Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Chicken Collision Results In AG Zoning Workshop, Scheduled When Working Families Can't Attend

The workshop scheduled for 9 am tomorrow as posted on the Columbia County website at 07:45 am on March 28. Neither the County 5, nor the County Management appear to want the public advised of even the topic.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  The Chairman of the County 5, Sylvester "Bucky" Nash, scheduled tomorrow's County 5 workshop at 9 am during Spring Break, a time when many families leave town and working families cannot attend. The purpose of the Workshop has been kept under wraps by the County. This morning at 7:45 am there was still no explanation of the purpose of the workshop; any list of invited guests or experts; any agenda; or any materials that The 5 have been studying and reviewing to prepare themselves. The County Charter requires that material provided to The 5 be posted on the County website.

As of post time, the only group known to have been invited to participate in the workshop has been Our Santa Fe River, whose spokesperson is environmental activist Merrillee Malwtiz-Jipson.

Public participation at this workshop has been problematic, with vacillation on the part of the County Manager and Our Santa Fe River on whether the public should be given the opportunity to participate.

During a March 22 meeting at the Fort White Library, sponsored by Our Santa Fe River, the issue of public participation was still contentious.

Laverne Hodge told the gathering that she wanted Ms. Malwitz-Jipson to speak for her and she didn't think the public should be allowed to speak at the workshop. She said the public would get its chance.

County Manager Scott explained some of the confusion regarding who could speak at the workshop. "When I asked Merrillee to be the spokesperson for the group, I didn't mean that everyone else couldn't have an opportunity to speak."

While there is no agenda for tomorrow's meeting, the following appears to be on tap for discussion: recharge; animal threshold; public notice; special exceptions, redefining what intensive (farming) means, "change waste and wastewater requirement. We don't know what that change means. We'd like it defined better."

The workshop remains scheduled for 9 am at one of the homes of the homeless County 5, the School Board Admin. Building on U.S. 90 when most folks can't attend.

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