City of LaBelle LPA and regular City Commission meeting

The LPA meeting began with a First Reading on Proposed Ordinance 2020-11, this ordinance was in relation to a Land Development Code Amendment for industrial wastewater pre-treatment. There are two separate ordinances: the Fats, Oil and Grease (aka Grease Trap) and the Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP). Both require wastewater to be treated before it is discharged into the City sanitary sewer system, but in different ways.

“The Grease Trap Ordinance would require restaurants and other food service establishments to install grease traps / interceptors to remove fats, oil and grease (FOG) before their wastewater is sent to the City sewer system. Most should already be doing this, particularly fast food restaurants. Ultimately the ordinance is intended to reduce City maintenance costs by protecting the sewer system and lift stations from getting clogged w/ FOG,” explained an email from Principal Engineer, Nick DeGuida, “Similarly, the IPP Ordinance would require industries (not restaurants/food service establishments) to meet certain water quality standards before discharging into the sewer system. The ordinance is intended to reduce WWTF O and M costs and reduce the likelihood of the City WWTF violating its operating permit (avoiding FDEP fines and inspections). The City WWTF has regularly received wastewater 23 times more concentrated than what it is intended to treat (i.e. – a car has room for four people, but regularly carries 10 people at a time). This may cause treatment upsets, poor treatment performance and possibly operating permit violations. The City had some unexpected large expenses to clean out sand from its WWTF, which is suspected to be from an industrial user. We are writing the IPP Ordinance now and expect to have a draft ready by the next Commissioner’s meeting.”

The First Reading was presented and then the Mayor opened the floor for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to recommend 2020-11 for approval was made. The motion passed 5-0.

Next during the LPA, Public Hearings on proposed Ordinances 2020-05, and 06 were held. This ordinance was regarding a Large-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment and PUD Rezone for the 56+/-acre parcel of land located south of SR 80 and east of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. known as Wheeler Grove. Wheeler Properties, LLC and Town Grove, LLC requested an amendment to the City of LaBelle Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map, Map 1, for 56+/- acres of property from the Outlying Mixed Use, Public and Residential future land use categories to the Outlying Mixed Use future land use category, and to rezone the 56+/-acre subject property from Agriculture (AG), Single- Family Low Density (R-1A) and Single-Family Medium (R-1) to Planned Unit Development (PUD) to allow for a maximum of 335 dwelling units (110 single-family and 225 multi-family dwelling units). The request was for an entirely residential, not commercial usage.

Commissioner Julie Wilkins, “I am excited about the project, and I’m glad to see good housing come.”

City Attorney Derek Rooney opened the floor for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to approve 2020-05, and 06 was made. The motions passed 5-0.

Lastly, the LPA held Public Hearings on proposed Ordinances 2020-12, 13, a Small-Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment and PUD Rezone, for a 9+/-acre parcel of land, currently vacant, located south of Cowboy Way and 1⁄4 mile east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. known as LaBelle Riverside. LaBelle Riverside, Inc. c/o Tom Flood requested an amendment to the City of LaBelle Future Land Use Map from the “Residential” and “Commercial” future land use categories to “Outlying Mixed Use.”

A prior request for this property was made two years ago, for housing for 466 farm workers. That request was met with a large amount of feedback and opposition and was withdrawn. This request allowed for a 5,000 sq. ft commercial building and 93 single family dwellings.

The floor was opened for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to approve 2020-12, and 13 was made. The motions passed 5-0.

The LPA Meeting was then adjourned, and the Regular City Meeting was called to order.
The meeting began with First reading on proposed Ordinance 2020-10 on proposed Ordinance 2020-10, Planned Unit Development Rezone for the 61+/-acre parcel of land located south of Helms Road and 1⁄2 mile east of SR 80 known The Arbours at South LaBelle Village. Bryan W. Paul Family LLLP (“Applicant”) is requesting approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) Rezone of the 61+/-acre subject property to allow for the development of 400 multi-family dwelling units, private on-site recreational amenities, and supportive infrastructure.

The subject property is generally located south of Helms Road and 1⁄2 miles west of State Road 29 in the South LaBelle Community. The subject property contains citrus crops and is accessed from Helms Road and other partially improved farm roads.

The Property is within the South LaBelle Community (“SLC”) future land use category, which was established in 2005 for a 5,280-acre property generally located southwest of the City of LaBelle and under ownership by various entities associated with the Paul Family. The intent of the category was to allow for development of a master-planned community providing a full range of housing types, employment centers, local goods and services, and public/institutional uses. The first reading was read and acknowledged.

A Public Hearing, which was the third and final reading on proposed Ordinance 2020-08, relating to Fats, Oils and Grease (Grease Trap) Ordinance was presented. City Attorney Derek Rooney and Mayor David Lyons opened the floor for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to approve 2020-07 was made. The motion passed 5-0.

Next, a Public Hearing was presented for the fourth time, on proposed ordinances 2020-02, 2020-03, and 2020-04 for the Voluntary Annexation, Comprehensive Plan Amendment, and Planned Unit Development Rezone of the 2+/-acre parcel of land located north of SR 80 and 1⁄4 mile east of Huggetts Road. The applicant, KMJ Investment Group, LLC c/o Mickey Jones, noted, “the subject property is ideally located to promote the vision of this category. With frontage on a major arterial roadway, in an area that is experiencing new growth, and where services can be readily made available, the property can be developed to support citywide and nearby residences. The property is part of what is becoming a “small village”, as intended by this category.”

The reason for the fourth presentation of this project was due to the applicant wanting to address all concerns and to make the necessary clarifications and concessions as recommended by city staff, surrounding neighbors, and the City Commissioners. Commission had asked for a community meeting with the neighbors regarding proposed ordinances 2020-02, 03, 04. The applicant, city staff, and nine members of the community (neighbors of the proposed project) met on June 25, 2020. The major concern was about alcohol sales and consumption.

Mayor Lyons opened the floor for public comment. A concern about excess water flow and water quality was brought up, the project’s engineer reported that they had plans to mitigate any water issues and that there were restrictions in place that did not allow any water flow onto surrounding properties.

A motion to approve proposed ordinances 2020-02,03, 04. The motions passed 5-0.

For the third time, a presentation was made on proposed Ordinance 2020-07 relating to a Land Development Code Amendment for open space and native preserve requirements. The proposed amendment will update the open space definition and also add a definition for “usable” open space. It is acknowledged that water management areas, buffer yards, and other pervious open space areas are important to a development, but cannot be readily enjoyed by the public or patrons of a community. The LDC amendment will require developments to provide a recreational open space component, including passive or active uses, to ensure some of the open space area is directly contributing to the quality of life for LaBelle’s citizens.

The floor was opened for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to approve 2020-07 for was made. The motion passed 5-0.

Next, was the Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance 2020-09, relating to the regulation of mobile food vending carts and trailers as part of a special event/temporary use. The temporary use ordinance was recently updated in 2019 per Ordinance 2019-10. The intent of the update was to relax standards for minor temporary uses and not require City Commission approval for short-term special events such as grand openings, church festivals, or sidewalk sales. The ordinance requires an administrative Temporary Use permit to be obtained for larger-scale events and uses, such as temporary auto sales, carnivals, and seasonal promotions. The temporary use ordinance references that mobile food vending is only allowed per Chapter 11, which requires the Special Exception.The proposed amendment will clarify/correct this text, and allow for a mobile food vendor to locate at a special event when a Temporary Use permit is obtained, subject to the following limitations:

The duration of mobile food vending from trailer(s) or cart(s) is limited to six (6) hours per day.

For multi-day events, the mobile food vending from trailer(s) or cart(s) is limited to three (3) contiguous days.

A temporary use permit may not be renewed or reissued to the same applicant or on the same premises for a similar use more than four (4) times in a calendar year, or within forty-five (45) days from the date of expiration of the previous temporary use permit. The amendment seeks to strike a balance by allowing some flexibilty for mobile food vending in the City, while protecting brick and mortar restaurants.

Jonesez BBQ inquired about the ordinance, their business was excluded from any challenges from this purposed ordinance as they operated under a special use permit.

The floor was opened for public comment. No public comment was made. A motion to approve 2020-09 was made. The motion passed 5-0.

A Public hearing was held regarding Resolution 2020-18, relating to a Special Exception to allow for a gas station (convenience store with fillig stations) in the SR 80 Overlay for a 2+/-acre property located at 17 N. Lee Street, by Creighton Construction and Management Quattrone and Associates, Inc. c/o Al Quattrone, P.E. The request was also made to allow for the removal of twelve (12) significant oak trees. City Planner, Alexis Crespo reported that 11 of the significant oaks on the property were able to be saved. The project proposal had been amended after hearing complaints and input from local residents and neighbors.

The floor was opened for public comment. Concerns about traffic, noise, late hours, were brought up. They also discussed the overgrowth of nearby properties impeding that ability to see traffic in the area.

Commissioner Wilkins commended the applicants on their efforts to save the trees, and make changes based on meeting the needs and desires of the community. She did not agree with placing the gas station in that area, but noted it was within legal limits to do so.A motion to approve 2020-18 was made. The motion passed 5-0.

Public hearing on Resolution 2020-24, relating to a Special Exception to allow for mining in the Agriculture (AG) zoning district for a 75+/-acre property located in South LaBelle Community. The Applicant is requesting a special exception to allow for the excavation of fill dirt and limerock materials. The Applicant has also filed an application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the proposed mining operation (FDEP ERP Application No. is MMR_385731-001). The application is under review and has not been approved as of the date of this staff report. The Applicant has stated their intent to excavate limerock material from the site for use in the C-43 reservoir to the west or for the various surrounding state road improvement projects (SR 80, 82 and 29).

The mining area will consist of approximately 68 acres, with the remaining lands reserved for wetland preserve. A 25-foot wide wetland buffer is provided between the mining operations and the wetland boundary in accordance with South Florida Water Management requirements. No wetland impacts are proposed via this application.

A 1.2+/-acre processing area is proposed in the south side of the site Tippen Bay Properties, LLLP (“Applicant”) is requesting approval of a Special Exception to allow for a mining operation on approximately 68+/-acres of land generally located 1 mile west of State Road 29, and 3 miles south of Helms Road in the southern end of the South LaBelle Community, also known as the Paul Property.

The existing use of the Property is active agriculture (citrus grove). A wetland area is located in the center of the site. The site is accessed in from a partially improved farm haul road extending east-west from SR 29 along the southern property line and running north along the eastern property line. All surrounding lands are in active agricultural usage.

A few questions were asked, clarifying that the project was small and that all environmental restrictions, traffic concerns, noise and pollution had been reviewed and taken in to consideration. The idea of recreational opportunities was also discussed and reported to be a possibility in the future.

A motion to approve 2020-24 was made. The motion passed 5-0.

Public hearing on Resolution 2020-25, relating to a Special Exception to allow for a church in the R-1 zoning district for a 2.3+/-acre property located at 233 Clark Street. International Christian Fellowship of LaBelle Inc. (“Applicant”) is requesting approval of a Special Exception to allow for the expansion of an existing religious facility/church and private school (International Christian Academy of LaBelle) located on the 3.4+/-acre subject property south of Broward Avenue and east of Clark Street. The church and school uses have existed on the site for many years. Churches in the R-1 zoning district require approval of a special exception; however, records of the initial special exception were not available in the City archives.

The Applicant recently acquired additional land to the south of the existing church/school and is requesting a special exception to expand the church and school facilities by constructing two (2) modular buildings containing classroom space in the norther portion of the property, adding parking spaces and vehicular circulation areas, and providing for a future sanctuary expansion. Churches in the R-1 zoning district require approval of a special exception. Therefore, expansion of the church and accessory school will require approval of a new special exception by the City Commission.

A motion to approve 2020-25 was made with the extraction of condition 7. The motion passed 5-0.

Public hearing on Resolution 2020-26, relating to a Special Exception to allow for a church in the B-2 zoning district for a 3.2+/-acre property located at 813 E. Hickpoochee Avenue. The agent Rev. Mitchell Wills Applicant is requesting a special exception to use the vacant units in the commercial building for a church, specifically Christ Central LaBelle (“Church”). The Church’s existing location is 540 1st Avenue.

Church services are generally conducted on Sunday mornings between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. Evening services and activities during the week are limited to Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The Church is not proposing daycare or private schools as part of this special exception request.

A motion to approve 2020-26 was made. The motion passed 5-0.

The LaBelle Fire Department did not have much to report for the month of June. Due to wet season not many calls were received. The adult Fire Fighter I course has neared completion. Otherwise LFD is moving forward with interdepartmental work.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office reported: 1 sex crime, 1 assault, 1 battery, 1 stolen vehicle, 1 business theft, 5 residential thefts, 2 business burglaries, 2 criminal mischiefs reported for the month of June. The statistics department reports a decrease in overall crimes when compared with 2019.

The regular business meetings of the LaBelle City Commission are held on the 2nd Thursday of every month 6:00pm at City Hall which is located at 481 W. Hickpoochee Ave. Meetings are open to the public. If you want to be included in the agenda, you may call City Hall at 863-675-2872.

Past meeting agendas can be found on The City of LaBelle website: https://citylabelle.com/

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