Threats to local government
August 18, 2023
What does a City Commissioner Do?
August 18, 2023

Nobody likes to be told what to do with their property.  A major role of the Commission is to listen to those that live here AND protect the rights of owners to use their property. 


What guides this is the Comprehensive Plan.  These plans are updated every 10 years and must be approved by Tallahassee.  Once updated, Land Development Regulations provide the detail on the use.  The Commission must understand these documents and act consistent with the law to avoid costly lawsuits.  They must also represent what is best for the community long term.  


Growth is inevitable.  People have a right to develop land and people have a right to choose to come live in the area.  Residents, business owners, visitors all are stake holders in helping to maintain a community that is healthy, has a desired quality of life and supports city services.   What is not an option is to tell people “we are full”.  The State has defined the process for development and when decisions have to be made.  


Citizens have suggested that a development be denied because our schools are full, our wastewater system is near capacity and the roads can’t handle more traffic.  They are not wrong, but the process is linear and development must clear many hurtles vs. being stopped at the starting line.  Should existing residents be charged more taxes to build out sewer and water infrastructure so that future developments benefit?  No is the answer. 


How expansion is funded is through Impact Fees.  If a development is moving forward they must pay special fees that allow the community to expand the needed infrastructure.  If they can’t do this the development stops.  


For years High Springs has had Impact fees to support the expansion of Water and Sewer infrastructure.  Citizens wanted to slow growth.  I advocated for and starting in January of 2023 we expanded our Impact fees to also include fees for Parks, Roads and Public Safety - adding thousands of dollars to the cost of any new home or commercial building.  This helps to slow growth, gives us tools to preserve our quality of life, and encourages quality development.


What citizen’s don’t see are the projects city staff stop.  They do this because of regulatory reasons and knowing with Commission won’t support them.  The Commission voted down Tara Meadows along 441 because it was not a development that would have fit our community. 


We can’t stop growth.  We can shape it.


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