A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
FEBRUARY 24, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 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: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Jimmy Conner; Elaine Renick; and Linda Stewart. Others present were: Sanford A. (Sandy) Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Ellie McDonald, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manger, introduced Ms. Yashti Wilson a student at Valencia Community College who will be interning for two weeks for which she will receive college credit.
Commr. Cadwell introduced Mr. Rob English of English Communications who was interning with him today.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, requested that Tab 4 be pulled stating that they would not be purchasing any playground equipment at this time. She stated that there was an Addendum to the Agenda and questioned whether they would be moving forward with Item A pertaining to SR 44.
Commr. Cadwell reported that he attended the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Executive Committee yesterday and they voted to postpone any action on SR 44 and facilitate a meeting between the elected officials of Mount Dora and Eustis on the management level to try to come up with a Resolution. He commented, however, if they do not come up with a Resolution, it becomes the job of the MPO to make that decision. He mentioned that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was at the meeting and that they would work through that process with them as well.
Ms. Hall mentioned the other Addenda items in addition to the Workshop would be the Irrigation Ordinance in conjunction with the Landscape Ordinance. She stated that she would also like to add under her business a discussion requested by Heery Architects for funding to move forward with conceptual drawings of the Judicial Center.
Commr. Hill stated under her business she would like direction from the Board in reference to the Metro Orlando Economic Development Council (EDC) request which was distributed to the Board today. She commented that she would also like to address the Round-a-Bout issue.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Commr. Hill was the Facilities person regarding Ms. Hall’s item and asked if she would address that.
Commr. Hill stated that she would address same.
Commr. Cadwell announced that an advertised Closed Session would be held at 10:30 a.m.
Commr. Conner stated that he would like to add to the Agenda a Resolution under his business commemorating Mr. Clayton Bishop’s 52 years in the Eustis Rotary Club.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the addition of the Resolution to the Agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County Manager’s Consent Agenda consisted of Tabs 1 through 7, pulling Tab 4.
Commr. Renick stated that she would like to pull Tab 3 for discussion mentioning that there was a disparity between the prices of the three bids and she would like some clarification.
Mr. Barnett Schwartzman, Procurement Services Director, stated that the basic contract was for small scale work in terms of paving and repair. He explained that they had three vendors reply, one was a relatively small company, the two others were very large companies that focus on very large work. He mentioned that the last time they bid this out those two companies did not bid because it was not attractive for them and thought they came in basically with prices just to participate even though work of this nature was not their focus. He opined that they had a small company coming in at the right price.
Commr. Cadwell remarked that PAQCO was a Lake County company.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 7, pulling Tab 4 as follows:
Request for approval and signature on the Direct Pay to LifeStream Behavioral Center for the quarterly payment from the Criminal Justice, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Planning Grant for the reinvestment in Mental Health & Substance Abuse planning initiatives for treatment services.
Request for approval to accept sponsorships for Green Team's "Professionals Turning Green" Training Conference on June 11 & 12, 2009 at Lakeside Inn, Mount Dora, FL.
Request for approval of the award of a Term & Supply contract to PAQCO for the provision of pavement & base repair.
Request for approval of the usage of various contracts for the purchase of playground equipment, parts structures and services within budget funds.
Request that the Board (1) declare the items on the list(s) surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the submitted lists from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Services Director or designee to sign vehicle titles.
Request for approval and authorization to release a performance bond for construction of improvements in the total amount of $13,769,113.00, accept a performance bond in the amount of $429,717.20 for landscaping improvements, and execute a Developer’s Agreement for Construction of Improvements between Lake County and Ginn-La Pine Island LTD., LLP for Bella Collina West Landscape Improvements. Bella Collina West consists of 318 lots and is located in Section 11, Township 22 South, Range 26 East, Commission District 3.
Request for approval of the Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and the Town of Lady Lake regarding the Development and Environmental Study (PD&E) for Rolling Acres Road (from CR 466 go US 441 - approx. 1.25 miles). Commission District 5 / Benefit District 3 Project Number: SDY08048.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 8 and 9, as follows:
Request for approval of the Amendment to the Agreement Between Lake County and Bryant Miller Olive for disclosure counsel services.
Request for approval of termination of lease agreement with Pruett Williams Insurance agency for office space. Commission District 3.
ROAD VACATION PETITION NO. 1133
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, stated that Tab 10 was a public hearing which had been before the Board previously and the discussion was postponed to work through a License Agreement. He displayed a map on the monitor showing 800 acres that they have already acquired and explained that all the hashed out areas were lots in the Groveland Farms Plat and that the red lines were to be vacated rights of way; the blue lines would remain and some of the other colored lines were for ingress and egress. He stated that Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, and Mr. David Hansen, Manager, Lake County Public Lands, met with Mr. Kaharski who owns 50 acres, consisting of five ten-acre tracts, to discuss a License Agreement but it has not yet been signed. He stated that they would like to move forward with the road vacation with the understanding that a License Agreement for ingress and egress could be secured at any time. He commented that they recommend approval of the vacation.
Commr. Renick pointed out to the Board that in the event they were unable to work out the License Agreement allowing Mr. Kaharski to go across the corner property, that there was other access.
Commr. Cadwell stated that when he met with Mr. Hansen he saw a map that showed where they have to go around some wetlands, but they generally can get through there.
Commr. Renick stated that she wanted to make it clear that there were two options other than going through the main part of the park.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Tab 10, to execute Resolution No. 2009-22 to vacate tracts and rights of way and declare a portion of county owned property as part of right of way for Lake Erie Road (#0613), and to execute Resolution No. 2009-30 to vacate tracts and right of way, in the Plat of Groveland Farms, declaring a strip of land, a width of 33 feet from the centerline as right of way where the property fronts on Lake Erie Road.
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, reported that all items had been noticed and remain on the Consent Agenda. He stated that the Applicant for Agenda Items 3 and 4 was in the audience today and had requested a continuance which was amenable to the neighbor and himself. He requested that the Board grant the continuance.
Commr. Cadwell asked that they go the Regular Agenda first.
REZONING REGULAR AGENDA
The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the Regular Agenda which were Tabs 3 and 4.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board postponed the Rezoning Regular Agenda, Tabs 3 and 4, until March 24, 2009, as follows:
Harbor Hills Development, LP
Richey and Cooney
Rezoning Case No. PH #62-08-5
Request approval to rezone five (5) acres from Rural Residential District (R-1) to Agriculture (A).
Harbor Hills Development, LP
Steven J. Richey, P.A.
Case No. CUP #08/9/1-5
Request approval for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in the Agriculture Zoning District to permit an RV and boat storage facility on approximately five (5) acres to be utilized by the residents of the Harbor Hills Subdivision only.
REZONING CONSENT AGENDA
The Chairman opened the public hearing on the Rezoning Consent Agenda.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 and 2, as follows:
Tab 1 – Ordinance No. 2009-9
Board of Trustees of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Incorporated
Steven J. Richey, Richey & Cooney
Rezoning Case No. PH #67-08-1
Request approval to rezone approximately 292 acres from R-1, CUP #409-1, CUP #409A-1 and CUP Ordinance #2002-46 to CFD to continue the existing uses and to allow new uses and structures for the Life Enrichment Center and Warren W. Willis Camp.
Tab 2 - Ordinance No. 2009-10
The Bert E. and Barbara C. Roper Family Limited Partnership, John Kingman Keating
Progress Energy Florida, Inc.
Rezoning Case No. PH #69-08-2
Request approval to amend Ordinance #23-87 to reduce the acreage of an MP zoning district from 53.911 (+/-) acres 18.04 acres.
Tab 2 (continued) - Ordinance No. 2009-11
Hancock Road Substation
Progress Energy Florida, Inc.
Rezoning Case No. PH #69-08-02
Request approval to rezone the property from MP to CFD to allow an electric substation on the property.
BOARD AGENDA (CONTINUED)
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that Tab 11 was a request by the Board to create a policy regarding rental of the Lake County Fairgrounds (Fairgrounds). He referred to Item III C. of the proposed policy which was the prohibition against automotive, car, and truck sales for the year 2009. He stated that he had indicated earlier that one individual had reserved the Fairgrounds for four sales this year, one of which has occurred, and three additional ones are reserved. He explained that pursuant to the rental application the County was authorized to terminate reservations if they so desire.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this was a policy, not an Ordinance, and was not a public hearing, but that he had been contacted by the attorney representing the gentleman holding the contract and would allow comment at this time.
Ms. Heather Himes with the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt in Tavares spoke on behalf of her clients The Florida Auto Dealers Group and Town And Country Select (Town And Country) the holder of the contracts the Board would rescind if this policy were to be enacted. She stated that Town And Country was a local Central Florida company with its main office in Bushnell, and that Florida Auto Dealers Group owns dealerships across Central Florida including one in Lake County. She commented that all of these dealerships have an interest in the outcome of the Board’s decision. She explained that in addition to having a sales facility in Bushnell, Town And Country derives a substantial portion of its revenue by holding these events across Central Florida and has been conducting tent sales in Lake County for almost fifteen years with tent sales at the Fairgrounds for eight years running. She remarked that they have been a good corporate citizen in Lake County and have never had any problems with co-compliance or traffic at any of their events and that they could provide testimony to back up their claims. She commented that Town And Country was also very active in the local community by participating in the D.A.R.E. Program and donated a car to the Sheriff’s Department fund raising event. She stated that they believe this policy unfairly discriminates against their clients, their continuing interests in Lake County, and their ability to continue their business in an economically viable fashion. She commented that while on its face this policy applies to all businesses in Lake County or elsewhere, it unfairly discriminates against out-of-county interests because they are the only provider of these tent sales. She stated that Town And Country already has existing contracts with the Fairgrounds and if the policy, which says it is in the best interest of Lake County, were to be enacted the Board would be rescinding three of those contracts. She commented that considering the economic downturn and the situation, the fact that the County would be foregoing additional revenues in doing this, they question whether that is in the best interest of the public. She explained that it would also deprive the Fairgrounds of revenues that they derive from the contracts. According to her conversation with the Administrator and staff at the Fairgrounds, she reported that the contracts were a substantial revenue source for them and brings in approximately $8,000 per year, noting that they were their largest temporary use permit contract. Due to the late notice, the Administrator of the Fairgrounds was unable to attend the meeting today to express his opposition to this policy. Finally, she stated that while in this economic time they understand the County needs to evaluate all different kinds of opportunities to stimulate the economy, there were other ways to assist local dealerships, but foregoing County revenues did not seem to be the best method. She commented that their research shows that the tent sales meet a public need not met by the dealerships; otherwise, they would not continue to hold these events and would not be successful at them. She expressed her appreciation for being given the opportunity to communicate their opposition to this policy. She stated that her client would like to present some information for the Florida Auto Dealers Group.
Mr. Robert Sanchez for Florida Auto Dealers Group stated that he knew times were tough and the economy was very difficult but they have been holding the automotive tent sales for fifteen years and there was nothing on the record indicating any issues or problems. He stated that he is a business owner in Lake County, with an interest in an automobile dealership in town and has been a Lake County landowner and taxpayer for a long time. He explained that when he learned the County wanted to cancel the contract he wanted to investigate their reasons. He commented that it had been brought to the table by one of the Commissioners indicating that other dealers in the area did not want any automotive tent sales in Lake County or at the Fairgrounds. He stated that they had worked very hard to keep that contract and do the right things. It was his opinion that if the County Commission decided to turn it down today it was due to the fact that it was being based on competition because it says “auto tent sales only” and says nothing about Christmas trees, fireworks or anything of that nature. He commented that he would be very disappointed if this policy passed and would appreciate their support. He stated he was definitely against the position of trying to cancel the contract with their company and their dealership.
Commr. Stewart stated that the local dealers felt this policy would be a benefit to them and they were on public record saying they disagreed with these tent sales for many years. She remarked that tent sales for out-of-county dealers take sales away from local businesses and when the tent sales dealers leave, any problems the customers had were brought to the local dealers. She stated that the local dealers had cited many instances when they had problems with cars purchased at tent sales being brought back to them. With regard to income for the County, she did not think the County should be in competition for revenue with local businesses. She stated that she appreciates the amount of money it brings into the County, but thought they needed to support the local businesses. She stated this was an important policy that needs to be passed.
Mr. Albert Rios, an independent Lake County car dealer, stated that he supports tent sales and believes in free enterprise. He explained that he is a local resident who graduated from Eustis High School, owns a local business in the community and would like to have a voice in this. He commented that the minute tent sales are cancelled for Mr. Sanchez it would also cancel the option for every other Lake County taxpayer, owning a business in the County, to have the opportunity to serve the community and utilize a public facility for a public event. He mentioned that these tent sales are placed in local areas and draw revenue. He commented that if automotive tent sales events cannot be held at the County Fairgrounds where the rent and taxes paid create revenue for Lake County where would it stop when this law gets passed. He stated that he had never seen anything by way of a survey being distributed. He wanted to know if the complaints were from local new car dealers or independent dealers.
Commr. Cadwell responded by stating that the complaints were from new car dealers.
Mr. Rios stated that he is a member of Florida Independent Auto Dealers Association, a member of Florida Auto Group, and an independent dealer in Tavares. He explained that his business is located a mile from the courthouse and no one has ever stopped by to have him sign a petition and wondered how the petition was started and by whom. He stated that there were over 4,000 independent dealers in the State of Florida and twenty of those were in Lake County and they have never been addressed on the subject.
Mr. Rick Teets of Database Management Marketing, Inc. (DMMI) stated that DMMI was one of the largest mailers in Lake County, Central Florida and one of the largest mailers out of the Sanford post office. He stated that for the past fifteen years his business has provided the printing for the company holding tent sales and they have been his second or third largest account. He stated that this policy would restrict trade and that the public needs choices. He explained that new car dealers have a different clientele and if local dealers were unable to compete then they have a problem. He stated that Town And Country was known everywhere as reputable and this proposed policy was an attempt to restrict trade. He explained that they were very important to his company and his Lake County employees. He commented that they fought the same issue years ago and came up with a fair conclusion and now they were back because of the prejudice of a few dealers. He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to address the Board.
Commr. Stewart agreed that they had fought this before but times are different now. She explained that local dealers were struggling, and she believed that they should do whatever they could to help them.
Commr. Renick stated that she understood that bad economic times brought this to light, but actually thought if this policy would help that it should be considered. She commented that Ms. Himes stated that tent sales fulfill a public need, but did not understand what public need was being fulfilled.
Ms. Himes responded by stating that if there were no economic need for tent sales, they would not be successful and would not be selling cars if they were not fulfilling the public need. She commented that these sales offer a more affordable, economical alternative to new car dealerships with reasonably priced financing.
Commr. Renick explained that the reason they were able to make it more economical was because they do not incur the same expenses and taxes as dealerships.
Ms. Himes stated that they have a dealership in Bushnell and some of the other gentlemen also have car lots. She commented that tent sales were held as an extra alternative where they can offer cars at a lower price.
Commr. Renick asked how they were able to offer them at a lower price if they have to do everything that all the dealerships have to do.
Mr. Sanchez responded by stating that it was a two-sided question and it was not just necessarily offering cars at a lower price, it was about taking care of the customer and obtaining financing for those customers. He explained that he is a new car dealer and also has a franchise for Ford Lincoln Mercury and knows both sides. He mentioned that there is a State law which allows automotive tent sales for anyone who obtains permits from the counties and municipalities where they are to be held, as well as permits from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He commented that they must follow all rules and regulations and if the dealers were unfair and had bad practices the permit would be denied immediately. He stated that while holding office with a Dealer’s Association he learned that if a dealer had several write-ups in the community and he does not comply within a certain period of time his license could be revoked. He explained that tent sales were inspected on a weekly basis no matter where they were held. He commented that he holds tent sales in Lake County three or four times a year.
Commr. Stewart inquired about the kind of services they offer the customer after the sale.
Mr. Sanchez stated that at the time of purchase they give their customers a 30 day warranty and offer them an extended warranty. He commented that they also give them a contact person for one of their five service facilities in Lake County. He explained that if the customer has any problems they can go to the local division of the DMV and register a complaint and that complaint will be answered quickly.
Commr. Renick questioned whether they had simply made a reservation for tent sales at the Fairgrounds or if they had an actual contract.
Mr. Minkoff stated that they have a contract, but one of the conditions of the contract authorizes the County to terminate it. He explained that the reservation is made in the form of a contract because events at the Fairgrounds must be planned in advance.
Commr. Stewart pointed out that if they did not rescind the contract then the proposed policy was useless.
Commr. Cadwell stated that even though they could rescind the contract he was concerned because they have an agreement with a citizen who gave them their money, signed a contract, it was agreed upon and rescinding it seemed to be an unfair practice.
Commr. Stewart commented that she agreed that the contract be upheld but still thought they should stand behind the local dealers.
A full discussion ensued among the Board members with respect to supporting local car dealers in bad economic times; whether or not to honor the present contracts; creating a policy prohibiting automotive tent sales and its effects on spin-off businesses and revenues to the County; whether they should wait until the contracts expire before creating the policy, at which time the subject may be moot; and whether this would spur a negative impact on other events at the Fairgrounds such as gun shows, tool shows, and others.
Commr. Stewart moved to pass the policy and rescind the contracts.
Commr. Conner seconded the motion.
The Chairman stated that there was a motion and a second to approve the policy and rescind the contracts.
Under discussion, Commr. Conner stated he would like to amend the motion by making the policy effective at the end of the last contract in force.
The Chairman stated that Commr. Conner’s amendment would change the entire motion and a new motion would have to be made.
Commr. Renick stated that she would like to honor the present contracts.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he, too, would like to honor those contracts and opined that by the time the contracts were fulfilled there may not be an issue and concluded that he thought there was no need for the policy.
After further discussion the amendment to the motion was rescinded and Commr. Stewart’s motion and second by Commr. Conner remained on the floor.
The Chairman asked for a vote on the standing motion, and second, to approve the policy and rescind the contracts. The motion failed by a 2-3 vote.
Commrs. Cadwell, Renick and Hill voted “no.”
Commr. Renick commented that she did not want to rescind the contracts, but suggested a policy be put in place once the contracts had been fulfilled and that she would bring that back at another meeting under her business.
REPORTS - COUNTY MANAGER
JUDICIAL CENTER DESIGN
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, explained that she had emailed the Board members informing them that their architect, Heery Design, had requested authorization to move forward with some conceptual designs for a smaller Judicial Center at an initial cost of approximately $20,000 to work on the design while the bids were out. She commented that the motion last week did not include this request and requested the Board’s views and authorization to go forward.
Commr. Hill stated that she and the County Manager had been working on putting that white paper for the master plan together but it was not yet complete. She reminded the Board that they had made a commitment to the community to build for generations to come, not just for the occupants today. She stated that she was uncomfortable spending additional dollars to produce an alternative concept plan which she thought would not be in their best interest at this time. She explained that she would prefer to wait until they receive and review the bids before going forward with another design.
Commr. Stewart remarked that she agreed with Commr. Hill because if they shortchanged it now the County taxpayers would pay for it later.
Commr. Cadwell stated that at some point it would become a math problem and wanted to see the results of the bids before spending more money.
It was a consensus of the Board not to proceed with the conceptual plans for a smaller Judicial Center.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HILL - DISTRICT 1
ORLANDO-ORANGE COUNTY EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY’S PROPOSED TOLL INCREASE
Commr. Hill distributed a packet she received yesterday from Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (Metro Orlando EDC) and stated that there was to be a 3:30 p.m. teleconference meeting today asking the County to weigh in on the toll tax that was being considered for Central Florida. She stated that she did not think the Board was prepared to take a position until they had a full presentation on how it was being developed by the Expressway Authority. She requested direction from the Board in relaying their position on the toll increase at today’s teleconference meeting, commenting that she was not sure Metro Orlando EDC wanted to take a position on the tax toll rate increase.
It was a consensus of the Board to ask for a full presentation with a question and answer session before taking a position.
Commr. Hill reported that she had been rethinking the intersection round-a-bout and wanted to come up with a design more in the way of a park/mall effect rather than an intersection round-a-bout. She stated that she had briefly discussed this idea with Tavares’ Mayor Nancy Clutts who was unable to attend today’s meeting. She commented that Mayor Clutts has a lot of knowledge regarding the downtown urban design concept and that they were working towards that idea by looking at traffic counts and patterns. She stated that one idea was to reroute heavier traffic to the outskirts of town providing a more open space downtown which would present a more pedestrian-friendly area. She explained that she had discussed this idea with Public Works and would like leverage from the Board to look at something different for that intersection. She mentioned that this design would result in considerable savings, explaining that the savings would not be in the cost of the asphalt, but that with this new concept they would not have the expense of moving the utilities. She requested the consent of the Board to discuss the matter further with Mayor Clutts to bring back their ideas and other cost savings alternatives.
It was a consensus of the Board to have Commr. Hill to discuss further with Mayor Clutts other cost saving alternatives to the round-a-bout and present same to the Board.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER RENICK - DISTRICT 2
OPPOSITION TO PROPOSALS TO WITHDRAW WATER FROM THE ST. JOHNS RIVER
Commr. Renick stated that the two items she wished to discuss were the approval of Resolution No. 2009-24 opposing withdrawing water from the St. Johns River and a discussion of white paper as presented by the Water Alliance. She commented that these two items overlap and one is basically predicated on the other. She explained that the pipeline which they call the Plan has helped them see what was involved with this and for a long time they were talking about the environmental costs of taking from the St. Johns which ultimately leads to the pipeline issue. She stated that in their discussions they found that it was not just an environmental cost; it would be a huge regular cost and because of the enormity of what would be involved wondered if this was something they wanted to pursue. She remarked that she appreciated the numerous emails she had received and wanted those people to know that all five Commissioners care about the water issue and do not like the pipeline idea. She commented that when this proposal was brought to the Water Alliance it was discussed and they voted to take it back to the respective commissions and councils to discuss the idea. She explained that many people thought that meant that everybody was for it and she did not think that at all. She stated that today’s discussion would be held at cities all over Lake County.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board agreed to convey the message to the Water Alliance that they were not in favor of such a pipeline.
Commr. Renick opined that a resolution would be in order indicating it was not appropriate to take from the St. Johns and the Oklawaha. She moved to pass the resolution opposing withdrawal from the St. Johns and also the accompanying letter specific to the Consumptive Use Permit (CUP) at Seminole County’s request.
Commr. Conner seconded the motion.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion and second which carried 5-0 to approve Resolution No. 2009-24 opposing withdrawal from the St. Johns, and to send an accompanying letter to the St. Johns River Water Management District in opposition to the CUP to allow Seminole County to withdraw the first 5.5mgd from the St. John’s River.
The Chairman allowed public comment in this regard.
Mr. Robert (Bob) Thielhelm from the Mount Dora City Council requested the Board man that Resolution to include prohibiting withdrawals not only from the lower Oklawaha and the St. Johns River, but also from the Harris Chain of Lakes and any further withdrawals from Lake Apopka. He stated that they were all being asked to review and study withdrawals from the Harris Chain of Lakes as part of their Consumptive Use Permits and it would nice for the County to take a stand on that.
Commr. Cadwell responded by stating that he would assume that the wording includes St. Johns River, Oklawaha and their tributaries.
Mr. Rob Kelly from the Citizens Coalition of Lake County suggested that the Board also consider the Clermont Chain of Lakes because there were three or four cities that could draw that water level down and it was already very low.
Ms. Diane Heighton expressed her concern about the rules and regulations allowing permits to be issued for removing a great deal of water similar to what they did with Niagara. She stated that they approved the withdrawal with a caveat that they had to participate in finding alternative water supplies.
Commr. Renick stated that this matter could not be discussed as they are in the midst of litigation.
Ms. Heighton commented that to amend the rules and regulations and not address this particularly, they were letting water go and trying to burden everybody else with it.
Commr. Renick responded that she agreed and that they had a number of things working right now where that feeling was shared.
Mr. Bill Calhoun of Lady Lake stated that if they made an all inclusive motion not to take surface water from any place in Lake County the problem would be solved. He commented that if an individual company came back with a good set of plans, then an exception could be made similar to what was done for building permits, but to narrow it down and try to pick out each one of them, he thought that would water it down.
Commr. Renick opined that the Resolution could be written to say “further surface withdrawals.”
Mr. Steve Barnes, with Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District expressed his appreciation to the Board for considering this issue today. He mentioned that they had passed a similar resolution in July. He stated that the step being taken today was very important. He commented that they needed to have conservation in place to make sure they do not require these surface waters. He explained that if they continue to waste water the way they have been they would need additional water supplies whether from rivers or from desalination or some other area. He mentioned that as Lake County continues to grow they should be proactive and ensure that as these projects are permitted they were done in a sustainable manner. He commented that with regard to being specific on this or something broader, he would suggest going forward with the motion before them today as it is time sensitive and to come back and look at these other projects individually to have the science and facts on their side, otherwise there would be a pushback. He explained that as far as justification for this, there were a couple of things that they came up against, one of which was that the science had not yet been completed. He stated that the studies being done now were determining whether or not they should allow withdrawal from the St. Johns River and they were already trying to issue permits without finishing that science. Secondly, if the St. Johns withdrawal went through it would lift any kind of encouragement for conservation. He explained that once the networks of pipes across the State were in the ground it would be a free-for-all and there would be no incentive to conserve. He commented that they would be available for assistance in the future if needed.
Ms. Peggy Cox from Clermont requested that the Board keep this Resolution specific to the Alternative Water Supply Plan, that is, potable water they were talking about withdrawing from the lakes and surface waters. She commented that there were many projects that talk about withdrawing water for irrigation, cities and private owners do that and thought that was a separate important issue. She opined that another Resolution could be passed with regard to surface withdrawals to supplement irrigation and reclaimed water systems because it was unreasonable to withdraw from a natural system to water lawns. She stated that she would like the Board to keep it to the potable water Alternative Water Supply Plan because she thought it was extremely important to send a message that withdrawing from these surface waters for that purpose was a bad idea.
Mr. Skip Goerner, Vice Chair of the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council stated that he would like to see a Resolution that would include the Harris Chain of Lakes. He explained that over the years there has been a tendency to use surface water for various projects and they all have an impact. He stated that unintended consequences have affected the County’s lakes, especially the Harris Chain for the past few years. He mentioned that a few years ago there was a proposal to build a power plant in the Leesburg vicinity. Not only were there a lot of people opposed to that, but Fish and Game opposed it as well. He gave an example of how a seemingly small amount of water has an impact by stating that a year ago St. Johns opposed a surface water withdrawal of 5 million gallons from Lake Apopka for Orange County. He stated that would have resulted in about 1.8 inches in lower water levels for Lake Griffin and if they lowered the lakes water level by that amount it would result in the loss of 42.2 acres of marsh and 69.9 acres of shoreline habitat, which equals about 30 percent of the total shoreline vegetation. He commented that the impact would be dramatic and he would like to see a Resolution to include Lake Apopka as well as the Harris Chain.
Ms. Linda Bystrak on behalf of the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society stated that they would like to see this measure passed today and in addition they would like the Board to consider some legislative action. She stated that on September 25 and 26 of 2008 there was a Water Conference in Orlando which was attended by county and government officials from all over the State. She mentioned that at this conference they adopted Resolution No. 3 from which she read: “To amend as necessary any statute, rule, or policy so that quantifiable water conservation best management practices are considered an alternative water supply under equally acceptable funding as capital facility expansion proposals.” She reported that to her knowledge no action has been taken by any particular government group to ask Legislators to pass a Bill. She stated that the Legislature begins March 2 and there was no Bill supporting the Resolution adopted at the Water Conference that would allow more water conservation measures to be taken if water conservation was considered an alternative water supply. She explained that she hoped that this Board would take those steps and go to the Legislature. She stated that Representative Hayes already has a Bill he wants to introduce which will allow a rebate to homeowners who install a re-circulating pump in their homes, and opined that Mr. Hayes might be amendable to the County’s water conservation measures and perhaps sponsor a similar Bill if asked. She distributed a copy of the Resolution to the members of the Board.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STEWART - DISTRICT 4
Commr. Stewart commented that she was very proud of this Board for taking a strong stand on the County’s water issues.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CONNER - DISTRICT 3
RESOLUTION FOR MR. CLAYTON BISHOP
Commr. Conner requested approval of a Resolution acknowledging Mr. Clayton Bishop’s fifty-two years of perfect attendance and some other milestones in connection with his membership of the Rotary Club of Eustis.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Resolution No. 2009-25 recognizing Mr. Clayton Bishop for his service to the Eustis Rotary Club.
SPECIAL EVENING PUBLIC HEARINGS REGARDING FINANCING FOR THE JUDICIAL CENTER
Commr. Conner moved that the Board make a commitment to hold a special evening public hearing in the future in the event they decide to consider extending their debt beyond the $47 million already budgeted for the Judicial Center.
Commr. Renick seconded the motion.
Under discussion, Commr. Hill stated that she would like to make it clear that the Judicial Center was not budgeted for $47 million and questioned whether they were just asking for bonding.
Commr. Renick commented that the $47 million was what they had left over and that the meeting was to occur only if they were going to spend more than the $47 million.
Commr. Hill remarked that that was other than what they initially decided which was to have a second bond for that complex. She stated that she was not opposed to any evening meeting, but that it would cost more. She commented that she wanted to make sure people understood that they had pledged sales tax revenue towards these bonds. She explained that the original bonds were to be at $180 million and were done in two Phases of $90 million each. She commented that they may not come back for the other $90 million, but wanted the public to be aware that there was a second Phase to this bonding issue.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion and second which carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
FINANCIAL PLAN INCREMENTS
Commr. Conner referred to Tab 13 regarding the increments to the financial plans stating that they should be running a parallel track of a financing plan while getting bids.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he thought the increments noted in Tab 13 were good.
Commr. Conner moved that the Board direct the County Manager and her team of financial advisors to put together possible financial plans in increments of $47 million, $60 million, $70 million, $80 million, $90 million and $100 million and get the plans back to the Board as soon as possible.
Under discussion, Commr. Renick stated that she was not sure they needed to include the $90 and $100 million because they were not capable of issuing those bonds.
Commr. Conner responded that he was agreeable to limit the increments up to $80 million and amended his motion accordingly to remove the $90 million and $100 million increments.
The Chairman stated they had a motion and a second and asked for any other discussion and asked for a vote. The motion carried by a 5-0 vote to direct the County Manager and her team of financial advisors to put together possible financial plans in increments of $47 million, $60 million, $70 million, and $80 million and get the plans back to the Board as soon as possible.
Mr. Conner stated that there was a problem in Royal Highlands Subdivision and requested assistance in bringing peace to that community. He commented that he would like to request that the County Attorney take action in this matter.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the issue was an existing Code case and asked Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, to update them on the status of the case.
Mr. Minkoff stated that by way of background the developer sold the property and did not retain necessary easements at the entrance wall and where some of the project’s utilities were located. He explained that ultimately, the property was sold a couple of times and when the property owner realized that, he got into a disagreement with the folks in the subdivision, and took down the entrance wall to the development and threatened to remove several trees on the site. He commented that they became aware of this incident and gave him notice that he should not, and could not take down trees without getting appropriate development orders. He stated that the owner ignored those warnings and was cited before the Code Enforcement Board/Special Master, who imposed a $15,000 fine, one of the largest fines ever imposed for removing trees, and also required the owner to come in with a redevelopment plan or additional fines would accrue at $250 per day. He continued to say that this action seemed to spur the owner and so now he has erected some signs; spray painted the utility equipment, and pitched a tent there. Although these things may be violations of the County Code on use of the property, he stated they were not serious violations in terms of health, safety and welfare. He mentioned that obviously the residents were very unhappy about it, but normally the only other remedy they have would be to go to Circuit Court and ask for an injunction against the property owner to remove those items. He explained that Code Enforcement was monitoring the situation daily and that they have authority from the Board that anytime the County Manager or staff thinks that the violation is such that a court action should be warranted they could go forward with same. He commented that he understood that the residents were outraged, but the gentleman may come back and claim that he was exercising his First Amendment rights. The owner was claiming there was a homeless person there, but since the person is being paid to sit there it is an intentional way to upset the residents. He explained that obtaining a temporary injunction could be done within a matter of a couple of weeks. However, it would not necessarily be a slam dunk because injunctions are given when it is the only way to protect someone from great harm and the Judge may not be persuaded that what is being done by this man is considered “great harm.”
Commr. Cadwell expressed his concern that if they sought an injunction it may not meet the criteria for same.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he thought the Judge would question whether there is any irreparable harm and that would make it difficult to obtain a temporary injunction. He explained that they have a lot more serious Code violations that they have not taken to court because they typically reserve them for instances where there is danger of something negative occurring. He stated, however, that he takes direction from Code Enforcement as they make the final decisions. He stated that if the Board thinks that this is serious enough, Code Enforcement would react and they would go to court. He stated this could be handled in-house.
Commr. Renick mentioned that those people in the subdivision who were trying to sell their homes were being hurt because the situation made it difficult to show their homes and were suffering damages to the values of their property.
Commr. Cadwell directed Mr. Minkoff to try to obtain an injunction.
Mr. Minkoff stated that no motion by the Board would be needed to go forward because they have authority to do so.
BBB HIGH SCHOOL
Ms. Cindy Barrow, Vice Chairman of the Lake County School Board addressed the Board to discuss their concern about opening BBB High School and the road work that was supposed to be coordinated with their District for a timely opening and safety for children. She stated that it has come to their attention that some of the efforts have been suspended as far as the Fosgate Road area and Hancock extension and they asked that the County work diligently with their construction manager, Mr. Parker, and pull together to ensure a safe opening for this school. She mentioned that these are high school students so there would be young drivers on that road. She commented that this situation has been very interesting because the Board has not wanted to be in a position of advocating for additional lanes, or doing other things with the roads, but simply wanted to make sure that they have coordinated efforts and safety measures in place for their students. She expressed her appreciation for being allowed to speak today.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, stated that Fosgate Road from the school west to U.S. 27 was taken off the program last week. He explained that they are negotiating with T.Y. Lin International to begin design work on the portion extending Hancock Road to the school site and they have already begun that work. He commented that his concern was the fact that they have limited funds to purchase any right of way and no funds for construction. He stated that they were relying on private developer funds to build that road.
Commr. Renick stated that she remembered speaking at Minneola when they told Mayor Yeager that they did not have the dollars for construction, but were going through with the portion they could afford to do, but it may be the road such as it is depending on when the school opened.
Ms. Barrow stated that they would be opening in 2011. She mentioned that whatever could be done for the safety of the children and any kind of continued communication, or coordination, would be appreciated.
Mr. Stivender stated that he and Mr. Parker had spoken yesterday about this and also on Friday so they have been in meetings on other topics with Elementary J but this topic comes up also.
At 10:30 a.m. the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes and once reconvened they would go into a Closed Session.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that pursuant to Florida Statute 286.011 he requested that the Board have a closed session to discuss pending litigation of which they are a party where they will be discussing only the settlement negotiations or strategy sessions. He stated that a Court Reporter was present who will record not only everything that is said, but the time of commencement and termination, the names of everyone there and whoever speaks. He explained that they were required to give notice and had a copy of the advertisement including the names of the people who will be present which is the Commission; Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager; Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney; Mr. Duke Woodson, outside counsel; and Ms. Erin Hartigan from the County Attorney’s office.
At 11:35 a.m. the Chairman reconvened the Board Meeting.
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, referred to a Memorandum in their packet dated February 3, 2009, which included the changes instituted at the last three workshops. He mentioned that there were several items staff would like to highlight and others where direction was needed in order to bring the Ordinance back for adoption.
The Chairman announced that this was not a public hearing but that there would be opportunities between now and the adoption of the Ordinance for public comments.
Mr. Sheahan referred to the Memorandum on page 2 in Item 1 - Nonconforming Landscaping, and stated that it was significantly changed by adding some provisions that basically stated that if there was an increase of more than 25 percent of a building or parking area they would have to bring the site into compliance. He commented that there were some concerns by local landscape architects; however, those concerns had not yet been put in writing, but if they were received and they think there is something for the Board to consider they will bring them back at the adoption hearing for review. He referred to page 3, Item 4, regarding drought tolerant turf and asked for direction to remove the term “including St. Augustine grass” in the body of paragraph 2.
Commr. Cadwell stated that it was his opinion that when they talked about it previously when they were talking about watering restrictions they would not even need to name grasses at all.
Mr. Sheahan stated that was correct and therefore staff was suggesting striking the term “including St. Augustine grass” to say “non-drought tolerant grasses shall be used.”
Mr. Charles Fedunak, Lake County Environmental Horticulturist stated that as far as a more drought tolerant St. Augustine grass, they could compare the different cultivars but he did not know if they could say just drought tolerant grasses because people would then question which grasses those were and there is no list. He stated that if you pull St. Augustine grass out, then drought tolerant grasses should be pulled out altogether which would remove anything about specific grasses.
Commr. Cadwell opined that if they concentrated on the amount of watering done there was no need to include that language because St. Augustine could be put down and if watered once a week starting out and cultivated that way, it will live. He stated that he saw no need for any language there. He explained that the water restrictions need to be where they can take care of that.
Commr. Renick stated that the whole issue they went through before, but if they limit irrigation for a lawn to 20 percent, people would put in drought tolerant grass because they would not be relying on irrigating the entire lawn.
Mr. Fedunak stated that he thought it referred to 20 percent overhead watering because the water issue is based on the efficiency of irrigation and was just a suggestion made to staff. He mentioned that the concern was not the plant material, but the efficiency of the irrigation system. He commented that overhead watering was probably the most inefficient system available and limiting the overhead watering was where the savings would occur so that shrubs were not watered every time the lawn was watered. He stated that keeping the turf and shrubs irrigated separately through better design systems would save water.
After discussion of how to word the sentence in Item 1, page 2, the consensus of the Board was to entirely remove the sentence “Non-drought tolerant grasses including St. Augustine grass shall be prohibited for new construction.”
Commr. Renick stated that she would like to leave that sentence in and remove the phrase “including St. Augustine grass” but thought it could be argued out at the hearing.
Mr. Sheahan stated that he would take out “including St. Augustine grass” and then at the hearing they could further that discussion to bring back some documentation if needed.
Commr. Cadwell asked that the proposed Ordinance be advertised.
Mr. Sheahan referred to Section 5, page 3 where they get into the precise scenario that Mr. Fedunak was talking about by limiting the amount of permanently installed irrigation. He explained that this provision would limit up to a maximum of 20 percent of the pervious area to be irrigated and that the remainder could be irrigated with zones on micro-irrigation, which is exempted from this provision. He stated that this was agreeable to the St. Johns Water Management District (SJWMD) which objected to the original language and was supported by Mr. Fedunak and staff. He referred to page 5, Item 10 and pointed out that they removed from the buffer table the buffers between industrial districts, and also removed the buffers from the low density residential districts. Referring to page 11, he brought their attention to the fact that this page was entitled Additional Change Requests and stated that these were additional changes that came about after the last workshop primarily from the SJWMD. He commented that they think their recommended changes were necessary in order to use this Ordinance as a model Ordinance when the different municipalities reapply for their CUPs. He explained that if these changes were made today Ms. Christman with the Water Management District, who is present, indicated that they would then take this Ordinance and use it as a model for their applicants throughout the region. He stated that he could go through these individually but they are pretty straightforward and that if anyone had any specific questions he would address them.
Commr. Renick referred to page 6 regarding canopy trees stating that she understood that if fewer trees were put on the 20 foot width buffer and more trees were put on the 15 foot buffer they were hoping people would go for the wider buffer and was not sure why that was done. She questioned why they did not just say 20 and 4 and wondered why they were getting into all those choices. She stated that if they could not fit a 20 foot buffer they could ask for a variance and that the whole idea of having so many canopy trees was to create shade and cooling as well as a visual buffer. She stated that she was not in favor of lowering the number of trees.
Mr. Sheahan stated that the purpose of these land use buffers was to provide an aesthetic as well as a character buffer between uses and as you increase the width of the area, less vegetation is necessary to reach that goal. He commented that the current standard in the Code only provides one width option, noting that this was included to provide some flexibility. He stated that those having a very large piece of property may not want to spend the money on landscaping so it gives a slightly wider buffer.
Commr. Stewart referred to page 11 and asked if soil moisture sensors were more accurate than rain sensors.
Mr. Sheahan stated that the science on the soil water sensors was still out. He explained that they were more accurate for the area that they are placed in; however, on a typical property you might need several sensors to provide an accurate reading for the entire lot. He stated that the Water Management District is working on a study and Ms. Christman could address that issue, but the completion date is not known. He mentioned that the turf growers made the comment that they were very useful if the soil was properly prepared. He explained that with soil sensors it is a matter of balancing how many are needed for any particular property because if there are several different soil types on the property there may be a need for several soil sensors. He commented that they have a requirement that rain sensors be put in until that science comes about and once it does, they can amend the Ordinance to require soil water sensors for further water savings if that is what the study demonstrates. He then introduced Ms. Nancy Christman, Intergovernmental Coordinator, St. Johns Water Management District.
Ms. Christman stated that the District was compiling a pilot study now on moisture sensors. She opined that at this time they were not reliable enough to mandate that the general population have them and rely on them for the widespread areas that the Ordinance would cover. She explained that a moisture sensor and a fixed irrigation schedule do not go together because if the watering rule says to water two days a week and the scheduled days are Sunday and Wednesday, but the moisture sensor says that they need to water on Friday, it would not be possible to combine those two types of mechanisms. She stated that their fixed schedule would eventually evolve into the new technology and they would depend on something like moisture sensors, but they have not yet been shown that they are reliable and that they can depend on the general population to utilize them without having a fixed schedule of the required one or two days a week. She explained that this was the reason they were asking the County not to put that in at this point.
Commr. Renick referred to page 7 of the Ordinance itself regarding Item 2 and remarked that this was reviewed at the last workshop and she understood that the words “should be” were changed to “shall be.” She commented that she thought they were trying to make the emphasis stronger.
Mr. Sheahan stated that he thought they changed it the other way and that they discussed mandating it. He commented, however, that there was a cost associated with that and opined that it was not a formal direction of the Board but could check the Minutes for clarification.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he thought they talked more about the cost for smaller home sites.
Commr. Renick mentioned that on page 10, under Maintenance where it says “use of high amounts of fertilizer and pesticides is discouraged” she questioned whether they would like to insert the information about the fertilizer number being “0” so that they do not put more phosphorus on the lawns than needed and discourage high amounts of phosphorus.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Sheahan to discuss this with Mr. Fedunak to see if they can get a specific number in there.
Mr. Sheahan stated that he would be happy to work with Mr. Fedunak on that and brought to the Board’s attention the reason the number was not specifically mentioned was that that they were considering a separate fertilizer Ordinance.
Commr. Renick referred to page 20, No. 5 - Parking Lot Trees and Substitutions - it states that a maximum of 20 percent of the required canopy trees in the parking lots may be substituted with palm trees. She commented that she attended a seminar recently where she was informed that palm trees are grass and should not count as trees and, therefore, did not know why they were even substituting there. She mentioned that on page 28 regarding specimen trees being cut down under 9.02.03 Violations, she thought that the ratio should be a lot higher. As it stands they have a ratio of 1.25:1 or 1:1 for mitigation. She stated that some cities have 4:1 and just wanted to look at a higher number there because what they have is not much in the way of a deterrent.
Commr. Stewart stated that she agreed with Commr. Renick.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Sheahan if he needed direction on anything else.
Mr. Sheahan stated that he had the direction he needed and would bring some options back on the recommendations discussed.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the Ordinance would have only one reading.
ADOPTION OF ST. JOHNS IRRIGATION ORDINANCE
Commr. Cadwell reported that Mr. Gregg Welstead, Director of Conservation & Compliance, had volunteered to serve as a staff member with the energy group working through the Florida Association of Counties and expressed his appreciation for serving in that capacity for the County.
Mr. Welstead stated that the first discussion as a member of the energy group would be on Friday. He explained that the draft Ordinance attached to Addendum No. 1, II. A, fully incorporates the model Ordinance prepared by the St. Johns Water Management District (St. Johns) and as Ms. Christman stated earlier, it complies with their model Ordinance. He explained that two changes would need to be made in Section 21-173. Application of Ordinance, because the County is in two water management districts and they would need to make it apply only within St. Johns. He stated that St. Johns has agreed to work with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to prepare an Interlocal Agreement that would allow them to apply in the southwest corner of the County as well. He stated that Mr. Minkoff had some amendments to the enforcement aspect that he would also like to make.
Commr. Cadwell asked if they had any idea what it would cost to enforce this Ordinance. Mr. Welstead stated that he had come up with some rough figures and would estimate that it would take three enforcement officers each year. He commented that Clermont has one officer and there were a number of other cities that have one officer that could act in that capacity. He stated that it would be expensive to provide three officers plus equipment, vehicles and so forth. He explained that they could handle it along with everything else Code does, but it would then become a matter of prioritization. He stated that unlike overgrown grass, if somebody is watering when they should not be, it would have to be witnessed, have somebody swear to it, or take it to the Special Master making the process more complicated.
Commr. Renick stated that after receiving Mr. Welstead’s memo she asked to meet with him, the County Manager and the County Attorney. She opined that they needed to put this in place and make an attempt to enforce it as best they could. She stated that like any other Code issue some cases were more difficult than others. She commented that she realized that they would not have someone patrolling for watering violations, but if somebody calls in and reports a neighbor for watering every day at high noon then Code needs to go out. She stated that as far as additional people, she had also discussed this with him and suggested perhaps using the Soil & Water irrigation inspectors for Agriculture to assist Code Enforcement. She reiterated that this Ordinance needs to be put in place.
Commr. Conner asked if this Ordinance would apply to unincorporated areas only. Commr. Renick responded by stating that the cities were doing them as well and that the Clermont Water Conservation officer would be able to help out with their areas so there may be something that they could work out in this regard.
Commr. Conner stated that low water users should not be penalized for watering on the wrong day of the week.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that Mr. Welstead had mentioned that they had some comments on the penalty section of the Ordinance and that was one of them. He explained that the County’s Code Enforcement office warns first time violators.
Commr. Renick stated that they will get a warning on the first visit. She explained that many times people that were using 100,000 gallons a month for watering have just had a home built, the irrigation system was installed and set to water and the new owner was not aware they needed to reset it. She commented that people need to be educated regarding their irrigation. She commented that the first step was always a warning as it would be with any Code violation.
Mr. Minkoff reminded the Board that even when somebody gets a citation with a proposed penalty, they have an appeal to the Special Master so if, in fact, there was a mistake they can come in and see the Special Master and argue that they should not be fined. He commented that this item was not in the Ordinance, but would have to be included.
Commr. Hill expressed concern about the cost involved in enforcing this Ordinance since it was an unfunded mandate at this time.
Ms. Christman stated that the District was encouraging local governments to adopt the regulations going into effect March 8th, but it was not being mandated. She commented that the District will also will be doing enforcement of their rule. She explained that at the local level the methodologies that the County has for enforcement is much easier than what the District has available to it. She stated that they have a consent order mechanism so the person either has to consent that they did something wrong or they have to go to Circuit Court and take the next step. She commented that this was the reason they were asking local governments to enforce the violation within their own jurisdiction, but it is not a mandate. She explained that they were strongly encouraging it and that the County does not have a Consumptive Use Permit, but the cities and other governments that do would look at this as an opportunity to reduce their water use and stay within their allocation for their CUP as part of their conservation plan. She stated that they thought the County could provide the message on a countywide basis by adopting a consistent Ordinance. She mentioned that the County could determine how they want to prioritize enforcement. She stated that the District is looking at how they can partner with the County and provide incentives to governments who enforce the rules. She mentioned that they were aware of the monetary issues and were looking at how they might be able to assist in that way as well.
Commr. Renick commented that the cities were trying to live within their CUPs and that the County would be doing its part with enforcement as well.
Mr. Welstead stated that the cities are in the process of adopting this same Ordinance and a number of them have already had their first readings with their second readings would be following shortly.
Commr. Cadwell asked if there was direction to the staff to bring this forward for a public hearing and for approval to advertise.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to advertise the proposed Ordinance implementing irrigation rules of the St. Johns River Water Management District with the changes discussed.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK