The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council passed a preliminary reading of amendments Tuesday designed to beef up its ordinance that regulates dumping of manure and horse bedding.
The council also approved paving missing portions of North Road that were not included in a project underway by the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District.
Attorney Michael Cirullo brought back changes to the manure dumping ordinance requested by council members. Changes included a provision that property owners in residential areas can have manure and bedding dumped on their property if they can show it is being used for landscaping purposes.
Other changes would allow dumping on Saturday, and prohibit dumping within 50 feet of the property line or within 50 feet of a wellhead.
Councilman Tom Goltzené said some residents had told him they were concerned that if they had just bought property intended for agriculture and did not yet have an agricultural exemption, they would not be able to deposit an adequate amount of manure to set up the property for cultivation.
“This is more for someone who wants to establish a tree field,” he said, noting that the approval process can take more than a year.
Cirullo suggested that the town manager have discretion to allow new property owners setting up their land for cultivation to have manure deliveries, which received consensus from council members.
Goltzené also wanted to change the load criteria in the ordinance from 40 square yards to 20 square yards. “We’re more likely to be using a 20-yard truck,” he said, explaining that 20 yards is the most common size for a dump truck.
Council members also discussed the dumping time limitations, which is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the existing ordinance.
However, Goltzené did not want time restrictions. “I don’t really like having limitations on agricultural,” he said, explaining that he used to deliver hay at midnight in order to stay on schedule. “If you want to work late, you work late. We shouldn’t over-regulate something.”
Councilman Ryan Liang agreed with Goltzené, but after discussion, council members decided to keep the hauling hours 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Councilman Ron Jarriel wanted to include Saturdays for deliveries; the amended ordinance would have limited deliveries to Monday through Friday. Jarriel did not agree with night deliveries, however. “Nobody needs to be hauling after dark,” he said.
Homeowners who maintain their own property would want manure delivered on the weekend, Jarriel said.
During public comment, Dennis Lipp said he agreed with Goltzené and Liang about nighttime deliveries, but also with Jarriel in that he did not want haulers to use night deliveries in order to get around the ordinance. “I go for a morning walk, and there are manure trucks at 6:30 a.m.,” he said.
Cirullo reviewed the changes to read that deliveries would be allowed on Saturdays but not on Sundays, and clarify that delivery hours remain 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Town Manager Mark Kutney suggested there be no charge for haulers for the first 10 loads per day. After discussion, council members agreed that the charge be $40 for each load over 10. The ordinance also sets a $1,000 permit fee for haulers; $2,000 if they have been apprehended dumping manure illegally.
Liang said the rules need a stipulation that the loads must spread within a certain number of days. He suggested a week.
Jarriel felt that a week was too long. “If they can’t spread it within 72 hours, they don’t need it,” he said. “We have people stockpiling it and hauling it in with 40-yard trucks.”
The council agreed with the 72-hour time limit.
Councilman Jim Rockett made a motion to approve the ordinance with the amendments. It carried unanimously.
Council members also gave final approval for the North Road OGEM paving project, which will pave gaps on North Road not included in the paving project currently underway by the LGWCD.
Kutney explained that he and the town attorney had assembled a large packet that contained the necessary documents, including a resolution and a copy of the district contract that the town was piggybacking on to conduct the project.
He said there had been some unforeseen engineering charges of $14,500 that would have to be added to the $131,000 quote to do the work, plus a $10,000 contingency fee.
Goltzené asked about the possibility of doing similar work off Collecting Canal Road under the same contract, explaining that he had been contacted by property owners there who want the same services.
“On Collecting Canal, we have a similar situation,” Goltzené said. “We might want to consider addressing that as well.”
Rockett said he thought the issues on Collecting Canal were different than North Road, where there are segments of unpaved road that had not been covered in the district project.
“I think we’re at the end of the runway on what we can do,” he said. “The manager and attorney had to jump through hoops as to what to do. We’ve got to the point that we can’t expand at this point. I don’t disagree with Tom, but I think to jeopardize what we’ve got to do, I’m not interested in doing anything else.”
Goltzené said he felt it was just a matter of adding more work with same contractor.
Mayor Dave Browning said if he had his way, he would have reduced the North Road project, adding that he was a little perturbed that the engineering was going to cost $14,500.
Jarriel suggested that the issues on Collecting Canal be taken up by the Intergovernmental Coordination Committee and that the current plan should not be delayed since the paving project is ongoing.
Rocket made a motion to approve up to $141,000 for the project and up to $15,000 for engineering, Jarriel seconded, and it carried 5-0.