FELLSMERE — Ron McMath has plans to expand his business, moving out from his home and possibly into MESA Park. He approached the Fellsmere City Council recently about waiving various fees to make it more affordable for him to move in.
Instead of facing as much as $20,000 up front to set up shop at MESA, the city council approved allowing McMath pay the city as needed throughout the process.
Mayor Susan Adams supported the idea, noting that the less money McMath has to pay up front, the more money he would have to invest in his business.
The council approved charging McMath $1,500 for the conditional use application fee, up to $500 for advertising the hearing associated with the conditional use permit, and a $2,000 retainer for legal review of the permit and use.
All other fees are expected to be billed to McMath as needed.
“We can make it work,” City Manager Jason Nunemaker said of massaging the city’s existing code pertaining to conditional use permits and associated fees.
Councilwoman Sara Savage said that while she wants to help small businesses, she had concerns about the potential impact on the city’s residents.
“We have to look out for the rest of our citizens,” Savage said, explaining that she does not want the residents to have to make up the difference in cost if a small business owner were to back out of paying.
She said her comments were not a reflection on McMath, who has been a longtime resident in Fellsmere.
McMath, owner of Bull Dog Auto Sales and Bull Dog Auto Transport, said his business has been growing to the point that his home can no longer support it. Also, he cannot get an auto dealership license without having an auto lot, which he would have if he were to lease space at MESA Park.
The council also told McMath he could apply for a $5,000 community redevelopment area application that could be used for cleaning up the site, planting landscaping and installing signage.
“The place down there is a mess,” he said.
McMath estimates that he would be able to support five employees at his business once he relocates to MESA Park.
The Fellsmere City Council is expected to hold at least one public hearing on McMath’s conditional use permit. When that hearing is expected to be scheduled remains undetermined.