ZEPHYRHILLS — The right of youth athletic leagues to use a city-owned sports field and plans for city annexation dominated the Zephyrhills City Council meeting Monday night.
The council decided to draft a new agreement between the city and the Zephyrhills Police Athletic League and Zephyrhills Pasco Police Athletic League for both groups to use Krusen Field.
Both leagues used to be members of the same organization before ZPAL broke away from the Pasco Police Athletic League. The leagues have disagreed over who gets to use equipment, including the tower used for scoring and the loudspeakers. ZPPAL did not have use of the scoreboard last year. There have also been disagreements over the field's one permanent concession stand.
Council vice president Jodi Wilkeson said the council had a hard decision to make.
"We are not the first city that is experiencing this strife in our community," Wilkeson said.
"It is city property," council president Luis Lopez said of the field. "All citizens should have equal access to that field. By giving one group priority to the other, it's saying they're more important than the other group."
City Attorney Kenneth Compton recommended the city take a "survival of the fittest" approach if the leagues could not come to an agreement.
Both leagues agreed to settle their dispute if they had access to the scoreboard and an area for concessions.
The council said the city will look into buying a public scoreboard and other equipment needed for sporting events.
Council members also reviewed proposed amendments to the Evaluation & Appraisal Report that will streamline the process of land annexation for the city.
The amendments deal with the city's Comprehensive Plan and how the city can work with the county through an interlocal agreement.
Gene Bowles, a consultant from the University of Florida who has worked with city staff, said the amendments create the future service area for annexations. They guarantee the city has enough water and utilities to support the future annexed areas and that Zephyrhills cannot annex land not in the plan.
"The plan says, 'This is an area where we're focusing on our annexation. We're going to look to this area where we're putting our services,' " Bowles said.
The council voted to approve the water supply plan and annexation agreement that went with these amendments.