DeFuniak Springs City Council talks upcoming events, billboards [PREMIUM]

CONCERN OVER BILLBOARD results in temporary moratorium in historic district.


The DeFuniak Springs City Council held its regular meeting on April 11, 2022, at the Walton County Courthouse. Council member Robert McKnight was not present. 

Mayor Bob Campbell proclaimed April Autism Acceptance Month. 

Clerk Koby Townsend introduced Sherry and Steve Hall, founders of Grace Rides. Their mission is to provide a quality environment and program for extending the benefits of equine-assisted activities and therapies to individuals with special needs (physical, cognitive and/or emotional) in a loving community to improve They currently have 19 horses and 2 donkeys and are a non-profit organization. They are located at 2061 Corbin Gainey Rd DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435. 

PROCLAMATION: Robert Thompson, Kevin Crystal, Mayor Bob Campbell, Anthony Vallee, Henry Ennis, Sr., and Todd Bierbaum, with proclamation of April as Autism Acceptance Month.

The council approved Forward DeFuniak’s 2nd Annual Sprint Triathlon sporting event scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. 

Main Street DeFuniak Springs’ Bounce on Baldwin from South 6th Street to South 8th Street on Saturday, June 11, 2022. They are estimating 20 vendors with inflatables / interactive experiences, 300 participants, and 150 vehicles. 

Main Street DeFuniak Springs will be hosting an outdoor festival on Baldwin Avenue from South 7th Street to South 8th Street on Monday, 7/4/2021. They are estimating 15 vendors with interactive experiences, 300 participants, and 150 vehicles. 

Marvel of Flight for 2022 is cancelled until construction has concluded at the airport. 

GRACE RIDES FOUNDERS Sherry and Steve Hall, with Clerk Koby Townsend

The Public Works Department will be purchasing an event tent for Lakefest and other outdoor events at the Lakeyard. Cost is to be no more than $14,000. 

The city recently solicited for proposals to be submitted to provide a Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the city; unfortunately the lowest proposal price is more than the grant award. The grant has been received from FDEO (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity) in the amount of $50,000, but the lowest received proposal was in the amount of $61,230, which is $11,230 over grant award and grant completion date is currently scheduled for June 30, 2022. The council approved and authorized City Manager Robert Thompson to negotiate for a better price. 

Greg Graham, on behalf of the Walton County Board of Commissioners, has been granted a special exception for a government facility in the R-2 district. The proposed facility will be a new Records Retention Building. The subject property is located at the NW corner of Sloss Ave and N 6th Street. It will be a new Records Retention Building. 

Liberty Partners will be opening a new office in DeFuniak Springs on June 1. 

LEIGH MOORE, Executive Director for Scenic Walton, spoke recommending more restraints with sign ordinances.

Council member Anthony Vallee opened discussion concerning the billboard that has been put up on U.S. 90 and 10th street. He recommended a moratorium on all billboards within the historic district or from North Park Street on U.S. 90 East to U.S. 331 South to Park Avenue. More discussion will follow. Leigh Moore, Executive Director for Scenic Walton, spoke recommending more restraints with the sign ordinances. She referred to the regulations governing CR 30A and U.S. 98 in South Walton. Moore agreed with a temporary moratorium, with an eye to enhancing quality of life. She added that studies have shown a negative impact of billboards on quality of life and on property values. As growth happens, Moore commented, it also grows interest in placing billboards. She urged “countywide” standards on billboards to deal with any possible problems at an early stage. “Signage as a business draw is going out.”