News Update for 11/8/23

Highlands County commissioners yesterday turned back a proposed development on Sparta Road, but it took them better than five hours to do it. The contentious zoning hearing had experts for the land developers presenting their case for 80 units on 20 acres near the intersection of Sparta and Highway 27.
Neighbors opposed the project in force telling commissioners they would be subjected noise and excess traffic.
A motion by commissioner Scott Kirouac to change zoning for the project died for lack of a second. But it may not be over, attorneys for the developer indicated there could now be legal action.

Highlands County Sheriff’s officials say a couple of burglary suspects now have been identified. The two – described as young, white males, were seen breaking into the pressbox at the Durrah Martin Baseball complex in Avon Park.
One apparently was injured in the incident. Sheriff’s officials have not released any names or other details.

Smoking and vaping will be off limits at certain Polk County parks. The county commission voted yesterday to ban smoking and vaping at public parks in unincorporated Polk.
The initial focus will be on active parks like youth sports complexes and playgrounds. The ordinance will go into effect once it’s filed with the Secretary of State’s office, but there’s no word on when that will be.
A group called Students Working Against Tobacco pushed for the change. Commissioner George Lindsey says it’s very encouraging whenever young people get involved, especially when it results in positive action like this.

Hardee county residents and local officials will gather today at Peace River Park to officially dedicate new improvements there. Work on the location includes sidewalks, trails, boardwalks plus bridge and other crossings. There’s also a kayak launch, observation tower and campsite area.
The facility is off East Main Street in Wauchulla across from Crews Park.

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