing Trail Access

    City of Pensacola


    Pensacola Community Maritime Park Public Fishing Marina

    City of Pensacola


    Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration (Gulf-wide)

    Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)


    Florida Shorebird and Seabird Stewardship and Habitat Management (Gulf-wide)



    Reducing Threats to Sea Turtles through Removal of In-water Marine Debris (Gulf-wide)



    Increased Observers and Outreach to Reduce Incidental Hooking of Sea Turtles (Gulf-wide)



    Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network (Gulf-wide)



    Gulf Breeze Parks Boating and Fishing Access Upgrades

    City of Gulf Breeze


    Click HERE to view the full article

  • 01/26/2021 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Santa Rosa Island Authority welcomes beach residents and property managers to the 2021 Spring Break Safety Meeting.

    Date & Time: Tuesday, February 2 at 5:30 P.M.

    Location: The Beach Church - 920 Panferio Dr., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

    Join us Tuesday night  to discuss this year's safety and law enforcement plans. Help us keep Pensacola Beach a safe, family-friendly and fun spring break destination enjoyable for all!

    For more details, visit 

    Click HERE to view the PDF flyer.

  • 01/26/2021 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    There was a very interesting hearing in federal court yesterday before the U.S. District Court of Appeals. In EHT et al. v FCC, USCA Case No. 20-1025, plaintiffs (Environmental Health Trust, and others) seek to vacate and update an FCC Order addressing RF emissions (FCC Order 19-126) because the FCC did not properly consider the evidence before it while making RF radiation limits. The FCC RF radiation limits were set in 1996, and only take into account thermal effects of RF radiation and do not consider non-thermal biological effects. There were great questions from the bench, and its seems the judges are likely to rule against the FCC. Here’s a link to the hearing, and it’s about 60 minutes long (the court originally planned for only 10 minutes each side). If you listen, you will hear classic back-pedaling by a federal agency attorney … this is great stuff. I am very optimistic for a favorable ruling by the court - 

    EHT has also been kind enough to publish a few articles about Pensacola in their web-site. 

  • 01/18/2021 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    For those following the 5G installation in Escambia County, you can read the full Broadband Assessment and Feasibility Study below.

    Click HERE for the full Broadband Assessment & Feasibility Study PDF

  • 01/13/2021 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    Visit the link below for the 2021 meeting schedule of the Santa Rosa Island Authority.

  • 01/06/2021 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    While deployment continues unabated across the U.S., a small coalition of groups and leaders are trying to put the brakes on 5G in a bid to learn more about the technology.

    The COVID-19 pandemic and 5G technology found themselves unlikely bedfellows earlier this year, as more than 70 cell phone towers in the United Kingdom and Europe were burned by those who blamed network rollout for the spread of infection.

    The arson attacks brought a rebuke from Mobile UK, the trade association that represents UK telecoms providers. In a statement, the group called the attacks "senseless," and said that links between COVID-19 and 5G are "false and have been continuously rebuffed by scientists."

    Such retaliations have come at a social cost. Mobile UK spokesperson Gareth Elliott said in an email that there have been 130 arson attacks and over 200 instances of "abuse to staff." Elliott did not have a cost estimate for the tower repairs.

    The attacks, an extreme reaction, were the result of rumors started on social media and other internet outlets that linked the technology with the global health crisis. And while the United States has not yet seen any reported copycat attacks of tower arsons, the Department of Homeland Security and NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association have both warned of such activity, particularly during the 5G Global Protest Day on June 6 this year.

    CLICK HERE to continue reading the article....

  • 12/23/2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Media Advisory/ Public Notice

    Escambia County Legislative Delegation Sets Public Hearing

    Pensacola, FL - Members of Escambia County’s state legislative delegation will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Pensacola State College Jean and Paul Amos Performance Studio; 1000 College Boulevard Pensacola, FL. 32504.

    Delegation members will hear presentations from government entities, organizations, and take public testimony on proposals for the 2021 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature. The delegation will also consider local bills; including an act to consider term limits and oversight of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

    Any member of the public is welcomed to attend. The Escambia County Legislative Delegation consists of Senator Doug Broxson, Representative Michelle Salzman, and Representative Alex Andrade.

    To request an appearance form to be placed on the meeting agenda, individuals should contact Senator Doug Broxson’s office at (850) 595-1036, or email: no later than 5 p.m., Wednesday, January 13th, 2021.


  • 12/14/2020 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    December 9, 2020

    Dear Santa Rosa Island Authority Commissioners,

    On Monday, December 7th, 3 of our Pensacola Beach Advocate board members met with Paolo Ghio, Dr. Campanella, Commissioner Bender,  legal counsel for  Escambia, and  several members from Verizon via a zoom call.  The discussion was about placement of 5g small wireless facilities (SWF)  in public row without any public hearing or notice to residents.  In other words, one day you wake up and a tall, ugly, green pole - transmitting what some people believe to be very unhealthy high frequency radiation - is installed  in order to implement 5g technology. What we learned was astonishing.  

    First of all, Verizon has a plan to install approximately 20 SWF on the beach.  At the meeting, Paolo stated that he has the master plan and we requested a copy of it.  This process began 18 months ago yet no documents were ever  presented to the Island authority for review,  nor did  the design or placement  of the  poles go through a committee.   Lawsuits for various different reasons have been filed  across the country  to  stop  the rollout of 5g technology.  Health concerns, environmental impact and violations of state and local laws are just a few of the reasons cited for these lawsuits.  Many cities who began the rollout early have now stopped due to the  overwhelming number of complaints from residents who believe that these poles affect property value, are aesthetically ugly and don’t compliment their neighborhood surroundings, and are too close to their homes.  In fact this industry specifically asked the state of Florida to pass a law to  waive their requirement to hold public hearings about the placement of these poles because it is such a controversial issue.  They did…..hence all the cities and municipalities filing suit both in Florida and around the country.  

    In 2018, Escambia County adopted an ordinance to regulate matters regarding the placement and aesthetics of these (swf).  I asked the county permitting department about the process  and they stated that “if Mr. Ghio had not approved the applications then they would not have approved the application.”  The county also has negotiating rights as to where these  poles can  be placed.  I am assuming that according to the terms of local,  state and Federal rules we would have begun a negotiation process.   During this time we could have asked for an environmental impact study as it affects the nesting birds, turtles, and humans, or we could have held a public hearing on placement and design.  I asked if they were going to install them in the national seashore and he said no.  We could have created our own guidelines to an extent but none of that was done.  We could have argued as the law and our ordinance contends  that we are a barrier island  and barrier islands matching certain requirements are exempt.   It was pointed out to me that we are not our own municipality nor do we have our own governance.  Well it doesn’t look that way under your website page entitled “who we are”,  and the permitting started here.  The point is  that the approval and placement of these ugly and highly controversial 5g poles (swf) started here,  there was no public notice,  and the telecom industry wants it that way for a reason.

    Now here is what else we learned,

     -they have no idea how many more applications they will need to make

     -the powers that be at Verizon have no idea where these poles are or how close they are to our homes

     -they could not tell  us what the final inspection plan will be before they are turned on. 

     -Paolo did not know who from the county or from Verizon would be doing a final inspection or when they would be active.   A subcontractor is responsible for the installation.  

    As Dr. Campanella  asked “Why did you start at the beach?”   They replied “usage.”  Really?     

    Please do not allow any more installations (Including those applied for and approved) until proper studies and reviews are completed.    Please present the master plan and hold public hearings. Please  consider a design that is more conducive to the island,  and please review the legislation to insure that we actually have to place them  on the beach.  Dr. Campanella also commented in our meeting that perhaps there should be a moratorium until the technology is more fully understood. 


    Rhonda Dorfman

     PBA President

  • 12/10/2020 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    At our annual meeting several weeks ago, Pensacola Beach residents shared with the group concerns about short term rentals in their neighborhood. Complaints included noise and safety concerns as well as observations of public urination, drug dealers making deliveries, blocking of the beach for weddings, and more. Some noted their weariness of having to constantly call the authorities and nothing changes except having another huge group of “party animals” the following week. Commissioner Bender, who was at that meeting, made a passing comment about the short term rental ordinance at Flagler Beach. Using that as a spring board, the PBA has reviewed that ordinance as well as several others across Florida to come up with a “Sweet 16” list of items that should be included in any short term rental (STR) ordinance for single family homes and condominiums on Pensacola Beach;

    1.       Properly identifying these properties as COMMERCIAL - Is a property that is actively used to generate income for the owner residential or commercial? Does a residential property have a sign permanently placed in the front yard or on line advertising it for rent? What about advertising a home as a wedding house, event house, or party venue? Zoning concerns aside, if a homeowner is actively competing with hotels and/or banquet halls, then they should be classified as commercial and be licensed and inspected just like those facilities.

    2.       Ensuring proper licensing through the S.R.I.A., Escambia County or the State of Florida – to make sure a property owner is following all of the rules, proper licensing would be absolutely essential. Flagler Beach requires a rental permit application which would also include a copy of the deed, general liability insurance, a complete fire inspection, a copy of the State license issued by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, a copy of a Sale Tax Certificate, and a copy of the Local Business Tax Receipt application.

    3.       Minimum life safety requirements – items like emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and pool safety would fall under this category

    4.      Maximum occupancy limits – the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code 2018 Edition Section 7 Means of Egress Occupant Load Factor Table (Page 84) notes there should be at least 200 square foot per person. There are some locales that use 150 square feet, and some limit occupancy to 2 per bedroom with a maximum number ranging from 6 to 16 people. The NFPA requirement of 200 square feet seems to be logical and not an arbitrary number.

    5.       Advertising must comply with all ordinances - Any advertising of the short-term vacation rental unit should conform to information included in a Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate, particularly as this pertains to maximum occupancy.

    6.       Solid waste containers – Flagler Beach mandates one 35 gallon trash container with a lid that securely fastens per 4 transient occupants. Trash cannot be at the curb until the day before pick up and must be removed no later than sunrise the day after pick up. As we recycle in Escambia County, the PBA would recommend one or more of the containers be a dedicated recycling container.

    7.       Noise limitations and quiet hours – Escambia County Code of Enforcement Section 42 – 67 already has the following rules in place; In no event shall a person operate or cause to be operated or create any source of sound in the core area of Santa Rosa Island in such a manner so as to create a sound level which exceeds 70 dbAs (sound level measurement) when measured by a sound level meter at or within the property boundary of the receiving land use. On the remainder of Santa Rosa Island, outside the core area, in no event shall a person operate or cause to be operated or create any source of sound in such a manner as to create a sound level which exceeds 65 dbAs (sound level measurement) between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and which exceeds 55 dbAs (sound level measurement) between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when measured by a sound level meter at or within the property boundary of the receiving land use. This should already be enforced, but we are told that officers have not been properly trained in the sound monitoring devices that the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department already owns. We do not think that is acceptable, and call for the proper training and enforcement to begin immediately.

    8.       Routine inspections – Scheduled and drop-in inspections are a very good way to monitor compliance.

    9.       Identifying the responsible party – there should be an owner or an owner’s representative available 24/7 in case of an emergency or violations. The contact information for that person should be clearly posted for the renters as well as the authorities.

    10.   Displaying local rules & emergency information – dogs, glass, campfires, and driving that are prohibited on Pensacola Beach along with Leave No Trace and Turtle Lighting rules should be prominently posted as well as emergency numbers and the location of the nearest hospital, police and fire departments.

    11.   Parking limitations – street parking is prohibited and the minimum off-street parking shall be provided as one (1) space per three (3) transient occupants in the Flagler Beach ordinance. This does not seem to be onerous.

    12.   Fees & Fines – the fees for initial certification and annual recertification should be set low enough to encourage compliance and high enough to help offset the cost of inspections.

    13.   Offences & Violations – as there may be a new group of renters each week, there needs to be a running total on owners with an escalating schedule of fines for repeat violations. Fines, liens, revocation of rental certificates, and civil or criminal penalties should all be included in any ordinance.

    14.   Immunity from prosecution for local officials enforcing the STR ordinances – no government agency or employee should have to worry about doing their job properly. We agree.

    15.   Sign ordinance – this would outline limitations on the size, height, type, placement and illumination of front yard advertising for a STR.

    16.   Uniform enforcement – new rules and regulations will be meaningless without the full force of local authorities to reign in the revelry.

    Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wisely said "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Simply put, your rights as a homeowner are protected up to the point where you infringe on someone else’s rights. We have some homeowners here that are out of touch, negligent, or uncaring about how the activity at their “home” affects their neighbors. People that come to Pensacola Beach to enjoy a vacation or a weekend party behave differently than they do “back home”. It’s time to hold both the homeowners and the renters accountable for not being mindful and respectful of their neighbors and surroundings. These 16 elements of a proposed SRT ordinance, enacted and enforced, will do wonders restoring peace and tranquility to our beautiful island paradise.

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