The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Friday, February 24, 1989, at 9:00 a.m., at the Lake County Agricultural Center, on Highway 19, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: C. W. "Chick" Gregg, Chairman; Thomas J. Windram; Richard Swartz; Michael J. Bakich; and Don Bailey. Others present were: Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; William Stearn, Assistant County Attorney; James C. Watkins, Clerk and Acting County Administrator; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Administrator; and Linda Springston, Deputy Clerk.
James C. Watkins, Clerk, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Windram.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES/ORDINANCES/PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
STATE AGENCIES/WATER RESOURCES
Commr. Gregg, Chairman, announced to the audience that the Board of County Commissioners will have another public hearing after the Board has received a response from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), on Lake County's Amendments to the Wekiva River Protection Act, in order to address recommendations or comments that DCA has regarding the Amendments.
Mr. Michael Szunyog, Director of Planning, reviewed the changes which were made to the Ordinance concerning the Wekiva River Protection Act. He noted that these changes were also presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission at their meeting on February 13, 1989. He discussed the following changes which staff had made to the Ordinance:
Page 9, Policy 3.D. - Change - The final date of filing to reflect "February 1, 1989".
Page 9, Policy 3.E. - Add - "... concentrate units on those portions of a parcel of land farthest away from publicly owned conservation/preservation lands,...".
Page 11, Policy 3.E. - Add - "... unless such provision is determined by Lake County to be economically unfeasible".
Page 11, Policy 3.G.l. - Change - "Land proposed to be developed under Policy 3.D. or 3.F. above: Wekiva River, Blackwater Creek, Sulphur Run, Seminole Creek: 200 feet from the ordinary high water mark: 50 feet from associated wetlands".
Page 12, Policy 3.G.2. - Change - "Minimum setbacks shall conform to those required by the St. Johns River Water Management District pursuant to Section 373.415, F.S.".
Page 12, Policy 3.H. - Change - "No land adjacent to publicly owned conservation/preservation areas within the Wekiva River Protection Area may be developed for commercial or industrial purposes".
Page 13, Policy 4.A. - Add - "Industrial or commercial uses shall not be permitted adjacent to water bodies". (Water bodies being new language - changed from waterfront.)
Page 13, Policy 4.C. - Add - "This policy shall apply to proposed developments requiring approval by Lake County under Appendix C, Subdivision Ordinance, or the Planned Unit Development district regulations, Section 696, et. seq., of the Lake County Code".
Page 14, Policy 5.A. - Delete - Reference to C-l uses as contained in the Lake County Code and; in Policy 5.8. the same deletion.
Page 15, Policy 5.C. - Add - "Permitted" to the Policy.
Page 16, Policy 6.D. - Change - Reference to Lake County Division of Environmental Services to "Lake County".
Page 17, Policy 6.G. - Insert - "Lake County", on the 7th line, and on the 9th line: Policy 11 and 12 was changed to Policy 8 and 9, to conform to the amendment.
Page 18, Policy 8.8. - Add - II... certified by the Lake County Division of Environmental Services and approved by the Board of County Commissioners".
Page 19, Policy 9.B. - New language - ' . ..and approved by the Board of County Commissioners".
Page 21, Policy 2 - Add - "Such mitigation shall be subject to the approval of Lake County".
Page 24, Policy 7. - New Policy Added - "It is the intent of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners to protect wetlands and wetlands systems to the maximum extent possible, within the limitations contained in Section 70.37 of the Lake County Zoning Ordinance. In furtherance of this intent, it shall be the policy of the Board of County Commissioners that regulations governing the alteration of wetlands, or the mitigation of such alteration, within the Wekiva River Protection Area shall apply to all development as defined in the Lake County Zoning Ordinance, and to agricultural and silvicultural activities , as well".
Page 25, Policy 7. - Add - The word "traveling".
Page 26, Policy 9. - Change - "...approved by Lake County,..." (Instead of Environmental Services.) References changed to Policy 8 and 9 of the Land Use Element.
Page 26, Objective - Changed to read - "Preserve those Environmentally Sensitive Areas identified in environmental studies and reports sponsored and/or approved by the Board of County Commissioners in order to safeguard Lake County's natural resources...".
Page 28, Policy 3. - Last two lines changed to read - "...shall be subject to the approval of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners".
Mr. Szunyog then reviewed the recommendations which were made by the Lake County Planning and Zoning Commission at their hearing on February 13, 1989, as follows:
Page 14, Policy 5 B. - Change to "Commercial development shall not exceed four 4) acres in the aggregate...", currently the amendment states two (2) acres in the aggregate.
Page 19, Policy 8.8.2. - Delete the remainder of the Policy after "...the proposed use,...".
Page 20, Policy 9.C. - Delete the remainder of the Policy after '... the suitability of the timber for harvesting...".
Page 23, Policy 4. - Change the first sentence to read: "Floodplain zoning maps will be used in the development of the theory of using the people water principle: in existing...".
Page 29, Policy 2. - Change the first sentence to read: "Central water systems shall be required within the Wekiva River Protection Area where such provision is shown to be economically feasible or environmentally necessary..."
Page 20, Policy - Change the first sentence to read: "Central sewer systems... is shown to be economically feasible or environmentally necessary".
Commr. Gregg brought to the attention of the audience an editorial which was published in one of the morning papers concerning the statement, "a density of greater than one per one net", which is an incorrect statement. According to the Amendment, the maximum density allowed within a PUD is rural density, which is defined in the Act and the Amendment, as being one per one or less; and urban is defined as being greater than one per one.
At this time, Commr. Gregg invited the individuals who wished to speak come forward.
Mr. Leonard Weiner, Mt. Plymouth area, stated that he owns 10 acres of land, and that a shopping center has recently been built in that area, and a leased car dealership is proposed to be constructed soon. He felt that he would be made a scapegoat, for he will be unable to sell his property for commercial uses.
Commr. Gregg noted that the language in the Wekiva Amendment refers to the Wekiva Protection Area as "allowable" for rural density residential, and that DCA had written a letter to Seminole County regarding their existing commercial acreage within the Wekiva Protection Area, and that DCA is now questioning whether to allow any commercial development in the area, and that Lake County must abide by what the Act allows.
Ms. Katherine Hanson, speaking on behalf of the Wekiva Basin Landowner's Association, which was formed in January, 1989, stated that the Association was formed because they were afraid that Lake County was going to sacrifice the future of the Wekiva Basin, and the people who live and own land there, without considering their views. She stated that the Board of County Commissioners have tried to understand the problems and find an effective solution, but that this Amendment fails to do what it has intended to do.
Ms. Hanson noted that if the current Amendment is passed, it will assure that five acre subdivisions are the norm in the Basin; and that PUD's should be calculated on a gross rather than a net basis.
Ms. Hanson stated that the Amendment does little to promote public acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands; and there needs to be a stronger commitment to the timely and cost effective acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands, not only by the State, but by Lake County as well. The Landowner's Association has proposed the formation of a Lake County Conservation Trust, for the purpose of raising money for the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands.
Ms. Hanson felt that the Amendment prohibits adequate commercial development in the basin, limiting the residents' futures and forcing them to travel long distances for services. Commercial zoning should not be limited to designated intersections, nor should there be an acre limitation at each intersection.
In closing Ms. Hanson also felt that there needs to be compromises between developers and environmentalists.
Mr. Fred Hardin, representing the Friends of the Wekiva River, commended the staff on their progress and the improvements that have been made in the Amendment. He stated that he is encouraged that the plan now recognizes net buildable acres, which excludes wetlands, right-of-ways and easements. He also stated that good wetlands management has to include good uplands management, therefore, potential land use within the entire basin becomes critical; and that any proposed density should maintain the rural character of the basin. He noted that on Page 10, the grandfather clause regarding applications filed prior to February 1, 1989, is unjustifiable; and that the decision to require central water and sewer should be based on resource management, rather than economic feasibility.
Ms. Joan Irwin, who lives on Okaloosa Trail, in the River area, stated that the first speaker demonstrated good reasoning why the Amendment will not work; if the County approves one area for commercial, others will also want the same. She wondered how allowing Planned Unit Developments, which would increase the density, could be better than the present zoning, which is one house per five acres. She stated taht she had read an article regarding Lake Jackson, in Tallahassee, which stated that "Lake Jackson will soon become the latest Florida waterway destroyed by pollution, caused by urban stormwater runoff". She felt that Lake County should stand up to the developers and submit an Amendment that will protect the River, water quantity, water quality and habitat.
Ms. Marsha Ransdale, a resident of Orange County, representing the Central Florida Sierra Group, which supports the Friends of the Wekiva, felt that the long term economic health of Lake County, and all of Central Florida, should have the highest level of environmental protection, and her group supports the Amendment with the changes suggested by Mr. Hardin that would preserve the rural character of the Wekiva River Basin.
Mr. Stephen Vaughn, of Mount Dora, presented the Board with some pictures taken by Mr. Ted Strawn who is the principal owner of more than 54 acres in the Wekiva River area. He stated that the pictures were taken in 1953, along Seminole Creek, Blackwater Creek, and the Wekiva River, after timber had been cut down to the shoreline: and in 1988, on Seminole Creek after the timber had grown back. He noted that Mr. Strawn is concerned with Page 19, of the Amendment, and feels that it should not be certified by the Lake County Division of Environmental Services, but should be certified by the Division of Forestry and/or the Department of Agriculture.
Ms. Marilyn Bainter, representing the Taxpayers of Lake County, appeared before the Board, and discussed water resources in the State of Florida. She stated that Lake County must expand its tax base and not continue to add to residents demands for services, that are not paying for themselves. She added that with development, in the Wekiva area, comes traffic, because the residents must go somewhere for their basic needs.
Mr. Ross Buchanan, a resident of Eustis, appeared before the Board, and stated that undeveloped land is more valuable than developed land. He also stated that with growth, comes more people, more need for services, more traffic, roads, taxes, schools, garbage, pollution, and more water problems. Without growth there is less people, less services needed, less traffic, roads, taxes, etc.
Mr. Ron Kolins, an Attorney from Palm Beach County, representing STS Land Association, owners of Wekiva Falls, felt that the date of February 1, 1989, as the effective grandfather date, would cause a moritorium on development in the area. He felt that this would be illegal because a moritorium must be advertized and notices of public hearings must be adhered to.
Mr. Ralph Wright, a property owner in the area, felt that there were lessons to be learned from other environmentally sensitive areas, such as an area in New York.
Mr. Hal Turville, with the Lake County Conservation Council, stated that he is encouraged by the language in the Amendment, but foresees problems with some of the definitions, such as net acre and agriculture.
Mr. Mark Edwards, of Clermont, representing the Concerned Citizens for Central Florida, stated that he is concerned about the enforcement of septic tank regulations and sewer systems. He stated that the area should be kept low density.
Mr. Greg Beliveau, with Lake Land Planning Group, representing several clients who own property within the Basin, discussed the definitions of low density, rural and urban, and touched on the PUD concept. He also discussed the need to outline criteria on the method of project review.
Ms. Jennifer McMurtray, representing Rock Springs Run and Lower Wekiva River State Reserves, appeared before the Board stating that the Amendment has too much provision for commercial development and it should be geared more towards protection of the area. She stated that DCA will not allow commerical development in the area. She provided the Board with a copy of a letter which was sent to Mr. Kenneth R. Hooper, Seminole County Manager, from Mr. Thomas G. Pelham, Department of Community Affairs, addressing commercial sites within Wekiva River Protection Area. She discussed several misunderstandings encountered by Realtors concerning the Amendment.
Ms. Debra Shelley, Aquatic Reserve, Department of Natural Resources, appeared before the Board, and stated that DNR participates formally in the review process after the revised Comprensive Plan Amendments have been submitted to DCA, and that one of their program goals, is to coordinate with local governments, so that each counties' plan criteria is consistent with the objections of the Aquatic Reserve Program. She noted concern with Policy 4.E. on Page 9, which allows for higher density in areas adjacent to conservation and preservation areas, and does not set a limit on density in those areas. There needs to be some type of provision which allows for expansion of the urban compact nodes, and low density residential rural at one unit per five acre, adjacent to the preservation areas. She referred to Page 15, referencing the proposed beltway interchange, and the concerns of the CARL staff.
Mr. Fred Morrison, an Attorney representing the Lake County School Board and Royal Palm Beach Colony Partnership (Royal Trails), appeared before the Board and stated that the Amendment is too restricting.
Mr. Al Reynard, a landowner in the Cassia area, appeared before the Board and stated his concerns as to Agricultural operations.
Mr. Russell Grant, from Seminole County and a landowner in Lake County, stated that five acre tracts are too much for man to live on.
Mr. Robert Vason, an Attorney representing property owners in the Wekiva Area, discussed his concerns regarding central water and sewer, stating that Lake County should allow property owners to utilize wells and septic tanks. He addressed the need for precisly defining the maximum density under a PUD. He noted concerns with Page 9, Policy 4.D. regarding units per net acre under a PUD and current zoning classifications. He also noted concerns with Pages 9 and 10, Policy 4.E. and F. regarding the wildlife habitat zones defined by the St. Johns River Water Management District, and urged the Board to delete the portion relating to forested uplands.
Ms. Mary McKee, an Orange County resident and property owner in the Lake County Wekiva Area, stated that the intent of the Act is to protect the natural resources within the Wekiva River Protection Area and preserve the rural character. She felt that one unit per acre does not express rural character.
Commr. Gregg thanked everyone in the audience for expressing their views, and noted that the Board had put a considerable amount of time into preparing this Amendment and Ordinance.
Commr. Gregg addressed concerns of one unit per net acre being left out; he noted that some of the language in the Amendment does not seem to be in the Ordinance; and also referred to Page 3 of the Amendment, regarding clustering. He stated that that portion needs to be further defined.
Mr. Michael Szunyog, Director of Planning, addressed some of the comments which were discussed. He stated that DCA has been very negative towards any new commercial development, in terms of Seminole County, and most likely DCA would apply those same feelings, as well, to Lake County.
Mr. Chris Ford, County Attorney, addressed the concern regarding moritoriums as a result of the February 1, 1989 date. He noted that there is no moritorium, until the Amendment goes to DCA, is returned to Lake County, and finally adopted. He stated that in regards to the date that is used, which has now passed, it would have to be changed by the time the Amendment is advertised for final adoption; and that final adoption would take place in approximately 60-90 days. He also stated that the intention of the Board is to approve, in final draft, the Ordinance, as it is amended today.
Mr. Szunyog informed the audience that some clarification is needed regarding the definition of density, and that PUD's would be judged on a net density basis: the maximum would be one unit per net acre, which would need to be stated in the Amendment itself.
Mr. Szunyog stated that, with regards to Agriculture, given the sensitivity of the entire area as recognized by the Act, any pursuits within the area need to be monitored, perhaps through provision for submittal of some type of an agricultural plan. He further stated that he has met with representatives from the Division of Forestry and the Department of Agriculture and those representatives have volunteered to assist in reviewing any plans which may be submitted.
Commr. Swartz felt that there was some confusion in regards to rural density, as mentioned on Page 6, of the Ordinance, and that in the current Subdivision Regulations, every zoning classification deals with usable acres. He stated that rural density should be changed to reflect dwelling units per net acres, and that low density rural development should be consistent with the entire County. Commr. Swartz further proposed that rural density be defined as one unit or less, per net acre, rather than adding another definition.
Commr. Gregg stated that if that approach was taken, there would be a conflict with the present Comprehensive Plan, because rural density presently, is defined as one unit or less, per gross acre.
Mr. Bill Stearn, Assistant County Attorney, addressed the methodology of low density being referred to as rural density, and that is because the Florida Statute refers to low density; and the existing Lake County Comprehensive Plan offers different definitions of low density and rural density.
Commr. Swartz felt that it would not be inconsistent to define net density as usable acres, and incorporate that definition throughout the County.
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, stated that the problems with the existing codes is that they are ambiguous. Those codes refer to gross acres and usable acres. There is not any sections in the codes where usable acres are defined: therefore, usable acres is subject to interpretation. Usable acreage has been interpreted to be synonymous with developable acreage.
Commr. Gregg stated that the definitions need to be further discussed regarding PUD's to ensure that they are fully understood.
Commr. Swartz questioned the current RR zoning within the Wekiva Area, and the concern that property owners would be able to develop under the RR zoning at gross densities.
Commr. Gregg stated that those property owners are grandfathered in with the present zoning; and that the County is unable to reverse that action, in the Wekiva Area or in the rest of the County.
Commr. Gregg stated that it is the consensus of the Board to leave the interpretations of the current zoning in the Wekiva Area, as they are, and grandfather that zoning into the Amendment.
Commr. Swartz noted that the County will not be consistent with the intent of the Amendment, within those areas that are being grandfathered in, with the current zoning classifications.
Commr. 8akich noted that those zoning classifications will be revised when the Comprehensive Plan is readdressed on a countywide basis.
Mr. Findell noted that expansion is allowable in the Mt. Plymouth area, which has been allowed under the existing Comprehensive Plan, as it will continue to be under this Amendment.
Commr. Swartz stated that on Page 9, of the Ordinance, it would be appropriate to clarify what the maximum density allowed under a PUD consists of.
Commr. Gregg reiterated, that in regards to the date of February 1, 1989, the Board had never intended to impose a moritorium, and that the purpose of that date was to stop developers from submitting plans before the Amendment takes effect.
Commr. Bakich questioned whether it would be appropriate to consider incorporating a cutoff date as of April 1, 1989.
Mr. Ford noted that the Amendment will not be returned to the County by April, therefore, staff may have to consider changing the date to sometime in May.
It was the consensus of the Board that the date referred to on Page 10, of the Ordinance, will be the effective date that the Ordinance is adopted.
Mr. Stearn noted that, in regards to the language for the density of PUD's, that it should be stated as, "A Planned Unit Development may not be developed at a density greater than that of one unit per net acre".
Mr. Findell noted the language additions on Page 11, which requires the setbacks conform to St. Johns Water Management District, and that in areas where they do not fall in the jurisdiction of the Water Management District, the setbacks would be set at 50 feet or 200 feet, whichever is greater.
Commr. Windram questioned whether Lake County would benefit in adopting its own guidelines to follow in the Wekiva River Protection Area, in areas concerning setbacks.
Commr. Gregg stated that Lake County would benefit adhering to St. Johns River Water Management District guidelines rather than trying to follow another set of guidelines.
Commr. Bakich questioned whether wetlands are referred to as waterfront, thereby imposing the setbacks on wetlands.
Mr. Stearn stated that in the definitions, waterfront now refers to specific waterbodies.
Mr. Findell stated that, in regards to commercial development in the area, that the Board can submit to DCA any amendments they wish. DCA will review the Ordinance and submit their comments and direction to Lake County as to what they feel conforms to the requirements of the Act. He noted that the Acts' reference to the commercial aspect of development, is that it will be of a low density rural nature, unless some other type of development is less environmentally harmful.
In regards to a recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission, on Page 14, which referred to increasing commercial development to four acres in aggregate, in lieu of two acres; the Board did not feel that commercial development in the Ordinance should be increased in that area.
Commr. Swartz stated that he would consider allowing limited commercial development within PUD's, but to encourage commercial development is not in compliance with the Act.
Commr. Bakich questioned the reference made on Page 15, to commercial facilities being allowed by local, state or federal agencies, but not private enterprise.
Mr. Ford stated that exceptions can be made for government, and that a court would uphold the decision for that exception; but, that decision could be vulnerable to argument.
Commr. Bakich referred to Page 17, Policy 6.G., concerning whether "additional vegetation" has been added under "native vegetation", which would considerably limit those approved buildable areas.
Mr. Findell noted that staff has not added any additional vegetation to this clause, other than that normal yard maintenance shall be exempt.
Mr. Ford stated that "native vegetation" has been changed to be defined as "endangered vegetation", which is a more limited and restrictive term for vegetation.
In reference to Page 18, Policy E.B., where it states that "...conditions are met as certified by the Lake County Division of Environmental Services and approved by the Board of County Commissioners", it was the consensus of the Board to delete the reference to the Lake County Division of Environmental Services. Also, on Page 19, Policy 9.B., where the same reference is made, the Board asked that it also be deleted.
Discussion occurred regarding Page 19, Policy 8.B.2., where the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the remainder of the sentence after "...the proposed use" be deleted.
Commr. Swartz felt that the Board was asking for the determination of economic viability of this type of use, referred to on Page 19, whether it be in agriculture or silviculture, and to be made aware of what is the economic viability of this type of enterprise. He stated that he felt it was the intent of the Board, to allow legitimate agriculture and silviculture interests; but not to allow uses that other developmental practices were not allowed. Therefore, he suggested changing the wording, to "its economic feasibility": in lieu of "economic viability".
Mr. Findell noted that the staff and other various individuals, had indicated to him that it was inappropriate for the staff or the Board of County Commissioners, to make the determination as to whether it is "economically feasible" or not. The intent of the committee, which was comprised of representatives of Soil Conservation Services, the Division of Forestry, and the Department of Agriculture, who developed the language in the Amendment, determined that the economic feasibility of a project, is a matter of retaining; therefore, those agencies would be relied upon to assess the economic feasibility.
It was the consensus of the Board, to delete that portion which stated, 11 . ..and showing that the proposed use is economically Feasible.", in Page 19, Policy 8.B.2. Also, it was the consensus of the Board to apply that recommendation to delete that same portion on Page 20, Policy 9.C.
Mr. Findell noted that the language concerning wetlands was written with the direction of the Board, at a previous meeting, to allow cypress harvesting to occur. The language, regarding the 70.37 Wetlands Ordinance, is inconsistent with the provision to allow harvesting of cypress within these wetland areas. Therefore, the Wetlands Ordinance will need to be amended in order to allow harvesting of cypress, within the constraints of the mitigation policy procedures.
Mr. Findell stated that agriculture is exempt, from the Wetlands Ordinance, as it currently exists, because of the way the Ordinance is interpreted.
Commr. Swartz felt that it was the intent of the Board not to require things of deve lopers that they would not require of the agricultural interests , in terms of their ability to go into wetlands and to impact those wetlands.
It was the consensus of the Board that in reference to Page 23, V-B 2 Policy 4, that the recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission concerning the addition of "Floodplain zoning maps should be developed...", be adopted in the Ordinance; and, in addition to those maps, utilize i n the definitions the U.S. Geological Survey Floodprone Maps, Reg i onal State, or other site specific information that may be more accurate in defining the 100 year floodplain.
It was the consensus of the Board that in reference to Page 29, VI-3, Policy 2, that the recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission concerning "Central water systems....shown to be economically feasible", the wording "or environmentally necessary", be added. Also, that addition would be included on Page 30, VII-3, Policy, in the first sentence.
Commr. Bakich made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Bailey to submit the Ordinance, as amended, to the Department of Community Affairs, for their review, comments, and approval.
Commr. Swartz stated that he is concerned with densities, that will be allowed, such as, the gross density and PUD's, which would allow a density of all areas in the basin to be as low as one unit to one net acre, therefore, it is not compatible with what the Act requires. He also noted that he feels that Lake County has done considerably well in their efforts to bring Agricultural interests into the mainstream of the County, and that an error will be made when the Wetlands Ordinance is weakened.
Commr. Gregg stated, since there was no way of establishing these areas for PUD's, with the language surrounding the PUD of incorporating densities as great as one per one net acre, the developer shall have less impact on natural resources, than if the areas were developed at lower densities, under the current zoning classifications.
Commr. Bakich noted that one of the difficulties the Board has had is that they have had to deal with the present Comprehensive Plan in reference to this Amendment; and that currently more sensitivity has been shown to the environment and the landowners.
At this time the Chairman, Commr. Gregg, called for a vote on the motion, which was carried.
Commr. Swartz voted "No".
Commr. Gregg reminded the audience that there will be another public hearing held after the Board has received input from DCA, and that the public hearing will be publicized in the local paper.
There being no further business to brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
C. W. "CHICK" GREGG, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK