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Freeport Council hears joint land-use study report

Jun 5th, 2009 | 0

 By BEN GRAFTON

At the Freeport City Council meeting of May 28, Jeff Fanto of the Okaloosa County Department of Growth Management and Michael Bomar, vice president of Tetra-Tech, Inc. of Destin, which does planning and engineering studies, participated in a brief presentation of the Freeport portion of the draft Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Eglin Air Force Base and surrounding communities. Ninety percent of the funding for this study is coming from the Department of Defense and the other 10 percent is to be covered by Okaloosa County. Bomar presented a list of some nine different items that concern Freeport. Among them are these proposals for changes to the Land Use Plan: implement a program to solve lighting glare issues that can cause problems in the use of Eglin’s ranges; establish a program to try to reduce radio frequency interference from resident businesses; establish buffer areas adjacent to two cruise missile corridors in the Freeport area (one that runs roughly east-west between Freeport and DeFuniak Springs and another that runs roughly north-south between Portland and Choctaw Beach); develop a policy to include military participation in the development review and planning process; and work out a means of solving building height conflicts (radio communication towers, etc.)

A public meeting to discuss these issues is scheduled in DeFuniak Springs the week of June 1. Notices for this meeting are posted in the Herald Breeze. Fire Chief Ben Greenslait reported that due to recent rainfall and the fact that the station’s compressor is under repair in the shop, the fire hydrant maintenance program has been idle the past two weeks. Greenslait said that the donor (Mr. Jackson) of the ski boat discussed at the Council meeting of May 12 has given his OK for the fire department to raffle the boat off. Greenslait gave draft samples of fliers and raffle tickets, 1,000 of which will be printed, to the Council for review. The drawing is planned so that the winner can use the boat over the Labor Day holiday. The Council approved the program. Raffle tickets will be available at City Hall. Greenslait announced that the Fire Department has received a surplus ambulance vehicle from Walton County. This vehicle will be used to house and transport emergency equipment for the water rescue team.

Parks Director Shane Supple reported that during the preceding weeks four of the eight playing field irrigation pumps have been out of service. The pumps have been repaired and the grass is greening up. Supple said a soccer program is scheduled from June 6 to 12 and that co-ed softball has registered four teams and expects two more teams to join. Play will begin in two weeks. On June 20, the first Summer Olympics is scheduled for children ages 4 to 12.

City Engineer Charles Peters reported that he wrote the prime contractor for the sewage plant work and that he hopes the plant will be started up this coming week. Peters said the Portland well, damaged by a lightning strike, was started up on May 27 and is now on line and working properly. The inter-local agreement for the side walk project is expected to come from the Department of Transportation next week.

Mayor Mickey Marse said that a portion of the sewer line under the right turn lane intersection of SR-20 and U.S. 331 blew out and caused roadway damage. Repairs will be undertaken. Councilman Charlie Simmons asked the Council to schedule a workshop to discuss occupational licenses. The Council agreed and the workshop is scheduled for June 9. Marse reported that the new Water Department truck was received last Friday and that the old truck is now surplus. Contact Ben Grafton at pbgrafton@cox.net.

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