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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Florida the rules are different here Chapter LXII

The town of Palm Coast wants to seize some property via eminent domain. What will the town use it for? How about a public golf course. Don't you just love Florida?

Its a little more complicated than that. Supposedly Palm Coast can use the land to improve the town's water system. The owner of the property, Ravonier Inc., has turned down a proposal from Palm Coast to buy the land. Still Ravonier said they want dialogue. Dialogue has to mean more money. It will be interesting to see if Palm Coast spends more money in legal fees than the difference between the town's offer and any counter offer from Ravonier. When it comes to business acumen, our elected officials most often have only a small supply.

Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early,

PALM COAST -- City officials approved a resolution this week that would allow the acquisition of a 1,200-acre site along U.S. 1 to improve the city's water system. It also could solve officials' quest to find a site for a future public golf course.

But the plan calls for the city to take the property through eminent domain -- a move that could set the stage for a battle between Palm Coast and Jacksonville-based Rayonier Inc.

Fed up with the lack of affordable golf in the area, Palm Coast Mayor James Canfield formed a committee with Bunnell Mayor Joann King and Flagler County Administrator Doug Wright earlier this year to study the feasibility of building a golf course in the county. The committee has reviewed various locations and made inquiries about the purchase of at least one site. Officials made an offer to Rayonier to purchase parcels of land it owns on U.S. 1 near Palm Coast, but were turned down.

Now, officials are considering the Rayonier site beyond the possibility of locating a golf course there.

City Manager Dick Kelton told the council at a meeting Tuesday that the land, about 1,203 acres, contains well sites that could improve the city's water system. The site also has the space needed for a golf course, he said.

Rayonier officials have said they are not ready to sell the property, which is appraised at $4.7 million, Kelton said.

Discussions with the company are at a "dead stop," he said.

"They have no interest in talking with us further," Kelton said.

A Rayonier spokesman, meanwhile, said the company wants dialogue.

"We look forward to working with Palm Coast to better understand what their interests are," spokesman Mike Bell said in a telephone interview Friday morning.

Under the resolution, the city's utility system would acquire the property. The golf course would pay rental fees to the utility system to continue operation, Kelton said.

According to city documents, Palm Coast would acquire the property through a "quick take" procedure. That method would allow the city to acquire the property quickly, but determining its cost could take years.

Councilman Alan Peterson, who favors a public golf course, initially opposed a "quick take" because its true cost was unknown.

"That's like saying we'll give this process a blank check and we don't know what it's going to coast, and we don't know what it is going to take for the city to break even in the acquisition," he said.

Peterson also opposed language in the resolution that said the property would only be used as a golf course.

Vice Mayor William Venne said the city needed to seize the property now because control of Palm Coast's water was paramount.

"We're protecting the water source that Palm Coast is going to need in the future," he said.

Councilman Jon Netts agreed, saying officials could be haunted years later if they city didn't acquire the well sites now. Netts also noted that the city still would have to purchase the well sites even if a more suitable site for a golf course was located.

Peterson later threw his support behind the resolution, but only after language was changed to reflect that the land could be used for public purposes such as a golf course, but did not commit the city to that single use.

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