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First reading of city’s new EAR plan a go

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By The Staff

The Chiefland City Commission voted unanimously 4-0 at Monday night’s meeting to approve the city’s new comprehensive plan.

The plan, which was last updated in 2000 and addresses ordinances relating to land use, transportation, housing, infrastructure, economic development and intergovernmental coordination, to name a few, must still undergo a final reading.

 But in the meantime, it will be sent to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for approval.

Bruce Day, a representative from the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council—the organization providing planning services for the city—said the DCA will have about a 60-day review, which will give Chiefland officials time to further review the amendments to the plan.

Vice-Mayor Teresa Barron, the only commissioner to ask questions about the plan, expressed concern over a few of the amended items.

She said a few of the colors used to discern different areas within some of the comprehensive plan’s maps were hard to differentiate.

Day said it was probably due to a printing error.

“And 341 (County Road), why is it labeled that way?” Barron asked. “Doesn’t it determine how much right-of-way there is?  That’s a major road.  We know how much traffic is on that road.”

Barron said she wanted to make sure that options for development were not limited in the future.

She also mentioned her concerns about some of the wording in the infrastructure section of the plan.

The section, objective 3.5, states that the city shall cooperate with state, regional and local agencies in matters associated with potable water lines and services to Fanning Springs.

“What does cooperate mean,” she asked Day.

Day suggested it be changed to read “consult,” and the commissioners agreed.

In other matters:

* Commissioners voted unanimously 4-0 to renew the service agreement with the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council for the upcoming year.

According to city documents, the council has provided planning services for several years and is used on an “as needed basis”.

The report also states that the council has had a decrease in the hourly rate it charges the city for its services.

* Commissioners voted unanimously 4-0, upon first reading, to adopt an ordinance establishing a city water utility service area, which will also include a wastewater utility service area.

The ordinance would allow for control of future expansion of Chiefland water and wastewater services to areas currently located outside of the city’s municipal boundaries, according to a city document.

City Attorney Norm Fugate said adopting a map delineating a water utility service area does not necessarily require the city to hold to the boundaries it establishes.

“But it also does not mean another municipality cannot come in that area.”

Districts can overlap, he said.  A city’s district has nothing to do with the county’s district.

* Commissioners, 3-0, unanimously approved a contract for fiscal year 2009/2010 with Beauchamp and Edwards, a local accounting firm that handles the city’s year-end financial statements and annual reports.

The firm will charge Chiefland $12,000 for services.