Barricades blocking one access to the Citrus County Courthouse Annex will stay in place while officials work on other ideas to keep pedestrians safe in the annex parking lot.

Without a vote, county commissioners on Tuesday agreed to leave the “Jersey” barriers in place for a short time to give County Administrator Randy Oliver and officials in the annex time to work out an alternative.

Oliver said after the meeting he expects the barriers out within 60 days.

Commissioners Scott Carnahan, Jimmie T. Smith and Chairman Jeff Kinnard all said they wanted the parking lot safe but the access barriers removed as well.

The Courthouse Annex is located a block from the courthouse in Inverness. It houses the offices of the property appraiser and tax collector.

The county staff blocked the Apopka access to stop vehicles from crossing through the parking lot between Apopka and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. Property Appraiser Les Cook and Tax Collector Janice Warren said an unsafe condition between vehicles and customers is made worse by downtown Inverness construction that has closed Dampier Street.

Warren said those complaining about the blocked access don’t realize what the cross-through traffic contributes from an unsafe standpoint.

“The customers have followed the detours to get into our parking lot,” she said. “Put public safety over convenience for a few months.”

The city expects to complete the Dampier Street project by February, Warren said.

Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. agreed with Warren and Cook.

“The people who work there and have offices there say this is an unsafe area,” he said. “It’s not our job to regulate traffic. Let the engineers work with people who work in the building to come up with a solution.”

Stop signs, speed bumps and a re-configuration of the parking lot are all being considered, Oliver said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

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