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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

Item:The city approves a business assistance program agreement between SVAMPATO LLC, doing business as Big Italy, and the city of Orlando, 5700 International Drive.

Translation: What you should know is that the city loves to eat in a very big way. SVAMPATO – which sounds like commercial-grade tomato paste, really – is opening a 6,000-square-foot pizza emporium out in the Touristan of International Drive. And when we say emporium, we must include the fact that the company – operating, naturally, as Big Italy – will offer more than 100 types of pizza (venison pizza? Alligator pizza?) along with 50 different pasta dishes. Because that sounds awesome to people who grow toe fungus from walking barefoot around Wet 'n Wild, the city will chip in $20,000 – the maximum award, because this is maximum pizza – via its business-assistance program. Big Italy promises to create 35 big jobs and spend more than $1 million to make this leaning tower of awesome a reality, so it's all a mozzarella wash, right?

Item: The city approves a temporary-use permit allowing a two-year urban chicken pilot program at up to 25 residences

Translation: The city's dark secret has finally been revealed! Well, actually this publication revealed it two years ago (“Clucking around,” July 28, 2010), but now it's sort of legitimate – if you don't count Commissioner Daisy Lynum's longtime griping about all the chickens running around Parramore and you don't assume that she's just been seeing things. This program will basically codify what already exists (to anyone who knows where Palmer Feed Store is, anyway) in a closely monitored, pilot-program. Twenty-five houses will be allowed to freely fly the coop and raise chickens, the $50 planning fee will be waived and a planning official will be watching to help decide whether to actually make this a real thing a couple years down the chicken road. In other news, the sky is falling.

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