A controversial two-year battle with a landowner, town of Inverness and the county ended abruptly on Tuesday by a closely divided county fee.
The commissioners voted Three-2 to simply accept the provide of Greg Williams' settlement to withdraw their lawsuit in opposition to the county in trade for the county ending its opposition to the voluntary annexation of town of 382 acres of Lakeside ranches owned by Williams.
Commissioners Scott Carnahan, Jimmie T. Smith and President Jeff Kinnard voted to simply accept the settlement. Commissioners Brian Coleman and Ron Kitchen Jr., citing the dearth of public discover vote would happen, the difficulty was added to the agenda on Monday afternoon, they voted no.
The difficulty produced among the fiercest debates up to now amongst present board members.
Carnahan, particularly, accused county prosecutor Denise Dymond Lyn of not offering commissioners with Williams prior settlement affords, whose weddings and receptions on property adjoining to the Lakeside Nation Membership between Inverness and Hernando led to quite a few lawsuits between Williams and the county
Lyn stated Williams's solely actual affords had been to resolve the case of compliance with the code that preceded the lawsuit. She stated the county fee has no voice at code hearings.
Kinnard stated he positioned the deal provide on the agenda on the final minute after studying Monday afternoon that Smith would attend the assembly. Smith had informed Kinnard that he deliberate to overlook the assembly to attend a convention in Texas.
Kitchen was enraged by the late addition, saying it didn’t give the general public sufficient discover to intervene.
"We’re shifting to a really harmful territory," he stated.
Kinnard stated he wished a full desk to vote. Kitchen, nonetheless, stated he questioned if Kinnard wished Smith on objective to attend as a result of he knew that Smith supported Williams each in annexation and in authorized instances.
"I see this as a lift and an influence recreation," stated Kitchen.
Kinnard stated he simply wished the issue solved.
"I introduced this to place this on the mattress," Kinnard stated.
The county filed a code motion in opposition to Williams in 2017, saying its marriage ceremony and reception enterprise violated county ordinances. Williams stated the enterprise is protected against native regulation beneath the state farm tourism legislation.
A county code listening to officer dominated that weddings had been allowed, however not receptions with out permits. Williams then sued the county.
Later, Williams requested town of Inverness to annex Lakeside Ranches property, which the county opposed. Commissioners Coleman, Kitchen and Kinnard stated they might abide by any choice a decide made about annexation.
Tuesday's agenda included a request from Lyn for a "shadow" assembly between lawyer and shopper to debate Williams' provide.
Carnahan stated he acquired a name on August 6 from the president of the Inverness Council, Ken Hinkle, who "heard by way of the vine" that Williams had made a suggestion to terminate the declare if the county ended its objection to annexation.
Carnahan stated a citizen, whom he wouldn’t title however who stated he was not affiliated with Williams or town, informed him that Williams had made different affords to succeed in an settlement, however that he solely knew which one was the final.
He stated ending the authorized case would assist construct relationships with town.
And, he stated, this isn’t the primary time that the county fee helps a enterprise on county employees. In February, an equally divided board voted on the identical line to permit the proprietor of Crump's Touchdown to chop down timber with out permits, saying it was accomplished for agricultural functions.
"We've accomplished this earlier than," stated Carnahan. "That is nothing new".
Williams had public assist from Publix Supermarkets. Inverness retailer supervisor Janet Kohlas stated Publix attends many occasions at Lakeside Ranches, and different native companies additionally profit from Lakeside Ranches.
Kitchen stated that was not a motive to offer Williams a relaxation.
"All firms should obtain the identical remedy," he stated. "There are companies that comply with the principles and companies that don't comply with the principles."
On Williams' proposal, Kitchen added: "The provide is:" Don’t apply your ordinance, don’t apply your legislation and I can’t demand it. "
Kitchen additionally stated that the push to succeed in an settlement happened attributable to "parallel agreements" and that "some highly effective folks got here to a few of us."
Each Carnahan and Kinnard denied that declare.
"This has to vanish," Kinnard stated. "It has nothing to do with anybody highly effective."
Carnahan, noting that he voted in favor of the annexation of Williams, added: "Nobody caught me both."
Later, when the assembly ended, Kitchen moved away from his feedback. He stated he was not accusing the commissioners of any crime, however that he hears these feedback from the general public.
Inverness Cabot McBride councilor attended the assembly and was happy with the vote.
"I’m very grateful that that is over," he stated. "We preserve capturing one another due to this drawback."
Williams was additionally happy.
"The instances are already resolved," he informed a journalist. "So far as we’re involved, the litigation is over. We are able to proceed with our lives. They had been very joyful."
Power journalist Fred Hiers contributed to this report. Contact Chronicle journalist Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or email@example.com.