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Freeport City Council hears project updates, potential funding opportunities for water improvement

Aug 12, 2023

August 30, 2023QuintonNews


The Freeport City Council held its regular meeting on Aug. 24, 2023, at Freeport City Hall.

Alex Rouchaleau of Dewberry Engineering said that they were going to submit two projects for grant consideration. One is for the city’s pickleball courts and the other would be for the improvements needed for the barrier-free park to complete the community’s trust management plan. That would include two boardwalks, the spider playground equipment, and the water fountain. The pickleball court would cost $250,000 which could get a 50% match, and for the barrier-free improvements would be $150,000 which would require a 25% match.

City Manager Mark Martin brought the new employee personnel handbook before the council which was approved.

Tim Parson of Liberty Partners spoke about some potential funding opportunities through the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Environmental Protection for a water quality improvement grant. This is the grant that had been worked on for the alternative water supply grant application earlier this year. He said that the Walton County Legislative Delegation will have their meeting on Oct. 5, 2023, at the South Walton Courthouse Annex. He also noted that Florida will have close to $4 billion in additional revenue this coming year, according to the general estimating conference projections.

Senior Planner Samantha Graves spoke concerning the Waters at Freeport PDP (planned development project). It is to be located at the SW corner of Marquis Way and U.S. Hwy 331 S. It consists of 16.16 acres. It is a Mixed-Use development with C-1 General Commercial on U.S. 331, to potentially include an 80 – 90 room hotel, a 23,300 square foot shopping center, a 5200 square foot restaurant, a drive through restaurant (Starbucks) and 226 multi-family units. It meets all zoning requirements. David Smith of Innerlight Engineering Corp. presented the project. The property is owned by two different individuals who joined together and assigned David Smith. Prescott Bailey, Director of Development of the Stoa Group also spoke.

Planning Director Latilda Hughes-Neel said that the intersection of U.S. 331 and SR-20 is an issue that needs to be addressed. She said it was a perfect intersection for a transportation improvement program Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) funding for projects on county roads. The project was approved. Bruce Merrill, a resident of Marquis Way said that some concessions are needed. He said there are six houses in Lafayette Creek Landing on Marquis Way that would have a lot of difficulty getting out when they punch Marquis Way all the way through. He also said the parking situation at Publix is not adequate at times. Kathrine Gatewood City Clerk asked about the rental prices expected in the new multi-family units. They expect to start the one-bedroom apartments at $1,750 monthly, and two-bedrooms at $2,000 monthly.

Graves also presented The Crossings at Freeport PDP. Scott Jenkins of Jenkins Engineering, Inc. spoke concerning the project. It is to be located on West Bay Loop Rd. and is 33.5 acres. They plan to have 127 single-family lots and are zoned Low-Density Residential. A 15’ set-back is planned on both sides, more recreation space, less density, a 6’ fence and a 4’ ditch. The concern was the traffic that would be added to the existing road. CHS Investments, LLC – Chandler Huff is the developer. Residents behind the development were concerned about setbacks, they wanted a privacy fence, and they also wanted an archaeological survey done but nothing was found. The owner has said he would provide an easement on the north that’s wider than what’s there now. A comment was made concerning how many cars would be added given that each home had two vehicles, which would be 254 vehicles potentially on the road at the same time, and each lot is 60’ wide. Council member Elizabeth Haffner said that they actually came in under the allowable maximum density, but they are providing more recreational space than required. The project was approved.

The 83A West Watermain Improvements PH II project was awarded to Boan Contracting Co. in the amount of $2,516,129.76 including FPVC Bore Pipe. There were only two bidders for the project.

Council member Elizabeth Brannon said she recommended Tim Haney for the Planning Board vacancy. The council approved.