DeFuniak Springs City Council appoints Glen Harrison to fill vacant seat on council

GLEN HARRISON accepted an appointment to serve out the unexpired term of the late Council member Henry Ennis Sr.

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

The DeFuniak City Council held its regular meeting on March 25, 2024, at the DeFuniak City Hall Boardroom. Respects was paid to the late Council member Henry Ennis, Sr. who passed away March 17. He will be missed. 

Mayor Bob Campbell read a proclamation for celebration of Arbor Day honoring the late Rev. Tyrone Livingston Broadus observed on Friday, March 15, 2024. 

Mayor Campbell announced that a professional wakeboarding team will perform at Lakefest this year for about 45 minutes. Experience Wake is owned and operated by 2x WWA World Champion Andrew Adkison who’s logged over 15 years as a Pro Rider and 20+ years sharing the on-water experience with others. He is located in Lynn Haven. There is no charge to the city for this performance. 

Campbell also announced that Chris Burgess was leaving his position on the Planning Board and received approval to replace him with Mark Bird. 

Morgan Hulion, Finance Director, prepared a budget process that was approved by the Council. The template she prepared as a visual was attached to the agenda form she submitted, and may be accessed at the city website, defuniaksprings.net 

Thomas Hubbard, Maintenance Superintendent, received approval for a new SCAG Tiger Cat II mower costing $9,593.22 from Southern PowerWorks. Council member Amy Heavilin voted nay but explained that she believed these purchases should be budgeted in advance. The old mower was 25 years old, and the part needed to repair it cost $5,000. It is reportedly mostly obsolete. Hubbard said that they were building new gates for the park at Lake Stanley. He also said that they have had to repair or replace the toilets there because someone keeps breaking them or stealing parts of them. He said that about every weekend one of the parks has been destroyed in some form. He has been in his position for about a year. 

The final plan and issuance of a Development Order for the North Davis Lane Townhomes was approved 3 – 1 with Amy Heavilin voting nay. This will include a new lift station. 

The final plan for Pinehurst Phase 2 was approved 3 – 1 with Council member Heavilin voting nay. 

The Public Hearing and the 2nd Reading of the Rezoning Ordinance from Industrial to C-2, Commercial for the old City Hall Property, and the Ordinance approving the Zoning Map amendment was approved. 

Comprehensive Plan Text Amendment establishing a new Downtown Business District land use category was approved. 

Downtown Business – This district is located primarily in the downtown, and in its establishment, the aims are to protect the community created values by encouraging uses serving, primarily, pedestrian oriented traffic; encouraging and preserving the traditional streetscape; discouraging uses requiring large areas of land in proportion to pedestrian traffic generated; and encouraging intensive use of the land. The district is intended to be a mixed-use district consisting of residential uses and commercial establishments dealing primarily in retail trade, restaurants, public and private offices, and personal and business services. It is intended that off-street parking needs in this district be met with public parking lots instead of by the individual establishments to ensure the land is more efficiently used and traffic is more easily controlled. 

Kim Wennerberg, Chair of the DFS City Beautification & Tree Board, presented the council with Tobacco Free Outdoor Ordinance Request for City Parks. City Attorney Clay Adkinson commented that currently unfiltered cigars are exempt from any no-smoking ordinance. It was agreed that more information would be needed, and enforcement may be difficult. Mayor Campbell commented that he had quit smoking 49 years ago, and that he doesn’t like it but “wouldn’t expect every smoker to move to Alabama. We’ve got to give them somewhere to smoke.” Mark Hanly also commented that cannabis wasn’t mentioned.

A wreath placing ceremony at Magnolia Cemetery on Dec. 14, 2024, as part of the National Wreaths Across America program was approved. It was presented by Brooke Hoke. Wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves. Community participation and attendance are encouraged. Hoke’s agenda form submission included an attachment with information and the history of National Wreaths Across America. 

A special meeting will be held on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 5 p.m., at DFS City Hall, the sole item of business being “Interim City Manager Discussion/Action.”  

In Legislative Requests, Council member Josh Sconiers nominated Glen Harrison to serve out the unexpired term of the late Henry Ennis, Sr., per the City Charter, which states: “Any individual filling a vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term for which they were appointed.” [Article IV, Vacancy of Elected Officials Section 4.01, para. iii] 

Council member Heavilin nominated Dan Cosson to fill the vacancy. Both Cosson and Harrison were present at the meeting. The vote was 3 – 1 for Harrison, which carried. Harrison formerly has been serving on the City Beautification & Tree Board, the Main Street Board, and worked for the school system for 28 years as well. In accepting the nomination and position, Harrison noted that he had retired in 2018. 

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