The Barron Park Master Plan Committee Meeting proceeded the regular January 9 meeting of the LaBelle City Commission. Mayor Lyons opened the floor to discussion on short-term imporvements at Barron Park. There was only one bid turned in on redoing the benches in front of the gazebo. Discussion turned to using power poles or 6X6 pressure treated posts on redoing the benches. Commissioner Wilkens was not happy with the choice of using 6X6 pressure treated posts, she said that pressure treated wood would not last when placed in the ground. According to Commissioner Wilkens over 33 of the current benches need to be replaced.
Discussion turned to removing the fencing around the tennis courts which is currently falling down. According to Kelly Boone, Executive Director, LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, “the long term plan concerning the court is that it will be removed. The court is not fit for tennis any longer. There are holes and cracks in it. We would like to put some grass down but I don’t think a final decision has been made. The Mayor wants a pickle ball court but those are expensive. Others want to see a passive park and landscaping and actual grass not just dirt.”
With a budget of $15,000 a motion was made by Commissioner Wilkens to “overlay the benches with pressure treated wood, fix the pavilion and remove the fence around the tennis court all before the Swamp Cabbage Festival.” The motion was approved.
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Lyons, Commissioners Smith, Akin and Wilkins were present. The meeting started with prayer lead by Ron Zimmerly, then the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. A proclamation to proclaim January 25, 2020 as “American Legion Centennial Day” was signed by Mayor Lyons. Approval for all December 2019 vouchers and paid bills plus the minutes for the December 12, 2019 regular City Commission Meeting and Barron Park Master Plan Committee meeting were approved by a vote of 4-0
• Ordinance No. 2019-19, Land Development Code Amendment relating to Site Construction Plan - this measure is an in-between zoning approval and building permits which allows staff to review construction drawings and ensure that all conditions are being met. This measure was passed by a vote of 4-0.
• Ordinance No. 2019-23, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Small-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The LaBelle Chapter 144 of the Disable American Veterans is seeking approval of a Small-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment to amend the Future Land Use catergory of the 1.3+/- acre subject property by requesting a rezoning from Residential Neighborhood Urban to Planned Unit Development. The DAV desire is to develop the property into overflow parking spaces for the DAV fea market. The motion was passed 4-0.
• Ordinance No. 2019-24, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Planned Unit Development Rezone. The DAV is seeking approval of a Planned Unit Development rezoning to development the subject property with crushed shell/stabilized (unpaved) parking spaced to provide additional overflow parking for the DAV flea market. The motion was passed 4-0.
• Resolution 2019-25 was withdrawn by applicant.
• Resolution 2020-1, Special Exception for mobile vending at the LaBelle Brewing Company. It was noted in the application that the Brewery is open Tuesday through Sundays and that the restaurant will be closed on Sundays, so the mobile food trucks will provide on-site food sales for the Brewery when the restaurant is closed. In addition the applicant is seeking the flexibility to locate food trailers on the property for a maximum of 12 special events per year. The Brewery is open until 10 p.m. but the Land Development Code expressly permits mobile vending activities until 9 p.m. Through this special exception, the Commission may allow one additional hour of operation and the applicant also asked to remove an oak that was in the middle of their parking lot, and agreed to plant another tree in a different location to replace it. The Resolution was appoved 4-0.
• Ordinance No. 2019-27, Amendment of Code Enforcement Process. The motion was approved 4-0.
Recommendation of Award - Bid No. 2020-02 for the Captain Hendry House Irma Repairs. The only bid came from Crowther Roofing and Sheet Metal of Florida in the sum of $156,000. The company will remove all the current roofing material, lay down sheet metal and material designated that met criteria of the Department of Historic Preservation. The cost will be cover by insurance and FEMA. The motion was approved 4-0.
• Josh Rimes, Fire Chief, said the fire department ran 54 incidents in the month of December, which was less than in the past. In December the fire department had their awards banquet, Bret Stevens was recognized with a ten year service award and Brandon Roberts was recognized with a five year service away. The fire fighter of the year was Megan Snell.
• Sgt. Olbera from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), stated that in the month of December the HCSO had 76 arrests, 653 business checks, 943 residentals checks and over 5,000 calls for service on the LaBelle side.
• 4 Waters Engineering - updated the Commissioners on the projects the City currently has in the works.
• City Attorney - Derek Rooney was seeking premission from the City to hire a consulting firm.
• Superintendent of Public Works, Gary Hull, spoke about the sewer treatment plant. He stated that the chlorine treatment chamber has been cleaned of sand and grit but it is still being contaminated by sand and grit from the basins because they are so full of sand and grit. There is a process being planned to pump the basins into a sand pit normally used for oil well drilling where they hope to separate the sand and grit from the wastewater and return the wasterwater back into the basins.
A single basin cannot be shut down because there is so much sand in all three basins, the plant employees have to do the process while the basins are working. The source of all the sand, grit and other materials is caused by the facility that recieves material from other institutions and companies that service septic tanks and porta potties. The agreements between the City and the companies for these services where signed several years ago and the city is currenlty receiving from $5,000 to $7,000 a month to take these materials which may not be enough to cover the expenses for upkeep of the plant.