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Gilchrist County closes public boat ramps on local rivers

The Gilchrist County Commission held a public meeting on Monday, August 16, 2021 in the Commission Meeting Facility. Madam Chair Sharon Langford called the meeting to order at 4 p.m. as Commissioner Darrell Smith presented a prayer and Commissioner Bill Martin led the public in the salute to our American Flag.
Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby reported that Gilchrist County took action to close all of the public boat ramps on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers since the waterways had risen out of their banks in many areas. Mr. Crosby explained that Gilchrist County has received many requests from residents and property owners along the rivers to close the ramps to reduce the boat traffic on these waterways until they recede back into the banks. The Commission discussed that Gilchrist County has worked with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to enact a wake ordinance on the rivers when the water levels reach a height where the water exceeds the bank area.
Mr. Crosby reported that Gilchrist County would be working with FWC and the SRWMD to establish a policy that will close the public boat ramps on the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers when flooded conditions arise. A Commissioner asked, if the county could close all boat ramps that allow watercrafts onto the area rivers? Gilchrist County Attorney David M. Lang, Jr. explained that Gilchrist County couldn’t close a boat ramp that is on private property.
The Gilchrist Commission heard from Debbie Cook, a resident at 9279 SW 27th Court, Trenton, which reported she has been affected by Gilchrist County’s recent closure of SW 27th Court. She told the Commission during the Public Participation portion of Monday’s meeting, that she needs assistance in moving her mailbox where she can receive her medications when they are shipped through the United State Postal Service.
Mr. Crosby reported that Gilchrist County would be in communication with the Postal system in Trenton to work out a solution for the resident to receive her mail. Ms. Cook thanked the Commission for their help in reaching a solution with the local postal service.
The County Commission discussed Resolution 2021-15, designating and naming County Road SW 47th Court as “Bud Mathis Road”. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-15 naming SW 47th Court as Bud Mathis Road. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion as the Commission gave a unanimous vote in support to honor the past County Commissioner with the naming of this road in his honor. Commissioner Martin reported that he would communicate with the Mathis family to determine when would be convenient for a ceremony to be held for this honor to be bestowed.
Attorney Lang presented an application for a Variance 2021-06 by Marsha and Jack Cook to allow the minimum set-back requirement be waived for the Cook’s to construct a grain bin on Agriculture zoned land on CR 337, “Addy Jones Road where the Cook Family Agriculture operation is located. Commissioner Bill Martin made a motion to approve VAR 2021-06 to allow the variance and the location of the agriculture bin on the property where grain will be stored. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a second to the motion as the Commission voted 5-0 in support of this action.
Attorney Lang presented an application for a minor subdivision plat for Moore Acres, a 5 parcel, 60 acres subdivision located at NW 72nd Place, Bell, FL. Ronald E. Parrish presented the plat as he represented David and Anita Moore who own the property in the Bell area. The property is located on a Gilchrist County Road, as all lots will access the property for ingress and egress. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a motion to approve the subdivision application. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion as the board voted 5-0 in favor of this motion.
Commissioner Reports:
Commissioner Bill Martin reported that he has been contacted by many Gilchrist County residents that would like for Gilchrist County to approve an Impact Fee for new residents moving into Gilchrist County. He explained that he was in favor of going forward with this action.
Attorney Lang reported that Gilchrist County currently has an Impact Fee that the Commission placed a moratorium on it, several years ago. Mr. Lang explained, the revenues received from an Impact Fee could only be used for specific things that are tied to the growth in Gilchrist County. The revenues that are generated from these fees can’t be used for maintenance of any services. The Commission discussed the Impact Fee and directed staff to go forward with determining the cost and providing more information to the board about an Impact Fee study by Gilchrist County.
Gilchrist County resident Eddy Scott spoke about the Impact Fee issue. He explained that in the past the Impact Fees were very high. He asked, if the Impact Fee, if put into place, would be as high as it was?
Mr. Scott asked, if the Impact Fee revenues could be used to purchase right -of-way for roadways in the county? Attorney Lang explained that Impact Fees couldn’t be used for maintenance issues.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas reported the Gilchrist County Road Department is up against a lot of issues, and the COVID has reduced the working staff to seven employees on Monday morning. He explained, the road department is providing service to the needs of the people in Gilchrist County; it is just going to take a little longer than normal for all of the needs to be addressed.
Mr. Crosby urged the people contacting the Road Department to use the new Road Department Service request form that is located on the Gilchrist County Road Department web page. It is more convenient for the public and the Road Department has the information available when the issue is to be addressed. This form is very helpful and the public is urged to use this contact when it is possible, Mr. Crosby added.