By Mount Dora Councilman Marc Crail, District 4
I'm happy to give you this update on the March 7 Mount Dora City Council meeting. I am just one of seven city council members and not its spokesman. I selected 3-4 items covered at the meeting and briefly report on them for your information. I try to be unbiased in my reports, but what you're receiving is strictly from my perspective.
Our City Council meeting this evening had a fairly light agenda but I was impressed with the healthy discussion and decisions made by the group which (in my estimation) continues to develop into cohesive body. We are making progress and maturing as a council. It makes me happy to make that observation!
Denny Wood who is the chairman of the Friends of the Donnelly House reported on their progress in renovating this Mount Dora jewel. Foundation work has been done to stabilize the structure. Next up will be repainting the house and adding some landscaping improvements. These repairs are expensive and donations are certainly welcome. Mark Sunday May 7th. on your calendar. There will be a BBQ at the Donnelly House that day. Please plan to attend to show your support and see the ongoing improvements to the best known house in our city.
Wawa is coming to Mount Dora! If you're not familiar, Wawa is a combination convenience store/gas station. This store will be located on U.S. Highway 441 at the corner of Morningside Drive. There is currently a Shell station on that corner and a parcel of wooded property beside it. Tonight we began the process of Voluntarily Annexation of that wooded property (about 1.25 acres) which is in Lake County not Mount Dora. The Shell station will be replaced by Wawa which will have a larger foot print. We must amend our Future Land Use Map to accommodate their needs. The wooded property will need to be rezoned from County Residential to Mount Dora Commercial. These were "first readings" tonight but look for dirt to move later this year. Wawa is well known as an excellent corporate citizen and you might also like their famous coffee and food. This is another win for Mount Dora.
A group made up of citizen landlords has been working with city staff to revise our current Rental Property Inspection regulations. We gave final approval of their recommendations which will continue to keep renters safe and save on city staff time while saving landlords a few bucks.
The city owned docks at the end of 4th. Ave. by the Yacht Club were damaged in a recent storm. Emergency repairs are currently being made and much of that cost should be covered by a Bond Reimbursement.
I have been concerned about City Council members' participation in a group called the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Council which is organized by the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. At some meetings 2 or even 3 City Council members have participated. The rub (for me) is that this Leadership Council often discusses issues that are likely to come before City Council. Their participation is certainly legal and everyone is well intentioned but I worry about the perception that this creates. I related my concerns and asked that our city staff develop a policy that would clarify and define council members' participation in meetings like this. I would much rather have the Leadership Council meet with City Council as a whole to promote transparency and provide a healthier working relationship. Council agreed with me and I hope that we will have a new policy in place sooner rather than later.
Here's something to think about from Albert Einstein who once said; "Everybody's a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid". I'm feeling a little bit less stupid after reading that.
Thanks for your interest in your city government and thanks for allowing me to serve.
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