Board of County Commissioners


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

5:00 p.m.


Present:               Brenda Holt, Chair, District 4

Dr. Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie, Vice Chair, District 2

                                Eric Hinson, District 1

                                Kimblin NeSmith, District 3

                                Ronterious “Ron” Green, District 5

                                Edward J. Dixon, County Administrator

                                Clayton Knowles, County Attorney

                                Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk

                                Hannah Pope, Clerks Office




  Chair welcomed everyone at 5:05 p.m.


Chair asked for a moment of silence and led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S Flag.





Due to COVID-19 and the efforts of the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners to continue the practice of social distancing, Commissioners want to continue to hear from citizens under the Citizens Requesting to be Heard section of the agenda.

If citizens have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email and anticipate receiving a response within 48 hours.

The Board of County Commissioners would like to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility during this time.












Presentation of the Gadsden County Comprehensive Plan Process (Diane Quigley, Growth Management Director)

   Ms. Quigley started by explaining her role in the county. She explained that the plan should contain: information that allows for growth based on population projections for a 10-year period, adhere to polices set, must be adopted by jurisdiction. The comprehensive plan must contain the following elements such as capital improvement, future land use, transportation, general water/waste procedures, conservation, recreation, housing, and intergovernmental coordination. These projects need to be contestant with growth.


    The map identifies types and locations of land uses on how the county is planned to grow over time. All amendments to the future use map must be in accordance with state regulations.


Land development code is regulated by state statuette. Land development code outlines the details of subdivision of land, parking, sidewalks, and address how residential/non-residential development applications are processed.


 Big pictures considerations are compatibility with surrounding community, mitigating nuisances, aesthetics, safety, economic growth ate noise, traffic, and other land use to make sure they work for the county.

  Planning department is responsible for preparation of documents that come before the board, work with the public, facilitate the planning commission meetings, and work with the planning commissions to elicit recommendation for board consideration.


  The planning commission has 12 members who make recommendations to the board off of proposed changes. They review the work of the staff, check to make sure land development regulations are met, and work with staff to address issues of public concern.


   Comprehensive plan update includes an amendment to the future land use element text which was adopted in 2016. There have been no wholesale plan updates since 1994 there have only been small changes. Currently collecting data and information for updating the plan.


  Plan updates for communications towers since Gadsden counties are so restrictive.  There is economic demographic that needs to be addressed in planning the maps.


  Gadsden County has had a decrease of population which is a concern biased on past trends. There needs to be more business to increase those population numbers. The housing units are net total and do not list those that have been affected by hurricane Michael.  Most of those units are rentals and new housing. A housing study needs to be done so there is a comparison of housing since hurricane Michael.  Gadsden county has the highest poverty and unemployment in surrounding areas.


   Gadsden County Development Council (GCDC) did a study that inventoried areas that are the sites of business. Suggested to modify land use to allow for more business and commercial land use.


  Future Land Use is broken down.


Urban land lots can be broken down into very small lots because of municipal water and sewer. Larger lots are places where wells and septic tanks are needed.


Agriculture is the main use for land in the county. This allows for one dwelling for different acreage sizes and zones. Agriculture is 65% of county land use.


Commercial use is in neighborhoods, professional, office, public service, yet it is mainly outside of cities centers.


Knowles asked for clarification on coloring of map.


Industrial (light and heavy) only makes 0.52% which is the lowest in the county.


Mining (3.5%) and silviculture (5.69%) which are other resource biased activities in the county.


  Quigley set up Steps to updating the plan is on a schedule. Such as going out to the public and the board to see what changes are wanted in future land use, housing and other growth. Estimated costs of the projects can be offset by grants by DEO. Land changes involves going out to see if they need changing, informing land owners, and workshops before they can be brought before the board to be changed.


  Some benefits are a streamline commercial development, create more housing for workforce and increased densities near urbanized areas with infrastructure.  


Some negative impacts are change the characters of some communities, increase property tax, and increase property values.


Major issues include lack of municipal water/sewer, not being able to allow smaller parcels, and lack of roads.


Encouraging subdivision communities instead of just subdividing into large parcels.  


Zoning allows for subdividing into subcategories and provides land development regulations.  One can split up a parcel into four different categories.



Discussion and Direction

  Chair stated that in areas like hideaway families had all moved together so there was no real planning done on the land and people did not understand the legal terms. So urban development was a second thought.  She continued to explained those areas history.


  V stated the farmers and inherited land is an issue in his district. That family members are having issues with the ability to spit up land and that there needs to be something the county could do to educate the public.


   Green had the ability to see undeveloped land and that this starts the conversation for land changes. By making it aware to the public on how to use this information and that there needs to be development off of I-10 since Gadsden county is at the bottom of the property level.


  NeSmith had several questions.  He asked Chair Holt about the exits off of I-10 and which ones have water and sewer lines.


Chair answered yes that there is water and sewer off of the Midway and Quincy exits.


Mr. Dixon had historical information on the city’s sewer lines regarding the development of infrastructure near I-10.


Chair wants to look at funding for infrastructure development also working with the cities to increase infrastructure. That there is no infrastructure at the Chattahoochee exit.


NeSmith wants to know what plans that are being looked at for the planning sessions that the board is addressing in the future.  Chair answered that they have to look at both comprehensive and strategic so they know what money needs to be addressed. That the community could have maps in businesses that allow for community involvement for acquiring new businesses.


   Quigley stated That the county is extremely behind in the comprehensive planning.


  Green asked q about the stuff that have already have funding. Quigley stated that the bigger steps of the plan are which we need outside help to do.


Dixon stated that the process can become complicated and that the county cannot just work off of just grants without help. That the future is still uncertain and that we must show our vision to the public then be ready to take them right then.


  Green stated that process does not fit the community and that means that we must change the policies


  V stated that Knowles was asked to pull on paper which is impeding growth which is all of them.  V stated that comprehensive plan and strategic plan planning needed to be done in partnership so that the comprehensive plan can be done on an implemental pace.


   Chair holt stated that if someone needed work done right now what is the process.


Quigley answered that it needs to go through building and zoning.


  Chair asked the price of the process. Quigley stated that it depends on that situation.

Law clerks are a possibility to help with the situations. Dixon state that this is a problem with land rich cash poor situations that the county is facing and how we could help the citizens of the county.


   V asked q what if a member of a family refuses to sign papers what would be the solution.

Knowles answered that you would have to go to partition.  The problem is still the money that most of the citizen do not have.


  Dixon stated a there is FLAP in the courthouse for legal help on Tuesdays. FLAP does not aid in criminal proceedings.


  Green stated that he would like to see the workshop happen even before COVID-19 leaves, and to invite the churches to invite their members. He asked about the DEO grant timeline.  Quigley stated that there are several different time lines. Dixon added they are starting the processes. Quigley stated that they have grants that would be for hurricane Michael that would be for housing.


  V stated that there was a workshop for the comprehensive plan for that had contacts for grants that were in the past.


   Chair wants to grandfathering in some communities, hire consultants, and have workshops for the communities. Start looking at the GCDC sites for development along I-10 and highway 90. Looking at utilities for development and community commercial such as county’s stores with zoning issues.


  Hinson stated do we have proper structure near midway and that they are plugging in holes and need to just like Mariana did with not seeking instant gratification.


V left at 6:39pm


That some projects can take up to 6-12 years.


  Cunningham stated that grandfathering in property and heir’s property that are all over the county are issues. That houses are not on the correct property is another issue that the county is facing.


   Dixon stated that these are issues of poverty.


V returned at 6:41pm


  Dixon stated that one of the things that are being looked at is land use and change the categories.  Chair stated that it is all in working it out.


  Hinson stated that the board should study the issues so that they would be prepared for the meetings. That infrastructure is important for the economic development and not to give money to the businesses but into infrastructure. When are they going to discuss when they are going to talk about cares act funding and Dixon stated that they are going to look at it in January and now it is going to be now in February. Hinson would love to have a meeting again on that funding.


  NeSmith asked about the estimated coast and other issues that have not been addressed, why is there coast. Quigley answered that consultants could help with those issues.  Dixon stated that it would take 12 years if they were to hire more personnel. NeSmith asked if there is there a schedule for these changes/issues. 


  Dixon stated that commissioners need to stay in their seats so that stuff can get done. That staff can do issues in 12+ years without other duties.


   Chair Holt told a story about the issue.


  v stated blueprint 2000 is where Leon county and Tallahassee worked on the plan together and that now every year, they work on the 5-year plan.  Strategic plans on what the citizens would want and that Gadsden County should bias its templates off of those other counties.


  Hinson stated the issue in Leon county and Gadsden county have blue print 2020 that the citizens want. Chair stated that we should look at other venues sot that it can be socially distant. Dixon stated that the commissioners need to do the work to get money needed by working with departments to get grants.


  Chair stated that they need to annex the roads as well.


  Quigley wanted clarification on that they should look into getting law clerks for family/heir properties. Then start putting together the workshops with communities and the commissioners.


Chair adjourned at 7:15 p.m.





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