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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ A decision about a zoning request to the High Springs City Commission has once again been delayed. At the July 22 City Commission meeting, a zoning change application submitted by J.H. Londono, agent for Safeca Ltd., was rescheduled to the Sept. 20 meeting.

The request is for 89.69 acres located east of Bailey Estates be changed from R-1A (low and medium density single-family residences) to R-3 (medium density single-family detached residences). If approved by the Commission, it would be consenting to a minimum lot size of 4,500 square feet.

The application has been continued for several months to finalize a development agreement with Londono. The City has provided a draft development agreement to him, but the applicant proposed that 40 percent of the lots be 5,000 square feet minimum and the remaining lots be 6,000 square feet minimum.

In a second revised version, the applicant proposed all the lots be 6,000 square feet minimum. “City staff did an analysis of all the lots in Bailey Phase I and found that the majority of lots are in the 8,000 square feet and 9,000 square feet range,” said Assistant City Manager Bruce Gillingham.

The City has said they could not support a development agreement with a lot size starting at a 6,000 square foot minimum. “Staff is not in favor of this zoning request because it is not compatible with surrounding land uses,” Gillingham said. Londono does not want to increase lot size, putting the rezoning request at a standstill.

Although the City Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval of the proposed zoning change on Sept. 22, 2020, the Commission did not approve the request when it was first presented to them at their Oct. 8, 2020 meeting. Londono was then asked to present an amended plan. The ordinance was read and adopted on first reading at the Nov. 24 meeting, but was continued at the Dec. 10 meeting and has been continued several more times. A request at the July 22, 2021 meeting to extend second and final reading to Sept. 20.

Area residents spoke about the rezoning request and expressed a strong desire to limit further continuations of this application past Sept. 20.

In other city business, the third amendment to an agreement between the City and Prochamps, which originated in 2015, received a unanimous vote to extend the agreement for another two years. The company, which is based in Melbourne, provides registration and tracking of homes in or about to go into foreclosure. There were no changes to the agreement, which will now expire on Aug. 31, 2023.

The purpose of the agreement is to provide a system of registration and tracking of foreclosed homes and homes in default with personal contact information of the party who may be responsible for remedying Code violations.

Law enforcement mental health and wellness is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)between High Springs and Gainesville.

Gainesville was awarded the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Grant. The grant provides for implementation of a multi-jurisdiction law enforcement mental health and wellness peer support program.

The collaboration of Peer Support Programs (PSP) within each agency will prove cost effective and could serve to be beneficial in its ability to break down the stigma and stereotypes associated with the profession of policing and mental health services.

In budget matters, the Commission approved Resolution 2021-F, which fixes the proposed tentative ad valorem taxes for fiscal year 2021-22. While the current rate is 5.88 mills, the Commission voted unanimously to raise the proposed tentative rate of taxation to 6.25 mills.

Most municipal governments set their tentative rate of taxation higher than their previous year’s rate because they have not yet gone through the budget process. The City still has the option to lower the taxation rate once they have completed the budget process.

Following up on the latest Farm Share food distribution in High Springs, Commissioner Byran Williams said that 671 households were served. He thanked everyone who volunteered their time to hand out the food.

High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard announced that National Night Out will be held on Aug. 3 this year.

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