The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, November 20, 1995, at 7:00 p.m., in the Board of County Commissioners Meeting Room of the Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Rhonda H. Gerber, Chairman; William "Bill" H. Good, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Catherine C. Hanson; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Sue B. Whittle, County Manager; Ava Kronz, BCC Office Manager; and Marlene S. Foran, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Gerber opened the special meeting between the Board of County Commissioners and the Department of Community Affairs and introduced Mr. James Murley, Secretary, Department of Community Affairs.
Mr. James Murley, Secretary, Department of Community Affairs (DCA), expressed appreciation to the Board for the opportunity to discuss the concerns of the Board in regard to past and present practices, and the future direction of the DCA during the next few years. At this time, he provided a brief history of his professional background. Mr. Murley discussed issues relating to Emergency Management and discussed programs that addressed redevelopment, shipment and inventory of hazardous materials, insurance, and possible changes in the Community Development Block Grant program that could be significant. He noted that the Lieutenant Governor has been working with the League of Cities, the Association of Counties, and other service providers and has instructed him to openly discuss issues of concern to Lake County.
Commr. Good informed the Board that a group of citizens, who were present this evening, have provided a video tap for review regarding a number of issues and addresses the question of annexation, city and county comprehensive plans, compliance and concurrency. He stated that the citizens have expressed hope that the County would work with the DCA to communicate within better intergovernment coordination between the County and cities when joint planning area studies are performed. He discussed the need for better understanding of how to resolve issues in terms of the process of bringing the County's Comprehensive Plan, and the cities' plans in compliance with one another, and stated that he would like DCA's view on how the County and cities might resolve the differences in the plans.
Mr. Murley responded that he was not certain that the DCA was the best mediator of issues between cities and counties, and that the starting point of any city or county plan, under homerule of Florida, was that there was a great deal of prerogative assigned to each jurisdiction's ability to draw up an appropriate plan. He explained that the DCA has attempted to review the entire plans of counties and cities to determine how they fit together over shared boundaries. He stated that the concept of joint planning areas was an important concept, and suggested that the School Board could be a participant. Mr. Murley explained that the act of annexation requires that the county comprehensive plan remain in effect until such time that the city amends the city's comprehensive plan to encompass part, or all of the newly annexed land. He stated that the data analysis must show that the annexation was justified, and show the impacts on natural resources, public facilities, and intergovernmental coordination.
At 7:30 p.m., Commr. Cadwell departed the meeting due to illness.
Commr. Good questioned if there were specific questions that DCA might have of the Board regarding the hydrologic importance of the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern, or the property rights in the Green Swamp.
Mr. Murley stated that he wished to discuss with the Board shared responsibilities in the Green Swamp. He explained that it was the responsibility of the DCA to implement the principles for guiding development, which are established in law, and to review actions within a district, and that the DCA could do an improved review by working with the counties to assure that county ordinances address those principles. He stated that the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Community Affairs are developing a joint policy statement which addresses the land and water issues in the Green Swamp, and that statutory language would be shared with the Association of Counties when completed.
On behalf of Commr. Cadwell, Commr. Gerber referred to an article in Florida Trend magazine which indicated that the legislative intent was a planning partnership between local and state governments and that said partnership had fallen apart. She questioned what DCA's plans were to establish a true planning partnership; at which time, Mr. Murley responded that the partnership could only come from a personal, quality communication. He stated that he would prefer to encourage the evaluation and appraisal process of the comprehensive plan, and to encourage a better working relationship between the County, cities, and School Board in establishing an overall vision for a direction for Lake County.
Discussion occurred in regard to the Affordable Housing program; at which time Commr. Hanson complimented the Affordable Housing program in Lake County, and encouraged the DCA to continue to fight for the funding for the Affordable Housing program.
Mr. Murley discussed the DCA's roll in Affordable Housing and stated that DCA's job was to secure resources for the County. He explained that the State was also paying for county by county affordable housing studies, performed by the University of Florida, to provide the counties a better idea for estimations about what would be the demands by income. He explained that some counties have created a finance agency to interact with the bond market, and noted that Lake County should take full advantage of the State Housing Finance Agency. He explained that the State Housing Finance Agency works with private developers to set up bond guarantee programs.
Commr. Swartz expressed appreciation to Mr. Murley for his work with "One Thousand Friends of Florida", as Executive Director, in getting a better Affordable Housing Program for Lake County and throughout the State in advancing the issue of growth management and comprehensive planning for the benefit of the State of Florida. He questioned how the new property rights legislation would affect counties as they move back to the evaluation appraisal process.
Mr. Murley addressed the property rights legislation and stated that the property rights bill was comprised of three key areas and each area was negotiated separately at the Legislature and merged into one package. He explained that the comprehensive plan amendment process was excluded from the rest of the property rights bill, and comprehensive plan amendments are to be handled differently to protect the local government's right to handle them as a legislative act. He further explained that the portion of the property rights bill which holds the greatest impact states that, if the rules change for the private owner in a way that causes an inordinate burden, it could be determined that there has to be either a change in the decision made by the local government or the local government must pay the cost of the impact of the inordinate burden. He stated that the third key area was to encourage negotiation of any application of land use law be it laws that were in place at the time that the property rights law passed or future laws. He stated that the philosophy of the property rights act was to elevate the issue for all to review more carefully without abandoning the equal constitutional right to protect the public's right as the Board makes difficult decisions. At this time, Mr. Murley discussed methods in which the citizens could interact with the DCA in order to make their concerns known through the comprehensive plan change process.
Mr. Dennis Horton, Attorney, representing a number of citizens present in the audience regarding the City of Minneola, appeared before the Board and questioned what involvement could be expect from the County and State regarding annexation; at which time, Mr. Murley responded that facts and data pertaining to a specific piece of property would drive the issues, and that the DCA would listen. There being no further business to be brought before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
RHONDA H. GERBER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK