Dixie County Commission meeting addresses rural land usage

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council presented a proposal to make all rural areas in Dixie County eligible for development. But many residents weren’t buying it.

Under the so-called Ordinance 10, lands that are blocked off for “Agricultural” or “Environmentally-sensitive areas” (ESA’s) would also be classified for “Residential land use”.

This would give businesses and proprietors the chance to propose their development plans to the Board of Commissioners.

While residents trust their commissioners to not let development go overboard, they don’t want Dixie county to become as urban as some areas of the state.

Resident Sarah Ross told commissioners “I’m not from here, I’ve been here for 15 years. But I’m originally from St. Pete, which is Pinellas county. I have that experience. I don’t want my children to have that experience living in that type of culture. If I did I would move to a city but I choose to live in a rural area.”

Instead of giving all rural areas the ability to be “residential”, commissioners suggested that the regional council come back with a proposal for “special exemptions” for development.

District 2 Commissioner W.C. Mills asked the question “What would prevent us from creating a rule for them to apply without creating it county-wide? I mean create it where each individual, owner, and parcel owner come before this board to apply to do this.”

The commission voted unanimously to deny the ordinance. They requested the regional council go back to the drawing board and make a proposal that does not make all rural lands eligible for proposed residential use.

Flooding was also something discussed at the meeting. Commissioners voiced their concerns about “sight-seeing” ongoing due to the flooding.

Sheriff Darby Butler told the commission and residents that if they see “sight-seeing” happening, to call their dispatch and not social media because that is the best way to reach them so they can take care of it.

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