LABELLE — The regular LaBelle City Commission meeting included a long discussion about Hansen Alligators LLC hosting Gator Fest, and seeking a Temporary Use/Special Event Permit for Jan. 16, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Commissioner Julie Wilkins suggested that the timing was poor, as the date picked for Gator Fest was in between the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation’s Rib Cook-off and the Swamp Cabbage Festival. Wilkins expressed her concerns about the competition against other events and a shortage of resources, but said it sounded like an excellent event. Mayor David Lyons agreed that the timing was a huge concern.
Fire Chief Josh Rimes made a comment, as a citizen, that he would prefer events every single weekend during season, and that he believed it would be great for the local economy. Both Ron Zimmerly, finance director, and Commissioner Tommy Smith agreed with Rimes, and explained that the events were different enough that it would work out well for the City of LaBelle.
Concerns regarding other South Florida festivals having been canceled due to concerns relating to COVID-19 were also brought up. When the same concerns arose regarding these events, Commissioner Wilkins said that participants would just have to be careful. It was also noted that a meeting and discussion was needed for safety planning for the event.
After considering all opinions, Commissioner Wilkins later moved to approve the special use permit with the condition that the same date would not be reserved for the event next year. Commissioner Smith seconded. The motion passed 5-0.
A public hearing and second reading on proposed Ordinance 2020-14 and proposed Ordinance 2020-15 was conducted to amend the Disabled Veterans of American Planned Unit Development to modify adopted conditions in Ordinance 2019-24 relating to parking and fencing and relating to a Land Development Code amendment for mobile home replacement in the R-1 and R-3 zoning districts for the Pinewood and Englewood subdivisions, and in the RNU zoning district for the Ford and Sunset Park subdivisions. Motions to approve were passed 5-0.
A public hearing on proposed Resolution 2020-59, regarding the sewer rate increase, was also held. A motion to approve was passed 5-0.
A public hearing on Resolution 2020-66 regarding a special exception for health care facilities in the I-1 zoning district for property at 825 E. Cowboy Way, was held. A motion to approve the request was passed 5-0.
A discussion regarding “Significant Oak Tree Removal” of 11 oak trees with mitigation for the site located at 277 E. Hickpochee Ave. ensued. The city commissioners decided to defer until the next December meeting, upon review of a professional tree survey.
LaBelle Fire Department reported 66 calls for the month of October. Fire Chief Josh Rimes reported that other than some truck repairs, everything was going well.
A Hendry County Sheriff’s Office representative was not present to give a monthly report.
The regular business meetings of the LaBelle City Commission take place on the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 481 W. Hickpochee Ave. Meetings are open to the public.
If you would like to be included on the upcoming meeting agenda, call City Hall at 863-675-2872.