James Lee Park in Destin is a well-known beach wedding scene for couples to be married. Okaloosa County commissioners have decided that only 17 more weddings will be allowed at the park.
Okaloosa County claims that they need more time to look over the regulation of the park’s commercial beach events. This is because they have been getting complaints from a restaurant owner, Bob Bonezzi, whose buildings parking lot is being used for the weddings to which he claims is hindering the business. His restaurant is located inside of the park. While local wedding planners claim that Bonezzi has been trying to sabotage weddings.
In hopes of coming to a good solution the wedding planners and Bonezzi have asked the county to figure out something that would satisfy both parties.
At the county meeting, wedding planners Tracy and Connie Reeder (both of whom have responsibility for 14 of the 17 weddings with permission to commence at James Lee Park) have agreed that they would try and suggest alternative locations for their new clients.
According to a county Attorney Bonezzi has the right to regulate the parks commercial activities. Because of this information Bonezzi signed the lease in 1988. But Greg Stewart, who is a special counsel to commissioners says that a single person with rights to beach property (like Mr. Bonezzi) does not have the ability to prohibit other members of the community from using the beach
The county claims that they need time to plan and review the park’s ordinances, which they plan to do by the end of the summer. Therefore, no more weddings until things can be sorted out. To avoid “bridezillas” the new rule is more of a suggestion being enforced through signs.
“We need some leeway here. I don’t want someone from the county down there saying, ‘Hey, get your daughter off the beach!’ ” Commissioner Bill Roberts said about the issue at the board’s regular meeting.
The signs explain that all wedding activities must have permission from the county. They will also offer a phone number that will allow people to talk to county employees for further details.
Luckily James Lee Park is not the only park available for weddings in Destin. There are many parks around that allow summer beach weddings. The number on the signs will send callers to county employees who can then direct them to parks who allow weddings.