The Citrus County Commission on Tuesday began the first in a string of workshops that look to improve the county’s Land Development Code.
The commission consensus was that the code did not need to be rewritten, but tweaked.
This first workshop took a look at Temporary Uses under the code; specifically, the temporary use of tents and aesthetics. Discussion was held concerning the use of tents for temporary sales, such as fireworks sales and other activities that have been used along major roadways. Aesthetics included the use of fences, tree preservation and business fascades along major roadways.
During public discussion, Lorrie Green, who is behind the yearly Great Florida Yard Sale told commissioners that her sales are always on parking lots and that her group always gets permits from the county. Those who are not in compliance are not part of her group, she said. Commissioner Scott Carnahan agreed. Commissioner Ronald E. Kitchen also agreed with Carnahan, and that “interlopers” have somehow tried to piggy-back on the group’s efforts.
One local businessmen said that any sales that serve alcohol on property not properly zoned would create a problem.
A spokesperson for a county automotive dealer said it was important the county look out for its residents when it comes to “outdoor retail” (tents). He cited a number of statistics of how much car dealers pay in taxes and other revenues brought to the county compared to the temporary sales by out-of-county businesses.
Another businessman spoke to roadside produce stands, and other issues in which, the businessman pointed out that commissioners contradicted themselves on the issues. “Tourists done come here for our fruit stands,” Commissioner Kitchen said in reply. Carnahan also denied being contradictory.
Citrus County Growth Management Director Mark Green began with the four types of code development approaches:
- Type 1: Euclidian Zoning, dating back to the 400’s BC. Greeks tested the concept in the city of Euclid. Zoning codes are extension of goverment’s right, the concept stated.
- Type 2: Segregation of different uses and applies standards to the uses.
- Type 3: Incentive zoning. Citrus County used to have this approach. Deals with a trade-off. Developers come in and trade what they want in exchange for developers giving the county something, like a park.
- Type 4: Form-based zoning. Green said he this zoning is more concerned about how it looks and feels rather than what’s in there. More of a revelopment and re-use perspective.
Recurring themes heard during the workshop is how Citrus County should appear to those who come here, and live here, and standardization of business fascades that face major roadways. Commissioners also expressed concern about vacant businesses and Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said he was concerned about, sometime in the future, that “big box” stores could also be out of business.
Along with that, Commissioner Kitchen said, “We don’t want blighted buildings, but repurposed. But other side of the coin is to protect property values. It shouldn’t be “anything goes” because it creates jobs. I keep hearing, “just use common sense.” When you go to staff to implement our policies fairly, they’re going to have fair policies to implement. There has been this concept from the county has been “no.” As we proceed through this, what’s it going to look like, what’s been lined in and is it going to be fair.”
Carnahan said can go into empty strip mall spaces. Carnahan said he favored banning tent sales throughout the county. “Don’t want it to look like a flea market going down U.S. 19.” Kitchen agrees. Seasonal uses can be allowed, and Christmas trees, Carnahan said. “Off-site tent sales is where I have a problem.”
Green said that he is still new to the position, but assured commissioners that things are moving forward to improve “customer” interaction when residents deal with the county. We have an internal day staff will look at the various processes and discover efficiencies. I haven’t got to that level yet. We did to the express permitting online. We do benchmark and do look at time frames. We are always trying to investigate to do better from a customer standpoint.