A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JANUARY 29, 2002
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 29, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Thieveries, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Robert A. Pool, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender. Others present were: William A. Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioners’ Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Kathryn A. Schwartz, Deputy Clerk.
The Chairman called the meeting to order.
The Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance were led by Commr. Stivender.
Commr. Pool noted that there was an Addendum No. 1 to the Board’s agenda, from the County Manager’s Departmental Business, Economic Development, to be addressed later in the meeting.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - ROAD VACATION
PETITION NO. 971P - BY MARTIN L. DZURO - LADY LAKE AREA
DISTRICT 5 (NEW)
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board regarding Petition No. 971P. He stated that the petitioner (The Villages) is asking to vacate a portion of the side utility easements in Sections 6 and 7, T18S, R24E, recorded in the Plat of Orange Blossom Gardens, Unit 3.1 B, in Lady Lake, Commission District 5 (new). After displaying a map for the Board’s review, and giving a brief history, he explained that all the people in the subject area have been notified, and he recommended that the Board approve the petition to vacate.
Commr. Pool opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was 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. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 971P, by Martin L. Dzuro, The Villages, to vacate a portion of the side utility easements in S6 and 7, T18S, R24E, recorded in the Plat of Orange Blossom Gardens, Unit 3.1 B, in the Lady Lake area - Commission District 5 (new), Resolution No. 2002-14.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - ROAD VACATION
PETITION NO. 976 - BY PIERCE HARDY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
LEESBURG AREA - DISTRICT 1
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board regarding Petition No. 976, a request to vacate easements and rights-of-way in Section 23, T19S, R25E, in the Plat of Silver Lake Estates, in the Leesburg area, Commission District 1. He explained the purpose of the petition, to clear the road access in the area of the old 84 Lumber store and the Chili’s Grill and Bar, on Highway 441, in Leesburg, and he displayed a map, for the Board’s review. He stated that staff recommends approval of the petition.
Commr. Pool opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant’s representative, Mr. Steven J. Richey, Esquire, 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. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 976, by Pierce Hardy Limited Partnership, to vacate street, easements, and rights-of-way in S23, T19S, R25E, in the Plat of Silver Lake Estates, in the Leesburg area - Commission District 1, Resolution No. 2002-15.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - ROAD VACATION
PETITION NO. 977 - BY HAROLD A. WARD, III
CLERMONT AREA - DISTRICT 2
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board regarding Petition No. 977, a petition by Harold A. Ward, III, to vacate tracts and rights-of-way in Sections9 and 10, T22S, R26E, in the Lake Highlands Company subdivision, in the Clermont area, Commission District 2, and located south of the Florida Turnpike. After displaying a map for the Board’s review and giving a brief history of the request, he recommended that the Board approve to vacate all pertinent easements in the subject area.
Commr. Pool opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that the applicant’s representative, Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Esquire, 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. Pool, noting that this request is in his district, stated that he had no problem with Vacation Petition No. 977.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Petition No. 977, by Harold A. Ward, III, to vacate tracts and rights-of-way in Sections 9 and 10, T22S, R26E, in the Lake Highlands Company subdivision, in the Clermont area - Commission District 2, Resolution No. 2002-16.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/IMPACT FEES
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Mr. William A. Neron, County Manager, addressed the Board regarding item A-1, from the Addendum, a request for deferral of impact fees, from Mr. Kevin Jakob, for a 16,015 square-foot medical office complex, on Hartwood Marsh Road, in the City of Clermont. He discussed, in detail, the original purpose of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and intent of the Impact Fee Deferral Program (Program), specifically, whether a medical office complex would fall under the intent of the Program, which was thought to be more industrial/manufacturing in nature. He stated that, having reviewed the rules and regulations, which do provide for professional office buildings, having worked with Ms. Ava Kronz, Director of Special Programs, and having met with the Jakobs, it was his recommendation that the Board approve the request for deferral, in this one instance, and that he begin working with Ms. Kronz; Mr. Gregory Mihalic, the new Economic Development director, who is scheduled to come onboard February 11, 2002; and the IDA members, to obtain a better understanding of the procedures and original intent of the Program.
Commr. Pool disclosed, for the record, that he met last week with the Jakobs regarding this issue, and it seemed pretty clear that the Program does allow professional office buildings. It was reiterated that the request was only for a deferral and that the impact fees will eventually be collected. He recommended that the Board approve the request for deferral of impact fees.
Commr. Hill disclosed, for the record, that she too spoke with the Jakobs.
Commr. Hanson stated that, having sat in on the IDA meeting, she believed the IDA was correct in its assessment and recommendation not to approve the request for deferral of impact fees, because it generally deals with industrial-development issues, rather than purely economic-development issues.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Stivender, to approve the request for deferral of impact fees for Kevin Jakob, Total Real Estate Development, for a 16,015 square-foot medical office complex, on Hartwood Marsh Road, in the City of Clermont; to place a hold on approvals for other deferral requests; and to direct Mr. Neron to review the impact fee deferral procedures and bring forward recommended procedures which are not in conflict with the Lake County Code.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell inquired into the reasoning behind the IDA’s decision, whether it was based solely on the fact that it was a medical office building, as opposed to a professional office building, drawing employment opportunity with salaries in the range of $46,000.00, or based purely on the fact that it was not industrial in nature.
Commr. Hanson responded that the IDA acted in accordance with the original intent of the Program, which was industrial in nature. She stated that the IDA recognized the economic benefit to the County but did not feel that it was proper, under their duties, to approve an office building.
Mr. Neron stated that Mr. Mihalic will be reviewing the County’s complete incentive-based program and working with the IDA to help move the County in a direction with an emphasis more on job creation, and will be actively working in partnership with the Mid-Florida Economic Development Commission.
After some discussion regarding a new direction for the IDA that was both industrial and economic in nature, it was thought that a little more time was needed to work with the various groups and departments before some recommendations could be brought back for the Board’s consideration.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was comfortable with the recommendation to approve the deferral of impact fees, in this instance, recognizing the importance of the creation of jobs, and he thought that the IDA, in practice, has been looking at economic-development issues all along but that the total expanse of its duties needs to be officially recognized, which does include economic development.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
Commr. Stivender spoke about the Saturday, January 26, 2002, opening of the new Skate Park, in Thieveries, that she and Commr. Hill attended. She noted that the Board had approved funding, to the Department of Parks and Recreation, for the creation of this park. She spoke about safety concerns and stated that the general consensus of law enforcement has been that it is better that the skaters are in a more controlled environment than out on the streets and roads of the County. She stated that there was a great turnout and a lot of positive feedback.
Commr. Hanson expressed her support of the park and that she was sorry she missed the opening event; that she had intended to be there.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - VICE CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #5
Commr. Cadwell requested that Mr. William A. Neron, County Manager, look into the formation of the committee that will oversee the new one-cent sales tax, when it comes into effect. He stated his concern that the County needs to be currently looking at this issue and working with the cities and the Lake County School Board in formulating a uniform way of selecting the members of this committee and in preparing the budgets and reports. After some discussion, it was agreed that it was not timely to be addressing this issue at this time, due to the lack of projects until the sales tax is collected, and that it should be brought back before the Board, by Mr. Neron, when appropriate.
Commr. Cadwell reminded everyone of the Thursday afternoon, January 31, 2002, Water Summit, hosted by Orange County, at the Convention Center in Orlando. He urged that as many attend as possible.
Commr. Stivender stated that she would be attending the summit.
Mr. Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that staff has advertised for this meeting and that, therefore, all the Board members were welcome to attend and participate fully.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER POOL - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool spoke about the get-together on Thursday, January 31, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., at the King’s Ridge subdivision, for a bus tour of the property, to look at a Development of Regional Impact. It was noted that the Regional Planning Council will be there and that the meeting will be open for citizen input. Discussion occurred regarding the intentions of Commrs. Pool and Stivender to attend and participate in the King’s Ridge meeting.
Mr. Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, according to the Sunshine Law, since they planned to participate, there would be a need to advertise; therefore, an advertisement would be placed in the newspaper, along with a press release.
Commr. Pool encouraged that the public attend the meeting.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - DISTRICT #4
COMMITTEES/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Commr. Hanson spoke about her desire that the County create a utilities alliance with the various municipalities. She thought that the County could facilitate such a group, and she encouraged Mr. William A. Neron, County Manager, to continue in his efforts regarding the Joint Planning Agreements (JPAs), leaving it to his discretion on how to proceed with the process. She thought it was a good idea to organize a group to discuss the matter.
Commr. Hanson requested that the Sugarloaf Mountain (Sugarloaf) funding issue be placed on today’s agenda, for discussion, noting that the Lake County Water Authority took a significant step forward when it offered funding, and she thought that the County needed to do the same, to assist in the purchase of the Sugarloaf property.
Commr. Hanson made a motion to place the item on the agenda, as stated above.
Commr. Stivender seconded the motion for discussion.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that he would vote to put the item on the agenda, but he thought that the County would be better served to put it on a future agenda of a regular meeting of the Board. He understood Commr. Hanson’s goal, to make sure that people understood the Board’s commitment to the project, but he thought that the Board needed to have a long discussion about the funding, and its impact, and how it would affect the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Under discussion, Commr. Pool stated that he thought that the Friday, February 1, 2002, Board Retreat, at the Highlander Hut, in Clermont, was a good opportunity for the Board to really focus on and discuss what it wanted to do with respect to Sugarloaf.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell urged that the Board not vote to put the item on the agenda today because, if they did, a lot of those discussions would be had. He reiterated that he understood what Commr. Hanson was trying to do, but he thought that there were too many interests and issues that needed to be addressed and too many ramifications to the Department of Parks and Recreation to make a commitment today. He assured everyone that he was still part of the team and that he would really like to see the Board do something with regard to Sugarloaf.
Under discussion, Mr. William A. Neron, County Manager, stated that it might be more appropriate for the Board to address the issue at the February 12, 2002, Board Worksession since staff would be bringing forth, at that time, a report on their efforts with respect to Sugarloaf. He stated that staff is currently engaged in discussions with the property owner on some approaches to take on this matter and that he has had several conversations with the Trust for Public Land with respect to directions that the Board might take. He also thought that more discussion needs to take place, since funding is a major issue, not only at the Board’s level but also at the public and private level.
Commr. Hanson responded that she understood the need for discussion. She pointed out, however, that they have already spoken about the $1 million source of funding from parimutuel wagering and that this was the amount that she thought the Board could offer as funding, assuming everything else went as planned. She did not see a problem with moving forward with this today.
Under discussion, Commr. Stivender reminded the Board that it still had some other items that it needed to finish addressing with respect to Sugarloaf. She suggested that the Board talk about these matters at the Board Retreat on February 1, 2002.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that it takes a four-fifths vote to successfully put the item on today’s agenda.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which failed, by a 4-1 vote.
Commrs. Hill, Stivender, Pool, and Cadwell voted “No.”
Commr. Pool thanked Commr. Hanson for her efforts and what she was trying to accomplish.
Commr. Hanson commented that she did meet, yesterday, with members of the Nature Conservancy, in Orlando, and she pointed out that this group could also be a part of the network of interested parties.
REPORTS (CONTINUED) - COMMISSIONER POOL CHAIRMAN & DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool reminded everyone of the Friday, February 1, 2002, Board retreat, at 9:00 a.m., at the Highlander Hut, in Clermont.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 a.m.
ROBERT A. POOL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK