Sorry to start your day on a low note, but we do not have Commission Email Thursday.
I know, I know. Disappointing. For us both.
The email batch of the week came randomly from Commissioner Scott Carnahan and, frankly, was pretty dry. I doubt that has anything to do with Carnahan. Sometimes it just happens (though it rarely happens with Commissioners Holly Davis and Ruthie Davis Schlabach, who each have a ton of email interaction with the public).
Fortunately we have this in its place:
Allow me to explain.
Interesting turn of events during Tuesday’s county commission meeting regarding the Betz Farm property on Turkey Oak. Remember the county had two offers, each at $5.5 million, with one coming from the Tamposi family which, ironically, owned this exact property decades ago.
Then the county received a third offer for $6 million. That offer is from Beruff, who you and I don’t know but he’s quite the name in Republican circles statewide. Here’s my story for Florida Politics about the county’s decision to delay it another two weeks to give the interested parties a few days to give a best and final offer.
Beruff is a Sarasota developer who was well plugged in with Gov. Rick Scott. He also attracts controversy. Along with significant criticism of his time chairing the Constitutional Revision Commission, he’s run afoul with the state ethics commission.
I bring all this up not to heap a bunch of criticism on this developer none of us knows. But it is instead to ask the question:
Should the county commission consider who it is selling the Betz Farm property to, and give it weight along with the purchase price?
The successful bidder will take ownership of 350 acres that has development approval for 1,500 homes. That is a lot of homes even during these growth times.
This development will be built on a two-lane roadway that the city of Crystal River wants used as a bypass. It’d be nice to know the experiences these developers have with the local government, here or elsewhere. Do they work well with the locals or plow through without a thought?
That’s why the Tamposi offer was so intriguing. That’s a known name that has a well earned reputation for exceptional housing developments in Citrus County. Who knows what they would do with Betz Farm, but we don’t have to worry about it being a disaster.
I doubt the commissioners will give two seconds’ thought to this idea. They want the property back on the tax rolls and out of their hair. With sale proceeds headed to help build the new animal shelter, commissioners are unlikely to wait to make sure the new owner plays nice.
And they showed zero interest in taking Tamposi’s $5.5 million offer over $6 million from Beruff.
But it’s not every day the county unloads 350 acres of prime real estate. Is it unreasonable to ask that we don’t sell it to a klutz?
Enjoy your Citrus County Thursday, friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.