County: Pier, Inc. justified to tear down Navarre Beach Pier bar
Pensacola News Journal
http://www.pnj.com/article/20131230/NEW ... h-Pier-bar
Santa Rosa County officials said Monday that the firm operating the Navarre Beach Pier was justified to remove a free-standing bar and a lean-to from the county-owned facility over the weekend.
Concerns arose Saturday when Pier, Inc. demolished a 10-by-15-foot bar and lean-to at the pier apparently without prior notification of county officials.
Pier Inc.’s lease to operate and manage the county-owned pier and associated concessions expires Tuesday. TC’s Coastal Porch takes over management of the pier at 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Santa Rosa County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka said county staff inspected the site Saturday, and again on Monday.
During the Monday visit staff found that “both structures were freestanding and had not been fastened to the floor and therefore could be likened to furniture, and were within the right of Pier Inc. to remove.”
No county funds were used to construct the bar and lean-to and all costs were paid by Pier Inc., she said.
Joey Bryant, one of the principals with TC’s Coastal Porch, said despite the bar being removed from the pier, the group still plans on opening Wednesday.
“We will be in there on Wednesday and make the best of it,” Bryant said. “The bar is gone. So, now we get to build our bar the way we want, and that's a definite positive. But it will take us longer to get the bar open, so it's kind of a mixed bag.”
Bryant, Scott Rayner, Josh Pickett and Bob Benaquis are all partners of TC’s Coastal Porch, which takes over management of the pier on Wednesday.
“As long as we can get in there and make sure it's safe we're going to open the pier on Jan. 1,” Bryant said. “We're going to gradually open up the store. We may have some light items in there Wednesday, like coffee, soft drinks and ice.
“But most of the things will come in the second week of January after we get in there and set up everything.”
County Administrator Hunter Walker said the “county is ready to assist both TC’s Coastal Pier, LLC and the Pier, Inc. to facilitate a smooth transition for the residents of Santa Rosa County and to accommodate the needs of the new management in the start-up of their operations.”
County officials, including building inspectors, have been at the pier to ensure that Pier, Inc. removes equipment and furnishings in a manner that leaves the area safe and structurally sound, Tsubooka said.
Additionally, the current and succeeding contractors met Monday morning to conduct a preliminary walk through and discuss the changeover.
The pier is currently managed by Dorothy Slye and Everett Ratliff, Jr., of Pier, Inc.
In early December the Santa Rosa County Commission voted to award a new management contract for the pier to TC’s Coastal Porch.