Judge OKs cell tower in Buckhead Ridge

A judge has paved the way for at least one cell phone tower to be built in Buckhead Ridge ending a court dispute that lasted nearly a year.

Glades County Attorney Richard Pringle told the County Commission Tuesday that Judge Jack Lundy issued an order that denied a writ of certiorari requested by Gulfstream Towers, LLC, one of two firms that wanted to build cell towers in Buckhead Ridge.

Under the judge’s ruling both companies can move ahead with plans to erect towers if they so choose. It is not yet learned whether Gulfstream would appeal the decision. The other firm is Vertex Development, LLC.

Chairman of the county Commission Tim Stanley was admittedly giddy at the news, “I am very pleased to hear this. I just wanted the community to get a cell tower.”

He said constituents often complain about cell phone calls being dropped and overall problems with cell coverage in that part of the county.

The commission approved the resolution to extend the life of the Barron Control District. This district covers canals and drainage in parts of Glades and Hendry County.

Attorney Richard Pringles said the district provides water management for many property owners and serve a lot of people. “They just want the sunset provision to be removed. I would recommend support of the removal.” The resolution was approved (5-0).

The board debated language on whether to extend or remove the sunset provision in 2020 and decided to support the removal of the sunset provision.

The BOCC wants some input in the process of hiring a new administrator for the Hendry Glades Health Department. The board appointed County Manager Paul Carlisle to represent the county on the interview panel.

Mr. Carlisle said the board would have the opportunity to ratify the appointment after a selection is made.

State Legislative priorities this year include continued support for funds for the job training center project, continued support for County wastewater improvement projects and efforts to remove septic tanks along the Caloosahatchee River, funds for the Moore Haven canal project and payment in lieu of taxes for Moore Haven Correctional. The county also requests reduced training requirements for volunteer fire companies, funds to improve the intersection of US 27 and SR 78 east and protection of private property rights when the state develops Florida panther protection policy.

The board met with the Glades County School Board and the City of Moore Haven on Oct. 5 to consider the priorities.

Clerk of the Courts Sandra Brown said the state has cut funding for clerks across the state. Brown said $50,000 was cut in the 2015-2016 budget and more cuts are being proposed.

She asked the commission to support the clerks in the fight for revenue.

The annual Christmas Parade in Lakeport requested a boat ramp closure at Harney Pond Canal on Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. The parade is put on by the Lakeport Garden Club.

Over 500 people attended the event last year. Commissioner Paul Beck said the event has been a huge success. The cost is only $2 and visitors are encouraged to bring a child’s toy to help Toys for Tots and other programs.

Another rezoning dispute that went to court that involved the JJ Wiggins Trust appears to have been resolved. The Glades County Planning Board considered an application for a development on US 27 on Oct. 13.

Good Wheels plans a change in route in Glades County which will begin on Dec. 21. The goal is to increase ridership. They will leave at 9 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. on Saturday with trips to Clewiston and Okeechobee.

The pickup site should remain the old IGA parking lot. Other stops are the Lakeport and Buckhead Ridge community centers. They will drop off passengers at Publix and Walmart.

The health department reported that 5 k race recently held in Moore Haven was a huge success. They would like to make it an annual event. 70 people are now certified in CPR in Glades County.

The Ortona Community Association plans a fall festival in November with a date yet to be finalized.

Commissioner Donna Storter-Long reported the Palmdale Cracker store is now open on U.S. 27.

Commissioner John Ahern said the county jail population has increased to an average of 200 inmates.

A Dollar General store is being built on State Route 78 in Buckhead Ridge.

In other actions…
-The board appointed Tommy Bartocci to the Glades County Library Advisory Board.
-voted to extend the contract of the county Medical Director through September 30, 2018 without debate. Dr. Joseph Lemmons has been the Medical Director since 1997. He is a Board certified emergency room physician at Lehigh Regional Hospital.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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