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NEWBERRY ‒ Newberry’s plans to implement an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system in the city are moving forward. On May 24, City Manager Mike New reported to the Commission on the system’s progress. “The project management team meets weekly for project meetings to ensure the project remains on track, plan work and address issues that arise as part of deploying the $1.2 million AMI system,” New said.

Items completed to date and purchase orders issued for network equipment amount to $152,000 and residential water meters comes in at $600,000.

The City tentatively plans to have public education and workshops by September in advance of the system coming online in parts of the city by October. Full deployment should be completed by March 2022, and final system acceptance and project completion is scheduled for May 2022.

Once completed, city staff will no longer need to ride around town to read meters, and property owners will also be able to better manage their usage.

“Although the project completion date is approximately five months later than originally anticipated due to COVID-19, the project is back on track now,” New said. The company installing the AMI system is planning to feature the Newberry installation at DistribuTech, an industry summit, as an example of how a small city is using AMI to better serve its citizens.

Avalon Woods

The Commission approved a development agreement between the City and M3 Avalon Woods. A second item under consideration dealt with amendments to the Mixed-Use Development. The property consists of approximately 196 acres and is located adjacent to the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex.

The City negotiated with M3 to allow Avalon Woods to use 10 acres of City property as part of their development with the caveat that the land would be developed as a playground. Currently, the City does not have funds allocated to outfit the playground. The developer agreed to install sidewalks on one side of the street, update the entrance to Newberry-Easton Sports Complex and provide additional signage. The developer also agreed to provide a lift station for the development.

In the second hearing, Dave McDaniel (M3) requested changes to the Mixed-Use Development to formally change the name of the project from Lexington Station to Avalon Woods. They also asked that the City allow the development to increase the number of residential properties, reduce the amount of commercial properties and reduce the lot sizes from 5,500 to 4,000 square feet to make the homes more affordable. The developer said fewer commercial properties in that location would reduce traffic flow on State Road 45. The project is expected to be built out by 2036.

Following discussion on school concurrency, Mayor Jordan Marlowe reminded Commissioners this project was originally approved in 2008 and that the school board has been aware of it for the past 13 years. Commissioners were also told that the proposed Mixed-Use Development amendments were consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Rick Coleman moved to approve Ordinance 2021-14 on first reading. Commissioner Mark Clark seconded. The motion was approved in a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Monty Farnsworth dissenting.

Planned Development

The Commission approved on second reading a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA 21-02) to change the Future Land Use Map classification on 289 +/- acres from Agriculture to Planned Development. This amendment was heard on first reading on March 8, and sent to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for approval. Receiving no comments (concerns) from the state and no questions from Commissioners or citizens, this item was unanimously approved.

Once CPA 21-02 was approved, CHW, acting as agent for Arpin Sr. & Bond & Gray & Gray & Schofield & Yarborough and Gravely Family Trust, owners, CHW requested the City rezone the same 289 +/- acres located at 23479 West Newberry Road from Agricultural (A) to Planned Development (PD). The Commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning on second reading.

Annexation

An application for voluntary annexation of 59 +/- acres of land at or near 3200 N.W. 202nd Street received approval on first reading of Ordinance 2021-24. The annexation will help to reduce an enclave.

Comp Plan Amendments & Rezoning

Three Comprehensive Plan Amendments (CPAs), along with associated rezoning applications, were reviewed in separate hearings. All received unanimous approval by Commissioners on first reading, and as required by law, were sent to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for review and comment.

Vacating Roads

A petition to vacate the portion of Southwest Third Avenue from Southwest 252nd Street west to the CSX railroad right-of-way was approved by the Commission. New said he believed the land would be used to build a residence.

A second petition was submitted to vacate a portion of Northwest Second Avenue between Northwest 254th Street and Seaboard Coast Line (CSX) Railroad. Overhead utilities are located on this property and the City will retain the utility easement. This petition was heard on first reading. New said Pat Post and William Watson would be the property owners who would benefit from this action. Although this passed on first reading, Commissioner Monty Farnsworth voted against approval due to concerns that CSX may want that land sometime in the future.

Newberry City Hall will be closed on Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day

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