The City of LaBelle Commission meeting was held Thursday, October 12. Ron Zimmerly opened the meeting with a prayer.
Public Hearings, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Citizens Concerns
• Special Event Permit Davis Maus Nissan Tent Sale in the Walmart parking lot passes 5-0.
• Special Exception Review Caloosa Baptist Church to continue use of buildings for Sunday school passes 5-0
• Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance No. 2017-20 Oak Grove P.U.D Amendment passes 5-0. It adds 15 RV sites while removing some single-family home zoning and 5 ½ acres of farmland. The Ordinance passed 5-0.
• Public Hearing on Proposed Ordinance No. 2017-21 Alcoholic Beverage Special Permit. The permit does not allow placement of a business that makes most of its money through sales of alcoholic beverages within 750 feet of a church or school. City Planner Shellie Johnson asked to change the language in the ordinance. “This only includes a restaurant that would have its primary sales through the sale of alcohol, not a restaurant like Forrey Grill,” said Johnson.
“I want it on the record that the neighbors will be notified about the change,” Commissioner Wilkins said, “We’re opening a door to allow alcoholic beverages.”
“Special exceptions would be utilities, parking, adverse impacts to surround areas, compatibility with neighboring, etc. You are opening it up from zero to allowed with conditions” said City Attorney Derek P Rooney.
“Well, I just hate to see anything more come in,” said Commissioner Zimmerly,” I mean we have a nice little, town. I do not think we need to open it up to have any more alcohol, booze, beer, or anything. We have enough crime with kids and adults. I’m sorry. I can’t see any more coming in.” She cited the letter the commission received from the last time alcohol was on the agenda.
“I wouldn’t worry about the distance,” said City Planner Shellie Johnson, after being asked by Commissioner Akin what the state standard is, “What we want to do is trigger a public hearing.”
“I understand the point is to allow more uses downtown. Unless the school is going to move or the church is going to move, when is that ever a good place for it,” said Commissioner Akin, “the more I think about it, it is not.”
“It is what it is. You can have people who are responsible with alcohol, but you can have people who aren’t responsible with alcohol,” said Commissioner Akin.
“My big question is, do we really need that in our little town of LaBelle,” said Commissioner Zimmerly, “I’m thinking of the future of our young people.”
“I wouldn’t want it right next door to the church or the school,” said Commissioner Wilkins.
“Really and truthfully, we live in a small town here, but our town is changing. We have to accept change. You know it doesn’t matter whether it is a bar or a restaurant or whatever,” said an attendee of the commission meeting.
“There are folks that would like to socialize in that kind of setting and not necessarily to get drunk, just because they want to be out and have a beer with a friend,” said Commissioner Wilkins, “Maybe we could keep it to just beer verses hard liquor.”
“The motion dies for lack of action,” said Commissioner Wilkins.
• Resolution No. 2017-19 to extend the local state of emergency to be ratified following Hurricane Irma passed 5-0.
• Resolution No. 2017-20 to extend the local state of emergency to be ratified following Hurricane Irma passed 5-0.
• Resolution 2017-24 to extend the local state of emergency in conjunction with Hurricane Irma to be ratified passed 5-0.
• Resolution 2017-23 authorizing the commission to submit a grant application on behalf of Bell Arbor, not Bell Harbor, job growth grant fund in the amount of $1,360,000 with no local match for funding Bell Arbor infrastructure passed 5-0.
• Resolution 2017-25 to allow residents in Pinewood and Englewood to replace their mobile homes with documented damages from Hurricane Irma on a case by case, temporary basis was brought before the commission.
“My roof got completely ripped off,” said Pinewood Resident Mary Barns, “All but 11 feet of my home, my bedroom, got ripped off because of the hurricane. I am at odds of what I can replace it with because of the codes.”
“I did everything to prepare as much as I could, but unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky,” said Barns.
The resolution was rewritten to seek permission from the City of LaBelle to suspend certain land development regulations to adopt interim regulations for the redevelopment of certain residential structures affected by Hurricane Irma. The resolution passed 5-0.
• Ordinance 2017-22 to amend existing animal control ordinance was discussed and its first reading was conducted and entered. Doug Morgan from Animal Control asked the commissioners to change the impoundment ordinance after the county commissioners changed their policy at Tuesday night’s county commission meeting.
“The county passed the containing of animals from five days to three days. I ask that the city mirror the counties decision to change one number from five to three,” said Morgan. “We will keep the animal for a minimum of 3 days.”
“If this gets everyone up in an uproar and encourages people to get an identichip for their pets I feel like we’ve accomplished something,” said Morgan.
Janet Spindle, resident of Hendry County, and owner of two homes in the City of LaBelle questioned how often Doug Morgan has missed a chip.
“I don’t see how changing the period from five days to three days will be beneficial,” said Sherri Roswell Walker. “I think we need to charge the people more money to get their pets back.”
• A representative read Fire Chief Josh Rimes’ report in his absence. There were 224 calls for service in September. One hundred sixty-seven of the calls were related to Hurricane Irma
• Lt. Shawn Reed reported there was 1 robbery, 1 sex crime, 1 assault, 1 battery, 2 business thefts, 2 residential burglaries, and 2 car burglaries. There were 7,682 total calls for LaBelle, 123 traffic stops, and 83 arrests. “We’re starting to get back to normal,” said Lt. Shawn Reed.
• Superintendent of Public Works Michael Boyle said he had nothing to report.
“Cleanup is slow, but going,” said Boyle, “It is bad anywhere you go.”
• Flu shots will be provided to employees of the City of LaBelle. The motion passed 5-0 for K&M to give the flu shots
Correspondence Requesting Action
The commission approved blocking off the street for the LaBelle High School Homecoming Parade. The motion passed 5-0.
Business By Commissioners
“I’m concerned about the vacant lot the Mormon Church owns,” said Commissioner Zimmerly. “It is a nuisance for people and animals.”
Commissioner Wilkins followed up on the August minutes regarding the Handicap ramp for the art gallery and said she got a letter from the DOT stating they received the City’s letter about one way streets.