LaBelle City Commissioners ban medical marijuana dispensaries

The LaBelle City Commission meeting started with the public hearing of James Rebisz who wants to buy the right-of-way adjacent to his property. The commission brought forward and approved a motion to get an appraisal of the right-of-way property.

The second point on the agenda was the final public hearing on proposed Ordinance No. 2018-08 prohibiting of medical marijuana dispensing facilities within the City of LaBelle. There would be a ban on medical marijuana dispensing facilities. This means that you can still be prescribed medical marijuana in the City of LaBelle, you can have it delivered to your house but there will not be an actual medical marijuana dispensary located within the city. It was the recommendation of the City Attorney Derek Rooney to ban medical marijuana dispensaries because the city has no control for the zoning of these dispensaries. According to Rooney a ban would be the perfect cause of action until the legislature changes the rules. The city commission brought forward and approved the motion to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

The third point on the agenda for public hearing was Resolution No. 2018-05; Capital improvement revenue bond for the Civic Center. It is a resolution of the City of LaBelle authorizing the issuance of its capital improvement revenue bond the principal amount not to exceed $252,700 to provide funds and make improvements to the city Civic Center. The commission brought forward a motion to approve.

One agenda addition concerned the retiree medical insurance. The commission will discuss this further at the budget workshop.

Raymond van Houten, commander of the VFW in LaBelle and spokesperson for the Fallen Hero’s Benefit, which every year raises money for the Veterans Wall. Van Houten invited the mayor and the city commissioners to the groundbreaking ceremony June 30 at 9 a.m. The veteran wall is scheduled to go up this year.

The LaBelle fire department received their grants and put that money towards a brand new firetruck and rebuilding the station. They showed pictures of the brand new firetruck at the meeting.

Another subject was how to go forward with putting a request for planning services, zoning services and surveying. This can be used for anyone who does work for the city.

The company that is going to work on the bridge in LaBelle, starting in mid August, is trying to come up with a better way to not have to close the bridge for 15 weekends. There is a plan in place. There is also a project to resurface Highway 80 coming into LaBelle.

Another topic of discussion was that within the historic district of LaBelle there are clear rules that people have to comply to considering historic styling etc. But outside of the historic district the codes have to be more clear and understandable.

Finance Director Ron Zimmerly stated that because of all the rain the Hendry House has sustained water damage. It is most likely that FEMA will allow full replacement of the roof, because it is historical. The issue is coming up with replacement shingles that are considered historical and protecting the roof in the meantime.

There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official re-opening of the Fire Station.

The next item concerned the DOT ponds. The commission agreed to maintain the landscaping for the ponds.

Plus the commission is looking at taking better overall care of the parks and trees in the city of LaBelle.

The next city commission meeting will be held on July 12 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Geoffrey Ionescu can be reached at

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