A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
JANUARY 15, 2008
The Lake County Board of
The Chairman welcomed those present for the Economic Development Workshop and opened the meeting.
PRESENTATION BY T.I.P. STRATEGIES REGARDING ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Economic Growth and Redevelopment Director, addressed the Board stating that T.I.P. Strategies, a firm that was hired several months ago to work on the County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan project, would be giving a presentation on where they are in the process and soliciting feedback from the Board regarding same.
Mr. Sean Garretson, President,
Pegasus Planning, informed the Board that his firm specializes in economic
development planning all over the country and they do everything under that
economic development umbrella. He stated
that the project objective is not a land use plan, but creating a realistic vision
and roadmap on how to diversify
Mr. Garretson discussed the project timeline, noting that they started this project in August of 2007, where they did a quantitative analysis, and are now in the beginning of the implementation phase of the project. He stated that they will be making another trip to the County in February, but want to obtain feedback from the Board this date, after which they will start moving forward on the plan. He further stated that they are planning to give a final presentation to the Board in the latter part of February, after which they would encourage the Board to adopt the plan, because it sets out a lot of policies, specific strategies, etc., and the Economic Development Department needs that guidance from the Board. He suggested that they hold a Lake County Prosperity Summit, where a presentation is given to the region about what Lake County is going to be doing – the focus for economic development, noting that the more the County can encourage private sector investment and help them understand what is going on in the County, the more the County is going to be able to get some of their investment back. He stated that the County has a lot more strengths than it has challenges, in that the Turnpike runs right through it and there is the potential for a commuter rail line up to the northeastern part of the County, which are great assets. The County is well positioned in healthcare, well positioned with its education assets, and the historic downtown areas in some of the County’s cities will be great draws to a lot of the talent that employers are going to be looking for. Economic development is not about recreating businesses, but about recruiting talent, and if the County gets that, it will be way ahead of the game, and there are several sites within some of the cities in the County for commercial development, such as office buildings. Recognizing all that, he feels the County’s biggest challenge is the fact that it has a severely underdeveloped economy, noting that, with the County’s population and its proximity to a major metropolitan area whose economy is growing like gang busters, they would expect that the County would have a lot more commercial development – office, professional services, and some light industrial. He stated that he felt one of the biggest challenges the County has, in terms of getting private investment, is the image that the County has among the business community, which is something that could be overcome with a very focused market, an image campaign, and some policy changes. He stated that one of the County’s best assets is its land – its undeveloped areas and its lakes, noting that he feels there are tremendous opportunities for the County to preserve some of its open space and to cluster some of its development in certain areas.
Mr. Alan Cox, Project Director,
T.I.P. Strategies, Inc., addressed the Board stating that
Mr. Cox stated that Lake County
was benchmarked against some other suburban counties around the Country that
are located outside major metropolitan areas that have similarities to Lake
County, such as Seminole County, Florida; Placer County, California; Desoto
County, Mississippi; Montgomery County, Texas; Williamson County, Texas; and
Gwinnet County, Georgia, at which time he reviewed data that his firm had
collected, in comparing Lake County with those other counties. He stated that said data shows, despite the County’s
strength with having
Commr. Cadwell interjected that the reason that figure is low is probably due to people being educated and receiving their degrees in Lake County, but then going somewhere else to work, because the County does not have a good job market.
Cox stated that another thing that distinguishes
Garretson readdressed the Board stating that his firm does not get hung up on
the visions, noting that they feel it is very important that the plan focus on
that, but that it be a dynamic process between where the opportunities are,
what the target industries are, and what strategies are going to take advantage
of those opportunities and get the County focused on some of those industries. He stated that the vision they have created
Cox informed the Board that five target sectors are being recommended for the
County to focus the bulk of its efforts on, being Health and Wellness; Clean
Technology; Agritechnology; Business Services; and Arts, Recreation, and
Leisure. They do not feel blue collar,
heavy industry is in the future of
Garretson stated that the way the Economic Development Plan is going to be
developed is that the County will have four goals, with possibly one or two
more developed within the next week or so, with specific actions being
identified for each one of them. He
stated that the first goal, to Organize and Collaborate, would address the
following strategies: (1) develop and
expand internal resources for economic development; (2) strengthen the leadership
base and expand involvement/understanding of economic development; (3) create a
countywide partnership to support economic development; and (4) initiate a marketing
and image campaign. He suggested that
the County hold an annual Prosperity or Economic Summit - a summit where the
County can bring in regional or local allies, the press, businesses, etc., and
get an update on where the County is with its economy and how it may have
improved over the last year, and they recommend that the County continue to
benchmark itself annually against the counties that it was compared with,
noting that the County should be making improvements, especially in the
education and median income areas. The
second goal, being Industry and Innovation, would address the issue of
diversifying the economy – what the County can do to stimulate private sector
investment. The strategies under Goal
Two would be (1) plan for adequate sites and infrastructure; (2) support
start-up, retention, and expansion of business; (3) develop a sophisticated
entrepreneurship program; and (4) initiate a target industry marketing campaign. He stated that he feels the area west of the
West Horizon development in south Lake County is an interesting area for the
County to consider for commercial development and he feels the County needs to
tie some of its economic development opportunities and activities to Orlando,
because that is where many of those opportunities are going to be coming
from. He noted that he felt the
northeast area of the County, around
Mr. Garretson discussed the issue of green building standards and LEED certification and the fact that he feels the County should create such standards, because he feels most private sector developments in the future are going to be very green. He stated that, if the public sector could adopt policies that say they will have green building standards for any of their new facilities, they would not only be sending a message out that fits in with the overall image of Lake County and health and wellness, but would also be stimulating the private sector in the green building industry, which is a perfect example of how the public sector can stimulate private sector investment, and the County could also adopt a clean fuel fleet program, to stimulate ethanol production. With regard to an entrepreneurship program, he stated that the County currently has some great assets focused on entrepreneurship, but that a lot more could be done. He stated that they are not talking about small business creation, noting that entrepreneurship should be tied to the target sectors and that is not always the case. They feel the private sector should be more informed about it, which will allow them to understand what the name of the game is and how they can get involved and get resources to help their business focus on them, and, with regard to marketing, they feel the County should initiate specific target marketing within the region and nationally. They feel it is a good idea for the County to continue to collaborate with Metro-Orlando on those target sector marketing efforts, as well.
Mr. Garretson stated that the third goal is Place and they recommend that the County (1) protect and promote more green space and natural resources, if at all possible, promoting clustered development and preserving open space; (2) support redevelopment and revitalization in the downtown areas; (3) promote arts and entertainment; and (4) promote transportation mobility options. He stated that all of these things are amenities and aspects of community that the young work force – the eco-boomers that the County wants to attract, are looking for. He stated that, with regard to arts and entertainment, the County needs to create a sophisticated, well-known entertainment venue, noting that they feel it is something that is needed in the County and would be worth pursuing. With regard to promoting transportation mobility options, he feels a commuter rail and bicycle trail that goes throughout the County would be worthwhile.
Stivender interjected that
Mr. Garretson stated that the fourth goal is Talent and the strategies tied to it are (1) expand and promote higher education assets; (2) promote and celebrate excellence in public schools; and (3) enhance linkages between economic and workforce development. He stated that there has been much talk about the image of Lake County’s school district and that, although some things have already been put in place, there are a lot of other things that could be done, such as having more career days; a Meet the Principal Day, where business leaders go to the schools at least once a year, to meet with the Principal and the Superintendent and see what is actually going on and inquire as to what they can do to help support different things. He stated that, with regard to enhancing linkages between economic and workforce development, they feel developing science academies is a very good idea.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes.
PRESENTATION BY T.I.P. STRATEGIES REGARDING ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Mr. Ralph Bowers, City Manager, City of Fruitland Park, addressed the Board stating that a famous quote is, “If you don’t decide where you are going before you leave, you will probably wind up going somewhere else.”, and he feels that is the case with the County – that it needs to decide where it is going. He stated that the County has got to find a way to diversify its economy and that the Fruitland Park City Commission is committed to doing the things that are necessary to make it all work and that he pledges to the Board his support and cooperation, as well.
Cindy Barrow, Lake County School Board, District 3, addressed the Board stating
that she was very interested in the County having a policy on green building standards
and a LEED certification program and that she feels the School Board will be,
as well, noting that it is something the County can very easily do and it will
help to stimulate the economy. She briefly
discussed magnet schools, dual enrollment, and the County’s Junior Achievement
Program, noting that
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs to have a presentation from the School Board on what programs they have, such as the magnet schools, the Junior Achievement Program, dual enrollment, etc., just for educational purposes, so that they will know what is going on with the School Board, which will help with the perceived or real image that the County has that nothing is being done.
Charles Mojock, Lake-Sumter Community College (LSCC), addressed the Board stating
that he felt the consultants had given a great presentation. He stated that LSCC is ready to partner and
work with the County, as they have on other things, such as the
Rob Kelly, a member of the Local Planning Agency (LPA) and liaison to the
Industrial Development Authority (IDA), addressed the Board stating that he was
asked by the IDA to be involved with a steering committee for this group, which
he is pleased to do, and looks forward to having some more conversations with
T.I.P. He feels the County is going in
the right direction, noting that, when one looks at the new Comprehensive Plan
that the LPA is working on, there is not a lot of red on the map, so people
assume that there is not a lot of commercial or office space built into it, but
that is deceiving, because commercial and office space is being put into most
of the urban land use categories. He
stated that over 100,000 units have been approved in the County that have not
come out of the ground yet and, instead of going out into new raw areas and
developing new communities, there is tremendous opportunities for putting
office, commercial, and light industry where the people are currently approved,
which he elaborated on. He feels it is
imperative that the County get a partnership with the cities on this matter,
because not only are there more sites out there, but the sites that the LPA has
identified, in certain circumstances, have been annexed into the cities and
turned into residential. He stated that
it is imperative that the cities and the County get on the same page, so that
they can attain the same vision – it is just a matter of getting everybody
together on it. He stated that, since
the last time T.I.P. looked at the Comprehensive Plan map, the LPA has placed a
tremendous amount of Class A office space between the Turnpike and US 27,
coming into Clermont. He noted that he
is also a liaison to the Clermont Chamber of Commerce Economic Subcommittee and
has been working with them to identify more sites in south
Ms. Nadine Foley, Chairman of the Local Planning Agency, addressed the Board stating that the LPA is trying to make a valiant effort with the new Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map (FLUM) to protect the County’s natural resources and open space, and it is trying to cluster development near the cities, however, noted that they are constrained, because there are a few DRIs (Development of Regional Impact) out there and the LPA needs to accommodate them on the FLUM. She stated that they have tried to add it into their counts for density and they know they need to plan on the population doubling and are trying to deal with it. She further stated that, with regard to the issue of Class A office space and a more sizeable development with urban density, they expect it to be done with a traditional neighborhood design, where there is a mixed use, so that it allows for local entrepreneurship and ease of commute, so that one is not commuting a long way for neighborhood needs, and, at the same time, a mix of housing types, so that the housing that is built in the future will be affordable to the workforce that the County is trying to attract. She stated that today’s discussion reinforces the fact that the LPA feels it is on the right track with the new FLUM and are dedicated to getting it to the Board very soon.
Mr. Keith Schue, a member of the LPA, addressed the Board stating that it occurred to him, as he heard some of the comments about how the County needs to think about the unincorporated areas and potential for future economic growth, when one thinks about the unincorporated area, there is a lot of it that are enclaves within the incorporated areas, which is the unfortunate side effect of some of the growth that is occurring, but feels that perhaps the County can think of it as an opportunity. He stated that some of those enclaves, because they are central to development that is already occurring, are the best places to promote economic development, because then they become part of the cities, which ends up being to the benefit of everyone in the County. He stated that everyone, at this point in time, needs to be results oriented – they need to be producing results, in terms of economic development.
Edd Holder, a member of the Metro-Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC),
addressed the Board stating that they are not trying to draw workers into the
County; they are trying to get the workers that are already in the County high
paying jobs. He discussed the number of
Mr. Bob Curry, a retired executive with the Federal Government and a retired Fortune 500 executive, addressed the Board stating that there has been discussion about talent and how to develop it in the County, so that the County can draw in the industry with that talent. He stated that, in both of his roles, as an executive in a research company and as an executive with the Federal Government, he used interns and, during the discussion regarding talent and the need for the County to draw in talent, he did not hear the magic words “internship program.” He stated that, if there was one thing that should be looked at, it would be the development of internship programs in the schools.
Mr. Rick Joyce, a member of the IDA and the EDC, addressed the Board stating that, with regard to what Mr. Holder was saying about the private sector being at the table, not only do they have to be at the table, but, if the Board truly believes in the targeted industries, it is those targeted industry representatives who have to be at that table, to open the County’s eyes as to where they want to locate, noting that the County can do as much as it can to herd them to certain areas, but based on demographics and traffic flow, they may have particular areas that they wish to locate in and, if the County is truly going to adopt those industries as part of its own, they have got to be a part of the discussion regarding location.
Ray Gilley, President and CEO, Metro-Orlando Economic Development Commission, addressed
the Board stating that he feels the collaboration and communication that is
taking place is where to start and where it is going to go is the execution
side. He stated that what he heard was
recruitment, retention, expansion, and creation and that it is going to take a
strong effort in all of those areas. He
feels education, research, and technology is one area that the County will need
to think about, as well, which the County is well positioned in, with UCF and
the powerhouse of universities in the State, in terms of history and strong research
dollars that could be used for commercial application. He stated that leveraging is something the
County needs to think about, but it needs to have things that will bring in
those knowledgeable workers. He feels an
internship program is a great idea, noting that many businesses and
organizations could use interns, and he feels it would be a great asset to
expose those workers to
Ms. Ann Dupee, a member of the Tourist Development Council, addressed the Board stating that she was glad to see the County bring in experts that back up what she has been saying for a long time – ever since South Lake Hospital said they were going to build a new hospital and then dreamed about a Wellness Center and from that came the National Training Center (NTC). She stated that it was a partnership and, when the Carter family did what they said they would do and donated the land for the NTC, and the City did what it said it would do, and South Lake Hospital did what it said it would do, and LSCC’s South Lake Campus did what it said it would do and they all sat at the table and discussed the matter, with an update being given every two months or so, it was stimulating and fun and that is how cooperation works. She stated that Lake County is capable of being a destination for the University of Central Florida, if it puts its mind to it, but it is not done by burying one’s head in the sand, but by saying that one entity wants to talk to the another entity and getting partners together.
There being no further individuals who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Commr. Renick discussed the health care jobs, noting that the County would love to have the people filling those jobs be trained in the County and hope that they would stay in the County, but she feels there are going to be people that will be attracted to the County, because of the quality of life that the County offers. She briefly discussed the internship program that was alluded to earlier by Mr. Curry, noting that she feels a lot of what is behind the people who have moved around the Country is recruitment and marketing efforts that went on in the universities by local businesses who would peak the interest of the students, who would later decide to locate in those cities, and feels the answer to the problem is going to be from the private sector, rather than government. She stated that, with regard to the IDA, she does not feel there has been a bad relationship between the Board and the IDA, but feels perhaps the membership of the IDA should reflect the targeted industries, which would foster the collaborative effort suggested by T.I.P.
Commr. Cadwell interjected that the IDA may need to look different and have different duties, which is something they had questioned, but he wanted to wait and see what the consultants’ recommendation would be. He stated that, over the years, with exception to one incident involving an impact fee issue, the Board has never voted against any recommendation by the IDA – it is just that the atmosphere they have been operating in, perceived or real, has caused a problem, but he does not feel the problem is as big and as bad as they think it is, and he feels it is something that can be fixed pretty quick. He stated that, as industries are drawn into the County, it needs to be understood that there is a workforce in the County that is going to need to be re-educated and, while K-12 is important, once the new jobs are created, a lot of the unemployed people can get another one or two years of education and be into a new field.
Commr. Stivender stated that, as shown on T.I.P.’s graphs, a lot of those jobs would be from the construction industry and, if construction is not going to be a major player in the County anymore, those people need to be re-educated to do other jobs.
Stewart informed the Board that she was very excited about this process, noting
that she heard some wonderful things that backed up a lot of the feelings that
she has had, being that education is important to the County, that open space
is important, that the Arts are important, and that the downtown areas of the
cities are important. She stated that
the best downtown areas in the County are the ones that are not focusing on
annexing from a residential development, but are focusing on their downtown
redevelopment and there are some great ideas out there. She stated that this meeting points out the
critical need for the Cities and the County to work together and she feels
steps are being made in that direction.
She stated that the point was also made that the IDA and the EDC are
important to the County and that they need to remain a part of
Hill stated that T.I.P. was right on point with their industry targets, noting
that the County discussed this issue in 1993 and it is right where it said it
would be in 15 to 20 years. She knows
there is a cost associated with each of the goals alluded to by T.I.P. and
that, with the economy being what it is, the County is going to need partners
and direction from the private sector in how they reach those goals. She questioned whether the County should take
it incrementally, or take a big goal and jumpstart it, and whether or not it
would jumpstart the economy in this area and get the County’s identity out in
Commr. Cadwell questioned what the next steps in this process will be, noting that he feels the Board is saying that it agrees with the target industries and to the most part, the strategies, but the County is at the point where it needs to show something and it needs to move quickly, to which Ms. Keedy responded that there will be a lot more details in the final plan and that the consultants are going to lay out some very specific steps and projects that the County can move towards.
Commr. Renick brought up for discussion a question that was presented to the Board by the consultants, regarding whether the Board would support a Workplace District in south Lake County and that she felt it was something the Board needed to address. She stated that there are some very sensitive areas in south Lake County and that the term used by the consultants - Workplace District - makes it a loaded question, because it is a land use category that has been used, which to some people means up to 12 units per acre, density wise; therefore, if the consultants were referring to the area that she assumed they were talking about, it might be the perfect area for a business park or for the corporate headquarters of a particular business. She stated, however, that, if it is not protected within an environmentally sensitive area and apartments and condos and 12 units per acre are allowed to go in, it would not be good. She stated that it is a fear of hers that, when one uses Workplace District, she is not looking at bringing in industry and then have to bring in all the people that are going to feed that industry. She stated that there is a huge residential component that goes along with that term, in her mind.
Garretson readdressed the Board, in response to Commr. Renick’s concern,
stating that the term was originally
Commr. Renick stated that her fear is that, instead of bringing something in that will help the people in south Lake County, it will just flood more people into the area, noting that the term Workplace District suggests very high densities to her. She indicated that she would support some type of an employment center, because that it is one of the things that the City of Clermont has had a problem with in the past – the fact that there has been so much residential development and not enough commercial.
Stivender interjected that she felt the term should be
Stewart stated that the County needs an
Garretson rephrased the question and asked whether the Board would support an
Renick stated that
Garretson reiterated the fact that the two specific areas they were talking
about were the area west of the West Horizon (
Renick noted that the
Commr. Cadwell stated that, with the laws the County has to operate under, regarding land use, it would be hard for the Board to answer Mr. Garretson’s question, because there have not been any hearings on it, and he felt they would be getting into areas where they might run into some problems.
Commr. Stivender informed the Board that the Parks and Recreation Board was requesting approval to have Elementary School “J”, to be located at East Lake Community Park, near SR 437, which would eliminate any paving requirements.
Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that a couple of months ago
staff discussed with them the possibility of co-locating an elementary school
on the proposed East Lake Community Park site in Sorrento and the Board asked
them to meet with the School Board and the School Board’s attorney, which they
did. He stated that he had distributed
to them, for their perusal, two schemes of what the
It was noted that the Board preferred Scheme B.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, funding wise, it probably would have been 10 years before the County could develop the property, but this way they could get a good portion of it developed, which will help move up the other improvements quicker, because it will involve less money. He stated that, when the agreement with the School Board is brought back before the Board for approval, there will be an opportunity for public input, for those people that may be opposed to the request.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board authorized the County Attorney’s Office to negotiate with the School Board and bring a contract back to them at a later date for approval and to work with the School Board and the City of Eustis regarding the issue of utilities.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER RENICK – DISTRICT 2
Renick brought up for discussion the issue of the $50 fee that the City of
Wayne Saunders addressed the Board, responding to a question by Commr. Cadwell,
as to where the $50 fee that is collected goes and who collects it, noting that
the Little League collects the fee and then pays it to the City of
Commr. Cadwell stated that, once before, when the County considered reimbursing people for the fees, Mr. Bob McKee, Lake County Tax Collector, offered his office in Clermont as a place for them to go to get reimbursed. He stated that the City needs to let people know that they can be reimbursed for the $25 they paid in fees and then have county staff check with Mr. McKee, to see if he is still willing to offer his office in Clermont as a place for them to go to get reimbursed. He stated that, if the other cities in the County feel they need some help with their fees, as well, then the Board will look into it, when they bring the matter before them.
Mr. Saunders suggested that the City put it in place for Fall, or next Spring, and then the County would not have to go through the reimbursement process.
Commr. Renick stated that, when people call her outraged that the City of Clermont is charging the fee, she explains to them that Clermont has been taking the burden for the whole area, as far as the program is concerned - that they are not the bad guy in this matter.
Saunders stated that Clermont has done surveys regarding the fee and it is high
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County will set up a program to reimburse those people that have paid the Little League fee and, once the program has been set up, the County will put out some press releases regarding it.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place said item on the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board directed staff to work with the City of Clermont, or whatever office would be appropriate, to handle the $25 Little League refund.
Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager, questioned whether the Board was
referring to only those residents that live in the cities in south
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that, if it was Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) money, the County could not use it for city residents, but, if it was General Fund money, they could.
Ms. Hall interjected that she would look into the matter and make sure that the money is pulled from the right pot.
Welstead questioned whether it was the Board’s intent to subsidize $25 for city
residents who are not within the city limits of the City of
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if those funds came out of the General Fund, those people needed to be included, as well.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – VICE CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 1
EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE
Commr. Hill thanked staff, the County employees, and the community for their outpouring at her time of need. She stated that she appreciated everyone’s cards, thoughts, and prayers.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK