A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
APRIL 13, 2004
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a regular session on Tuesday, April 13, 2004, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner’s Meeting Room, on the second floor of the Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Debbie Stivender, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Welton G. Cadwell; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; William “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, noted that the Board has been presented with Addendum No. 1, as part of its agenda today.
Commr. Cadwell noted that, under the Parks Master Plan presentation, he may need to address an item, and the Board can decide whether or not it needs to be placed on the agenda at that time.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT/ORLANDO UTILITIES COMMISSION (OUC)
Commr. Stivender noted that she would like to move the item pertaining to the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) litigation to this time, because the gentleman here today needs to attend a St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) meeting.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that Mr. Doug Manson, Carey, O’Malley, Whitaker & Manson, who is outside counsel for the County, is here today, and he appreciates the Board moving the item up on the agenda, because he will be leaving here and going to the SJRWMD meeting to present this agreement, if the Board approves it today.
Mr. Minkoff explained that there are actually two separate Settlement Agreements, one with the SJRWMD; one with OUC; and, if they are approved by the Board, it will end any role that the County has in the litigation currently over OUC’s consumptive use permit. These agreements are also contingent on OUC solving its litigation issues with Orange County, which they have done. If these agreements are approved today, this litigation will end. He noted that they have discussed generally the terms that are in the agreements, when the Board had a closed session, but the agreement with the SJRWMD, for the most part, has provisions about their assistance in developing alternative water supplies; and it makes somewhat of a commitment to at least offer the cities in Lake County the same types of permits that OUC and Orange County have been getting in terms of additional use of groundwater. The agreement with OUC provides that, as they fulfill their obligations with the SJRWMD to develop alternative water supplies, at the County’s option, OUC will develop five million gallons per day (MGD) for use within the County. If they exercise that option by the end of 2005, they would enter a new agreement between the County and OUC that would provide terms for payment. The agreements were distributed to the municipalities on Friday, and staff met with them several times during the process.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in the beginning, the Board was concerned about trying to protect the cities and their ability to provide for their current customers, which has now been addressed in the agreement but, in the long run, the alternative water supply issue moves forward, even with the cities that might not have been able to address that by themselves.
Mr. Manson addressed the Board and stated that it has been great working with Lake County, Mr. Minkoff and the cities. The agreement has helped them all to understand that this is a regional issue, and it is the end of the litigation, but it is the beginning of a regional focus in Lake County.
Commr. Hanson stated that, as the system is put into place, she is concerned about the private water association in Astor, which is not for profit but has always been in partnership with the County. She noted that the system is located in Commr. Cadwell’s district.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he still sees Astor and the County as partners, even though it is not likely the Astor system is going to grow a lot more purely because of the forest and restrictions in that area, but the County was fortunate to have been able to assist them in getting septic tanks out of the St. Johns. He feels that they would continue to do this even under these types of agreements, and when they apply for their consumptive use permit.
In response to Commr. Hanson’s question about whether anyone has notified Astor, or worked with them through this issue, Mr. Minkoff stated that the County has not worked with any of the private utilities but had strictly notified and worked with the 14 cities.
Commr. Hanson stated that, even though Astor is a not for profit system like many others, they are still residents of the County.
Mr. Minkoff explained that there is an alternative water supply project, and the SJRWMD has identified the one in Astor as a feasible one to do up to 5 MGD with a facility just south of Astor on the St. Johns.
Commr. Cadwell explained that this is not a mandatory agreement, but he believes that the cities would elect to be a part of it.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, even though it is not written in the agreement, he feels that, if they are going to allocate some of this alternative water supply to other uses in the County, he would suspect that the County would be able to get OUC to approve that condition.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Settlement Agreements, as follows: (1) Lake County and St. Johns River Water Management District; (2) Lake County and Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), both pertaining to the OUC litigation.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tab 1, and Addendum No. 1, Item II.A. 1., as follows:
Water Atlas Maintenance Contract/University of South Florida
Cost Sharing Agreement/Water Authority
Request from Environmental Services for approval of Lake County Water Atlas Maintenance Contract with the University of South Florida and the Cost Sharing Agreement with Lake County Water Authority.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
FEMA Board/Fire & Emergency Services/Local Recipient Organization
Request from Community Services for approval of appointment of Fletcher Smith, or an alternate designated by him to serve as Lake County Government’s representative on the FEMA Board; appoint Butch Whitehead as the representative from Fire & Emergency Services; authorize the submission of a direct application for funding as a Local Recipient Organization or Fiscal Agent/Conduit for a Local Recipient Organization if directed by action of the FEMA Board; and authorize the Community Services Department to manage the program and prepare required plans, reports and other related documents as directed by the FEMA Board and/or required by FEMA.
In regards to the request from Environmental Services for approval of the Lake County Water Atlas Maintenance Contract and the Cost Sharing Agreement, Commr. Hanson stated that this was significant for the County, and for its citizens.
Commr. Stivender noted that the contract was in conjunction with the Lake County Water Authority, and Mr. Mike Perry, Executive Director, was present today.
PROCLAMATION TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT STAFF
Ms. Liz Eginton, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Director, addressed the Board and noted that this week is National Community Development Week across the country, and in Lake County. Ms. Eginton stated that staff would like to thank the Board of County Commissioners for supporting the CDBG program and use this week to celebrate the accomplishments of the program. At this time, staff presented the Board members with a token of their appreciation, a poster announcing the celebration of the CDBG 2004 National Campaign, and acknowledged Proclamation 2004-30 declaring the week of April 12 through 18, 2004, as Community Development Week 2004 in Lake County.
WATER RESOURCE PLANNING COOPERATIVE EFFORTS IN LAKE COUNTY
JAKE VARN - ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
Mr. Jake Varn, Fowler, White Boggs & Banker, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida, addressed the Board and stated that he is appearing here today as a representative of the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), and he is functioning in a role as facilitator. Mr. Varn noted that Mr. Jerry Salsano, P.E., President, Taurant Consulting, Inc., is also here today.
Mr. Varn stated that, about two years ago, the SJRWMD began the East Central Florida Water Supply Planning Initiative and, in the Board’s backup material, there is a map depicting the area that was affected by it. He noted that, during that entire process, Lake County was present at most of the meetings and a major participant, and he wanted to commend the County for their participation in the process. Mr. Varn pointed out that he will be providing other information that has not been provided to the Board, the first being a drawing depicting a very simplistic hydrologic cross section of the State of Florida.
Mr. Varn referred to the Comparison of Effect of Pumping 30 MGD, in the backup, and explained that the blue area shows the impact around Polk, Hillsborough, Hardee, Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, if they were to put in a 30 MGD (million gallons a day) wellfield. He pointed out the much smaller blue area between Hernando and Citrus Counties. The next page in the backup reflected the East-Central Florida Water Use From The Floridan Aquifer Based on Average Annual 1995 Water Use in Million Gallons per Day (MGD) and showed that about one-third of the water is used for potable purposes, and it showed the impacts on the watertable and aquifer.
In response to Commr. Hanson’s question about whether the numbers had been corrected to reflect the amount of water that is actually being used as opposed to permitted, Mr. Varn pointed out that the Board has old data and that, in the SJRWMD’s 2025 data, it shows an increase in agricultural water use, over 40 MGD, and up to 60 MGD, and the data has now been corrected. The models shown in the backup are predicated on the 2025 old data but, even though they are correcting the data and making new model runs, the Board will probably not be able to distinguish a change because it will only be about 2%. In response to Commr. Hanson’s question about whether they have records of the actual use, Mr. Varn explained that this is a historic problem with the water management districts, because each district has looked at agriculture a little differently. Early on, they did not require agriculture to put meters on wells, and they had to engage in other mechanisms to measure the amount of water they were using. They are going to see impacts in Lake County and, in the surficial, which means that they will see lower lake levels and dried out wetlands, and the aquifer is going to affect spring flow, which is not a unique problem to this area of the State.
Mr. Varn explained that the SJRWMD is statutorily required to look out 20 years to determine whether there is going to be an adequate water supply from their traditional sources. He explained that water management districts are divided up based on surface water flows. These exercises tell them that they need to have cooperation not only within the districts, but between the districts. Mr. Varn explained that one map shows the areas that are projected not to have enough groundwater for their projected demands in the next 20 years; another map shows the draw down in the aquifer. He pointed out that there is more of a draw down in Orange County than in Lake County but, even if Lake County does nothing, things have to change because Orange County is impacting Lake County.
Mr. Jerry Salsano, P.E., President, Taurant Consulting, Inc., representing the SJRWMD, stated that Lake County is located in a high recharge area, so the surficial aquifer is much more sensitive to smaller fluctuations than potentiometric surface flow. Even though the County does not have as great a draw down, the lakes, wetlands, and springs are more easily affected than those that are located in areas where recharge is not as good.
Commr. Pool addressed the U.S. Geological Survey, which shows that the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) out of the Gourdneck Springs has been relatively consistent for the last 25 years, 30 to 31 CFMs, and stated that he was rather puzzled about this because there has been a lot of people added to the area, yet that CFM has stayed the same and constant over a great number of years. Now they are saying that, in the next 10 or 20 years, they will be seeing a dramatic change, based on the number of people that are living here.
Mr. Salsano stated that this would be the projection and, as shown, the draw downs in the potentiometric surface in Lake County are not that great when compared to what they see in Orange County, but that slight draw down affects the wetlands and lakes, and those are going to be the controlling factors.
Mr. Varn explained that Lake County is totally dependent on rainfall, and the amount of rain is going to influence exactly what happens with the surficial aquifer and floridan aquifer, and the question will be how long they can endure these impacts without causing permanent damage to the lakes and wetlands.
Mr. Varn referred to a graphic in the backup (Page 29), which was an effort by the SJRWMD to give some type of analysis about what is happening in East Central Florida (Supply and Demand). He noted that 670 MGD represents the groundwater that they have determined is available in this area on a sustainable basis. He stressed that these numbers are based on averages, and the time is approaching when the groundwater supply is not going to be adequate to meet the needs of this area. The SJRWMD started looking for projects and working with local governments and identified in the process three potential sources of water, the Lower Ocklawaha River (100 MGD); St. Johns River (175 MGD); and two desalination plants (60 MGD); for a total of 335 MGD; add that to the 670 MGD; which calculates being a little over a billion gallons of water and, as projected on the chart, that should take care of this area of the state out beyond 2040. The graphic on Page 8 shows approximate locations of potential alternative water supply projects identified as part of the East Central Florida Water Supply Planning Initiative process. Mr. Varn noted that, in the backup, there is a series of tables that identify each of those projects. In reviewing the information, they will find that the higher costs of these waters run up to as much as $3 a thousand gallons; the cheapest is a reservoir on Taylor Creek, which is a tributary to the St. Johns River, which can produce water for about $1.60. Mr. Varn explained that consideration is being given to two projects that have a potential for serving Lake County, but he feels that there are a number of alternatives to be considered before he would talk about transferring water to Lake County. For example, if he had a project on the St. Johns River, why not let the people in Lake County use the water in Seminole County, so they do not have to transport it a long distance, and then they can reduce their groundwater production, and Lake County can use the groundwater. Mr. Varn felt that the foldout in the backup (Utility Service Areas - Lake County Game Plan), was a very good graphic that shows them the water utilities in Lake County. About two-thirds of the water for potable purposes comes from governmental units; one-third comes from the private companies, but that number has changed because companies like Florida Water Services are no longer in business. He noted that statewide today, with the sale of Florida Water Services, only about five percent of the people get their potable water through a private utility, with his point being that private utilities are a thing of the past, and it is only a question of time before they are all going to be owned by government. The last chart (Lake CUPs) gives the Board the consumptive use permits for all of the governmental units in the County. He noted that 13 local governments have consumptive use permits; the Town of Astatula only provides fire protection, so they are not in the potable water business; and the County does not have any potable water supply. The current allocation is a little over 35 MGD; the 2002 water use is right at 22 MGD; the 2025 projection is a little over 42 MGD. The County only needs another 7 MGD to get them to 2025 and, even though there may be some corrections, for example, the City of Clermont, they are still saying that about 10 MGD is the projected need of Lake County for 2025. He would want to know what is going to happen to agriculture between now and 2025, and whether is it reasonable to project that they may have 10 MGD of agriculture water use that goes out of business and would be available for potable purposes, or can some reuse water be directed toward agriculture and that water be converted to potable use. Mr. Varn stated that, in looking at the chart, it is important to notice that most of the permits in Lake County are three years, five years, and seven years, but he does not want them to be misled by the one going to Clermont, because it shows it runs out to the year 2022 but, in reality, Clermont will have to address the cutback requirement that comes with the permit.
Mr. Varn stated that the local governments in Lake County have been clamoring for what he calls a level playing field, because they get the very distinct impression that what is happening in the district and other areas are not the same. The SJRWMD has come forward and said that they would like to fund a countywide study, with participation by all local governments. He and Ms. Linda Shelley visited every local government in the County and asked them if they would like to participate in the study, bringing only in-kind contributions to the table, and everyone indicated they would like to participate. Mr. Varn stated that they will draft the agreement, and the local governments will decide how to administer the money. The SJRWMD is leaving everything to the discretion of local governments, and this Board has already decided that they want to look at the agriculture water use permitting, which he feels is a great opportunity for interconnecting local systems. He will send each local government an interlocal agreement, and all 15 governments make will make the decisions.
Commr. Stivender noted that, during the last couple of years, it was Commr. Hanson who brought to the forefront the need for a water alliance, and she wanted to thank her for bringing it to the Board.
Mr. Varn stated that Commr. Hanson was on the Wekiva committee and, when looking at what is happening in this area, it is the beginning of understanding the connection between water and land use. He explained that the Wekiva is a fairly small spring, in the scheme of things, and it is what they call a second magnitude spring, about 28 MGD, in comparison to Silver Springs, 550 MGD; Rainbow Springs, 300 MGD; Weeki-Wachee, 100 MGD; and there are over 30 first magnitude springs in the State of Florida. He stated that they have to look at what is happening to the County as a whole, and then there are opportunities to work across county lines, if they can get everybody together.
Commr. Pool stated that more and more people in Central Florida are recognizing conservation methods as ways to reuse, and there is a lot of new technology available for consideration including something that will capture rainwater. As they go forward, they can be the best users of the water resources that they have right now, and people will be more readily to accept and embrace these ideas of conservation. He noted that they do need to investigate these ideas, such as the capturing of rainwater, and bring them to the Board for discussion.
Commr. Stivender stated that she has a lot of sod farms in her district, and they are having difficulties watering and maintaining their farms, to meet the requirements of the SJRWMD, and she would like to let them know if there is a better system.
Commr. Hanson appreciated Commr. Stivender’s comments and stated that her big concern is that this only deals with approximately half of the citizens in the County, those that are on central utilities; it does not deal with those that are on septic tanks; and there is the potential for that number to be even larger, but she does not know how to include them in the equation.
Mr. Varn stated that the SJRWMD does have projections on those that are served by simply wells, and that number is plugged into the equation. In regards to those that do not basically have any way of knowing how much water they are using and do not have any way of protecting their supply into the future, under the current law, if they are a small user, they are exempt from permitting, and they only need to be concerned if their well is not deep enough.
Commr. Hanson stated that she realizes there is not a system but, by working through the Health Department, those individuals were able to get County permits for wells that are four inches and under, and she did not know if there was any available information that would be helpful to those individuals.
Mr. Varn explained that those individuals have to get a permit to drill their small wells and, even though the SJRWMD has a well drilling permit, it is not a consumptive use permit, but they do know that the well is there.
Mr. Varn stated that, if the Board gives Mr. Neron direction, that is all the direction that he needs to proceed. He listened to the discussion on Astor Park and, historically, they have been reluctant to bring in the private sector, because of the sovereign immunity issue, but there may be some way that they can take care of the Astor Park situation in the planning exercise, maybe not by having them directly at the table, but through some coordination with the County. All they are trying to do, at the end of the process, is develop a plan, and they are not asking for any type of commitment beyond the plan.
Mr. Neron stated that staff has been working with the city managers, and Mr. Varn and the SJRWMD, and it is Mr. Varn’s intent to draft an agreement to form a loose coalition type of a situation to go ahead with the planning efforts and that agreement will be brought back to the County Attorney’s Office and the Board, when it is prepared.
Mr. Varn hoped to be able to send a draft agreement to the County Manager and County Attorney in about a week or so.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 9:50 a.m., Commr. Stivender noted that the Board would be taking a ten minute recess.
WORKSESSION: PARKS MASTER PLAN
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, explained that the Parks Master Plan presentation today culminates about a year long effort when the County contracted with Herbert Halback, Inc. (HHI) to prepare a comprehensive parks and recreation master plan that is going to include not only parks and recreation facilities, but bike paths, trails, and environmental lands. It has been an effort, not only of County staff, but an outreach effort with all of the municipalities and cities through their city managers and mayors, and their input is part of this program today.
Ms. Ginger Corless, President of HHI, stated that she has with her today her Senior Recreational Planner, Ms. Laura Minns. Ms. Corless wanted to express her thanks to the people who helped with this process including the Steering Committee that consisted of the Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; representatives from Rails to Trails and Environmental Lands, with some of those members being present in the audience; the municipalities and staff; all of the County departments and staff; and future partners including the National Training Center recognizing that Ms. Dot Richardson was present today.
Ms. Corless presented the Board members with backup material of her presentation, and discussed areas of importance as found in the Draft Executive Summary, March 2004, as follows:
Master Plan Goals
• Maintain & Enhance Quality of Life
• Establish a Vision
• Set Priorities
The Planning Process
• Evaluated Existing Conditions
• Met with cities, not for profits, and other recreation providers
• Public planning meetings last Fall
• Public meetings in Feb/March
• 10 Objectives
• Incorporate into Comprehensive Plan
Provision of Parks
• Provider of community & regional parks, trails & environmental lands
• Be a facilitator for parks, facilities & programs
• Eliminate existing parks that do not meet the mission
• Establish management & staffing plans for new & existing parks
• Expand grant program as an interim measure
Recreation Planning Areas
• Golden Triangle
• South Central
• Priority for activity-based facilities
• Establish funding formula based on population serviced
• Retain policy on differential fees
Level of Service
New Facility Recommendations
• 6 Community Parks
• 2 Regional Parks
• Joint Facilities
• Development of P.E.A.R. Park
• Northeast Regional
• Development of Existing Park land
• Southwest Community Park
• Southeast Regional Park
• Initiate Discussions with potential partners
• Northwest Community Park
• Northeast Community Park
• Southeast Community Park
• Central Community Park
• Southwest Community Park
Land Acquisition/Park Location Criteria
Improvements to existing facilities
Proposed 2015 Capital Plan
• $46.4 Million Capital Program
► $15.5 Million for land acquisition
► $30.9 Million for park development
• $27.9 Million in estimated revenue
► $18.5 Million shortfall
• $8.5 Million for operations thru 2015
• Finalize Plan based on BCC comments
• Transmit plan to LPA for review
• Adopt plan
• Begin implementation
► Present plan to public, cities & other providers
Commr. Hanson stated that this was a very good presentation, and it follows up very well with the Lake County Tomorrow Visioning Plan. She was very happy that HHI incorporated the blueways, which will take a lot more in-depth study and planning and getting the public to buy into it through economic development and entrepreneurship. She talked to Mr. Neron and Mr. Bob Stevens, Director of Parks and Recreation, about a void that she sees in the plan, which is the Mount Plymouth/Sorrento area, where they do have a couple of very small neighborhood parks. She stated that this area is included in a proposed larger regional park, however, Mount Plymouth/Sorrento needs to be on the map as a community park. She stated that it is not incorporated but the density is there, the numbers are there, and it would probably need the activity base. She would definitely insist that this area be on the map, and in the plan. They have a great deal of State owned property, in addition to federal owned property, and they are all open to the public. The Board needs to encourage the State to have more activity based passive recreation in those areas. The Wekiva purchased properties that are owned by the State that go all of the way from Orange County to the Ocala National Forest, and she feels there is a tremendous opportunity there.
Ms. Corless stated that, in regard to the environmental lands, Lake County is very rich in those natural resources. The acres shown actually include state and federally owned lands, and they have spoken to the different entities about establishing more of an outreach of working together. They have also discussed a rural outreach and working in the rural communities.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County has addressed the trail issue in the South Lake and Northwest areas of the County, but she feels there is a void in the area east of Lake Apopka, but Ms. Corless explained that much of those plans were on the existing plan and are part of the Master Plan, so the issues being alluded to by Commr. Hanson are included in the plan.
Commr. Hill stated that she knows the County has an existing Comprehensive Plan, which is being redone by the new Local Planning Agency (LPA), but she wanted to make sure that the Board has achieved what they set out to do in the original Comprehensive Plan, in terms of level of service, and to know that they are on track with their plans.
Through discussion, it was clarified that the number of acres was low, because it did not include the public lands, or the blueways, and the Board has addressed the current requirements of the Comprehensive Plan. The revenue includes the projected existing level of impact fees, but no increases to those impact fees, which the Board may want to consider based on the Master Plan. The cities keep their recreation impact fees, but it does not mean that, at some point in the future, the County could not readdress that issue, but right now the County is only collecting impact fees for the unincorporated areas. In terms of the proposed 2015 Capital Plan, the $15.5 million for land acquisition applies only to the generic areas on the map, and it does not include specific sites. The dollar figures are based on real estate dollars and are very preliminary in nature, based on looking at large tracts in the areas of need.
Commr. Stivender questioned whether HHI took into account the fact that the Board is going to have a referendum in November for land acquisition, and if they had an ideas about what funds are available for that land acquisition, and Ms. Corless explained that, since that is not a proven issue, they did not include it as a definite revenue source, but they do address those types of issues in the plan. The revenue is based only on existing known revenue.
Commr. Pool explained that, in November, the Board will find out if the public embraces the plan for land acquisition, and they will vote for these dollars to acquire parks, and he applauds HHI for the report. As the County’s level of service can increase, so can the impact fees, therefore, the County could not charge much of an impact fee, because the level of service was not there. As they raise that bar today, they can charge those dollars. He was very proud that Clermont had the highest level of service in the entire County, on a per thousand basis. He stated that there are ways to find partners and develop these partnerships and show that they are serious about expanding and enhancing recreation, but he appreciates the fact that the Board has taken a lead in the impact fee in Lake County, something that should have happened in 1990. He feels people will embrace it, and people will see a difference in Lake County for their master parks, and he appreciates the work of staff, and Mr. Stevens.
Commr. Stivender noted that Commr. Cadwell is the liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and he has a parcel that he would like the Board to consider today. She stated that there is also a parcel in her district for consideration today and, even though this is a plan and projection of what they are going to be doing in the future, she wanted to know whether approving these two sites would that have any bearing on the process they are creating today.
Ms. Corless stated that it would have an effect on the process, because HHI is recommending that the Board use that mission, those policy objectives, and those decisions including their acquisition decisions, to make their decisions in acquiring land. She recommends that the Board follow the acquisition criteria to help them make those decisions, because HHI was asked to put those in the plan, so they would have a way to properly evaluate a site, based on furthering this mission.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that, in the northeast section of the County, a facility has been needed for years, and it is shown on the map as a higher priority and, if a piece of property comes up for sale and, if they wait to follow this procedure, they may lose the opportunity, but Ms. Corless stressed that, if they begin to see such opportunities, they need to determine right away if they meet the mission of the plan and make their decision.
Commr. Stivender stated that she has the same situation in her area and, if they wait until the plan if a final document, they could lose an opportunity for grant funding. The property is located around Sugarloaf Mountain, an area they have been trying to preserve so, if they make these purchases, as discussed, they will not completely destroy the plan, as shown.
Commr. Pool stated that, while the Board members serve districts, they certainly have demonstrated the ability to work countywide, to ensure that they are fair and equitable with their dollars, and with their resources. The northeast area needs help, as well as other areas and, by working together, they can get it done. He feels this is a good plan, and the only key is the dollars and where they find those partners.
Commr. Cadwell stated that Commr. Stivender was on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board when the County started this plan, and he has been anxious about the plan, because he has been trying to get a facility in the northeast, and this area is now being shown as a high priority in need of a facility. He talked to Mr. Stevens about an available piece of property and, in their discussion, they did not know exactly how it would not fit the criteria. He would like to give staff direction to put the property onto that grid, as proposed, and to direct the County Attorney to meet with Mr. Paul Bryan who is representing the property owner and bring back a contract or whatever they would need to consider this piece of property. It is 110 acres on CR 450 on the east side of Umatilla, which is towards the Paisley area, and it will provide that regional park that the plan calls for in that area. Commr. Cadwell stated that it is his opinion that it helps Commr. Hanson with her area because, in moving that circle north, it opens up an even greater need in her area, and the ability to put another park there.
Commr. Hanson stated that they have to be careful because they are talking regional versus community, and she appreciates Commr. Cadwell’s effort, however, if the Board looks at the center of the regional park, they are going to see the area of CR 439, CR 44A, and SR 44, which would serve the greater area.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the partners are not there with the folks in Paisley, but they are in the area he is bringing forth today. He reminded the Board that they tried to locate a facility at CR 437 and SR 44, but the citizens were not in favor of it.
Commr. Hanson agreed with Commr. Cadwell, but she wanted to point out that those citizens may not disagree today, since there is now a development on the other side of that location. She understands the need for partnerships like with the City of Umatilla, however, that would preclude the area east of there.
Ms. Corless pointed out that regional communities are higher intensity activity development, and people are going to drive further for them. The services in the Sorrento area, with a community park, will be totally different from the standpoint of regional, and the people will go to facilities in larger areas.
Ms. Corless stated that HHI is here to answer questions and make sure the Board has the right direction. She stated that HHI would like to go ahead and present this plan to the LPA. They will fine tune the final plan and give it to staff, and it will include the comments made by the Commissioners today, and it will include the community park in the Sorrento area. They did discuss this area earlier on and felt it could easily meet the criteria, so it will not be an issue to add an amendment to the plan and, if the Board finds other areas during the year, they need to remember that this is a living document, and a working document. There will be opportunities for partnerships, and the plan gives them the policies and direction and vision to make a decision on them.
Commr. Stivender stated that she attended some of the meetings around the County, when she was the liaison of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the plan was very well received by everybody, but the issue is money.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board bonded the race track money and, at that time, the Board said they were going to do this in the three regions.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to place on the agenda the discussion of the purchase of property for a regional park outside of Umatilla.
Under discussion, Commr. Hill wanted to know if the Board would be using the race track funds, the pari-mutual funds, that were designated for Commr. Cadwell’s area, and Commr. Cadwell noted that he will get to that issue.
Commr. Stivender called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion to direct the Parks and Recreation staff to put this project (110 acres on CR 450 on the east side of Umatilla) into the grid that is in the plan, to see if it fits the criteria that is set up in the plan, even though the plan is not adopted yet, and to direct the County Attorney to meet with the realtor who is representing these folks and bring back the pertinent information that the Board will need to make a decision.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell clarified that the property is 110 acres; it is below market value; it is an active orange grove that is flat; the site work would be nil; it has a transportation issue that the County would be able to help with because there are two intersections that do not line up and, if they bought this property, they would be able to line up another intersection; it has plenty of frontage on CR 450; it has an irrigation well; and the funding is in the pari-mutual funds.
Commr. Pool seconded the motion for discussion.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson questioned whether this was the same pari-mutual dollars that were to go towards the trail that would go into Astor.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the Board had discussed the pari-mutual money and having a million dollars for each section and, at the time, they talked about the active recreation needs, especially in the north end of the County.
Commr. Hanson stated that she still has a problem with it being so close to the adjacent County and not being more centrally located where it would be more accessible to more of the citizens in that whole area.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was not disagreeing with Commr. Hanson and, in fact, he agreed with her to some extent but, for more than a year, he has tried to find a parcel that would work even further to the east and south, but he has been unable to find one.
Under discussion, Commr. Pool clarified that Commr. Cadwell’s motion was that they investigate and research this site, not to buy the site, and to bring back information for a contract.
Commr. Hanson stated that she does not feel it serves the County as well as another location, but she does not have another piece of property in mind at this time.
Commr. Stivender called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
ADDENDUM NO. 1 -
REPORTS - COUNTY MANAGER
FLORIDA FOREVER GRANT - 200 ACRE PARCEL - LAKE APOPKA
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, had informed the Board late last week that staff had been contacted by the Trust for Public Lands regarding filing a Florida Forever Grant application for a 200 acre parcel in the Sugarloaf Mountain/Lake Apopka area. Staff has given the Board attached documentation relating to that property. Mr. Neron stated that, should the Board approve filing a grant application for this purpose, the filing date is May 5, 2004. The estimated cost of the parcel is $2.5 million, with a local match of 25%, or an estimated amount of $625,000. There are several potential partners including the Lake County Water Authority, but staff has not had the opportunity to fully explore those partnerships. If the Board should decide to pursue the filing of the grant application, work will have to be done immediately in order to meet the May deadline. He suggested that the Board approve filing the application, and then staff can work to define the properties and local match. If the County is awarded a grant, it does not have to accept it, if things should change in the future, but staff did not want lack of action by staff to prevent the Board from considering this in a timely manner.
Commr. Stivender stated that the request is in District 3, and the Commissioners do go all over the County, because they are elected by everyone, but this has been an ongoing issue. They have been working with the people in the Sugarloaf Mountain area to try and protect what is there, because they know some future development will take place in that area. If this is a parcel that has not been designated to be developed and, if funding is available from the Water Authority, and the State of Florida, then she feels they need to move forward with the grant application.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, when the Board talks about land acquisition, he considers that as a means of preservation, and this is a completely different type of document for active recreation. As the process moves forward and, if the voters pass the referendum relating to land acquisition, they will have to be careful about how they mesh the two together, because one is certainly preservation, and the other is active recreation, two entirely different entities.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that part of this 200 acre parcel is preservation, but it also continues to develop the loop around the bike path, and Commr. Cadwell explained that, as the Board and others begin to find these parcels for recreation, they will be for very passive recreation.
Ms. Corless explained that, in the Master Plan, in the decision matrix, there is the question of whether it furthers the mission of a trail, or environmental lands program and, with environmental lands, they asked them to question whether it provides the opportunity, where there are uplands, to add activity based recreation, or other resource based recreation, that can be low impact activity based. If property that is purchased primarily for either a trail head or environmental lands has adjacent lands to it that are uplands, that are dry, that can accommodate activity based recreation, then they should be looked at because then they are leveraging their funds, as well as management of the site, if it is in an area of need.
Commr. Stivender noted that this item was brought forth by Commr. Hanson who serves on the Environmental Protection Advisory Board, and the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council, and the Board has letters from those committees.
Commr. Hanson stated that the comments made by Commr. Cadwell are ones that the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council has struggled with because the original intent was purely environmental but, when the surveys were done, the public strongly supported the idea of recreation. She felt that they could serve both purposes, and it is important that, as they look at leveraging their dollars, they also look at maximizing the uses of the land. There is a larger portion of property to the south (192 acres) that is mostly wetlands, and it is her understanding that this is the parcel that the Water Authority had on their list to purchase. She does not know how committed they are as a partner, if they do not look at that entire tract, or both tracts.
Mr. Mike Perry, Executive Director of the Lake County Water Authority, addressed the Board and cautioned them not to be too presumptuous as to what their board may or may not do relating to acquisition. The parcel to the south was listed in a document that was prepared by a citizen’s group around 1999 and, with the change in their board and, with it becoming an elected board, they all do not necessarily embrace that same document, so he would caution the Board not to be concerned about losing their board’s support for the northern piece, based on not including the southern piece. Mr. Perry stated that it was important for the Board to recognize that, while it is not a unanimous opinion, by any means, their board is trying to move towards water quality improvement projects and things that are making a physical difference and trying to move away from acquisition is not a unified position on the board, because it depends on a lot of circumstances.
Commr. Hill stated that is appears that this is not an established partnership at all, and she does not know how it would fit into the Master Plan. It seems that they would be circumventing their plan before they even adopt the plan and, if she had known that they were going to do this avenue, she probably would have brought forward some parcels in her district for discussion, but she has been telling people in Leesburg and Fruitland Park to wait until the Master Plan is completed so everyone has an equal opportunity to present a proposal. She understands Commr. Cadwell’s position, and she voted for it, because she knows that he has been looking forever for property in that area, and it was under existing funds, but it seems that they are getting ahead of themselves. She feels they are being a little premature until they have the voters speak to the referendum question, and they let the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council evaluate all parcels and proposals, to be brought forward on an equal basis. She also feels that they are getting ahead of themselves when they are going ahead and approving these pieces prior to those things taking place in the process.
Ms. Corless explained that HHI knew about the parcel (200 acres), but they were not asked to evaluate or look at it, and she understands that the proposal was brought to the two committees, as noted, and both committees approved to move forward with at least the grant application. In a preliminary way, they were aware of it; it fits the needs in relation to environmental lands and trails head; and it is also within an area of a proposed future community park. If there is an upland opportunity to provide community based recreation, and some athletic facilities, or low impact facilities in concert with that, then they are meeting the mission of the Master Plan. It also addresses environmental lands and trails, as a proponent of it.
Commr. Hanson read the letter from Ms. Nadine Foley, Vice Chairman, Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council, dated April 12, 2004, which expressed that, in believing that the 192 acres parcel of mostly uplands along the west shore of Lake Apopka, and the parcel of 380 acres of mostly wetlands lying south and connecting to the 192 acres mentioned, fit the criteria for the acquisition of environmentally valuable lands, the Public Lands Acquisition Advisory Council members voted unanimously to support the public acquisition of these two properties and encouraged the Board to support the acquisition of this very valuable land through the application process of a Florida Community Trust Grant.
Commr. Stivender noted that she had a letter from Ms. Mona Phipps, President, Friends of Lake Apopka, which states that the project site is specifically identified in the draft Lake County Parks and Recreation Master Plan, in the Lake Apopka Greenways and Trails Master Plan, which Lake County adopted and is within the Green Mountain Scenic Byway Corridor.
Discussion occurred regarding the deadline for the grant application, and the selection process, which would take place some time in July, with Commr. Hill expressing her concern that the Commissioners are committing this Board and committing dollars that this Board has not yet approved and saying that this money will be used for this park. She felt that this was a problem, because the Board does not have the money in hand, and they do not know if there is a more valuable piece of property that should be considered before making a decision. She is not saying that this is not a good piece of property and that they should not consider it; she is saying that, in fairness to everyone, the Board, as well as the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council, should evaluate all of the proposals, before they make a decision, particularly since she has been telling people to hold their suggestions and ideas, until the Board adopts the Master Plan.
The Board members questioned whether they would be considering the purchase of this parcel (200 acres) as part of the Master Plan or, for preservation purposes, if they did not have the referendum going to the voters or, if this program was not coming forward to them today, and they also questioned whether they would be considering Sugarloaf in this context today, even though they have discussed the issue for many years.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board members need to understand that the money may have to come out of the sales tax money that has been committed for other things, but that there are opportunities for partnerships.
Commr. Pool stated that he supports the overall program but, since the Board is talking about sites specific and, even though he has not talked to his brother-in-law, he is either the broker, or part owner, or partner involved with this site, so he will abstain from any vote and any motion and will file a conflict of interest. He pointed out that some of these lands, not specifically this land, will be bought up discussion, or they will disappear before they are discussed, and they need to embrace these grant opportunities because, if they do not take advantage of parcels that are available now, in a year from now, they will not be available because those lands are becoming readily available for development.
Mr. Glen Burns addressed the Board and noted that it had been partially addressed in the letter from the Friends of Lake Apopka, that the project site is identified in the Lake Apopka Greenways and Trails Master Plan, which he understands has now been incorporated into the new Lake County Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Mr. Neron noted, for clarification, that the deadline for the grant application is May 5, 2004, and it will probably not be possible for staff to secure any other potential partners before that time. He would propose that they draft the grant application as the County providing the match but, in the interim, they will pursue other potential partners that might participate in the matching funds.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell stated that Commr. Hill is right in what she is saying today, but he feels that they need to go back and ask themselves if they would look at this piece of property no matter what else is going on, and whether there is a chance that this piece will not be there in a year or two, which is a realistic expectation, because it is the last piece of available property on the lake at this time.
Commr. Hill stated that she is concerned because, two years ago, Commr. Cadwell was committed to Sugarloaf and, if the Board had approved it at that time, they would not be able to look at that piece today, and she wants to look at all of the available parcels at one time and make an informed decision. She was also concerned because the Board has not gotten a commitment from the SJRWMD, or the Water Authority, and she feels that it benefits both of those entities, probably far more than it does the residents of Lake County, in terms of active recreation in that area. She does not know why they (SJRWMD and Water Authority) could not purchase it and put it in trust, and then the Board can look at it when they look at all of the other parcels that may come forward after they approve the plan.
Commr. Hanson reminded the Board how quickly they were able to put money into the cleanup of Lake Apopka, which was about $750,000.
The parcel in question is located in Commr. Stivender’s district, and she approved the Board moving forward with the request.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, explained that there is a point system with the grant applications, so it is important to not only make a motion that they set aside funds for it, but to also include it in their Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried by a 3-1 vote, the Board approved to move forward with the grant (Florida Forever Grant) application for a 200 acre parcel bordering on Lake Apopka and, at the same time, include this project in their Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
Commr. Hill voted “no”, and Commr. Pool abstained from voting and declared a conflict of interest.
Commr. Cadwell noted that, in regards to HHI, the community felt that this was the most user friendly type of process, and he really appreciated the job that they did in the community in making sure that the people felt that they had a say in what was going to be in the document.
Commr. Hanson noted that her only criticism was that there was not a meeting in the Mount Plymouth/Sorrento area, and she should have made sure that happened.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
It was noted that no one present wished to address the Board with questions, comments or concerns.
ADDENDUM NO. 1 -
CITY OF MINNEOLA/FIRE RESCUE SERVICES
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that, in February, the Board submitted a proposal to the City of Minneola to continue to provide fire protection services. After receiving the proposal, the City revised some of the criteria. Staff is recommending that they re-submit the original proposal and include a request asking the City to let them know by May 15, 2004, whether or not they are going to continue to use the County for fire protection services because, if they do not, staff needs to take certain actions to make sure that they are removed from the Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) by October 1, 2004.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if the Board approves to re-submit the proposal, a paragraph needs to be added to the end of it conveying that the County does not have an opinion in the matter, so that the Board does not get involved with the confusion over the issue.
Mr. Neron explained that staff has really struggled with this proposal, because they felt they had been very responsive to the needs of the City. Staff is looking at alternative plans, if the County has to move out of there, and they will bring recommendations back to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from the County Manager to re-submit the proposal to the City of Minneola, for Lake County to continue to provide Fire Rescue Services within the City of Minneola and include a request to the City that they let the County know by May 15, 2004 whether or not they are going to continue to use them to provide fire protection services; with a paragraph at the end of it to include Commr. Cadwell’s comments.
COOPER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss the Cooper Memorial Library. It was noted that Commr. Hill is the liaison for the Lake County Library Advisory Board, and the Cooper Memorial Library is located in Commr. Pool’s district. Mr. Stivender explained that, over the last several months, staff has been investigating Cooper Memorial Library for mold/mildew mold and, in recent months, some of the rooms were closed and sealed off because of this problem. They have now found substantial mold throughout the facility and are proposing to close it at the end of this month.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, explained that staff will be temporarily reassigned to other libraries, and he and his staff have been working with Mr. Wayne Saunders, City Manager, City of Clermont, to bring back alternative proposals that would include an interim facility, as well as potential costs for building an entirely new facility because, based on some preliminary review, they would be spending almost as much to renovate the current facility as they would to build an entirely new one. Staff hopes to have detailed information to bring back to the Board within two to three weeks.
Commr. Pool stated that the patrons of the Cooper Memorial Library will be able to use the Marian Bassinger Library in Groveland, and the Citrus Ridge Library and, even though it may not be convenient for them, the Board has a responsibility here, and he feels that closing the library is the right thing to do, especially with the mold count there.
Mr. Neron stated that staff met with Mr. Saunders last week, and they discussed the issue again this morning, and they are working hand in hand with the City, as a partner, in an attempt to find an interim, as well as a long term solution.
Commr. Stivender asked that she be included in those meetings, as the liaison to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). It was noted that Commr. Pool and Commr. Hill will also be kept informed on the matter.
Commr. Hill wanted to know whether, in the County’s negotiations with the City, the City is going to commit some help in a site location, and some dollars, and Commr. Pool explained that, in his discussions with the City, they understand that some of the responsibility should lie with the City, in concert and cooperation with the County, because it is not strictly a County problem.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he does not want anyone working in an unsafe environment. He stated that Cooper Memorial Library is their busiest library and, to be without that library, or something similar in close proximity for very long, is not acceptable. He stated that the City of Clermont needs to be involved and come to the table, and he cannot believe that they would not contribute dollars for a leased space, until they can determine a long range plan. He further stated that they need to build a facility in Clermont, and the City needs to participate with them, but that is a long range plan. Even if they are going to have to look at some short range lease options, they also have a problem with the health department, and the City and the County may be able to resolve both problems, when determining an appropriate location, and share in all of those costs. Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs to have some recommendations back as soon as next week, and staff really needs to try and meet with the City of Clermont.
Mr. Wayne Gudzinskas, Assistant Library Services Director for Lake County, stated that the County does have a dilemma, but he did not feel that it would be prudent to leave the community without library services. They need to find a temporary location, and he does not condone or promote that the County spend money unwisely, but they do need to find a temporary facility. He does not feel they can provide services to that growing area through the books by mail, even though it is a valuable service. There are approximately 20,000 registered borrowers, and it is the largest library, in terms of their patron count combined between city and county residents. He suggested they try and find a temporary location, and then the other issues can be resolved possibly with the partnering with the City, to look at future alternatives for an improved or larger facility.
Commr. Pool stated that he will be attending the City Council meeting in Clermont tonight, and he will try and convey the Board’s concerns and thoughts and willingness to work with them, to share in the burden. He questioned whether there was any way to facilitate some type of filtering treatment at the facility, or something to help keep the library open for another 30 days safely.
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, stated that discussion has taken place regarding a potential site, but it will be costly, and it will take a period of time for the transition, and to get it to the required standards to use it for a library. He explained that there is the presence of mold in the Cooper Memorial Library, but the issue is abating the mold and getting it out of the facility, which cannot be done with people in the facility.
Mr. Stivender noted that the low end of costs would be $500,000; the high end would be $3 million. He stated that Mr. Smith and his staff have been looking at sites for the facility in the south end of the County, but leases are being secured on those sites very quickly but, in an interim, they may be able to find a site that will work with the placement of staff and books.
The Board directed staff is to get back with them as soon as possible and, if staff does not have a recommendation next week, staff is to provide the Board with an update on the issue.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
LAKE IDAMERE PARK/ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
RECREATION AND PARKS/FIVE YEAR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT SCHEDULE
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from Public Works for approval to add Lake Idamere Park Phase II Improvement Project to the Five Year Capital Improvement Program, for action within the next three years, and authorization for the County Manager to forward a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks certifying that the five year capital improvement schedule is officially adopted.
Commr. Hill stated that the County did receive some monies from the School Readiness Coalition for the Lake Idamere Park, in the amount of $15,000, which is very much appreciated.
Mr. Bob Stevens, Director of Parks and Recreation, informed the Board that the Florida Boundless Playgrounds Initiative is going to make an announcement on April 26, 2004.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - DISTRICT #5
WEKIVA RIVER BASIN COORDINATING COMMITTEE
Commr. Cadwell stated that he will be leaving this meeting shortly for a meeting in Tallahassee with Representative Carey Baker in regard to the Wekiva. He asked whether the Board could have the Chairman write a letter to the Governor to make sure that he knows that the elected officials in Lake County support Commr. Hanson’s recommendations that came through the Wekiva River Basin Coordinating Committee, and Senator Lee Constantine’s bill.
It was noted that no motion was needed by the Board and that the Board had reiterated taking this action at this time. Commr. Cadwell asked that this be done today, so that he would have it with him when he left for Tallahassee. He will also be there for the discussion on the annexation legislation.
COUNTY NEWS/LOCAL PLANNING AGENCY
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that, in “County News”, the national publication for counties, Lake County was mentioned because of the innovative way of looking at their local planning agency (LPA) and splitting the zoning.
At 11: 30 a.m., it was noted that Commr. Cadwell left the meeting.
APPOINTMENTS/CITIZENS’ COMMISSION FOR CHILDREN
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved the appointment of Darnell Stewart to the position designated for the Program Administrator of the Department of Children and Families on the Lake County Citizens’ Commission for Children.
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
WEKIVA/SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that, the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning approved the bill on the Wekiva. He noted that there were some technical amendments that were made to it, but nothing of substance. Senator Daniel Webster raised an issue about whether the Department of Transportation (DOT)should do the acquisition for the state, so that may be an issue, but they still have significant differences between the House Bill, and the Senate Bill. There may be a meeting with the Governor this week, and Senator Lee Constantine and Representative Fred Brummer may try to resolve those differences.
Commr. Hanson stated that it is important that Senator Constantine and Representative Brummer do not reach a compromise, as far as the Board is concerned and that, as stated earlier, the Board needs to hold fast with the original recommendations.
It was noted that this is the position that has been taken by staff, as well as Ms. Sarah Bleakley, Nabors, Giblen & Nickerson, who has been in contact with the Governor’s Office, Senator Constantine, and Representative Baker.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HILL - DISTRICT #1
MARCH OF DIMES
Commr. Hill extended her appreciation to staff and all of the people who have worked for the March of Dimes and participated in the event. She has not gotten the final tally, but they are still working very hard. She noted that April 24, 2004 is the Walk Day.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - DISTRICT #4
FLORIDA CITRUS MUTUAL
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that yesterday the Florida Citrus Mutual presented the Board with a plaque in appreciation of their support in preserving the US tariff on imported citrus products. They were the first one in the State and credit goes to Commr. Hill for bringing that to the Board. She noted that they were also very appreciative for the County’s stance on the Wekiva.
Commr. Hanson stated that it has come to her attention that the County is requiring that mobile homes be 24 feet wide, with the new regulations, and she has been informed that they do not really make them 24 feet wide; they are 23 feet 6 inches, but from roof eave to roof eave, they are 24 feet. They are finding through Code Enforcement that people are not in compliance, therefore, she is bringing this to the Board, because staff needs direction.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated he had suggested that staff talk to the Board, because the legal staff did not want to bring another amendment forward to that ordinance without direction from the Board. The staff position is that 23 feet 6 inches is the requirement; staff got 24 feet from the mobile home dealer; and there was not good communication. The change can be done more quickly if staff gets a motion to approve to advertise an ordinance, and the ordinance will be brought back to the Board.
Commr. Hanson stated that another issue is the actual replacement of single wide mobile homes with single wide mobile homes. It was her understanding that, if it is replacing a single wide, it could be a single wide or, if it is in an area that is all single wides, or a good mix, then they need to use some common sense. She explained that the Board wanted to keep the regulations pretty strict because of the changes in the ability to have mobile homes on these properties.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the ordinance does not apply to parks, because single wides are allowed those, and it only applies in areas that are not parks. All new replacement housing would have to be at least 23 feet 6 inches wide. There have been four or five variance cases since October, and probably three quarters of them have been approved but there are a lot of single wides that are in areas where they are grandfathered, or where they really are not consistent with the neighborhood, and those variance cases were turned down.
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager/Director of Growth Management, stated that the ordinance talks about a minimum width of structures, 24 feet, not mobile homes.
Mr. Minkoff stated that staff will change the ordinance to read 23 feet 6 inches, but the single wide issue could be more of a problem. Perhaps staff can monitor and report to the Board the number of variance requests they have had and evaluate that number with the number of single wides, but change the width requirement. With that, staff will deal with the gutter issue and bring those two things back to the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved to advertise an ordinance that will readdress the width issue for mobile homes and advertise to 23 feet 6 inches.
A noted, the gutter issue would also be addressed at that time.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT #3
PROCLAMATIONS/CRIME VICTIMS’ WEEK
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation 2004-47 proclaiming April 18 through 24, 2004 as Crime Victims’ Week.
It was noted that Commr. Stivender would be presenting the proclamation at the ceremony.
CITIZENS’ COMMISSION FOR CHILDREN
WORLDS GREATEST BABY SHOWERS
Commr. Stivender informed the Board that the Citizens Commission for Children will be having the Worlds Greatest Baby Showers this week and next week. Tonight there will be one at the Leesburg Community Building from 5-8 p.m.; next Tuesday at the Celebration of Praise Church in Minneola; next Thursday at Florida Hospital in Tavares. She extended her appreciation to Ms. Emily Lee, Childrens Services Director, and staff.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.
DEBBIE STIVENDER, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK