DFS City Council approves Eagles Crossing easement, Fourth of July events

ATTENDEE TIM CRENSHAW spoke to the council regarding a Small Scale Map Amendment request.

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

 The DeFuniak Springs City Council held its regular meeting on April 8, 2024, at the DeFuniak Springs City Hall. 

Interim City Manager Koby Townsend said that they were joining with the county to have an auction of city items. There are seven pages of items to be auctioned, mostly from IT. The last page lists 15 vehicles including a John Deere Grader, front end loader, and a tack wagon. The date of the auction is April 20, 2024. The list can be found here: https://www.defuniaksprings.net/DocumentCenter/View/21971/Auction-Items-04042024—for-merge

Approval was given for a 20’ wide easement for Eagles Crossing, so that the city can place utilities for the Veterans Lodge Development. 

 The Interim City Manager received approval to hire an administrative assistant. 

 Planning Director Chris Wallace presented a request by Jim Busby of a Small-Scale Map Amendment to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) from Agriculture to Industrial. The subject property is located on the north side of U.S. Hwy 90 West directly across from the new City Hall, (parcel # 25-3N-19-19070-001-8250 &25-3N-19-19070-001-8262) and is approximately 2.79 acres in size. According to the agenda form filed for the April 8 council meeting, the Planning Board had reviewed Busby’s request March 4, 2024, and voted unanimously to approve, without questions or comments. 

Citizen Tim Crenshaw (present at the meeting) said that he and his mother own property next to the parcel. Crenshaw gave a brief history of the area, noting that the property has been zoned Agricultural, and asked the council what this amendment would do to the value of his property, and that owned by his mother. 

“I have plans for the property,” Crenshaw said. “I might want to do something with it….What is this going to do?” 

Heavilin asked City Attorney Clay Adkinson about permitted uses on the property. Adkinson gave part of a lengthy list of permitted uses and prohibited uses. 

Crenshaw reiterated his concern for the possible use of the property and its effect on his and his family’s property. “I’m just asking…just have some consideration for what we have….my goal is to preserve what we have there.” 

Council member Glen Harrison asked Crenshaw what sort of use other than agricultural would be acceptable to him. Crenshaw said he was not sure what Busby’s plans were. “If I knew, then I might be more comfortable….” 

It is not known at present what Busby is planning to with the property in question, so there was no answer. It was pointed out that at this point, Busby is not required to state his specific plans. Mayor Bob Campbell commented that the property may actually go up in value. “There’s a hundred things he [Busby] could do.” 

The city council approved the request 3 – 2, with Council members Josh Sconiers and Amy Heavilin voting nay. The item goes before the council again for a second reading on April 22. 

There were no Citizen Comments. 

Under Legislative Requests, Council member Anthony Vallee asked permission for the grants department and Liberty Partners to pursue grant opportunities for Safe Routes for School.  It was so moved and approved. 

Koby Townsend updated the council on a list of items, including communications between the city and county, county developments, a proposed data collection system for the airport, and work on tennis and pickle ball courts.   

On the Consent Agenda:

• Fourth of July Celebration at Chipley Park: Parade around Circle Drive with street closures, live / recorded music using amplification devices at the Amphitheater, and fireworks shot over Lake DeFuniak. The event will be held on July the Fourth from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Parade will begin at 4 p.m., starting and finishing at Walton Middle School. 

• CHELCO has had an agreement with the City of DeFuniak Springs since 2016 to use the sports complex area on Gene Hurley Road near the airport (excluding the three developed ballfields) as a post-storm staging site and it will continue this year. 

Meeting agendas, agenda forms, and supporting documents and reports for items brought before the council can be accessed and/or linked to on the city’s website. Minutes from meetings are also available on the website, defuniaksprings.net