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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Cottages of Ocala seeks rezoning for proposed 112-unit home development

Cottages of Ocala is seeking approval from Marion County officials to rezone a 23-acre property for the construction of 112 cottage-style homes in northwest Ocala. The matter will first be presented to the county planning and zoning commission during its upcoming meeting.

Belleview ordinance lessens restrictions on home-based businesses

Belleview city commissioners approved an ordinance stating that home-based businesses are to be regulated and licensed the same as other businesses, though some exceptions are stipulated to ensure that a home's primary use remains as a residence.

City soliciting quotes for design, repair work on Ocala Cultural Arts public projects

The City of Ocala is soliciting quotes for an industrial designer and metal fabricator for various Ocala Cultural Arts public projects, including sculpture repairs, mural surfacing, art repairs, and design and fabrication of Discovery Center exhibits.

The Works Dog Grooming granted approval for residential area shop

The Works Dog Grooming was granted a special use permit to continue operating their business inside a residential area on Almond Road in Ocala. The shop has been grooming dogs at this location for over 11 years.

Berry Trucking granted rezoning request for new heavy equipment repair facility

Berry Trucking gained rezoning approval from county commissioners for the creation of a new heavy equipment repair facility located on West Highway 326 in Ocala. This facility will also include a paint and body shop.

Former Ocala HR director was refused two week notice after delayed response from City Manager

Although he sent a resignation email to provide his two weeks notice on November 7, Ocala's former human resources director Jared Sorensen was terminated on November 9, less than 45 minutes after Ocala-News.com reported about his arrest in a domestic battery incident.

Ocala Police Department struggling to fill vacancies

"There’s not a whole lot of 19 year old kids that are watching the 11 o’clock news and saying, ‘I want to go be a police officer,'" Police Chief Mike Balken discussed the department's staffing challenges during this week's city council meeting.

Musleh, Dreyer victorious in Ocala City Council run-off election

Jay Musleh and Kristen Dreyer have emerged victorious in today's Ocala City Council run-off election for Districts 3 and 4. Less than 1,000 combined votes separated them from their challengers.

Marion County park ranger recognized for saving lives

A Marion County park ranger was awarded a certificate of recognition today for his recent actions that saved the lives of two stranded kayakers.

Polls open until 7 p.m. for Ocala City Council runoff election

Ocala City Council Districts 3 and 4 will be up for grabs in Tuesday's run-off election. Jay Musleh faces off against Ty Schlichter for the District 3 seat, while Kristen Dreyer and Lori Martin Gregory face off in District 4.

Ocala Police Department seeking approval for $125,000 purchase of wireless routers

The Ocala Police Department is seeking approval from the city council for the purchase of new wireless routers. The new equipment would cost nearly $125,000, and after a year there would be ongoing support contract fees of over $10,000.

County looking to issue contract for new Ocala lift station

The county is looking to build a new lift station in Ocala. A local company submitted a bid to handle construction for a cost of nearly $1.9 million, and approval of the contract will be presented to the board of county commissioners during their regular meeting on Tuesday.

Crystal Park Apartments receives preliminary approval for 130-unit complex

Crystal Park Apartments received preliminary approval from the Ocala Planning and Zoning Commission for its plans to construct a 130-unit, 17-building affordable housing development on NW 27th Avenue.

Marion County Day looking to return in March

The county commissioners will vote on the rescheduling of Marion County Day during the regular meeting on Tuesday, November 16. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled. The county wants to bring Marion County Day back in March, and to have the event feature numerous family-friendly activities, live entertainment, and many food vendors.

Ambleside School of Ocala seeks approval for building renovations to increase social distancing

Ambleside School of Ocala is seeking approval from the county board of commissioners for second floor renovations to increase social distancing inside the school. The funds, not to exceed $385,000, would come from a coronavirus grant that was established earlier this year.

Ocala HR director resignation is fourth major vacancy among city leadership roles since last summer

The City of Ocala will look to fill its fourth major vacancy among its executive leadership in just under a year and a half with the resignation of its human resources director this week, just a few days after he was arrested and charged in a domestic battery incident.

Marion County commissioners, school board host workshop on county’s growth

Marion County commissioners and school board officials met this week to discuss the county's population growth and the need for residential development and additional resources for schools.

College Park Townhomes receives preliminary approval for conceptual plan

College Park Townhomes received preliminary approval from city officials this week for a conceptual plan of its new, 21-unit development near the I-75/SW College Road interchange.

Former Ocala city council candidate donates remaining campaign funds

After losing in September's tight election, a former Ocala City Council candidate is donating all remaining campaign contributions to a local non-profit organization.

City of Ocala Director of Human Resources arrested after domestic battery incident

The City of Ocala Director of Human Resources and Risk Management was arrested last week on charges of domestic battery after allegedly striking his wife in the back of the head with a hair dryer.

Marion County commissioners release lien for Fort McCoy property owners

Two Fort McCoy property owners in failing health sought the help of the county commissioners to release several civil restitution liens that were placed on their property. Those liens were in place as a result of the previous property owner's criminal history.

Belleview mayor discusses new housing developments, black bear sighting in letter to residents

Belleview Mayor Christine Dobkowski recently addressed city residents in a letter that highlights the city's growth, including several new housing developments, and warns of a black bear that was spotted near the Diamond Ridge subdivision on Halloween.

Marion County health official provides update on COVID-19 cases, trends

A Marion County health official provided an update on COVID-19 cases and trends within Marion County for the week of October 22 to 29.

Ocala Police Department purchasing upgraded crime mapping software

The Ocala Police Department received approval from city officials to purchase upgraded software to assist with their crime mapping. OPD spent a few months considering their options, which included switching to a cloud-based software, but ultimately decided it did not feel comfortable with storing, sensitive information on the cloud.