By Cindy Jackson
February 9, 2021
The Nassau County Board of County Commissioners meeting on February 8, 2021, appeared to be going at lightning speed until members tried to schedule the next meeting for which the State of Emergency would be continued and for budget discussions to begin. After much checking and re-checking of their respective calendars, the BOCC agreed to hold that meeting on Thursday, February 11th, 2021 at 4PM.
As is protocol, BOCC meetings typically conclude with the County Manager and County Attorney discussing business matters on their agendas followed by individual Commissioner items.
It was during this segment of the meeting that Commissioner Jeff Gray spoke of an item recently discussed by the Planning and Zoning Board regarding height restrictions. Commissioner Aaron Bell stated, “Members of the Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) are different than commissioner’s constituents,” [referring to the fact that many of the PZB are developers] after which he asserted that his constituents are very much in favor of height restrictions. County Attorney Michael Mullin interjected stating that the issue will be officially coming before the BOCC in the next 30-45 days. Such a decision is ultimately decided by the BOCC, not the Planning and Zoning Board. Said Commissioner Chair Thomas Ford, “this spirited debate will continue.”
In the context of that conversation Commissioner John Martin expressed his dismay at the way in which the last PZB meeting was conducted and suggested that some guidelines for meeting structure be provided to County boards and committees.
Also commented on by Commissioner Martin was the importance of the NE Regional Florida Planning Council. He reported that legislation has been introduced in Tallahassee, S.B. 62 that would effectively limit the advisory role of regional planning councils in state comprehensive plan preparation and revision. County Manager Taco Pope indicated that he found the work of the NE Regional Florida Planning Council to be very helpful and would be preparing a fact sheet for Commissioners at a future meeting.
Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel, Nassau County Director of Health gave her weekly presentation of the most current stats and facts relating to the novel COVID virus including:
• 7,270 cases in total have been reported in Nassau County, 6,871 are Nassau County residents
• 6.068 have been released from isolation
• 803 cases are currently in isolation
• 9 individuals are currently hospitalized at Baptist Health with one in ICU and one county resident is hospitalized in Jacksonville
• 8,168 individuals have received the first of two shots and 2,971 have completed the series
Seidel also reported that the positivity rate for COVID continues to decline and most recently was at 10.48%. Seidel noted that individuals should NOT get any other vaccines within 14 days of getting the COVID vaccine.
Greg Foster, Director of Emergency Management Operations, confirmed that the County is currently receiving 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and that number is expected to continue for the next two weeks. In addition, other vaccine sites have come online and their number of available vaccines is above and beyond the 975 allotted to the County. For example, each Publix store in Nassau County (there are two) are receiving 100 each (per week) of the Moderna vaccines and appointments for those vaccine sites are run through Publix Super Markets, NOT OneNassau.