County seeks proposals on Glades Inn

After a special meeting May 22 in which commissioners discussed changes to a Request for Proposals (RFP) that the Glades County Board is putting out for redevelopment of the old Glades Inn site on U.S. 27 in Moore Haven, they took it up again at their regular meeting Tuesday, May 29.

Formal, sealed proposals are being sought for purchase of the property at 1100 S. U.S. 27, and the county board set a closing date of Wednesday, July 18, at 2 p.m. There will be no pre-proposal conference. Any questions and requests for additional information must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 29.

The county is asking for proposals from qualified entities with the financing and capacity to design, construct own and manage the property. The list of allowable uses is short: motel/hotel; restaurant and/or lounge as part of the motel or hotel; extended stay facilities as part of the motel or hotel; professional offices; a grocery store; a delicatessen; retail outlets including general goods, clothing and/or craft and hobby items; or other related uses that might be appropriate for the county commissioners to consider. The specifications expressly exclude apartments.

Commissioner Donna Storter Long made a motion to approve advertising the RFP, asking whether the contact person should be changed to the interim county manager. Commissioner Weston Pryor seconded, and the board voted 5-0 in favor.

Chairman John Ahern used the occasion to introduce him to the public. Interim Manager Joe Helfenberger’s first day was Tuesday. “He’s joined us, and on board today, just started. I don’t know if he’s just gotten his feet wet; he’s probably wet up to his knees already, I believe. We’ve got a lot of projects going on, and Mr. Carlisle was here this afternoon, kind of going through and helping him out on some stuff and will continue to do so,” Mr. Ahern said, referring to former County Manager Paul Carlisle, who’s stayed on as a consultant for a time after taking the city manager job in Sebastian.

“We’re glad to have you,” he told Mr. Helfenberger, who thanked him.

Staff anticipates that the board may review any proposals received at its meeting on Monday, July 23. They will be ranked, and then the board will make a selection. If agreement cannot be reached with the selected proposer, negotiations would proceed to the second-ranked entity, and so on.

As part of the RFP process, Glades County and the City of Moore Haven have agreed to waive the capacity fees for a water and sewer connection solely for the development of a hotel/motel with a restaurant/lounge as part of it on the property. Payment bonds, performance bonds and certificates of insurance may be required.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the transmittal of Long Hammock Groves Inc.’s proposed change to the future land use map designation of 60.51 acres from agricultural/open to industrial, to the state Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for review. The Planning & Zoning Board voted to recommend approval on May 8. Long Hammock Grove is being represented by Johnson-Prewitt & Associates Inc. in its proposal for the almost 300 acres of land land at 6120 W. U.S. 27, extending from 1 mile north to the highway. The property is surrounded by the Nine Mile Canal for drainage on the north; cropland to the south and east; and a nursery to the west, and is now being used for sugarcane farming. The property to the south is a 233.34-acre tract in Hendry County, which has approved a request by the petitioner to change the future land use to multi-use planned unit development from general agricultural and transmitted it to the DEO for approval, with a residential density of up to one unit per 20 acres. Sanitary sewer would be provided by an onsite sewage treatment system. According to documents submitted by Johnson-Prewitt, “The map amendment is being proposed with the intention of the site supporting the growth of Airglades International Airport.” About 22 acres along U.S. 27 will be used for a commercial purposes such as a business park, with about 183 acres left for industrial uses, of which half will be devoted to warehousing and half for an industrial park. Commissioner Weston Pryor moved that the application be transmitted to the DEO, the motion was seconded by Commissioner Donna Storter Long, and the board approved it 5-0.

• Lifted the burn ban that has been in place for the past few months, finding that potential emergency conditions no longer exist in the county.

• Applied for recognition of its drug-free workplace program so as to earn a 5 percent discount on insurance rates, as requested by Human Resources Director Gabrielle Ibietatorremendia.

• Applied for a workplace safety program premium credit of 3 percent on insurance rates. “On that as well, as long as we maintain a safety program within the county, maintain our manual as well as training, we’ll receive the discount for the insurance,” said Ms. Ibietatorremendia.

• Approved staff’s request to deed over the property at 1116 Andrea Lane in Buckhead Ridge to the Okeechobee Utility Authority, which operates a sewer plant on the property and needs title so that it can apply for a grant to do upgrades to the plant.

• Approved the 2018-19 budget of the Southwest Florida Workforce Consortium, which proposes spending $14,161,000 during the year ending June 30, 2019, in its territory of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties on its workforce development activities.

• Heard an update from Finance Director Tiffany Patterson on unspent money from the 1-cent discretionary tax revenue fund, which held $1.69 million as of April 30.

The Glades County Democrat is published every Thursday.

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