NEWBERRY ‒ Some three dozen Newberry property owners are being asked to donate property to the City of Newberry to bring a 2.6-mile segment of Southwest 30th Avenue into compliance with the City’ Land Development Regulations (LDRs).

At the Oct. 23 Newberry City Commission meeting, Assistant City Manager/Public Works and Utilities Director Jamie Jones reported that a survey had been conducted on a 2.6-mile segment of Southwest 30th Avenue between U.S. 27/41 and Southwest 202nd Street. Although Jones earlier told the Commission that the road must be a minimum of 60 feet wide to pave it and transition it into a collector street, the City’s Land Development Regulations require that roads constructed on a section line must have a minimum of 80 feet of right of way.

Jones said the survey identifies 40 feet north/40 feet south of the section line, as well as the existing area maintained/used as a driving surface within this 80-ft. path. The existing area maintained/used as a driving surface is not centered on the section line consistently, and in some cases, the existing area maintained/used as a driving surface is totally north of the section line and in some cases, it is totally south of the section line.

The surveyor identified this on a map and also prepared a list of property owners and acreage necessary to establish a consistent 40-foot right-of-way both north and south of the section line.

Jones said there are 36 property owners along that right-of-way, some of which are willing to provide part of their land in exchange for the City eventually paving the roadway. However, some property owners are not willing to provide the City with a right-of-way in exchange for a paved road.

Jones said the next step is to create a legal description of the properties people are willing to donate to the project so that the property can eventually be conveyed to the City. The total property that needs to be obtained is 17.63 acres. Several of those properties have less than one acre they will be donating. Jones said the City could initially chip seal the road and eventually pave the road when funds are available to do so.

Barrington Replat

In other business, the Newberry City Commission unanimously approved a replat on agriculturally zones property known as Barrington subdivision. The replat was for 39.8 +/- acres of non-contiguous land located at the northwest corner of Southwest 15th Avenue and Southwest 170th Street. The Barrington plat was originally approved on June 27, 2022.

The replat of Lots 8 - 11 addresses changes in the interior access road which were the result of a review by the Suwannee River Water Management District. The lots remain relatively in the same area. Lot 11 is reduced to 1.995 acres, which is below the minimum required lot area of two acres. However, the difference in area proposed and required is minor and causes no negative impacts to property in the immediate area.

Lot 23, approximately 29 acres in area, is being subdivided to create two new lots for a total of 25 total lots within the Barrington subdivision. Resolution 2022-35 permits the division of Lot 23 up to two times. The proposed Lots 23 - 25 all meet the minimum area requirements established in the original resolution.

Although the replat was approved, the approval carried a condition. CHW is to work with the City Fire Chief and Planning Department to work out a satisfactory way for fire trucks to be turned around now that the circular drive, which was part of the original access road, has been modified.

Contract with ASO

The Commission also unanimously authorized City Manager Mike New to continue an agreement with Alachua County Sheriff Emery Gainey for enhanced law enforcement services to the City. The original contract with Sheriff Clovis Watson, Jr., expired when Watson resigned. New and Gainey agreed to continue the contract negotiated with Watson on June 14, 2021, until the original end date of Sept. 30, 2025.

Lease Agreement for Cell Service

The Commission unanimously authorized New to execute a lease agreement with Cellco Partnership (d/b/a Verizon Wireless) for cellular antenna array space on elevated water tower two, located at 24815 N.W. 16th Avenue, Newberry Easton Sports Complex.

Assistant City Manager/Public Works and Utilities Director Jamie Jones said the agreement addresses items such as term, insurance, permitting, and maintenance. The yearly compensation for the use of the water tower for the antenna array is $33,000, with an annual increase of two percent every year for the term of the lease, which is for a five-year period with the possibility of lease extensions.

The installation of the antenna is expected to extend cell service to dead spots in the area while also diversifying the City’s revenue stream.

Local Business Impact

In other business, the Commission approved Ordinance 2023-31 on second reading, creating a local business impact estimate ordinance in compliance with Florida Statutes.

This ordinance will become effective retroactively as of Oct. 1 of this year and is intended to make local government more transparent. It requires local governments to prepare and publish impact statements on ordinances prior to their adoption.

The law also provides a procedure to challenge ordinances that are adopted by local government, while also setting challenge and waiting periods.

Other City Business

City Manager New declared Oct. 31, 2023 as Halloween in Newberry beginning at sunset. He also said that City Hall would be closed on Thursday, Nov. 9, in honor of Veterans Day.

Mayor Jordan Marlowe reported that Kathy Thomas was named Citizen of the Year during the Annual Awards Banquet held by the Newberry Chamber of Commerce.

The next Newberry City Commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13.

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