Michael Billings - Certified Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist - Realtor

Apalachicola Area Background and Residential Information

The city of Apalachicola lies at the mouth of the Apalachicola River. The river feeds into Apalachicola Bay. The bay extends to St. George Island. South of St. George Island is the Gulf of Mexico. The name Apalachicola is commonly believed to originate from the language of early Indian inhabitants. One like sounding Indian word meant people on the other side. While there is not total agreement on the origins of the name Apalachicola, few can argue that the name fits since the town lies on the banks of the Apalachicola River. The city is often referred to as "Apalach".

The city is a place where you can live out a dream and be who you want to be with great freedom. Apalachicola has become home to a wide variety of people with differing backgrounds from throughout the USA and the world. It is a place where common ground and community pride are easy to find. Apalachicola is also home to many long time families with ties to the 1700s. New residents are drawn to Apalachicola for many reasons. It is a great place to retire or just start a new life at any age. Some new residents just want to get away from it all. Most residents are in agreement that there is no place on earth quite like Apalachicola. It is a small town with an abundance of big personalities. It is a town of "characters". Some who come stay - others move on. Apalachicola is a place where funeral notices are still posted on the doors of the United States Post Office. Senior citizens, the elderly, elected officials, and store clerks are all treated equally; and with respect and dignity. Speaking and waving to friends and strangers are commonplace. Trick-or-Treating is a big family event as is July 4th. Apalachicola is slow to change and residents (long time and new alike) like it the way it is. It is a fine place to put down roots and grow where you are planted. The summer heat of July and August remove any doubt that Apalachicola is "deep south".

In 1935 the first bridge connecting Apalachicola to Eastpoint was constructed. The bridge was named for John Gorrie, inventor of the ice machine (which was a 1st step towards refrigerated air and air-conditioning. (A small State park [with a museum and his grave] is located on 5th Street in Apalachicola). The original Gorrie Bridge was replaced with a new structure in 1988. The metal portions of the bridge are repainted every 8 - 10 years. It was last painted in the fall of 2013.

Apalachicola has numerous parks and the entire area is bicycle friendly. There are several feral cat colonies and Apalach is doggie friendly. The city is the first site in the nation (outside of Washington DC) to duplicate the Three Servicemen Statue. This statue is located at Veterans Memorial Park. Battery and Lafayette parks offer views of the Apalachicola Bay and are ideal for picnicking. The Municipal library does a fantastic job of keeping citizens supplied with books by popular authors. Selections equal those of larger libraries. Restaurants specialize in local and fresh seafood as well as fare for those who may not want oysters, shrimp, fish, or crab. Finding a good meal and beverage for a fair price is not a problem. The town has several watering holes for those desirous of spirits, wine, and beer. A micro-brewery, the Oyster City Brewery, opened in 2014.

The city is divided into sections: (1) historic south-side; (2) historic north-side; (3) waterfront; (4) greater Apalachicola; and (5) downtown/commercial district. The north and south areas are so designated because they are located north and south of US highway 98 (which traverses the city.)

The historic area is essentially bordered by the Apalachicola River on the east, and the Apalachicola Bay on the south. The eastern boundary runs along the "bowery district" to Avenue G. The western boundary is located just west of 17th Street. The northern edge is an indirect boundary that runs west to east from 17th to the river. Greater Apalachicola is the general area west & north-west of 17th Street.

Because of the city's age and history many buildings and residences are designated historic. Renovation and remodeling throughout the city is regulated by the Apalachicola Building Department. They have primary responsibility for enforcement of building and zoning codes to include Historic Guidelines for properties in the historic district. City and county officials and administrators work hard to ensure that construction and renovation are code and historical guideline compliant. In 2011 the City adopted a tree ordinance intended to preserve and protect heritage trees. Tree trimming and removal are closely monitored.

County zoning codes limit building height to no more than 47' feet from grade to roof apex. Residential set-backs are 25' from any road and 10' from any property line. Single family homes must contain 1000 SF.

Individual residential lots vary in size. Throughout the city buildable lots are 60' x 100' and 30' x 80'. Commercial and residential lots in Greater Apalachicola and the downtown area are generally 30'x 80" and 30'x 100'. Many residences and businesses occupy multiple lots and portions of lots. (There are several zoning categories which will not be covered here but which can be reviewed at the City of Apalachicola website link at the drop down menu at the About the Area tab on the homepage of this website).

This document was reviewed and updated February 2023 by Michael Billings, licensed REALTOR. Information is deemed accurate and current. Any and all mistakes, oversights, or omissions are unintentional. This document is not an all-inclusive review of building and zoning requirements or limitations and should not be relied upon as such. Franklin County building codes are viewable elsewhere on this website by hyperlink. Prospective buyers should seek the professional advice of a Florida licensed REALTOR and/or an attorney before entering into a Contract for Sale and Purchase of Real Property..
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