The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 25, 1999, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; Rhonda H. Gerber; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, noted that the Board had one Addendum to the agenda.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that he needed to appoint someone to a Rails to Trails Advisory Committee, and he will have that information for the Board this afternoon. He noted that the Board needed to take action to place this item on the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place the item, as stated above, on the agenda for Board action.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board had a special presentation to make today to the Mount Dora Bible Bulldogs. At this time, he asked the coaches and team members to come forward for the presentation. He read into the record the Resolution honoring them for winning their first State Championship.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request for approval and execution of Resolution 1999-92 honoring the Mt. Dora Bible Bulldogs on winning the Class A Florida Girls Softball Championship.
COUNTY MANAGER'S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests:
Accounts Allowed/Resolutions/Roads-County & State/Subdivisions
Request for authorization to accept final plat for Crescent lake Club 3rd Addition, execute a Developer's Agreement between Lake County and Crescent Lake Club Land Trust for Maintenance of Improvements, accept an irrevocable letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $12,518.56, and execute Resolution1999-93 accepting the following roads into the County Road maintenance system: Jardim De Largo Street (County Road Number 2-0739D) and Alameda Alma (County Road Number 2-0838F). This subdivision consists of 36 lots - Commissioner District 2.
Accounts Allowed/Resolutions/Roads-County & State/Subdivisions
Request for authorization to accept final plat for Hidden Hills Phase II, execute a Developer's Agreement between Lake County and Hidden Hills Land Trust for Maintenance of Improvements, accept an irrevocable letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $14,004.35, and execute Resolution 1999-94 accepting the following roads into the County Road Maintenance system: Autumn Wind Loop "Part" (County Road Number 2-0738) and Summer Elm Avenue (County Road Number 2-0738B). This subdivision consists of 55 lots - Commissioner District 2.
Accounts Allowed/Resolutions/Roads-County & State/Subdivisions
Request for authorization to accept final plat for Louisa Pointe Phase I, execute a Developer's Agreement between Lake County and Louisa Pointe Land Trust for Maintenance of Improvements, accept an irrevocable letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $28,612.80, and execute Resolution 1999-95 accepting the following roads into the County Road maintenance system: Louisa Point Boulevard (County Road Number 2-0651), Crenshaw Circle (County Road Number 2-0651A), Saragossa Street (County Road Number 2-0651B), and Chikasaw Court (County Road Number 2-0652). This subdivision consists of 40 lots - Commissioner District 2.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - ROAD VACATIONS
PETITION NO. 893 - RONALD & MEI MOSS - UMATILLA AREA
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, noted that Road Vacation Petition No. 893, Ronald and Mei Moss, needed to be postponed until 2 p.m. when the public hearing for the zoning request would be heard by the Board
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the postponement of Petition No. 893 by Ronald and Mei Moss, Representative Cecelia Bonifay, to vacate platted lots, rights-of-way, and roadway, Sec. 5, Twp. 18S, Rge. 26E, Umatilla Area - Commissioner District 5, until this afternoon at 2 p.m.
PETITION NO. 894 - ANNA CARTY - UMATILLA AREA
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, stated that staff was recommending approval of Petition No. 894 by Anna Carty, after working with the applicant for some time to clear title.
The Chairman opened the public hearing and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant and Ms. Barbara L. Johnson, Representative, were present.
There being no one present who wished to speak in opposition to the request, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 894 by Anna Carty, Representative Barbara L. Johnson, to vacate right-of-way, Sec. 11, Twp. 18S, Rge. 26E, Umatilla Area - Commissioner District 5, Resolution 1999-96.
PETITION NO. 895 - D. R. HORTON, INC. - BETWEEN CR 474 & POLK CO. LINE
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, stated that staff was recommending approval of Petition No. 895 by D. R. Horton, Inc. He noted that a building in Woodridge Subdivision was a little too close to a property line, and the owner needed to vacate a little portion of an easement that was not being utilized, and staff had no objection to the request.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant was present.
There being no one present who wished to speak in opposition to the request, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 895 by D. R. Horton, Inc., to vacate utility easement, Woodridge Phase II, Sec. 25, Twp. 24S, Rge. 26E, between CR 474 and the Polk County Line - Commissioner District 2, Resolution 1999-97.
PETITION NO. 896 - ILA P. THOMPSON - LADY LAKE AREA
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, stated that staff was recommending approval of Petition No. 896 by Ila P. Thompson.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant's representative, Ms. Debbie Stivender, was present.
There being no one present who wished to speak in opposition to the request, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 896 by Ila P. Thompson, Representative Debbie Stivender, to vacate utility easements, Orange Blossom Gardens, Sec. 7, Twp. 18S, Rge. 24E, Lady Lake Area - Commissioner District 5, Resolution 1999-98.
PETITION NO. 897 - LAKE COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS - UMATILLA AREA
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, stated that staff was recommending approval of Petition No. 897 by Lake County Public Works, Jim Stivender, to vacate a drainage easement. Mr. Stivender explained that it was right next to the Marion County line, and the County already has a road right-of-way easement replacing it, and additional right-of-way.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 897 by Lake County Public Works, Jim Stivender, Jr., to vacate drainage easement, Sec. 2, Twp. 18s, Rge. 26E, Umatilla Area - Commissioner District 5, Resolution 1999-99.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that a proposed ordinance regarding pigeons will be coming to the Board in August.
CASE PH#21-99-1 - RICHARD E. BEASLEY - CP TO R-7 - TRACKING #33-99-Z
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that staff was recommending approval of a request for rezoning from CP (Planned Commercial) to R-7 (Mixed Residential) to allow construction of a single family residence. It was approved 10 to 0 with no opposition at the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant was present.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#21-99-1, Richard W. Beasley, Hubert R. Clester, a request for rezoning from CP (Planned Commercial) to R-7 (Mixed Residential) to allow construction of a single family residence, Tracking #33-99-Z, Ordinance 1999-61
CASE PH#23-99-3 - ST. PHILIP LUTHERAN CHURCH INC.
R-1 AND CUP TO CFD - TRACKING #35-99CFD
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that staff was recommending approval of a request for rezoning from R-1 and CUP #468-4 to CFD for continued church use and related uses. Ms. Farrell stated that the church has been located at this site for many years under an old CUP and some R-1 zoning, and staff wanted to get them out of the annual inspection loop and also get one single zoning overlay for them. She noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request 10 to 0, and there was no opposition to the request. Ms. Farrell also noted that the applicant will be coming in to meet with staff, in the very near future, to expand the building and the parking facilities.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicants were present.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#23-99-3, St. Philip Lutheran Church Inc., a request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) and Conditional Use Permit (CUP) #468-4 to CFD (Community Facility District) for continued church use and related uses, Tracking #35-99-CFD, Ordinance 1999-62.
CASE #26-99-2 - KEITH & PATRICIA SHAMROCK; ERIC & DIANE COE AND MUNI V. PADMAN - AMENDMENT TO CP ORDINANCE #84-87 - TRACKING #38-99-CP/AMD
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that staff was recommending denial of a request for an amendment to CP Ordinance #84-87 to allow for additional professional offices and related uses, excluding intensive commercial uses. Ms. Farrell explained that, about a year ago, there was a Settlement Agreement between these property owners, the County, and the Hawthorne residents, in regards to professional uses on this particular site, and part of the Settlement Agreement was to limit the uses to residential professional type uses and a possible church. The applicants are here today, under their old ordinance, to request the addition of professional offices. The Settlement Agreement capped it out at 6,500 square feet of medical office space, which has been built on the site, and they are here today to appeal an amendment, and to appeal the staff decision of not meeting commercial locational criteria to construct more professional offices on the site.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Farrell noted that there was a comment in the Planning and Zoning Commission Minutes regarding the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) recommending an amendment to completely remove office development, and the comment was not correct.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford, Attorney representing the applicants, addressed the Board and stated that the applicants are requesting approval to build additional professional medical office buildings on the parcel. The property is currently zoned CP (Planned Commercial) for uses including a shopping center, a restaurant, and a bank. Mr. Crawford stated that, in 1996, the applicants made a request to build mini warehouses on the property, and staff recommended approval of the request. He stated that Hawthorne opposed it, when they came to the first hearing, and the applicants withdrew their application and changed it to build professional offices. He stated that his office was hired to represent the owners, and they filed for vesting, which was denied. This led to a Special Master Agreement, with Hawthorne, to build one medical professional office, with all other development having to meet the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Crawford stated that the request meets the Plan. He believes it is an absolutely appropriate use for that location, and there is nothing in the staff report, in terms of planning, that recommends against it. He stated that, in planning circles, it has long been recognized that a professional office/medical office is an appropriate buffer between residential development and true commercial (heavy retail). He further stated that there are 4,000 homes within a three mile radius of the project either approved or built, and the majority of them are retirement homes. Mr. Crawford stated that they are going to build a cart path connection to Hawthorne, to the north, so everyone can come to the office without getting on Highway 27.
Mr. Crawford called Mr. Greg Beliveau, President of Land Planning Group (LPG) Urban Regional Planners, Inc., to present testimony. Mr. Crawford stated, for the record, that Mr. Beliveau has been a planner involved in Lake County for 22 years, and he has testified many times on zoning and land use matters before this Board.
Mr. Beliveau referred to the policy in the Comprehensive Plan that deals with community activity centers and stated that, under Section A, it states the following: "Location: At the intersection of two arterials, or at the intersection of an arterial and a collector, or along an arterial at an appropriate distance from the intersection." Mr. Beliveau stated that Hawthorne has between 1,200 and 1,900 units alone, therefore, by utilizing the ITE code for trips on that road system, it meets the County's collector requirements, because it exceeds 5,000 trips a day. He stated that the property was the most immediate property south of the Hawthorne tract, and there is no other property between it and Hawthorne. He further stated that Hawthorne was going to have an inter-connection with this property. Mr. Beliveau noted that Hawthorne Boulevard is a private road, and it does not register in the Department of Transportation's (DOT) functional classification system, but Lake County has approved several PUDs along Highway 27 and has utilized this criteria to approve commercial along Highway 27 within PUD developments off of private road systems for private developers. He explained that Hawthorne Boulevard functions as a collector, even though it is a private road, due to the amount of concentration in the development that is behind it. Mr. Beliveau explained that it also meets the market area set of criteria. He noted that there was an intersection at CR 33 and at CR 48 and stated that there was a high concentration of urbanized area along that whole system, with plans being made for development at both intersections. Mr. Beliveau stated that, for almost four years, offices were not considered within locational criteria, and as of December 13, 1995, they became part of the criteria.
Commr. Swartz clarified that the County Attorney determined that offices would be considered and required within locational criteria.
Commr. Hanson stated that she felt this was the perfect location regardless of what the Comprehensive Plan says today. She stated that there is a tremendous amount of residential sites in this area, and it points out the difference between having residential professional, as in office complexes, and true commercial. She felt that the interpretation made should not have been made by the attorney, but by the County Commission.
Mr. Beliveau explained that the language states an appropriate distance, but it does not state how far the appropriate distance will be, and based on interpretations within the last few years on locational criteria, it has been applied in this case to allow for commercial development at this area. He further explained that, if Hawthorne Boulevard was a public road, it would meet locational criteria, because it would provide access to everything east of it.
Mr. Crawford pointed out that they would be taking out one-eighth of a mile of frontage with no curb cuts, and that CR 33 is a collector road.
Ms. Farrell explained that, if staff considered it to meet locational criteria, then it would be capped at 50,000 square feet.
Commr. Pool stated that it looks like the right place to put a medical, or professional office building, and the area could also benefit tremendously from not needing to make trips out onto the highway to go to another professional office building. He further stated that this is an asset to all of the people that live in the area, and he was happy with the connection that the applicants want to make with the cart path, which will eliminate even more traffic.
Commr. Pool made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Hanson, to uphold the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approve Case #26-99-2, Keith and Patricia Shamrock; Eric & Diane Coe and Muni V. Padman, a request for an amendment to CP Ordinance #84-87 to allow for additional professional offices and related uses, excluding intensive commercial uses, Tracking #38-99-CP/AMD, Ordinance 1999-63.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz stated that he believed he voted for the Settlement Agreement, even though he had reservations about it, which seems to have done nothing more than to open up the door for what would be clearly a violation of the Comprehensive Plan and commercial locational criteria. He stated that commercial locational criteria, absent some other method by which the County can locate commercial activity, is the only thing it has right now that provides any protection whatsoever for the roadways. He further stated that this does not meet commercial locational criteria, and as a result of Commr. Gerber's question, whether they were up to 50,000 square feet, the County was not really talking about a community activity center where you even have the discretion of whether it is an appropriate distance from the intersection. It becomes a neighborhood activity center, and there is no such language in the Comprehensive Plan with regard to an appropriate distance. Commr. Swartz stated that this being a buffer for Hawthorne is not an issue at all, and whether or not medical offices are a need in this location is not an issue. The issue is whether or not the County is going to protect the integrity of its road system. Commr. Swartz stated that he will vote against the motion, and he hopes the Board, at some point, will recognize that all of the things that are requested may not make for good growth, or progress, and they may make things worse than they are today.
Commr. Gerber referred to Page 2 of Analysis, 9., which states "This agreement may be modified by agreement of the parties, in writing, provided that any such modification must not be in violation of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, as amended," and stated that this was an exact quote directly from the Settlement Agreement, and they knew what the County was doing with commercial locational criteria, and she felt that the Board should not go against what it has determined to be the best policy in that area. She stated that her concerns were also similar to Commr. Swartz's statements with the traffic situation.
Commr. Hanson stated that, between staff and the Board, they need to work out commercial locational, something that would be in between a full shopping center and those types of businesses that are in between residential and commercial, such as professional offices. She stated that it was interesting that, up until 1995, it was okay for the Board to allow professional offices outside the commercial locational criteria, and then after 1995, they are intended to be a buffer and to be near residential areas. She feels there is a problem with the Comprehensive Plan, and she thinks it needs to come back to the Board for consideration. She has no problem voting for this request, because it is a professional office, and it works very well with a residential community.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried by a 3-2 vote. Commrs. Swartz and Gerber voted "no".
CASE CUP#99/5/1-3 - HANG JU CHON & YOUN SU CHON (RICHEY & CRAWFORD, PA) - CUP IN A - TRACKING #40-99-CUP
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that the applicant was requesting a CUP in A to allow for a spring water source for an off-site bottling plant on 66 acres in the Astatula area. It is in the rural land use, and it is surrounded by agricultural and agricultural residential zoning. Ms. Farrell noted that the Board has heard this case three times, and staff, once again, is recommending approval of the request, based on the small amount of water being withdrawn on a daily basis from the site, in comparison with other agricultural operations. Ms. Farrell noted that staff has had difficulty each year looking at this under the County's current code, because there really is no real clear criteria on where to put this type of use, and what to use to approve it. She noted that the Water Resources Department reviewed the request under their criteria. In the backup, there were three letters of opposition and one letter with 13 signatures and some photos. Any of the site planning and traffic issues will be addressed at Development Review, and it was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Ms. Farrell explained that the difference between this request and the others is that it is on 66 acres, and staff is more comfortable seeing it on the entire acreage rather than splitting it into five acre tracts and having the neighbors even closer to the use.
Commr. Hanson disclosed that, over the last several years, she has had discussions with Dr. Chon
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford, Attorney with Richey & Crawford, PA, representing the applicants, addressed the Board and stated that this is a request to withdraw an amount of water limited to 50,000 gallons a day for the purpose of bottling it at an approved plant in the Town of Howey-in-Hills, for sale as spring water. Mr. Crawford stated that Dr. Chon has a letter of exemption from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), because this amount of water withdrawal is beneath their permitting standards. He stated that the applicant has also done the water quality testing and gotten his approved use from the Department of Agriculture, which regulates spring water withdrawals. The applicant has an approved plant facility in Howey-in-the-Hills, but it has not been constructed, because he does not have his spring water source. He will donate ten percent (10%) of his net profits to Howey-in-the-Hills, and if the Board feels it is necessary, he will donate 20 acres to the Lake County Water Authority. The plant will employ 10 to 12 people, with one to two people on site, and it will generate less traffic, or the same amount, as one single family home according to the ITE manual. They will have a maximum of eight trips a day for the trucks, and one trip a day for the employee, where a single family home generates 9.8 trips a day. It was noted that they would be able to put 13 single family homes on the 66 acre site.
Mr. Crawford called Mr. Rick Potts, a hydrogeologist, to present testimony.
Mr. Rick Potts stated that he is a professional geologist from Winter Park, and he specializes in groundwater hydrology. Mr. Potts stated that he was retained by Dr. Chon several years ago to evaluate the environmental and hydrologic impacts of his proposed use. He stated that reports were submitted to the Lake County Water Resources Department, and staff agreed with their analysis. Mr. Potts stated that it is a very small use, and no impact is projected whatsoever. It is well below the SJRWMD's permitting threshold, so no water use permit is required. Mr. Potts noted that there is a very similar use already in the County near Lake Apopka, and they received a permit from the SJRWMD, because they are proposing to pump120,000 gallons per day. Mr. Potts testified that, based on his hydrogeological study that he did on the site, there will be no effect on a well on property immediately adjacent to this site, and it could not cause a significant draw down in the well, or a sinkhole. He further noted that there are no potential water quality problems from the use of the well, and they could find no impact. He presented further testimony regarding the recycling of water and noted that the water will recharge the watertable, the surficial aquifer, and over a period of time, there will be some recharge to the Floridan acquifer, but it will be very small. In this particular case, this is called an artisan area, where water is coming up from the Floridan and discharging into the wetlands and then offsite, so there is essentially no recharge, because it is a discharge area. Mr. Potts noted that the SJRWMD is required to record quantities pumped on a daily basis.
Commr. Gerber noted that there was a comment in the minutes about 13 homes having twice the hydrogeological impact and she questioned what the hydrogeological impact is from one home.
Mr. Potts explained that, in both instances, the impact is immeasurable and insignificant. A facility that might have an impact would be a municipal water plant that has wells that pump millions of gallons a day. He noted that one house in a month might use 20,000 gallons, if they have a large yard and an irrigation system.
Mr. Crawford called Mr. Ted Wicks to provide testimony regarding his analysis of the site and stated that Mr. Wicks is a professional engineer that has been involved in site planning in Lake County for approximately 22 years. He has testified before this Board on site planning and traffic issues on several occasions.
Mr. Ted Wicks, Wicks Consulting Services, addressed the Board and stated that he visited the site and determined traffic impacts for the use. Mr. Wicks stated that he could not really model the traffic into any traffic model, so the actual volume of traffic will have an insignificant effect on the area. He explained that the posted speed on the roadway is 55 mph both north and south, but in both north and south directions, there are other advisory speeds of 45 mph for the curve that is north of this project, and 45 mph for the intersection that is south of the project. As you approach the project, there is a slight hill and a slope, and the driveway connection is somewhere down slope of that point. After further analysis, he found that there is approximately two times the safe stopping distance that would be required, if a truck was stopped and making a left turn. Mr. Wicks stated that the public safety issue seems to be fairly minimal at this point. The roadway is quite heavily traveled, but it seems to be very controlled travel, because of the signage north of the curve, and the signage at the intersection south. He felt that this issue would be very closely looked at during the Development Review Staff (DRS) process and site plan approval. Mr. Wicks stated that, in his opinion, there is plenty of site distance. He further noted that the trip traffic would be the same as a single family dwelling use based on the ITE code.
Mr. Crawford stated that the Springs of Life is in Lake County, and it is permitted for over twice this amount of water.
Commr. Swartz asked that staff check and see when the Springs of Life facility was approved, because he felt it was before the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Charles Davenport addressed the Board in opposition to the request. Mr. Davenport discussed the traffic issue and explained that there have been several accidents at the described curve, and at the Springs of Life site. He stated that he lives on Double Run Road, and there are many teenagers in the area. They have preserved that land for 27 years, and they do not need to have 50,000 gallons pulled from it a day, because it will affect the wetlands and the animals.
Ms. Sandy Waite addressed the Board in opposition to the request and stated that she lives on the "s" curve. She discussed the accidents that have occurred in her front yard and stated that the traffic has become so unbearable on C-561, and she is very concerned about the safety of her two children. Ms. Waite explained that there is no safe turning distance when you are coming from the north and making a left turn. She is a member of the Traffic Safety Board, which is still working on the problems in this area. Ms. Waite stated that she is also concerned about the wells, and there are tons of wetlands and wildlife that need to be considered. She pointed out her property and stated that there are also school bus stops at this location.
Ms. Joni Moore addressed the Board in opposition to the request and stated that she lives south of the property in question. Ms. Moore explained that the blind area being discussed is right in front of her driveway, and people pass on the double line all of the time. She discussed bike races that are scheduled in the area, and the heavy truck traffic and noted that she was familiar with the accidents that have occurred at this curve, because she is a an EMT. She talked to the SJRWMD and was told that the average household uses 8,000 gallons a month, which would be 60,000 per day, and this would be the same as putting 200 houses on this protective wetland area. There is also a lot of wildlife in this area.
Ms. Sharon Torres addressed the Board in opposition to the request and stated that the Board has her letter on file. Ms. Torres stated that she and her husband's main concern is their well. They bought their property in September, with the understanding that it was wetlands, and they were under the assumption that you cannot build on wetlands. They were told that Dr. Chon had tried to get a bottling plant, but his request was turned down. She pointed out the location of their property, in relation to the property in question, and stated that the applicant's well is less than 400 feet from their front room. She stated that a major concern was the truck traffic, because the school bus stops at Cypress Road six to eight times a day. Ms. Torres stated that she feels her pond will be affected by the plant, and with all of the concerns that have been expressed, she hopes the Board will vote against it.
Ms. Frankie Thorpe addressed the Board in opposition to the request and stated that she owns property directly across from the parcel in question. She submitted letters to the Deputy Clerk, which were entered and marked as follows: Exhibit A-O - a letter from Ms. Ann Wettstein Griffin, Conservation Council; Exhibit B-O - a letter from Mr. And Mrs. H. J. Angermeier; and Exhibit C-O - a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas G. Angermeier. Ms. Thorpe stated that, when this petition came up three or four years ago, she visited individuals at the Springs of Life site, and she was told that the noise was a nuisance, and it was a traffic hazzard. She stated that she considers the water a public resource, and she does not appreciate someone making a profit from the sale of it, especially if there is a shortage of water potential. She was of the understanding that there would be one spring, and she was concerned that, with 66 acres, he may want to tap into other springs. She addressed the term "mining" of water and stated that there are other hydrologists who have a different opinion, that there could be a detrimental impact, but the residents have not decided to retain a hydrologist to give them a certified opinion. To consider this as a commercial type enterprise in a residential area appears to be quite different from a home occupation, because there will be more traffic, and there will be noise from the pumping. Ms. Thorpe stated that they do have a subdivision with 25 parcels, and there are three bus stops, with the possibility of a fourth one. She further stated that C-561 is a designated cyclist route, and a 6,000 gallon truck amounts to more than 50,000 pounds of water. Ms. Thorpe stated that the petition before the Board is a threat to their quality of life.
Mr. Miguel Torres addressed the Board in opposition to the request and stated that he was concerned with the pumping and the water, and the traffic on C-561. He was concerned about the children and the new school being built in Astatula. He stated that this request has been turned down by the Board twice, and he hoped that the Board would consider the well being of the whole neighborhood. He stated that the pumping of spring water is not going to benefit any area of Astatula, or the County.
Mr. Crawford noted that there had been several mentions of a bottling plant, and this is not a bottling plant, but a well spicket, which he explained. The pump will be in a pump house, and there will be a five horse power pump on a well. One of the conditions of the CUP, as requested, involves monitoring reports, which the applicant will submit to the County on a monthly basis. He addressed the truck traffic on C-561 and stated that there is a sand mine just north of this property, and they are half a mile from the Double Run curves. Mr. Crawford stated that the trucks will not have any impact on those curves. He explained that Dr. Chon will give away free water at the plant in Howey-in-the-Hills and, as far as water as a public resource, and no one being allowed to use it for a profit, every citrus owner in the County uses the resource of water for a profit. The State has set up reasonable beneficial use criteria to permit this type of activity. As far as new springs, that would require a new permit, and they would have to come before the Board and ask for it. He stated that their CUP does not allow them to operate on the weekends, so their truck traffic will not contribute to the traffic during that time.
Mr. Crawford called Mr. Potts back to the stand for further testimony.
Mr. Potts stated that the withdrawal from this project cannot have any effect on the wetlands, because it is such a small withdrawal. Based on their measurements in 1996, it was determined that 10 or 15 million gallons will have to be pumped a day to have a measurable effect on the spring flow. He further stated that it will have no effect on the neighbor's well and pond that are 400 feet from the well.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether Mr. Potts knew what was causing water flows in Buggs Springs and other major springs to be reduced. He noted that according to the U.S. Navy, water flows in Buggs Springs were going down.
Mr. Potts stated that he did not believe this was true and explained that all springs will increase their flow and decrease their flow with rainfall. He explained that he is very familiar with Silver Springs, and he does not believe that its flow is decreasing, but he is not familiar with the discharge data for Buggs Springs. He stated that, if it is decreasing, he doubted seriously it is a result of over pumping of groundwater.
Commr. Swartz stated that there have been studies across Florida that have shown that spring water flow levels have historically gone down over the last 20 to 30 years.
Mr. Potts explained that he cannot say that this is happening, because he is unfamiliar with the data noted by Commr. Swartz, but he finds it unlikely. A lot of the hydrologic data is keyed into the early 1960s, and 1960 was an extremely wet year. He explained that they specifically addressed, in detail, at the request of the Lake County Water Resources Division, whether this particular withdrawal will have an effect on springs near or springs far from this property, and the answer was unequivocally no, and they proved that to their satisfaction. Mr. Potts explained that, if they do not use this water, some part of it will discharge into what is known as Double Run Spring, which is the wetland area at Dr. Chons, and it will discharge into the southern end of Little Lake Harris. The largest part of it will continue to flow east, northeast through the Floridan aquifer and eventually discharge into the St. Johns River. He stated that there is a concept in hydrology that is known as mining water, and when you mine water, you are removing the water from an aquifer faster than it is recharged, and this is not happening in this case.
Mr. Crawford explained that they have tried to address the neighbors' concerns, and the decision of the Board has to be decided on the competent substantial evidence before it. The expert testimony is that it is not going to have any traffic impact, and it is the same as a single family home. The expert testimony is that there is no hydrogeologic impact, and it uses less water than the tract would use if it was planted in citrus. Mr. Crawford stated that this is the highest and best use for this water that is going to migrate out of the County, if it is not used. The State regulates inter-County transfers of water, and any attempt by the County to deny this request, on the basis of inter-County transfer of water, would not allowed by State Statute, in his opinion. Mr. Crawford stated that, if the Board feels that a left turn lane into this property, and a right excel-taper, is necessary, they will be happy to build one, even though they are far below any thresholds required to build turn lanes. Mr. Crawford stated that the neighbors' concerns about traffic and withdrawal are simply not founded. It was noted that Mr. Crawford would provide Commr. Swartz with a copy of Florida Statutes, Chapter 373.217 (1), 373.217(2), and 373.217(3) for his review.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Gerber stated that she would like to request some expert testimony from County staff. She stated that she and Mr. Allen Hewitt, Water Resource Manager, sit on the Environmental Protection Advisory Board, and at the last two meetings, they discussed, at some length, the Water 20/20 plan. She stated that it may have some bearing on the Board members' decision today. She requested an overview of what Mr. Hewitt believes are the most coaching points to the discussion today.
Mr. Allen Hewitt, Lake County Water Resource Manager, stated that the Water Management District's draft 20/20 plan is a regional approach to resolving the water quality and water supply issues up until the year 2020. They have taken all of the statistics available and tried to determine what the water use is going to be in the year 2020, in order to work toward that goal. There are four major options in the draft summary. What may be approved in one area in Lake County may have an effect somewhere in another County, or vice versa. It will no longer be County boundaries, or local jurisdictions, and they may end up being dissolved, because of the water issues.
Commr. Gerber stated that the SJRWMD is looking at the St. Johns River for surface water and as one of the main areas for surface water, and one of the mechanisms they are going to be using is a treatment plant, and to do that, they are going to be looking to all of the citizens in this area for funding. The region is going to have to take on the position of lead agency to figure out a funding mechanism to treat water according to this report, because the supply of water in the aquifer will not meet the demand by 2020. Commr. Gerber stated that, when she looks at the extensions of the numbers, 50,000 gallons a day, a million and a half a month; 20,000 or 8,000 (two different estimates) per household, this would be either 75 homes, or close to 150 homes on this acreage, and in this area, a million and a half gallons a month from one area is going to have an impact on the County's projections for the future of aquifer water supplies into 2020. A presentation by the SJRWMD will be made next week on this proposed plan.
Mr. Crawford stated that Mr. Hewitt's department reviewed the hydrogeological study when it was previously submitted, and he wanted to know if Mr. Hewitt disagreed with Mr. Potts with his conclusions, that this will have no measurable effect on either the wells or springs or wetlands nearby, or far off.
Mr. Hewitt stated that he did not disagree with the conclusions made by Mr. Potts.
Commr. Swartz noted that the Gourd Neck Springs occurred in 1990, which was before the creation and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. At past public hearings, many policies were pointed out, which determined that the request was inconsistent with the Plan, and they were noted as the basis for denying the request. He stated that he will briefly touch on those, but he will not get into detail, because he is going to ask, so that the record is complete with all of the information, that the minutes of the two previous hearings that occurred with this Board (November 21, 1995 and April 28, 1998) be included in the record, because they enumerate the policies, goals and objectives that the majority of this Board found the request to be inconsistent with, and in addition, he is going to ask that a copy of the Order Denying Petition For Writ Of Certiorari from Judge Don Briggs, with regard to this case, also be a part of the record, where Judge Briggs agreed with the Board and cited the very policies, goals and objectives this Board used in finding it inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Commr. Swartz stated that, as the Chairman had mentioned earlier, there are more homes in that area than there were when it came before the Board last time, and that calls into question Policy 1-1.b.1: Reenforced positive rural lifestyles. He stated that the request is for a CUP in Agricultural zoning, but it could be some kind of a commercial/industrial activity, because there will be tractor trailers coming and going. Even though there is not a significant number of trips, any kind of large truck coming in and out of there will have more impact on traffic conditions than the same number of single family automobiles. Commr. Swartz stated that the request was inconsistent with the policy of reenforcing positive rural lifestyles. He stated that Objective 7-1 in the Comprehensive Plan has to do with completing an Environmental Resource Management Plan, and this Board has supported and worked with a group of citizens in Lake County that are drafting this Plan. The Plan, with the type of information that is in the 20/20 water study, is the type of thing that will help Lake County determine what it needs to do to preserve some of its natural resources and water resources. Commr. Swartz stated that, in the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), there is a definition of "agriculture", and it never mentions sucking water out of the ground and transporting it somewhere. He stated that it is not agriculture, and therefore, by its nature, a CUP in agriculture is an inappropriate zoning. He further stated that it could be a utility, and the Comprehensive Plan allows utilities in agricultural districts, but it is not a utility, and it does not meet the Code for either being a minor limited utility, or a large public utility, and even if it was allowed, it would not need a CUP in agriculture, because it would be an allowed use. Commr. Swartz stated that the main issue, which Judge Briggs found to be most convincing, was Policy 7-2.6 of the Comprehensive Plan, which deals with the inter-district transfer of groundwater. He stated that this is an inter-district transfer of groundwater, and this is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which requires that wherever water goes, they have to do their utmost in terms of water conservation. It requires that, if there is going to be an inter-district transfer of water, there be compensation to Lake County, and there is no proposed compensation and, in regard to the proposed donation, as noted by Mr. Crawford, Dr. Chon has been able to donate any portion of the land to the Water Authority for years now, and he has not done it, and he has used it repeatedly as something to bring before the Board in a zoning issue. The Policy also requires that water removed has to be above and beyond the needs of Lake County residents for a period of 40 years, and the expert today did not show, or touch on this issue again today, and neither he, or Mr. Hewitt, when they say that it has no appreciable impact, has touched on that issue. Commr. Swartz stated that he did not believe that anyone could say that a study was done that can show this amount of water withdrawn, and potentially the next one that is withdrawn, would not be above and beyond the needs of Lake County for 40 years, which was also a part of Judge Briggs' record. He is opposed to the transfer of water, and it is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan over the points that he has mentioned, and others that have been part of the record, which he will ask the Board to include.
Commr. Swartz made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to overturn the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and deny Case CUP#99/5/1-3, Hang Ju Chon & Youn Su Chon, a request for a CUP in A (Agriculture) to allow for spring water source for an off-site bottling plant, Tracking #40-99-CUP, based on the request being inconsistent with those Policies, Goals and Objectives in the Comprehensive Plan.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson stated that she believes that the other spring water petition, that was approved previously, was only amended in 1990, and it was actually approved in 1984. She stated that Commr. Swartz mentioned that there was nothing that allows for it, but apparently the Board has set a precedent, because there is already one which would allow for it, whether or not it was identified in the Comprehensive Plan. She feels that the Board can get hung up on the technicalities on whether it is mining, or farming, but in the long run, the Board is going to find more and more that the State is going to have to rely on spring water and tapping into the springs, in order to have potable water. She stated that the traffic problem is a legitimate concern, and since the applicant is willing to put in a turn lane, that should alleviate the concern.
Commr. Pool stated that an agriculture activity can go in without a permit, and without problems, and without a meter, and it can use all of the water it wants to use. He stated that the 50,000 gallons a day does not concern him, because he agrees that the impact would be very little, but he is concerned with the permit being reviewed at the end of three years, and he would suggest that it be reviewed at a much earlier date, within a one or two year anniversary, and then a third year, should this pass or fail, and the permit would be revoked, if it had an adverse effect. He questioned whether the permit could be retracted based on D. (Page 2 of the proposed ordinance).
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, clarified that, if there was a violation, the issue would be brought back to the Board for revocation and there would be a quasi-judicial hearing
to demonstrate that violation, and if it is demonstrated, then it would be revoked.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board keeps talking about the global water issue, and this is a very small issue compared to the whole issue, but it does hit on the water transfer issue. Even though the State has said the water is all theirs, over the next several years, he feels that they will see some local governments taking a stand and fighting the State, because if there are areas in the State where they want to continue to grow, they need to pay for their water and do some of the things that are out there that are expensive and not as easy to do. Commr. Cadwell stated that, with this request, it was the water transfer issue more than anything else, and he has not changed his mind.
Commr. Hanson stated that she agrees with Commr. Cadwell, but the threat is going to be to the west of the County where they are already taking the water, and they are not paying for it at all.
Mr. Crawford referred to case law Osceola County v. St. Johns River Water Management District, where Brevard County got a well field permitted in Osceola County; Osceola County sued them to try and stop it; and it went to the Supreme Court of Florida where they lost based on this Statute (F.S. 373.217 - Superseded laws and regulations). He stated that this was not argued in the previous appeal, and if there is another appeal, it will be the primary source of argument and, in his opinion, the policy will not survive.
Mr. Minkoff noted that this is the only case, in this area, which rules that the St. Johns is in charge of where the water goes. There have been many grounds professed for and against this proposed ordinance, so even if the court may not rely on this, there may be other grounds that have been cited by one or more of the Commissioners, which would uphold the motion that was there.
Commr. Hanson stated that her vote falls in line with the staff's recommendation that this does meet the Comprehensive Plan requirements.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion to deny the request, which was carried by a 3-2 vote. It was noted that Commrs. Hanson and Pool voted "no".
Commr. Swartz submitted the following documents, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as follows:
Exhibit A - C - A portion of the Official Board Minutes dated November 21, 1995
Exhibit B - C - A portion of the Official Board Minutes dated April 28, 1998
Exhibit C - C - Copy of Case No. 95-2992-CA - Order Denying Petition for Writ of Certiorari dates February 21, 1996
Exhibit D - C - Copy of Case No. 95-2992-CA - Order Denying Petition for Writ of Certiorari dated August 14, 1997
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.
PETITION #24-99-2 - R-4 TO PUD - GREATER CONSTRUCTION CORP. - HOLLY HILL FRUIT PRODUCTS CO. INC. - TRACKING #39-99-PUD
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that this is a request for rezoning from R-4 (Medium Residential Density) to PUD (Planned Unit Development) for construction of single family residential development to include short term rentals. Ms. Farrell stated that Mr. Bill Kercher, Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc., was present to go over some of the fine points of the PUD. The parcel was rezoned in 1993 to a straight R-4 zoning, which provided for over 760 units, and only 10% open space. They came back through the process and are here today to request a PUD that provides for 665 units and 25% open space. Ms. Farrell stated that part of their concept plan is to have 100 feet of preserved grove buffer along US 27. She noted that the site was posted, as shown in the photograph. Ms. Farrell stated that staff was recommending approval of the request. She stated that, in terms of points, it accumulated a density of 5.5, and the requested density is 3.5 units per acre, and it meets the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) in the Comprehensive Plan.
Staff submitted three photographs, which were marked and entered as Exhibit A-C (composite).
Commr. Gerber stated that she would have to abstain from voting in the case of Holly Hill Fruit Products and Greater Construction, because it inures to her personal benefit. She stated that her husband has worked with the businesses, and she will not be voting on this case. At this time, she filed a Conflict of Interest Form with the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney representing the applicants, addressed the Board and stated that the property was rezoned, after the Comprehensive Plan was adopted, to R-4 on 190 acres. He stated that straight zoning does not require any open space, and they entered into a Developer's Agreement, as part of that rezoning, which requires them to set aside 10% open space. It provided them with the option of having the Board approve a MSBU or a MSTU, and it provided basically for the utilization of the property through the PUD with short terms rentals. Mr. Richey stated that, with the PUD, they will be increasing the open space to a minimum of 25%, and they will be reducing the density from four dwelling units per acre to 3.5. It will also provide for the villages and open space and play areas, which are all part of a PUD. Mr. Richey noted that Mr. Bob Mandell, Greater Construction Corporation and Mr. Bill Kercher were present.
Mr. Richey called Mr. Bill Kercher to discuss the Master Development Plan, and he asked that the Board acknowledge him as an expert in planning and land use.
Mr. Kercher noted that there would be five villages, where the residential is being proposed, and the phasing will be done, as shown on the Master Development Plan. Along the frontage will be the existing orange grove, about 18 acres, which will be maintained as an active grove as an amenity for the residents. Mr. Kercher noted that there would be two internal groves for the same purpose. The community park will be an active recreation area (about 8.2 acres), and it will be built in the first phase. There will also be two tot lots, one to the north and one to the south. The property has been evaluated for its wetlands and endangered species, and the gopher tortoises will be relocated through the appropriate channels. Mr. Kercher addressed the discussion that was held at the Planning and Zoning Commission, in regards to the access to US 27, and they will be meeting the spacing requirements as approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). They asked for a couple of variances and those are to accommodate the internal neighborhood streets (reducing them from 200 feet to 75 feet) within the villages. The property will be developed to have short term rentals.
Mr. Richey explained that they include in their sales contract, and in their restricted covenants, the information about the short term rentals.
Mr. Kercher was not aware of any conflict between the short term rentals and the residents, and this was most likely due to the advanced notification. He further noted that the traffic anlaysis was based on the project being 100% single family residential, and it did not take into account any short term rentals, as requested by staff. Mr. Kercher explained that they do anticipate 50% of this project, from time to time, to be short term rental.
Mr. Richey explained the location of the property, in relation to South Lake and Sawgrass and other development taking place in the area, and he explained that the wording in the agreement says that the County has the option, when they come back through the platting process, to allow them to do a MSBU, but it is not required. He noted that they have done that in all of their other projects.
Mr. Minkoff interjected that this is one of the issues that may be discussed at the Board Retreat, and staff was thinking that the County would not be involved in MSTUs or MSBUs, but there would be homeowner associations, which would be assessed to provide this, but that will be a Board decision that will be made at the Retreat.
Commr. Swartz referred to page 4 of the proposed Ordinance, K. Conservation and Protection of Significant Natural Resources, and questioned whether whatever is set up will provide the funding that will be necessary for that other open space dedicated to Lake County as well.
Mr. Richey stated that they have no problem providing the information to the County Attorney pertaining to the deed restrictions for review.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that the County would have the right to go in and maintain the conservation or drainage areas, if it wanted to, but it would put the obligation on the homeowners' association.
Commr. Swartz stated that he wanted clarification that, if there were some open spaces dedicated to Lake County or Water Authority, there would be sufficient means to do whatever would be necessary to maintain them.
Mr. Walter Mathews addressed the Board and stated that he was representing Bill and Bob Battaglia. Mr. Mathews explained that Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, was not able to appear at this time, so he would be making comments for the record. He stated that, when she addressed the Planning and Zoning Commission, she had some opposition with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the US 27 corridor plan. It was recommended that the owners get together to discuss the issue, because the plan to be implemented would cause his clients to lose immediate access. A meeting was held about a week ago with FDOT, Greater Construction and his clients, and it was decided that his clients were going to apply for a permit for a directional onto US 27, which will allow traffic from the north to turn left onto their property, and for right now, they can still have trucks enter from the north end of their property, because they have an easement over someone elses property. He wanted it on the record that the parties are working on this issue.
The proposed Master Development Plan was submitted to the Deputy Clerk and marked and entered as Exhibit A - A.
There being no further comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case #24-99-2, Greater Constsruction Corp./Holly Hill Fruit Products Co. Inc., a request for rezoning from R-4 (Medium Residential Density) to PUD (Plnned Unit Development) for construction of single family residential development to include short term rentals; and a variance to subregulations "Appendix A" to allow a 75 foot pavement radius for local streets, instead of the required 200 foot pavement radius, Tracking #39-99-PUD, Ordinance 1999-64.
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that the Public Works Department will be holding an Open House on Thursday, May 27, 1999, from 4 to 7 p.m., with the public being invited. There will be a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. and refreshments.
Commr. Cadwell noted that action needed to be taken on the item he had placed on the agenda at the beginning of today's meeting regarding an appointment to a Rails to Trails Advisory Committee. He was recommending that Commr. Pool serve in this capacity, because Commr. Pool has served on the Van Fleet Trail Board, it ties into Parks and Recreation, and it is in his district.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment of Commr. Pool to serve as the liaison on the State Trail Unit Management Plan Advisory Committee.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board placed on the agenda the appointment for a liaison to the Central Florida Jobs and Education Partnership, Wages Coalition.
On a motion by Commr. Swartz, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment of Commr. Cadwell to serve as the liaison with the Central Florida Jobs and Education Partnership, Wages Coalition.
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, reported that the on-site sign ordinance, as well as the off-site sign ordinance, were readvertised, which will result in both of them being heard on June 1, 1999 and June 15, 1999.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:35 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 2 p.m. At that time, the Board will hear the rezoning public hearing for Florida Rock Industries.
REZONING AND ROAD VACATION PUBLIC HEARING
CASE MSP#99/3/1-5 - MINING SITE PLAN IN A - FLORIDA ROCK INDUSTRIES - MARION SAND PLANT - RONALD MOSS & MEI MOSS - TRACKING #21-99-MSP
PETITION NO. 893 - RONALD & MEI MOSS - UMATILLA AREA
Commr. Cadwell called the meeting to order and noted that the Board had tabled a road vacation from this morning, Petition No. 893 by Ronald and Mei Moss, and he would like staff to make both presentations, and then the Board will start the public hearing process.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, stated that this request involves about 244 acres currently zoned agriculture, and Florida Rock Industries is requesting permission to mine the parcel. Ms. Farrell stated that her Water Quality staff and Planning staff reviewed the request with the current Mining Ordinance and have recommended approval subject to conditions found in the backup in the proposed Ordinance. At the time the staff report was put together, staff had received 18 letters of opposition. Since that time, many more have been received, as well as a petition with 249 signatures. Ms. Farrell showed a four minute video of the expansion site and surrounding area, and she presented 27 photographs depicting the area shown in the video.
The following items were submitted by staff to the Deputy Clerk who marked and entered them into the record as follows: Exhibit A-C - video; Exhibit B-C - 27 photographs (composite); Exhibit C-C - petition with 249 signatures (15 pages); and Exhibit D-C - three letters (Ernie Brewbaker, Kerry & Mary Rose, and Michael Murphy & Cathryn McNeely).
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director, Public Works, presented to the Board Petition No. 893 by Ronald and Mei Moss, to vacate platted lots, rights-of-way, and roadway, Sec. 5, Twp. 18S, Rge. 26E, Umatilla Area - Commissioner District 5. Mr. Stivender stated that the existing road, Umatilla Road, is on the east boundary within the right-of-way. He stated that Rigdon Road is on the north side, and they are going to vacate all of the lots in this area, which staff is supporting, and also the old platted easements in the areas where there is no County road. He explained that there has been a continuous drainage and erosion problem on Umatilla Road, and staff has always wanted to stabilize it, or pave it, or eliminate it, and use Rigdon Road to eliminate the erosion problem. Mr. Stivender stated that this is a maintenance concern of staff, and he wanted to bring it to the Board's attention.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the applicants will make a presentation and call anyone they would like to testify, and two attorneys that have requested Notice of Appearance will be given an opportunity to speak. Then any citizen, at that point, will be able to speak.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney with Akerman, Senterfitt and Eidson, addressed the Board and stated that she was here on behalf of Florida Rock Industries. Ms. Bonifay stated that there had been discussion about taking up the rezoning and the road vacation in tandem, and she would like to request that the Board move forward on the rezoning, as that is a quasi-judicial hearing and conclude all testimony, with regard to that, and then open the road vacation. If the Board allows the cases to be heard together, she would request that the Board allow it to be done as a quasi-judicial proceeding. Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like to have her witnesses sworn in.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the rules provide that witnesses that are presented by any of the parties, which are now three, be sworn, but the rules provide that members of the public who are generally allowed to speak after the presentation need not be sworn, even if requested. Mr. Minkoff stated that it would be Ms. Bonifay's, Mr. Swigert's, and Ms. Campione's witnesses that would be sworn. The others would not have to be sworn, and they are also not subject to cross-examination. Mr. Minkoff stated that, when the general public speaks, they can be requested to answer questions, and the Chair can decide whether or not they need to answer those questions.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like to note an objection, if that is the procedure that the Board is going to follow today, and an ongoing objection for the record that it is violative
of Case Law, Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County v. Snyder, 627 So. 2d 469, 424 (Fla. 1993), and Jennings v. Dade County, 589 So.2d 1337, 1340 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991), which hold quite clearly that, if it is a quasi-judicial proceeding, that they have the right for those witnesses to testify under oath, as well as the right of cross-examination. She also pointed out that County Ordinance 1998-89 shows where a portion of Florida Statute 286.0115(2)(b) was extracted, which was just stated by Mr. Minkoff, however, this Board did not follow the proceedings of Florida Statute 286.0115 and adopt an Ordinance just pursuant to that. What the Board did was use the old Ordinance that clearly prohibits ex-parte communication, allows testimony under oath, and cross-examination. Ms. Bonifay stated that the Board extracted this one position out of the Florida Statute and interjected it into the middle of the Ordinance. She stated that the Board has required a higher standard for those people who file a Notice of Appearance than anyone who walks in off the street. Not allowing them to be cross-examined means that she does not feel the Board can really access the weight of the evidence, because there is no opportunity for any allegations that are made here today, whether they be based on any fact, or fiction, to be challenged by the party in interest, which is the applicant. Secondly, Ms. Bonifay asked that, for the record, since Mr. Swigert has filed a Notice of Appearance, and Ms. Campione has never provided names of those she is representing, and so that she can determine who is subject to cross-examination, they indicate on the record who their clients are today. Ms. Bonifay stated that Ms. Campione failed to file a Notice of Appearance; however, she has filed other correspondence and contacted her, so she clearly has notice, so she will waive that objection to her not following the rule.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, for the record, Florida Rock is the applicant in this case, and she would like to ask some questions of Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, who has presented the staff report.
Ms. Farrell testified that she has been Senior Director of the Department of Growth Management for three years. She stated that it was other members of her staff who prepared the staff report, and she reviews staff reports before they are forwarded to the Board. She stated that she did a cursory review of this particular staff report. Ms. Farrell stated that mining is allowed in the rural land use category, and this is the only category where it is allowed in Lake County. She stated that residential units are also allowed in rural at 1 unit per 5 acres density, which is the lowest density for residential outside of the Green Swamp. She stated that the densities in this area are 1 to 5, and she did not do any analysis of the site to determine whether they were any lower. Ms. Farrell explained that the Green Swamp is an area of critical state concern. In areas outside of the Wekiva and Green Swamp, the densities and intensities are lower in certain categories. Ms. Farrell stated that sand mining is allowed in the Green Swamp under some limitations. She explained the process in Lake County that one must go through to obtain approval to either site a new mine, or expand an existing mine, and stated that technical issues would be presented and questions would be asked of the applicant at the Development Review, with the first determination being made as to whether staff has enough information. She testified that staff reviews the application for mining to determine whether it is consistent with the policies in the Comprehensive Plan, and areas of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) that are tied to the Mining Ordinance. She noted that mining has its own set of LDRs that also must be followed, and they are moderately extensive. Ms. Farrell explained that the Water Resources staff would limit themselves to hydrologic issues, and the Planning staff would look at consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and compatibility with the surrounding area. Staff found it to be consistent and compatible with the Comprehensive Plan and compatible with the surrounding area, and there would be no adverse effect upon nearby property. Ms. Farrell testified that the Water Resources staff made the determination and finding that there would be no potential impacts to the surficial and Floridan aquifer, and staff felt that this met all of the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs to recommend approval of the request.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Allen Hewitt to present testimony.
Mr. Allen Hewitt, Water Resource Manager, testified that he has been working in this area for approximately seven years, with his primary responsibilities being in the area of water resources, water quality, mining, and waste water. Mr. Hewitt testified that he has reviewed approximately 42 mines on an annual basis, and there are approximately 42 to 44 mines currently operating in Lake County. Mr. Hewitt explained his review process, when looking at the application before the Board, and stated that, based on the information submitted to staff, there was no impact to the groundwater or adjacent surficial water bodies, or the adjacent groundwater. He stated that, in his professional opinion, the Florida Rock application met the criteria of the County's Comprehensive Plan and LDRs as it relates to mining. He further stated that staff recommended approval with conditions. Mr. Hewitt stated that high recharge, in most cases, is anywhere between 12 inches or more, based upon the high recharge map that staff is using, which is the latest one from St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). He stated that the Comprehensive Plan contains a map, but it is not consistent with the SJRWMD map, so the recharge numbers do not match. Mr. Hewitt noted that staff applied both maps to this application, and based upon the hydrogeologic report submitted by the professional geologists, there would not be an impact on recharge.
Ms. Bonifay stated that this would be all of the staff that she would be calling at this time, and she would reserve calling those staff members dealing with the road vacation until after they have finished the zoning case.
Ms. Bonifay pointed out a Memorandum of Law dated May 12, 1999, which was filed with the Board, which deals with the determination made by the Planning and Zoning Commission, in terms of their decision to deny the request. She stated that a motion was made to deny, however, there was no competent substantial evidence presented at the Planning and Zoning Commission to support that decision. She feels they have shown in this Memorandum that the comments made by one Commissioner, at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, did not rise to the level of competent substantial evidence, which is the standard that must be applied. Furthermore, citing the case of Conetta v. City of Sarasota, 400 So. 2d 1051, 1052 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981), a City Commission improperly relied upon a City Planning Board decision, which was not supported by competent substantial evidence, and their position was overturned. Ms. Bonifay stated that it was their position that, in its considerations today, since those minutes have been made a part of the Board's record, it does not rise to the level of competent substantial evidence and should therefore be given little or no weight by the Board.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, as far as witnesses, she will provide a resume for each as part of the record. She stated that she can run through their credentials, or after hearing an overview, the Board can accept them as experts in their respective fields.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it would be acceptable for Ms. Bonifay to submit their resumes.
Ms. Bonifay submitted six (6) resumes to the Deputy Clerk, which were marked and entered as follows: Exhibit A-A - Resume - J. Michael O'Berry; Exhibit B-A - Resume - Stephen R. Adams; Exhibit C-A - Resume - Robert A. Kirkner; Exhibit D-A - Resume - Stephen J. Albright, Jr.; Exhibit E-A - Resume - Greg A. Beliveau, AICP; and Exhibit F-A - Resume - Donald A. Griffey.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Michael O'Berry to present testimony.
Mr. Michael O'Berry, Manager of Environmental Permitting Services, Florida Rock Industries, addressed the Board and stated that, in his current capacity, he is responsible for permitting and environmental matters relating to Florida Rock's mines and operations in the State of Florida. Mr. O'Berry provided the Board with some site history, and an overview as to the existing mine and the proposed expansion area, and he provided, in more detail, a basic overview of the mining operation. He stated that the proposed expansion area consists of approximately 244 acres of which approximately 150 acres are proposed to be mined over a period of approximately 14 years. This equates to approximately 60% of the property being mined, with 40% remaining as buffer and undisturbed areas. He stated that it should be noted that this is in excess of a typical commercial PUD and other development scenarios. Mr. O'Berry explained that the processing plant is located in Marion County, and the additional water needed to wash the sand is supplied by an onsite production well. The well is permitted to supply 1.03 million gallons a day, based on an annual allocation of 375 million gallons. The water used in transporting, washing and sorting the sand is pumped from the processing plant to a previously excavated portion of the mine. The clarified water is then returned to the dredged lake. There are no chemicals used in the processing of the sand. Mr. O'Berry stated that he has a short video presentation dated May, 1999, of the Marion Sand Plant and surrounding areas to document the character of the site and adjacent properties. Before he showed the video, Mr. O'Berry clarified that the sand plant will remain in the same location in Marion County, so there will be no movement of a sand plant into Lake County. He explained, in detail, how the dredging process would take place. He also explained that the current truck traffic will continue to use the same route, and none of those trucks will be entering or exiting the expansion site in Lake County.
During the video, Mr. O'Berry pointed out the entrance to the Marion Sand Plant on SR
42; the first phase of reclamation area; the intersection of roads; the Moss property; the area planned for berms and buffers; the location of the dredge lake; and the location of surrounding properties. He also noted that there was not a lot of sound from the operation and he went on to explain that, at one time, the residents complained that they did not like the berm that was located behind the pine trees, so they were removed and graded down. He further noted that Mr. Moss will continue his own personal business on the property.
The following items were submitted to the Deputy Clerk, which were marked and entered as follows: Exhibit G-A - Florida Rock Industries, Inc. - Marion Sand Plant; Exhibit H-A - Video - Florida Rock/Marion Sand Plant.
Ms. Bonifay noted that she would be calling Mr. O'Berry back before the Board at the end of the presentation to provide additional information.
Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney, stated that typically the representatives cross-examine their witnesses as they present their testimony, and she questioned whether this was going to be allowed today.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that this would be allowed at this time.
Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney, stated that she represents a number of individuals that own property adjacent to the proposed mining site. She submitted a list of the individuals to the Deputy Clerk, and it was marked and entered as Exhibit A-O - Client List. At this time, she proceeded to cross-examine Mr. O'Berry.
Mr. O'Berry testified that that the mining began at the Marion Sand Plant in June, 1981, and in May, they had begun site preparation. He clarified that part of the site comes under the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Mine Reclamation, which is the southern portion of the site. He stated that Mine Reclamation Standards went into effect January 1, 1989, and that portion is under those requirements pursuant to Chapter 62(c)39 of the Florida Administrative Code. They also have to abide by some competing requirements of the SJRWMD, which involve more stringent sloping criteria.
Ms. Campione questioned whether Mr. O'Berry would agree that, under those provisions cited in the Administrative Code, the reclamation required by DEP only applies to those areas he is actively mining after 1989.
Mr. O'Berry clarified that those areas are the only ones that are required to be reclaimed to State standards. He testified that Ms. Campione was basically correct when she says that there is nothing that requires him to reclaim those areas that were being mined between 1980 to January 1, 1989, unless there is a competing requirement He stated that they have a management store-to-surface waters permit that was issued on the site, which was issued pursuant to SJRWMD regulations, but it was issued by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He testified that those regulations would not require any reclamation of the areas mined prior to 1989. Mr. O'Berry explained that Florida Rock has separate plans for post mine utilization of that site, but that is a different issue entirely.
Ms. Campione stated that those plans would be rules and regulations that Florida Rock makes as a company to implement depending on its plans for the use of the property.
Ms. Campione continued her cross-examination by asking Mr. O'Berry to explain the procedure that will be used to place the pipe under Rigdon Road to start moving the sand.
Mr. O'Berry explained the procedure to be used to move the road and stated that they would not vacate the road, but it would be coordinated with the County as to the requirements for the temporary relocation of the road. He stated that he came to work for Florida Rock in 1988 as the Environmental Permitting Coordinator, so he has been involved with the Marion Sand Plant since that time.
Ms. Campione asked whether Mr. O'Berry was aware of any complaints about the site.
Mr. O'Berry stated that he did not recall a direct written complaint within that time period, but he did hear some rumor type accusations circulating in the local neighborhood. He explained that the slope, as shown, will remain, unless it does not meet the 4 to 1 requirement of the management store-to-surface waters permit, and they will determine whether or not the slope is adequate, and if not, they will re-slope as necessary. It will have to be revegetated and trees will have to be planted in groupings.
Ms. Campione stated that she noticed in the Ordinance that there are no tree planting requirements for this property
Mr. O'Berry stated that this was not correct, and this issue will be addressed later by Mr. Adams. In regard to the requirements for setbacks, Mr. O'Berry explained that they will be doing a 100 foot buffer, as required by the LDRs, but they are also planting and proposing to put a berm behind it and grass the berm. He stated that they will probably plant it with red top in the front to provide a better cover, and pine behind that, and whatever else this Board decides to impose upon them, and they will also entertain other things that the residents may desire.
Ms. Campione stated that, as a point of order, she was of the understanding that the Board was discussing the road vacation along with the mining site plan.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this was the order that had been discussed, but he suggested that the discussion remain on the rezoning.
Ms. Campione stated that she had noticed in the video that Mr. O'Berry made a comment about the road condition, so she thought that opened the door, as far as his testimony goes. She would like to have the opportunity, if she is not given it at this point, to reserve that right to ask him questions about that specific issue.
Mr. Brett Swigert, Attorney representing Ms. Joy Dunigan, appeared before the Board to cross-examine Mr. O'Berry. He asked him about the pumps that will pump the sand from Lake County to Marion County.
Mr. O'Berry described the pumps and stated that they are not diesel pumps. He stated that the dredge pumps at a rate of about 5,000 to 6,000 gallons per minute, so each of the booster pumps would have to be sized to stay up with that rate of flow. He described the equipment that would be used to mine the property and stated that they will use front end loaders, and typically there will be only one there at any given time.
Mr. Swigert presented Mr. O'Berry with two photographs and asked him to identify them.
Mr. O'Berry explained that one of the photographs was the berm that used to be along Rigdon Road that was removed, and the other photograph appeared to be the same thing except from another angle. As stated earlier, they will plant the buffer, berm behind the buffer, and establish the berm in such a manner so that it can be grassed and maintained. He noted, once again, that they have to meet the criteria of Chapter 62(c)39 of the Administrative Code, which has the very basic minimum criteria. There are other competing criteria, as he mentioned earlier, such as the management store-to-surface waters permit; stabilizing the slopes through planning; planting a minimum number of trees; but the planting and ultimate site reclamation is also dependent upon the post reclamation land use, to be determined at the closure of the mine. However, Lake County has more stringent criteria than the State requirements, or the requirements of the management store-to-surface waters, which are now the environmental resource permit requirements.
Mr. Swigert noted that, in the video, Exhibit H-A, he noticed that Mr. O'Berry did not show any of the contiguous property owners on Cat Briar Lane.
Mr. O'Berry explained that those property owners were immediately adjacent to where he was standing.
Mr. Swigert submitted two photographs to the Deputy Clerk, which were marked and entered as Exhibit B-O.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Allen Hewitt for cross-examination and questioned his earlier testimony about there being no impacts from the mining operations on the surface water.
Mr. Hewitt stated that he determined that there would be no impacts from the mining operations on the surface water by reviewing the information the applicant provided. He stated that, based on all of the information that they were provided, and after looking at all of the data in the report, staff felt that there was no impact on either the adjacent properties, or the groundwater surficial waters.
Ms. Campione asked Mr. Hewitt if he or his staff noticed, when they reviewed the information provided by Florida Rock experts, that there were no soil borings taken from the area where the lake is being proposed.
Mr. Hewitt explained that there were cross sections provided all the way through and soil borings throughout the area that would give them the lithology from the surface to where they were going to mine and determine the top of the confining unit. Staff did require cross sections, both east and west, and north and south, also to tie in the northern mine with the proposed southern expansion.
Ms. Campione asked Mr. Hewitt if he was aware that Policy 7.2-2 of the Comprehensive Plan that states high recharge is ten inches.
Mr. Hewitt stated that staff is using both maps to make their determination, and the recharge was greater than ten inches when they used the Comprehensive Plan map.
Ms. Campione asked Mr. Hewitt if he was aware of a policy in the Comprehensive Plan, and in the data analysis to the Conservation Element, which states that he is to use the most recent data, and if he anticipates more recent maps being provided by St. Johns, he is to use them.
Mr. Hewitt stated that staff uses the most recent maps, and the latest maps from St. Johns say that they are not site specific, and each site has to be determined on its own merit. He feels that the information they provided to staff gave them enough information to determine whether this was a high recharge area, but based on the hydrogeologic studies and the information available, staff concluded that there was no impact to the area. Mr. Hewitt noted that staff did not check the evaporation losses from the 45 acre lake area that is being created, and he did not recall whether they provided information about evaporation losses. He stated that, based on the information provided, staff determined that there would be no draw down effect on off-site or on-site wetlands, and he noted that there was no modeling done on the issue of whether there would be wetland impacts, or draw down on those wetland systems at this site.
Ms. Bonifay stated that Mr. Hewitt had testified earlier that this application met all of the criteria of the mining LDRs, and she questioned the issue of modeling.
Mr. Hewitt stated that no modeling of wetland impacts are required by Lake County. He stated that Lake County does have several maps, which deal with the issue of recharge, and the maps are not consistent. Mr. Hewitt stated that the maps produced by the SJRWMD, which deal with recharge, contain a disclaimer that they are not to be used for site specific analysis, but in fact are general maps of the area.
Commr. Swartz stated that Ms. Campione is correct that there is a policy that says ten inches, and a map that says ten or more, and he questioned Mr. Hewitt, based on all of the information that he has now, if he believes that this is a high recharge area.
Mr. Hewitt stated that, based upon his professional opinion, and after looking at the two maps, he would consider this to be a relatively high recharge area.
Commr. Swartz referred to Page 12, in the back of the Mining Site Plan Application (MSP) for the Marion Sand Plant Expansion, regarding the vertical hydraulic conductivity, and questioned Mr. Hewitt whether this is terribly reassuring, in terms of trying to decide what the conductivity is at the site.
Mr. Hewitt stated that, looking at the overall picture, and based upon the historical data provided for review, staff felt it was consistent enough to make a decision that there was probably not going to be any impact whatsoever on the Floridan aquifer.
Commr. Swartz pointed out that, on Page 12 of the report, it says that it is highly variable, and it could be good conductivity, or poor. He stated that later on in the report, they say that it probably has some of both extremes and in between.
Mr. Hewitt stated that it depends on the hydraulic conductivity between the surficial and the Floridan aquifer, and each site is going to be site specific.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Stephen R. Adams to testify. She stated that she would like proffer him as an expert in the area of environmental analysis. It was noted that his resume had previously been submitted and marked as Exhibit B-A.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a composite exhibit that Mr. Adams would be referring to while presenting testimony, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as follows: Exhibit I-A - Exhibit A - General Location Map; Exhibit J-A - Exhibit B - 1998 Aerial Photograph; Exhibit K-A - Exhibit C - Land Use Map; Exhibit L-A - Exhibit D - Topographic Map; Exhibit M-A - Exhibit E - Soils Map; N-A - Exhibit F - Flood/Wetland Map; Exhibit O-A - Exhibit G - Hydrology Monitoring Plan & Traffic Schematic; Exhibit P-A - Exhibit H - Mine Progression Plan; Q-A - (3 items) Exhibit I-1 - Reclamation, Exhibit I-2 - Reclamation Plan Cross-Section, and Conceptual Reclamation Plan View; and Exhibit R-A - Florida Atlas of Breeding Sites for Herons and Their Allies - Update 1986-89 - Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.. Ms. Bonifay stated that these items will go along with the items that were provided in the notebook containing the MSP Application that was filed by Florida Rock and presented to the Board ahead of time. She asked that this full application be moved into the record.
Mr. Stephen R. Adams, LPG Environmental & Permitting Services, Inc. (LPGEPS), presented an overview of his educational qualifications and informed the Board that he has over 20 years experience in environmental analysis, both with government agencies as well as private consulting. Mr. Adams stated that he has conducted analysis on a variety of mines, and they have been done throughout the State of Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. He stated that his firm was tasked as the lead consultant in preparing the MSP document, pursuant to Chapter 6.06.03. In that area, there are 19 questions that are required to be answered as part of the MSP application.
Mr. Adams provided detailed testimony regarding Exhibits I-A through Q-A, noting the site location and the land use types on the site. He stated that approximately 60% of the site is pasture of some sort whether improved or unimproved, and about 24.9 acres are wetlands, open water bodies, and other jurisdictional areas that would meet wetland criteria, whether it be SJRWMD, or in this case, since they do their permitting through the DEP, it would be that agency's criteria, as well as US Army Corp of Engineers criteria. He stated that, as part of the field review, they looked at habitat and occurrence of protected and threatened species. He noted that no mining of any wetlands for this particular tract is proposed. Mr. Adams discussed the topographic features of the site and noted the flood prone areas that were determined from the FEMA Firm Flood Maps. Mr. Adams stated that, as part of the expansion, a hydrological monitoring program will be put into place in the expansion area. It will go along with the existing hydrological monitoring program that has been in place since 1980-81 in the current Marion County sand mine. The plant site will remain in Marion County, and all truck traffic will access SR 42, and based on current counts that Florida Rock has taken, approximately 130 trucks per day will leave this site (260 trips); 92% head east and 8% head west on SR 42. Mr. Adams explained that the MSP calls for a 14 year mine life approximately mining 10 to 11 acres per year starting in the northwest corner and then moving south and then east. There is no mining of wetlands in this particular proposal, and there is no mining southwest of CR 450. There will be a 100 foot buffer with screening, in terms of a vegetative berm, and there will be shrubs and trees behind that berm. There is a 25 foot buffer for wetland areas, however, those wetland areas will be monitored from the very beginning. Mr. Adams stated that 150 acres will be mined and reclamation is to be returned to a classic land lakes format, which he explained at this time. He explained that the 46.3 acre lake area will be reclaimed, of which 15 acres will be reclaimed as wetlands. Elevation within the reclaimed lake is estimated to be at seasonal high water of 58 feet; seasonal low water of 53 feet. The slopes will be six to one from seasonal high water to six feet below seasonal low water, and the lake open water depths range from 10 to 40 feet. Mr. Adams testified that, based on his familiarity with the Comprehensive Plan and the LDRs, in his professional opinion, this application is consistent with both. He explained that operating permits dictate the type of phasing in terms of reclamation, which takes into consideration this Board's comments and concerns and recommendations.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 3:40 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 4 p.m.
CASE MSP#99/3/1-5 - MINING SITE PLAN IN A - FLORIDA ROCK INDUSTRIES - MARION SAND PLANT - RONALD MOSS & MEI MOSS - TRACKING #21-99-MSP - PETITION NO. 893 - RONALD & MEI MOSS - UMATILLA AREA
Ms. Campione began her cross-examination of Mr. Adams
Mr. Adams testified that there are three wetland areas on the site, and an adjoining wetland area to the east that is off-site. He further testified that, to say that a wetland can be decreased one to two feet does not really mean a lot in terms of the ecology of that particular system, because those systems can experience differential ranges four to five feet without any influence other than climatic factors. Mr. Adams explained that there is the potential of a draw down of one to two feet, however, based on the historic evidence of other sand mines in the area, particularly Lake Sand, where there was a comprehensive study done, the applicant was mining closer than that and having absolutely no impact in terms of subsurface drainage of a wetland. He discussed, in length, the monitoring requirements and stated that he was familiar with the Water Authority's acquisition of an area called Sawgrass Preserve. He testified that there would be no impact from this operation on the preserve, and there was no need to look at this area, because there would be no impacts.
Ms. Campione addressed LDR Section 6.07.02, that requires all development proposals within 1,000 feet of a natural reservation to be evaluated for potential impacts to the reservation relating to hydrology, water quality, air quality, ambient noise level, wildlife populations, natural eco-systems, and aesthetics, and questioned Mr. Adams whether Sawgrass Preserve was given any special attention.
Mr. Adams stated that, because of the way the mining operation is set up, there would be no impacts on Sawgrass Preserve.
Ms. Campione questioned whether Mr. Adams looked at the potential nesting of the sand hill crane in the Sawgrass Preserve.
Mr. Adams stated that they did observe the sand hill crane on the site feeding in the pasture areas, and they did not observe any nesting on the site itself, even though it is common knowledge that they nest in Sawgrass Preserve.
Ms. Campione questioned whether, in regards to the grade of the slope along CR 450, it would be possible to grade it in such a way that there is a gradual slope between CR 450 and the lake, as opposed to a three to one slope.
Mr. Adams stated that they could certainly make it a five to one slope, which would be a little flatter than the four to one slope shown in the video, Exhibit H-A.
Mr. Swigert cross-examined Mr. Adams and questioned whether his testimony earlier had been that there was a possibility that the wetlands could be effected by the operation.
Mr. Adams clarified that, in response to Ms. Campione's question about whether there was a two foot permanent draw down in that wetland and whether that would be an impact, he had responded that, yes, that is a potential. He explained that, if there was an impact caused by the operation, there would be several ways to mitigate it, which he explained in detail. He stated that it would be Florida Rock's responsibility to monitor those wetlands, which is part of their DEP permit conditions, as well as the Countys, in terms of their operating permit, and they would have to submit all of that data.
Ms. Bonifay stated that earlier there were questions about the reclamation.
Mr. Adams stated that Florida Rock has been involved in other mine sites in Lake County. He stated that, in the Lake Sand Mine, in the south part of the County off of SR 474, reclamation has occurred in the first unit of the first mine application that was done a number of years ago, and that lake has been reclaimed.
Ms. Bonifay submitted six photographs of the lake at Lake Sand, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit S-A (composite).
Mr. Adams stated, for the record, the photographs, Exhibit S-A, are a depiction of an area that has been reclaimed.
Commr. Cadwell questioned what the life span was on the Lake Sand Mine.
Mr. O'Berry noted, for the record, that, in regards to the Lake Sand Mine, it started in 1977. He explained that the dredging operation was moved from that location (Lake Sand Plant I) in the 1988-89 time frame, to what is now known as Lake Sand Plant II.
Mr. Adams stated that the Lake Sand Plant is located off of SR 474, which is on the west side of US 27, and it is located in an area of Critical State Concern.
Ms. Campione asked Mr. Adams if he would not agree that the watertable in that area is much higher than the watertable in the area that they were dealing with today.
Mr. Adams stated that he did not have any knowledge of what those elevation differences would be, so he could not form an opinion.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Robert A. Kirkner to present testimony. It was noted that his resume had previously been submitted and marked as Exhibit C-A.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a composite exhibit that Mr.Kirkner would be referring to while presenting testimony, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as follows: Exhibit T-A - Regional Aerial View; Exhibit U-A - Marion Sand Mine Water Quanity/Quality Regulation; V-A - Figure 3. Groundwater Flow Contours; Exhibit W-A - Graph depicting land surface/water table/surficial aquifer/confining unit/floridan aquifer; Exhibit X-A - Graph - recharge area; Exhibit Y-A - St. Johns River Water Management District - Technical Publication SJ93-5; Exhibit Z-A - Scatter diagram - Water Table Elevation/Land Surface Elevation; Exhibit A1-A - Site Specific Recharge Rate Calculation; Exhibit B1-A - Map7-40 - Groundwater Resource Availability - Conservation Element; Exhibit C1-A - Marion Sand Water Budget Schematic; D1-A - Comparison of Marion Sand Mine Lake Levels and Precipitation 1981-1998; E1-A - Relative Magnitude of Local Groundwater Level Impacts; Exhibit F1-A - Aerial map - before any mining; Exhibit G1-A - Aerial Photograph Comparison - North Lake Area, Lake County, Florida; H1-A - Comparison of Nicotoon Lake Levels and Precipitation, 1986-1998; and Exhibit I1-A - Elevation, In Feet Above MSL.
Mr. Robert A. Kirkner stated that he is President of Water and Earth Sciences, a registered professional geologist in the State of Florida, and he has 22 years of experience in Florida. He stated that, when they undertook the analysis for Florida Rock, he followed the requirements of Section 16 of the LDRs, which focuses on geology, groundwater and surface water impacts surrounding sand mines. They also looked at requirements relative to the DEP and the SJRWMD, in terms of potential quality and quantity impacts. Mr. Kirkner testified that a hydrogeologic report has to be certified and furnished by a registered geologist, and he did such for Florida Rock. Mr. Kirkner reviewed Chapter 16, Sections A through J, and discussed, in detail, Exhibits T-A through I1-A, as noted. He testified that Florida Rock is exempt from the monitoring only because the water quality is of such a nature that it does not require it, but Lake County may have additional monitoring requirements of its own. Mr. Kirkner referred to Exhibit W-A, which shows a relationship of the different aquifers at the site, and the confining unit and stated that the upper most unit is the surficial aquifer system, and it has what is called the watertable within it. There is a different groundwater level within the Floridan aquifer, and it is not necessarily the same as the Floridan. He stated that he was bringing this up, and the Board was going to hear it again, because it is very critical as far as what is happening to surface water and groundwater in the area, and what could happen. There is a difference between the watertable and the level of the groundwater within the Floridan aquifer. He discussed the confining unit and noted that it ranges from 30 to 50 feet at this site. The deep boring that was put in at this site penetrated 30 feet of very dense clay, and it was put in on the western side of the lake that will be created on the property. Mr. Kirkner referred to Exhibit X-A, which identifies recharge areas throughout the SJRWMD, and stated that they were required to use this report, Exhibit Y-A, within their report to initially characterize the recharge rates of the Floridan acquifer in this area. It is a generic report, and it was prepared to give the Board a general idea of what the recharge is in this area. Mr. Kirkner noted that he was informing the Board of what the report says, but the SJRWMD report is incorrect. He further noted, as shown in Exhibit Y-A, that the SJRWMD included the following in its report: "The map is intended to be used as a regional planning aid for groundwater resource management; it is not intended for site-specific assessments." Mr. Kirkner explained that the SJRWMD did a regression analysis of 585 wells throughout the SJRWMD, Exhibit Z-A, and stated that the difference between the elevation of the watertable and the difference of the Floridan is what drives recharge. He stated that, if the SJRWMD went back and recalculated their recharge rate using where the water table actually is at the site, they would come up with a much lower level, and that is why they added the above wording in the report. Mr. Kirkner referred to Exhibit A1-A, the Site Specific Recharge Rate Calculation, and explained, in detail, how they determined a 6.7 inch recharge rate for the site. He noted that Exhibit B1-A shows the map from the Conservation Element of the Comprehensive Plan, which shows the site in a low recharge area. He stated that it is clearly a pressure difference between the water table and Floridan aquifer that drives the recharge. Mr. Kirkner went back and discussed Exhibit V-A and explained that site specifically, the worst case would be one-fourth of what the SJRWMD had predicted for the recharge rate. He stated that they complied with the requirements for testing first by producing a test that had previously been done, which was a long term aquifer test, and a pumping test in the Floridan aquifer that was done at the existing sand mine. He stated that requirement E in Section 16 of the LDRs was to characterize water quality in the surficial aquifer, and they presented the data in the report. He further stated that Section F covers proposed water withdrawal volumes, and they are not proposed to change over what has been taken out of the groundwater for many years. He noted that, in Exhibit C1-A, they are allowed to pump approximately one million gallons a day, and over the long term they have averaged between 500,000 and three-quarters of a million gallons per day, so they have not maxed out what they are allowed to pump. Mr. Kirkner stated that, in terms of consumptive use, this is a very efficient operation, and a large amount of water, 90% or more, that is being pumped, is recharging back into the Floridan aquifer. He presented detailed information about the lakes, Exhibit D1-A, and discussed the predicted Floridan aquifer water level decline of .3 feet at the northern boundary of the expansion area caused by pumping of the Marion Sand Mine production well. Mr. Kirkner stated that the comparison of A and D on the bar chart, Exhibit D1-A, shows that there is over 20 times of the effect on the Floridan aquifer from natural fluctuations versus the pumpage of the Florida Rock well. He continued his testimony by reviewing Exhibit G1-A.
Commr. Swartz asked Mr. Kirkner, from a mining standpoint, if there would be mineable soils immediately east of the site, or whether he was asked to even look at that area, because he was wondering why there was a need to come south into Lake County, when clearly there is a large expanse of land that is immediately to the east of the existing mine.
Mr. Kirkner explained that he was not asked to review that area.
Ms. Campione cross-examined Mr. Kirkner and asked him why the only boring taken near the lake is on the west boundary of where the lake is proposed, as shown in Exhibit V-A.
Mr. Kirkner stated that the boring was put into the confining unit, in accordance with the LDRs. He testified that Exhibit E1-A, the bar graph, was prepared by some site specific and some modeling. The initial modeling that was done is in their report, and it was required by Lake County staff. He noted that Bar D shows the modeling result that was done in 1992 that was required by the SJRWMD in the northern part of the site and provided in the report (Marion Sand Mine). Mr. Kirkner explained the difference between the evaporation rate currently on the site versus the evaporation rate with the 45 acre lake on the property. They did not model the impacts of the proposed lake on the on-site wetlands or the off-site wetlands on this site.
Mr. Swigert asked Mr. Kirkner to explain the model that he used.
Mr. Kirkner stated that he looked at all of the prospect borings that he did in the expansion area, in the Marion Sand Mine, and the lithologic logs that they put down over the site including the deep boring, and he saw quite a bit of similarity in those, so he did not think there would be a lot of scatter in the permeability of material over the site. He further stated that it was not so much the permeability as the specific yield of the porosity of the material, and that is going to be quite a bit tighter over the site than the permeability. He further explained that the recharge rate was going to vary over the site, and it was going to be a function of the head difference between the surficial aquifer and the Floridan aquifer, but it was not going to be five times what was predicted by the SJRWMD report. Mr. Kirkner testified that, it was his professional opinion that there was going to be no adverse impact on the aquifer, in terms of recharge from the Florida Rock application that is the expansion of the sand mine, and there was not going to be any adverse impact on either water quality or water quantity.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Stephen J. Albright, Jr. to present testimony. It was noted that his resume had been previously marked and entered as Exhibit D-A. She noted that he is an appraiser, and he will be testifying as to land values.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a composite exhibit, which was marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as follows: Exhibit J1-A - (3 items) Consultation Assignment, Supplemental Report, and Impact Upon Property Values. She also submitted a picture noted as Jackson Listing, which was marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit K1-A.
Mr. Albright, Albright & Associates, Ocala, presented an overview of his educational background and work experience and stated that he has been in the real estate appraisal for over 25 years. He explained that his objective of assignment was not specifically to appraise a particular property, but to provide some consultation as to some value related issues. The primary objective was to determine the extent, if any, to which properties near the proposed mine would suffer devaluation. His direct analysis involved the study of sales and resales and what has happened to property values around the existing mine. His indirect analysis consisted of going to other areas of Marion County and studying land values, conventional house values, and mobile home values in the vicinity of the mine. Mr. Albright stated that they used a paired sales analysis, which is the sale and resale of the same property. He reviewed the relevant questions to be answered, as noted on Page 3 of Exhibit J1-A, and stated that, after compiling the information on Page 6, Paired Sales - Change in property Values in Vicinity of Existing Mine, it was determined that there are only losses in manufactured housing units. He noted that, on Page 8, he had provided the gains and losses for vacant land, conventional housing, and manufactured housing. Mr. Albright testified that the average annual growth rate showed gains of +13.7% for manufactured housing, and losses of -16.4%. At this time, he reviewed the pictures contained in Exhibit J1-A. He directed the Board's attention to Page 9B, which showed Ms. Carmen Jackson's house, and stated that a letter from Ms. Jackson was read into the record at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, which claimed that Ms. Jackson cannot sell her house because of the mine. Mr. Albright called the broker who explained that the property was listed for $99,900 for five acres, but the problem was more of having to drive by mobile homes to get to the house than anything else. He referred to Exhibit K1-A, which showed the views that Ms. Jackson has to the south and to the east of her property. Mr. Albright continued his testimony by referring to Exhibit J1-A, which showed the trends of property values in competing neighborhoods and near comparable mining operations. He stated that he went into residential subdivisions in other parts of Ocala and Marion County where he could find lot sales, home sales, and manufactured home sales near and not near mines, which were shown on Page 11 of Exhibit J1-A. He reviewed additional information and noted that, on Page 17 of Exhibit J1-A, there was a list of conclusions, as follows:
Near the Existing Mine:
Near the Proposed Mine:
These Same Market Conditions are Likely to Occur at the Location of the Propsoed Expansion Site in Lake County.
Mr. Albright stated that, in his opinion, based on his years of experience and expertise, and the number of evaluations he considered in the various locations, the diminution in value to the residential properties, as a result of the sand mine expansion, will not likely happen.
Commr. Swartz stated that the mine, as indicated in Mr. Albright's report, is not as close in proximity to the residents as the proposed mine would be to the residents in Lake County, so the assumption he made in Number 1, as noted above, would not be correct for the new proposed mining operation, because those homes are already on the ground.
Ms. Campione stated that she did not have the benefit of looking at the report, and she would like to have an opportunity to review Exhibit J1-A.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 6 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.
CASE MSP#99/3/1-5 - MINING SITE PLAN IN A - FLORIDA ROCK INDUSTRIES - MARION SAND PLANT - RONALD MOSS & MEI MOSS - TRACKING #21-99-MSP - PETITION NO. 893 - RONALD & MEI MOSS - UMATILLA AREA
Ms. Campione cross-examined Mr. Albright by asking him questions about his report, Exhibit J1-A.
Mr. Albright testified that the highest resale price was $110,000, Exhibit J1-A, which was paired sale Number 13 (Page 6 - Exhibit A), and there was a mine there before and after the sale. It is located north of SR 42. He explained that he did not evaluate how long any of the homes were on the market before they sold, and he did not do any research as to whether there was any reduction in the listing price, as compared to the price when the property was sold. Mr. Albright testified that he did not research sales in the Lake County area adjacent to the proposed expansion. His report only contained information regarding the influenced area of the existing mine in Marion County. Mr. Albright testified that he did do a site visit to the area where the expansion mine is being proposed.
Ms. Campione presented Mr. Albright with several photographs and asked whether he remembered seeing any of these homes in the area of the proposed expansion.
Mr. Albright testified that he was not sure whether he remembered seeing some of the homes shown in the photographs, but he would agree, from reviewing the pictures, that the value of those homes are somewhat different than the values he reviewed in the Sandy Acres area.
Ms. Campione stated that the area along CR 450 is fairly insulated from the existing mine, and unless you drove down Rigdon Road, you would not see the mine.
Mr. Albright stated that, when he drove down Rigdon Road, he did not see the mine, because there was a berm. He did notice a trend of newer homes being built in that particular vicinity of CR 450, as shown in the pictures.
. Mr. Swigert cross-examined Mr. Albright and asked him if he felt any of the areas he looked at in Marion County would be similar to this location in Lake County.
Mr. Albright testified that Rainbow Park, Ocala Estates, and Ocala Highlands Estates, as noted on Page 11, of Exhibit J1-A, would be pretty similar, and they are located near the Stavola Mine. He clarified that he did no appraisals of any properties in this assignment, and he concluded that there would not be an adverse impact caused by the mine to the residential property values.
Ms. Bonifay questioned whether, in terms of the paired sales, people lived in the noted areas prior to a mine coming in and was there an increase in values.
Mr. Albright stated that there were several instances of paired sales where people bought and built after the mine was located there, and then resold after the mine went into operation. He stated that the subject neighborhood included properties within a one mile perimeter all the way around the existing mine in Marion County, as well as at least five other residential neighborhoods in and around Ocala. He stated that he researched over 1,350 sales.
Ms. Bonifay asked that Ms. Campione enter into the record the photographs which she had presented to Mr. Albright for testimony.
Ms. Campione submitted eight photographs, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit C-O (composite). The photos consisted of homes and property owned by the following: Mr. Mike Mochow; Sharon and Rodney Sayre; Julie and Mike Stone; Linda and Terry Cole; Sharon and Mike Brown; Mr. and Mrs. Redman; Ronald and Margaret Stevenot; and Property of Cathy Warren.
Mr. Albright testified that he did establish a trend in this area, and he did look at upper scaled homes, which were within the range of $75,000 to $125,000, and they showed the lower percentage of increase. He further testified that, in his professional opinion, the mine will not create an adverse impact on surrounding property values.
Commr. Swartz stated that, even though Mr. Albright is indicating that there are hundreds of sales, he is only representing the 13 properties listed on Page 6, of Exhibit J1-A, and the other group that fits into his comparables, which is a very small number. He questioned Mr. Albright whether it would have been more of an appropriate appraisal review to look at homes that are similar to the ones that are near what is being proposed as a mine, to look at the nature of those homes, and find comparables to those in vicinities where other mines have come in after those homes were built, and find out what the sales of those would have been.
Mr. Albright testified that he has no such data.
Ms. Bonifay recalled Mr. O'Berry whose resume had previously been submitted, Exhibit A-A, to address the issue of regulatory oversight and concerns that have been expressed about permitting and whether there has been compliance. She submitted three items that Mr. O'Berry would be discussing, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as follows: Exhibit L1-A - Regulatory Oversight; Exhibit M1-A - Permis/Approvals; and Exhibit N1-A -Annual Report 1998, Florida Rock Industries Inc.
Mr. O'Berry stated that, to re-address an issue that was raised by Commr. Swartz as to why Florida Rock chose to expand to the south, as opposed to any other direction, they chose to expand the direction presented today because that was the property that became available to them, and they own the existing Marion Sand Plant property, and this is a lease situation. He stated that they constantly look at surrounding properties at all of their sites. At this time, Mr. O'Berry reviewed the following issues: regulatory oversight, Florida Rock's operations, permits and other approvals issued to the Marion Sand Plant, safety, noise, economic impact, demand for the product, and the availability of raw material to produce that product.
Due to questions of the Commissioners, clarification was made as to why Mr. O'Berry was testifying again, with Commr. Cadwell directing Ms. Bonifay to proceed.
Mr. O'Berry presented detailed information about regulatory oversight and stated that Florida Rock Industries is regulated by various Federal, State and local government agencies, and he reviewed the permits that have been obtained by Florida Rock Industries. He stated that Florida Rock Industries has been recognized repeatedly for its exceptional safety record, and it will meet or exceed Lake County's limitations on noise the same as any other business operating in this County.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Greg A. Beliveau, AICP, to present testimony. It was noted that his resume had been submitted earlier as Exhibit E-A. She submitted the following exhibits, which were marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk, as follows: Exhibit O1-A - 500 Foot Study Area; P1-A - Project Area; Q1-A - Chart - Existing Land Use Within 500 Feet of Project Boundary; R1-A - Lake County Code (pp. 3372-3373); and S1-A - Comprehensive Plan Policies Dealing with Mining Lake County Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Beliveau presented his educational background and noted that he has over 20 years of work experience in planning, both public and private. Mr. Beliveau testified that he was asked to perform an analysis of the adjacent land use, based on the requirements included in Chapter 14.05.05 of the LDRs, as well as Chapter 6.06. He explained that the site in question has a 500 foot perimeter, Exhibit O1-A, and they considered all of the surrounding properties, Exhibit P1-A, with percentages of land use being shown in Exhibit Q1-A. The densities, if they are computed based on agriculture and residential areas, equals to one unit per 25 acres for the four existing structures, and if expanded to the seven, it would be one unit per 14.4 acres. He stated that, in looking at the land use in the immediate vicinity, they found that there are other pockets of residential outside the 500 feet, but as you expand your study area, the proportions stay pretty close to this percentage. Mr. Beliveau stated that their findings were basically the same as findings by staff, in that they did not find a high preponderance of residential in the area, and that is something that is required by the fact that mines are only allowed in rural areas outside the Wekiva or Green Swamp. He stated that the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs require that mining occur within rural land use categories and agriculture zoning categories. Mr. Beliveau referred to Exhibit R1-A, which reflects the Lake County Code, Chapter 6, the requirements for mining applications for mining site plans, and stated that, if they comply with Chapter 6, they comply with the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Beliveau reviewed the General Provisions of Chapter 6 with the Board and continued his testimony by referring to Exhibit S1-A, which consisted of Comprehensive Plan Policies dealing with mining. He stated that, according to Policy 7-2.2: Prime Groundwater Recharge Areas, high recharge areas is defined as recharging in excess of ten inches annually. He continued his review of Exhibit S1-A, and noted that, in the back of this exhibit, there were maps. He stated that Map I-7, General Minerals and Mining Operations 1989, illustrates that they do have a resource where they are mining. He stated that Map 1-1i shows that they are in an area of moderate recharge; Map 7-40 and Map 7-41 shows that they are in the Oklawaha Basin, and both of them illustrate that the recharge area where they are located is low. So there are four representations, as to what they are in recharge, therefore, the Board has an on-site specific analysis, which shows the area to be moderate. Mr. Beliveau stated that County staff and others have utilized, under Chapter 14.05.06, the analysis that is required to form a recommendation, and they recommend approval. The proposed mining operation expansion will not have an undue adverse effect upon nearby property; it is compatible with the existing or planned character of the area; and all reasonable steps will be taken to minimize any adverse effects of the proposed amendment to the mining operation expansion on the immediate vicinity. The average distance between the mining operation and a single family residence is over 600 feet. The closest home to the actual mining operation past the buffers, past the wetlands, etc., is 500 feet. He concurs with staff that the application does meet the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs. Mr. Beliveau stated that he did not do an economic analysis, but Mr. O'Berry presented testimony regarding the impact it would have on the community. He stated that, as far as economic development, they try to encourage the expansion of existing industries versus trying to attract new ones.
Ms. Campione cross-examined Mr. Beliveau and questioned him about the densities in this area and the family density exception.
Mr. Beliveau explained that an individual has one year to exercise a family member split, or it is invalid, but a person can go before the County staff and have a parcel broken away from a parent tract.
Ms. Campione noted that the only minimum size requirement is that they cannot go smaller than one acre, so in this rural agricultural area, there could be family density exceptions that would get them to a density that would be higher than one unit to five acres, if they were to exercise family density exception rights. She questioned whether Mr. Beliveau, in reviewing the site, knew the number of lot splits that have been approved by the County in the general area.
Mr. Beliveau explained that he looked at the property records and aerials, which showed parcels that are basically 4.99 acres, and several were around five acre splits, but there were also parcels where people own 17 acres, 20 acres, and 40 acres. He testified that he did not go into the Planning and Zoning files to find out how many lot splits had been approved in this area, or the number of family lot splits.
Ms. Campione referred to Section 6.07.02 of the Resource Management section of the LDRs and stated that it requires all development proposals within 1,000 feet of a natural reservation to undergo an additional review. She questioned whether there was any indication in the staff report that an additional layer of review was conducted.
Mr. Beliveau responded that he did not recall seeing the additional review in the report.
Ms. Campione referred to the Mining Provisions, Exhibit S1-A, Policy 7-2.2 regarding prime groundwater recharge, which states "High recharge areas, (recharging in excess of 10 inches annually)", and questioned Mr. Beliveau if he would agree that, if it is determined that recharge occurs at a rate of more than 10 inches a year, that mining would be prohibited under this provision.
Mr. Beliveau testified that mining would be prohibited under this provision.
Ms. Campione stated that Mr. Beliveau talked about mines being allowed in the rural land use, and she questioned whether he would agree, in the LDRs, under the zoning classifications, that mines are allowed in almost every zoning classification, other than maybe the mobile home classification.
Mr. Beliveau stated that he would agree with that statement, but the Comprehensive Plan says rural, and the only land use designation approved in rural is agriculture.
Ms. Campione questioned whether it was true, based on the requirement that a conditional use permit be granted, that an approval of a mine in rural land use in agriculture zoning is not a perfunctory approval per say, but it has to meet the criteria of any other conditional use permit that is granted in land uses in Lake County.
Mr. Beliveau testified that the statement made by Ms. Campione was correct, and that is why Chapter 14.04 of the LDRs is mentioned within Chapter 6.06.
Ms. Campione stated that the language noted by Mr. Beliveau indicates that there is a site by site analysis built into the County's Comprehensive Plan and LDRs, to be considered whenever the County has a plan such as this being presented.
Ms. Bonifay referred to Policy 7-2.2, which deals with prime and high and defines high as recharging in excess of ten inches, where mining would be prohibited, and then Policy 7-13.3, which talks about mining in prime and high, and she questioned Mr. Beliveau whether this policy would contradict Policy 7-2.2, in that it talks about no mining and then it deals with parameters under which mining can take place in very high and high recharge areas.
Mr. Beliveau testified that it does contradict the policy.
Ms. Bonifay stated that one of the major facets of Chapter 163 of the Florida Statutes, the Growth Management Act, states that no LDRs can be enacted which are inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. She questioned whether it was correct to say that, in 6.06.00 of the Mining Provisions, it states that the only prohibition about mining is in prime recharge areas, and there is no prohibition in high recharge areas.
Mr. Beliveau testified that the statement made by Ms. Bonifay was correct.
Ms. Bonifay questioned whether there was any current challenge of the mining section of the LDRs as being inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Beliveau stated that the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) has identified the inconsistencies with the mining components within both the Comprehensive Plan and the mapping. He stated that, in his professional opinion, the Florida Rock application is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the LDRs, and it is compatible with the surrounding land use.
Ms. Campione addressed the issue of inconsistencies between the Comprehensive Plan and the Mining chapter, and she questioned whether Mr. Beliveau has been involved in the EAR process with regard to these particular inconsistencies.
Mr. Beliveau testified that he monitored the EAR meetings and attended the public hearings, and he reviewed the document. He stated that the discrepancies would have to be reconciled with amendments.
Ms. Bonifay stated that this would conclude her case. She stated that there are a number of individuals present at the meeting from Florida Rock who are in favor of the application, and they have various testimony, and she would like to reserve them as rebuttal witnesses, if those issues come up to which they would like to speak directly.
Ms. Campione stated that she represents a group of individuals who own property and live within the vicinity of the proposed mine area, as noted in Exhibit A-O. She stated that any of her clients appearing today have standing, and they can see the mine, they are adjacent to the mine, and they are affected by what is being proposed today, as well as what has occurred in the past. Ms. Campione stated that, by way of commentary, Ms. Bonifay referred earlier to her Memorandum on the action taken by the Planning and Zoning Commission, and because it is full of her opinions on her part, she will be stating her opinion. She stated that the decision made by the Planning and Zoning Commission was in fact supported by competent and substantial evidence, and a reading of the minutes indicates that to be the fact. The issue here today is whether Florida Rock can meet the burden before this Board, and whether they are presenting evidence that is substantial and competent to prove its position that they meet the Comprehensive Plan of Lake County, and they meet the LDRs.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Jim Cox to present testimony.
Mr. Jim Cox stated that he has been a realtor since 1988, and he is a broker and owner of Maple Leaf Realty of Mount Dora. He has had his broker's license for nine years. Mr. Cox stated that he is familiar with the property that is subject of this mining site plan. He testified that it would be more difficult, from the standpoint of marketing property, to sell property that is adjacent to the proposed mine, as opposed to the current condition of the property. Mr. Cox testified that he has had the experience of marketing property for people who have had to discount their property, because they were adjacent to what people would consider an obnoxious type use, such as a dairy, or a landfill, or a kennel. He stated there was a vacant piece of property adjacent to a dairy on Highway 452 that had to be discounted by a few thousand dollars to get it sold, and it was due to the smell. There were also properties next to a landfill that had to be discounted to get them sold. Mr. Cox testified that it does decrease the amount a person can get as a purchase price, and it also prolongs the time in which a person can sell the property, when the property is adjacent to a use that is considered to be undesirable.
Ms. Bonifay cross examined Mr. Cox and questioned him about his credentials.
Mr. Cox stated that he is not a real estate appraiser. He testified that the only sand mine that he has seen was Florida Rock off of Rigdon Road, and he felt that a mine would have a similar effect as a dairy or landfill. He further testified that he did not notice any smell from the Florida Rock sand mine operation on Rigdon Road. He did have a specific instance where property was contiguous to a landfill, and it had to be discounted, mostly due to the smell. Mr. Cox stated that it would be considered a loss to the party that had to have his property discounted, and in looking at the values, it may have been possible that there could have been other indices that were at work, such as market influences, timing of the market.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Nicolas E. Andreyev to provide testimony. She submitted his resume, which was marked and entered as Exhibit D-O.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, since he has testified in behalf of her client before, she would not argue the fact that he is an expert witness.
Ms. Campione submitted a Review of Hydrogeologic Report & Mining Plan dated May 19, 1999 from Andreyev Engineering, Inc, which was entered and marked as Exhibit E-O.
Mr. Andreyev testified that, when reviewing the mining site plan application, and the hydrogeologic report submitted with the application for the specific site, he realized that the key area that everybody was concerned about was the lake area where there seemed to be a lack of borings. He stated that there was one boring shown on the map, but there was not a log in the report to show what they found, and when reviewing the Groundwater Contour map, Figure 3, Exhibit V-A, there are no contours in that area, and the boring that was drilled in the north and in the middle of the lake was excluded from this map. He stated that there seemed to be an insufficient number of borings specifically in this area of the lake. Mr. Andreyev testified that the evidence is inconclusive, and even though he did not do an independent analysis, he reviewed the data presented, and there could be on-site and off-site wetland impacts due to potential drawn down of the groundwater. He indicated in his written report that one way to evaluate this would be a modeling of the groundwater flow, but the methodology used by Mr. Kirkner would not be an accepted method to calculate leakage in recharge, because it would be a very simplistic assumption to say site specific for a 244 acre site, and to do one boring to penetrate in clay and to say it is continuous. He did not feel that the analysis would be accepted by any agency. He stated that, if you open up a 46 acre lake, there will be a net difference of water loss, at least through evaporation, of at least 10 inches, and there will be some impact, and it needs to be considered, because it is a significant amount when you multiply it by 46 acres. Mr. Andreyev testified that, based on the information he reviewed, he does not believe it can be affirmatively stated that there will be no groundwater or surface water impacts due to this mining operation, as proposed. He stated that there are inconsistencies in the report, which he noted in Exhibit E-O, but it does not prove one way or the other the impacts that may be involved with the operation.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like to call Mr. Kirkner back as a rebuttal witness on the technical issues, and she will not ask Mr. Andreyev any questions.
Mr. Kirkner addressed the Board to respond to Mr. Andreyev's statements as to deficiencies and lack of information, or generality, in his report and stated that he met all of the requirements of the Lake County Mining Ordinance, and it was reviewed and approved by staff. He further testified that they looked at the initial single layer model, so they constructed a specific one for this site using the current boring data, and they built a three layer model that more accurately represented the true situation at the site. Mr. Kirkner stated that he would prefer to rely on 18 years of data that provides a better answer as to what has happened and what is going to happen than to project it through a model. He stated that he has seen similar analyses, and he discussed the methodology that he used with Mr. Walter Wood, who felt it was a reasonable approach. Mr. Kirkner stated that the watertable is 50 feet below land surface, and there will not be evapotranspiration that will affect the watertable. The site specific slug test showed that the permeability of the materials in the surficial, at that depth, are so low that it is not going to have significant lateral movement. In some cases, if it is very high permeable material, there could be lateral flow in the surficial aquifer, but in this case they discounted it, based on the results of their site specific testing. Mr. Kirkner testified that they did a specific analysis of the expansion area, and he feels that Mr. Andreyev and he are in agreement that the change would probably be on the order of 40 inches per year evapotranspiration versus the literature that shows 49 inches per year in this part of the State, from an open water body. Their analysis weighed land area versus lake area assuming their would be nine inches of direct evaporation from the lake, but it has to be weighed by the fact that there is going to be over 100 acres of dry land, so you look at the total picture and ask what the increase is going to be over the expansion area, not just in the lake, and in that case, 1.7 inches were projected. Mr. Kirkner stated that he did not understand the discussion on the slope in the lake and how you could have two feet higher at one end and two feet lower at one end, because usually a lake, especially a 40 acre lake, calibrates almost instantaneously. He clarified that he did not represent that the clay was continuous below the site, or over the County.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Andreyev for rebuttal to statements made by Mr. Kirkner.
Mr. Andreyev explained that, with existing conditions, the groundwater slopes, so one end would be higher than the other. He stated that, if we exaggerate this and have the wetland right next to a low end, you could potentially flood the wetland and make it wetter, and if you have a wetland next to a high end, you could draw it down, because of the effect of this equalization of the water level. Mr. Andreyev stated that the groundwater modeling in the appendix is the old model, and the three layer model has never been submitted, as far as he could tell, in the package.
Ms. Campione stated that she has one more expert on planning issues, and she would like to leave the expert for the end of their presentation. At this time, she would like to call several of the residents who have made their observation and are offering, to a large degree, eye witness testimony, because some are adjacent to the existing mine.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Ron Stevenot to present testimony.
Mr. Ron Stevenot stated that he owns and operates a land surveying practice in Eustis. He and his wife own 50 acres in close proximity to the proposed expansion of the Marion Sand Plant. Some of the property is directly adjacent to the proposed mine. Mr. Stevenot stated that numerous property owners who are opposed to the expansion have met with Florida Rock and with one another, and they are concerned about their property values and families. Mr. Stevenot stated that, when they bought their property, they were told by property owners in the area that the Marion Sand Plant had been in existence for years, but that it was winding down, and it would be reclaimed by Florida Rock, and the mine would be converted to a wildlife and conservation park. He stated that they were not thrilled with the mine being there, but they felt they could live with it, since it would be closed soon, and its existing location was distant enough that it would not adversely effect them. He and his wife are farmers in their spare time and engage in several agricultural activities on their land, and they questioned why this pasture land should be converted to a hard core industrial activity. Mr. Stevenot stated that Florida Rock can promise reclamation, but reclamation is not restoration. The estimated life of the project is at least 15 years, and after the excavation, they will be living with the blight and disfigurement to the land forever. He stated that, if there had been any reason to believe the mine would be expanded into Lake County, they would never have purchased their property in this location. They never would have thought they would be facing heavy industry across the street when they have Sawgrass Preserve as an adjoining neighbor. Mr. Stevenot stated that this type of intrusion is in violation of the Comprehensive Plan, and the uses certainly are not compatible. He urged the Board to deny the application for the expansion into Lake County.
Ms. Bonifay requested that Mr. Stevenot indicate the location of his property on the map and questioned him about his contact with Florida Rock.
Mr. Stevenot testified that he resides in Marion County, and he never contacted anyone with Florida Rock. He further testified that he never talked to anyone in the Marion County Planning Department, as to the future expansion plans of the Marion County mine, or in Lake County to determine where mining would be allowed in Lake County. Mr. Stevenot stated that he did look at the Comprehensive Plan to determine what land uses would allow mining, and he found that agricultural would allow it, but only with a special exception. He testified that he has never done any data and analysis to determine the impact on land values.
Ms. Campione called Ms. Kathleen Carrillo to present testimony and requested that she point out her residence on the map, in relation to the property in question.
Ms. Carrillo testified that she is directly east of the existing mine, and after they moved into their residence in the winter of 1995, the seven lakes on their property that were separate lakes ran together and were very high, and. there was a break in the berm around the sand mine off of Rigdon Road. After contacting an attorney who investigated their concerns, the berm was closed immediately, and the lakes returned to their normal level. She explained that it had not rained for months, and they were very confused. Ms. Carrillo referred to the comment made by Mr. O'Berry about how they always check on property to purchase and stated that they are located directly to the east, and they have never had any communication with him, or anyone at Florida Rock. Ms. Carrilla read a note from her husband, who could not attend the meeting, which contained information about the purchase of their property, which borders the sand mine on the west side for approximately one and a half miles looking down on Lake Ella, which is one of the lakes of the Lake Holly Chain, and how they knew about the sand mine at the time of purchase, however, they did not check on it. Mr. Carrilla explained that Umatilla Road, which is a county maintained road, has provided easy access to them for the past four and a half years, and they were asking the Board not to close this thoroughfare. Mr. Carrilla's note requested that the expansion not be approved by the Board for the following reasons: it will affect the lifestyle of the children and all of the neighbors in the area; it will disrupt the comings and goings of all concerned and the freedom of movement, the easy access of school busses serving the children of the area, horseback riding, walking and jogging. It may affect the wildlife and the aquifer, and it will create a nuisance of truck noises, lights, sounds, construction chatter, dust, sand, movement, and equipment noises, and it will affect the peace and tranquility of all the neighbors. Ms. Carrilla testified that she did not inquire of anyone at Florida Rock about their operation.
Ms. Campione stated that an individual that attended the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, who had very pertinent testimony and who lives directly adjacent to the property, is unable to be here today. She asked Ms. Melanie Young to prepare a notarized statement, which she would like to read into the record. Her comments summarized that she has observed how the sand mine has changed the geography of the land to the north of Rigdon Road in Marion County, and even though she lives approximately one quarter mile from the mine boundary and approximately one half mile from the area that has been mined, she can hear the dredge and see the floodlights that are used during the evening hours, and on some days she can hear the back up of warning beepers of heavy machinery and trucks in the mine area. Ms. Young's letter stated that ten acres of her property abut the land that is under consideration for expansion of the sand mine. She, as well as others, will lose lifestyles that were intended by their designs to be free from noise, pollution and eyesores. She has personal knowledge of how larger wildlife have been driven from the area. She strongly recommended that the Commission deny the requests for the sand mine operation and the vacating of Umatilla Road between CR 450 and Rigdon Road. Ms. Campione submitted the letter from Ms. Young, to the Deputy Clerk, who marked and entered it as Exhibit F-0.
Ms. Campione called Mr. Adam Altman to present testimony.
Mr. Altman stated that he was speaking in behalf of his father, who is a property owner of 35 acres which borders the expansion area. Mr. Altman discussed the lakes in the area and noted that Huckleberry Lake used to be one of the best fishing lakes in the area, and it is within 200 feet of the sand mine property. He testified that it was totally out of the question that the sand mine should be able to come in on some beautiful agricultural property and dig a hole. Ms. Campione called Ms. Lynn Iannone to present testimony.
Ms. Iannone stated that she has lived in Marion County for about eight years, and they lived in Mount Dora for over 20 years, where they raised their family. They found 12 acres and they knew there was a sand mine, and they heard it was going to be closed and turned into a park. She explained that those in the area chose to be low density and spent extra money to buy acreage to get out of commercialism. She stated that there is a 500 acre mine to the left of them down SR 42, and there is this 700 acre mine plus in Marion County that they want to expand. She questioned what this 150 acres will do for Lake County, because she sees it as lowering acreage value and her house value, lowering her pond, and chasing the wildlife away, and it is going to industrialize a beautiful piece of property that can never be restored to its original look. She questioned what County benefits monetarily, when the sand gets pumped out of Rigdon Road in Lake County and travels under the road and comes up in Marion County. She noted the location of her property and stated that they have a business in Lake County.
Ms. Campione called Ms. Kathy Warren to present testimony.
Ms. Warren read into the record a letter from Ms. Carlene Krause who could not be here today. In summary, the letter indicated that her property is located on Umatilla Road. She had an offer from someone to buy her property, but when they found out the sand mine wanted to come into Lake County, they stopped pursuing it, and the sale is on hold until the outcome of this hearing. Ms. Warren stated that personally within the last year, she has purchased acreage west of Umatilla, and it is located at the corner of Umatilla Road and CR 450. She chose not to purchase acreage closer to Weirsdale, because of the sand mine on SR 42. If she had known that there was the possibility of the existing sand mine expanding into Lake County, she would not have bought this particular piece of land. She feels that the property values, the watertable, the aquifer, and piece and quiet of the country living will be negatively effected for all neighboring land owners. She requested that the expansion be denied.
The letter from Ms. Carlene Krause was submitted, and it was marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit G-O.
Ms. Campione called Ms. Ruth Collins to present testimony.
Ms. Collins stated that 29 years ago her family decided to come back to the Umatilla area, and they found a piece of property across from CR 450 where the mine wants to expand. There is another piece of property between them and the highway, but all they have to do is look north and they are looking right at the site. They were planning on spending their retirement years in a peaceful rural atmosphere. She hoped that the Board would deny the request.
Ms. Campione called Mr. C. R. Buck Collins to present testimony.
Mr. Collins stated that he has spent over 70 years in Lake County. He stated that Huckleberry Lake was a beautiful place to fish, but if you looked at it now, it is a dried up mud hole, and it is to the west of the existing sand mine. They have lived across CR 450 for 29 years, on a lake called Dream Lake, and it is not dried up. Mr. Collins stated that he does not believe the sand mine doesn't effect the adjoining lakes and the watertable around there. He stated that, if it comes closer to them, it will affect Dream Lake, and all of the lakes in that general area. Mr. Collins discussed the problems that exist with Lake Okachobee, and Lake Apopka, and the cost to the taxpayers for their restoration, and stated that it is good for landowners to develop their property, but only if it does not adversely effect everyone in the neighborhood.
Ms. Campione called Ms. Betty Focke to present testimony.
Ms. Focke stated that she lives at Sandy Acres, and she is a neighbor of Carmen Jackson. She testified that, even though pictures were shown earlier of the view to the south and to the east from Ms. Jackson's property, Exhibit K1-A, they did not show pictures of where you can see the sand mine, because if you stand in Ms. Jackson's front yard, you can see the sand mine. She stated that Ms. Jackson is trying to sell her home, and she had a prospect buyer about a year and a half ago, but after seeing the sand mine, he did not want it.
Ms. Bonifay questioned Ms. Focke as to whether she is represented by Ms. Campione.
Ms. Campione clarified that she called Ms. Focke as a witness to rebut expert witness testimony presented by Ms. Bonifay's witness.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she personally went to the Jackson property and stood at the end of the road, and she feels that Ms. Focke's testimony is a misrepresentation. She presented Exhibit K1-A for Ms. Focke to review and questioned where the sand mine is in relationship to Ms. Jackson's property.
Ms. Focke testified that the pictures were not taken at the right spot where you can see the sand mine, because she can see it from Ms. Jackson's property, as well as hear it. Ms. Focke stated that she is a homemaker who lives in Sandy Acres, and she does not feel that the condition of any of the homes in Sandy Acres has any impact on Ms. Jackson's home.
Mr. Bill Ackwood stated that he lives on CR 42 in Paisley and 20 miles from the sand mine. He stated that trucks travel in excess of 70 miles per hour down this road in front of his house, and he gets no sleep. He built his house himself, and if the Board approves the request, he will have no choice but to put a sign in front of his house.
Ms. Campione called Ms. Linda Portal to present testimony. She submitted her resume, which was marked and entered as Exhibit H-O.
Ms. Portal stated that she is a land use and planning consultant, and she has been in planning since 1984. At this time, she reviewed her educational background, as well as some of her experience in this field of work. Ms. Portal stated that, in order for this development to meet the LDRs, it has to meet all of the conditions of the Comprehensive Plan. She stated that this is a very pertinent issue, and it addresses specifically many of the issues that have been brought up tonight.
Ms. Campione submitted an outline of Ms. Portal's presentation, which was marked and entered as Exhibit I-O.
Ms. Portal testified that it is her opinion that mining is not the use that is best suited for the soils in this recharge area. She noted that the Board has been presented with some basically conflicting information and has not been given conclusively any professional information that would give the Board the assurance that the Comprehensive Plan and its conditions can be met, and under these circumstances, she believes that the Board needs to deny the petition. She stated that the County has the SJRWMD map that shows the area as recharge, in an amount between 8 and 12 inches per year. The Board has addressed that these are regional maps and are not meant for site specific evaluation, and the Board has been presented some evaluation of the site, but she does not feel it is very conclusive. The information was largely collected across the street in the Marion County site, which does not make it site specific, and the information that was presented pertinent to the site was not adequate to address all of the issues. She stated that the expert for the mine mentioned karts formation, which is an issue of pretty serious concern, in terms of drainage and the potential recharge into the aquifer. Ms. Portal stated that the Board needs to go with the most recent SJRWMD map, as required by the Comprehensive Plan. The County's own Comprehensive Plan maps are somewhat contradictory, because there is one map that has the old SJRWMD data showing this to be a low discharge area, but then there is the Pollution Control map that indicates it is a higher potential for pollution due to recharge, and that is obviously a conflict. She explained that the County has statements in the Plan that say the County will protect areas that are moderate recharge and will concentrate on high and moderate recharge areas to protect the groundwater resources, so the Board needs to use this as a guiding rule, as it proceeds. Ms. Portal stated that there are contradictions in the hydrology report that was presented in the application. In some places, it talks about it being leaky, which would indicate it is a high recharge function, and others say that there is no risk of contamination, or leaking, because there is a confining layer, and she did not feel this was adequately resolved, since there was only one boring that addressed that confining layer. This is a serious issue, because the Comprehensive Plan says they need to demonstrate there is an adequate impervious layer beneath the site, after it has been mined and during mining, to retard movement of the water to the ground water. No one has addressed sinkholes specifically, but both hydrologists have stated that there are some circular depressions that may indicate sinkhole activity either in the past or present. Ms. Portal provided additional information on the subject of sinkholes, and noted that, if the Board has not been provided data to the contrary, it needs to use its Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Portal explained that the Comprehensive Plan states that some land uses including mining host special problems that may prove incompatible with recharge functions. There is also a statement that the County should use protective measures to preserve and enhance the ground water recharge in Lake County, with most attention going to areas having moderate or greater recharge potential. Ms. Portal stated that there has been some question as to whether this is high recharge or not, and staff said that they consider it as high recharge, but they have been using the measure of 12 inches or above for high, despite the fact that the Comprehensive Plan says 10 or above is high. She further stated that several people have said it is at least moderate, or it is only moderate, and moderate was good enough when the County wrote the Plan, with moderate being something that deserved special attention. She addressed the issue of modeling and explained that the Board gets to decide what is required, because the County has measures beyond what is states in the LDRs, and if the measures go beyond that list, and the Board needs more information, then it can require more modeling and more study. She reviewed reasons that mining effects recharge in an adverse way, which are given in the Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Portal addressed the issue of activities reducing the quality of recharge and noted that there was some conflict in the testimony, but noted that changes to the trend do have some effect on recharge. She stated that the Board has not been provided with data that shows what the quality of the water is at the site, so she does not think that it has the data that is needed to show whether there is going to be any depreciation of it. She noted that the Comprehensive Plan has a policy that says no mining shall be allowed in high recharge areas, and if staff really believed that this is high recharge, she was not sure why there was a recommendation for approval, because that is in direct conflict with the Plan.
Ms. Portal explained that the Board has an objective that guarantees compatibility with sensitive land and resources of all new uses, and the County lists groundwater, surface water, wetlands, sinkholes, and in the LDRs, it has the preserve, which has been addressed in testimony. She was not sure why no one has addressed this issue, and she did not see it addressed in the staff review. She was concerned about this because the County has a policy that states that it will conduct review if something is within 1,000 feet of the preserve, and no review has been conducted. Earlier during the testimony, an expert had said it was not conducted, because it was not necessary, but it is required by the County, and it has to be in the packet, before the Board can make a decision, or it has to deny the application.
Ms. Portal explained that the aquifer does not know boundaries, so it will be difficult to show no lowering of potentiometric levels of the Floridan aquifer, and secondly, there is a question as to how the experts can assure no adverse impact to the level of the surficial aquifer beyond the boundary of the mine. She stated that the only way to do this is if the surficial aquifer in question were completely contained within the property boundaries, and that has not been addressed.
Ms. Portal explained that the Board has made some statements as to what type of lifestyle it would like to ensure in Lake County, and those seem to fall under the protection of the integrity of rural residential areas. She stated that there has been a pattern of extending residential uses into this area, and the Comprehensive Plan, in a sense, encourages that by allowing density flexibility. She stated that, within the last ten years, just within a mile, there have been 24 new homes, and there are another 15 that she could not determine their age. She was using ten years, because that is about the life of the Plan, which means there was something in the Plan that gave people the comfort that the Board would be protecting that lifestyle. Since most of the folks present who are being impacted are saying they are residential, and this is a residential area, then the Board is not supposed to be allowing encroachment of an incompatible use into this area. She stated that there cannot be any question that mining can be incompatible, because the Comprehensive Plan talks about mining being something that can cause problems. She noted that, in the LDRs, there are seven points that show intent as to why mines are being regulated, and out of those seven, six of them talk about environment and residential quality. Ms. Portal stated that the Plan encourages creation of family parcels, and this will be in conflict with the establishment of the mine, because the mining regulations say that, once the mine is approved, you will not allow any further residential development in the vicinity. So the Board will be stuck with the decision as to what is vicinity and which of the property owners surrounding the mine it is going to notify that no longer have the ability to use their land for residential development. Ms. Portal stated that the County has policies to protect residential uses from nuisance disturbances, so it recognizes that there are things that do disturb residential lifestyles that need to be considered when permitting other uses.
Ms. Portal submitted the following list of findings, which was marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit J-0:
Ms. Bonifay cross examined Ms. Portal.
Ms. Portal stated that her testimony is only in the area of planning and for the purpose of providing her expertise in the review of administrative documents provided by other experts. She stated that she thoroughly read the Comprehensive Plan, but she did not finish the policies in the Recreation and Open Space Element, or all of the data analysis for Capital Improvements, because she was pretty familiar with that information. She also read the LDRs , as well as the applicant's submission. Ms. Portal testified that, in her overall review, she found that there were policies that were internally inconsistent in the Comprehensive Plan, and this would not be in compliance with Chapter 163 and Rule 9J5. Ms. Portal testified that, when someone has made application to a local government, they can expect some administrative review, and at some point, the Planning Department and any other planning consultants who are brought in have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to review the data, and based on their professional recommendation experience, to make a decision as to whether the information is adequate to meet the needs and the requirements of the policies, and even though this is what the Lake County staff did, she disagrees with their decision. Ms. Portal noted that staff found that they did meet all of the requirements of the Comprehensive Planed and LDRs in their review, but staff stood up and said that they were using the wrong level for recharge and that they did consider the area high recharge, which was inconsistent with the Plan.
Ms. Bonifay stated that there were other maps in the same Plan that delineated the same area and no less than three different types of recharge, from low, to moderate, to high were shown.
Ms. Portal stated that they were older maps, and the same Plan says that the County will use the newer maps when they are available.
Ms. Bonifay stated that the Comprehensive Plan in 7-13.3 also says that you have to use the data and analysis map, which is 1-1i, Exhibit S1-A, which was one of the maps that was presented that shows this in an area of moderate recharge. Ms. Bonifay questioned whether Ms. Portal disagreed with the determinations of the geologist, Mr. Kirkner, who presented his findings that it is not in an area of high recharge.
Ms. Portal explained that there was conflicting information presented, and when there is conflicting information presented of a professional nature, the Board is in a position of trying to wade through that and decide which is appropriate to use, or they can determine that they do not have enough assurance to proceed with something that will affect health, safety and welfare.
Ms. Bonifay noted that Ms. Portal had mentioned that mining is not best suited to soils in the recharge area, and she mentioned the SJRWMD map, and she questioned whether this map, as well as DRASTIC maps, contain disclosures that they are broad and very general in their application, and they are not to be used on a site specific basis.
Ms. Portal stated that they do have this disclosure, but she also mentioned that she was concerned about testimony provided by the mining hydrologist indicating that, on two different occasions, the potential for karst formation on the site would imply higher recharge and the potential for aquifer contamination. She testified that it appears there is some contradiction between the written report and the testimony that was provided by the same consultant. She further stated that she addressed the issue of there being an increasing trend toward development, and there is a development pattern occurring, which is an issue, and it is developing in a pattern of residential. She stated that there is no question that the area is agriculture. Ms. Portal testified that, in her opinion, the Comprehensive Plan merges residential and agriculture, because it talks about a residential and rural lifestyle, and it lists the rural densities as being of residential concern in a couple of different places. Ms. Portal testified that she has not done an analysis of Lake County's records and determined how many family lot splits have been extended in this particular area, but that she only analyzed the number of new houses permitted in the area within a one mile radius around the proposed site.
Ms. Bonifay questioned whether Ms. Portal was aware of the policies in the Comprehensive Plan that talk about development in high recharge areas.
Ms. Portal testified that she was aware of those policies, but she did not list any in her handout material.
Ms. Campione stated that this would conclude the presentation of her witnesses, but there may be others that the Board may wish to call on. In closing, Ms. Campione stated that, to the extent that the Board read the Memorandum of Law presented by Ms. Bonifay regarding the Planning and Zoning Commission findings, there was a lot of information about the concept of substantial and competent evidence, and the requirement, in a quasi-judicial forum, for the Board to make a decision, based on competent substantial evidence. She feels they presented substantial and competent evidence that shows that this mining site plan is in conflict with the Comprehensive Plan, and with the LDRs, and it does not meet the criteria in the LDRs for approving a conditional use permit. Ms. Campione stated that she does not believe that the evidence presented by Florida Rock meets the level of being substantial and competent, and that their evidence and eye witness testimony showed that there is reasonable doubt as to whether the information given to the Board is veritable. She feels that they have adequately covered the issues of recharge and groundwater effects in expert testimony, and there is obviously a contradiction between some of the information that is actually in the Plan, a contradiction of information presented by their experts, a contradiction of the testimony presented by her expert, as opposed to the information provided by Florida Rock's expert on the hydrological issues, and the question of whether this is a recharge area. The County's hydrologist stated that they are using a threshold of ten inches or greater in determining high recharge, and the SJRWMD map, according to the County's hydrologist, indicates that you may very well have that condition on this site. The Comprehensive Plan tells the County that it needs to use the most recent information, and there may be maps in the Plan, and in the data analysis, that conflict with one another, and the key is to come back to the most recent information, and then to look at site specific information. She does not think that the Board was given site specific information. Ms. Campione stated that the Board heard about a test, and there was an exhibit presented that attempted to show that it is not a high recharge area, and then the Board heard evidence from her witness that the test, or methodology, was not generally accepted in the field, so there are problems with that alleged site specific information. The Board heard that only one boring taken from the site showed the confining layer, and there was not much testimony, from a recharge standpoint, about how much evaporation there would really be, and how much recharge was the aquifer going to lose, because they are evaporating this 46 acre lake that would otherwise be percolating into the groundwater. There was testimony about property values, and Ms. Campione did not feel that the presentation by Mr. Albright was conclusive, because he did not address values of property in the rate of appreciation of the area around the proposed mine site, as opposed to some of these other areas, and he did not adequately look at the affect on property not in a mining area, and the terms of appreciation or depreciation. She was given very little information that would support the proposition that there would not be a detrimental impact. The Board heard testimony from Mr. Cox who told the Board that, if these folks decided to sell their property, if the request is approved, they will have wait longer to sell their property to find a buyer, and they are going to have to take less money for their property. She felt that the letter from the adjacent land owner who has a contract that is conditioned on whether the mine is approved was site specific. Ms. Campione stated that testimony was given that there was no special review given to this site in light of its proximity to the Sawgrass Preserve, as required by the LDRs, and it is relevent to the decision that the Board makes today. She stated that the Board heard from people who live in this area before the Marion County mine came in, and they were opposed to the Marion County mine. She stated that they are asking to mine an area that is in closer proximity to a roadway, and it will have a greater visual impact to the public using the roadways. In closing, Ms. Campione stated that she believes the evidence shows that this mine should not be approved; it is not an appropriate location; there are places where mining can and should occur; and she asked that the Board deny the proposed sand mine and expansion.
Mr. Swigert stated that his client concurs with Ms. Campione's argument of the case. He stated that the Board heard from his client at a previous hearing, and she adamantly opposes the application for the expansion of the sand plant, and she believes that, if it is approved, it will adversely effect the value of her property, and he was requesting that the Board deny the request.
Ms. Ann Griffin stated that she was speaking against the mine as a private citizen, and as a Board member of Save Our Lakes Committee. Ms. Griffin stated that she is concerned about the possible accumulative impacts over a number of years to the Floridan aquifer, because she owns properties on the Oklawaha Chain of Lakes which are dependent on spring flow and the potentiometric surface of the Floridan aquifer. The basis for her objection stems from the rules of the Mining Ordinance and the Conservation Element of the Comprehensive Plan. She served on the EAR Committee of the Conservation Element. The Mining Ordinance states that the mine should be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and the Conservation Element says no mining in high recharge areas, as defined by the SJRWMD. Ms. Griffin stated that Mr. Kirkner originally relied on the SJRWMD maps for recharge measurements, and his hydrogeological report states that the site had a recharge of 8 to 12 inches, which is high recharge, and he presented these findings to the Planning and Zoning Commission. She stated that Mr. Hewitt today also stated that this area is high recharge. She further stated that, as far as the maps not being site specific, the SJRWMD maps state that impacts to the aquifer are regional. They say that withdrawals from the aquifer in Orange County will have a 50% impact on Lake County, and the SJRWMD has been holding regional Water 20/20 workshops for one and a half years. In closing, Ms. Griffin stated that she was concerned that Lake County is a priority water resource caution area, as determined by the SJRWMD. She is afraid that the affect of the added stress on the aquifer, for the large number of years that this mine will be in operation, may have a negative effect on Lake County water supplies.
Ms. Griffin submitted her letter, which was marked and entered by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit K-O.
Ms. Jean Comer stated that, in January, 1998, she bought 14 acres, two separate sites, by the lake. Ms. Comer stated that she called the Marion County zoning board to try and find out everything she could about this mine, and this was a negotiating point with the realty company, to lower the price on the property, because the mine was an eyesore. She stated that the Board really needs to look at this issue, because it will reduce property values in this area.
Ms. Nancy H. Fullerton stated that she was addressing the Board as a private citizen, and as President of Save Our Lakes Committee, Inc. She stated that she and Ms. Griffin had a two part presentation, as she spoke about water, and they are opposing the expansion into Lake County on the basis of water and people. Ms. Fullerton stated that they feel that the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs are violated, and she did not think that the Board could say that there would not be an undue adverse effect upon the nearby property owners, and she was asking that the Board follow the lead of the Planning and Zoning Commission and deny the application. She stated that the Save Our Lakes Committee understands that the Board has the responsibility of protecting the interests of the residents and of the businesses, and of following the Comprehensive Plan. In comparing these interests, she asked the following questions: who needs the protection the most, business or residents; how important is this 244 acres to the overall economic survival of Florida Rock; is there a count of their sand mines in Lake County; how many permitted but unmined acres do they already have; how many years of mining do they already have scheduled; when does realistic business operation become greed.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, in response, after conferring with Mr. O'Berry, her client, and because of the late hour and those individuals present in support of the application for various reasons, she asked that the record reflect that there are at least 23 people who are here and in support of the mining application, and all have some connection to Florida Rock. She stated that they may also have jobs in Lake County and families they support, and many of them live either near or next to an existing mining site, and they do not seem too concerned that their property values are going to be depleted. Ms. Bonifay stated that she would also like to note, for the record, before she begins her rebuttal, an objection to the introduction of testimony in the form of affidavits, and the reading of letters into the record, as those were also Ms. Campione's clients, and therefore, were to be subject to cross-examination, which was not possible when that procedure is followed. She also wanted to renew her objection as to the manner in which, at the beginning, it was determined that those people who were here who had not filed a notice of appearance would be giving testimony and would not be subject to cross-examination.
Ms. Bonifay explained that she could have had those present who had a connection to Florida Rock testify before the Board about their quality of life, because it is just as important to them. Ms. Bonifay stated that they want to expand and continue the life of the mine, and they have planned the expansion so that the plant will not move, the trucks will not be there, and the only thing that will be removed from Mr. Moss' property is sand. She stated that the Board heard testimony from people who moved in next to a mine, and they did not seem concerned at that time. She stated that people have been attracted to this area, and they have come to this area, and they have moved in closer than some of the houses that they evaluated. Ms. Bonifay stated that the real decision here tonight is whether there has been competent substantial evidence, in terms of the factual information that has been presented, and the people who have been presenting it. She stated that the Board has heard testimony from people who are experienced in the area and have made professional determinations, but the Board has also heard a lot of inconsistency in the County's existing Comprehensive Plan. She stated that there has been substantial competent evidence to show that there has not been any adverse impact on groundwater, or on the recharge, or on water quality. It also calls into question the staff, and at least one of the staff members who has reviewed 42 of 44 mines. The Board has also heard from the Planning staff that they do know the Comprehensive Plan, and they have evaluated it, and in their professional opinion, it does meet the criteria. Ms. Bonifay stated that Florida Rock has gone the extra mile and has tried to come up with site specific analysis to try and determine what the recharge is on this site. She addressed the issue of one boring and stated that this is what the LDRs require, in terms of the confining layer. She noted that there were 42 other borings on the site. In terms of Policy 6.07.02 which deals with the natural preservation or reservation areas, Ms. Bonifay stated that it was determined that there are no off-site impacts from this mine that would adversely effect it, and this was done by modeling and other expert data and analysis. They did not need to provide other documentation, because they looked at recharge, air quality and environmental factors, and they did not reach off-site. Ms. Bonifay stated that Florida Rock believes it has met its burden of proof and determined, by competent substantial evidence, that it has met the requirements of Lake County, and she would ask the Board to approve the application.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed at 9:33 p.m.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the type of development that has happened outside of Umatilla, on the west side, has been positive for the area. He has seen a limited rural growth potential there, because of the lakes and other things, and he feels that the expansion of this mine would limit that ability to continue to develop in a healthy manner. He was also concerned about the conflicting testimony that the Board had in regards to the water recharge potential, and from what he has heard today, his feelings fall on the side that there are some recharge problems, and this would complicate the issue. The proximity to the protected Water Authority lands is also a concern of his, and he does not intend on supporting the rezoning.
Commr. Swartz stated that he agrees with the points made by Commr. Cadwell, and in his opinion, in weighing the evidence presented, it is clear and convincing to him that the preponderance of the evidence, and the correctness of it, lies with those who are opposed to the rezoning request. He stated that it pains him that the County staff, in reviewing this, did not do as thorough a job as Ms. Portal did when she testified. He believes that the type of analysis that she did and the points that she reviewed in the Comprehensive Plan are absolutely correct. He stated that there are points that he wants to make sure are put on the record, but since this is in Commr. Cadwell's district, and he has indicated opposition to it, he would make a motion.
Commr. Swartz made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to uphold the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and deny Case MSP#99/3/1-5, Florida Rock Industries - Marion Sand Plant, a request for a Mining Site Plan in A (Agriculture) for extraction of commercial grade sand to be part of the existing Marion Sand Plant located North of Rigdon Road in Marion County, Tracking #21-99-MSP.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz stated that he would like to state the reasons for his motion, but he would first like to make sure that the Board enters into the evidence the documents that Ms. Portal provided, both the individual points that deal with the various Comprehensive Plan policies that she mentions, as well as the findings she points to in her second memorandum for the proposed expansion. Commr. Swartz stated that the request is clearly inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan regarding mining in prime and high recharge areas (Policy 7-13.3). There may be some question as to whether or not it is prime or high or moderate, but if the Board is going to err, then lets err on the side of being conservative and not put it in an area where it may be prime. He stated that Mr. Hewitt did believe it was high recharge, and if he has to weigh the testimony of the two experts that appeared on both sides of it, it was clearly conflicting information, but then again, he would weigh on the side of being conservative and vote not to approve it, because he believes it is high recharge, and the County needs to take that extra protection (Policy 7-13.4). He addressed mining in environmentally sensitive areas (Policy 7-13.2) and stated that Sawgrass Preserve is hundreds and hundreds of acres that the Lake County Water Authority has purchased in order to protect it, and therefore, the County should not ignore the fact that it sits there in close proximity to this site. In addition, Lake Yale, which is one of the County's most pristine lakes, is south of this site. Another policy not mentioned is the complete Environmental Resource Management Plan (Policy 7-1.1), which the Board is in the process of working on and part of that plan is to identify outstanding Lake County waters, and Lake Yale would clearly be one that would be put on that list, and it would provide additional protection to that lake as development plans are considered. The Environmental Resource Management Plan should be completed, and on any types of zoning or land use where there is some question as to whether or not it is advisable, the Board will have to err on the side of being conservative until that plan is completed. Commr. Swartz addressed the definition of "environmentally sensitive" and stated that one of them is in the Plan and includes high recharge areas. He stated that, for all of these reasons, and the ones that Commr. Cadwell mentioned, he would include on the record as their reason and basis for denying.
Commr. Pool stated that he was concerned about hearing conflicting reports, and he was concerned that maybe the Board does not have all of the facts tonight. He believes that the information is not complete, and he would ask that staff, and/or at least the people who present these, do a more complete analysis, because, before mines come back before this Board, people are going to have to actually understand the exact recharge spots. In fact many areas that the Board has had concerns about tonight still leave questions. He stated that he is not opposed to the mine, and tonight he feels they are going to lose this argument, but the bottom line is he believes pertinent information has to come forward for the Board to make the right decisions, and tonight he thinks there were conflicting reports, and that makes it very difficult.
Commr. Hanson stated that there was conflicting evidence, but beyond the land values and environment, one of the statements in the policy says that mining and excavation and its related industries contribute substantially to the economic stability of Lake County, and she thinks that is very true, however, in this case, she feels that, because the mining facilities are actually in a different county, Lake County will not get the benefit of the economic activities, and she has to weigh whether it has created a better or worse situation for Lake County economically and recognizing the impact historically that the mining industry has been to Lake County. In this case, she feels the positives will not outweigh the negatives, so she will not be supporting the application.
Commr. Gerber stated that, in the record, as part of her findings in this case, she would enter what Ms. Linda Portal has on her list of findings and include Policy 1-1b-1, which also has to do with nuisance disturbances, and also Section 14.03.05, c, e, f, g, and i, which have to do with compatibility issues, protection of the environment, the Sawgrass Preserve, and all of the points that were already brought up, and she would call for the question.
Commr. Cadwell reminded everyone that, after this case, the pending road vacation would be addressed by the Board.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote to deny the rezoning request.
ROAD VACATION PETITION NO. 893 - RONALD AND MEI MOSS - UMATILLA AREA - DISTRICT 5
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney representing the applicant, withdrew Petition No. 893 by Ronald and Mei Moss, to vacate platted lots, rights-of-way, and roadway, Sec. 5, Twp. 18S, Rge. 26E, Umatilla Area - Commissioner District 5.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK