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Community Interest

HIGH SPRINGS – One item on the High Springs City Commission Oct. 13 agenda that caught the attention of local developers was the city’s Impact Fee Ordinance, which they claim is conflict with the intent of the ordinance.

Local developer Jack Londono addressed commissioners reminding them that three items were to be part of the ordinance based on earlier discussions.

Impact fees would be due at the time the Certificate of Occupancy (referred to as CO) would be issued, which is at the time of sale.

Water usage to establish the outside landscaping would be charged at a nominal fee.

The developer would not be charged for sewer usage when they were trying to establish outside planting.

He asked that the commission live up to their original agreement.

Developer Rick Howe explained how developers are paid and supported Londono's request that they not have to pay sewer fees while establishing the landscaping.

City Attorney Scott Walker suggested a simple resolution could correct the problem, Weller suggested that one ordinance contain all of the information rather than having developers and homeowners look in two places to find out what they are supposed to do. “We will craft something to bring back to the commission for their approval,” said Walker after hearing all of the comments.

In other action, commissioners rejected a resolution originally proposed during the Sept. 19 meeting by Nick Loffer, a representative for Stand Up North Florida. While it read as if it was in support of north and central Florida water conservation funding, Loffer would only say the organization was a non-profit group.

Between the two meetings, commissioners received information from environmental groups that there were questions about the group and their true intentions.

“I am in favor of equal funding of these types of projects throughout the state,” said Commissioner Sue Weller. “But questions about the exact intent of this resolution lead me to err on the side of caution and not vote to approve it.”

No other commissioner made a motion to approve the resolution, therefore, no action was taken.

Under unfinished business, two land parcels the city is attempting to donate to Habitat for Humanity received commission attention. The first parcel had a lien on it from the Internal Improvement Fund. Representatives from Habitat for Humanity said they were willing to take the deed with the lien.

The second piece of property had been provided to the city originally with a reverter clause attached indicating that the property could only be used for a wastewater treatment lift station or a public park. The county attorney suggested the property be deeded back to the county and they would deed it directly to Habitat for Humanity without the reverter clause. Although once donated back to the county, the county can do with it what they want, cautioned City Attorney Scott Walker. Walker said he had the paperwork for the appropriate signatures and no further action was necessary.

Two “housekeeping” issues were also addressed at the meeting. An interlocal agreement between the city and Columbia County Sheriff's Office for police services was unanimously approved. A second interlocal agreement between the city and Gainesville for maintenance and operation of traffic signals and school beacons was also unanimously approved. The cost to the city on the second agreement is $3,444.

Commissioners approved donating surplus police equipment to Santa Fe College and appointed Mayor Byran Williams to be the city's representative to the Florida League of Cities.

Announcements: November meeting dates have been modified to avoid holidays. Nov. 17 and 29 are the dates for November meetings with Nov. 17 being the date for the swearing in of the new commissioner. Meetings in December are scheduled only for Dec. 8.

A Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Nov. 18 and the Christmas Parade is scheduled for Dec. 10.

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