The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, March 17, 1992, at 5:05 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Michael J. Bakich, Chairman; C. W. "Chick" Gregg (arrived at 5:20 p.m.); Richard Swartz; and Catherine Hanson. Commr. Bailey was not present, due to minor surgery performed earlier in day. Others present were: Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney; Peter F. Wahl, County Manager; Ava Kronz, Assistant to the County Manager; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman, Commr. Bakich, opened the meeting.
ORDINANCES/ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Ms. Annette Star Lustgarten, County Attorney, informed the Board that this public hearing was the second and final hearing for adoption of the revised ordinance amending Chapter 17, Lake County Code, Article II, Road Impact Fees, that are in place, as of October 1, 1992, based on the annual update and the deletion of language that provides for a 30% increase in the fees for acquisition of right-of-way.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Executive Director of Public Works, informed the Board that he had not received any opposition from any of the cities, regarding this issue.
Mr. Howard Barry, a resident of Clermont, appeared before the Board and questioned what the actual impact is that the County is basing the fees on, to which Commr. Swartz responded, stating that the fees are based on trip generation rates for different categories of land use. He stated that that factor is then applied to the cost per mile to put down new roads, or to widen roads, and that is how the fee for each land use is determined.
Mr. Barry then questioned what percentage of the fee is relative to the actual cost, to which Commr. Swartz responded,
stating that the fee is set at 85% of the approximate cost, as determined in studies that were done. It was noted that the County could not charge a full 100%, due to the fact that they did not have any way of defending it.
Mr. Ross Buchanan, a resident of Altoona, appeared before the Board and questioned what the road impact fees are spent on, to which Mr. Stivender, Executive Director of Public Works, responded, stating that they are used for constructing new roads, widening roads, intersections, signalization, etc.
Ms. Jean Kaminski, Executive Director of the Homebuilders' Association, appeared before the Board stating that it amounts to almost a double taxation, in asking for land and a 30% increase, therefore, urged the Board to adopt the amended ordinance before them this date.
Commr. Swartz stated that he has not changed his position in this matter, from the time that he originally pushed to have the right-of-way acquisition portion included in the highway impact fees, noting that it is not the nightmare that has been indicated in Lake County. He stated the County needs to stand by the process that says if a development has an impact on a road, they are going to have to dedicate the necessary right-of-way for a standard right-of-way width, just the same as they would have to do if a traffic signal was being installed at an intersection near a development. He stated that a developer would not receive a credit on their impact fees today, nor should they in the future, and the County should stand by that decision. He feels that the County is taking a large step backwards by approving this amended ordinance deleting the 30% increase in fees. He stated that, if the County does not collect the 30%, it will mean that when the County does have to buy additional right-of-way to get around municipalities, those funds will have to come from either highway impact fees, thus reducing the money that is available to actually put in improvements, or from gas tax funds, which takes money away from
resurfacing projects and other projects that the County has to do. He stated that he will vote against the revision of this ordinance.
Commr. Gregg stated he did not support the 30% allocation in the beginning and still does not support it.
Commr. Hanson stated she is in favor of amending the ordinance due to problems it has caused the Public Works Department.
On a motion by Commr. Gregg, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried, the Board approved Ordinance No. 1992-4, as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF
LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA, AMENDING CHAPTER 17, LAKE COUNTY
CODE, ARTICLE II, ROAD IMPACT FEES; PROVIDING FOR
AMENDMENT TO SECTION 17-26, COMPUTATION, TO DELETE THE
OCTOBER 1, 1991 THIRTY PERCENT (30%) INCREASE FOR
RIGHT-OF WAY ACQUISITION; PROVIDING FOR A REFUND OF
RIGHT-OF-WAY ACQUISITION IMPACT FEES COLLECTED FROM
OCTOBER 1, 1991 THROUGH THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS
ORDINANCE; PROVIDING FOR AMENDMENT TO SECTION
17-26, COMPUTATION, TO REFLECT THE CURRENT FEES THAT
WENT INTO EFFECT ON OCTOBER 1, 1991, BASED UPON THE
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CONSTRUCTION
INDEX; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE LAKE COUNTY CODE;
PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; AND PROVIDING FOR AN
Commr. Swartz voted "No".
MUNICIPALITIES/ORDINANCES/ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Mr. Jim Stivender, Executive Director of Public Works, appeared before the Board stating that he, Commr. Bakich, the County Manager, Mr. Wahl, and the County Attorney, Ms. Lustgarten, had met with representatives from the Town of Lady Lake and presented them with the draft ordinance that is before the Board this date. He stated the issue they had with the County was that of a credit for commercial sites within the boundaries of the city. He stated it was agreed that all residential road impact fees would be collected; however, it was never agreed on which way to go with it, thus, the reason for bringing it before the Board. He stated that he had notified all the other cities of concerns which staff had, as well as notified them of the meeting this date and that he had received responses from three of the cities, Leesburg, Fruitland Park and Eustis.
Mr. Rex Taylor, City Manager, City of Leesburg, expressed an interest in having Lake County deal with Marion and Sumter
counties, in some way to protect Lake County from the offset of impact fees in those counties. He stated that Mr. Bob Proctor, City Manager, City of Fruitland Park, stated he did not have a problem with anything that was in the ordinance except for the fact that there was no mention of the credit system alluded to earlier. He stated a letter was received from the City of Eustis expressing concern about Lady Lake not being in the program from day one and the amount of money that could have been collected had they been in the program.
Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, summarized what was in the draft before the Board this date, noting that it was a result of discussions that were held and an attempt to put on paper things that were agreed upon or issues that were addressed. She stated the intent is to bring the cities into the decision making process and to allocate funds to particular cities for projects that are determined to benefit that particular city.
Mr. John Lynch, Town Manager, Town of Lady Lake, appeared before the Board and thanked the Chairman, Commr. Bakich, for his cooperation over the past few months and staff for their efforts in trying to come to an amicable resolution of this issue, at which time he noted what has transpired up to this point. He stated that representatives from the Town of Lady Lake and the County have discussed a wide range of issues relative to impact fees; however, noted that there is no mention in the ordinance about the credit system. He stated the credit system is something that is very important to the Town of Lady Lake, noting the reason why it is. He stated that what has been a hypothetical problem for the Town of Lady Lake is now a reality, which is that they share their commercial district with Sumter County, at which time he noted problems associated with this fact. He stated that most of the larger cities within the County had a commercial district in place before the imposition of the County Road Impact Fee Program, noting that this is something that the Town of Lady Lake did not enjoy and was looking forward to enjoying and sees the imposition of the fee
structure as an impediment to that process. He stated the problem is the fact that Sumter County, who has no impact fee, and Marion County, who has an impact fee that is lower than Lake County, are unfair competition.
Commr. Gregg stated that the impact fee is based on everybody paying their true impact of the system and if the County grants an exemption, no matter how justified or warranted, it throws askew the system. He stated that, if the Board grants the Town of Lady Lake an exemption, the rest of the cities that have a relatively small but growing commercial area are going to be before the Board asking for a similar exemption.
Mr. Lynch stated that the dilemma for the Town of Lady Lake is not that it is just unfair competition for them, but that it is an economic development issue as much as it is a road issue, as far as they are concerned.
Further discussion occurred, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that the impact fee is designed so that the impact that occurs is going to be paid for wherever it occurs. He stated that if the economic development issue is the important factor that the Town of Lady Lake feels it is, then he would support a situation whereby they can choose to waive the fee and make up the difference in payments to the County out of any of the funds that they have, to supplement the growth of the commercial area alluded to earlier, which he noted will not require the County to make an amendment to the impact fee ordinance.
Commr. Gregg questioned whether this County could create a special commercial district and collect revenue over a period of time, in increments, rather than up front, to which Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, responded that the County cannot create an MSBU in the Town of Lady Lake, due to the fact that it is not in the County's jurisdiction; however, the Town of Lady Lake can do it.
Additional discussion occurred, at which time Commr. Swartz stated that he would not support a waiver of impact fees for commercial development in the Town of Lady Lake as it has been
conveyed to him, and as he understands it at this time, noting the reason why. He discussed the fact that the Town of Lady Lake has had a substantial amount of growth, however, noted that all the other cities in the County have too.
Commr. Bakich stated that he, too, had a problem with just giving the Town of Lady Lake a blanket exemption when there are cities that have been paying it all along, but would be willing to work with the Town of Lady Lake in trying to come up with a solution, to which Commr. Hanson concurred.
Mr. Lynch stated that he feels the Town of Lady Lake and the County will be losers when the revenue goes into Sumter County, due to the fact that it does not charge impact fees, therefore, feels that it is an economic issue and not a road issue, but, noted that he would be glad to continue to work with the County Manager and the Chairman. He stated that although the proposed ordinance before the Board this date is a draft, reiterated the fact that one of the most important issues that the Town of Lady Lake and the County has discussed concerning credits is not contained in the ordinance. He stated that when he questioned why it was not in the ordinance, he was told that the parties involved had not come to an agreement. He stated the way that the issue was presented to the Town of Lady Lake is that it would be presented to the Board as a joint proposal and, in the end, the Board and the Town of Lady Lake would meet again in a final joint meeting and decide whether or not it was acceptable to the Board, or whether they should go to the next step under Chapter 164 of the Florida Statutes. He stated it was their understanding all along that they would be working towards an amicable agreement that would end up in an ordinance change.
Commr. Gregg stated that he could go along with setting up a special taxing district, however, had a problem with just allowing an exemption for commercial, due to legal implications.
Commr. Bakich suggested meeting a few more times over the next 30 days and then bring the matter back to the Board the third meeting in April to try to resolve it.
Commr. Swartz questioned, for clarification purposes, whether he understood correctly that the Town of Lady Lake did not agree with the ordinance before the Board this date, to which Mr. Lynch, Town Manager, Town of Lady Lake, stated that this was correct. He stated there were parts of it that they agreed with, but did not agree with the totality of it.
Ms. Lustgarten, County Attorney, interjected that the draft ordinance before the Board this date reflects some of the issues that it was felt all involved had reached an agreement on, noting that they had never reached an agreement on the issue of credits, and that they had expected written comments from the Town of Lady Lake on the issue.
Commr. Swartz stated that it would be helpful, before the Board and representatives from the Town of Lady Lake meet again, if the Town of Lady Lake would comment on the ordinance or put together, as quickly as possible, specific changes (with strike throughs and underlines) to the existing ordinance that they feel are absolutely essential to satisfy concerns that they have, and then meet again, in approximately 30 days, and try to resolve the issue.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 6:15 p.m.
MICHAEL J. BAKICH, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK