City Council meets after Fourth of July fuss

Workshop Council meeting held to hear complaints


NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – Neptune Beach City Council came back together Monday after the frustrations and controversy concerning an arrest over the Fourth of July weekend.

A young musician made himself famous when his performance in the middle of the street drew a crowd, which drew the attention of police.

Officers asked Lane Pittman to move out of the street with his electric guitar and amplifier, but he waited until after his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner was finished.

Eventually police wrote a citation saying they had a "responsibility to keep roadways and sidewalks traversable."

Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach met with Channel 4's Kent Justice while walking into city hall.

When asked if the fallout from the Fourth of July incident would come up in council, he said he wasn't sure, but he was sure to be there if he was needed.

That incident highlighted the issues involving road safety and parking that tend to plague the area especially around large events like Fourth of July weekend.

Most of the discussion at the Workshop Council Meeting, a meeting where the council would talk about things, but not take any votes, involved the parking crisis at Town Center.

One couple, during public comment, voiced their concerns about the growing congestion and what they believe is a public safety issue when thousands crowd the streets for the Fourth.

Susie and Mike Miller said the police do all they can, but the situation seems to be getting worse.

"It is definitely a safety concern because there are so many bicyclers that arrive without lights, and of course during the day it's not a problem, but they literally clog 1st Street. No car could get down the street," Susie Miller said.

"The situation is one, it has grown year by year. It used to be very much a neighborhood thing, where kids would ride their bikes up and down and parties would go on. And in the last five or six years, it's turned into thousands," Mike Miller said.

Following the Miller's comments, Mayor Harriet Pruette addressed Andrew Hyatt, Neptune Beach's new city manager, explaining the concerns about Fourth of July revelers.

She said the problem is getting worse and asked Hyatt to make sure they come up with a way for their city to handle next year better.

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