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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ On Sept. 10, High Springs became one in a string of Alachua County municipalities to unanimously approve a resolution opposing Alachua County’s proposed “County Charter Amendment Establishing County Growth Management Area.”

Commissioners were not only unanimous in their opposition to the county’s action; they were emphatically enthusiastic in their opposition as they approved Resolution No. 2020-I.

On Aug. 24, Newberry’s City Commissioners approved Resolution No. 2020-36, leading the way to opposing the county in their attempt to take jurisdiction away from the various municipalities. In making their decision, one commissioner commented that this action would take home rule away from the cities and give it to the County instead.

On September 21, the City of Alachua filed a lawsuit challenging Alachua County’s proposed Charter Amendment which states that it would establish a County Growth Management Area.

If approved by the voters, the charter amendment will restrict the ability of municipalities to determine the appropriate uses for property within their jurisdiction after annexing property from the County into their city.

If voters approve this Charter Amendment in the Nov. 3 election, it will apply to every city in the county as well as to the unincorporated Alachua County residents.

A portion of the High Springs resolution reads as follows: “Article VIII, Section 2(b) of the Florida Constitution provides for Home Rule: ‘Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services, and may exercise power for municipal purposes except as otherwise provided by law.’”

When the topic was discussed in Newberry, Mayor Jordan Marlowe indicated that the Alachua County League of Cities is in opposition to this significant change and he hopes community leaders in the other municipalities will educate their voters as to the significance of the proposed change.

Educating the public is exactly what High Springs Commissioners said they wanted to do when they approved Resolution No. 2020-I.

Commissioner Linda Jones said that before she became active on the Commission, she would not have known how an amendment like this might impact her community. “How are they going to know what they are voting on and how it will impact them if no one educates them?” she said. “I’m not talking about telling people how to vote, but people need to know what they are voting for.”

Commissioners agreed that the amendment adversely affects the ability of the City to determine appropriate land use for property within its jurisdiction. They also believe that local elected officials make the best decisions about developments within their community.

In addition, this action discourages businesses from moving into the community as the City will not have control over local land use policies. It further discourages people from moving into a City where they feel compatible with local policies.

Several Commission members said they feel capable of managing their own zoning and policies and do not believe that the extra, unnecessary level of bureaucracy is in the best interest of the citizens of their community.

The approved resolution indicates that it is in the best interest of the City of High Springs to oppose the proposed Alachua County Charter Amendment.

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