MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday OK’d a proposal to strip three ordinances from its books addressing the use of firearms.
Chief Deputy County Attorney James Minix told the commission that the proposal before it would repeal three “mainly moot” ordinances that had been sitting on the books for 30 years.
The three ordinances had not been enforced during his tenure, he said, but he warned commissioners that “these ordinances definitely need to be repealed.”
The ordinances dealt with concealed pistols; discharge of firearms on roads, highways or streets; and target practice ranges.
Their substance is probably covered in existing state statutes, Minix told the board.
The commission joined other local governments rushing to repeal regulations involving guns after the Florida Legislature last spring added strict new penalties to an existing state statute covering firearms and ammunition. The new provisions took effect Oct. 1.
Among the penalties are civil fines of up to $5,000 levied against officials, or firing, or removal from office, officials have said.
In other action, the commission approved a land development agreement that cleared the way for Manatee Fruit Co. to sell about 110 acres to its neighbor, IMG Academies.
The agreement sets forth a method for the company to pay for improvements to the road system that will be needed in the future, officials have said.
The transaction is designed to aid IMG in its expansion plans on land adjacent to its campus at 34th Street West and 54th Avenue Drive West, officials have said.
IMG, offering specialized training in a variety of sports, wields an economic impact annually of more than $200 million, officials have said previously.
Manatee Fruit Co. owns 1,729 acres in the same southwest Bradenton area, but officials emphasized that if it wants to develop its land, it still must go through the county’s regular approval process.
For now, Manatee Fruit Co., founded in 1892, will continue its agriculture enterprise, said Whiting H. Preston, president.
The company employs about 80, and grows tomatoes, cut flowers, potted plants, trees and ornamentals, he said.
“I think this is a good result for everybody,” Preston said Tuesday after the commission meeting.
The commission also decided against pursuing an idea promoted by Dave “Watchdog” Miner, who suggested it join the Manatee school board in establishing an Independent Boundary Council that would draw identical commission and school board district boundaries.
Miner, a public policy activist, was critical of the commission’s effort to re-draw its district boundaries because it began with existing districts instead of starting from scratch.
“We’re real close to having some nice sets of maps,” said Commissioner Joe McClash. He noted that this year will be the first when commission and school board boundaries match.
“It really makes a lot of sense,” he said.
Commissioner Donna Hayes said she was satisfied that the county’s “Plan C” seemed most popular, adding, “The staff has done a wonderful job of working out these issues.”
Redistricting is a process all levels of government are doing, based on the 2010 U.S. Census. The boundaries determine which voters can participate in electing a certain representatives.