NEWBERRY ‒ The Newberry Planning and Zoning Board on March 6 approved zoning requests for a future environmental park. If approved by the City Commission, the property is earmarked to be developed for expansion of the municipal wastewater treatment facility, an educational wetland exhibit and retention area, a county/regional household hazardous waste disposal facility, a firefighter training facility, a potential composting site and a small-farm meat processing facility.

The Board approved an ordinance for a large-scale amendment to the Future Land Use Plan Map on two parcels totaling 96 acres on the east side of County Road 336/Southwest 266th Street, between Southwest 18th Road and Southwest 30th Avenue and is addressed as 2105, 2429 and 2617 Southwest 266th Street. This and the next two items were brought before the Board by the City of Newberry. Upon final approval by the Commission, the ordinance will change the future land use classification from Agriculture to Public.

A second related amendment to the Future Land Use Plan Map was also approved to change the classification from Agriculture to Public on the 2.5 +/- acres, currently used as the municipal cemetery.

The Board also approved a request to rezone the total 217 +/- acres from Agricultural (A) and Residential, Single-Family (RSF-2) to Public Facilities (PF). The 217 acres also encompasses the two 96-acre parcels and the existing 2.5-acre municipal cemetery.

The 217 acres includes the 96-acre site identified for the wastewater treatment facility expansion and future environmental park and the remaining 121 acres that are the existing municipal cemetery and existing wastewater treatment facility. Approval by the Planning and Zoning Board is a recommendation for approval to the City Commission.

Some citizens did voice concerns about the proposed environmental park. Comments included protecting the quality of life for neighboring properties, ensuring an adequate buffer, preserving property values, methods for meeting notifications, the size of the meat packing facility and reasons for considering it and the County’s hearing date on this issue.

Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe said the County came to the City regarding regional facilities, including the small-farm meat processing facility, due to farmers’ inability to process meat during the COVID epidemic. He said currently the County is asking for 15 acres to be set aside for the meat packing facility. Another three to five acres will be set aside for firefighter training.

In other Planning and Zoning Board business, an application by The Citadel Family Church, Inc., was considered and approved for a special exception to permit a church in a Residential, Single-Family (RSF-2) zoning district. The property is located at 145 N.W. 257th Street and consists of 0.24 +/- acres.

The building was originally used as a Methodist Church, and most recently, it was used as a Masonic lodge meeting hall. The 3,348-square-foot building was constructed in 1950 and is a contributing structure for the City’s Historic District. The property fronts the westbound segment of the Florida Department of Transportation project for the two-lane, one-way pair split for State Road 26/West Newberry Road.

Some Board members expressed concerns about increased traffic, adequate parking and noise impacting residents surrounding the building. Reverend Arraelieus Garrison explained that there are only four families in the congregation, and if attendance increases, he listed two additional locations that might be suitable for parking. He said his service doesn’t begin until 11:30 a.m. so there was little chance of waking neighbors.

Following unanimous approval by the Board, this item will be heard next at the Board of Adjustment meeting scheduled for March 13.

Also approved was an application by eda consultants, Inc., agent for Tibbetts Land Holdings LLC, owners, to rezone 8.28 +/- acres from Commercial General (CG) to Commercial, Intensive (CI). The property is located on the south side of West Newberry Road/State Road 26 between Southwest 218th Street and Southwest 226th Street. The zoning change will allow for the site to be developed as a commercial center in the front and additional boat and RV storage to the south, with possibly mini storage in-between. This item will be heard by the City Commission on first reading on March 27.

Also approved was an application by the City to change the zoning designation of 4.3 +/- acres from Residential, Single-Family (RSF-2) to Public Facilities (PF). The property is located at 120 N.W. 260th Street and is the site of the existing municipal Public Works building. The change brings the zoning designation in line with its use.

This item will be heard by the City Commission at the March 13 meeting.

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