Friday, November 18, 2005

Commission Sends Oxbow Golf Course To Rec Board

Hendry Commissioners Pass Buck Back To Recreation Board

LABELLE, FL. -- At its November meeting, the Hendry County Commission voted to refer a request to fund a study for a county purchase of the old Oxbow Golf Course parcels in Port LaBelle back to the west Hendry county recreation board. Hundreds of local residents overflowed the commission chambers Thursday hoping to persuade the county to purchase hundreds of acres around the Port LaBelle Inn to convert the land back to a golf course to be run as a municipal course to attract tourism as well as for a recreational area for residents.

Spokesperson Scott Wegscheid (Wegsheid shown speaking to commissioners - photo above) spoke for the community group S.O.A.R. giving the commissioners an overview of the benefits to Hendry county to fund an economic feasibility study on re-opening the former 27-hole golf course for the benefit of Hendry county's citizens. Commissioner Bill Maddox made a motion to not pay for a study but the motion died for lack of a second from the remaining three commissioners. Although the citizen group had already been to the Hendry recreation board once before, the commissioners voted to refer the matter back to them.

Current land owners have contracts pending to sell to an out-of-area developer who plans to ask for a change to the current county comprehensive land plan to change the zoning from its current recrational/leisure designation to planned unit development to allow for high density residential use. The developers official request could come as soon as January when the state's Department of Community Affairs accepts applications for changes to the Hendry comprehensive land plan.

In other business, Southern Garden's Chip Chapman asked for relief from a $10,000 county building permit fee to repair some $5,000,000 in hurricane damage to its citrus processing building in mid-county south of SR80. Southern Gardens in a division of U.S. Sugar Corp. Commissioner Kevin McCarty from Clewiston tried to help by suggesting everyone damaged by the hurricane be granted reduced fees including U.S. Sugar. Clewiston's commissioner Janet Taylor was absent from the commission meeting, but Commissioners Pelham, Maddox, and Harris agreed that fees could not fairly be reduced for some but not all, while reducing fees across the board would not be feasible with so much widespread building damage in the county.

Beatrice Salinas of 1103 Luckey Street in LaBelle complained to the commissioners about old vehicles and tires being stored in her residential neighborhood as well as dead limbs hanging in trees and in the power wires. She said she has called everyone at the county level, but nobody is doing anything. Commissioner Harris said he would personally come out to her home and check out the problem and "volunteered" Commissioner Bill Maddox to do the same. Maddox is Ms. Salinas commissioner.

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