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Lease at airport debated
The council questions a 30-year lease of an acre, then approves it with some changes.
By EBONY WINDOM, Times Correspondent
Published January 29, 2008
ZEPHYRHILLS - A lease of a small tract at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport sparked a big debate Monday at the City Council meeting.
Ron Roma of Roma I wants to lease an acre at the airport to build a hangar for his personal airplane. The 30-year lease would have given him an option to renew for another 30 years.
But tying up that land for six decades would be a risky move, said Joseph Poblick, the Zephyrhills city attorney.
At least two council members wanted to spend more time reviewing the airport lease.
"I'm very uncomfortable with the lease," said Kenneth Compton, council president.
But airport manager Trina Sweet said that lengthy leases are commonplace at area airports. Besides, Roma had already begun the leasing process and it wouldn't be fair to change the lease now, Sweet said.
"I find this embarrassing," Sweet said.
"We have some fundamental differences that need to be addressed," Compton said.
In the end, Roma's airport lease agreement was approved with a stipulation that the 30-year renewal is subject to negotiation by both Roma and the airport.
In other business, the council unanimously approved an ordinance that allows Nestle Water North America, the company that makes Zephyrhills Water, to rezone 6 acres to add truck parking at its plant.
The council also approved changes to a construction contract for the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Wharton Smith would need to a make a change to the pumps for the plant, which is under construction.
This would add nearly $74,000 to the cost of the project, but will likely save the city more than $20,000 in the future, according to Louie Sellars, a representative from the utilities department.
The council tabled a separate issue of whether city crews should take over maintenance of the grassy area along U.S. 301 within the city limits. The Florida Department of Transportation is now responsible for the upkeep.