City Commission Workshop Meeting

August 24, 2020

4:30 p.m.

This Commission Meeting was conducted utilizing Communications Media Technology in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Some Elected Officials and Staff members were present in the Commission Chambers while others were present via the Zoom application to respect the social distancing guidelines.


Elected Officials Present in Chambers:

Shirley Groover Bryant, Mayor

Harold Smith, Commissioner, Ward 1


Elected Officials Present Electronically:

Tambra Varnadore, Vice Mayor, Commissioner, Ward 2

Tamara Cornwell, Commissioner-at-Large 2

Jonathan Davis, Commissioner-at-Large 1

Brian Williams, Commissioner, Ward 3


Staff Present in Chambers:

Mark Barnebey, City Attorney

Karla Owens, Development Services Director

Mohammed Rayan, Public Works Director

Penny Johnston, Executive Assistant


Staff Present Electronically:

Jim Freeman, City Clerk

Scott Tyler, Chief of Police

Todd Williams, Information Technology (IT) Consultant


  Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.


Attorney Mark Barnebey addressed the interlocal agreement related to the property being conveyed from the County to complete the improvements for the Roundabout on the 7th Street Extension.  The City is still waiting for a response from Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) regarding the road and related storm water management ponds.  The City is also investigating the time frame for the hotel.  Mr. Barnebey recommended not taking action this evening, and postpone discussion until the next regular scheduled board meeting.



Development Services Director Karla Owens continued discussing the proposed sign ordinance, beginning at Section 3-70 On Premises Electronic Message Center Signs on page 27 of the proposed sign ordinance.  Language was proposed, discussed and agreed upon with Debra Woithe a few years ago, but was never adopted or incorporated into the ordinance.

   Ms. Owens pointed out the language regarding Electronic Message Center (EMC) signs being added in (P) Public Zoning Districts such as public schools, and Residential Support Uses located on residentially zoned property such as adult or child daycare centers and churches.  Multiple churches (at least 8) are located in residential areas, and would be allowed to apply for EMC signs if this ordinance is adopted as written.  Planning and Zoning Advisory Board had a split vote recommendation about including these signs in residential areas.


   Commissioners Williams and Smith asked about brightness and pixilation.  Mr. Freeman will verify with the vendor if the gateway sign near Riverside Drive can be adjusted.

  Commissioner Varnadore asked about electronic billboards.  Mrs. Owens confirmed that Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) does not allow new billboard permits for FDOT roads or scenic corridors, but people are still allowed to upgrade existing signs to a digital board. Both billboards in the City are on state roads.

   Karla Owens asked for answers to two questions: 1) Would Commission like to ban new billboards?  2) For existing billboards, through conditional use, would the Commission like to allow them to be transitioned to a digital billboard?  This will come back before the Commission in September, allowing public comment.


  Existing signs can be repaired if not more than 50%.    Non-conforming signs or abandoned signs are given the opportunity to correct and if still non-compliant, the issue is brought before the Hearing Magistrate via the Code Enforcement process.


   Mark Barnebey suggested bringing the ordinance forward as recommended by staff on September 14, 2020 and let the Commission make changes during the public hearing.


Mayor Bryant adjourned the workshop at 5:11 p.m.   




Minutes approved: September 14, 2020



James R. Freeman, City Clerk




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