NEWBERRY – Despite citizen complaints, the Newberry City Commission on Oct. 10 approved 4-1 to rezone Eden’s Garden subdivision to Planned Residential Development (PRD). Approval of this change has been a long time coming as neighbors railed against development of the triangle-shaped 6.93 +/- acres fearing overcrowding and congestion. Commissioner Tim Marden casting the lone dissenting vote.

The property is located northeast of the Newberry Oaks subdivision and has a future land use designation of Residential Low Density up to four units per acre. No change to the future land use category is proposed.

Due to Duke Energy overhead transmission lines running parallel to the Newberry Oaks subdivision, utilizing the required lot sizes of the existing RSF-2 zoning district of 10,000 square feet each viability of developing the site. The owners proposed reduced minimum lot sizes of 7,500 square feet and minimum lot width of 60 feet within the PRD zoning designation and a total of 12 detached single-family dwelling units.

“The PRD zoning district allows the owners to take of advantage of unique lot configurations in order to make the site developable that would otherwise not be possible due to the Duke Energy easement and the current RSF-2 zoning district,” said Newberry Principal Planner Jean-Paul Perez.

At the Aug. 22 meeting, the City Commission approved this item on first reading conditioned on establishing the eastern connection, which would have reduced the number of lots to 10. However, the property owners maintained that reduction would make the development unfeasible.

In preparation for the Oct. 10 meeting, the property owners failed to provide an updated application with the reduction of units and related capacity demands for City services and infrastructure. Instead, property owners Joel and Sophia Lancaster’s agent, JBPro, Inc. engineer Chris Potts, presented figures showing that establishing connectivity would funnel more traffic onto the Newberry Oaks subdivision roads.

Potts said the Newberry Oaks subdivision roads had been built at a time when lower requirements for construction were in place and that increased traffic on the subdivision roads, which would be likely if connectivity was created, would mean those roads would fail sooner than they would normally.

Municipal potable water and sewer services are available to the site and connection to these services will be required. The City has confirmed capacity exists for this development. The City of Newberry Public Works Department noted that utility connection points and required roadway and site improvements will be evaluated at time of submittal of the site development plan.

Avalon Woods

In other business, the Commission unanimously approved on first reading a Developer’s Agreement for 26.59 acres for Phase 2 of the Avalon Woods Mixed Use Development.

The property is located to the east of US Highway 27/State Road 45 and on the north side of Northwest 16th Avenue. The proposed population density of Phase 2 is approximately 10 persons per acre, with a building density of four per acre, or a proposed 106 single-family residential units.

Developer Agreement conditions require that the City will be sole provider of potable water, reuse water and sanitary sewer service to the development. The developer agrees to extend potable water and sanitary sewer lines to service the property. If the City requires oversizing of the lines to serve other properties, the difference in cost will be the City’s responsibility. The agreement will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2037 unless terminated or extended by agreement of both the City and the developer.

A statement will be made part of recorded Home Owner Association documents that the development is located next to a regional park with ball fields and other recreational uses from which lighting and noise may affect neighboring properties.

A second public hearing will be held by the Commission on Oct. 24.

Wastewater Plant Loan Application

The Commission unanimously approved a resolution that revenues from the City’s wastewater treatment plant are to be pledged toward the repayment of a $1,770,720 loan, plus 2 percent loan service fee excluding capitalized interest, from the State Revolving Fund for the design of the Newberry wastewater treatment facilities.

In August 2022, the City of Newberry was placed on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Clean Water Priority List for Design of the City’s Wastewater Facility Improvements and Upgrades. As part of the FDEP Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) process, the City is required to submit a loan application package to the program in order to obtain an agreement for clean water design funds. Required to be included in that application package is a resolution which pledges repayment of the loan and interest with subsequent revenues.

In other City business, Resolution 2022-71 was approved allowing alcoholic beverages to be sold at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex on Saturday, Oct. 15, at a fall festival being produced by Greenfield Preschool West. The event will take place between 5 – 8 p.m.

In other matters, the Commission offered condolences to the families of recently deceased Jimbo Calvin Nipper, a retired City employee, and Linda Hodge Woodcock, who was a member of the Planning and Zoning Board.

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