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Neighbors complain of noise along Trice Lane

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By Nancy Imperiale

Do county facilities belong with the neighborhoods on Trice Lane?
Some residents in the area don’t think so, and they asked Wakulla County commissioners at their last meeting to do something about it.
“This is a residential location, with kids constantly walking down the road,” said Marguerite Burton of the Eagles Ridge subdivision, which abuts the county property.
Having county EMS and Public Works headquarters, a fire station, and a fill dirt operation brings dump trucks and other county vehicles and causes “constant thumping of trucks loading and unloading dirt and county vehicles coming through,” Burton said. “We disagree with this site being in a residential neighborhood.”
Burton urged commissioners to “find a more suitable location” for the facilities at 340 Trice Lane, and presented a petition signed by 17 of her neighbors.
Commissioners discussed how the county facilities came to be located on Trice because it is a major access road which links Shadeville Road and Crawfordville Highway. The facilities predate modern zoning laws, which is why the vote on a zoning change from RSU-1 (Semi Urban Residential) to C4 (Downtown Commercial) came before the county commission.
“The fire station and EMS are there, but I’ve thought of maybe moving the operations part out to the landfill,” said Commissioner Randy Merritt.
 “The dirt needs to be moved away,” agreed Commissioner Chuck Hess. “It makes noise.”
Commissioner Jerry Moore asked county staff to add some landscaping and other buffers to reduce noise.

In the end, the commission voted 5-0 to approve the zoning change. County offices will stay put on Trice Lane. Although they took no formal vote, there was general agreement among commissioners to direct county staff to transition the dirt-moving operation to the landfill and provide buffers to minimize noise and disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.
County Administrator David Edwards said this week county staff will “be in transition over the next couple of years” moving the dirt operations from Trice Lane to the county landfill on Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Road.
In other matters:
• The commission approved spending $618 to add lighting outside the commission chambers to improve safety at night. Duke Energy will install and maintain the equipment.
• Commissioners also extended the county’s public works contract with ESG Operations, Inc.
In February the board voted to renew ESG’s $1.8 million annual contract through 2022. Monday the board voted to extend the contract for another five years as well as another five-year renewal that would be automatic unless cancelled within 120 days by either party.
The contract price includes about $1.3 million for roads, $110,160 for solid waste, $285,600 for sewer and wastewater, and $37,740 for the Riversink water fund.
Commissioners also awarded a  3-year contract to provide limerock for road projects as needed to A Mining Group of Lamont.
• The board inked an agreement to care “in perpetuity” for the Wakulla segments of the Capital City to the Sea Loop mixed use trail that will connect Wakulla, Leon, Franklin, Jefferson and Gadsden counties.
The Florida Department of Transportation and other state agencies are planning and funding the trail, but the state requires the county to agree to care for the trails after they are built.
The project will add a paved multi-use trail on the right-of-way along U.S. 98 from 319 to the St. Marks Bike Trail along Woodville Highway. There will also be a segment connecting the St. Marks Bike Trail to the Lighthouse Road.
Construction on the trail is expected to begin in late 2017 or early 2018 and be completed in about a year.
The county expects the cost of maintaining the trails to be “insubstantial” and it will be absorbed by the road department.
• Commissioners approved requesting $100,000 in grants from the Department of Environmental Protection for improvements at the Wakulla One Stop Community Center.
Phase one would renovate and resurface the playground and add equipment; upgrade the parking area and install concrete bumpers; provide new surface, hoops and netting for the basketball court; and add picnic facilities and a water fountain.
Phase two would resurface the area under the swing set; add more playground equipment; add a covered picnic shelter; and install solar security lighting in the parking lot.
Although the grants will pay for the project, the county agreed to pay an additional $10,000 to Fred Fox Enterprise for grant management assistance.
• Commissioners also voted to amend the county’s Special Events Ordinance to allow alcohol to be sold at the Rock the Dock and Shell Point Regatta events.
Rock the Dock is a fishing tournament held in April at Panacea’s Woolley Park. The  Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta is an annual benefit for the American Cancer Society in memory of Stephen Smith, a local sailor who died from a rare form of leukemia. It’s held in April at Shell Point.
• Commissioners also approved a 240-day moratorium on accepting any applications from medical marijuana treatment centers. This will allow time to review, study, hold public hearings and adopt any new laws needed for this new zoning use, officials said.