High Springs joins Newberry, Alachua, Archer in opposing annexed land use restriction

"We estimate $5,000 to get the complaint filed and to join the action that has already been filed by the City of Newberry, the City of Archer and the City of Alachua, Attorney Scott Walker," informed the Commission.

The City of High Springs became the fourth municipality to take legal action against Alachua County for a County Charter amendment that affects annexed properties.

According to the County Growth Management Area CRC Resolution 2020-01 which was passed by the voters in Alachua County on Nov. 3rd, “The County’s comprehensive plan and land development regulations will exclusively govern land development in the Area, whether inside or outside municipal boundaries, authorize implementing ordinances, provide for removal of lands from the Area, and provide that the charter and implementing ordinances shall prevail over conflicting municipal ordinances.”

The High Springs City Commission passed ordinance 2020-14 which states that the County’s resolution is, “Designed to restrict the ability of municipalities (to) determine the appropriate uses for the property within their jurisdiction after annexing property from the County.

The ordinance argues that, “The Florida Constitution provides for Home Rule: Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services, and may exercise power for municipal purposes except as otherwise provided by law.”

“We estimate $5,000 to get the complaint filed and to join the action that has already been filed by the City of Newberry, the City of Archer and the City of Alachua, Attorney Scott Walker,” informed the Commission.

Those cases have been delayed, Walker said, to Dec. 16th. “We’ve had a judicial change,” Walker said and notified the Commission the delay is pushed back further and won’t be until early 2021 that the argument for summary judgement hearing will be conducted. 

City of Newberry, the City of Archer and the City of Alachua, Attorney Scott Walker,

Walker said that he anticipates that the City of Alachua’s attorney will argue the case before the judge first, and then Walker will argue on behalf of Archer, Newberry and High Springs.

When asked about how much more funding of the case might be needed beyond the $5,000, Walker said, “On the summary judgement side of it, if the court rules in our favor, the case is over at the trial court level. Would the County appeal?, the Charter Review Commission appeal?, I don’t know.”

If the court rules on the side of the County and High Springs decides to appeal, then more funds would need to be approved, Walker told the Commission. The judge could deny a summary judgement and send the case to trial.

The motion passed unanimously.

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