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bob1

Beach Fanatic
Jun 26, 2010
372
267
WARNING BUYER BEWARE: West End Panama City Beach has at least 2 known Christian Retreats!

You may encounter cultists and/or rebellious teens sneaking out of the compounds.

:eek:


 

Camp Creek Kid

Christini Zambini
Feb 20, 2005
1,271
118
50
Seacrest Beach
You’re all awesome! Thanks for taking the time to help and proving such great insights and advice! So helpful to hear from folks in the know and learn a little of the history and things to consider.

two quick follow up questions:

# how is crime in the area? I can’t find stats anywhere online.
# is the area mainly rentals, mainly FT residents, or a mix of both?
I have lived in Inlet Beach for 20 years and have never known there to be a crime problem on the west end of PCB. We do all our shopping on the west end between Carillon and Pier Park. Have never had any problems and have never seen anything alarming. I believe that there are a lot of older residents in the trailers and smaller homes between Back Beach and Front Beach. Several nice full-time neighborhoods are being built behind Publix. Wild Heron is for full-time residents, but has never taken off probably because the schools are meh and the HOA dues are high. Probably 99% of the townhomes, condos, and houses along Front Beach are rentals and the farther you get from Front Beach the less rentals and more full-time residences you will find. Before you buy anything drive around on a busy summer day and look at the properties you're considering. You will see what the neighborhoods are like as far as parking, crowding, noisy tourists, etc. Traffic on the west end of Front Beach is much better than on the east end and also much better than 30A. Its very easy to get around because there are so many connector streets between Front Beach and Back Beach.
 

Poppaj

SoWal Insider
Oct 9, 2015
8,529
3,797
WARNING BUYER BEWARE: West End Panama City Beach has at least 2 known Christian Retreats!

You may encounter cultists and/or rebellious teens sneaking out of the compounds.

:eek:


A few years ago my niece took her two teen daughters to one of those. She did not go into the details, but swore she would rather go to hell than return the next year.
 

miznotebook

Beach Fanatic
Jul 8, 2009
925
556
Stone's throw from Inlet Bch
We bought a house on the West End in 1998 and have lived here ever since, work in Walton County. We liked the area and were able to find just a small house, which was what we were looking for. We and all our neighbors love the beach here, and people are much better at sharing the beach in Bay County. It has been a very quiet area up to now, but it's booming! Several lots in our neighborhood that had sat vacant and wooded up to now have changed hands over the last few months and have been cleared for building. I am missing the trees, but what do you do? Also a large apartment project is going in on the West End up on Back Beach Road. There are some vacation rentals but also a lot of second homes and full time residences, not sure of the percentage
 

pmd8

Beach Lover
Jul 27, 2005
138
20
You’re all awesome! Thanks for taking the time to help and proving such great insights and advice! So helpful to hear from folks in the know and learn a little of the history and things to consider.

two quick follow up questions:

# how is crime in the area? I can’t find stats anywhere online.
# is the area mainly rentals, mainly FT residents, or a mix of both?
I forgot to mention Bid-A-Wee Beach! It's about 1.5 miles east of Pier Park and has half a mile of private beach. Too busy an area for my taste, but probably preferable if you plan to do short term renting. Unlike the west end, it's incorporated and part of PCB.

I'm not aware of any serious crime problem on the west end.

About 15% of the homes are homesteaded.

The best thing to do is drive around during the day and see how well the neighborhood is maintained. Drive through on a weekend night to see if there's a problem with rowdy short-term rentals. That end of the beach tends to attract families rather than partiers.

The areas with run down mobile homes are best avoided. No problem with the well-maintained ones. I have nothing against mobile homes; I've owned one.

The west end is unincorporated, so Bay County rather than the City of Panama City Beach takes care of code enforcement. In some areas, both in PCB and in unincorporated, it appears code enforcement is non-existent.

I believe the unincorporated areas are on county water now rather than well water. The well water is safe but smells of sulfur. While most of the unincorporated areas are on septic, I'm pretty sure you can get hooked up to the city sewer system. I think it costs about $25,000 to do so, but check with the city.

From the PCB government website:

"Septic tanks used to be a widely used method of wastewater disposal in the City. Six areas which used septic tanks as a means of wastewater disposal included: El Centro, Gulf Highlands I, Gulf Highlands II, Bid-A-Wee, Bahama Beach and Open Sands Subdivision. All of these subdivisions have been retrofitted by the City with sanitary sewer and reclaimed water. The improvements were funded by a grant from the State of Florida."

Below is a link to the the Bay County Property Appraiser. Do a search for a particular street and it will show you the homestead status of houses as well as the last sales date. Click on the arrows above and you can see the information in ascending or descending order. About 15% of the houses are homesteaded.

You can also do a search by subdivision (Sunnyside, Laguna Beach, etc.) under the "Search by Legal Information." There are also comp and sales searches.

When you click to see the map, you can click on the menu on the left to see what has sold by year for the last 5 years and they will be highlighted by different colors.

You can click to see FEMA Flood Zones, measure distance and area, Google street view, Google Earth and other stuff. Appraiser sites vary by county. The Bay County site is the best of the dozen or so that I've used.


 

pmd8

Beach Lover
Jul 27, 2005
138
20
Hi SoWal friends…

My wife and I are considering relocation to the area after spending several weeks in South Walton County in Jan - March. We loved the area and being close to the beach, but likely can’t afford South of 98 in the current market.

We want to know what the west end / “Sunnyside” area of PCB is like? I know it’s not technically SoWal, but wanted to see if anyone had any insights as to what this area is like? Is it safe? Mainly tourists? Any other things we should know?
One other suggestion.

Consider living on the other side of the bridge in Panama City. It doesn't have the hellish traffic or wall-to-wall tourists. You can always drive to Saint Andrews State Park, which is gorgeous.

Most people who move to a tourist area regret it after a year or so. That's true for 30A as well. You think you'll go to the beach every day, but....you won't. Rent for a year.

Downtown Panama City has a ways to go, but it's booming with renovations, new shops and restaurants. The city is just beginning its streetscape revitalization, with oak trees and cobblestones on Harrison Avenue and widened sidewalks. If you're from Savannah or Charleston you won't be impressed, but it has its own charm.

The downtown marina, which is over 22 acres, is now undergoing a complete makeover and will be wonderful once they're done.


I'd recommend the St. Andrews or the Cove neighborhoods.

There are very few houses on the market currently, but if you're not in a hurry you can find a gem.




Imagine what this would cost on 30A:


If you're on a tight budget, Landmark Apartments is a very well-maintained and quiet complex on the bay. They have boat slips and you can buy a boat with all the money you save. Nothing is available currently, but here's a recent sale:

 

LargeHippo

Beach Crab
Jul 8, 2021
4
0
Chicago, IL
Again - a huge thank you to everyone here for taking the time to help us out.

@pmd8 - special thanks for all the advice, links and local knowledge - this is all so incredibly helpful. You rock!
 
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