By BEN GRAFTON
The proposal by the Windswept development to install a 1,000 square-foot modular office trailer at the northeast corner of the intersection of SR-20 and U.S. 331 was discussed again at the Freeport City Council meeting of March 13. According to City Planner Latilda Henninger two different site plans have been proposed. The Council expressed concern about both the potential for traffic accidents at the site and problems that may arise with hookup to the sewage system. Suggestions were made for signage to keep traffic from cutting across the U.S. 331 traffic lanes. The Council tabled the proposal pending receipt of a picture of the trailer and information on landscaping and appearance of the property.
Henninger referred to her annual report for 2010-2011 noting that the number of applications for building permits has risen from 105 in 2006 to 112 in 2007 and 113 in 2011. This exceeds the number reviewed in the residential boom. In 2007, there were 3,183 residential units under review. In 2012, to date, some 927 units are in the planning stages. In 2010 there were 2 pre-application conferences for new development. In 2011 there were 8 and now, in 2012, there have already been eight pre-application conferences.
Engineer Cliff Knauer reported that both Century Link and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have taken the position that if construction equipment putting in the North Bay project water main hits the abandoned Century Link cable, not to worry about it. The contractor putting in the new water main is concerned about digging the cable up and then having additional costs from having to clean up the debris. City Attorney Clayton Adkinson suggested that if the contractor accumulated costs that are incurred by cleaning up the cable, then the city could notify DOT and Century Link and try to help collect the costs for him. Knauer also expressed concern that residual cable would cause difficulty in the future by giving false readings to efforts to identify the locator wire installed with the water line. Councilman Earl King said, “we can’t afford to stop. We have to go on with it.” The Council agreed the project work will be continued.
Engineer Charlie Cotton reported that all of the subdivision work for the North Bay water line project is complete. The project is expected to be complete by April 25.
Cotton also reported on other projects: The energy grant project is waiting on the inverters for the solar array and on delivery of three 300 horsepower motors. Everything is expected to arrive so that the project can be completed by the original contract schedule. The equipment to be used for the electricity meter splitting project at the Sports Complex is on order; and planning for the new ball fields at the Sports Complex is underway.
The Town Planters asked for waiver of Community Center fees for an all-you-can eat spaghetti dinner on April 21 to raise funds for an addition to Freeport’s Veterans Memorial. The Council approved the request.
Mayor Mickey Marse asked the Council to provide a letter of support for City Clerk Robin Haynes who is a nominee as Northwest District Director on the board of the Florida Association of City Clerks. Marse said he thinks this is a great honor for Haynes. There will be some travel involved. The Council approved the request.
Scarlett Phaneuf of the Walton County Economic Development Alliance informed the Council that a Board workshop was held in February to discuss moving forward with infrastructure in the Freeport Industrial Park. The county has agreed to provide labor and equipment to do the civil work; Regional Utilities has agreed to do the water and sewer at little cost and Freeport has agreed to lend some city manpower to help out with the project. Also, Preble-Rish has agreed to help out with some engineering services. The Council will be notified when a ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for the project.
Phaneuf advised the Council that word has been received from Mr. Chaplin of Southern Wines and Spirits that they have selected their contracting firm and they are ready to move forward with construction of their facility in Phase I of the Industrial Park. Southern Wines has been asked to give some proposed dates for a ground-breaking ceremony. The client has already been in touch with Henninger about plans and applications.