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County Commission votes No on allowing Sunday Alcohol sales in rural areas

The Gilchrist County Commission agreed to disagree with many members of the business community on Monday afternoon as the Commission voted No, by a unanimous vote, to not allow Sunday alcohol sales in the unincorporated areas of Gilchrist County. Many owners and operators of convenience stores in the rural areas were in attendance and urged the board to be in favor of allowing Sunday alcohol sales, but the board united and agreed that Sunday is a special day and the people want to keep Gilchrist County without the sale of alcohol on Sunday.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made the motion to deny ordinance 2020-01, and not allow the Sunday sales of alcohol in the unincorporated areas of rural Gilchrist County. Commissioner Darrell Smith agreed as he gave a second to the motion before Commission Chairperson Sharon Langford called for a vote as the board members gave a roll call, No, that the ordinance would not be amended to allow the Sunday sales of alcohol at this time in Gilchrist County.
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The Commission Chairperson recognized Ray Rauscher, a resident of Rock Bluff, as he stood at the podium and asked the five member board, “Do you know what today is?” They answered by saying, yes, this is Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. This day is memorialized as a day when the United States entered World War II after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii killing hundreds of American soldiers. The United States entered World War II to fight for freedom and secure a way of life that Americans can treasure. “We don’t need to give our freedom up,” Mr. Rauscher told the Commission.
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Gilchrist County Under Sheriff, Robert Willis addressed the Commission representing Sheriff Bobby Schultz, and the Gilchrist County Sheriffs’ Office. He explained that the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office returned $89,223.10 from the 2019-2020 operating budget. He requested the Commission to approve a budget amendment to allow the Sheriff’s Office that $89,223.10 be returned to the Sheriff’s Office budget to purchase two new patrol vehicle for Gilchrist County. Mr. Willis explained that the vehicles would be purchased through state contract by the Sheriffs Office if the budget amendment is approved.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve a budget amendment for the Sheriff’s Office for the $89,223.10 to purchase patrol vehicles for the department’s use. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion as the board approved the request by a unanimous vote. Mr. Willis thanked the Commission for their approval of this request.
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Michael O’Steen attorney at law asked the Commission for information on having the former Santa Fe Saloon to be allowed to reopen as a bar and package store at the location at North US 129 just inside Gilchrist County near the Santa Fe River. Mr. O’Steen explained that his client, Land Investment, Inc. had purchased the property in north Gilchrist County and they would like to reopen the location as a bar and package business.
Gilchrist County Attorney David M. Lang, Jr. explained to the Commission that Gilchrist County’s Land Development Regulations identifies if a business located or surrounded by A-2 agriculture property closes and remains closed for longer than twelve months, the zoning on the property will revert back to A2 agriculture. Mr. Lang added that the former business could not reopen because the property has changed back to A2 agriculture. Mr. Lang advised the board that if they chose to, they could allow a text amendment to be considered, allowing the property owner to possibly have the business be located in a commercial zoning classification. Mr. Lang explained that this is what is called a non-conforming use of record. This is what happens if a business is closed for several years, the zoning of the property reverts back to the zoning that it is surrounded by.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to move forward to allow the property owner to make application for a text amendment to be considered in a public hearing before the Gilchrist County Commission. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion before the board voted unanimous in support of the motion.
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The Commission approved a variance, VAR 2020-04 by property owner Margaret Sartor to allow the land owner to relocate a mobile home to conform to the 25-foot setback on the 1.03 A2 agriculture parcel at 8119 SE 74th Court in southeast Gilchrist County.
Mr. Lang explained to the Commission that through the survey of this property, the land owner learned that when the mobile home company setup the existing residence on the parcel, that it was located within the County’s 25-foot setback. He explained that the property owner intends to upgrade the mobile home and then relocate the residence where it will be incompliance with the 25-foot setback. Mr. Lang and staff recommended approval of the VAR 2020-04.
Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve VAR 2020-04. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion before the board voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.
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The Commission considered SP 2020-11 a request by Frank Stankunas and Southeastern Concrete to approve a preliminary amended site and development plan to allow the concrete company to house and store material and load dry goods onto a truck from their location at 6480 Southeast State Road 26 in southeast Gilchrist County.
Commissioner Sharon Langford reported that she had received a contact from David Bruderly that he requested the Commission to deny this type of use at this location.
Mr. Lang in the staff presentation explained that this 2 acre parcel in zoned commercial, and in order for this type of work to be done at this location, the LDR require this property to be zoned Industrial. The planning director explained that the staff report indicated that the present zoning allowed the use of a office and shop, but recommended denial as to the use of the premises for Outdoor storage of material and construction equipment.
Mr. Stankunas presented photos of the proposed truck that would be used to transport the materials to the site where the concrete would be mixed and poured on the job site.
The Commission explained to the applicant that they were in support of small business in Gilchrist County, but due to the application request only being allowed in Industrial zoning, they could not approve the SP 2020-11.
Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to deny SP 2020-11 based on the zoning of the property. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a second to the motion before the board voted 5-0 to approve the motion.
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