By ASHLEY AMASON
Dissonance among neighbors consumed most of the hour-long meeting of the DeFuniak Springs City Council Nov. 8. First on the agenda was a request from Rosemarie Simons to operate a home-based business, providing therapeutic massage.
A resident of Oaklawn Square, Simons’ neighbors addressed the Council to speak against granting her request. Mark Anderson, who lives across the street from Simons, told the Council her business resulted in “cars and congestion daily” as well as alleging she operated the therapeutic massage business out of her home before applying for the license. Rudy Summers Humphreys voiced concerns that other unoccupied homes in the subdivision might be opened as businesses if the precedent was set to allow a home-based business in a residential area.
Simons addressed the Council lastly, after earning the planning board’s approval last week. She stated she has four clients for whom she must perform massages in-home because she cannot take her services/equipment to their homes for varied reasons. Only these four clients, she said, would be served at her home once per week. Simons emphasized there would be no traffic congestion because she would have only one client at a time and has a half-circle driveway so that no car would occupy the street. “I’m just trying to survive,” Simons said.
Councilman Don Harrison stated he could not support the request because it would set a precedent to “open a neighborhood up to multiple businesses.” The motion to deny Simons request to operate a home-based business passed 5-0.
A longstanding issue on the Council’s agenda—the abandonment of N. 18th St.— was finally resolved. The street, which serves as the only drivable access to Helen Crenshaw’s property, is bordered on the east and west by Vista Properties and had been recommended for abandonment in favor of installing drainage solutions and relocating the Crenshaw’s access road to Wabash Ave., therefore allowing the owner of Vista Properties, James Busbee, to obtain the property known as N. 18th St. After multiple failed attempts at resolution in response to the Crenshaw’s request that the city not abandon N. 18th St., the Council voted to leave N. 18th St. as it is and make a 50-foot right of way from the west property line of Vista Properties. In essence, the city and Vista Properties will swap properties.
The Council unanimously voted to approve a contract for median maintenance in the amount of $26,400 to Grasshopper Lawn Care.
City Manager Kim Kirby announced the city received a grant in the amount of $175,000 for updating the sewer system.