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County, city to discuss jail proposal

County commissioners will meet soon with the Inverness City Council todiscuss plans to build a 400-bed jail in downtown Inverness.

Saying that four of the five members of the City Council had expressed "extreme displeasure" with the county's decision to place the jail on N Park Avenue, County Attorney Larry Haag has recommended a joint meeting to assess whether the plan can go forward.

Before construction can begin, the city must approve an amendment to its comprehensive plan, a zoning change, a variance and a street closing.

In a memo to commissioners, Haag wrote that if the city does not grant the measures, "we would be hard-pressed to litigate the issue and still keep with the two-year time frame of having a new detention facility completed." Circuit Judge William Edwards has set a deadline of October 1991 for opening the jail.

County Administrator Chris Chinault will contact the city to try to arrange the joint meeting. Haag suggested that it be sometime after Feb. 20, when the City Council plans to hold a workshop to review jail plans with county staff and Jim Roberson & Associates of Tallahassee, the architectural firm hired to design the facility.

The County Commission's meeting Tuesday came to an abrupt halt before 3 p.m. when Commissioner Nick Bryant walked out, leaving the five-member board without a quorum. Commissioners Skip Hudson and Wayne Weaver had left the room several minutes earlier during one of the board's frequent and fiery debates on development in the county.

When Bryant got up to leave, Commissioner Hank Cohen had been repeating his support for strong development restrictions, views that are not shared by the other commissioners. Bryant said he had to leave because "my daughter's getting married tomorrow."

In other action Tuesday, the commission: Approved a request by the Sheriff's Office to create four positions for operators of the 911 emergency phone line. The new positions are projected to cost $52,654 through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Endorsed a plan for the county to create an Adopt-A-Shore program.

Based on the Adopt-A-Highway concept, the program would encourage citizens groups to remove trash from waterfront areas. "We do not expect a lot of taxpayer money to be spent," Chinault said. The Public Works Department is in the process of designing the program, he said.

Asked Assistant County Administrator Steve Wylie to work with John

Shackelford of Hernando to try to help homeless people in the county. "We have a homeless problem which a lot of people don't seem to recognize," Shackelford told commissioners.

Listened to a request from Anne Kabrich to include Floral City in a "planned service area" in the comprehensive plan. Areas so designated will be allowed to develop at a much higher density than lands not included. Mrs. Kabrich said she had gathered 100 signatures in support of her suggestion.