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Escambia commissioners seek more options for Wedgewood proposal

Escambia commissioners seek more options for Wedgewood proposal

Escambia County commissioners are getting creative with ideas to fix a longstanding dispute in the Wedgewood neighborhood.

At Thursday's Committee of the Whole meeting, they heard a proposal to swap county-owned land with demolition recycling businesses to get them out of that area. The county would give companies land and the companies would leave Wedgewood, or at least relocate the noisest and dirtiest parts of their operations. Six properties were presented and commissioners did not like any of them. Commissioners directed staff to widen the search criteria and look for other options.

"I think the result of the dialogue today was simply, we don't want it in our neighborhood and what I simply say to my colleagues in those powers that be, that if you don't want it in your neighborhood, why would someone else want it in their neighborhood," Commissioner Lumon May said.

LaFanette Soles-Woods, a Wedgewood resident, said she likes the idea of a land swap, but would prefer it in the county or companies would pay for her to relocate. Regardless, she appreciates the effort.

"I think that's good to know that they are still looking into doing something," Soles-Woods said.

Soles-Woods has been part of the fight to get rid of demolition and recycling businesses in the neighborhood.

"When they start with that kind of stuff in this neighborhood, then they end up always doing something bigger and is not healthy for the rest of us out here," Soles-Woods said.

Thursday's discussion was based on two businesses: Sun Belt Crushing and Eager Beaver. Sun Belt Crushing received their operating permit renewal in November to continue business. Channel 3 News has not heard back from the company for comment. A spokesperson for Eager Beaver told Channel 3 News they were unaware of Thursday's discussion. The spokesperson for Eager Beaver said they are currently in litigation with the county for having their permit denied.

Commissioners initially asked staff to look for properties with 10 or more acres owned by the county for the land swap. Now they are going back and looking at lots with more than five acres.

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