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Panama City Beach Increases Fines For Noise, Open-Container Offenses

file photo
Panama City Beach Police Department

Panama City Beach is cracking down on pop-up parties along the town’s main strip as the busy summer travel season gets underway.

On Thursday night, City Council members voted to increase penalties against those who break the town’s noise and open-container rules. First-time violators would face a $500 fine instead of paying $150. Each subsequent offense would incur a $1,000 fine.

Police Chief J.R. Talamantez explained parties tend to pop back up in a new location after officers disperse them from their original spot. The amended rules seek to help officers control loud and disruptive gatherings as the town accommodates roughly 100,000 visitors.

"We want everyone to remain safe when they visit the world's most beautiful beaches," Talamantez said in a recent press release. "This city has transitioned itself to a family-friendly destination and we do not want anything to jeopardize that."

City council members also expanded the public nuisance category to include businesses where at least three citations for illegal activities like drug and firearm use have been issued on the property in the last month. Under the amended ordinance, city officials would work with businesses that fall into that category.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.