News Cast 8/11

News Cast for August 11th:

Commercial project proposed in City 

Okeechobee City Council and the mayor took some hits for turning down two different housing projects on land on North East 3rd and 4th Streets. 

They wanted to keep the land in their commercial corridor as the lots are located just one block east of 441. 

They have agreed to pay the application fees for the latest proposal for heavy commercial. 

Mayor Dowling Watford called it a good compromise. 

(Watford cut 2) 

Consultant Steve Dobbs says the defeat of the housing project sent a bad message and might deter some developers from coming here. 

He said light commercial won’t be lucrative 

Light commercial units include things like professional offices. 

City council holds a budget workshop tonight at 5 pm. 

Agriculture calls legislative session positive 

The Florida Ag Coalition remains focused on water issues that impact farmers around Lake Okeechobee. 

The legislature and governor approved the Right to Farm Act that impacts Glades farmers this year. 

Spokeperson Gene Adams said farmers need some legal protections from nuisance lawsuits. 

“The farmers in Okeechobee have had to comply with a lot of regulations regarding runoff.  I think they are aware of it and the public is aware that they are doing their best.  They are balancing the need of people for milk and other produce and also protect the environment.” 

He said the Right to Farm Act will keep agriculture focused on producing food and not legal bills. 

“As urban areas and the suburbs continue to grow into the rural areas it creates conflict.  Farmers when they plow creates dust that blows in the wind.  When you harvest there is a lot of sound from equipment and truck traffic.” 

Glades County sees a reduction in crime last year 

The 20th judicial circuit had the lowest crime rate in the state in 2020. 

State Attorney Amira Fox said the courts also won’t have a case backlog as they come out of the pandemic. 

She noted the circuit leads the state in the number of jury trials held since last September. 

She said it took teamwork between court officials, prosecutors, attorneys and law enforcement to keep the system going. 

She said remote court hearings were a big help to keep the dockets manageable. 

She noted Glades County residents were willing to serve on jury trials and the grand jury and that helped keep cases moving.