PALMETTO -- Palmetto City Commissioners want to meet with the city's business community to discuss open storage and junkyard issues.
Open storage in Palmetto is permitted in heavy industrial zones by conditional use.
During a workshop at City Hall Monday, commissioners listened to a presentation by city code enforcement director Bill Strollo, who said several auto and marine vehicle sale locations, as well as home improvement businesses, outside the designated zone meet the definition of an open storage or junkyard and would be subject to city enforcement.
Strollo suggests the board consider amending zones for open storage.
"I need some direction as far as what the commission would like to see," Strollo said.
Commissioners suggested a workshop with the business community to discuss possible financial hardships inherited with compliance.
"It's going to be a tremendous financial impact to them if we say you have to put up a 6-foot high fence," said Commissioner Brian Williams.
Commissioner Tambra Varnadore said some businesses would have to pay vendors to dispose of junk or other equipment if required by the city.
"They have to dispose them properly," she said. "They just can't throw them away."
The dilemma, commissioners said, is categorizing businesses to certain zones.
"Those business don't get paid until those cars are removed," Commissioner Charles Smith said.
Changes to code regulations, Strollo said, could include additional screening and setback requirements or moving equipment to other parts of a property. Commissioners said they would also like to address open storage or junk on residential properties.
"This is a 23-year-old code," Williams said. "This is one that is hitting us in the face right now."
In other actions Monday, commissioners voted to approve a utility rate study for water, sewage and reclaimed city water. Palmetto last had a rate study in 2004 and has not had a water rate increase since fiscal year 2009, with the exception of a wholesale water rate increase due to Manatee County water rate increases.
Commissioners also approved the installation of four-way stops at 12th Street West and 20th through 23rd Avenue West along with a three-way stop at 12th Street West and 18th Avenue Drive West.
The Florida Department of Transportation requested the city build the stops.
Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams