CITY OF PALMETTO -- At Monday night's Palmetto City Commission's meeting, approval for a farm labor camp had but a few requests; a six foot fence, security cameras, outside lighting and legal vehicles in the parking area. Those living in farm labor camps have recently found themselves a target for robbery and harassment. Commissioners are doing all they can to protect them.
Bob Spencer first spoke For West Coast Tomato's application to open up the farm labor camp. He and Fritz Stauffacher were there to reassure Commissioners of their commitment to open a safe and well-equipped housing facility for their workers. They agreed to all of what the commissioners asked of them.
Spencer first said, "Commissioners, we need farms, and farms need workers, and they need a place to live. That's why we are here." From the get-go, the two expressed their concerns for the workers' safety, which was Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant's major concern. Staff at the Planning and Zoning Board had recommended approving the camp that is located at 2005 - 2011 Bayshore Road and 500 20th Street West.
Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells expressed his major concern: that the fence not be opaque because of safety issues. Wells said, "Behind a wall is too easy of a place for an ambush." He gave a few examples of where and why a clear view helps deter crime, and all listening agreed.
Commissioner Alan Zirkelbach commended the representatives for being so stand up and willing to meet the requests, calling them "model examples." Spencer joked, "Please don't say that, the others might get annoyed with us." Motion to approve was seconded, and the vote passed unanimously.
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