MOORE HAVEN – The Buckhead Ridge area is posed for a population boom.
The May 9 meeting of the Glades County Commission included the first public hearing on an amendment to the development agreement for Lakeside Estates.
County Attorney Richard Pringle explained “Florida authorizes the county to enter into an agreement with a developer like this.
“When Glenn Harvey first initiated the first planned development on the property, we entered into an agreement with Mr. Harvey at that time.
“Lakefront Estates has asked us to amend the agreement.
“It is very similar to the development agreement you had with Mr. Harvey,” he explained.
The development uses proposed for the property are: “A maximum of 1,300 single-family dwelling units and customary accessory uses, and commercial uses with the maximum overall Floor Area Ratio of .30. The maximum overall gross residential density is 2.48 dwelling units per acre. No residential building may be more than 35 feet in height, and no commercial building may be more than 45 feet in height.”
The second public meeting will be at the county commission’s May 22 meeting.
Later in the meeting Commissioner Tony Whidden expressed concern about the development.
“We’re about to see a population explosion in Buckhead,” said Whidden.
“We’re fixing to see a population boom in Buckhead with as many voters, people who will be voting, as this county has. When I ran for county commissioner in the past, I thought it was a great idea that we run countywide. I was not opposed to that, because you were a county commissioner and not a district commissioner. But now with this new dynamic taking place, we can have one corner of our county controlling every decision this county makes. I talked to Mr. Pringle about what it would take to go back to district-wide.
“I think that is more fair. It would not be fair for one portion of the county to control the whole county,” he said.
“Just something we need to think about, maybe run districtwide instead of county wide,” he added.
Commission Chairman Tim Stanley noted when the population changes, the lines for the five county voting districts would be redrawn so that each district has about the same number of voters. That could mean Buckhead Ridge would be in more than one district.
Glades County currently has 7,128 registered voters. In the 2022 election, 3,839 Glades County voters cast ballots. Glades County voters cast 5,222 ballots in the 2020 general election.
Currently, all Glades County voters may vote in all commission races. Candidates are supposed to live in the district they represent, said Glades County Supervisor of Elections Aletris Farnam.
She said the county recently went through the redistricting process following the 2020 census. This was the first time in about 30 years the district lines changed, she explained.
Florida law allows counties to change voting for county commissioners from countywide to voting by district if 10% of the registered voters petition to put the question on the ballot: “Section 124.011, Florida Statutes, provides an alternate procedure for the election of county commissioners by single-member representation. The electors of a county may petition to have a proposition calling for single-member representation placed on the ballot by presenting petitions to the board of county commissioners that have been signed by not less than ten percent of the duly qualified electors of the county. The required number of signatures must be determined by the supervisor of elections based on the number of registered electors in the county at a date certain. The statute requires the electors petitioning to have the proposition placed on the ballot to register as a political committee pursuant to section 106.03 and a specific person must be designated as the chair of the committee to act on behalf of the committee. The statute sets forth the language required to be contained in the petition form circulated for signatures.”
If such a petition is filed, the matter could be placed on the ballot during any regular election. Florida law does not allow this to be done in a special election.