A Clermont businessman’s quest to de-annex from the North Hall County town got off to a rocky start Tuesday night as the mayor rebutted an email sent by the businessman to officials and otherwise defended the town.
“You state that you were told you could annex back into the county,” Mayor James Nix told Mark Kirves. “I cannot find any written statements to this effect.”
He went on to correct other statements, including that Gainesville, not Hall County, provides water service to residents.
As far as services go, “we try to be a friendly and safe place for our residents and businesses,” Nix said. “We provide parks and recreational services, a library, street lighting, and property value protection and regulation through zoning.”
Council held a first reading on the matter, allowing the public and Kirves to speak. It will vote on the issue in May.
The Clermont Planning and Zoning Commission voted March 22 to recommend against de-annexation.
Kirves, who owns Iron Accents with his wife, Valerie, is hoping officials will peel back town limits from the 4-acre site off Cleveland Highway/U.S. 129 and allow the couple to seek a highway business zoning from Hall County.
“I feel like and I’ve been told the property is economically disadvantaged,” Kirves told the council. “And the reason it is economically disadvantaged is because of the zoning restrictions Clermont would put on a new owner.”
The issue may sound familiar to Clermont residents. Last May, the council voted to deny businessman Chris Nonnemaker’s request to withdraw his 6-acre tract featuring a Papa’s Pizza To-Go restaurant off Cleveland Highway — less than a third of a mile from Iron Accents — from the town.
Plans called for a couple to open a beach-themed restaurant at the site that would serve beer and alcohol. Clermont bans such sales.