CHIPLEY — The Chipley City Council decided to table the proposed “Private Property Standards” until the August workshop where the ordinance will be discussed.
The ordinance was on the agenda Tuesday for its first reading, but Mayor Linda Cain asked that the council wait until next month to put the ordinance up for first reading.
“I think we should discuss this more in-depth at the workshop,” she said.
City Administrator Dan Miner said the purpose of the ordinance is to address code violations, such as abandoned properties with overgrown lawns, by identifying the owners and getting the properties cleaned up.
To that end, the draft of the ordinance proposes the esablishment of an abandoned property registration program whereby the city would be able to locate owners of foreclosed properties and get them to “correct negative impacts and maintain the properties.”
The ordinance would require persons or companies responsible for the properties to post their names and contact information at the properties so the city could contact them if the abandoned property is not being maintained.
The council will further discuss the ordinance when it holds its August workshop at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 at City Hall.
The council also heard a brief presentation on the proposed routes of Highway 77 through or around downtown Chipley when the four-laning process of the highway finally makes it this far.
Florida Department of Transportation District 3 Secretary Tommy Barfield and Blair Martin, intermodal systems development manager for the FDOT, reviewed the possible routes that had been determined in 2006 at public hearings in Chipley.
“This has not been funded,” Barfield said, “but it would be a good time to pick this back up and update the study on the alternatives.”
The most popular alternative was identified as Alternative Route 5, which took Highway 77 west of downtown Chipley.
“This route would include an overpass at the railroad which would be good for emergency vehicles,” Martin said. Martin noted that traffic in Chipley along Highway 77 will have doubled by 2030 compared to the 2005 study numbers.
“Route 5 is the best alternative for our traffic,” the mayor said.
Barfield said the next step was for the city to write the DOT a letter asking them to return to the study. Martin said the cost of a new study would be $1.5 to $2.5 million and would take about two years to complete.
“It is a substantial investment for the DOT to pick the study back up,” Barfield said, “but we are constantly looking at ways to make things better for our communities.”
In other business, the council heard a request from residents Cheryl McCall and Suzan Gage to add stripes to the rest of 5th Street.
Last month, after residents complained of speeding on 5th Street, especially along Shivers Park, the city had a contractor repaint the centerline and border stripes on 5th Street from Highway 90 to South Boulevard.
“It is in the works,” Miner said of the rest of the street painting. “We have plans to stripe the rest of the road as soon as we can.” The city does not have the equipment to do the striping, so a contractor is needed for the painting, Miner said.
Resident Miles Anderson also asked the council to consider removing some abandoned tires on a property adjacent to his property, but the council took no action on the request.
The council also approved a resolution requesting a waiver of local financial support and waiver of average wage requirements for Westpoint Home Inc.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ted Everett said the resolution would allow Westpoint Home to create more jobs and remain competitive.
“This won’t cost the city anything,” Miner told the council.
“This won’t hurt the people who are already working there or their wages?” the mayor asked.
“Not at all,” Everett replied. He said the state requires new jobs in areas deemed a Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern are required to pay 115 percent of the state’s average wage. According to the resolution, Westpoint Home commits to pay an average wage of $10.36 per hour, which is 70 percent of the state average wage.
Washington County is considered a Rural Area of Critical Economic Concern, Everett said.