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State grant may affect development

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Bruce Day, planning director of the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council, received unanimous consensus from the Chiefland City Commission to seek a $28,000 grant from the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for improving the city's comprehensive plan and its Evaluation and Appraisal Report.

New commercial development is the focus of this venture, Day said. Existing "Big Box" stores would not need to modify the external appearance of the structures if there were amendments to local development regulations, Day said.

Architectural guidelines for future business buildings, landscaping and parking designs, however, may change after workshops with the City Commission, Chiefland Planning Board and the Chiefland Vision Committee. He thinks these public hearings will be lengthy. Day said he believes the people might want something more aesthetically pleasing than a box-shaped store, and creating local laws for this type of development is a process where the people must be involved.

Dr. Bill Martin, a former member of the Vision Committee, said that as a concerned business owner, he thinks the city should jump at the opportunity to have the state help fund this endeavor.

City Commissioner W.S. "Sammy" Cason made a motion, seconded by Vice Mayor Teresa Barron, to move forward with Day's recommendation to accept the DCA grant and the commission unanimously approved it.