A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

MAY 24, 2005

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 24, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell; Debbie Stivender; and Robert A. Pool.  Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager/Interim County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioners’ Office; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE

Commr. Hill, Chairman, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

AGENDA UPDATE

Ms. Cindy Hall, Assistant County Manager/Interim County Manager, informed the Board that Tab 6, a request from Community Services for approval of submission of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Targeted Capacity Expansion Grant for Jail Diversion Programs:  Community-Based Treatment for Offenders with Mental Health Disorders and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse Disorders, in the amount of $400,000.00, as the grant applicant, collaborating partner, and grant manager; and to authorize the Chairman’s signature on the application and subsequent contract, if awarded, contingent upon the County Attorney’s approval, routine grant documents, and reports, as required, was being pulled from the Agenda, until a later date.

COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA

Commr. Hanson stated that she would be voting for approval of Tab 1, a request from Community Services for approval of the Application for Continuation of Health Communities Access Program (HCAP) for a second year, however, asked that the Board be given a presentation in the near future on where the program currently is with the grant monies that have already been received.

On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests:

Community Services

Request from Community Services for approval of Application for Continuation of Health Communities Access Program (HCAP) for a second year – Fiscal Year 2005/2006, in the amount of $709,614.00.  No local match is required.

Information Technology

            Request from Information Technology for approval and authorization to pay Software House International (SHI) $39,556.67, in accordance with year three of the State of Florida Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, allowing the payment of licensing and software assurance to be spread over a three year period.

            PUBLIC HEARINGS: VACATIONS

            PETITION NO. 1046 – LAKE SAUNDERS GROVES LAND, LLP/CHELSEA

            OAKS, LLC – TAVARES AREA

            Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, explained this request, stating that it was postponed from the last Board of County Commissioner’s Meeting and that, since that time, Commr. Stivender had held a public meeting with the residents of Tavares, to hear their concerns about the matter.  He stated that the request is to cease maintenance on a portion of Merry Road, in the plat of James M. Conner, just outside the City of Tavares, and noted that there was an interest in vacating an additional portion of right of way to the north side of the right of way in question, pointing out said area on a map (contained in the Board’s backup material) on display.  He stated that the applicant was requesting to vacate Merry Road back to the line that was originally asked for, although the legal description that was advertised was greater than that.  He noted, however, that the Board could vacate less than what was advertised.  He gave a brief history of what has occurred regarding Merry Road, up to this point in time, noting that it runs into David Walker Drive, which was constructed in the last 10 years and is a direct connection to Old Hwy. 441.  He stated that, as part of the development, the developer is required to improve the road and widen it to David Walker Drive, as well as address a turnaround issue and a drainage issue.  He stated that all of the surrounding property, which is in the City of Tavares, was approved for development by the City, however, pointed out a portion of property that remains in the County.  He stated that staff looked at the improvements that were made in the area, as well as the ones that are proposed to be made at David Walker Drive, and it appears that the elimination of Merry Road to the south and the improvements to David Walker Drive do not substantially affect health and safety access issues to the site.  He stated that there was some confusion as to whether the road vacation was a City of Tavares issue, or a County issue, however, noted that Merry Road is currently a county road, thus, the reason for the request being before the Board.  He stated that staff was recommending approval of the vacation request.

            Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, addressed the Board stating that he was representing the applicant, but that, since Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, Akerman Senterfitt, had been involved with the process involving Merry Road from the beginning, he was going to turn the matter over to her to explain.

            Ms. Bonifay addressed the Board stating that she was representing Lake Saunders Groves, which has been involved with the property in question since the mid-1990s, which she elaborated on, noting that Mr. Bob Hester, with ABC Fruit Company, was the original developer of the property.  She stated that, shortly after getting the PUD (Planned Unit Development) approved, he passed away and she has been representing the trust.  She stated that the original PUD was done in 1994 and that one of the requirements of the PUD was that the developer work with the County and the City of Tavares to improve what was then Merry Road, which was substandard, and, in certain areas, had a number of 90 degree turns.  She stated that the City and the County wanted to bring everything out to David Walker Drive, create a new major thoroughfare, and, ultimately, have some connection to Old Hwy. 441.  She stated that Mr. Hester donated all the right of way and participated in the paving of Merry Road, which is now David Walker Drive, with the understanding that, as the other tracts were developed, the portion in question would be vacated.  She stated that the original PUD allowed single-family, multi-family, townhouses, and attached and detached units and, as the subdivision developed, different parcels had requirements for a park dedication.  She stated that, in 2003, the PUD was amended, to be consistent with changes that had occurred with and around the property since the original PUD was created in 1994.  She stated that, at that time, a number of homeowners were represented by counsel and what was supposed to be a very simple amendment regarding park space ended up taking over a year, at significant expense to her clients.  She stated that they still had the various kinds of uses, however, since the homeowners were very vocal about the fact that they only wanted single-family, her clients eliminated the multi-family and townhouses, in exchange for moving the project forward, and part of that was the ultimate vacation of the remaining portions, which she noted is on record and was discussed at various public hearings that were held.  She stated that the amended PUD addresses the future vacation of portions of Merry Road, which she pointed out on the map on display.  She reiterated the fact that her clients, who were the original owners of the entire parcel, relied on their understanding with the City of Tavares and the County that, in exchange for all of the right of way that was given and the construction of the road, the remaining portion of Merry Road would be vacated, at which time she noted that Mr. Richey’s client has the parcel under contract for single-family dwelling units, with the understanding that it would be vacated.

            Commr. Stivender questioned whether the City of Tavares had notified county residents, or only city residents, when the meetings alluded to earlier were held, and whether it was specifically addressed that the section of Merry Road in question would be vacated.

            Ms. Bonifay responded that she did not know who the City of Tavares had notified, however, noted that a number of the residents were represented by legal counsel, who attended those meetings, and her office negotiated directly with said counsel.  She stated that there were maps of the area on display at all of the meetings showing the portion of Merry Road in question, with the understanding that it was subject to vacation.

            Commr. Stivender questioned whether it was verbally stated that said portion of the road was going to be vacated and that the residents would not have that access available to them and was informed that it was.  She noted that she was a little upset with county staff, because the road in question is in her district and they had not informed her about the situation, noting that she knew nothing about it, until she was informed by some of the residents.

            Commr. Cadwell questioned what the development options would be, if the Board chose not to close that portion of Merry Road being requested to be vacated.

            Considerable discussion occurred regarding the matter, at which time Mr. Richey readdressed the Board stating that construction plans have been approved for the entire parcel and that portion of the road has been incorporated, as part of the overall plan.  He stated that, in order to make the PUD work, as envisioned by the City, it will require the utilization of the right of way in question.  He stated that, from day one, going back to 1994, the PUD has envisioned the property working together, as shown on the map on display, and the roads were built and improvement plans approved, based on that.  He stated that, on top of the millions of dollars that have been spent, in doing the road improvements and providing the right of way, if the request is denied, his client will lose 16 lots and, if his client has to re-engineer the project, he will have to start all over again, which will be very expensive.

            Ms. Bonifay readdressed the Board stating that, if her clients do not get the benefit of the bargain that was made, Mr. Richey’s client may not close, which leaves her client, who has been involved with the project since 1994, with a problem, in terms of the way that the development is supposed to be developed, and their clients will suffer economic hardship due to it.

            The Chairman opened the public hearing.

            The following individuals addressed the Board and discussed concerns they had about the proposed road vacation:  Ms. Grace Gilbert, Mr. William Chandler, Mr. Walter Henderson, Ms. Mary Garcia, Mr. Dennis Dutton, Ms. Julie Lamons, Ms. Shirley Grover, and Mr. Tony Taylor.  They discussed the need for Merry Road to be widened and resurfaced and sidewalks and curbs installed; the need to protect Lake Saunders from being polluted; the fact that a traffic signal needs to be installed at the intersection of David Walker Drive and Old Hwy. 441, because it is a very dangerous intersection; the fact that the retention pond needs to be fenced, to protect the children in the area; the fact that the road at the entrance to Lake Saunders subdivision, which is in disrepair, needs to be repaired; the fact that the residents of Lake Saunders subdivision are not the only people that are concerned about Merry Road being closed; the fact that the residents in the area were not notified about the road vacation; the fact that the attorneys, Ms. Bonifay and Mr. Richey, have argued that the developers gave up density, in exchange for the vacation of the road, which is not true; the fact that developer’s have the right to develop, but not at the expense of someone else’s rights; the fact that the vacation of Merry Road is just about creating extra lots for the developer; the fact that the closing of the road would hamper emergency vehicles from reaching the residents in the area in a timely manner during an emergency situation; the fact that the residents would like to have turn lanes installed on Old Hwy. 441; and the fact that the residents feel they have been lied to about the road vacation issue.

            Mr. Ralph Keeler, a real estate broker with Matsche Real Estate Company, addressed the Board stating that he has been involved with the project in question since 1998, at which time he reviewed a little of the history behind the proposed vacation.  He pointed out on the map on display the properties that were included in the original plan, noting that it was to be developed as a single development, to include the various parcels that he pointed out, however, noted that that was not the way that it was developed.  He stated that, in the original ordinance, anticipating some 700 additional homes to be constructed in the development, traffic flow was the issue.  He stated that Merry Road, in 1994, could not take 700 additional homes, so, in working with the County, the developers developed a plan for the extension of Merry Road, which eventually became David Walker Drive.  He stated that, as it has been presented, some land was given up for right of way for the project.  He stated that the original concept had the Merry Road intersection with David Walker Drive closed, noting that Merry Road was to become an internal road to the development.  He stated that the first parcel of property to sell is what has now become The Pines of Lake Saunders and access from the north was added to that plan at the request of residents living in the area that wanted to get out that way, rather than going through the development.  He discussed the second development that came in, noting that it covered both sides of Merry Road, with lots on the north side and the south side.  He stated that it has gone back and forth about three different times, with at least three different plans.  He stated that Merry Road was originally to be closed at the intersection with David Walker Drive; it was to be looped, with an entrance to be constructed at a different location; and, finally, a different parcel was put under contract, however, prior to it going under contract, the City of Tavares and the developer made some changes to the PUD, which he noted was addressed.  He stated that the point he feels everyone is missing is that over 700 homes were being constructed in the area and the traffic plan was to utilize David Walker Drive, as it is constructed at the present time, with a traffic light to be installed at the intersection of Old Hwy. 441, when it is warranted by the necessary amount of traffic.  He discussed what would happen if Merry Road was to be left open, at which time he noted that that was not the traffic plan that was envisioned in 1994.  He stated that, unfortunately, in developing the project piecemeal, there have been some changes made to the traffic plan and things have been looked at in isolation.  He stated that he feels the Board needs to look at the project as an entire 135 acre tract, which was originally envisioned for some 700 homes, and the best way to handle the traffic situation, when the development is built out ten years from now.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that he feels a list of the issues addressed this date should be sent to the City of Tavares, for their response.  He stated that the only thing the Board has over the design of the road is that, if they do not approve the road vacation, it will affect how the developers design the subdivision.

            Commr. Hanson stated that there are some real concerns that need to be looked at, but that she was sure a plan could be developed that would enhance the area and be more beneficial to the development, as a whole.

            There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

            Commr. Stivender stated that she had asked staff to conduct a traffic count at the intersection of Merry Road and David Walker Drive and asked whether said count was available.    

            Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, readdressed the Board stating that, with regard to the traffic count that Commr. Stivender requested, staff wanted to look at the intersection, to see if a traffic signal was warranted.  He stated that one is not warranted yet, but is one of those things that the County can monitor every six months to a year, whatever the Board would like for them to do. 

            Commr. Stivender stated that the County needs to make sure that the signal is installed as soon as it is needed.

            Ms. Bonifay, Attorney, representing the owners of the remaining tracts within the subdivision in question, and Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, representing the developer of the project, readdressed the Board and rebutted some of the comments that were made regarding the proposed road vacation.

            Commr. Hanson suggested that, perhaps, a main entrance to Lake Saunders subdivision could be constructed a little more to the north, noting that it would not bring the residents out onto Old Hwy. 441, but would help them access David Walker Drive.  She stated that the redesign could help protect the privacy of the residents.

            Commr. Pool stated that there are opportunities to make something better for everybody.

            Mr. Richey stated that he did not have a problem with asking for a 90 day continuance of this hearing, in order to bring back to the Board a configuration that does what Commr. Hanson suggested.  He stated that he spoke with the engineers and they feel they can accommodate what she asked for.  He stated that he spoke with Ms. Keedy, City Manager, City of Tavares, as well, and she feels that, within that 90 days, it can be presented to the Tavares City Commission, as well, for their review.  He stated that, after doing so, he would suggest that a meeting be held with the residents, to let them know where the matter stands.  He stated that his only concern is that people have spent a lot of money doing what they thought they were supposed to do and that needs to be fixed.  He stated that the developer could protect the neighborhood, as they have been directed to do, but yet have the road system that has been started completed, to upgrade that system.  He requested approval for a 90 day continuance, noting that his client and Ms. Bonifay’s clients agreed to it.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board granted a 90 day continuance for Vacation Petition No. 1046, by Lake Saunders Groves Land LLP, Chelsea Oaks, LLC, to vacate right of way and cease maintenance on a portion of Merry Road (4455), in the Plat of James M. Conner, located in Section 27, Township 19 South, Range 26 East, in the City of Tavares – Commission District 3, until the Board Meeting of August 23, 2005.

            PETITION NO. 1049 – GINN PINE ISLAND, GP, LLC – MONTVERDE AREA

            Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, explained this request, stating that it was a request to vacate easements in the Plat of Lake Highland Co., in conjunction with the platting of Bella Colina, in the Montverde area.  He stated that the portion involved is the old plat, lying under Bella Colina West, noting that the issue was discussed many years ago, when it was under different ownership.  He stated that the original vacation called for another piece being vacated to the north, however, noted that it has been taken out of the legal description, because of access issues.  He stated that the applicant is trying to clear up the title and staff is recommending approval to vacate.

            Commr. Cadwell questioned whether it was all now internal to the applicant’s property and was informed that it was.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, reminded the Board that the property involved is the area where the Board approved a plat, but with an agreement that the applicant would not sell the lots that were impacted by the roads, pending this vacation.

            The Chairman opened the public hearing.

            It was noted that the applicant, or the applicant’s representative, was present in the audience.

            Mr. John Hendershide, representing Woodlands Lutheran Camp, which borders the property in question, addressed the Board stating that the Florida/Georgia District of the Lutheran Church has absolutely no problem with the vacation.

            No one was present in opposition to the request.

            There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2005-83 - Petition No. 1049, by Ginn Pine Island, GP, LLC, Representative Xabier Guerricagoita, to vacate easements in the Plat of Lake Highland Co., in conjunction with the platting of Bella Colina, located in Section 10, Township 22 South, Range 26 East, in the Montverde area – Commission District 3.

            PETITION NO. 1051 – ALLAN M. AND ELLEN L.MULLER/REPRESENTATIVE

MARY LUDWIG – LEESBURG AREA

Mr. Jim Stivender, Jr., Public Works Director, explained this request, stating that it was a request to vacate a utility easement in the Plat of Pennbrooke, Phase 1A, located east of Leesburg.  He stated that it is a lot in a subdivision, where there is an encroachment on a portion of the easement by a home.  He stated that, in order to clear title, staff was recommending approval to vacate.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

It was noted that the applicant, or the applicant’s representative, was present in the audience.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2005-84 - Petition No. 1051, by Allan M. and Ellen L. Muller, Representative Mary Ludwig, to vacate a utility easement, in the Plat of Pennbrooke, Phase 1A, located in Section 19, Township 19 South, Range 24 East, in the Leesburg area – Commission District 1.

RECESS AND REASSEMBLY

At 10:50 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.

            PUBLIC HEARINGS:  REZONING

            REZONING CASE NO. PH5-05-3 – R-1 TO R-2 – JOHN NELSON/NELSON FAMILY

            TRUST/TIM HOBAN AND CARL LUDECKE – TRACKING NO. 10-05-Z

            Mr. Jeff Richardson, Planning Manager, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, addressed the Board stating that Mr. Tim Hoban, Attorney, representing John Nelson/Nelson Family Trust/Tim Hoban and Carl Ludecke, Rezoning Case No. PH5-05-3, had requested a 60 day continuance, to the Board Meeting scheduled for July 26, 2005, in order to allow the applicant to try to work out an issue involving the railroad.

            Commr. Hanson noted, for the record, that she would be abstaining from the discussion and vote, for reasons disclosed at a previous meeting regarding this case.

            The Chairman opened the public hearing.

            No one was present in opposition to the request.

            There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved a 60 day continuance for John Nelson/Nelson Family Trust/Tim Hoban and Carl Ludecke, Rezoning Case No. PH5-05-3, Tracking No. 10-05-Z, until the Board Meeting of July 26, 2005, as requested.

            Commr. Hanson abstained from the discussion and vote.

            REZONING CASE NO. PH44-05-5 – AMEND PUD ORDINANCE NO. 57-91

(UPSON DOWNS, L.P.) – THE LAKES AT BLACK BEAR HOMEOWNERS

ASSOCIATION, INC./JIMMY CRAWFORD – TRACKING NO.49-05-PUD/AMD

Ms. Jennifer DuBois, Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to amend PUD Ordinance No. 57-91 (Upson Downs), to relocate eight lots from Phase III of the Upson Downs PUD, which is presently unplatted, to Phase II, which has been platted as the Estates at Black Bear Reserve, and to relocate the community’s active recreation tract.  She stated that the development is located in the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento area, north of the intersection of CR 44-A and CR 437, at which time she displayed a copy of the Master Plan PUD Modification for the Upson Downs Phase II and III project (County Exhibit A), which she submitted, for the record.  She stated that Upson Downs is a vested development, which has been approved for 274 single-family units, 2.25 acres of commercial development, featuring C-1 and C-2 uses, and both active and passive recreation areas.  She stated that, of the 274 permitted residential lots, 220 have been platted to date – 89 in Phase I and 131 in Phase II.  She stated that the applicant is seeking to relocate seven lots slated for inclusion in Phase III to the peninsula, on the interior lake (shown on the Estates at Black Bear Reserve plat as Tract “B”).  She stated that the peninsula was originally intended as the site of the community’s clubhouse, pool, and beach area; however, as the residents of the PUD have access to the amenities of the neighboring Village at Black Bear development, staff determined, in October of 2003, that Upson Downs’ active recreation facilities could be scaled back significantly and that the clubhouse, pool, and beach area could be eliminated.  She stated that the applicant also wishes to shift an eighth lot from Phase III to the southern portion of Tract “C”, which is an area that was reserved for open space on the Estates at Black Bear Reserve plat, and to designate Tract “D”, which is presently shown as open space, as the recreation area.  She stated that the relocation of the eight lots from Phase III to Phase II will leave a balance of 46 homesites and will enable the applicant to create larger lots during the platting stage of Phase III and the lots will then be more consistent with the larger parcels that border the PUD.  She stated that, in addition to the relocation of the eight lots and the recreation tract, the applicant also wishes to convert the County maintained roads that are presently in existence in Phase I of the PUD to private roads.  She stated that, as with the roads that are currently in existence in Phase II, the roads will be maintained by the community’s homeowners association.  She stated that staff finds, while the Upson Downs PUD is inconsistent with the present Lake County Comprehensive Plan, the requested amendment is compatible with the conditions that are outlined in the development’s Vested Rights Certificate, therefore, issues a recommendation of approval.

Commr. Hanson stated that she did not feel the request was non-conforming, based on density, noting that she feels it is a conforming development in the Wekiva Basin, utilizing the Transfer of Development Rights.

Mr. Jimmy Crawford, Attorney, Gray Robinson, representing the owners of the property in question, addressed the Board stating that Commr. Hanson was correct, in that the property is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the owners have a Vested Rights Certificate that covers the development.  He stated that the owners are relocating eight lots, internal to the subdivision, under the old Chapter 14.  He stated that 24 months ago, this request would have been a minor amendment and would not have even been required to come before the Board, but there are no longer any minor amendments, so all PUD amendments have to come before the Board for approval.  He stated that, with regard to the road vacation issue, Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, Akerman Senterfitt, represents the Battaglias, who own property adjacent to the property in question.  He displayed a copy of the Master Plan (Applicant’s Exhibit A), which he submitted, for the record, pointing out the roads in question, noting that they are currently part public and part private, at which time he indicated at what point they go from public to private.  He stated that the remaining roads in the subdivision are private and, due to the fact that the road names change, the County does not know at what point to maintain the roads, nor does the homeowners association.  He stated that, in conversations with the staff from the Public Works Department over the road name issue, in trying to get the names correct, it was agreed that the roads would all become private.  He stated that the homeowners association has an agreement with the Battaglias giving them access to their property through the private roads that already exist in the subdivision, at which time he displayed an aerial (Applicant’s Exhibit B), which he submitted, for the record, showing said access, however, noted that they will have to negotiate with the Battaglias to extend that agreement, to cover the new roads.  He stated that his client was not before the Board this date to request the vacation of roads, but merely to have the PUD allow those roads that are currently public to become private.  He stated that he did not want to vacate the roads, because of ownership issues, however, noted that his client plans to work with the homeowners association, the County, and the Battaglias, to try to come up with something that will fix that.  He stated that his client would be happy to leave that provision out, because he does not feel that it means a lot, since his client has to come back before the Board again, at a later date.

Commr. Hanson asked Mr. Crawford to show the Board where the lots are being transferred from, at which time Mr. Crawford displayed a copy of the Master Plan PUD Modification to Upson Downs Phase II and III (Applicant’s Exhibit C), which he submitted, for the record, pointing out the lots that are being reduced.  He stated that the development will have a “tot” lot, a playground facility, and a dock that will give community access to the interior lakes.

Commr. Hanson questioned what a portion of the property shown on the map in Phase III of the project was to be utilized for and was informed by Mr. Crawford that it was an airstrip.  She stated that she did not recall the Board approving an airstrip for said project.

Mr. Crawford stated that he did not represent the property owners at the time that said airstrip was approved, however, noted that it has been included in the Master Plan from the beginning.  He stated that it is vested, however, noted that the property owners have not yet built the airstrip and they do not have any plans to do so at the present time.  He stated that it was not a part of the amendment request before the Board this date, however, noted that he would be glad to answer any questions the Board had regarding the matter.  He stated that the request before the Board this date was an interior reallocation of lots, making the lots larger.

Commr. Hanson stated that she did not have a problem with the transfer of lots, however, was concerned about the airstrip.

Commr. Hill stated that she was not on the Board at the time that the PUD originally came before the Board, however, noted that she had always heard that there was an approved airstrip on the property.

Commr. Hanson stated that she had heard that the property owners would be bringing forward a request for an airstrip, but did not know much more about it, however, noted that she would check into the matter.  She stated that she felt this was the first time that the issue of the airstrip had come up at a meeting before the Board.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

            Ms. Bonifay, representing the Battaglias, addressed the Board stating that Mr. Crawford raised the issue the last time that this case came before them that she had a conflict of interest; however, she dispelled that notion, by giving a brief background history of what has occurred regarding this case, up to this point in time.  She asked that the motion by the Board this date not include language indicating that the private roads will be allowed,  noting that the Battaglias have no problem with whatever the property owners want to do internally, in moving lots, but the easement modification agreement that was entered into with the Upson Downs Limited Partnerships (L.P.), the Lakes at Black Bear Reserve Homeowners Association, the Battaglia Fruit Company, and Mr. Peter Neubaur clearly states that, if the County ceases to maintain those roads, all the parties involved are to enter into an agreement as to how those roads are to be maintained, noting that throughout this process it has been the owners of the Upson Downs and Black Bear portions that have been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep, not the Battaglias.  She stated that, given the fact that some of the properties have had financial problems over the years, the Battaglias’ do not have any idea what the financial capability is of the homeowners association, therefore, as part of renegotiating the easement modification agreement, the Battaglias would want a bond posted, or some demonstration of financial responsibility.

            Commr. Cadwell clarified the fact that the Battaglias would like to have no language at all in the amendment to the PUD Ordinance, with regard to the roads.

            Commr. Hanson pointed out the fact that Ms. Bonifay has been involved with the property in question for a long time and questioned whether she remembered the airstrip being a part of the project and was informed by Ms. Bonifay that she did not, that it was not a portion of Upson Downs, which is the portion that she represented.  She noted that she was not involved with the Lakes at Black Bear portion.

Upon being questioned as to how the County felt about the public roads in the subdivision becoming private, Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works Department, addressed the Board stating that the County had no concerns about the matter one way or the other.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

            A motion was made by Commr. Cadwell and seconded by Commr. Pool to uphold the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approve Ordinance No. 2005-39 - Rezoning Case No. PH44-05-5, The Lakes at Black Bear Homeowners Association, Inc./Upson Downs, L.P./Jimmy Crawford, a request to amend PUD Ordinance No. 57-91 (Upson Downs), to shift eight (8) approved lots from Phase III to Phase II, and to relocate the community’s active recreation tract, as presented, exacting the language that has anything to do with transportation, just on the amendment part, with regard to ownership of the roads.

            Under discussion, Commr. Hill questioned whether Commr. Cadwell’s motion was to vacate the roads.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the development will be just like it is today, in that the section that is public will still be public, and, when the property owners can work something out, at that point in time the County can look at turning the roads over to the homeowners association.

The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.

            REZONING CASE NO. PH5-05-3 – R-1 TO R-2 – JOHN NELSON/NELSON FAMILY

            TRUST/TIM HOBAN AND CARL LUDECKE – TRACKING NO. 10-05-Z (CONT’D.)

            The Chairman announced that Mr. Tim Hoban, Attorney, representing John Nelson/Nelson Family Trust, had requested a 60 day continuance of this case earlier in the meeting, however, noted that, upon being informed by Mr. Hoban that the Board had approved a 60 day continuance, his client stated that he would prefer to have the case postponed for 30 days, rather than 60.  She stated that, normally, the Board does not reopen the public hearing portion of a case once it has been closed, but she would leave it up to the district commissioner as to whether or not to reopen the case.

            Commr. Stivender indicated that she did not have a problem with doing so.

            Mr. Hoban readdressed the Board and requested a 30 day continuance, rather than a 60 day continuance, as he had requested earlier in the meeting.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item back on the Agenda.

            On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved a 30 day continuance for John Nelson/Nelson Family Trust/Tim Hoban and Carl Ludecke, Rezoning Case No. PH5-05-3, Tracking No. 10-05-Z, rather than a 60 day continuance, as previously requested and approved.

            Commr. Hanson abstained from the discussion and vote.

            REZONING CASE NO. PH30-05-2 – R-1 TO R-4 – LEONARD H. BAIRD, JR.,

TRUSTEE/CECELIA BONIFAY, ESQUIRE – TRACKING NO. 47-05-Z

Commrs. Stivender, Hill, and Pool disclosed, for the record, that they had spoken with the representative of the applicants, prior to this meeting.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that the attorney for this case (Cecelia Bonifay) has raised the fact that the Commissioners speak to individuals prior to Board Meetings as an issue in a recent case and that there is litigation pending against the County, noting that she claims that members of the Board had spoken to her client’s opponents and that it violated her client’s due process.

 Ms. Jennifer DuBois, Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that the applicant wishes to rezone a 19.71 acre parcel, presently vacant, for the creation of a single-family residential subdivision.  She stated that the property is located in the Clermont area, just east of the intersection of Lake Louisa Road and Lakeland Drive.  She stated that potable water will be supplied by Lake Utilities, Inc., while sanitary sewer service will be furnished by the City of Clermont.  She stated that, through the utilization of the Urban Area Residential Density Chart, the applicant has obtained a total of 38 points, corresponding to a maximum allowable density of 3.5 dwelling units per acre.  She stated that Section 3.03.02(F)(1) of the Lake County Land Development Regulations states that, if the requested zoning district density, which in this case is four dwelling units per acre, is greater than the point system density, the maximum allowable density shall comply with the point system density.  She stated that staff finds that the desired use is consistent with all the provisions of the Land Development Regulations and the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, therefore, issues a recommendation of approval.

Commr. Hanson disclosed, for the record, that she had spoken with Mr. Mark Oswalt and Mr. Buddy Oswalt, the applicants, regarding this case, prior to this meeting.

Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, Akerman Senterfitt, addressed the Board stating that she was representing the applicants.  She displayed a map (contained in the Board’s backup material) of the area in question, showing the designated zonings of the surrounding properties, which range from R-1 to R-6, noting that there are only a few parcels left in the area that are still undeveloped.  She stated that the applicants were requesting an R-4 zoning, to give them more flexibility under the Code.

Commr. Cadwell interjected that he had some concerns about this request, because of the issue with the schools.

Ms. Bonifay stated that her staff obtained some numbers from the School Board regarding school capacity and that there was an error in their report, as to what schools would be affected by the proposed development, noting that Lost Lake Elementary is the elementary school that would be affected, not Clermont Elementary, as noted in the Staff Report, as well as Windy Hill Middle School, and East Ridge High School.  She stated that the density for the proposed development is going to be 2.5 dwelling units per acre.  She stated that the applicant is doing a straight zoning, so, if the Board wanted to limit it, through a Developer’s Agreement, they would do so.  She stated that they have done their calculations on school age children, using the 2.5 dwelling units per acre, and it amounts to approximately 48 lots, which would result in five (5) new elementary school children, three (3) middle school children, and four (4) high school children, for a total of twelve (12) additional students.  She stated that they looked at the individual schools and what is planned for them, noting that an increase in size for Lost Lake Elementary is scheduled for August of 2005 and a new elementary school, which is currently unnamed, is scheduled to come on line in August of 2007.  She stated that Lost Lake Elementary is going to increase its size by 216 student stations and the new elementary school will have 934 student stations, for a total increase over the next two years of 1,150 student stations.

Commr. Pool questioned whether said figure included the charter school that is scheduled to open in that area in the near future and was informed that it did not.

Ms. Bonifay displayed and submitted, for the record, an aerial (Applicant’s Exhibit A) showing the location of the new middle and high schools, as well as the new elementary school, and a yet unnamed elementary school in the area of the property in question, stating that, in just looking at Lost Lake Elementary and what the School Board has proposed, the County would be left with a deficit of 442 student stations, which is what their overcapacity figure is today, allowing an available capacity of 708 student stations.  She stated that, considering the proposed project’s impact, it leaves 703 student stations for the elementary school; the middle school has a current deficit of 41 student stations, leaving an available capacity of 1,375 student stations, of which the proposed development would require three, so it would be 1,372 student stations; and with regard to the high school, noted that a new high school is scheduled to open in August of 2007, with 2,070 students stations, for a deficit of 323 student stations, leaving an available capacity of 1,747 student stations, of which the proposed development would require four, for a total of 1,743 student stations.  She stated that, in looking at the elementary school, even with the impact of the proposed development and all the deficiencies with the new schools, it would leave a total of 703 student stations, and, in adding to that the 700 student stations that are coming on line in August of 2005, for the elementary school that is located on Hartwood Marsh Road.  She stated that Mr. Oswalt has already indicated that his child is signed up and will be attending the new charter school that has been built in the area.  She displayed an aerial (Applicant’s Exhibit B), which she submitted, for the record, stating that, based on the fairly demenemous impact that this project will have; the fact that there is development all around the proposed development; the fact that it is one of the last built-out parcels in the area; the fact that county staff has indicated that there is no deficiency in the area; the fact that they have assessed their impact on Lake Louisa Road and found no impact there; and the fact that the new Citrus Tower Boulevard extension that is planned will connect with the Lake Shore Drive connector, it is imminent, in that it is on the County’s impact fee list, and her clients are waiting to move forward.

Commr. Pool stated that the proposed development is a classic infill project of minimal size that will not have a significant impact on the area, the schools, or transportation, and there are projects coming on line that will help the school situation.

Commr. Stivender stated that she had voiced some concerns that she had about this project, when it was originally presented to the Board, however, noted that Ms. Bonifay had answered those concerns.  She questioned whether Ms. Bonifay had a problem with the Developer’s Agreement stating that her client would construct no more than 2.5 dwelling units per acre on the property in question and was informed by Ms. Bonifay that her client did not have a problem with that.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, interjected that, with said statement being in the Minutes, staff will make sure that, if, during the preliminary plat review, the applicant comes forward with something greater than the 2.5 dwelling units per acre, they will bring it to the Board’s attention.

Commr. Hanson stated that the request before the Board this date is for straight zoning and questioned whether there could be an attempt for smaller lots sizes, for more open space.

Ms. Bonifay stated that a problem with that is that the residents that surround the proposed development are going to want something that reflects what they currently have on the ground.  She noted, however, that her clients could look at that, as they go through the design process.

Commr. Hill questioned whether there was any discussion about the Joint Planning Area (JPA) with the City of Clermont and whether the proposed project fits in with their JPA and their lot sizes and whether they had any comment, whatsoever, about the project.

Ms. Bonifay stated that, to her knowledge, they did not.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-40 - Leonard H. Baird, Jr., Trustee/Cecelia Bonifay, Esquire, Rezoning Case No. PH30-05-2, Tracking No. 47-05-Z, a request to rezone a 19.71 acre parcel in the Clermont area from R-1 (Rural Residential) to R-4 (Medium Suburban Residential), as presented, with the Developer’s Agreement to state that the project will not exceed 2.5 units per acre.

REZONING CASE NO. CUP05/5/1-3 – CUP – W. STEVE NOVILLO – TRACKING

NO. 50-05-CUP

Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Senior Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), to allow the placement of a second mobile home on the property, as a caretaker’s residence, noting that there is an existing mobile home on the property, together with a nursery/greenhouse operation.  He stated that the property is zoned A (Agriculture) and is 5.06 acres, in the Lake Jem area.  He stated that it is in the Rural land use category and is consistent with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Lake County Land Development Regulations.  He stated that staff was recommending approval of the request, however, noted that the owner and any successors shall adhere to the proposed Ordinance, as attached.

Commr. Stivender stated that the Zoning Board placed a condition on their approval of the request that the mobile home be occupied by an employee of the nursery, that it be limited to a single family, and that it not be used as a rental unit.

Mr. Hartenstein stated that said condition has been incorporated into the CUP Ordinance.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

It was noted that the applicant, or the applicant’s representative, was present in the audience.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-41 - W. Steve Novillo, Rezoning Case No. CUP05/5/1-3, Tracking No. 50-05-CUP, a request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), to allow a second mobile home as a caretaker’s residence on 5.06 acres in the Lake Jem area, as presented, with a condition that the mobile home be occupied by an employee of the nursery, that it be limited to a single family, and that it not be used as a rental unit, as set forth in the Ordinance.

REZONING CASE NO. PH43-05-4 – R-6 TO CP – STEPHEN ZAHN

TRACKING NO. 51-05-CP

Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Senior Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to rezone a 1.04 acre parcel in the Eustis area from R-6 (Urban Residential District) to CP (Planned Commercial District), with limited C-2 (Community Commercial District) uses (addressed in the Ordinance) and vehicular sales.  He stated that the applicant wishes to develop the property, for the purpose of vehicular sales, but also wishes to include limited C-2 uses, for the purpose of marketing in the future.  He stated that the proposed rezoning does not conflict with the Lake County Land Development Regulations, as seen in Section 3.00.03, Table 3.00.03, which allows CP and C-2 zoning districts within the Urban Expansion land use designation.  He stated that the request is in compliance with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, as seen in Policy1-3A.1(2)(a),which states, “Location – at the intersection of two arterials, or at the intersection of an arterial and collector, or along an arterial at an appropriate distance from an intersection.  These centers shall be located within the Urban and Urban Expansion land use categories.  In addition, these centers shall have a minimum market area radius of two miles.”  He stated that the subject parcel is located on SR 19, an arterial highway, approximately six hundred (600) feet north of the intersection of CR 44, a collector highway; therefore, the subject parcel meets the definition of a Community Activity Center and, as a result, the site meets commercial location criteria.  He stated that the parcel is part of the City of Eustis’ Joint Planning Area (JPA) and city utilities and central water and sewer will be provided to the site.  He stated that the Zoning Board recommended approval, by a 6-0 vote, with limited C-2 uses, as set forth in the Ordinance.  He stated that staff was recommending approval of the request, with a stipulation that any portion of Ruth Street that the applicant may use for access will have to be paved and brought up to county standards.  He noted that there was no opposition to the request, but that the County did receive one letter of concern.

Commr. Cadwell declared a conflict of interest and disclosed, for the record, that he would be abstaining from the discussion and vote, due to the fact that his daughter owns property across the street from the property in question.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Mr. Jack Wilson, a resident of the area, who lives on Ruth Street, addressed the Board stating that Ruth Street is a non-maintained county road and that, for the past 30 years, the residents on Ruth Street have had to donate money, in order to keep the surface of the street in fairly decent shape, so that they can access their properties.  He stated that their concern is not so much the rezoning of the property, to allow commercial, but that, by allowing vehicular sales, it will generate more traffic coming down their non-maintained county road, degrading the surface of the road more than what the garbage trucks already do, which places an unfair burden on the residents, who have to continue to maintain the road.  He asked that, if the Board planned to approve the rezoning request, they make it contingent upon the road being brought up to county standards, so that it can be maintained.

Commr. Hanson stated that the County could look at doing a special assessment on Ruth Street, but that right of way would have to be obtained from the property owners on either side of the road, who would share one-third of the costs of paving the road with the County, however, noted that the residents would have seven (7) years to pay for their share of the assessment.

Mr. Wilson stated that a limited number of residents live on Ruth Street, however, assured the Board that they would give the County right of way, for the purpose of paving the road, because the road is a problem for them.  He stated that the residents have been requesting some type of help from the County for 30 years.

Commr. Hanson stated that everyone involved can get together with the Public Works Department and see what can be done about the street, with the understanding that the applicant dedicate his share of the street to the County at this time.  She noted that there is a huge oak tree on the site that the County fought to save, when the Discount Auto Parts building was built, and the County would want to continue to protect it.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-42 - Stephen Zahn, Rezoning Case No. PH43-05-4,Tracking No. 51-05-CP, a request to rezone a 1.04 acre parcel of land in the Eustis area from R-6 (Urban Residential District) to CP (Planned Commercial District), with limited C-2 (Community Commercial District) uses and vehicular sales, as presented, with a stipulation that the applicant dedicate right of way along Ruth Street to the County and that, should the Public Works Department be able to determine that the County can meet the federal test, it demand that the remaining portion of Ruth Street right of way be donated.

REZONING CASE NO. PH16-05-1 – CP AND R-6 TO CP – STEVE DONAHUE

AND MIKE ROSS – TRACKING NO. 17-05-CP/AMD

Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Senior Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that the zoning on the subject parcel is CP (Planned Commercial District) (Ordinance No. 39-82) and there is a small one-half acre parcel that is zoned R-6 (Urban Residential).  He stated that the applicant is requesting to amend the CP zoning, in order to incorporate the one-half acre that is zoned R-6 and to make some amendments to the CP Ordinance, which is currently an auto repair facility, to include vehicular sales, so that used cars can be sold on site.  He stated that the request is consistent with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan and with the Lake County Land Development Regulations.  He stated that the Zoning Board’s recommendation was for approval, by a 6-0 vote, with no stipulations, other than what was already incorporated in the Ordinance.  He stated that staff’s recommendation was for approval of the request.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out to the Board the fact that the County has under contract, for purchase, a parcel that is located immediately south of the property in question.

Commrs. Hill and Cadwell disclosed, for the record, the fact that the applicants do their automotive repairs, however, noted that they do not benefit in any way – that they pay for their repairs.

Commr. Stivender noted, for the record, that she handled the original zoning application for the applicants.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

It was noted that the applicants were present in the audience.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

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 Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-43 - Steve Donahue and Mike Ross, Rezoning Case No. PH16-05-1, Tracking No. 17-05-CP/AMD, a request for approval to amend the present CP (Planned Commercial) zoning on the subject parcel, presently utilized for an automobile repair facility, to include the use of vehicular sales, and to rezone an adjacent one-half (1/2) acre parcel from R-6 (Urban Residential) and incorporate the one-half acre of additional land into the Planned Commercial site, as presented.

REZONING CASE NO. PH33-05-2 – AMEND PUD ORDINANCE NO. 2004-31

ORANGE TREE SUBDIVISION/ROBERT A. MANDELL, GREATER

CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION – TRACKING NO.46-05-PUD/AMD

Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Senior Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to amend PUD Ordinance No. 2004-31, to eliminate the 125,000 square foot commercial element in Phase 6 and develop Phase 6 with forty-five (45) single-family dwelling units.  He gave a brief background history of what has occurred with said property up to this point in time, stating that the PUD Ordinance was approved in 1999, under Ordinance No. 1999-64, and the property was rezoned from R-4 to PUD, adding 665 dwelling units, with no commercial; in May of 2002, Ordinance No. 2002-53 was amended, allowing for 160 town homes in Phase 5, 125,000 square feet of commercial, and 490 dwelling units; and in April of 2004, Ordinance No. 2004-32 was amended, allowing for 46 single-family dwelling units, 125,000 square feet of commercial, and 382 dwelling units, but also allowed for short-term rentals.  He stated that the parcel consists of a total of 190 acres and is located in the south Lake County area, south of the Sawgrass Bay (Savannas) PUD, just east of US 27/SR 25 and approximately 2.5 miles north of US 192/SR 530.  He stated that the property is located in the Urban Expansion future land use category; Lake Utilities is the service provider; central water and sewer is provided to the site; and it fronts on an arterial highway.  He stated that the applicant is requesting to amend the 125,000 square foot commercial element of Phase 6, to eliminate the commercial element and allow the development of Phase 6, with forty-five single-family homes, which would equate to 2.2 dwelling units per gross acre, which is a slight increase in the density, but still consistent with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan.  He stated that Policy 1-1.6 of the Comprehensive Plan allows up to four dwelling units per acre in Urban Expansion.  He stated that the applicant would like to amend the total number of units from 382 to 427, at which time he noted that the elimination of the 125,000 square foot of commercial and replacing it with 45 dwelling units will decrease the intensity of the development, but will cause a slight increase in the density of the PUD.  He stated that the increase will not conflict with the applicable provisions of the Lake County Land Development Regulations, or the Lake County Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Hartenstein stated that, with regard to amending the buffer along the northern boundary of the property that separates Orange Tree Subdivision and The Savannas from 50 feet to 25 feet and eliminating the six foot masonry wall, Table 9.01.04.B of the Lake County Land Development Regulations requires a Type B landscape buffer between the two PUDs.  He stated that a Type B buffer is 15 feet wide, with four canopy trees per 100 feet and a single row of shrubs, and allows an option, if the developer wishes, to also include three ornamental trees per 100 linear feet.  He stated that a 25 foot width exceeds the Type B width requirements for the buffer, but the plantings in the buffer would still have to meet or exceed the required plantings, according to the Land Development Regulations.  He noted that the reason for that is that, if they eliminate the commercial, there will be no need for the extra wall buffer.  He stated that the applicant is also requesting to amend the buffer on the eastern boundary, between Phases 5 and 6, to eliminate the buffer and six foot wall requirement, which he noted is interior to the PUD, and its purpose is to buffer from the commercial element of the PUD and the residential element.  He stated that, between Phases 5 and 6, if the PUD is amended to eliminate the commercial, there would be no buffer requirements at all.  He stated that the applicant is also requesting to amend the 100 foot citrus tree buffer on U.S. Highway 27, along Phase 6, to a seventy (70) foot landscaped buffer.  He stated that the request is consistent with the Lake County Land Development Regulations and the Lake County Comprehensive Plan.  He stated that the Zoning Board’s recommendation was for approval, by a 6-0 vote, to eliminate the 125,000 square foot commercial in Phase 6 and develop Phase 6 with 45 short-term rental units, restricted to 30 days or less, with no renewals, at which time he noted that he felt there would be a problem with putting a total restriction on the short-term rentals, with regard to impact fees, which he elaborated on.  He stated that there were two letters of opposition and one letter of concern on file.  He stated that staff was recommending approval of the request, with those provisions that are outlined in the Ordinance.

Commrs. Hill and Pool had disclosed earlier in the meeting, for the record, that they had met with representatives of this case, prior to this meeting.

Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, representing the applicant, addressed the Board stating that 95% of the houses that were sold in The Oranges subdivision were bought by British tourists and put into short-term rentals, so the applicant feels pretty comfortable with saying that the 45 single-family dwelling units being proposed will be used for short-term rentals.  He stated that the applicant has paid the school impact fees and the tourist tax on the short-term rentals will be paid, as well.  He stated that, although the applicant originally requested approval for the 125,000 square foot commercial element in Phase 6, there is such a need for short-term rental units in the County that the applicant is requesting that the property be converted back to its original zoning classification.  He stated that the buffers that the applicant has proposed exceed the County’s buffer requirements and that, although this project will not generate any students, the applicant has donated an 18 acre site for a K-8 school, which will be free and clear to the School Board.

Commr. Hanson questioned what percentage of open space will be provided in the development and was informed by Mr. Richey that it will be 25%, at which time he displayed a copy of the PUD (Applicant’s Exhibit A), which he submitted, for the record, pointing out the open space and conservation areas, as well as a 10.7 acre community park.  He stated that the density was reduced from 600 units to 400 units and the project meets the County’s code, with regard to open space.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-44 - Orange Tree Subdivision/Robert A. Mandell, Greater Construction Corporation, Rezoning Case No. PH33-05-2, Tracking No. 46-05-PUD/AMD, a request to amend PUD Ordinance No. 2004-31, to eliminate the 125,000 square foot commercial element in Phase 6 and develop Phase 6 with forty-five (45) single-family dwelling units, to be used as short-term rentals, restricted to 30 days or less, with no renewals, as presented, with the landscaped buffers and conditions, as set forth in the Ordinance.

REZONING CASE NO. PH40-05-3 – AMEND PUD ORDINANCE NO. 1999-123

ROYAL HIGHLANDS/STEVEN J. RICHEY, P.A./GREG BELIVEAU, AICP, LPG

URBAN & REGIONAL PLANNERS – TRACKING NO. 52-05-PUD/AMD

Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Senior Planner, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to amend existing PUD Ordinance No. 1999-123, to add 44,500 square feet of neighborhood commercial on 4.9 acres, for a small retail center fronting U.S. Highway 27, south of the Leesburg area, approximately two miles north of the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park, noting that the overall PUD consists of 1,086.7 acres.  He stated that it is a vested DRI (Development of Regional Impact), located in an Urban Expansion land use category.  He stated that the City of Leesburg has assumed the responsibility of providing central water and sewer, in conjunction with their private plant.  He stated that the property is located on a major arterial and the land use, density, and open space would not present any substantial modifications, as a result of the proposed amendment.  He stated that, because of extensive wetlands, uplands, and areas to accommodate the golf course, the development was afforded an abundance of open space from the inception of the project.  He stated that the residential density will remain unchanged, as a result of the amendment.  He stated that the initial 5,000 square feet of commercial use was specified as permissible, under the C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) classification.  He stated that the additional 44,500 square feet of commercial has been reviewed by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, which has issued a determination that the proposed revisions do not result in an “automatic substantial deviation”.  He stated that the DRI will require no further review by them and staff finds that the proposed amendment is consistent with applicable requirements of the Lake County Land Development Regulations.  He stated that staff finds that, while consistent with Policy 1-1.14(2)(a) of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, which requires that commercial uses be located in planned centers, to avoid strip commercial development, the proposed 44,500 square feet of additional commercial area represented is consistent with Policy 1-3A.1, which limits the location and scope of such commercial development.  He stated that the proposed expansion of the commercial area would constitute an equivalent Neighborhood Activity Center, drawing from a market area radius of 1.25 miles.  He stated that the proposed 49,500 square foot center will meet commercial location criteria, as defined in Policy 1-3A.1(3).  He stated that staff notes, based on data provided by the applicant, Monarch Boulevard meets the criteria to be classified as a collector road.  He stated that the Lake County Public Works Engineering Department has reviewed this analysis and concurs with the results.  He stated that Policy 1-3A.1(3)(d) further states that the neighborhood activity center service areas will be proximate to population areas, to support proposed uses, noting that these centers are intended to accommodate the shopping needs of the residents living within the immediate surrounding neighborhoods.  He stated that the center shall have a minimum working area of 1.25 miles, and, in addition, a neighborhood activity center, in which combined commercial allocations from 10,000 to 50,000 square feet are allowed, is currently located 1.71 miles north of the DRI/PUD, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 27 and Bridges Road, a minor collector.  He stated that, if the amendment is approved, this area is outside the minimum market area for the existing neighborhood activity center and would meet the requirements of Policy 1-3A.1(3).

Mr. Hartenstein stated that, given the predominance of surrounding farm and vacant land use, the magnitude of the proposed additional commercial area would represent a substantial increase over and beyond that which was recognized, approved, and, therefore, vested under the initial approval.  He stated that the development, as a whole, is surrounded by Rural and Suburban land use, which has predominant zoning of Agriculture.  He stated that the proposed use meets the definition of a neighborhood activity center, as the minimum market area is within the1.25 mile radius and will be providing limited C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) services to a population of over 2,000 people at build-out.  He stated that the proposed PUD amendment will have minimal effects on the capacities of public facilities.  He stated that, per the Lake County Public Works Department, the development shall comply with access management provisions; turn lanes will be required at all proposed entrances; a traffic signal will be required at the main entrance; and additional right of way dedication may be required.   He stated that the Zoning Board recommended approval, by a 6-0 vote, to add the 44,500 square feet of neighborhood commercial on the 4.9 acres, for a small retail center, with the condition that all water, sewer, pump station traffic, golf cart safety, and wall issues be corrected prior to construction and, in addition, the town design shown in “Applicant’s Exhibit A” (contained in the Board’s backup material) shall be followed.  He stated that 45 letters of support were received, along with 53 letters in opposition, and 13 letters of concern.  He stated that staff finds the proposed amendment to be consistent with the provisions of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan and the Lake County Land Development Regulations, relative to the commercial expansion, and, therefore, offers a recommendation of approval, subject to the provisions, as set forth in the Ordinance.

Commrs. Stivender, Hill, and Pool had disclosed earlier in the meeting, for the record, that they had spoken with representatives of this case, prior to this meeting.

Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, representing the applicant, addressed the Board stating that more than a year ago the application before the Board this date was filed, to add 44,500 square feet of neighborhood commercial on a 4.9 acre parcel of property fronting U.S. Highway 27.  He stated that, when he first brought the DRI before the Board years ago, the parcel in question was set aside for commercial use, however, noted that the square footage was limited to 5,000 square feet, because, at that time, 5,000 square feet was a neighborhood center.  He stated that the square footage of neighborhood centers has grown, as communities and the need for more neighborhood centers has grown, and the applicant is trying to respond to that need.  He gave a brief background history of what has occurred, up to this point in time, regarding said property, noting that the application was filed and the request went before the Planning and Zoning Board, however, there were a lot of people in opposition to the request, because of the fear of the unknown, so the applicant withdrew his application and held meetings with the residents of the community, at which time he presented the proposed plan, which brings them to this date.

 Mr. Greg Beliveau, AICP, Land Planning Group (LPG), representing the applicant, addressed the Board and answered questions presented to him by Mr. Richey regarding the issues of traffic, buffers and where they are located, and access, which were concerns that were raised by the community, and how the applicant has addressed said issues, at which time he displayed and reviewed various sketches, the master plan, artist renditions of how the commercial area will look, photographs of the current site, a Schedule of Permitted and Conditional Uses (Zoning Districts), etc. (contained in Applicant’s Composite Exhibit A), which he submitted, for the record.  He also clarified where the sales center sits on the property and where the existing commercial area is located, noting that the applicant sold a corner parcel several years ago to a financial institution and, between the financial institution and the sales office, it ate up the 5,000 square feet; therefore, when they say proposed, it is because there is an additional square footage request before the Board this date.  He stated that the access is off of Monarch Boulevard, at which time he noted that a traffic signal will be installed at the entrance of Monarch Boulevard and U.S. 27 by the end of this calendar year; where the current sales center is located; the location of a second entrance, which will be a right in/right out; a possible third entrance, if the Florida Department of Transportation approves it; and where the utility system is located (City of Leesburg is current owner of utility  system – a stand alone system that will be upgraded, as utilities are extended south, past Royal Highlands).  He stated that a traffic analysis was conducted and it is felt that the commercial center will help traffic impacts to Hwy. 27, due to the fact that there are 2,500 people living in Royal Highlands, which is a pretty substantial amount of people, equivalent to a city the size of Groveland or Mascotte.  He stated that that was one of the points that was made by some of the residents that live in Royal Highlands - that they would like to have access to a commercial center that would provide golf cart access, bicycle access, and pedestrian access, so that they would not have to get out on Hwy. 27 and drive north or south for their services.  He stated that, although there is currently a 45 foot berm located on the site (pictures provided in Applicant’s Composite Exhibit A of woman standing at base of berm, giving perspective of height of berm), a wall will be constructed behind the berm.  He stated that it has been requested that the wall be architecturally similar to the wall that is located in the front of the property and that some type of pediment be placed on the top of the wall, to prevent people from scaling it and accessing the development.  He noted that the wall will be stucco on both sides.

Mr. Beliveau stated that the applicant was asked to reduce the number of uses that will be allowed in the commercial area, so they have reduced it down to offices, travel, real estate, financial, ice cream or pizza parlor, computer store, deli, coffee shop, beauty parlor, barber shop, bank, dry cleaner (drop-off only), etc.  He stated that, currently, the property is zoned C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) and one of the things that came up in the previous hearing was what can be done with a C-1 zoning, at which time he listed those types of uses that are allowed in said zoning, being: a plant nursery, a roadside farm stand (vegetable), commercial amusements, automobile service station, banking facility, a bar or tavern, a car wash, personal care services (beauty, hair, etc.), professional offices, a general restaurant (no fast food), general commercial, a self-service laundry, churches, community residential, a cultural institution, a daycare center, and a family care center.  He stated that the general retail is wide open – anything that one would want to do, with outside storage, etc. – there are no restrictions.  He stated that some of the residents adamantly wanted a sports bar and some did not want one at all, so they included it in the list of approved uses and will let the residents decide whether one goes in or not.  He stated that the commercial area will not be a typical strip center, but will look more like a village type facility.  He noted that the applicant does not have a problem with meeting the conditions that were outlined by the Zoning Board, stipulating the design before the Board this date, the wall, the utility upgrades, and the golf cart/pedestrian access.

It was noted that some concerns that were raised by the residents about lighting, garbage dumpsters, etc. would be addressed when the development goes through the site plan approval process.

Commr. Hill stated that, when this request was heard a year ago, there was a concern about the elimination of 300 recreational vehicle sites and questioned where they would be located.

Mr. Richey, Attorney, stated that, originally, there were 1,500 houses and 300 RV sites, however, noted that the RV sites were eliminated, but the RV storage area was kept in the project, which consists of single-family residential units, the commercial area on Hwy. 27, the golf course community, and an RV storage area.

Commr. Hill then questioned the issue of the setback requirements going from 15 feet to 5 feet and was informed by Mr. Richey that there was some discussion regarding some of the screen rooms that the residents were adding, which he noted they deleted, because the community wanted to keep it as it was.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Mr. Millard Cosby, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board stating that he wanted to clear up some critical misconceptions, at which time he submitted, for the record, a packet of information (Opposition’s Composite Exhibit A), containing his statement; an excerpt from the Zoning Board Minutes of May 4, 2005; several copies of the Royal Highlands plat, showing existing/proposed commercial parcels, as well as possible future development; a copy of Page 2 of Resolution No. 1994-153, indicating that the development consists of 1,500 single-family dwelling residential units, 300 recreational vehicles, and 5,000 square feet of commercial, on 507.25 gross acres, to be developed in accordance with the Master Development Plan; a copy of Page 4 of Ordinance No. 1999-123, indicating that the development consists of 1,500 single-family dwelling residential units, 300 recreational vehicles, and 5,000 square feet of commercial on 1,086.59 gross acres, to be developed in accordance with the Royal Highlands Amended Preliminary Development Plan; a copy of an email, dated May 18, 2005, that was received from Mr. Raymond Sharp, Director, City of Leesburg Environmental Services, indicating that the City of Leesburg does not own or maintain any of the internal gravity collection system, or any of the internal sanitary pumping stations within the Royal Highlands subdivision - that they are all owned and maintained by the homeowners’ association; and a copy of Page 2 of the Royal Highlands Declaration of Restrictions, indicating that, before any commercial enterprise is built or operated on lands comprising a part of Royal Highlands, or which expects to utilize facilities or infrastructure belonging to or maintained by the Royal Highlands Property Owners’ Association, the proprietor, owner or operator of such enterprise shall enter into a binding contract with the Association, which contract is to include mutually agreeable terms for all aspects of the expected use or interaction between the parties.  He stated that one of the misconceptions is that Mr. Richey, the applicant’s attorney, insists that the area in question has always been commercial and that there was even a veiled threat that, if the residents did not accept the proposal, something worse would be put in its place, at which time he read an excerpt into the record from the Zoning Board Minutes alluded to earlier (contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit A), as follows: Mr. Richey said this is not going to go commercial, it is commercial.  It will be developed in commercial, either by using the 5,000 square feet and having some configuration on it which will not be as restrictive as what they are proposing or it will be restricted and imposed under the terms and conditions that the Board grants.

Mr. Cosby stated that what that is saying is that, if the applicant is only allowed to have 5,000 square feet, they will put in a gas station, or something else that the residents will not like, so they better go along with the applicant’s proposal, for the increase to 40,000 square feet.  He stated that the assertion that it is commercial just cannot be so, noting that it is shown on the applicants own plat (contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit A) as “proposed commercial”.  He questioned why it would be shown as “proposed”, if it were already commercial.  He stated that, according to the plat, said area was residential at one time, not commercial.  He questioned when it went to commercial, noting that he would like to see the documentation of when that happened.  He stated that he suspected it went commercial when the draftsman drew it on the layout.  He stated that one of the reasons the residents of Royal Highlands stated they did not mind this proposal was because they feared something worse would be put there, if they did not go along with the amendment.  He stated that the area could be designated open space, upland buffer, or even recreational, which the residents would certainly not oppose.  He questioned what has changed to require such a dramatic change in the commercial space, noting that he would like to see a copy of the market research analysis that was conducted.  He stated that he fears there will be empty store fronts in just a few months, or years, noting that a shopping mall will be constructed that will devalue their properties and then there will be empty store fronts, further decreasing their property values, and, finally, they will allow low end stores to take over, leading to even lower property values. 

Mr. Cosby addressed a concern he has about the 12 sanitary lift stations that exist in Royal Highlands, pointing out the fact that Mr. Beliveau had stated that the City of Leesburg owns them, but that is not true, referring to the email (contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit A) alluded to earlier from Mr. Raymond Sharp, Director, City of Leesburg Environmental Services, in which he states that the City does not own or maintain any of them, that they are all owned and maintained by the homeowners association.  He stated that Mr. Beliveau stated that Pringle Communities holds easement rights along Commerce Boulevard, but he has been unable to locate such a document.  He stated that, with regard to the Declaration of Restrictions for Royal Highlands (contained in  Opposition’s Composite Exhibit A), Paragraph 2, under Use Restrictions for all Commercial Development, indicates that the infrastructure usage by the stores, including the roadways and lift stations, would require an agreement with the Royal Highlands Association before any construction could begin.  He commented about the notification process that is used by the County, noting that the blue postcard that is sent out to the residents notifying them about upcoming meetings looks like junk mail, so a lot of them may have been discarded as such.  He stated that he feels a more official looking letter would be better.  He asked that the notification contain an email address, as well, so that the residents can respond to them.  He stated that he is concerned that the applicant is overbuilding a commercial area, on a rational that the residents need it and will make it financially viable, which he seriously doubts, noting that there is already too much commercial development along U.S. 27.  He questioned why the applicant would ruin the resident’s beautiful community, with a possibility of empty store fronts.  He asked the Board to assess the accuracy of the facts presented and vote “No” to the amendment to the Royal Highlands PUD.

Mr. Robert “Bob” Buckert, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board and submitted, for the record, a packet of information (Opposition’s Composite Exhibit B), which he reviewed with the Board, containing an excerpt from the Planning and Zoning Commission Minutes of February 4, 2004, which states: It had been predicted that people would go north to Leesburg for services and goods.  Instead they were going south to the Minneola/Clermont market.  DCA felt it would be advantageous to increase the square footage of commercial to try to capture that traffic flow and keep it internalized.  He stated that said statement was not true, noting that he goes north to shop and so do most of the people that he knows.  He stated that, after the findings, the residents agree that Monarch Boulevard would be considered a collector road (information contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit B), the problem is that they do not know the correct number of average daily trips (ADT) on Monarch Boulevard, noting that the number that was given was 9,236.  He stated that the residents feel those numbers are going to go up dramatically, approximately 320 to 350 new ADTs every day, if the property in question becomes a shopping center and Monarch Boulevard is deteriorating extremely fast, which the residents are concerned about, at which time he displayed a photograph (contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit B) of said road, noting that it is only nine-sixteenth of an inch thick.  He stated that, on March 10, 2004, a letter (contained in Opposition’s Composite Exhibit B) was sent from Mr. Fred D. Ferrell, P.E., District Traffic Operations Engineer, with the Florida Department of Transportation, to Mr. John Pringle, Pringle Development Retirement Communities, stating that a traffic signal was needed at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Monarch Boulevard.  He stated that the residents were told in November of 2004 that the traffic signal would be installed, but it has not happened yet.  He addressed the issue of the Neighborhood Activity Center and the fact that the plat shows the ingress/egress for it coming off of Commerce Drive, which he noted is not a collector road, but a private road; therefore, it fails to meet the requirement for a neighborhood activity center.  He stated that the residents are concerned about tractor trailers entering the shopping center and what problems they will cause, as well as the additional traffic that will be generated by the shopping center.

RECESS AND REASSEMBLY

At 1:30 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 1:45 p.m.

REZONING CASE NO. PH40-05-3 – AMEND PUD ORDINANCE NO. 1999-123

ROYAL HIGHLANDS/STEVEN J. RICHEY, P.A./GREG BELIVEAU, AICP, LPG

URBAN & REGIONAL PLANNERS – TRACKING NO. 52-05-PUD/AMD (CONT’D.)

Mr. Buckert readdressed the Board stating that there are probably only three to four families, out of the 118 families in his precinct, that would like to have the activity center – the remaining 114 families do not want one.  He stated that the issue of safety is a real concern to the residents, who feel that they need both the berm that is currently on the site, as well as a wall, which it was noted has been proposed by the applicants, and the residents are concerned about the water retention area and the fact that it is in direct contact with the aquifer.

Mr. Thomas Johnson, a resident of Royal Highlands and Vice Chairman for Public Works for Royal Highlands, as well as their liaison with the City of Leesburg’s Public Utilities Department, addressed the Board and discussed some concerns the residents have about the roads in the area, the subdivision’s water system, their sewer system, fire protection, and potential drainage problems, which he elaborated on.  He stated that they have approximately 200 homes left to build in the development and it will be at 1,500 homes.  He stated that they have had water and sewer problems for the past three to four years, because of additional homes being built in the development, and the City of Leesburg has been unable to completely fix the system at this time.  He stated that the City informed him that it will be three to ten years before all the communities along the U.S. 27 corridor will be connected into a central water system, so the residents are going to have to put up with their water and sewer problems until then.  He stated that the residents are concerned about the water pressure for the fire hydrants, in that there is barely enough water pressure for their own community; odor from the sewer system, which has been ongoing for years, and the City has not been able to solve the problem; the fact that the residents feel the shopping center, which will be equivalent to 24 homes being added to the system, will be the demise of it; that, if the water in the retention pond reaches into the aquifer, as the residents were told, it will pollute their wells, which are located in the center of their community and is the source of their drinking water; and that the proposed shopping center is not consistent with the other buildings in their community, in that it does not match anything they have.  He asked the Board to protect the residents and deny the request.

Mr. George McMillan, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board stating that, whereas he shares many of the concerns of his fellow residents, he believes the popular opinion is that the residents would have no objection to the proposed shopping center.  He stated that he was sure a dialogue could be set up between Pringle Communities, who has always been cooperative, and the residents that came before the Board this date with their concerns, in an effort to try to address those concerns.

Ms. Janet Porter, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board and appealed to them to please let the residents have the proposed shopping center, noting that one of the main reasons she bought her home in Royal Highlands was because she was told that the shopping center would be built.  She stated that, for a while, she and her husband were ambassadors for Pringle Communities and would take people out to dinner, to find out what they thought about the area, and the main complaint that they received was that the development was too far away from anything.  She stated that she agreed with Mr. McMillan that there are problems, but feels that they are going to be worked out.  She stated that the residents have to drive approximately 10 miles to buy a loaf of bread, or a bottle of milk, and there will come a time when they will not have a driver’s license, enabling them to do so.  She stated that she desperately wants to be able to driver her golf cart to the proposed shopping center, or be able to walk up to it, to purchase basic things that she needs.  She stated that Pringle Communities has a wonderful reputation and she has never been afraid of what they will build in front of the development, noting that she does not feel they will build junk in front of it.  She asked the Board to approve the request before them, to enable the residents to have an area in front of their development that they can get to when they get older.

Ms. Mary Javer, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board, in opposition to the request, stating that she has lived in Royal Highlands for the past one and a half years and is very, very proud to call it her home.  She stated that she listened to the comments that were made this date and was very concerned about them, however, noted that her concerns stretch beyond safety and security issues, they involve the entire community of 1,500 homes.  She stated that, should the Board decide to approve the amendment before them, she would like to request that the developer extend the berm that runs along U.S. 27 to the southernmost point of the commercial development; that the six foot concrete wall along King Henry Avenue, within their community, be extended on top and not be adjacent to the extended earthen berm southward to the end of the commercial property; that the palm trees currently in place remain in place and that further plantings be done on the berm; that the commercial site preparation not commence until the water main interconnect reaches the subject property; that the cost of the independent switch disposal be borne by the developers; that the traffic signal at U.S. 27 and Monarch Boulevard be operational, before site preparation can begin; that the developer be required to provide a safe, secure, and convenient passageway for the residents, bicyclers, and golf carts to and from the commercial site; that designated bicycle and golf cart parking be included in the site development; that the developer enter into an agreement with the Royal Highlands Property Owners Association, for the use, operation, and maintenance of Commerce Drive, which is owned by the community; that the developer upgrade Commerce Drive and, perhaps, Monarch Boulevard, subject to the approval of the Association; that all commercial signage, outdoor displays, and like advertising be restricted to a minimum of two feet less than the height of the concrete wall to be constructed; and that all illumination lighting within the commercial development not be disruptive to residents in the Royal Highlands community.

 Mr. Chuck Riso, a resident of Royal Highlands, addressed the Board and discussed a concern he has about the issue of safety, with regard to the proposed shopping center and Commerce Drive, which he elaborated on.  He stated that there is very little room to widen Commerce Drive, which will create an impossible situation, with cars going in and out of the shopping center, along with golf carts and trucks making deliveries.  He stated that he felt the way that the proposed shopping center is laid out is inadequate and that a lot more thought needs to be given to it.  He stated that he feels the safety issue is going to cause a lot of accidents, because the road cannot handle the traffic.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Mr. Richey, Attorney, representing the applicant, readdressed the Board and rebutted some of the comments that were made this date regarding the request before them, at which time he asked them to approve the request, noting that the proposed shopping center will be a positive thing for the community and will provide an alternative to the residents having to drive up U.S. 27 to do their shopping.

 Commr. Stivender stated that the original master plan does show all the frontage along U.S. 27, in front of Royal Highlands, as commercial, it is just that, at the time that the developer came in with the PUD, they were limited to 5,000 square feet, because that is all that was allowed at that time.  She stated that the developer was not rezoning, noting that the request before the Board this date was already part of the PUD.

Commr. Cadwell stated that these types of things are always a little bothersome to some people, but that he feels being able to capture those trips and keep them off of U.S. 27 and having the neighborhood type facilities that the developer is going to build, in the long run, is going to be a plus.  He stated that the safety wall and the County’s own rules and regulations, with regard to lighting and access management, should give the residents a little more assurance.

Commr. Hanson stated that she liked the design of the shopping center, in that it is more of a village concept.

A motion was made by Commr. Stivender and seconded by Commr. Cadwell to uphold the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approve Ordinance No. 2005-45 - Royal Highlands, Steven J. Richey, P.A./Greg Beliveau, AICP, LPG Urban & Regional Planners, Rezoning Case No. PH40-05-3, Tracking No. 52-05-PUD/AMD, a request to amend PUD Ordinance No. 1999-123, to add 44,500 square feet of neighborhood commercial on 4.9 acres, for a small retail center fronting U.S. 27, as presented, with a condition that all the water, sewer, pump station, traffic issues (intersection improvements at Monarch Boulevard and Commerce Drive and a traffic signal being installed on U.S. Hwy. 27 at Monarch Boulevard), golf cart safety, and wall and berm issues be corrected and in place, prior to construction, and that the town design shown in “Applicant Exhibit A” (contained in the Board’s backup material) be followed.

Under discussion, Commr. Pool stated that he appreciated the comments that were made by the residents this date.  He stated that there is a group of residents that want the proposed shopping center and one that does not, so no matter what the vote is, it is not going to make everyone happy.  He noted that he feels the shopping center is going to benefit the Royal Highlands development.

 The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.

COMMISSIONERS

At this time Commr. Cadwell left the meeting, due to another commitment.

REZONING CASE NO. PH28-05-3 – A TO CFD – BASMATTIE

JAMALUDIN/SUABI RAMNARAIN – TRACKING NO. 31-05-CFD

Mr. Jeff Richardson, Planning Manager, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to rezone from A (Agriculture) and AR (Agricultural Residential) to CFD (Community Facility District), for the establishment of a private cemetery, related to a religious institution.  He stated that the property is located approximately 150 feet north of the existing Yalaha Cemetery, which he pointed out on an aerial (contained in Board’s backup material) on display.  He stated that the request was consistent with the Lake County Land Development Regulations and with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, for an area within the Urban Expansion future land use category.  He stated that request was also consistent with the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code, noting that the type and size of the cemetery would be consistent with certain regulations and also by the State, as far as the actual operation; therefore, staff was recommending approval of the request.

It was noted that the upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery will be the responsibility of the institution that it is related to.

Commrs. Hill and Pool had disclosed earlier in the meeting, for the record, that they had spoken with representatives of this case prior to this meeting.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Ms. Suabi Ramnarain, Applicant, addressed the Board stating that the cemetery would be only for the Muslim organization and not for the general public, because of the fashion in which their graves are dug, noting that the bodies are buried in an east/west direction, rather than the normal north/south direction.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved Ordinance No. 2005-46 - Basmattie Jamaludin/Suabi Ramnarain, Rezoning Case No. PH28-05-3, Tracking No. 31-05-CFD, a request to rezone a 4.3 acre parcel of property in the Yalaha area, for the purpose of a private cemetery, for use by a religious institution (Muslim), as presented.

REZONING CASE NO. CUP05/5/2-4 – AMEND CUP NO. 1998-12 – SOUTHERN

OAKS TRAINING CENTER – TRACKING NO. 53-05-CUP/AMD

Mr. Jeff Richardson, Planning Manager, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request by the Southern Oaks Training Center to amend CUP (Conditional Use Permit) No. 1998-12, to add 12 RV spaces for private use by the training facility, to be used for six (6) months out of the year, during training season.  He stated that there is nothing in the Lake County Land Development Regulations, or the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, related to the Wekiva River Protection Area, that would prohibit an RV from being utilized in this manner.  He stated that, taking a look at the agricultural use and the use of the facility itself, under a CUP, as a training center for harness racing, and limiting the use of the RVs to the Southern Oaks Training Center facility, it would be considered an accessory use by staff.  He stated that staff is recommending approval of the request, however, noted that regulation of the individual RVs, as far as the septic tanks are concerned, will depend on what they opt to do.  He stated that, if they decide to establish permanent systems, they will have to establish them within the rules of the Department of Environmental Protection, otherwise, the request is to leave the RVs as self-contained units.  He stated that the RVs will either be pumped out off site, or they will have somebody come on site, to pump them out.

Commr. Hanson questioned whether Mr. Richardson would consider this request to be similar to migrant housing, considering the temporary situation.

Mr. Richardson stated that it would not necessarily be considered migrant or farm worker housing, but more of a convenience to the trainers and riders.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

No one was present in opposition to the request.

There being no one present who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved  Ordinance No. 2005-47 - Southern Oaks Training Center, Marlys A. Pinske, Rezoning Case No. CUP05/5/2-4, Tracking No. 53-05-CUP/AMD, a request to amend CUP (Conditional Use Permit) No. 1998-12, to add 12 RV spaces, for private use by the training facility, to be used six (6) months out of the year, as presented.

REZONING CASE NO. PH42-05-3 – A TO CP – M. L. AND JONNETTE SPIKES

TRACKING NO. 54-05-CP

Mr. Jeff Richardson, Planning Manager, Planning and Development Services, Growth Management Department, explained this request, stating that it was a request to rezone a 2.66 acre parcel in the Yalaha area from A (Agriculture) to CP (Planned Commercial District) with “C-1” (Neighborhood Commercial District) and “C-2” (Community Commercial District) uses.  He stated that the applicants sent the County a letter, dated May 4, 2005, amending their request, limiting it to C-1 uses only and limiting the square footage of the building to 5,000 square feet.  He stated that this changes staff’s evaluation, noting that a portion of the property falls into the Neighborhood Activity Center classification, but limiting it to 5,000 square feet, along a collector roadway (CR 48), matches Policy 1-3A.1; therefore, there is a certain consistency in limiting it to C-1 uses.  He stated that there is further consistency with Comprehensive Plan policies regulating location of commercial uses and, in that regard, staff was recommending approval of the request.

Commrs. Hill and Pool had disclosed earlier in the meeting, for the record, that they had spoken with representatives of this case, prior to this meeting.

Commr. Stivender stated that she had heard rumors that more people were coming in wanting to do the same thing in that area and that she wanted staff to be aware of that fact.  She stated that she did not feel the County would want strip commercial along CR 48.

Mr. Richardson stated that the Comprehensive Plan discourages strip commercial.

Mr. Fred Morrison, Attorney, representing the applicants, addressed the Board stating that, when the applicants purchased the property in question, they found that they had 2.6 acres of property zoned A (Agriculture), but the County’s ordinance requires a minimum of five (5) acres for an agricultural enterprise, so the applicants have a piece of property that is zoned in opposition to the Comprehensive Plan for that area, which is Urban Expansion.  He stated that, in order for the applicants to have any beneficial use of the property, it would be necessary for them to obtain some sort of zoning classification.  He stated that the applicants looked at the location and configuration of the property, which is oddly shaped and does not have much depth, therefore, does not lend itself to residential development, and questioned what they could do with it.  He stated that, because it is within the neighborhood commercial area and on a corner, which is a favorable location for a commercial business, the applicants chose to use it for that purpose.  He admitted that the plans that were originally submitted were a little grandiose, for a site of this nature, noting that the applicants had envisioned a much larger building and a mini-storage, in trying to maximize their use of the site, but, when they realized what the County’s ordinance allows and heard the concerns expressed by the residents at the Zoning Board Meeting, they promptly submitted an amendment, which scaled back the development considerably, to 5,000 square feet, with C-1 uses, under a CP (Planned Commercial) designation, making it consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  He stated that, due to said fact, staff changed their recommendation from denial to approval; therefore, he would solicit the Board’s approval of the request.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Ms. Debra Townsend Herold addressed the Board stating that she and her husband own the Yalaha Country Bakery and are also residents of Yalaha, noting that they live on the parcel of property that is directly adjacent to the property in question.  She stated that, when the residents first became aware of the issue, there was a great deal of discussion within the community and it was very strongly felt that the proposed use, which was a strip shopping center, or mini-storage, would be completely inappropriate for the area.  She stated that the Board could see, from the Zoning Board Minutes and the number of signatures on the petitions (contained in the Board’s backup material), the people of Yalaha are very concerned that it be preserved as a special place, noting that it has characteristics the likes of which are not found in communities very often.  She stated that they are all deeply concerned that, as it has come on the radar screen of developers, the very unique quality of life that exists there is going to vanish.  She stated that there is a lot of interest among the people of Yalaha, regarding the revision to the Comprehensive Plan, so they want to attend the next public hearing that is scheduled to be held, in order to voice their opinion about the matter.  She stated that, as they understand the Comprehensive Plan, they feel designating Yalaha as a rural village might be more appropriate than designating it as Urban Expansion.  She stated that she feels making any decision at this time, based upon a Comprehensive Plan that is in transition, would be inappropriate.  She stated that the area in question is surrounded by residential, so it may be that a rezoning to commercial of any sort, whether it be limited to 5,000 square feet, with C-1 uses, or not, could well be inappropriate.  She stated that she felt bad about the fact that the applicants purchased a parcel of property that had less acreage than what they thought they were purchasing and, therefore, cannot be used for agricultural purposes, but she does not feel that that is a good reason for granting the change in rezoning.  She stated that the residents were not aware that the applicants had amended their proposed use and asked that the Board continue this hearing until a later date, to enable the residents of Yalaha to talk about the issue at greater length, possibly until the new Comprehensive Plan has been decided, to see if Yalaha will be redesignated as a rural village.

Commr. Hanson stated that she felt it would be appropriate to have a master plan prepared for the whole Yalaha area and would recommend that one be done, noting that the community could help develop what they would like for the town to look like.  She stated that another possibility for the property in question might be residential/professional, which would be a small office space, something that is in keeping and compliments what the Yalaha Country Bakery has done with their property.

Mr. Gunter Herold, husband to Deborah and also owner of the Yalaha Country Bakery, addressed the Board and discussed a project that he has been working on for approximately 12 years, which he elaborated on, noting that it is a project for the entire community that will involve good food, the arts, integrative medicine, and research.  He stated that he and his wife are concerned that, if the request before the Board is approved, CR 48 will be opened to strip malls, gas stations, Chinese take-out restaurants, Walgreen’s, etc.

Ms. Holly Luebcke, a resident of Yalaha, addressed the Board stating that she and her husband purchased a parcel of property on Lake Shore Drive and are getting ready to build a house on it.  She stated that she loves Yalaha the way it is and is not happy about commercial being proposed for the property in question, noting that Yalaha does not need another commercial building on CR 48.

There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Mr. Morrison, Attorney, representing the applicants, readdressed the Board regarding a request that this case be postponed until a later date, because the residents were not aware that the applicants had amended their proposed use.  He stated that the applicants informed him that the letter amending their proposal and the site plan was presented at the Zoning Board Meeting, so he questioned why it should be such a surprise this date to anyone that attended that meeting.  He stated that he and his clients had to sit through 6 ˝ hours of this meeting, at considerable expense to his clients, and, if, in fact, the amended plan was made public at the Zoning Board Meeting, there would be no reason to put the request off any longer.  He stated that, because there may be some incipient change in the Comprehensive Plan, or Mr. Herold has a vision for the development of Yalaha, is not a legal basis for the Board to deny his clients reasonable, beneficial use of their property.  He stated that, at the present time, the applicants cannot put anything on the property, so they are being denied all use of the property, by virtue of the act that the zoning conflicts with the Comprehensive Plan and the size of the property does not meet the County’s Zoning Ordinance.  He stated that, if one of the parcels had more depth to it, the applicants could probably put residential on it, but there is not much of an area for a residence, as it currently sits.  He stated that the only logical use for the property would be commercial.  He stated that the applicants did commit this date to limit the uses to just general retail, professional, and personal services, which he feels should allay any concerns that were raised about more intensive type uses.  He stated that the ideas presented this date may all be great ideas, but his clients are present this date with a problem that they have with a piece of property that they need to put to good use.  He stated that, if there is a Comprehensive Plan change in six months, or a year, and there are a series of meetings that result in big plans for Yalaha two years down the road, that is not going to do his clients any good, because they have a problem this date.  He stated that he did not see what purpose would be served by postponing the applicants’ request and asked that the Board consider and grant their proposal, as amended.

Commr. Stivender questioned whether it could be stipulated in the CP (Planned Commercial) that the request will need to come back to the Board for review, before staff approves it.

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the Board could approve the request for CP, with no uses, and require the applicants to come back with specific uses and present a specific site plan to the Board, before the property could be utilized.

Commr. Stivender stated that the property could be approved for CP, with C-1 uses, for the permitted uses, but that a stipulation be put in it that the site plan itself will have to come back to the Board for approval, to make sure that it fits in with the town.

Mr. Minkoff stated that that could be done, as well, however, noted that the Board would want to be a little more specific in their categories.

Mr. Morrison stated that his clients would have no objection to doing that.

Commr. Stivender stated that the Board would like to see village type uses for the property in question.

Mr. Minkoff read into the record what types of uses would be permitted, being: offices, travel, real estate, financial, ice cream shop, pizza, Mom and Pop operation, drugstore (Mom and Pop type), supported restaurant (5,000 square feet limitation), florist, bakery, bagel shop, food market, gift card shop, dry cleaners (pick-up only, not cleaned on site), Mail Boxes, Etc., bank, beauty salon, clothing store, coffee shop, delicatessen, computer store, hobby or quilting shop, sports bar (Board approved to take out), take out delivery food (only if delivered to that community), video rentals, and doctors offices.

Mr. M. L. Spikes, Applicant, addressed the Board stating that he and his wife want to build something that fits in with the theme of the Yalaha area.  He stated that they learned something at the Zoning Board Meeting that they did not know previously, being that the term “strip center” is very different from “town center”.  He stated that they want something that they will be proud to be a part of.

Commr. Hanson suggested that Mr. Spikes speak to the people that spoke against this request, noting that they might be able to help him a little bit with what they have in mind.

Mr. Spikes stated that he would be happy to do so.

On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board overturned the recommendation of the Zoning Board and approved  Ordinance No. 2005-48 - M. L. and Jonnette Spikes, Rezoning Case No. PH42-05-3, Tracking No. 54-05-CP, a request to rezone a 2.66 acre parcel in the Yalaha area from A (Agriculture) to CP (Planned Commercial), as presented, based on staff’s revised recommendation from denial to approval and the fact that the project has gone from 22,500 square feet to a 5,000 square foot commercially zoned town village type atmosphere; limiting the uses to those that were stipulated in the Royal Highlands case; and that the site plan, once prepared, come back to the Board for approval.

Commr. Cadwell had left the meeting and was not present for the discussion and vote.

REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HANSON – DISTRICT 4

OLDER AMERICANS MONTH IN LAKE COUNTY PROCLAMATION

On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2005-85, proclaiming May, 2005, as Older Americans Month in Lake County.

REPORTS – COUNTY ATTORNEY

SOUTH LAKE CONNECTOR (CITRUS TOWER EXTENSION)

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that, in connection with the South Lake Connector (Citrus Tower extension), the County has been negotiating with the Celebration of Praise Church for right of way, but, at the same time, they have had a disagreement with the County regarding impact fees.  He stated that the County resolved the impact fee issue with a $14,000 settlement to the church, but the Code does not authorize the County to do a settlement on impact fees; therefore, in trying to resolve the problem, the church gave the County almost six acres of right of way deeds (estimated to be worth approximately $260,000) and an additional four acres of land that the County is going to share with them for drainage easements.  He stated that they also gave the County eight acres, to be used as temporary construction easements during construction, which he noted the County values more than the $14,000.  He requested approval for the County to pay the church the $14,000, call it compensation for what they have done for the County, and agree that all impact fee issues between the County and the church have been resolved.

On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.

On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 4-0 vote, the Board approved said request.

REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STIVENDER – DISTRICT 3

HEALTH ISSUE

Commr. Stivender thanked everyone for their prayers and concerns, with regard to her mother, who has been ill.

ADJOURNMENT

            There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.

 

__________________________

JENNIFER HILL, CHAIRMAN

 

 

ATTEST:

 

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JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK