city commission sept. 10

James McKnight, a 62-year-old Gainesville resident, speaks to county commissioners during public comment at a meeting on Tuesday evening. McKnight and his neighbors spoke about the lack of road maintenance at NE 27th Avenue in Northeast Gainesville. 

Attempts to eliminate plastic in the community were overturned on Tuesday. 

The Alachua County Commission unanimously voted to repeal the ordinance which bans polystyrene containers and single-use plastic bags. The motion passed in less than two minutes with one citizen commenter briefly giving his support to repeal. 

The lone resident said the commission showed good insight when passing the ordinance.

“But of course the state, which doesn’t believe in us taking care of ourselves and exercising our own right for home rule, has said otherwise,” he said. “I support your revoking [of] that ordinance.”

The board originally proposed the plastic ban in April, trailing the Gainesville city commission by about three months, according to Alligator archives. Plans to start the ban on Jan. 2, 2020 were derailed after the Third District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Federal Retail Federation against Coral Gables involving a similar plastic ban. 

Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said the city and the county don’t have to repeal the ordinance, but the chances of the boards winning a lawsuit decreased dramatically after the case. 

“The Federal Retail Federation, which is backed by Publix, is trying to keep communities from being able to protect their environment,” Hayes-Santos said.

The fate of the city’s repeal will be decided at the second reading of the ordinance at Thursday’s city commission meeting, he said.