The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, August 28, 2001, 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: Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Robert A. Pool, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender Others present were: Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney/Interim County Manager; Valerie Fuchs, Assistant County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner's Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney/Interim County Manager, noted that there were no changes to the agenda, but the Board did have two addendums.
COUNTY MANAGER'S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests:
Bonds - Mobile Home
Request for approval of revocation of agreement for Mobile Home Bond based on completion for Thomas and Louise Smith.
Contracts, Leases & Agreements/Courts-Judges
Request for approval of Special Masters Settlement Agreement for Clarence E. and Ruby J. Middlebrooks (SM-12-00).
PUBLIC HEARINGS - ROAD VACATIONS
PETITION NO. 964 - JOE GODFREY, JR. - LEESBURG AREA - DISTRICT 3
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss Petition No. 964 by Joe Godfrey, Jr.. Mr. Stivender explained that there was a question concerning the easement, and there was opposition from seven property owners who live adjacent to it. The north has been vacated in the past and, to the south, the plat was vacated and the replat occurred on top of it. He stated that there is about a ten foot gap between the two subdivisions. He pointed out Lots 17 and 18, and the lift station on the preliminary plat, which are located in part of that easement. Mr. Stivender stated that staff originally recommended approval to vacate the easement, and they are recommending approval today.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant was present.
Ms. Lucie Espey-Francis addressed the Board and stated that last month she had addressed the Board in opposition to the vacation and today she will again note her opposition. She stated that there is not a connection to a public access, because of the water retention area, which is between one end of the road and Summit Square Drive. As she had said last month, she had attempted to reach Sampson Property Inc., which does not exist and has not maintained its existence since 1991. She spoke to two of the applicant's original partners, and they were both noncommittal. She attempted to speak with Mr. Joe Godfrey, the applicant, this past month, but there was no progress made in that regard. Ms. Espey-Francis stated that there may be some case law applying to this issue, Highland Construction v. Paquette 697 So2d 235 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997), that suggests that, when there is a reference to a street that is being vacated, there is some private rights in that street and this is what she would like to preserve for the public and for the neighbors. She explained that there are families with small children and babies utilizing the roads, which is a safety issue. Ms. Espey-Francis stated that the vacation can still be done and still meet the needs of the developers. Her other concern is with Leesburg and the lift station that is being put in a public right-of-way, because if it does not function properly, it will be flowing over to all of the neighbors.
Mr. Joe Godfrey stated that he is the President of Godfrey Custom Homes and the President of Oakmont Land Development LLC, which is developing the subdivision in question. Mr. Godfrey extended his appreciation to the Board for tabling this issue from last month. He stated that the Board has set a strong precedence for closing the roads in Silver Lake. He explained that they are old roads that exist only on paper, on the old plat of Silver Lake Subdivision, and they have never been used and they do not exist. He personally has closed several thousand feet of these roads behind the Lake Square Mall with previous petitions No. 410, No. 540, and No. 550 from the mid 1980s through today. Other portions of the road have been vacated by Petition 598 for Quail Point Subdivision, which adjoins this property. He explained that, in looking at the survey of the property, the retention pond does not give Ms. Espey-Francis access to the property, because it comes to the point of the back of Oakmont Land Development's property, which is currently being platted. Mr. Godfrey stated that he is currently the taxpayer on what is being referred to as the gap, which is the 11 feet off of Radio Road. He stated that the petition today will vacate the last 330 x 15 feet of road area, and this represents the west half of the road only, and he currently has title to that parcel through Oakmont Land Development LLC. The east half has already been closed with Petition No. 550. The road is landlocked and cannot be reached from any current right-of-way, as Mrs. Espey-Francis indicated. The parcel he is requesting to be vacated is indicated on the road of the Silver Lake plat not as a playground, or park, or anything else, and it was intended to be a road. The County has approved the construction drawings of Oakmont Land Development, which he is currently developing, and these plans call for a sewer lift station to be placed in the area to be vacated. Mr. Godfrey noted that he did have with him the signed construction drawings by Lake County that authorizes him to put the lift station in that area. With the lift station at this site, it leaves two parcels of road that are approximately 130 feet by 15 feet that are not connected with each another and, when these parcels are vacated, they will become a part of Lots 17 and 18 of Oakmont Land Development. Mr. Godfrey requested that the Board follow the precedent that they have already set and vacate this road.
Commr. Cadwell noted that all of the right-of-way to the north and south, except for this portion, has been vacated, and there is no way to get to it except through Oakmont Development or the abutting lots on the other side, so there is no public purpose for it.
It was noted that this was a 30 foot right-of-way and 15 feet of it was vacated when Summit Landings was platted; therefore, there is only 15 feet left to vacate.
Ms. Espey-Francis explained that Mr. Godfrey was not present at the last hearing and there are two neighbors that specifically use that right-of-way, the public land that is landlocked by a water retention area.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that the right-of-way does not connect to anything other than private property.
Ms. Espey-Francis stated that, if you look to the future, the water retention area has no purpose. She stated that two property owners have accessed the property by using non-motorized vehicles and other neighbors have used it as a path. She further stated that this is the day of rails to trails, and she believes that the water retention area can be recovered.
Mr. Godfrey stated that the retention pond is a requirement of Summit Square Subdivision, which was built in 1985.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether Ms. Espey-Francis and the adjacent property owners on the east side would be willing to open up the 15 feet on their properties to create the path, with Ms. Espey-Francis indicating that she would be willing to do so.
Ms. Espey-Francis stated that it would be Mr. Godfrey's property, and they were only asking that the public right-of-way be maintained and to allow Mr. Stivender's department to see about possibly securing a path to Summit Square. She stated that this is very close to Treadway School and Gateway, which may be restored as a public area. All of the families have children, and they cross the private properties of the neighbors and this is where they could funnel to as a safe area that would connect from Quail Point to Summit Square.
Commr. Stivender noted that this could involve a liability issue and, if the County allowed people to walk on the path, Mr. Godfrey should not be held liable for any injuries or whatever may happen along that trail.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 964 by Joe Godfrey, Jr. to vacate road in S14, T19, R25 recorded in the Plat of Silver Lakes Estates in the Leesburg area - Commission District 3 and execution of Resolution 2001-153.
PUBLIC HEARING - ROAD VACATION
PETITION NO. 967 - JOHN AND MARY ROCKER
CLERMONT AREA - DISTRICT 2
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss Petition No. 967 by John and Mary Rocker and stated that this is an old Groveland Farms plat that runs through an orange grove. It was surveyed and staff has a copy of the survey; it is not being utilized; and it does not serve any public purpose for legal access. Mr. Stivender stated that staff is recommending approval to vacate.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant was present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 967 by John and Mary Rocker to vacate easement in S9 and 10, T23, R24 recorded in the Plat of Groveland Farms in the Clermont area - Commission District 2 and execution of Resolution 2001-154.
PUBLIC HEARING - ROAD VACATION
PETITION NO. 968 - BETTY JEAN ATKINSON - EUSTIS AREA - DISTRICT 4
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss Petition No. 968 by Betty Jean Atkinson and stated that the right-of-way is right off of Lake Eldorado and everything highlighted in yellow, as shown, has been vacated. Mr. Stivender stated that staff has reviewed the request and it appears to be heavily overgrown and has not been utilized as lake access; therefore staff is recommending approval to vacate. He stated a Unity of Title has been done, so there is not a legal access issue relating to any individual lots. Mr. Stivender stated that there were some questions concerning an agreement, and a letter was received from Mr. Robert Vason indicating that issues have been worked out by the petitioners.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant's representative was present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson noted that the request was in her district and she was in support of it.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 968 by Betty Jean Atkinson to vacate right of way in S33, T18, R27 recorded in the Plat of Eldorado Heights Subdivision recorded in the Plat Book 3, Page 7 in the Eustis area - Commission District 4 and execution of Resolution 2001-155.
CASE CUP#01/7/4-3 - DANNY LEN (c/o Dolores Len Revocable Family Trust)
NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS - TRACKING #110-01-CUP
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management, addressed the Board and stated that staff has received one request for a change to the agenda, in case CUP#01/7/4-3, Nextel Communications. Ms. Farrell stated that the opposition forwarded a letter to the Commissioners and staff requesting a postponement to afford them some time to hire an appraiser. It was noted that the letter did not clarify the time and staff was proposing 30 days.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Mr. Bruce Duncan, Potter, Clemont, Lowery & Duncan, Mount Dora, addressed the Board and stated that he represents the opposition who contacted him last week. Mr. Duncan stated that, as a result of their first meeting, he talked to a couple of appraisers who indicated that they will need additional time to determine whether there are some areas of concern for the opposition, therefore, he is requesting a 30 day postponement. Mr. Duncan stated the he spoke to Mr. Robert Merrill with Nextel this morning. He stated that the opportunity for a postponement will allow his clients to meet with Mr. Merrill to discuss areas of concern, which may lead to some cooperation or agreements. He stated that Nextel did indicate that they are pressed for time, but they would not object too strongly today to the continuance.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a 30 day postponement in case CUP#01/7/4-3 - Danny Len
Nextel Communications, Tracking #110-01-CUP, a request for a CUP in CP (Planned Commercial) to erect a 100-foot high monopole telecommunications tower on site with an existing car dealership, based upon the new information presented to the Board.
REZONING CASE PH#48-01-3 - OSCAR AND OLIVIA MAE COFFIE - A TO R-7
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from A (Agriculture) to R-7 (Mixed Residential) for placement of a mobile home. Ms. Farrell stated that Oscar & Olivia Mae Coffie. have two acres in the Yalaha area; it is a consistent request; it is a mixed residential neighborhood; and there was no opposition by the Planning and Zoning Commission who approved it 8 to 0.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant was present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed..
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#48-01-3, Oscar & Olivia Mae Coffie, the request for rezoning from A (Agriculture) to R-7 (Mixed Residential) for placement of a mobile home , Tracking #107-01-Z, Ordinance 2001-116.
REZONING CASE PH#52-01-4 - JERRY AND NANCY NEWTON - R-1 TO A
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) to A (Agriculture) and stated that the applicants have ten (10) acres, and they were surprised to find that the property was zoned R-1. They need agricultural zoning to place a mobile home on the property. Staff is recommending approval of the request; it is consistent; there was no opposition; and it was approved at Planning and Zoning.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant was present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson noted that the request is in her district and she had no problem with it.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case. PH#52-01-4, Jerry and Nancy Newton, a request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) to A (Agriculture) district to allow for those uses permitted in the Agriculture zoning district, Tracking #109-01-Z, Ordinance 2001-117.
CASE CUP#01/7/4-3 - DANNY LEN (c/o Dolores Len Revocable Family Trust)
NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS - TRACKING #110-01-CUP (CONTINUED)
Mr. Rob Merrill, representative for Nextel Communications, addressed the Board to comment on the previous action taken by the Board for a continuance in Case CUP#01/7/4-3, Nextel Communications. Mr. Merrill stated that he was not going to ask the Board to revisit the issue, but he did want the Board to know that time is very important to them; that agreeing to an additional 30 days is costly to them; and it does represent a concession on their part. He wanted the Board to know that they will be taking this time to meet with Mr. Bruce Duncan, Attorney, and those individuals that he represents. Mr. Merrill clarified that the applicant has not requested any postponements in the process.
CASE PH#49-01-5 - J. KRAMER, JR. AND BEVERLY AUSTIN - R-1 TO A
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) to A (Agriculture) and stated that the applicants have over six acres in the Dona Vista area, which is a very rural area. The request is for the placement of a mobile home in a fernery in an agricultural use; it is consistent; staff is recommending approval; and there was no opposition. Ms. Farrell noted that the Austins have had some requests for ferneries in the past, but she was not certain of the areas.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicants were present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#49-01-5, J. Kramer and Beverly Austin, a request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) to A (Agriculture) to allow for those uses permitted in Agricultural zoning district, Tracking #108-01-Z, Ordinance 2001-118.
CASE PH#50-01-1 - JACK AND ROSEMARY PURDUM (JAMES GARNER)
R-1 AND 4-3 TO ALL R-3 - TRACKING #106-01-Z
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) and R-3 (Medium Density Residential) to all R-3 (Medium Density Residential) for 27 acres in the Silver Lake area, which is a very urban residential area, for the construction of a single-family subdivision. It will be developed at a density of 2.5 dwelling units; staff recommends approval; and it was approved by Planning and Zoning with no opposition.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant was not present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#50-01-1, Jack and Rosemary Purdum (James Garnder), a request for rezoning from R-1 (Rural Residential) and R-3 (Medium Density Residential) to all R-3 (Medium Density Residential) for construction of a single-family subdivision, Tracking #106-01-Z, Ordinance 2001-119.
CASE PH#51-01-3 - UNITED SOUTHERN BANK (GREG NELSON)
CFD TO C-2 - TRACKING #112-01-Z
Commr. Hanson declared a conflict of interest and noted that she would not be able to vote, because she serves on the banking board. At this time, Commr. Hanson, Chairman, passed the gavel to Commr. Pool, Vice Chairman.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from CFD to C-2 for the construction of a car wash and accessory uses. Ms. Farrell explained that staff is correcting a mistake that was made over a decade ago when the applicant came in for rezoning in the 1970s and gave staff the wrong legal description, and therefore, the wrong piece of property was rezoned.
Commr. Pool opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. He noted that the applicant was not present and there was no opposition to the request. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case PH#51-01-3, United Southern Bank (Greg Nelson), a request for rezoning from CFD (Community Facility District) to C-2 (Community Commercial) for construction of a car wash and accessory uses, Tracking #112-01-Z, Ordinance 2001-120.
Commr. Hanson declared a conflict of interest and did not discuss or vote on the case.
At this time, Commr. Pool, Vice Chairman, returned the gavel to Commr. Hanson, Chairman.
CASE CUP#01/8/1-5 - GLORIA/AUSTIN CONTINENTAL ACRES (BONNIE ROOF) CUP IN A - TRACKING #113-01-CUP
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management addressed the Board to discuss the request for rezoning from CUP in A (Agriculture) for a bed and breakfast inn and stated that this is a ten acre parcel in the Lady Lake area, and staff is recommending approval of the request. Ms. Farrell stated that this is a good use in the rural area and will also serve some of the customers of the equestrian project that was approved last month. She noted that there was no opposition and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval 8 to 0, but they added some language regarding fire protection, which has been included in the proposed ordinance. She explained that the applicants originally brought this request in with the original application, which was approved, but it was a separate legal description and there were some errors made in the legal ad.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. She noted that the applicant's representative was present and there was no opposition to the request.
Ms. Bonnie Roof stated that she is the agent for the applicant. Ms. Roof explained that they had included this request in the original request for the Conditional Use Permit (CUP), but due to an error in advertising, it is being brought to the Board as a separate request. She stated that, because this is a ten acre parcel that fronts on CR 25 and Marion County Road, they had also requested additional staff housing. She explained that Marion County Road is north and CR 25 is west, as shown on the map in the backup, and the property in question is 1,320 feet going west to east. They are proposing two additional staff housing units near the barn on the east end of the property. Ms. Roof explained that the body of the Continental Acres Equine Resort is to the east on the south side of Marion County Road, and it is a 365 acre horse farm. She noted other surrounding developments, in relation to the property.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved Case CUP#01/8/1-5, Gloria Austin/Austin Continental Acres, a request for a CUP in A (Agriculture) for a bed and breakfast inn, with the two additional staff housing units, Tracking #113/01/CUP, Ordinance 2001-121.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 9:42 a.m., Commr. Hanson announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.
CASE PH#26-01-4 - GATWICK II - HEATHROW COUNTRY ESTATES (CECELIA BONIFAY) - AMENDMENT TO EXISTING PUD - TRACKING #111-01-PUD/AMD
Commr. Hanson stated that the question has been raised on the res judicata and she asked whether legal staff had any response to that issue.
Ms. Valerie Fuchs, Assistant County Attorney, stated that the issue of administrative res judicata is one for the Board to determine, and the doctrine is a doctrine of case law that provides that the Board is barred from hearing an application, if it is the same exact application that the Board has already heard before and, based on the facts and circumstances, it is in the Board's discretion to determine whether or not it is the same application, or if there has been substantial change to the application, so the Board can hear it.
Commr. Hanson stated that the Board's regulations indicate that an applicant who has had his application denied cannot come back with the same application in less than a year.
Ms. Fuchs explained that the issue brought forth by Commr. Hanson is completely separate from the res judicata issue, because there is case law right on point that says that these are two completely different issues. They could not come back to this Board in less than a year even if it had changed, so the County Code says that they would have to wait a year before they come back but, even when they come back in a year, the doctrine of res judicata can still apply to bar the Board from hearing it, if the Board believes that they are the same exact applications.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in the past, if there was any type of change at all, the Board has historically heard those cases.
Ms. Fuchs stated that the Board has wide discretion to determine what is a change and what is not a change, and the Board is supposed to look at it in favor of the applicant.
Commr. Hanson stated that the request was in her district, and she felt that there was new information in the application.
Commr. Pool made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Stivender, to rehear Case PH#26-01-4, Gatwick II - Heathrow Country Estates, Tracking #111-01-PUD/AMD.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that using past history, if there is any change at all, this Board has generally heard those cases again.
Commr. Hanson stated that she did not believe that, in all of the time that she has served on the Board, there has ever been one case that they have not reheard when the request was done after the year's time with any change at all.
Commr. Hanson called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, to rehear Case PH#26-01-4, Gatwick II - Heathrow Country Estates, Tracking #111-01-PUD/AMD.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director of Growth Management, addressed the Board and stated that this is a request for an amendment to an existing PUD. Ms. Farrell stated that, in December, 1999, the Board approved a rezoning from Agriculture to Planned Unit Development (PUD) on a development known as Gatwick II. The request involves 485 acres and is located in east Lake County in the Wekiva River Protection Area. Originally the applicants came through with 323 dwelling units; a clubhouse on 13 acres; some passive recreation; a nature park; and some active recreation to include a pool, and tennis and racquetball courts. Since then, the County has issued them several vested rights determinations confirming the vesting status of the project, so vesting has not been an issue for staff. When the rezoning was approved by Lake County, it was in the process of amending its Comprehensive Plan in the Wekiva, however, it did get approved prior to those changes. The density and the project, as it was approved in 1989, was found to be consistent by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), so not only did staff find it vested but based on the property, the project did not contain a lot of suitable habitat for wildlife, and based on the area and the number of units on the acreage, there was not a lot of concern from DCA. Ms. Farrell stated that they are here today to amend the PUD they have on the books, and to add a golf course and change some of the lot sizes to add the water and sewer treatment plant facilities. Staff found no issue with vesting and there was no additional information brought to their attention for them to question the vesting, and they are here with their second request. She stated that there has been some changes since that request, mainly the possibility of reuse from the City of Eustis, and although there is not a strong commitment from Eustis, there is a letter saying that they are working with them. Staff has recommended approval based on the fact they are adding the central water and sewer, and they would like to see the language a little stronger in the ordinance regarding the reuse. They have found the project, as presented, to be compatible with a lot of the development in the Mount Plymouth and Sorrento urban compact node and, although it is in the Wekiva area, there are a lot of existing plats around this particular parcel, and it really did not alter some of the residential densities in that area. She stated that the applicants have paid the reservation fee on the single family units, however, not on the golf course or any of the other areas. The question has come up in the past regarding golf courses in the Wekiva, and staff has found them to be a permitted use. Staff was able to get to a comfort level with the information that was provided by the consultants addressing environmental issues and questions that were proposed over the past year. In the interim, the County developed a golf course ordinance that is incorporated into their backup and, even though the Board has not adopted the ordinance countywide, it is incorporated into their project. Ms. Farrell stated that there was some opposition to the request; there were four letters and two speakers at the Planning and Zoning hearing. She stated that staff is well aware that adding the golf course is a more intense use, although it is a permitted use, which is reflected in the staff report. The clubhouse in the old ordinance is 8,000 square feet, and this language needs to be added to the new ordinance. The ordinance also needs to clarify the size of the clubhouse. As far as the overall project, staff is recommending approval with stronger language regarding the reuse from the City of Eustis, or from wherever they can get it.
At 10:10 a.m., Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing and called for public comment.
Commr. Cadwell disclosed that he spoke to Mr. Homer Royals, a good friend of his and, early in the conversation, Mr. Royals clearly informed him that he was working for the applicant. They did talk about the reuse and some of the other environmental concerns in regards to this development.
Commr. Pool disclosed that he met with the applicant's attorney; Commr. Hanson disclosed that she also met with the applicant's attorney as well as the folks actually from Heathrow; Commr. Stivender disclosed that she also met with the applicant's attorney; and Commr. Hill disclosed that she also spoke with Heathrow and to Ms. Bonifay.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Akerman & Seinterfitt, addressed the Board and stated that she was here on behalf of Heathrow Country Estates and Heathrow Development Company. Ms. Bonifay stated that they have a lot of their consultant team here today, however, she felt it would be best to try and utilize them more in response to specific questions. She stated that she would like to move at this time all of the data and information that was submitted to the County as part of the record, all of the studies, with most of them being in the backup, and any information that was presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission. As part of the record, she stated that they would like to have Mr. Michael Dick discuss the development and the issues relating to it. She noted that Mr. Joe DoBosh, Mr. Greg Beliveau, and Mr. Homer Royals are present and may have issues to discuss with the Board. Ms. Bonifay stated that this is a vested project for 323 units, however, a lot has been said about the fact that this could never meet today's criteria, which is not an accurate allegation. She stated that they would like to reserve time for rebuttal, and to reserve the right to question anyone that the opposition is going to proffer as being an expert, or a witness, on their behalf. Ms. Bonifay submitted a booklet entitled Heathrow Country Estates aka Gatwick II (39 pages), which was marked as Exhibit A-1.
Mr. Michael Dick, President of Heathrow Land Company, addressed the Board and stated that he will be representing the applicant in the hearing today. Mr. Dick noted that Mr. Joe DoBosh, Senior Vice President, is also here on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Dick explained for the record that this site was approved in 1989 for 323 single family homes with lot sizes of 33,000 square feet. The approved plan consists of homes on wells and septic tanks, with an 8,000 square foot clubhouse with eating facilities. Mr. Dick stated that, for the record, there has been four vesting determinations since that time. He referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 2, and stated that the property is located 6.2 miles from the Wekiva River, and they do not dispute that a portion of it is in the Wekiva Protection Area. He referred to Page 3, Exhibit A-1, an aerial of the property, and noted that this land is not what they would consider an environmentally sensitive piece of property, because it is primarily comprised of cow pasture, oak trees, and deteriorating marsh bed. They plan on utilizing and preserving as many trees as possible at the front entrance and roadway. Mr. Dick submitted Exhibit B (a composite of 13 pictures), which were marked as Exhibit A-2. He explained that they had applied for the amendment of the approved plan to include a central utilities plant, a golf course, and clustering of lots, as shown on Page 4, Exhibit A-1. Mr. Dick explained that they have a significant track record in the development in these types of homes and golf courses. They came before the Board in May, 2000, with their initial application of this amended plan following staff approval and approval of Planning and Zoning. At this time, Mr. Dick called Mr. Greg Beliveau, LPG Environmental and Permitting Services, to present an overview of the amended plan, as it relates to the land use Comprehensive Plan.
Mr. Greg Beliveau, LPG, addressed the Board and stated that he has been certified as an expert on land use within this County, as well as with hearing officers in administrative hearings and courts of law, and he has been practicing in this County for almost 20 years in both the private and public sector. He was retained for the purpose of doing an analysis on land use and the compliance with the Land Development Regulations (LDRs). He explained that, instead of going through each policy, they had prepared the following for the Board, which were submitted and marked as follows: Exhibit A-3 - Heathrow/Gatwick II, Comprehensive Plan Policies, May 23, 2000; Exhibit A-4 - Gatwick II Response to Policies; Exhibit A-5 - Letter to Honorable Michael J. Bakich, Chairman, Lake County Board of County Commissioners, from State of Florida Department of Community Affairs dated May 14, 1990 (8 pages); Exhibit A-6 - Chapter IV LDR Compliance Checklist; and Exhibit A-7 - Concurrency Evaluation Analysis. Mr. Beliveau reminded the Board that the Wekiva Basin rules were put together prior to the Board adopting the new Comprehensive Plan, and the amended plan is in compliance with this Plan, as well as the LDRs. He stated that they are not vested for concurrency, so they had to address the concurrency items, as shown in Exhibit A-7. Those items included recreation, storm water, potable water, waste water, traffic, and education. Mr. Beliveau referred to Exhibit A-5, the letter to Honorable Michael J. Bakich from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) dated May 14, 1990, and read the following into the record:
Conclusion of Law
The amendment to Lake County's land development regulations allowing a rezoning from Agriculture to Planned Unit Development will not have a significant adverse effect on the natural resources or the rural character of the Wekiva River Protection Area. It is therefore in compliance with the provisions of Subsection 369.305(1), Florida Statutes (1989).
Pursuant to Subsection 369.305(5), Florida Statutes (1989), the rezoning from Agriculture to Planned Unit Development for the Gatwick II development approved by Lake County shall become effective.
Done and ordered this 14 day of May, 1990, Tallahassee, Florida.
State of Florida Department of Community Affairs
Paul R. Bradshaw, Director
Division of Resource Planning and Management
Mr. Beliveau stated that, not only has Lake County staff reviewed this project in regards to being in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, but he and DCA have reviewed it and found the PUD to be in compliance. In terms of the new amendment, he stated that it has always been the opinion of both staff and the Board that central utilities are preferred utility over septic tanks and individual wells. Mr. Beliveau addressed the issue of the golf course and stated that the County places golf courses in the category of recreation, as a recreation activity, and they are not defined as a commercial activity. He noted that the only type of golf course uses that are defined as commercial are miniature golf and a driving range. In the LDRs, under the zoning categories, recreation which includes golf courses is a principle use in all of categories except the RV park category. He stated that the project has accepted the County's draft golf course rules and incorporated them into the PUD, which is an enhancement over the previous document.
Commr. Hanson noted that the County gives points for having a central water and sewer system to get to the higher densities in the Wekiva River Basin.
Mr. Beliveau reviewed a map noted as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (State Lands) and stated that it illustrates where Gatwick II-Heathrow is located in relation to other active PUDs and State owned lands in the area.
Commr. Hanson noted that the State owned property to the east still has a PUD on it that has not been vacated, and she believes it has a golf course on it. She noted that there is also a PUD in the northwest corner that has not been vacated.
Mr. Beliveau continued to discuss the area surrounding the proposed development and stated that they are actually a receiving area, which allows them to increase their densities through the purchase of development rights from descending areas, which are other components of the Wekiva River Basin. It was noted that, in doing so, you are transferring the densities away from the more sensitive areas to the less sensitive areas. Mr. Beliveau noted that, since they are vested, this is not a requirement of them. The map was submitted and marked at Exhibit A-8. When asked whether it was his professional opinion that, given the vested rights status of this project, it is both consistent with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan and specifically those provisions dealing with the Wekiva River Protection Area, and it is consistent with the Land Development Regulations, Mr. Beliveau responded that it is consistent.
Mr. Steve Pfeiffer, Theriaque & Pfeiffer, Tallahassee, Florida, addressed the Board and stated that he has filed a Notice of Appearance representing Scott Taylor, Friends of the Wekiva River and Defenders of Wildlife, and he would like to cross-examine Mr. Beliveau at this time. He stated that Mr. Beliveau had mentioned that this project would be under the existing Wekiva River Protection Act regulations as a receiving area for transferable development rights (TDRs) and questioned whether they had purchased develop rights from any of the donor areas and whether they would have to do this in order to develop under the present Comprehensive Plan provisions dealing with the Wekiva River Protection areas.
Mr. Beliveau testified that they had not purchased any donor areas, but they would have to do this in order to develop under the present Comprehensive Plan provisions dealing with the Wekiva River Protection areas.
Mr. Dick continued his testimony by stating that, after the Board meeting held on May 3, 2000, they were of the understanding that they needed to address three particular categories. The first was water usage and the amount of water that they would be taking from the aquifer. Mr. Dick explained that the original plan was to take some water from the shallow potable aquifer but this plan has been abandoned. The second issue was water quality, and the third issue was wildlife habitat and the impact of the golf course on the environment with the amended plan. When they met with the Board again on July 25, 2000, they presented their findings, which included the study from Yovaish Engineering Services, Inc. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 9, and stated that the diagram basically provides an analysis under the approved current plan for 323 homes on septic tanks and unregulated, unmonitored wells. The studies indicated an amount of 143 non-irrigated acres under the approved plan and 276 irrigated acres. He referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 10, and explained that, under the amended plan with the golf course, through clustering of homes and downsizing some of the lot sizes, the non-irrigated acres increased to 221 acres and 223 irrigated acres under the approved plan. He explained that the golf course design would make use of minimum levels of irrigation. They have accepted to design the golf course under the best management practices, which was placed before them at Planning and Zoning on August 1, 2001 and they have accepted the language as proposed. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 19, which reflected a Water Use Comparison By Development, and noted that, under the current plan, there will be 917,212 gallons used per day from the upper floridan aquifer/groundwater and, under the amended plan with a golf course, they will be using 270,459 gallons per day from upper and lower floridan aquifer/groundwater. He noted that, when utilizing the best management practices, as specified in the proposed ordinance, it speaks to how pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are to be used and applied as reflected in the information provided from Mr. Yovaish's report, Exhibit A-1, Pages 12-17. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 24, which gives a breakdown of the analysis in the form of water usage for the approved current plan versus the amended plan with a golf course. He stated that, under the amended plan, they will be using approximately 156,000 gallons of water less per day. In regards to wildlife habitat and golf course concerns, they have demonstrated that the property is not a sensitive environmental site, it is cow pasture and deteriorating marsh land, and the golf course will enhance all of those particular concerns. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Pages 9 and 10 and noted that, with the addition of the golf course, it allows for larger continuous roaming areas for foraging and migration. The amended plan will provide a safer area with less vehicles for the wildlife in this area. He discussed plans to refurbish the marsh area into a wetland and noted that, with the amended plan, they will not only preserve the presence of habitat on that site, but they will provide out migration of species onto the site.
Mr. Dick stated that they did not prevail at the hearing on July 25, 2000 by a 3-2 vote, but it did afford them the opportunity, in this past year, to collect additional information and compelling facts to further support their new application today. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 26, a letter from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) that sites the District's preference for central utility systems over wells and septic tanks. He referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 28, a letter from John W. Benton, Mayor/Commissioner of the City of Eustis, which basically announced the Commission's decision to pursue negotiations with Heathrow Land Company for the use of conservation or reclaimed water for their irrigation needs at Heathrow Country Estates. The amended plan has the use of alternatives for the shallow aquifer, either through reclaimed water through the City of Eustis, or the deep aquifer. The City of Eustis has been negotiating with a neighboring project, Sorrento Hills, which includes an approved golf course. At this time, Mr. Dick called Mr. Homer Royals to present testimony.
Mr. Homer Royals, Integrated Environmental Services, addressed the Board and stated that he served on the Eustis City Commission for approximately 20 years and, in representing Heathrow, he has been in contact with the City in trying to follow their negotiations with the Sorrento Hills project, and they are close to finalizing an agreement. As referenced earlier, Mr. Benton has written a letter to pursue negotiations with Heathrow Land Company, and their plans are to build a process facility at their spray field site. The City has already looked into ways to get water from the Gatwick tract, and it has been talking for a number of years about water reuse.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in the comparison chart that was provided to the Board, the reclaim water will amount to 15% of the total irrigation.
Mr. Joe DoBosh, Senior Vice President, Heathrow Land Company, explained that 113,000 gallons of potable water will be used per day from each residential unit and that is based on 350,000 gallons a day per each residential unit. The golf course consumes 377,000 gallons a day along with the common areas and, in storing the reclaimed water into the lake system, it equates to 15% of the total water use (Exhibit A-1, Page 19).
Mr. Dick readdressed the Board and stated that, in regards to the comments made by Mr. Royals, he also feel that the City of Eustis is very close to an agreement with Sorrento Hills and, in discussing the preliminary numbers with the City of Eustis, if it is found to be economically feasible, they would prefer to make use of reclaim water from the City of Eustis; however, if they are not successful and do not prevail with the City of Eustis for the use of conservation of reclaimed water, they do have the alternative plan to draw water from the deep aquifer. The plan calls for alternative uses of irrigation water from the shallow aquifer, and the two options, the use of reclaim water and taking water from the deep aquifer, are included in their amended plan. Mr. Dick referred to Exhibit A-1, Page 32, which basically showed in detail what it would take to get to the deep aquifer and, as a rule, it has been found that water from the deep aquifer is not considered potable; it would have to be significantly treated, which would be an expensive process. He referred to Exhibit A-1, Pages 30-31, and noted that the graphs reflect the reduction in the impact on the springs under the amended plan with the golf course. It was also his understanding that the SJRWMD and the Lake County Water Authority endorses the use of water from the deep aquifer for irrigation purposes. Mr. Dick stated that they had previously supplied the Board with a copy of a compilation of studies that had been done and conducted by a consortium of universities primarily determining the impact of materials used on golf courses in the day to day maintenance. The report also included an actual case study conducted by Mr. Royals on a golf course called Regatta Bay in Destin, Florida (Exhibit A-1, Page 33), which was basically a DEP mandated study. Mr. Dick called Mr. Royals to present detailed testimony on the study.
Mr. Royals stated that he is the sole proprietor with Integrated Environmental Services, which is a company that he has had for about 15 years. He discussed a monitoring project that he did for Regatta Bay, which is a golf course residential home community in Destin, Florida, and explained that it is about a 766 acre site and, even though the Gatwick site is 485 acres, there are similarities between the two sites. It has the same general topography, the ratio of wetlands to uplands is about the same percentage; and the development is about the same, a golf course with residential clustered units. Mr. Royals explained the monitoring of the project, the water samplings and other tests that were done on site, and the soil types, and he noted that, in nearly four years of testing the site, he never found any indication that there was an adverse impact from any of the nutrients from this project.
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that Mr. Dick had talked about studies that were conducted by some universities and questioned whether Mr. Royals' monitoring study, with regard to the Destin golf course, was not a peer reviewed study.
Mr. Royals responded that the study was mandated by the DEP and the reports went to the DEP for review. He explained that it was a permitting requirement, and it was not conducted in conjunction with any university.
Mr. Dick stated that, in further support of some of the new information, and as a means of focusing on the particular nature of this property, both in its undeveloped state and as it is to be developed under the approved plan, it indicates on Page 35 (Exhibit A-1) the conditions of the habitat and the wildlife now versus what they planned to do with those particular areas under their amended plan. He reviewed the listing of protected species that currently exist on the site and their plans to incorporate any active nests into the open space. He explained that, through their land acquisition, they acquired a railroad right-of-way off of SR 46, and they have plans to allow the rails for trails to make use of that particular area and hopefully contiguous property owners to their site, who also own similar rights-of-way, will allow the trail to go through their sites. Mr. Dick referred to the graph on Page 36 (Exhibit A-1), Project Tax Revenues Comparison, and noted that the total tax revenues generated under the amended golf course plan, at completion, will be $2,127,000. Under the approved plan, the total tax revenues would be projected as $776,000 at completion. He explained that the difference of $1.3 million may not take care of the conditions that challenge the County's budget, but it can be a start for education and for conservation land.
Mr. Dick stated that, under their design review guidelines, when they develop their golf course communities, they go into a great detail with their outside builders on the requirements of the homes that they build, and Page 37 (Exhibit A-1) shows the details of the Energy Star conservation program., which he explained. He stated that this will be a requirement for all of the homes that they build in Heathrow Country Estates, in addition to making use of rain gauges for each home to control individual irrigation systems. He referred to Page 38 (Exhibit A-1) the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) system and stated that this particular program deals only with commercial buildings, as opposed to residential homes, but they are looking at the various aspects and components of this program and the basic principles that are promoted by LEED, which would be something that they would employ with the homes for more energy efficiency and conservation measures. Mr. Dick referred to Page 39 (Exhibit A-1), a list of Key Issues Supporting the Amendment, which he reviewed with the Board.
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that, with regard to the issue of irrigating the residential lots in the vested Gatwick II PUD, he questioned Mr. Dick whether he had assumed that the residential owners would irrigate every inch of their property that is not covered by a dwelling, parking, or driveway, and with regard to fertilizer usage, he questioned whether factual information was formulated to determine the statistics being presented.
Mr. Dick responded that, after having managed and developed similar communities for 27 years, and after reviewing guidelines and requirements of various homeowner associations that are placed on the homeowners, he is presenting an overall calculation. He explained that further information could be provided to Mr. Pfeiffer. Mr. Dick stated that their proposed waste water treatment facility is a sub-regional facility on site as they had originally proposed, and there will be a central system there whether they do it under their development plan, or whether they make use of the City of Eustis for water and sewer, as well as reclaim water. He testified that they do not have a confirmed agreement with the City, nor a commitment to connect into the City's system, because they are waiting on the doable numbers. He further testified that, in regard to the access to the deep aquifer to irrigate the golf course, they have made a firm commitment to do that in the event that they are not successful in negotiating with the City of Eustis, and they are willing to have that as part of the ordinance. In regards to the Green Building techniques, they are willing to see what techniques in general will apply to their development, but in terms of theory and technology on basic savings, they will want to utilize them in addition to the Energy Star. He noted that, if there was some kind of language documenting what he has just said, they will be more than happy to include it. It is a commitment to use the Energy Star plan, which is very specific to residential homes and on conservation and energy devices, but the Green Building LEED is applied to commercial buildings, etc, which is not very applicable to a residence.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, unless the Board has further questions of any of their design team, this would conclude their presentation, and again, they would reserve time for rebuttal after they hear those in opposition to the project.
Commr. Hanson stated that there are Green Building concepts that do apply to residential buildings, and she would like to see those concepts incorporated, if it is approved, and to include the water wise building, as well as the energy program.
Ms. Bonifay stated that they would be willing to incorporate such concepts and, if the Board does break today, they will try to find other literature, so that they can be more specific about those concepts.
Commr. Hanson opened the floor to the opposition.
Mr. Pfeiffer addressed the Board and stated that he had filed a Notice of Appearance as counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, Inc., Friends of Wekiva, Inc., and Scott Taylor, which he submitted as Exhibit OP-1.
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that the application before the Board, to modify the Gatwick II PUD, should be denied. He stated that it was denied last year; it is almost an identical application; the developer filed an appeal from the Board's decision of July 25, 2000 through a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, with an Order being entered on July 11, 2001 denying the Petition and, therefore, affirming the denial that came from the Board last year. He offered a copy of the record of the Certiorari hearing, which included all of the appendices, as well as transcripts of the Board meetings that were conducted last year. The document was marked as Exhibit OP-2.
Mr. Pfeiffer addressed the issue of res judicata and stated that the translation means that the issue has been decided and they believe that the issue was decided a year ago. The cases that apply to actions of boards such as this one to local government governing boards, establish several things, first, that the doctrine is applicable to rulings and decisions of local governments; second, that even where there are local code provisions that require a lapse of a year before filing subsequent applications, the doctrine of res judicata applies; and third, when a prior application was decided, a subsequent application to do the same thing should be denied, unless there is a substantial change in circumstances, or new facts, which did not exist at the time of the prior decision. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that there are no new facts, or changed circumstances, in their view. The SJRWMD letter is not new, because it could have been presented last year, and in fact, the information in that letter is wholly consistent with the information that was presented to the Board last year and indicates that, when there are metropolitan areas, they should be served by waste water treatment facilities and, where there are developments that are less intense than that, they can be very effectively served by individual septic systems and individual drinking water well systems. He stated that they have an additional letter from the SJRWMD, which will be offered later in the hearing, that further clarifies that they are not taking a position on what should happen in this instance. The Destin golf course data is not new, as the date on the report is April, 2000, and it could have been presented to the Board last year. It has very questionable applicability to this proceeding, which they will demonstrate through testimony by Dr. Tom Herbert. There are minor changes in this project, and they are not substantial enough for the Board to take any action any differently than they did last year. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that they would concede that, if there was going to be a connection to the east Eustis regional systems, and the Eustis regional waste water treatment plant and receipt of reclaimed water from that plant and, if they would connect to a regional potable water supply, this would be a changed circumstance and it would be something that they would concede would make this a better project than it is now, and they would encourage the Board to make the connection a condition of in this case, if approved.
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that they do not agree that the project is vested. They respect the vesting determination made by the Board and are not asking the Board to revisit it, but they would encourage the Board to limit the vesting to 218 units He presented six (6) letters, as follows, which were marked as Exhibit OP-3 (composite): Department of Community Affairs - June 7, 1990; Cecelia Bonifay - July 10, 1990; Department of Community Affairs - Aug. 23, 1990; Department of Community Affairs - Nov. 2, 1990; Cecelia Bonifay - June 12, 1991; and Department of Community Affairs - July 17, 1991. Mr. Pfeiffer explained that, in the early 1990s, the developer made a commitment to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to reduce the size of the development, in order to ensure that they would not have to go through a development of regional impact permitting process, and it is their view that the doctrine of equitable estoppel should be applied to people that come to the forum with clean hands. The predecessor to this developer voluntarily reduced the size of their development to 218 units, and they should be held to that commitment. Mr. Pfeiffer stated that this project should be denied because the proposal has more impact on the resource and the Wekiva River Protection Area than would be the case with the project as it is presently vested, if it is vested. He stated that they have five witnesses that they would like to offer, as follows: Ms. Nancy Prine, Friends of the Wekiva River; Ms. Jennifer McMurtray, Defenders of Wildlife; Mr. Scott Taylor, adjoining property owner; Ms. Gail Easley, Planner; and Dr. Tom Herbert, geologist. At this time, Mr. Pfeiffer called Ms. Prine to present testimony.
Ms. Nancy Prine testified that she is presently Vice President of the Friends of the Wekiva River, and she has served on the Technical Committee for a number of years and has in the past served as President of the organization. Their stated purpose is to promote and protect the unique environment and recreational values of the Wekiva River and its tributaries, as reflected in their Mission Statement. Their second purpose is to protect the ecological integrity of the Wekiva River Basin to work toward restoration and continuation of the Wekiva River and its tributaries in the natural state; and to carry on educational activities to that end. Ms. Prine testified that they have a total membership of approximately 190 people, with approximately 36 that live in Lake County. She testified that Mr. James Lee, President, Friends of the Wekiva River, Inc., sent a letter last week to the SJRWMD to get further clarification on the issues that were stated in the letter written by Mr. Dwight Jenkins. The letter to Mr. James Lee, President, Friends of the Wekiva River, Inc., from the SJRWMD dated August 27, 2001 was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-4. Ms. Prine stated that they continue to believe that the development, as now proposed with the amendment, does have greater impacts on the Wekiva River Basin than the previously planned development. She explained that the legislatively enacted provision in the State Constitution states that the habitat for this area should be protected; it is a resource of regional interest; and the resources are very important to all of them. Ms. Prine stated that they would encourage the Board to deny the request.
Commr. Hanson stated that she understands the concerns with the golf course, but if it was conditioned on the water reuse and central utilities, she questioned what this would do to Ms. Prine's equation.
Ms. Prine stated that they would still have questions, because the major recharge to the springs is through recharge of the aquifer. They have attended meetings with the SJRWMD concerning their plans for future water in the area, and they are being told that any development in the area of any substantial size, or impact, would diminish the supply of water, as stated in the letter that has been provided today (Exhibit OP-4).
Ms. Bonifay questioned whether Ms. Prine had at any time contacted Mr. Mike Dick, or Mr. Joe DoBosh, or any of their consultants before this hearing to talk to them about any modifications to their plan, or did she or any member of her group on which she might base her testimony today do any on site analysis.
Ms. Prine testified that she did not contact anyone and that she, nor anyone from the group, was allowed to go on the site.
Ms. Bonifay stated an objection to Ms. Prine's response and noted that her answer will stand as given. She stated that an invitation was made for several groups to come out to the site.
In response to Ms. Bonifay's question about what characteristics of this particular piece of property did she feel would fall within their Mission Statement, in terms of a sensitive and environmental eco-system, Ms. Prine testified that primarily the recharge of the area, because it is upgrade from the springs that recharge the Black Water Creek. She further testified that she had no rebuttal for the testimony that was given today by the applicant, in terms of the lesser impact that the amended 2001 plan would have on all of the adjacent springs versus the plan that is now vested and originally proposed. She did testify that it is her understanding that all of the ponds on the site are lined.
Ms. Jennifer McMurtray, Transportation and Wildlife Ecology Coordinator, Defenders of Wildlife, addressed the Board and presented professional background information on her position with this organization and read their Mission Statement into the record. Ms. McMurtray stated that the organization has 461,250 members nationally, about 38,000 in Florida. In Lake County, there are 4,440 members, with approximately 800 people in the protection area. She stated that, since the Defenders of Wildlife has had a program in Florida, the Wekiva-Ocala system has been a major focal point for them, which she explained. Ms. McMurtray presented her educational background, as well as her work experience with wildlife and wildlife habitat issues and stated that she is familiar with the Gatwick II development. She feels that the proposed additions would have a greater and negative impact on wildlife, as opposed to the original PUD. Ms. McMurtray referred to her letter to the Commissioners dated August 24, 2001 and stated that the project is not consistent with provisions of the Protection Act, pursuant to F.S. 369.305(b)3. She also feels that the impacts to wildlife are greater than low-density residential particularly in terms of traffic related to the golf course. She explained that, if the golf course is not limited to the people in the subdivision, then other people are going to come to the site, if there are commercial enterprises there. She explained that the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission did a statewide analysis of bear mortality hot spots in the State, and they identified 15 different areas, with eight of the 15 being in the Ocala-Wekiva system, and SR 46 has been determined to be the worst road in Florida for Florida Black Bear mortality. She presented statistical information that was developed by a professor at the University of Florida and noted his predictions, in terms of additional bear mortality on SR 46 and SR 44. The Protection Act also states that the counties must ensure the preservation of sufficient habitat, to maintain viable populations of species in the Wekiva River Protection Area. She noted that Lake County has a Land Development Regulation (LDR) that stipulates that within the Protection Area listed species must be preserved on-site within the open space area. Her concern is that, in the original PUD without the golf course, there was 29% of open space, and there was probably enough flexibility to accommodate listed species, but by adding the golf course, they are forcing the species onto the golf course into a manicured, chemically maintained habitat, which is a worse condition for wildlife. She addressed species of special concern noting that the protection of such is really a County responsibility and stated that she was also concerned about the relocation areas, which are outside of the Wekiva River Protection Area. She stated that she was concerned about the change of the large seasonal pond, which was described as a deteriorating marsh bed, because those are seasonally flooded wetlands, and they are supposed to be dry sometimes and wet sometimes, and they support certain species. At this time, the letter from Jennifer D. McMurtray to the Board was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-5.
To address the concern expressed by Commr. Hanson about Ms. McMurtray's statement that the protection of the resource goes far beyond the protection area, Ms. McMurtray clarified that she did not mean to indicate that the property in question was selected but that the property within the Protection Area and outside of the Protection Area are important to the viability of these properties. Ms. McMurtray stated that the Defenders of Wildlife feel that the amendment has greater negative impacts than the original PUD, as far as wildlife, and she was not indicating their position as accepting it, but rather that they have a problem with the vesting.
In response to Ms. Bonifay's cross-examination, Ms. McMurtray testified that she has seen the property in question, but she has not had permission to be on the property. She testified that last year they met a couple of times at their community meetings and tried to find out more about the development.
Ms. Bonifay stated that Ms. McMurtray had made a statement earlier that this was not as conducive to protection because it had less open in the original project, but she clarified that the project has 32.2% open space exclusive of the golf course as opposed to 29% and 52.4% with a golf course. Ms. Bonifay questioned whether, in terms of transportation, Ms. McMurtray had calculated the number of trips that the golf course alone would produce or the number of trips the development without the golf course would produce.
Ms. McMurtray explained that she had not actually calculated any number of trips but was making the assumption based on commercial uses that are attractive to people, therefore, generating additional trips. She feels that, because there are some conflicts in transportation numbers, she relies on information from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Everyone understands that SR 46 is over capacity, but she feels that the best numbers are the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority's numbers, because they have done the most recent study, and they were looking at the level of service on that road, not at a particular development. She stated that she cannot really speak to what exists on the site, in terms of wildlife, but she feels it is an incorrect conclusion to assume that the development has benefitted wildlife because you can now see it on site, as indicated earlier.
In response to further cross-examination by Ms. Bonifay, Ms. McMurtray testified that she was not rejecting the findings that were presented by Mr. Dick, as part of the application, which were done by a registered biologist and environmental consultants as to what exists on this site, but she did feel that the project as it is today would be a better quality habitat than would be the golf course.
Mr. Pfeiffer called Mr. Scott Taylor to present testimony.
Mr. Scott Taylor addressed the Board and pointed out the location of his property in relation to the property in question, which was most of the eastern boundary of Gatwick II. He submitted a map showing SEDA and Scott and Elaine Taylor property, which was marked as Exhibit OP-6.
Mr. Pfeiffer noted that Mr. Taylor has comments to make to the Board, which have been submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-7, as well as a summary of his presentation, which was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-8.
At this time, Mr. Taylor read his comments into the record (Exhibit OP-8), which consisted of detailed historical information regarding the Gatwick II development, in terms of proceedings with the Board; the vesting of the property; the traffic study by VHB, Inc.; and he requested that the Board deny the amendment.
Ms. Bonifay requested that the record reflect that she has no questions of Mr. Taylor, and she will be calling Mr. Greg Beliveau as a rebuttal witness to the information that he submitted.
Commr. Pool asked whether Mr. Taylor would embrace and support a trail corridor in this area, if this type of opportunity becomes available at some point in the future.
Mr. Taylor stated that he did not know enough about the program to make a commitment.
Mr. Pfeiffer called Ms. Gayle Easley, from Crystal River, Florida, to present testimony.
Ms. Easley stated that she is the President and owner of a consulting company, and she provides planning and growth management and land development regulation services to both public and private clients throughout the State of Florida and across the country. Ms. Easley presented her professional, educational and work background and noted that she has testified as an expert witness in judicial and administrative proceedings and has published several dozen articles in professional journals and lectured and provided instruction at the universities, as well as in workshops and seminars on issues of planning, growth management, and land development regulation. Ms. Easley testified that she reviewed the application and the site plan for the application and she looked at materials from last year's proceedings, as well as documents dating back to 1989 relating to previous approvals. She also read a current copy of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan and LDRs, as well as the Wekiva River Protection Act, which is part of the Florida Statutes. Ms. Easley stated that she has an opinion that the proposed amendments are not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and noted that she is looking at the proposed changes and not the issue of the number of residential uses. She testified that it was very clear in the Comprehensive Plan that this is considered a rural area and these proposed amendments are completely inconsistent with protecting the integrity and the rural character of an area. She explained that a golf course community with some amenities, as proposed, is not consistent with protecting the rural character of the area. The development pattern is not what she would call clustered development and, when looking at the surrounding neighborhood, she sees things that are rural in character and this is not consistent in terms of lot sizes, or the development pattern that is proposed. The limit is one acre of commercial for 500 residential units, so there is approximately 23,800 square feet of possible commercial land; what is proposed on the site plan is far in excess of the amount that would be allowed by the Comprehensive Plan. In looking at the water and sewer plant, Ms. Easley stated that it is clearly a non-residential activity, and according to the application, it is possible that it will be available to other developments in the area, with people buying the treatment services, or water services, and that occupies about seven acres. She stated that they are far in excess of what might be contemplated as development on this site that would be consistent with rural or residential type development. With regard to the interpretation of intensity, the Comprehensive Plan directs that they rely upon the institute of traffic engineers trip generation manual to determine what kinds of intensities are proposed on a site. She was able to learn that the proposed amendments represent an 80% increase in trips using the trip generation manual and that the total trips based on that document for non-residential would be 45% of the total, which is clearly an intensification and inconsistent with the requirements. Ms. Easley noted some difficulties with regard to the water and sewer plant and stated that, if allowed, they are supposed to be regional in nature, which goes along with the comments she made earlier about being inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Easley stated that there has been testimony given that there is a significant increase in intensity in this proposed amendment, and staff has said that the golf course does represent an increase in intensity, so the written materials that say it is not more intense should have margin notes to say that it is more intense. Most of the points she just made with regard to the Comprehensive Plan are clearly identified throughout the LDRs, so it is inconsistent with both the development regulations and the Comprehensive Plan. She totally agrees that there has been no documented change in conditions that require this amendment and, with regard to whether the proposed amendment would result in demands on public facilities and the extent to which it would exceed those demands, she stated that she has seen documentation with regard to transportation and, as a planner, she can say that it is possible that the demand on transportation exceeds the level of service, so she does not consider that a resolved issue at all in her review. In the report, the standard that is supposed to be met is whether the amendment would result in significant adverse impact, but the statement in the report is that it would not place unmitigated adverse impacts. She stated that whether or not the proposed amendment would result in an orderly and logical development pattern, it is certainly not a logical development pattern; it is incompatible and inconsistent with the surrounding area; and she would consider it as an example of sprawl since it is largely outside the established urban node and represents an increase in intensity of development. Ms. Easley stated that, as the final point, it is clearly in conflict with the public interest. She testified that it is her opinion that the proposed revisions to the Gatwick II PUD are not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and she does not see this as a suburban or urban or transitional area. Ms. Easley noted that she did not analyze the property on the basis of units and, in her opinion, the features proposed to be added through the amendment would constitute sprawl. She also did not do an analysis using lot size or number of units.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 12:50 p.m., Commr. Hanson noted that the Board would recess for lunch and reconvene at 1:30 p.m.
CASE PH#26-01-4 - GATWICK II - HEATHROW COUNTRY ESTATES (CECELIA BONIFAY) - AMENDMENT TO EXISTING PUD - TRACKING #111-01-PUD/AMD
Mr. Pfeiffer called Dr. Tom Herbert to testify.
Dr. Tom Herbert addressed the Board and stated that he is a professional geologist with the firm of Lampel Herbert Consultants, Tallahassee, Florida, and he has been in practice for about 35 years as a geologist and 23 years in the private consulting business. Dr. Herbert presented his professional education and background and stated that he has been an expert witness in judicial and administrative proceedings. Dr. Herbert testified that he is familiar with the Gatwick II development, and he has examined documents with regard to the proposed development including the application, and he has also looked at the geological and hydrogeological conditions in the area, and he did a site inspection around the perimeter of the property. Dr. Herbert stated that he testified before the Board last year regarding his conclusions and professional opinions, and he stated that the project today does not seem very different at all from what he was asked to review last year, in terms of the geology and hydrogeology issues. Dr. Herbert also reviewed the material regarding the Destin golf course and stated that it was his professional opinion that there was very little relevance between the two projects, which he explained in detail. He was concerned that there were only four sampling locations for Regatta Bay reported in the study, and they were sampled on a monthly basis. He did not see any relevance between the Regatta Bay study and what is being discussed today, and he did not feel there was much relevance in the study. From a professional licensing standpoint and as a professional geologist, he wanted the Board to know that the study that was submitted to the Board was not signed or sealed by a professional engineer (P.E.), or a licensed professional geologist (P.G.), as required under Chapter 492, Florida Statutes. Dr. Herbert testified that, in his professional opinion, the information provided in the report regarding the Regatta Bay golf course development in Destin does not provide any comfort at all with regard to the potential impacts of a golf course at the Gatwick II location. He felt that the original Gatwick II, in terms of the overall system of the environment, is probably more protective. He reviewed the County's proposed golf course ordinance last year and, in preparing for his testimony last year on the same project, it is his opinion that all of the water and nutrients are going to end up in the surficial aquifer zone and, within a couple of years, when monitoring the springs near the property, there will be buildups in nutrients. The Governor has commissioned the DEP to do a spring study, and the water quality of the springs are going down, because of nutrient buildups in the aquifers that supply the spring water. Dr. Herbert explained that the sand grains do not retain nutrients like other types of soils. In terms of taking water offsite to a treatment plant and bringing back treated water to irrigate, it would probably be a good solution. When considering a local collection system and treating water onsite, Dr. Herbert was concerned that nutrients would start building up in the soil and, even though a septic system will also do this, it will be spread out over a much larger area. In his opinion, the better approach to water quality would be Gatwick II, because he feels there will be problems with the golf course. It was Dr. Herbert's opinion that, whether it be irrigation or potable water for drinking, the deeper you go into the lower floridan, the higher the chloric levels, so until there were some test wells drilled and samples taken and pump tests done, he would be concerned with high chlorides.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she had no questions for Dr. Herbert, but she would be presenting rebuttal witnesses.
Mr. Pfeiffer stated that this would conclude their presentation and, in brief summary, it is their position that the principle of res judicata should bar consideration of this application, and it should be denied on that account. They also believe that the evidence establishes that the proposal is likely to have more impact on the resource protection of the Wekiva River; that the Wekiva River Protection Act and the Comprehensive Plan are designed to protect; that the proposal is contrary to the Lake County Comprehensive Plan; and for these reasons, they would urge the Board to deny the proposal before them.
At this time, Mr. Pfeiffer asked that those present, who were in opposition to the request, stand before the Board. It was noted that there were approximately 50 individuals.
Mr. Egor Emery, Eustis, addressed the Board and stated that he is representing the Lake County Conservation Council. Mr. Emery stated that he will diverge into his own opinions after he presents the position of the Council but noted that what he says during his opinion phase does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Council. He stated that the Conservation Council wishes to state categorically that they oppose approval of this development and they urge the Board to reject the proposal. They are concerned about a number of areas particularly dealing with the Comprehensive Plan and they are concerned about economic issues. Mr. Emery stated that the County is in the process of having an Impact Fee Study done, and they are concerned that those costs are going to be born by most of the people here today who do not stand to gain financially from this project. Mr. Emery stated that there is also the aesthetics and development pattern in that area, and the Comprehensive Plan addresses that issue. He stated that he is here today to urge the Board to uphold the law, which is the Comprehensive Plan, and to advocate that the Board apply the Plan evenly, repeatedly, every single time to every development. He explained that the Board should do everything in its power to protect the Wekiva, and there should be some overriding, compelling reason to put suburban, which is urban development, in a rural area of this significance. At this time, Mr. Emery referred to sections of the Comprehensive Plan pointing out specifics on Page 1, Goal 1, Future Land Use (minimum levels of service standards); Page 19, Section 1-1.b. (re-enforce positive rural lifestyles); Page I-69, 120.3 - Vested Development Within the Wekiva River Protection Area (preliminary plat approval filed prior to December 21, 1989, effective date of the ordinance); Policy 124.1, Page I-83 - Objective 123 - discouragement of practices that depletes potable water resources and the promotion of conservation practices; Objective 124 - Lake County shall encourage the development of sewage handling and disposal facilities that utilize the best available technology in order to minimize any detrimental effect of the environment. Mr. Emery stated that the Comprehensive Plan talks about golf courses, but he is uncomfortable with the idea of a golf course counting as open space. He feels that the applicant is testifying that there is no difference between the plant and animal communities, and they are concerned about the kinds of construction required to make a golf course. He stated that they need to look at long term recharge issues, because he feels that golf course construction fundamentally alters the stormwater pattern on a particular parcel. In regards to the spring study, they know that Rock Springs and other springs in this area are already seeing higher nutrient loads, and what they do today will have a long term effect on springs in the area. Mr. Emery urged the Board to find every reason to protect the water resources by looking at projects like this and rejecting them when they are not in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan. With regard to the economic base, he feels that the County has got to stop this practice of subsidizing development. He stated that environmental tourism is a growth industry, and he believes that the Board needs to enforce the Comprehensive Plan and reject this proposal.
Mr. Keith Schue stated that he is the Wekiva Issue Chair of the Central Florida Sierra Club and the Vice Chair of their group in Maitland. Mr. Schue stated that, to be consistent with their opinion from last year, the Sierra Club is asking that this amendment be denied. He stated, for the record, that the Sierra Club does not believe that this project is vested for 323 units, and they do not accept that this project is entitled to some sort of partial vesting of density, when in fact every other aspect of this development, its form, its function, and its character, are entirely different from the Gatwick II plan that was approved over a decade ago. In determining whether or not to approve a change like this one, Mr. Schue stated that the Board relies on the Comprehensive Plan and the laws of the State, the Wekiva River Protection Act. Mr. Schue explained that the issues of soil, hydrology, wetlands and wildlife have already been covered by expert witnesses and opposition to the project, and therefore, he will focus on one particular issue, which is intensity. He referenced Florida Statutes 369.305 (1)(b) and stated that a golf course is clearly an intensification of use, as the addition of a restaurant. He stated that the Wekiva River Protection Act encourages clustering for protecting habitat and creating open space, not for fairways. He explained that the golf course and restaurant are intended to serve not only the immediate community of 323 homes, but operating as a commercial enterprise will only attract outside patrons, which will be additional people and additional traffic on the site and in the Wekiva River Protection Area. Mr. Schue stated that it is a greater intensity of use and undeniably a non-vested intensity of use by comparison to what is existing in the former plan. The result of this is an unmitigated loss of rural character within the Protection Area. Mr. Schue stated that one way that Lake County has sought to protect rural character and limit intensity in the Protection Area is by placing very strict limits on location and size of commercial centers; commercial uses are actually permitted within PUDs but only with significant restrictions; specifically Policy 1-20.11(d) - Commercial development will be allowed as part of a PUD which shall be located interior to the PUD in increments of one acre per 500 dwelling units. He clarified that, at 323 units, according to the Comprehensive Plan policy, this will allow less than two-thirds of an acre to support commercial activity. He noted that, not counting the fairways, the project will occupy more area than is allowed, which is an outright violation of the Comprehensive Plan and this alone prevents the Gatwick II amendment from being legally approved. At this time, Mr. Schue displayed a picture of "The Daily Commercial" dated Sunday, August 26, 2001, which showed two different possibilities at 323 units before and after the golf course. The newspaper was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-9. Mr. Schue stated that, in terms of wildlife accommodations, the original plan provided for more connectivity of wetlands and for more of a wildlife corridor north and south, but they are lost when trying to make room for a golf course. He reviewed a site plan that was dated last year, which was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-10, which showed something totally different than other plans, so it was very unclear how much actual open space was going to be protected. Mr. Schue encouraged the Board to deny the amendment. The letter to the Board from Mr. Schue dated August 27, 2001 was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-11.
Mr. Eric Sutch addressed the Board and stated that this development should not be allowed to go forward in its present or past proposed design. Mr. Sutch stated that Lake County already has enough golf courses, and it needs less turf and more trees. He stated that, in this rural setting, there should be five acres minimum per residence, which would make a lot less impact on an important eco-system that is already getting pressure from two other counties to the south and to the east. He further stated that the Wekiva Basin is one of three major sources of water for the entire County and a major part of Central Florida. Mr. Sutch stated that the second major source of water is Lake Apopka, a reclamation project that is several years and millions of dollars from completion and not even guaranteed to be successful. He stated that the third major source of water is the Green Swamp, which has seriously been affected by their neighbors to the south in Polk County by cutting off the natural water flow into the swamp. Besides being a major habitat for the black bear, the Wekiva Basin also has one of the highest concentration of whitetail deer in the State, and continued encroachment into this area would put extreme pressure on these and other animals within that area. He stated that this process is called island-ization where habitat becomes increasingly smaller as humans expand into it. He further stated that Seminole County has already ignored the Protection Act by developing west of I-4, and Lake County needs to stop this type of development in that entire area now and do whatever they can to stop Seminole County, because their development also affects Lake County's side of the Wekiva Basin. Mr. Sutch stated that the applicants sited property owners' rights, but individual rights do not supercede the rights of all of them as residents of Florida. Mr. Sutch stated that he has spent countless hours in the woods, in the swamps, and on the waterways of this County and State, and a marsh is not a degenerating place. It is an eco-system all to itself and continues to grow whether it is dry or wet, and he feels that a golf course is mainly a sponge for excess nutrients and pesticides and not what he would consider wildlife habitat. He stated that an increased tax base is not going to pay for the impact and intrusion that the development is going to make on them, and they are going to end up paying for it in their property taxes. If they are going to approve the request, they need to require the development not to have a golf course, but to plant more native trees. Mr. Sutch stated that he would like to reiterate that he does not feel this development should go forward in any proposal.
Ms. Mary Miracle stated that she lives on Okaloosa Trail on the Wekiva River, and as mentioned earlier by the geologist, there is a possibility that there might be saltwater intrusion, if this development puts in the well. Ms. Miracle stated that she can testify personally that this is going to happen, because she lives near the Wekiva Falls Resort, and they sunk two wells into the aquifer in the 1970s, and when she put her well in, in 1976, the salt content was 250 parts per million, which is potable and drinkable; it is now 2,500 parts per million. Ms. Miracle referred to a case, the St. Johns River Water Management District v. Wekiva Falls Resort, which basically states that it will affect the adjacent landowners' wells, which is what has happened, and she wants to go on record for all of those folks that are going to live near this development that, if the huge well is sunk to provide water for all of these houses, it is very likely going to happen to them.
Mr. James Watson stated that he has been a resident of Lake County for 11 years, and he is very much in favor of Heathrow Country Estates and the people who are developing it. Mr. Watson stated that, in looking at the different plans, they are attempting to build a very nice community, one which is above and beyond what is required of them. He stated that it will be a well thought out community and will be environmentally ahead of its time; the community will reduce water consumption by reusing reclaimed water and provide natural wildlife habitats on the golf course and other open space areas. Mr. Watson stated that he did not see how this project, with the proposed golf course utilizing reclaimed water, would be anything but better for the Wekiva River Basin, especially when the alternative is to have all homes on separate wells and septic tanks. He stated that the builders want to do more to conserve and protect this land than what is currently required of them, and he was requesting approval of the request.
Mr. Tom Drake stated that he resides in the Gatwick I section, and he wanted to reiterate the position of his neighborhood regarding this project. Mr. Drake stated that, as submitted in written testimony dated August 3, 2001, this position is taken by 23 of the 27 residents residing in Gatwick I; one family has spoken in opposition; three families have not expressed an opinion. He stated that it is important that everyone realize that Gatwick I is a neighborhood of families that enjoy the freedom of rural living; it respects its neighbors; their opinions; their lifestyles; their privacy; and all of nature's wonders. Mr. Drake stated that it is a neighborhood that is concerned over an inevitable development of a relatively high density PUD known as Gatwick II. He stated that this development would have access through their quiet streets thereby creating safety hazzards for the children, because, as a rural area, they do not have sidewalks. They are compelled to look at this project not only as it impacts them, or the natural resources, but also how it affects the County as a whole. Mr. Drake stated that they see no adversity, and last year they met as friends and neighbors to discuss the proposed Heathrow Country Estates project. He stated that they met with the developers, at their invitation, to discuss their concerns, and they were able to resolve those concerns. He further stated that the stipulations are balanced with environmental issues, as well as direct neighborhood issues. He referred to several articles that were in the newspaper about the project and stated that they believe this hearing should not be one of anti-development, since the PUD for Gatwick II was approved many years ago. While the validity of the Gatwick PUD remains in question by some, they feel those challenges and issues are best resolved in a court and not by this Commission on this day. He stated that they have concerns with the added traffic on SR 44, CR 46A, and SR46, but the increased traffic will continue with or without this project, because growth is inevitable. He stated that they feel this development will prompt quicker action towards dealing with traffic problems by raising the awareness of need and the availability of increased tax revenues from an upscale community. The concerns expressed in the article in "The Orlando Sentinel" were focused on the preservation and protection of the Florida black bear, and they support these concerns, but they must raise their priorities to a higher level. They believe that the proposed gated community, which will eliminate the platted access through the Gatwick I streets, will contribute heavily toward the preservation and protection of their own community. They strongly believe that Heathrow Country Estates, as proposed, offers this County, this Board, and the residents of Gatwick I a good solution to a bad situation they all inherited 12 years ago.
Mr. Bernie Yokel stated that he has been a resident of Lake County for 17 years, and he is a member of the Defenders of Wildlife, the Lake County Conservation Council, and the Audubon Society. He stated that he is speaking today as a citizen and his comments are focused on what he has read and what he believes constitutes some difficulties and some noncompliance on the part of this project. Mr. Yokel stated that major levels of government have taken official action to indicate their interest, to draw public attention to this threatened system, and to provide some measure of legal protection. At this time, he reviewed historical events that occurred from 1968 when the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) designated the Wekiva River a Florida Aquatic Reserve, to the year 2001 when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the Wekiva River as a strategic habitat conservation area. Mr. Yokel stated that last year Gatwick II was rejected by the County, and it is back before the Board today, with the applicant seeking seven changes in the project as an amended PUD ordinance. Of the seven amendments, two have important environmental significance and are not in compliance with the Wekiva River Protection Area Plan. One would be the addition of an 18 hole golf course with driving range and clubhouse, and the other would be the addition of water and sub-regional sewer treatment plant facilities. Mr. Yokel referred to Goal 2 in the Future Land Use Element, which states the goal in establishing the Wekiva River Protection Area, and Goal 2, Objective 1-2, dealing with the development in the Protection Area, which has even more direct language, as noted. Mr. Yokel stated that the Wekiva River Protection Area shall be protected as a natural system to the greatest extent possible through the regulation of land use densities and intensities. The placement of an 18 hole golf course, driving range, and clubhouse within the Protection Area appears to ignore the basic meaning of the goals and objectives. He stated that recent data from the SJRWMD shows the continued steady increases in water withdrawals from the surficial aquifer and floridan aquifer will probably cause a decline in flow rates by the year 2020, at several large springs that supply the base flow to the Wekiva River. The data suggests these flow rates may actually fall below their adopted minimum average flow rates and, if the springs reduce their flow, then the river flow diminishes. Mr. Yokel presented detailed data about the springs and reviewed Policy 1-21.7, which covers the preservation of natural habitats within the Wekiva system. He stated that the addition of a golf course, a driving range, and a clubhouse will dramatically change the natural dry, sandy habitats that are found in the Protection Area at Gatwick II, and they will be changed to an irrigated, manicured, green oasis. The language in the objectives and policies are clear in their intent to preserve the natural habitats in the Wekiva Area. Mr. Yokel stated that, to approve the request for Gatwick II, is to ignore the direction, intent, and spirit of the County document. He stated that the County's Land Use Element also provides guidance on sewage treatment and disposal facilities in Objection 1-24 and Policy 1-24.1, which he reviewed with the Board. The development of a regional sewage treatment system is encouraged. Mr. Yokel stated that the Gatwick II proposal calls for a central sewage facility utilizing a sub-regional treatment plant, which is the same as, or similar to, a package plant, but the Wekiva River Protection Area specifically calls for a regional sewage treatment facility and makes no provision for a smaller, sub-regional facility, or package plant. Mr. Yokel stated that, if the Board is really serious about controlling and discouraging sprawl, the Wekiva River Protection Area is certainly the place to begin. He concluded that there has been active participation and endorsements by six prestigious environmental agencies from Central Florida to Washington, with their intent being to assist in the ongoing effort to protect the Wekiva eco-system. He urged the Board to vote for a natural Wekiva and deny the application.
Mr. Roy Onyett stated that he has lived on a ten acre parcel of land in Gatwick I since 1988. Mr. Onyett stated that he clearly has a different view than his neighbor about what is happening in Gatwick II and what should happen there. He explained that, when the original PUD was approved, it was approved for a one year period and, after a number of hearings in 1991, the developers came to the Board and voluntarily changed the PUD to 218 units, which changed the nature of the PUD, and he was satisfied with that change. Mr. Onyett stated that the County has on record the layout of the 218 lots, but now the Heathrow development will abut his ten acres with multiple homes. Mr. Onyett was puzzled about how the PUD could change without public input, because he was of the understanding that, in 1991, the area would remain rural. He urged the Board to vote in favor of the citizens, and not in favor of the developers, and to deny the amendment. Mr. Onyett pointed out his property on the map labeled Revised Layout of Gatwick II - Total Lots - 218, which was submitted and marked as Exhibit OP-12. When questioned whether Mr. Onyett would embrace and support the development of 323 units without a golf course, he responded that he did not see how he could when it was in opposition to what the County promised him.
Ms. Helen McCormick stated that she lives in Mount Plymouth and there seems to be a lot of confusion about the number of units. Ms. McCormick addressed the issue of the deep well and stated that she has already experienced water problems when she lived in Melbourne Beach and she did not want to go through that again, but she seemed to think that they would only need the deep well for a very large number of houses. She felt that, if the numbers could be reduced, it would reduce the impact on the whole area, and then they could have wells and septics. She suggested that they get rid of the golf course, the restaurant, the deep well, the central water and have about three acres per unit, and then they would not have to worry about the bears either. Ms. McCormick stated that the Board should reject the proposal today, because they do not have any hard numbers, and she knows that they will be back next year, but it would give them time to develop a truly revised plan, something that everyone could be happy about.
Mr. David Earhart stated that he lives off of CR437 and, because someone would have to go through a very intensive point system to get to the number of units, he suggested that the Board vote against the amendment today, until they can come back with a plan that meets the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Earhart explained that, in the phone book, there is a list of existing golf courses in Marion County, Citrus County, and Lake County, and he did not feel that the County needed another course particularly in this area. He did not feel that the golf course could be considered as a preserve for wildlife. Mr. Earhart stated that the County has many developments already started with homes, and he feels that maybe the County needs to consider a plan to not allow any more developments, until the existing ones are 75% full. He stated that the proposal before the Board is not a necessity for the County, and it will hurt the environment and wildlife.
Mr. Bruce McGrow stated that he lives in Wekiva River Acres, and he can attest to what Ms. Miracle was saying about the salt water intrusion into their wells. He is concerned with the traffic on SR46 and feels that the County needs to deal with the roads before the development.
Ms. Julia Dulong stated that she is a native Floridian and has lived in Eustis for four years. Ms. Dulong stated that she lives in Royal Trails, which is about seven miles from the proposed development, so she travels CR46A six days out of the week, and she is very concerned about the traffic on this road and what the additional impact will be once there are additional homes and families with vehicles. Ms. Dulong explained that only a portion of SR46 is a fenced wildlife area, and the area where she lives off of SR44 is a prime black bear area. She asked the Commissioners to consider the differences between their rights and responsibilities as a Board.
Mr. Tim Bailey stated that he lives on SR46 in Mount Plymouth, and he was born and raised there. Mr. Bailey explained that the PUD on the property in question was approved when he bought his land. When he took his plans to his attorney and had them reviewed, he was told that the PUD was vested, and there were mining permits for peat. He bought his property with full knowledge of what could happen around him. It appears to him that the vesting issue has been resolved by the attorneys, and there are only two other issues, growth and environment. He stated that he and others clearly understand that they will not be able to stop growth, but they can impact growth in a positive way. Mr. Bailey stated that a large part of the SJRWMD's budget is for land acquisition, and they are primarily addressing land that cattle graze on with the reason being the effluent that cattle produce. His land, which is contiguous to the proposed site, is cattle land. The property that Heathrow is proposing to develop is cattle land, which is a commercial venture, and it environmentally impacts that land right now. Mr. Bailey explained that the Board can impact how Heathrow fertilizes and uses pesticides, and the goal is to question whether this is going to be quality growth and whether it will minimize the environmental impact.
Ms. Carol Peters stated that she and her husband owned a lawn care business for several years, and there was a big difference in the quality and quantity of chemicals and pesticides used by smaller homes versus larger homes. Ms. Peters stated that, in terms of traffic, not only will there be additional cars from all of the families moving into the proposed development, but there will be many more maintenance vehicles. Ms. Peters stated that the request is not consistent with the Wekiva Protection Area, because it is something that is much more intensive.
Ms. Bonifay addressed the Board and stated that they had refrained from asking a lot of questions and cross-examining people while they were before the Board, and they will now bring forward rebuttal witnesses to go through different points. She stated that, on the issue of res judicata, the Board has heard the case, and it was obvious that Mr. Pfeiffer wants to prepare a record for an appeal by submitting case law, Exhibit OP-2. Ms. Bonifay stated that, for the record, she would like to cite some cases as supporting the position that the Board made here today in favor of hearing the case, because, as the Board's counsel pointed out, those cases are to be reviewed in favor of the applicant, and especially in cases like this applied very liberally. They are as follows: Thompson v. DER, 511 So.2d 989 (Fla. 1987); Harry and Dorothy Booth v. Metro-Dade County, Eleventh Circuit Case - Feb. 28, 1997 Opinion; Coral Reef Nurseries v. Ann Santana Groves v. The Babcock Company, 410 So.2d 648, (3d DCA 1982); St. Johns County and Brewner v. Conway Owings , 554 So.2d 535 (5th DCA 1989). She stated that these stand for the proposition the Board endorsed today, as well as the supplement that they submitted as to new and different information in changed conditions. She further stated that a very different changed condition in new information, new data, was the County's proposed golf course ordinance, which is extremely extensive and even supercedes the Audubon course design guidelines. They have agreed that the entire proposed ordinance, even though not adopted, will be placed in toto in their particular ordinance, if adopted by the Board. She asked Mr. Beliveau to re-address the Board and address commercial uses, in particular the golf course.
Mr. Beliveau stated that the golf course is considered as open space in the Wekiva, and the identification of golf courses is not classified anywhere as being a commercial use. He reviewed the definition not only within the Comprehensive Plan, but also in the LDRs, and submitted three pages of language from the LDRs, which were marked as Exhibit A-9. Mr. Beliveau explained that they are allowed to have over 20,000 square feet; the vested PUD has 8,000 square feet, and the current application is going to retain the 8,000 square feet. The commercial under the vested complies with the current plan, and they are going to be below what is allowed in the Plan, as far as a commercial component. He clarified, for the record, that when he is talking about the 8,000 square feet, he is referring to the clubhouse facility that was included in the original PUD Ordinance, as well as what is being proposed today. He addressed the issue of central water and sewer and noted that there is no definition in the Comprehensive Plan that would make central water and sewer a commercial use. He also explained that there is no definition provided as to sub-regional or regional and the Public Facilities Element allows the County to approve a facility, on a temporary basis, for on site central systems in anticipation of connection to another system that may be larger. Mr. Beliveau explained that the first vested project had 29% open space; under the current plan there will be 87.75 acres improved and irrigated. He reviewed open space information, which was submitted and marked as Exhibit A-10. The information showed the total open space, less the golf course and improved area, to be 156.13 acres or 32.2% of the site. Mr. Beliveau explained that a traffic study is in the record, and Gatwick II/Heathrow has prepaid for all 323 units. He further explained that, under the Wekiva River Basin definition within the Comprehensive Plan, there is definition of rural densities, and they are defined as less than or equal to one dwelling unit per acre, and the project before the Board today is one unit per 1.5 acres. Mr. Beliveau reviewed the development pattern of the area and submitted a draft map ,Gatwick II Heathrow Country Estates (Lake GIS County), which was marked as Exhibit A-11. He noted that there are very few large acreage parcels that would be considered rural. Mr. Beliveau clarified information that had been supplied regarding the change from 323 units to 218 units and explained that the official Board minutes reflect a motion to extend the time of the PUD, but the reduction in lots was voluntary by the applicant and a reaction to the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) threshold, not to a PUD amendment. Mr. Beliveau addressed the item of central water and sewer and explained that there is no definition in the Comprehensive Plan when an item becomes environmentally necessary and the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area is such an area, and the County had actually incorporated that area for the purpose of putting in central systems, so this is not a new concept; it is an area that has been identified and targeted for years for central utilities, because of the concentrations in the urban node, with a portion of this project being in the urban node. Mr. Beliveau submitted a map (Florida Department of Environmental Protection - State Lands - Exhibit 2 - Public Lands with 1998 Aerial Photography), which was marked as Exhibit A-12.
Ms. Bonifay stated that Ms. Easley had raised a number of issues under the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs in her testimony and noted that Mr. Beliveau had prepared documentation in rebuttal to same.
At this time, Ms. Bonifay submitted the response to comparison by Gail Easley, which was marked as Exhibit A-13, and Mr. Beliveau reviewed the information and stated that it was his professional opinion that they comply with the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Bonifay submitted the Point System Rating Criteria, which was marked as Exhibit A-14.
Mr. Beliveau stated that, although it is a vested development, he did apply the point rating system that is found in the current Comprehensive Plan to this project and made a determination that the existing density can still be achieved under today's plan.
At this time, Mr. Pfeiffer cross-examined Mr. Beliveau.
Mr. Beliveau testified that he agreed with Ms. Bonifay that the planning provisions are subject to more than one interpretation; the commercial building will be limited to 8,000 square feet, whether it is a restaurant, or snack bar, and does not include the parking that would accommodate the commercial use, or the driving range; the planning provisions that relate to maintaining rural aspects of the Wekiva River Protection Area refer to rural character, not rural density; his analysis of the point system has not been evaluated by the staff of Lake County, because they are vested, and he clarified that another consultant prepared the point system and analyzed and clarified some of the points; and if they were seeking densities, based on this point system, they would have to address the issue at some length with County staff.
Ms. Bonifay called Ms. Tonda Logue as a rebuttal witness and noted that she had prepared the environmental analysis.
Ms. Logue addressed the Board and stated that she is a Senior Environmental Scientist for LPG Environmental and Permitting Services, and her scope of work on the project was to provide an environmental assessment of the site, as well as determine threatened and endangered species utilization on the site. Ms. Logue stated that, based on her professional opinion, the land use on site cannot be classified as a native habitat; it is cow pasture with some scattered oak trees. The wetlands on site, especially the large marsh system, has been impacted by the agricultural industry noting that the wetlands have been drained and are succeeding into upland habitat, with vegetation encroaching in those wetlands, which provides very little wildlife habitat on site. The applicants are planning on restoring the natural hydrology in the large wetland system, which will do nothing but enhance that area and provide suitable habitat for protective wading birds. Ms. Logue stated that there has not been sand and water in these systems for quite some time, so in enhancing those and restoring the hydrological function of the large marsh system, they will see an abundance of wildlife use on site. Ms. Logue explained that, because of the ditching and the draining effects from the agriculture industry, the marsh is no longer seasonally influenced, and if that wetland was not enhanced over time, it would succeed into an upland habitat. In regard to the installation of the golf course, it will enhance any species that are there and promote species habitat in the area. Ms. Logue stated that, in comparing it to what is existing on site right now, the enhancements of not only the wetlands, but the uplands, will encourage wildlife species to utilize this property.
In response to questions presented by Mr. Pfeiffer, Ms. Logue testified that there is gopher tortoise habitat on site; no burling owls; no indigo snakes; she did not observe any gopher frogs but most likely they will utilize the site due to the gopher tortoises that are present; they plan to do an onsite relocation of gopher tortoises into the common areas and upland enhancement areas on site, and if those habitats cannot support the population that exists on site, they will apply for an offsite relocation following the regulations of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She noted that they do have an offsite bank that they utilize in the Green Swamp Protection Area.
Ms. Bonifay recalled Mr. Homer Royals to address issues revolving around the environmental and engineering studies that were done to this site, and she asked Mr. Royals to respond to earlier comments, in terms of the data and analysis that were used in the transferability of the information that he found on the Destin site to the Gatwick II site.
Mr. Royals readdressed the Board and presented his educational background. At this time, Mr. Royals defended the credibility of his (Destin) report noting that there were never any adverse comments by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), for the four years that those reports were submitted. The report being referenced today is the last year of his report; there were three other reports done. He did not submit a quality assurance report for chemical analysis to staff, because of its size, but noted that it was available. Mr. Royals stated that he has dealt with fresh water systems all of his career, and he explained the site testings that he did on the site noting that there was no mixing of the water. He addressed adverse comments made earlier by Mr. Yokel about having a golf course on the site noting that Mr. Yokel did not present any study to justify his analysis. He addressed the comments made about the springs noting that there are many natural springs throughout the State of Florida that do have very high nitrate, and this is a very natural occurring phenomenon of fresh water springs. In regard to septic tanks, Mr. Royals stated that, by using a central system, as being proposed, there will be three tons of nitrogen and one half ton phosphorous that will be eliminated from the total system.
Ms. Bonifay stated that other issues of concern have been expressed, but there has been no other study produced by the opposition today dealing with either water quality, water quantity, impacts of central systems versus individual septic tanks and wells. She called Mr. Yovaish to comment on his study. At this time, she presented the Evaluations from Yovaish Engineering Sciences, Inc. package dated August 20, 2001, which was marked as Exhibit A-15.
Mr. Douglas Yovaish, P.E., addressed the Board and gave his educational background and environmental credentials.
Commr. Hanson noted that they would accept Mr. Yovaish as an expert witness.
Mr. Yovaish stated that there were questions proposed with respect to the quantity and quality of water, and the concern about the springs, with discussion of potential spring flow into the future. He explained that they tried to get further away from the dependency on the use of groundwater and to go further from use of the upper floridan aquifer and depend more on areas that are in the deeper floridan. He reviewed Exhibit A-14, with particular attention being given to Page 2, Potential Impacts to Spring Flows. Information in the report provided a comparison by development (Gatwick II and Heathrow Country Estates).
Mr. Joe DoBosh explained that the golf course ordinance that the County has not adopted refers to the Avon Park well services, and the Avon Park well services is considered to be the deep well aquifer, and as part of the ordinance adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission, it is a requirement, therefore, if they cannot get it from the City of Eustis, then they are required to go to the deep well aquifer.
Ms. Bonifay stated that Mr. Michael Dick would like to make some statements in summary. She stated that, from a legal standpoint, the Board has been advised that this is a vested project, so they have to start with the assumption that 323 units are allowed on the site. She pointed out that, although there have been questions about water quality, quantity, and environmental impacts, no studies have been presented; no data; no analysis; no evaluation, and they have tried to present substantive information and competent evidence.
Mr. Michael Dick addressed the testimony presented by Mr. Scott Taylor and stated that he questioned his objective for opposing their plan, because at one time, Mr. Taylor had considered a joint venture in the purchase of the property.
Ms. Bonifay stated that it was raised that there was not any specific language on the reuse issue, and they want to demonstrate the good faith of the applicant to continue to negotiate with the City of Eustis, but she hoped that the Board would not limit them to only this alternative. Ms. Bonifay stated that, as pointed out by Mr. Pfeiffer, they could put language in the ordinance that says that, borrowing their inability to either get reuse from the City of Eustis, or to provide it on site, or not having sufficient quantity on site, they would use the stormwater reuse and the deep floridan, which is really a part of the County's golf course ordinance and is going to continue to be required by the SJRWMD for anyone that comes in for a consumptive use permit.
At this time, Ms. Bonifay presented the following proposed language:
Developer shall continue to negotiate in good faith with the City of Eustis to obtain reuse wastewater to be used for purposes of irrigation. Should the City of Eustis and the developer determine that a mutually beneficial agreement cannot be reached, then the developer shall utilize withdrawal from stormwater reuse and thereafter from the deep Floridan aquifer.
Ms. Bonifay stated that they would urge the Board to approve the staff recommendation, which was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, with the addition of their reuse requirement, as they have indicated that they would do for Mr. Pfeiffer, and they would move that for approval.
At 4:38 p.m., Commr. Hanson called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson discussed the issue of having central water and sewer in an area for a subdivision with regulations versus having wells and septic tanks with no regulations. She also addressed clustering, which she feels is a significant part of smart growth, and which she supports. The State has purchased land to the east of this property and those that they felt were sensitive to protecting the Wekiva, and they chose not to purchase this property, even though they did look at it. She feels that the Green Building techniques are a must, because of being in an environmental area, and the concept of water wise plumbing throughout the houses is also an opportunity to conserve energy. The Energy Star Conservation program is saving energy, and the level for conservation in the County can be set through this project, if it is approved. When she looked at both plans, she saw more contiguous wildlife corridors than she saw in the new plan especially more opportunities on the eastern side. Commr. Hanson stated that golf courses are permitted in the Wekiva Basin, and there is probably no other location in the Wekiva that would be more conducive to a golf course. She stated that they heard testimony that the proposal is and is not compatible and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs, and staff says that it is and the Board has to give some reliance on that opinion. She feels that the new plan has less negative environmental impact than the current proposed plan. Commr. Hanson felt that, on the positive side was clustering, and this new plan allows for central utilities, removal of septic tanks which do have an impact on the environment, and the open space seemed to be a wash with both plans, and the water use was a wash, as reported by Dr. Herbert.
Commr. Hanson presented historical information from the 1980s, when the Orlando Sentinel presented to the Board a request for a print shop in Sorrento on SR46, which brought an industrial use to the Wekiva Basin that was not intended by the Wekiva Amendment.
Commr. Stivender explained that she was around at the time the request from the Orlando Sentinel was brought to the Board, and the person who helped write the Comprehensive Plan and who was her predecessor voted for the request
Commr. Hanson stated that the request is in District 4 and she believes that the project is going to be built with 323 units, as noted by staff, and she feels it is will be a better project, if it is tied to the reuse from the City of Eustis. She noted that the agreement has not been worked out with the City of Eustis, but she feels that it will take such an agreement to make it the kind of project that they really want if they are going to have one in the Wekiva Basin.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he did not support this project last time, and he does not intend to support it today, but after a motion is made, he may offer some amendments to a motion. He stated that he is still concerned about the golf course and the location of it, and the comments that were made that it would enhance the habitat and the wetlands compared to what is there now.
Commr. Hill questioned whether the Board could place the proposed language, as presented by Ms. Bonifay, into the ordinance, as a motion. She had been really concerned about the commercial venture, but she now knows that it is vested, and she has no choice but to go with the staff recommendation.
Commr. Stivender stated that the Board has in their files a Statement Certification of Compliance from DCA which says the project is vested at 323 units, and the Board sees that it is consistent with Paragraph 369.305(1)(b) of the Florida Statutes, and they agree with staff.
Ms. Farrell stated that, based on what staff has heard today, there was nothing that would change the recommendation that staff was making to the Board. She stated that the recommendation is approval with the additional language regarding the reuse.
Commr. Pool noted that reuse is something that the Board is hoping that the applicant can get, but again, if that is not possible, the deep floridan is already in the language, and that is the new golf course ordinance. He explained that the environmental community, both the Conservation Council, the Save Our Lakes Committee, and the Audubon members, have helped to rewrite the most stringent golf course ordinance in the entire State of Florida. He noted that there was a study done by 12 different universities that say that most pesticides used on golf courses have a negligible effect on the environment. Commr. Pool also clarified that the 65,000 square foot Orlando Sentinel facility was put in after the Wekiva Protection Act was in place. Commr. Pool stated that everything by comparison has been done for the better.
Commr. Pool made a motion to uphold the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approve the request for an amendment to the existing PUD Ordinance #108-89 and #60-91, as amended, Case No. PH#26-01-4, Gatwick II - Heathrow Country Estates, Tracking #111-01-PUD/AMD, and with the language for reuse.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson questioned whether the language being proposed was similar to what had been approved for Conserv II.
Ms. Bonifay explained that it is similar in that they would continue to negotiate to the extent it was feasible and that it would be their primary source, if obtainable. She explained that the first choice of the applicant, from a monetary standpoint, and from an environmental standpoint, is the reuse from the city, or another regional or central provider in the area. She stated that the Board could say that they will continue to negotiate to make the reuse from the waste water treatment facility their primary source, and then they would use the deep floridan or stormwater retention as backup.
Commr. Stivender seconded the motion for discussion and asked that language be added that they build to the energy wise standards.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion that the golf course be omitted from the PUD.
The motion failed for the lack of a second.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion that the Board require connection of water, waste water, and reclaimed water to the City of Eustis, or other regional provider.
Commr. Hill seconded the motion for discussion and questioned whether this was the intent of the Board.
Commr. Cadwell explained that, under the current rule, the applicant can build their own water and waste water plant.
Commr. Hanson clarified that this would prohibit the use of the temporary facility until it got hooked up.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, to require connection of water, waste water, and reclaimed water to the City of Eustis, or other regional provider, which failed by a 4-1 vote.
Commrs. Hill, Hanson, Stivender, and Pool voted "no".
Commr. Hanson stated that she would like to add the proposed requirement into the continued negotiations.
The Chairman called for a vote on the original motion, to approve the request as amended, and with the language for reuse, and with clarification that the three amendments presented by the Planning and Zoning Commission would be included, with the motion being carried by a 4-1 vote.
Commr. Cadwell vote "no".
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 4:55 p.m., Commr. Hanson announced that the Board would take a five minute recess.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
Ms. Valerie Fuchs, Assistant County Attorney, presented the request regarding the infrastructure sales surtax.
Commr. Stivender made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to approve the request to advertise an Ordinance regarding the Infrastructure Sales Surtax.
Under discussion, Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney/Interim County Manager, pointed out that staff wrote the ordinance requiring that half of the proceeds be used for transportation expenses and the other for eligible sales tax projects.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
REPORTS - COUNTY MANAGER
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney/Interim County Manager, stated that the Board has the 2002 Legislative Issues package, and it is essentially last year's package, with the only difference being that there are several transportation requests from the Public Works Department for park and ride facilities and roads in South Lake, as well as the MPO designation. He explained that they are not really on the agenda tomorrow, because they did not have any specific budget requests for the Legislature.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion to approve the 2002 Legislative Issues package and suggested that, if staff does make a presentation, to bring forth the MPO designation, which is the single most important issue that the Board can accomplish this year.
Commr. Hanson suggested that, when staff gives the Legislature the Board's package, they focus on a couple of those things that are most important.
Commr. Pool seconded the motion for discussion and stated that, if there are any topics to be highlighted, to let him know so that he can carry them forward.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff did get a request from LifeStream, and they are asking for significant funding from the Legislature to expand mental health services, and they would like the Board to support that request.
Commr. Cadwell explained that historically in this County, LifeStream has been the provider of that service and their contribution is probably lower than a lot of the counties, so the Board should at least support them in their attempt to get additional State money.
Mr. Minkoff noted that the request from LifeStream would be added to the motion as part of the package for tomorrow.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
Commr. Hanson stated that she appreciated Mr. Minkoff putting the package together so quickly, because time was short, and Commr. Pool will be making that presentation tomorrow.
ADDENDUM NO. 2
REPORTS - COUNTY MANAGER
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, noted that Addendum No. 2 is showing that the libraries did not get their request in quickly enough to get it into the main package, but it has been included in the previous motion for approval of the 2002 Legislative Issues package.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #4
Discussion occurred regarding the scheduling of the 2001 State of the County event for Thursday, October 18, 2001, at 6:30 p.m..
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney/Interim County Manager, stated that staff was recommending that the event be held in the rotunda
It was noted that the Board directed staff to schedule the event, as noted, in the rotunda, with Commr. Hanson speaking on behalf of the Board.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER POOL - DISTRICT #2
ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Commr. Pool addressed the issue of Hartle Road and noted that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning on blocking off a median cut, and the citizens are very concerned. He asked that Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, let the citizens know that the County is working on their behalf.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, noted that staff is forwarding information to the Department of Transportation (DOT), because they did have some timeliness concerns associated with the project.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
Commr. Stivender stated that she would like the Board to send a resolution to the Apopka Little League, because they are the U.S. Champions.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place the above item on the agenda for Board action.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution 2001-156 congratulating the Apopka Little League for being the U.S. Champions.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK