The September meeting of the City of LaBelle Local Planning Agency (LPA) was held on September 21 before the regular commission meeting. Commissioner Thomas A Smith was not present for either meeting.
The commissioners held the public hearings for Ordinance #2017-18 Selma Daniels Rezone, the properties in question were being rezoned from Commerical to Residential Neighborhood Urban and Ordinance #2017-20 Oak Grove P.U.D. Amendment, this was a request to increase the number of RV sites from 126 to 176. Both Ordinances passed with a vote of four to zero.
The LPA was adjourned and the regular commission meeting was called to order. Opening prayer was given by Ron Zimmerly. The commissioners praised the work done by the City and County employees during and after Hurricane Irma before moving on with agenda items.
Public Hearings, Resolutions, Ordinances and Citizens Concerns
• The Public Hearing for Ordinance #2017-18 Selma Daniels Rezone was first on the agenda. The Ordinance was approved 4-0.
• Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance No. 2017-19 Bryan Avenue Small Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Approval for this Ordinance almost failed for a lack of a second on the motion made by Commissioner Akins. “The neighborhood was in opposition to changing the future land use from Residential to Outlying Mixed Use because of bad experiences the neighborhood had before,” Commissioner Wilkins said. Wilkins eventually seconded the motion, “because we need more housing in the city.” The Ordinance passed with a vote of 3-1, Commissioner Zimmerly was the only nay vote.
• First Reading on proposed Ordinance #2017-20 Oak Grove P.U.D. Amendment.
• First Reading on proposed Ordinance #2017-21 Alcoholic Beverage Special Permit.
• Resolution #2017-15 Declaring a Local State of Emergency was approved 4-0.
• Resolution #2017-15 Extending a Local State of Emergency was approved 4-0.
• Fire Chief Josh Rimes reported that the new fire engine had been ordered and should be here by June. Rimes also said the addition to the fire station was in the works, he is just waiting to hear back from the engineers before putting it out for bids. In the last two weeks, there were over 150 calls for service and some of the firemen had stayed at the firehouse from before Hurricane Irma arrived up to Tuesday, September 19 in order to help those who needed it.
• “Our staff worked very hard and fast,” Superintendent of Public Works Michael Boyle said, “and were able to keep the plant up and running.” The crew had to move a generator from station to station because of power loss. The city of Clewiston loaned the Publics Works Department a generator which helped keep things moving.
• Finance Director Ron Zimmerly stated that as Friday, September 22, there were 60 folks who could not return home due to the hurricane in the LaBelle Civic Center. FEMA brought in a self-contained mobile shower unit but it’s temporary at best. The last information from the damage assessment team had 142 homes destroyed in all of Hendry County, 146 homes with major damage, 574 homes with minor damage and 313 homes effected. The 887 homes with major and minor damage are considered by the county building official to be uninhabitable until some type of repair is made.
“The county wide assessment is still being completed but this number shouldn’t increase greatly as the more populated areas were surveyed first,” Ron said.
Contractors began picking up debris in the City of LaBelle on Wednesday, September 27. Residents are asked to separate debris for more efficient pick up. Please be patient and do not mix the horticultural debris with household waste or construction/demolition debris.