Call Us Today! 850-659-6531

Fort Walton Beach Legal Blog

Understanding non-competition agreements

Companies in Florida and throughout the United States may ask that workers sign a non-competition agreement. While they may be valid if properly constructed, courts often see them as an impediment to workers after they leave their current employers. Generally speaking, an employee must receive something of value in exchange for agreeing to such a clause. This may include a job candidate being offered a position or a current employee receiving a promotion.

Furthermore, such an agreement must protect a legitimate business interest such as guarding trade secrets or goodwill built in the community. Business owners should also make sure that the agreement is reasonable in both its length and scope. Generally, it cannot last for longer than information is valuable to an employer. It should also not restrict a worker from finding a job in a part of the country or world where a company doesn't have a legitimate business interest.

Ocean City neighbors don't want townhome development

A potential zoning and land use change in Florida has some property owners standing in opposition. A developer from Fort Walton Beach is seeking to combine two lots in Ocean City, at 112 and 116 Monahan Drive N.E. The developer plans to demolish two houses on the lots and build eight townhouses. However, the property owners opposing the requests are concerned that the new townhouses will bring additional traffic and noise as well as add stress to area infrastructure.

The developer has applied to have the designation for the lots changed from low-density residential to medium-density residential and the zoning changed from residential-1 to residential-2. Under the current structure, the developer is allowed to build up to four residential units on the lots. If the proposed changes are approved, the developer would be allowed to build up to 11 residential units on the lots.

Why businesses should review their insurance policies annually

That nature of business is change. If your revenue stayed the same every year, your business would flounder. Likewise, a successful business needs to respond to a changing market. This could mean changes to a business structure, new product lines or even changes to your company’s physical location.

As your business evolves, your insurance will need to evolve too. Failure to reflect changes in your business could lead to holes in your coverage. Holes that you could quite literally end up paying for. Here are some reasons you should evaluate your company’s insurance on a yearly basis.

Hotel construction launches near Florida convention center

Construction efforts continue to rise in the Fort Walton Beach area in Florida. The Sandestin Hotel began construction on Sept. 14 as owners launched the project at a groundbreaking ceremony. The hotel will include 250 rooms and full-service amenities at its location at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. The hotel's owner scooped some dirt from the ground ceremonially as bulldozers and cranes came to life in the background, beginning construction.

The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is developing the new hotel; executives noted that it will begin to go up toward the end of 2018. The hotel will sit next to the Baytowne Conference Center, providing easy accommodations for conference-goers. Among other amenities, the hotel will have a rooftop pool, spa and a bar in the lobby. The restaurant will have a menu produced by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, best known as a judge on the TV competition show "Top Chef."

Fort Walton Beach bustling with construction plans

Downtown Fort Walton Beach is the location of a number of upcoming construction projects that could give the area a new, modern face. Many business owners in the area remember a time when the town's central business district was bustling with customers at shops that employed dozens of people. However, over the years, the area has become a quieter place, home to antique shops and other specialty businesses after major retailers moved to shopping centers and other large-scale developments.

However, the area is becoming more profitable and a location for exciting construction projects, according to local business owners. Along the Miracle Strip Parkway, five new businesses opened in 2018, including a hair salon, recording studio, two restaurants and an ax-throwing entertainment attraction. Two more businesses are on the agenda, including a paddleboard company and a hemp specialty store. In addition, one major investor in downtown properties announced a significant restoration project for Cinema Plus, the downtown movie theater with a historic background. The investor purchased the theater and plans to restore it to 1960's glory by early 2019.

County seeks to build new agricultural center

The city council of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, approved a resolution to support Okaloosa County's application for a grant to help build a facility to promote agriculture and provide education in the area. These programs are currently housed in the county's south-area extension office, but the new facility could soon provide master gardener classes, plant clinics and greenery sales. The land earmarked for the facility is owned by the county.

If approved, the facility would be under the management of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and its Okaloosa County Extension Service. In the past, the service located its activities at a city-owned facility leased for $1 annually. However, the office is located in a flood zone, has a leaky roof and has flooded twice in the past. In addition, the county said that it has run out of space for event guests.

New school on the rise in Florida

As Florida communities in South Walton County continue to grow, a new elementary school is being built in the area. The Dune Lakes Elementary school is the first school for this age group built in the county in over two decades, and the project has been in planning for over three years. School superintendent said that the local area has grown significantly in recent years, especially in the south end of the county. While Walton County had 8,822 public school students in the 2016-17 academic year, it will have 9,100 in the 2018-2019 year. That number is expected to continue to rise.

Problems with school overcrowding have become apparent, and 15 portable classrooms were in use at just one local elementary school last year. Town officials say that the construction of the new school will solve the problem of overcrowding for some time to come. The school itself is being built on 33.5 acres of land near U.S. Highway 98. In addition to the school building, the real estate development will include a local sports park, mixed-use housing and retail. The school will have 59 classrooms and be able to accommodate 1,012 students in grades K through 5.

Several new car washes set to open in Northwest Florida

At least nine new car washes are planned or under construction along U.S. Highway 98 near Fort Walton Beach. Some have speculated that demand will not be sufficient to support so much supply, but the owners of the new locations are optimistic. So much commercial construction activity may be an indication of community growth.

Most of the new operations are planned in Destin and South Walton, with Executive Express Car Wash planning to open three new locations. Otto's Express Car Wash is planning a new location on the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and Don Bishop Road in South Walton. However, it's first new location, in Destin on Emerald Coast Parkway, should be open in time for the fall and winter months.

Renovating historic Fort Walton Beach building may be costly

After the relocation of the historic Gulfview Hotel to a vacant city lot, extensive work still needs to be completed before it will be usable. The oldest building in Fort Walton Beach was moved a half mile in April with great fanfare. This historic structure will be converted into the city's welcoming center with office and meeting spaces.

But before the conversion is complete, a great deal of work needs to be completed on the building. In addition to the roofing issues, repairs must be made to the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. To bring the building up to code, a sprinkler system will be added and wheelchair ramps will be built to meet Americans with Disability Act requirements.

Florida health care facilities look to expand

Many hospitals in Florida are looking to expand the scope of their services or break new ground. However, some of the proposals are focused on areas where there is less need for new hospital facilities. The size of the proposed projects varies greatly, ranging from one facility that wants to add four new neonatal treatment beds to others that are looking to create new facilities with more than 100 beds.

In Florida, construction of new health care facilities requires obtaining a Certificate of Need or CON. Health care regulators assess the needs for new services around the state, developing a fixed-need pool. Throughout the year, there are four cycles in which proposed facilities can apply for a CON, two of which are for hospitals and two of which are for additional services like nursing homes. Before submitting an application for a CON, health care providers must submit a letter of intent to seek approval. The CON must be approved in order to build a new medical facility in the state.

Southern Legal, P.A.
238 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SW
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Phone: 850-659-6531
Map & Directions