NEWBERRY – The Newberry City Commission has drawn a line in the sand with respect to Alachua County’s proposed Charter Amendment. At the Aug. 24 City Commission meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve Resolution No. 2020-36 in opposition to the County’s Charter Amendment, which if approved by voters in November, would extend the County’s growth management jurisdiction in various municipalities.

Commissioners voiced concerns that the change would take away home rule from the cities and give it to the County. Mayor Jordan Marlowe said that the Alachua County League of Cities is in opposition to this significant change and he hopes community leaders in the other municipalities will educate their voters as to the significance of the proposed change.

The City’s resolution indicates that if the County’s proposed charter amendment is implemented it is designed to restrict the ability of municipalities to determine the appropriate uses for property within their jurisdiction after annexing property from the County.

The resolution further asserts that the Florida Constitution provides for Home Rule. Article VIII, Section 2(b) of the Florida Constitution reads, “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.”

Newberry’s Commissioners said local elected officials make the best decisions about commercial, residential, recreational and conservation development within their community.

The resolution states that the County’s proposed amendment, as drafted, “eliminates the ability of municipalities to determine land uses that allows them to chart their unique course of development and differentiate themselves from other local communities.”

Pointing out that businesses and residential property owners often choose to annex into a municipality because they believe their interests are compatible, this proposed change will negatively impact growth and limit people’s ability to make those types of choices, stressed Newberry’s commissioners.

Commissioners said they are capable of managing their own zoning and policies and do not believe that the extra, unnecessary level of bureaucracy is in the best interest of the citizens of Newberry.

A map of the County’s Growth Management Area indicates just how much land the County will control should this amendment be approved. Commissioners encouraged the public to go to the County’s website to view that map.

The resolution approved by Newberry’s City Commission states “it is in opposition to the County’s proposed Charter Amendment that would prohibit the City from managing growth of land annexed from the County.”

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