ALACHUA ‒ Nearly 1,000 new homes will be built near Alachua’s Santa Fe High School. On May 8, the Alachua City Commission approved a rezoning request on a 306-acre property that backs up to Briarwood Phase 1 Subdivision that fronts CR 235A. The newly rezoned property will be home to Briarwood Town Center, a 306.34-acre property that fronts U.S. Highway 441. The City Commission approved changing the City’s Official Zoning Atlas for Briarwood Town Center from Agricultural (“A”) (Alachua County), Community Commercial (“CC”), and Residential Multiple-Family -8 (“RMF-8") to Planned Development – Residential (“PD-R”) and Planned Development – Commercial (“PD-COMM”) on the property.  

The proposed PD-R zoning district allows for 598 single family residential units, and 15,000 square feet for amenity buildings. The proposed PD-COMM zoning district allows for 350 multi-family residential units, and 500,000 square feet of non-residential. Most of the site would permit a variety of residential uses including single family attached, and detached, and townhouses. Multiple family would be permitted only within designated areas located internal to the PD-R portion of the property.

In November 2020, the Alachua City Commission has approved the final plat for Briarwood Phase1 subdivision, which is located in the 17000 block of CR 235A, west of CR 235A and Santa Fe High School, south of the Meadowglen subdivision, and north of the Santa Fe Hills subdivision. Phase 1 received approval for 84 homes on 28.99 acres and is currently under construction.

On a lighter note, the Commissioners were recipients of a musical presentation by Alachua’s W.W. Irby Elementary School students. The youngsters performed three songs in front of a full house of proud parents and family members. After the performance ended, Mayor Gib Coerper and Irby’s Ms. Lalaine Foreman presented certificates to the students to honor their talents in music and their performance for the Commission.

In other business at the May 8 Alachua City Commission meeting, Alachua Habit for Humanity, Inc. Requested the City to donate a surplus city-owned vacant lot to build a house for an economically challenged family. Alachua Habit for Humanity, Inc. is a Florida not-for-profit corporation that works together with families, local communities, volunteers and partners to help people improve their living conditions.

The lot is on the east side of and fronting Northwest 136th Terrace, just south of Northwest 43rd Place. The lot was declared surplus by the City Commission at a public meeting on Feb. 24, 2014, after being found to be of negative value due to liability, maintenance costs, and no projected use for a City purpose. Habitat is now requesting the Commission to donate the property for a homesite. A family has been qualified and selected by Habitat to work alongside volunteers building the family a new home supported by donations of materials and dollars from businesses and others. The equity generated by the new homeowner’s labor and donations of others also yields an affordable mortgage. The Commission approved the request and will sign a Quit Claim deed and complete a transfer of Title.

In other City business, the Florida League of Cities recognized Mayor Coerper for his 20 years of service to the City of Alachua. The award is named in honor of longtime Apopka Mayor John Land, who served his city for 60 years. The award honors municipal officials for their years of dedicated elected service and public service on a city council/commission. The Florida League of Cities’ mission is to serve the needs of Florida’s cities and promote local self-government. Florida League of Cities Membership Programs Specialist Eryn Russell made the presentation to Coerper.

Another presentation of local talent featured a group consisting of Freddie Wehbe, Orlando Milan, Thalia Milan and Mitch Glaeser who informed the Commission about the success story of Okito America, from one location to three. The newest location will be in Alachua’s San Felasco Tech City on U.S. Highway 441. Okito America started in 2007 with a vision of improving the lives of families by introducing them to the art of Tae Kwon Do, Kick-Boxing and Self-Defense, as well as offering after school care and camps during summer and other times that schools are closed. The organization also provides free transportation to the facilities from schools. Depending on the day, children will participate in different activities such as homework, art, science, sports, basic Spanish, and Martial arts, supervised by instructors and staff. The uniform for Tae kwon-do is included upon registration.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ A two-vehicle head-on crash occurred at approximately 6:15 a.m., Monday, May 8, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 441 and Northwest 202nd Street in High Springs. The original call indicated one driver was entrapped in their vehicle, which turned out not to be the case when emergency crews arrived.

The head-on crash occurred between a Chevrolet and Toyota Pickup truck and resulted in blocking the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 441 for approximately one hour. Drivers were advised to seek alternate routes as crews worked to clear the site.

A formal crash report will not be available until later this week. Currently, it is unknown where the drivers were from. According to Public Information Officer Kevin Mangan, no one was transported to the hospital following the crash.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ There’s a new restaurant in town as High Springs welcomes Prohibition Pizza. New to the restaurant business, owners Kelly and David Potter both had successful careers, Kelly in real estate and David as a contractor. Yet they had other career dreams they wanted to pursue.

Fueled by a love of cooking, after moving to High Springs the couple began a plan to open a restaurant. Kelly originally wanted to open a Mexican restaurant, but El Patio opened earlier and they saw no need for two Mexican restaurants in a small town. David’s love for Italian food, especially pizza, pushed them to a pizza culinary school in New York to become specialized chefs known as Pizzaiolos.

“We picked the New York school because we wanted to make traditional New York style, with handmade dough and all natural ingredients,” Kelly said. “But at the same time, while keeping the style authentic, we wanted to create original recipes as far as the toppings and decided to concentrate solely on specialized pizzas.”

After two years of planning and work, Prohibition Pizza held its grand opening on April 20. They restaurant celebration with an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the Potter family accompanied by High Springs Mayor Gloria James, Vice Mayor Ross Ambrose, Commissioners Tristan Grunder and Katherine Weitz and Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Decker. After the ribbon was cut, the large audience of residents and business owners were treated to cake. For people who had brought their dogs to the outdoor ceremony, Kelly had a special treat. Each dog got a large frisbee resembling a pepperoni pizza.

Kelly said they had been planning for over a year. Once they found a location and purchased the building, there was a lot of work to do in addition to building a kitchen from the ground up.

“With David's background in construction, we did much of the work ourselves with help from the family,” said Kelly. Although the building needed a lot of work, the couple liked the location, a block off Main Street and across from the High Springs Brewing Company. “Pizza and beer are a well-known combination, and we are happy to have a working relationship with the Brewery,” said Kelly. “We have applied for a beer and wine license, but we would prefer to keep the relationship as is for the benefit of both businesses.”

“We were amazed by the turnout and warm support of the community for our opening. We were even more amazed by the amount of business we got the first two days,” said Kelly. “Both days we ran out of dough to make pizza because our dough is made fresh daily and takes three days to rise properly.”

They did not expect to have over 1,000 customers the first two days, but have since adjusted for it. “Currently we only offer walk in orders or in house dining but will later do phone orders and possibly delivery,” said Kelly. “While we specialize in pizza, we also offer oven baked wings, salads, appetizers and desserts.”

Prohibition Pizza is located at 18559 N.W. 237th Street in High Springs They are open six days a week with the exception of Tuesday. More information on hours and a full menu can be found on Facebook at

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Today the Alachua County Commission voted unanimously to approve a $3 million settlement that follows through on Commissioner Ken Cornell’s promise to “make [Ability Housing] whole” after the board voted to withdraw their approval of $230,000 in local matching funds for the project. The settlement, which is for the purpose of “resolving any and all filed or unfiled claims” related to the Dogwood Village projects, obligates the County to pay Ability Housing $2,964,730.60, with $1.8 million of that amount going to purchase two parcels of land ($1,152,000 for the northern parcel and $648,000 for the southern parcel).

Funding could come from infrastructure surtax or general fund reserves

County Manager Michele Lieberman gave the board two options to fund the settlement: Option 1 would take the $1.8 million for the land from infrastructure surtax funds, with the rest coming out of general fund reserves; and Option 2 would take all of the funds from general fund reserves. Lieberman told the board that if they voted to use infrastructure surtax money, they would have to use the land for a purpose that is authorized under the tax.

Assistant County Manager Tommy Crosby told the board that taking $3 million from reserves “will deplete reserves quite a bit,” and that will mainly have an impact on the FY24 budget because those dollars will have to “come off the top” to get back to reserves of 5%, and that’s “just less that goes into the pot for other programs or tax reductions, or whatever the case may be.”


Chair Anna Prizzia said she did not favor allocating infrastructure surtax funds to the land purchase until they decide what to do with the land.

“A transformational, incredible opportunity”

Commissioner Ken Cornell said he was “really, really excited about today” and that he was comfortable taking the funds from reserves because the County will take about 60 days for due diligence, followed by 30 days to close on the property, and at that point, there will be less than 45 days left in the fiscal year. Cornell continued, “It will impact what we’re doing next year. But it should impact what we’re doing next year. This is a transformational, incredible opportunity that from my perspective brings us to kind of where we made a mishap a couple of years ago… We have an opportunity to rebuild trust in east Gainesville.” Cornell said it was important to listen to the community and spur economic development in east Gainesville and that if elected officials had followed through on promises made about a decade ago, the money would have come from Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) funds.

Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler asked Crosby, “We’re not gonna go bust if we take it out of the general fund? Are we good?” Crosby responded, “No, ma’am. We’re fine.”

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut said he would like to see “single detached homes” on the land, “so folks can buy homes and have the American dream of home ownership.”

Cornell offered to let Chestnut make the motion, but Chestnut deferred to Cornell. Cornell’s motion was to approve the settlement agreement and any funds needed to perform due diligence, with the money coming from general fund reserves. Chestnut seconded the motion.

“A game changer”

Most people who spoke during public comment were very happy with the settlement. Wayne Fields called Cornell “a brother from another mother” and said the purchase of the parcels is “a game changer” for Azalea Trails residents. Several people thanked Cornell, Wheeler, and Chestnut for their previous votes to overturn the previous decision to provide matching funds; they encouraged Prizzia and Commissioner Mary Alford to join the other three and make the vote unanimous. Juanita Miles-Hamilton said, “This experience has been a learning experience that community involvement is certainly important and vital to communication.” Jo Beaty said the meeting was “a culmination of people’s input, coming and making a difference.”

Gainesville City Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker said the issue had generated so much interest “because of the lack of investment, particularly the disinvestment in East Gainesville for generations” and that it is time “to move from performative equity” to “put your money where your mouth is.” When she reached the three-minute time limit that had applied to everyone else, she said, “I hope my commissioner status will give me a few more moments” and spoke for a total of seven minutes.

“It’s really beautiful to see the community this engaged”

After public comment, Prizzia said she was “emotional” and that “it’s really beautiful to see the community this engaged.” She said she had been asking for a “community engagement plan revamp” since she was elected: “It’s yet to show up, but I keep asking for it.”

Prizzia also pushed back on some criticisms of Ability Housing that had been made during public comment: “It wasn’t their fault; it was ours. This was not Ability Housing’s fault. This was the County Commission’s fault. When we put out an RFP, we solicited people to do this project. We asked them to come to us. They came in good faith, they came up with an idea. They looked for some affordable land. They found it, they started a process. As soon as they had enough information to be able to go to the community, they came to the community. I understand they did not do what you all believe they intended. And I understand that perhaps they were disingenuous–I don’t know about that part because the community stopped talking to me. And when I reached out, I didn’t get information back. And that’s okay. I understand trust was broken. I get it. But I want you to know that I really believed that we needed a developer for that property. We still need a developer for that property; we now have a massive piece of property with no developer.”

“We still need a developer for that property; we now have a massive piece of property with no developer.” – County Commission Chair Anna Prizzia

Prizzia said that other than small projects around South Main and Depot Park, east Gainesville has received few benefits from the CRA district. She said that when the County Commission gave the City control of CRA funds, “we gave all the power away… So the money that I would see as having to do big projects like these are in the hands of the City.” Prizzia encouraged the residents to stay involved to make sure the money is spent “the way it was intended to be spent.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the settlement agreement, with the money coming from County reserve funds.

After the vote, Wheeler said, “I’m glad for the journey, I’m glad for the victory, but I won’t be able to truly celebrate with you all until we actually see a plan and start breaking ground. So that’s when you will see me dancing with you in the streets. But for now, let’s just keep the momentum going, guys, because the work has just started, and it’s just begun.”

History of the project

The Dogwood Village project was approved by the County Commission in September 2020 on a consent agenda, and the State Housing Finance Authority (HFA) approved a loan award of $460,000 in August 2021. The County Commission voted in September to provide $230,000 to the HFA as a local match toward the project costs of about $25 million. The project was intended for families under 60% of adjusted median income, also known as “workforce housing.” The bulk of the funding for the project came from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) through housing tax credit funds. 

At the September meeting, the commission voted unanimously to approve the funds but also voted to send a letter asking that the project be relocated to a different property in Alachua County. Cornell put the project on the December 13 agenda because he wanted to reconsider that vote and Ability Housing had given the board a deadline of December 14 to make any changes.

On December 13, the board voted 3-2, with Commission Chair Anna Prizzia and Commissioner Mary Alford in dissent, to withdraw the funds. Ability Housing sent an email to Prizzia on December 29, stating that FHFC would not permit the relocation of the Dogwood Village development and would not grant any extensions. Ability Housing said they would need to return the award before January 27, leading to the loss of the project, unless the board reversed its decision. Ability Housing said in the letter that if the board did not reverse course, the company would have “no choice but to return the award and seek damages from the County for its decision to breach its commitment”; those damages were estimated at $15 million. The board voted 3-2 on January 10 to affirm their earlier decision to withdraw the local match funding. The motion from Cornell that eventually passed was to direct staff to negotiate with Ability Housing to purchase the two parcels because, Cornell said, “then we and the City can control what gets programmed there.”

At the December 13 Alachua County Commission meeting, Cornell said that he believed Ability Housing had spent $2.3 million and that he wanted to “[make] them whole. I don’t want Ability Housing to not be made whole at all. In fact, if they will work with us, I want to work with them on future projects.”

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ALACHUA ‒ This year’s Relay for Life brought crowds, fundraiser events and surprises to Legacy Field last Friday night, April 28. Relay participants, spectators and volunteers joined forces not for just a good cause, but also in remembrance of a loved one who lost their battle and for survivors who continue the fight.

During their lifetime, one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. At the least, it means a life interruption to fight against a debilitating disease through treatment or surgery and the slow struggle to recover. Even if the cancer is defeated or put into remission, the specter of the disease remains, as does the fear it could return.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement is the world’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising event dedicated to saving lives from cancer. For over 35 years, communities across the world have come together to honor and remember loved ones and take action for lifesaving change.

Funds raised through Relay for Life directly support breakthrough research, 24/7 support for cancer patients, access to lifesaving screenings, and much more. A Relay for Life event is a community of like-minded survivors, caregivers, volunteers, and participants who believe that the future can be free from cancer.

The City of Alachua began holding Relay for Life events in 2017 with the exception of a two-year hiatus due to the Covid Pandemic, returning in 2022. Since its return, the event has been held in Legacy Park Amphitheater field. This year, there were 28 teams that both fielded walking teams and make additional donations or have items for sale, ranging from baked goods, meals, drinks, handcrafts and stuffed animals.

The City of Alachua also sold tickets for gift baskets that raise additional dollars. Several booths offered games or raffles to raise funds. Some of the teams were also hosted by sponsoring businesses. This year’s sponsors included Waste Pro, Campus USA, UF Health, Sysco, Taylor's HVAC, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe College, Target, Walmart, and others.

The Alachua Sherriff's Office also displayed their helicopter and SWAT armored vehicle. Two aerobics instructors also held a workout session for all the participants.

One of the favorite local events is sponsored by the Santa Fe High School FFA, who brings a pig to the event to be kissed by a city official who raises the most money for the cause. Everyone knows who the three officials are who are contending for the opportunity to kiss the pig. The surprise is who will be the big winner. This year’s competitors were Alachua Police Chief Jesse Sandusky, Alachua City Manager Mike DaRoza and High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard. The winning candidate who raised the most money was Chief Sheppard who good naturedly kissed the pig as the crowd cheered him on.

The event is always held when the sun sets and darkness falls, representing the darkness of the disease. But, light shines on this darkness in the form of Luminaries, dedicated to the victims of the disease and to show that everyone stands together. The lights also represent shining a light on the darkness of cancer in hopes for a cure from the research this event helps fund.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature fundraising event that represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day, cancer will be eliminated. Alachua’s Relay for Life at Legacy Park was organized to remember those lost to cancer, celebrate cancer survivorship and to raise money for medical research and programs conducted by the American Cancer Society.

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County Commissioner Mary Alford asks the board to begin discussing the four-laning of Archer Road going west


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – At the May 9 Alachua County Commission meeting, the board made some changes to their meeting rules, voted to ask the governor to veto an allocation for research into seasonal fertilizer restrictions, voted to send a Chair letter to the smaller municipalities asking for funding to develop a county-wide literacy plan, and voted to begin discussions that could lead to four-laning Archer Road going west in eight to ten years.

Thumb drives to be prohibited in County meetings

The changes to meeting rules were originally on the consent agenda, and during the adoption of the agenda, Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler said she’d had requests to pull the meeting rules from the consent agenda and put them on the regular agenda for discussion, but she thought it could be handled during “citizen comment.” 

During public comment on the adoption of the agenda, Jo Beaty asked that the item be moved to a different meeting, providing more time for citizens to review the changes, which were discussed at a lightly-attended Special Meeting on May 2. Beaty particularly objected to a prohibition on bringing in thumb drives with material to be displayed during public comment. 


Tamara Robbins said she believed that the prohibition on thumb drives arose because Commissioner Mary Alford didn’t want to see a video of a slaughterhouse. Robbins said she had asked County Communications Director Mark Sexton about the policy on bringing in videos that are loaded on portable devices, and she believed that request generated the rule change. Robbins said the County allows developers to bring in presentations on thumb drives and that she thought the rule discriminated against the public. 

Commissioner Ken Cornell said he thought there should be a way to allow the public to bring in material on thumb drives, “the same way we do it for developers,” perhaps by isolating the presentation computer from the network. 

Commissioner Mary Alford agreed that they should be able to come up with a way for members of the public to bring in material and that the reason she’d been concerned about the slaughterhouse video was a concern about “any video that might provide any sort of triggering type of presentation to anyone.” She said that might include “any type of violence or some aspect of racism or something that might be presented to the public at a meeting in a way that might not be appropriate.” She said free speech allows that sort of content, but she asked the public to be aware that whatever they show will be seen by a wide range of people, including children. 

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut thanked the citizens for bringing this to the attention of the board because he said citizens shouldn’t be excluded from bringing thumb drives if developers and other presenters can bring them. 

County Manager Michele Lieberman said that presentations that are part of the agenda come through County staff by email prior to the meeting and also that the computer used during citizen comment is “tied into all the equipment that you’re seeing, that operates your broadcast. So while this computer may be isolated from the network, it is tied into our entire broadcast system. So something introduced improperly into that system could bring down our system.” She said staff would make sure that anyone who is presenting to the board would not put a thumb drive into the system. 

County Attorney Sylvia Torres summarized the changes to the rules:

  • If a Board member or County Manager wants to cancel a Special Meeting within 24 hours of that meeting, the meeting they want to cancel will be held, public comment will be taken, then the vote on canceling the meeting will be taken. In emergency situations or if it is clear there will not be a quorum, the Commission Chair or County Manager may cancel a Special Meeting, even if it is scheduled to start within 24 hours.
  • Advisory boards and the County Commission may hold “remote workshops” (where no action will be taken) as long as a physical location is provided for the public to attend and the public has the option to attend remotely.
  • Some changes were made to the quasi-judicial statement that is read by the County Attorney at quasi-judicial public hearings “because it is cumbersome and legalese.”
  • Members of the public are explicitly permitted to use the microphone and overhead projector to present or support comments, but any time needed for setup will count toward that person’s time. 
  • Types of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment, such as fighting words, defamation, and obscenity, are prohibited. 

Cornell clarified that developers will not be able to bring a thumb drive, and Lieberman said she would make sure that staff and developers understand that would no longer be permitted and there would no longer be exceptions.

The vote to approve the agenda, including the rules, was unanimous. 

Request to the governor to veto a line item in the budget

During commission comment, Lieberman brought up a letter that Alachua County Water Resources Program Manager Stacie Greco had sent to commissioners the previous evening, asking that the board send a Chair letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, asking him to veto a line item in the budget that would prohibit local governments from adopting or amending urban fertilizer ordinances that include a blackout period and would allocate $250,000 to UF IFAS to study the effectiveness of seasonal fertilizer restrictions. Greco wrote that the Sierra Club is looking for local governments to add their names to a letter asking the governor to veto the prohibition and allocation. 

Greco’s letter to the commission states, “Alachua County has a strong fertilizer ordinance, and it is important for other local governments to be able to do the same and for us to be able to make changes as needed. While [the Environmental Protection Department] is typically supportive of scientific studies, the fate of fertilizer restrictions should not depend on a fast-track study by the very institution that actively spoke out against our fertilizer restrictions in 2019.”

Cornell made a motion to both sign the Sierra Club letter and send a separate letter from Alachua County. The vote to approve the motion was unanimous. 

County-wide literacy plan

Cornell, who is on the board of the Children’s Trust of Alachua County (CTAC), also made a motion to send a Chair letter to the small cities in the county, asking them to join a county-wide literacy program. He said the County will contribute $40,000 to the effort. 

During public comment on the motion, Tamara Robbins asked whether the request was for funding support and said the letter should suggest an amount for municipalities to contribute: “I’d like to see it have more teeth in it so they actually see the importance of it and the relevance of it and the opportunity that comes with it.”

Cornell said the letter could mention the County Commission’s joint meetings with the school board and with CTAC and could suggest a “nominal amount. You know, I think $40,000 from us, if we can get the City to put something in, and the school board to put something in, even $10,000 from the small ones, I think that would be enough to do this project.” He said if each smaller municipality puts in $5,000 or $10,000, they should be able to get to $100,000, and he thought that would cover it. 

Chair Anna Prizzia said they had asked the Library District for $40,000 and had asked the school board to match the County’s $40,000, “so that’s already at $120,000. I think it’s like a $200,000 project.” Cornell suggested that the letter should state a goal of $200,000.

Wheeler asked, “What is the program? What are we funding?” Cornell responded that at the first joint meeting with the school board, the County Commission Chair said we really need a county-wide literacy effort, and through CTAC’s “listening project, it became clear that the whole community is interested in moving literacy forward. I know it’s one of the major priorities of the school board, when they talk about rezoning, shrinking the achievement gap, and their strategic plan–literacy is a big component of that.” He added, “We need to fund some experts to help us put together a plan.”

Prizzia added that the funding is for “all the experts who’ve been at the table, kind of working on literacy programs… to get together and put together a plan to make a roadmap for literacy that would outline the steps we need to take across the board and be sort of a living document that pushes us all in the same direction.” She said they keep hearing “again and again from the experts… that we have a lot of good projects that are very piecemeal and aren’t being worked together in a unified way, and it’s resulting in poor outcomes for our children.”

Wheeler said she thought the problem could be solved by educators, “the people that are actually trying to solve the problem” and that they shouldn’t be “paying money out for experts on the outside to come in and tell them how to do what it is they’re already doing or change what it is they’re doing.”

Prizzia said Wheeler was “misunderstanding,” that they weren’t trying to tell teachers how to do their jobs, but “what we have going on in the school day isn’t being coordinated with what we have in the after-school programs, isn’t being coordinated with what we have in the summer programs, which isn’t being coordinated with resources we’re giving for tutoring, which isn’t being–like, everyone’s using different tools.”

Wheeler asked again what the $200,000 would do, and Prizzia said it would go to “the steering committee of folks from the community, all the folks who’ve been working in literacy to get together and to develop a unified approach to literacy for our community.”

Wheeler responded, “And we’re going to be paying them to do that?” and Prizzia said, “Paying them to do that, yep. Otherwise, the professionals… can’t organize that, and the citizens and the organizations that we expect to just show up–I mean, how are they going to do all that work?”

Wheeler said that if they’re going to ask communities for money, they should tell them how it’s going to be spent, and Prizzia replied, “We have all of that. There’s a lot of it.”

The vote to approve the motion to send a Chair letter to the smaller municipalities was unanimous.

Four-laning Archer Road

Also during commission comment, Alford brought up the “need for the four-laning of Archer Road” and said that it was time to add it to the County’s five-year Transportation Improvement Plan, which is due in June. She said, however, that they had neglected to change the Comprehensive Plan, which only supports four-laning Archer Road to 91st Street. She made a motion to ask staff to come back with language to modify the Comprehensive Plan to include four-laning Archer Road to the county line; she said the four-laning is in the City of Archer’s Comprehensive Plan but not the County’s and added that the work would probably not be done for eight or nine years. 

Alford said the issue is “almost an urgent issue of timing because committees are meeting in the next week or two” and that Scott Koons, Executive Director of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, “wants to be able to go to those and say that we have already made a motion to change our Comp Plan.”

During public comment on the motion, both Kristen Young and Tamara Robbins said this was moving too fast, but Alford responded that it’s an eight-to-ten-year process, and “it’s got a long ways to go before we’re ever going to see anything happen.” She said she just wanted a vote to get proposed language from staff so they could have a discussion about what they would want along that corridor. 

Cornell said the motion lined up with the commitment the board had made in their joint meeting with the City Commission of Archer: “It’s not making the decision yet, but it is lining up what our intent is.” Cornell further clarified that the City of Archer wanted to make a legislative request for the Florida Department of Transportation to four-lane the road from 91st Street to Archer, “but the legislature is not going to fund that” unless there is some intention to four-lane the portion of the road inside 91st Street. 

Cornell said he would second “a referral to staff to bring back recommendations about four-laning that segment,” and Prizzia added “other efficiencies or safety upgrades to Archer Road” in the short term to the motion. The vote to approve the motion was unanimous.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Austin Paul Conner, 62, was arrested on Thursday, April 27, and charged with trespassing after disrupting a school function that he had been asked to leave earlier in the day.

At about 8:40 a.m., High Springs Police Department (HSPD) officers responded to the Deeper Purpose Kids Academy, 19930 North U.S. Highway 441, High Springs. The Academy had been placed on lockdown because Conner was walking around the fenced property. An officer reportedly informed Conner that he had been formally trespassed from the property and would be subject to arrest if he returned.

At 3:04 p.m., HSPD officers responded again to the preschool after a caller reported that Conner was back on the property, taking pictures of vehicles in the parking lot. Officers reviewed video surveillance and reported that Conner could be seen well onto the property, taking pictures. Officers again made contact with Conner, who owns Advent Health Medical Plaza, 19735 N.W. U.S. Highway 441. He has reportedly been engaged in a property boundary dispute with the preschool and told officers his attorney told him to take pictures of the parking lot.

Conner has no criminal history and was released on his own recognizance by Judge Thomas M. Jaworski following First Appearance the day after his arrest.

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