In 2020, the Village entered into lease agreements with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to enable and allow the Village to undertake management of activities at the Fills, including staffing on weekends and holidays, managing parking areas, increasing litter and trash removal and placement of toilet facilities. The Village Council agreed to enter into the leases in response to local resident concerns raised to the Village Council regarding unmonitored and uncontrolled activities at the Fills and overcrowding by visitors.
Under the lease agreements, before the Village can undertake projects to address safety, significant overcrowding, littering and environmental degradation of the areas frequented by visitors, especially on weekends and holidays, the Village needs to develop a master or management plan to convey ongoing desired control mechanisms and potential amenities for approval by FDOT and FDEP.
On January 5, 2021, the Village issued RFP 21-01 to engage the services of an engineering firm to develop the management plan. At its March 18 meeting, the Village Council approved the ranking and recommendation of the RFP 21-01 evaluation committee to enter into an agreement with the highest-ranked firm for services. The resolution adopted on March 18 approved the hiring of an engineering firm to work with the Village to create the Management Plan. No improvements or projects have yet been presented or approved. As the Plan is developed, it will be presented to Council at a public meeting prior to a final draft being submitted to FDOT and FDEP. The Management Plan will not commit the Village to completing any elements of the Plan but will help to expedite FDOT and FDEP approval of improvements included in the Plan that may be desired at some point in the future.
Because concerns have been raised over lack of opportunity to provide public comment on this matter, the Council held an additional discussion at the April 8, 2021 Village Council Meeting. The drafting of the management plan will move forward for submittal to the FDOT and FDEP. Any improvements at the Fills would be proposed during public meetings and would require approval by the Village Council.