Public Hearings, Resolutions, Ordinances and Citizen Concerns
At the April 13 LaBelle Commission meeting, commissioners gave permission to the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) to install benches and garbage cans throughout downtown LaBelle. The commission approved their placement by the Baron Park House Gallery, Barron Park, Barron Library, and on Fort Thompson. The six-foot benches are expected to last 50 years.
The LDRC sought approval for the food trucks to return to Barron Park House Gallery monthly. Those opposed to the approval of the food truck event were concerned with long wait times and potential lawsuits. There were also concerns about the neighbors’ feelings on having a monthly event in their residential area. Those who were for the approval emphasized the event being calm and drawing lots of people from LaBelle and surrounding areas to Barron Park, Barron Park House Gallery, and the restaurants in LaBelle.
“Ten percent of those in attendance at the food truck event on April 6th signed the guest book at Barron Park House Gallery” said Mike Shough, President of Arts of the Inland, “many of those who visited the gallery purchased items from the gift shop.”
The food truck event passed 4-0 for the May event, but the decision to continue allowing them on a monthly basis in Barron Park will be postponed until the May meeting.
The LDRC also sought approval for a Fourth of July event including alcohol sales, Wharf Walk scheduling in November, and Smoke Under the Oaks scheduling for January. Those opposed to the passage of the Fourth of July event including alcohol sales stated it is a family event and did not think alcohol should be served.
“It is a family oriented event and if someone wants to drink they should be able to. There is alcohol sold at Universal,” said Kelly Boone of the LDRC, “A portion of the proceeds from alcohol sales at the Fourth of July event will be donated to the city to help pay for the fireworks display.”
The Fourth of July event, Wharf Walk, and Smoke Under the Oaks events passed 3-2. All events included the sale of alcohol.
Martin Peate presented two alternatives for the new bridge to be built over the Caloosahatchee River, alternative 2 and alternative 3.
“Alternative 2 would change the alignment of main street and bring the new bridge closer to the existing 29 bridge,” said Martin, “It would also disconnect Curry from Main Street and reconnect it to park.”
First Baptist Church and Upthegrove Elementary School voiced concerns over the safety of the children and parishioners in an earlier survey.
“Alternative 3 allows the cross streets in Downtown LaBelle to remain intact and does not disrupt the flow of traffic to First Baptist Church or Upthegrove Elementary School,” said Martin, “There will be a public hearing at the end of June/beginning of July to speak to residents about the bridge plans.”
The motion to adopt alternative 3 for the new bridge plans passed 5-0.
A temporary moratorium regarding the distribution and sales of medical marijuana for 270 days passed 5-0.
Speed bumps will be installed on Fort Thompson by Caloosa Cove to deter speeders in the area at the request of a petition signed by residents of Caloosa Cove. The motion passed 5-0.
Fire Chief Josh Rimes reported there were 97 calls last month, well above the run volume from last year. The department helped fight brush fires in Collier, Glades, and Lee counties. He thanked the commission for the acquisition of a new rescue truck and said it is waiting on lettering.
“The new truck will become the on-call officers truck and will house material to aide in hazardous clean ups,” said Josh.
A new EMS chief has been hired, Adrian Daums, who has been with Hendry county for almost 19 years.
Lt Shawn Reed reported two robberies from the last month. Arrests were made for both robberies. There were two batteries and one assault. Property crimes were up for last month with 10 thefts, one residential burglary, one business burglary, one vehicle burglary, and six criminal mischiefs. Calls for the district compared to this time last year were down 12.7 percent. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received 6608 calls for service, made 243 traffic stops, and 86 arrests. They will add a security check to Caloosa Cove twice a day to check for speeders.
Mike Boyle, Superintendent of Public Works, addressed the water issues in the Fort Thompson area posted on Facebook in March and earlier in April. The fire hydrants were flushed and were fine. There have been no official complaints about the water in the area since last year. Action was taken and the problem was fixed. If residents have complaints about their water quality they should call the Department of Public Works.
Shellie Johnson, City Planner, brought up the progress made in downtown LaBelle over the past four and a half years. She also proposed making a new code
The Civic Center Improvement project proposed by Ron Zimmerly, Finance Director, was approved.
Business by Commissioners
Commissioner Hilda Zimmerly was concerned about people in the city who are still building bon fires even though we are under burn ban. People who have bon fires will be given a fine of $500.