County Board re-elects John Ahern chairman

The Glades County Board re-elected its leadership team during a brief regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the commissioners’ first meeting of 2018.

County Attorney Richard Pringle acted as the board’s parliamentarian as it went through the annual process and accepted nominations, which did not require a second.

Commissioner Tim Stanley nominated current Board Chairman John Ahern, with Commissioner Weston Pryor moving to close nominations and Commissioner Donna Storter Long seconding, effectively returning Mr. Ahern to his seat at the center of the dais.

Mr. Pryor then nominated Mr. Stanley as vice chairman. Commissioner Donald Strenth moved to close nominations, with Ms. Long seconding.

Mr. Ahern said, “And I will say, this last year, Commissioner Stanley has done a great job filling in when he could, and he’s always available, and it’s helped out when I couldn’t be here and I appreciate that.”

After their regular meeting, they reconvened 45 minutes later at 10:30 a.m. to conduct a workshop lasting two hours about the county’s Land Development Regulations (LDR). It was a discussion called for last year after the commissioners talked about a text amendment request from the Port LaBelle Ranchettes Property Owners Association to allow residents to keep farm and other animals as a special exception in that rural western part of the county, zoned residential single-family.

In looking into that situation and the LDR, the commissioners, County Manager Paul Carlisle and their planning and development director, Inga Williams, decided the whole lot of the land code needed cleaning up and updating. Staff extended the special exception’s availability to all of the county’s residential zoning districts and went beyond what was requested, making significant changes to the definitions section of the LDR ordinance, the uses table and the description of the agricultural zoning districts.

The Planning and Zoning Board conducted a hearing and recommended approval of Ms. Williams’ LDR amendments with two changes that were proposed by staff and the agent for the Ranchettes, Alexis Crespo. Those changes were incorporated into the document, creating a new Section 125, Division 3.

Ms. Williams had requested that a second public hearing be set for Jan. 9, with a first-reading approval of the LDR alterations to be on the agenda, but the board discussed some suggested changes last month, requested tweaking of a few and asked Ms. Williams to bring back a comprehensive report on how the regulations would be reorganized, rewritten where necessary and updated.

She presented that report Tuesday for the workshop discussion; however, it was not an official public hearing and thus no action could be taken. State statute requires the second hearing to be on a weekday after 5 p.m. unless a motion to set a different time is approved by a super-majority of the board.

That hearing now may take place on Monday, Jan. 22, when the Glades County Board meets at 6 p.m. in the County Courthouse in Moore Haven.

The Glades County Democrat is published every Thursday.

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