Levy County to update land development codes

Levy County is in the process of bringing its land development codes up to date and implementing new codes to address inland tree mitigation.

Director of Levy County Planning and Zoning Stacey Hectus told the Levy County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Tuesday that she is going through the county’s land development code to review sections that “haven’t been touched” since 2003, 2007 and 2009.

“Landscape code is one of them,” Hectus said, adding that currently there is no tree mitigation code for inland areas of the county.

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“All we have is over 14 DBH [diameter at breast height] on coastal areas currently,” she said about land development codes that require tree replacement.

During public comment a resident asked about tree mitigation of a recently cleared 33-acre lot in Williston and about the new Marathon station under construction in Bronson that is all pavement and no trees in its current building phase.

Hectus said tree mitigation is only addressed for inland development in the landscape section in codes for shopping centers in the parking lot, islands, or medians and focuses on hedges.

Sign code is another one of them that hasn’t been updated in years,” she said.

In order to change the land development codes, the new language will be brought to the BOCC during public hearings and for public comments and BOCC discussion before they are voted on twice.

“You’ll be seeing them at public hearings,” Hectus said.

Resident Linda Cooper raised the topic and said she was concerned about the growth in Levy County without addressing landscaping, particularly in residential neighborhoods.

“They clear cut and asphalt over it,” she said.

Cooper asked the BOCC to put a mechanism in place for tree replacement.

“Developers come in and want every inch of the land,” Cooper said. She wants to make sure codes will minimize “the impact on people who have been there for decades.”

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