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• Against the advice of city staff and the urging of northwest Ocala residents, the city has approved a code change that could allow a construction and debris landfill to expand. Ocala council members stressed the need to bring the Friends Recycling landfill into agreement with the city’s code. Then the city can set rules for things like the landfill’s height. “I would love to turn back time and ensure this never existed in the first place, but unfortunately that’s not available to me today,” said Councilman Justin Grabelle. “What’s available to me today is either to reject this ordinance or accept this ordinance. In rejecting it, it still stays open.” But the code change they approved Tuesday night also gives … Read More »
• The owner of an old construction and debris landfill in northwest Ocala is asking the City Council to change city code in a way that could allow it to expand. The city holds a second and final hearing on the change Tuesday afternoon. In general, Ocala rules don’t permit landfills like the one operated by Friends Recycling on Northwest 27th Avenue, but this landfill was there before the rules took effect. It’s near Happiness Homes and the future sites of a community center and hundreds of houses planned for the old Pine Oaks Golf Course. For years, people in that predominantly African-American community have opposed development at the landfill site. One neighbor – Ire Bethea – spoke at the last … Read More »