A REGULAr MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN WORKSHOP
APRIL 14, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida, for a Workshop on the Lake County Comprehensive Plan. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Elaine Renick; Linda Stewart; and Jimmy Conner. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Sandra Carter, Deputy Clerk.
DEPARTMENTAL CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved a request from Growth Management for approval to advertise an Ordinance amending the Lake County Land Development Regulations Zoning Districts, to permit agricultural uses, change cemeteries to a permitted use in the Community Facilities District (CFD), and permit multi-family uses in the Urban Residential (R-6) and Mixed Residential (R-7) Zoning Districts.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 9:05 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a brief recess, to allow them and staff to go to Room 233, in the Administration Building, to examine and try out various makes and styles of chairs to be bid out for the new Tax Collector’s and Property Appraiser’s Offices.
REVIEW OF FURNITURE FOR TAX COLLECTOR’s AND PROPERTY
Mr. Jim Bannon, Capital Projects Director, Facilities Development and Management, informed the Board that the furniture for the new Tax Collector’s and Property Appraiser’s Offices was on hold, until the Board makes a decision regarding same. He had on display various makes and styles of chairs that staff was asking to be bid out for said offices, however, noted that they would have to go on a field trip, in order to examine the larger pieces of furniture being asked to be bid out.
Commr. Conner interjected that he did not have to see the furniture for the specs on the big ticket items, such as desks and tables, to be changed.
Ms. Barbara Vallella, Senior Associate, Heery Design, a furniture expert/consultant for the past 28 years, pointed out the chairs that had originally been bid out.
Discussion occurred regarding the timeframe involved for getting the new specs done, purchasing and receiving the furniture, and the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser actually being able to move into the new facility, at which time Mr. Nate Woodend, Project Manager, PPI, stated that it would probably take 12 weeks.
It was noted that the Tax Collector would like to move into the new facility by June of this year and the Property Appraiser by the first of July.
Mr. Woodend informed the Board that the shortest timeframe for bidding the furniture out would be three weeks and the only way to cut that timeframe down would be if there are no competitive bids involved. He feels four weeks would be a very good timeframe.
Commr. Conner indicated that he felt, if the Tax Collector wants to be able to move into the facility in June, then the County needs to accommodate him and be done with the project by then.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 9:30 a.m., the Chairman reconvened the meeting.
PLANNING HORIZON 2030 – THE LAKE COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
Comprehensive Planning in Florida
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, addressed the Board and thanked them for the opportunity to open their workshop for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
History of Comprehensive Planning in Lake County
pre-1990 planning to today
Ms. King gave a brief background history of comprehensive planning in the County – pre-1990 to today, beginning with the 1975 Growth Management Act, noting that a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) was adopted in 1980. She displayed a copy of said map, noting that there were no future land use categories at that time, but rather urban areas and urban compact nodes and what the County was looking at, as far as where they expected urban growth to be contained. She indicated that, in 1991, the County adopted its current Comprehensive Plan, post three traumatic freezes, in 1983, 1985 and 1989, and, as a result of said freezes, the County was faced with dealing with frozen groves, while at the same time trying to stimulate the economic development of the County. She displayed various newspaper articles indicating what the County was facing at the time, such as the fact that south Lake County was reported to be on the brink of boom, due to low land prices, which developers found attractive, and, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the freezes drove Lake County growers to sell their groves, leaving the County’s leaders to plot the County’s future without the groves. She commented that, while the County was dealing with post-freezes, as well as with new legislation concerning the Wekiva and the Green Swamp, discussions about impact fees, and budget constraints, the State passed the Growth Management Act of 1985, and, as a result of it, in 1991, the County adopted its first Comprehensive Plan, at which time she displayed a copy of said map, which she noted was the first FLUM that actually showed land use categories. She stated that it is the map that is currently adopted, which was found to be in compliance in 1993. In 1997, the Board adopted Resolutions creating nine advisory committees to take a look at the Plan that was adopted in 1993. Those nine committees held 107 meetings, to discuss all the elements of the Comprehensive Plan and the FLUM and came up with a 600 page report that had over 400 specific recommendations, called the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR). Said report was adopted in 2000 and found to be in compliance, in which case staff was tasked with writing the EAR based amendments, to reflect those 400 recommendations that were adopted by the Board in 2000. Staff worked for years to put together the EAR based amendments and sent them to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), one set at a time. The DCA found them not to be in compliance and sent them all back, stating that they needed a Comprehensive Plan that shows everything – the FLUM and all the elements. In 2002, staff came back to the Board stating that they were operating on an EAR for a plan that was adopted in 1993 that was based off of 1980 census data.
Ms. King stated that, looking at the state of the County in 1980, versus what happened post the freezes, the DCA understood that staff was dealing with two different situations, which was apples and oranges. They were evaluating a plan for 20 years for a County that did not exist anymore, for all practical purposes; therefore, in 2003, the DCA agreed to allow staff to rewrite the entire Comprehensive Plan and update the data inventory and analysis and do their EAR based off of the new Plan and reflective of the EAR that was adopted in 2000. As a result of that, the Board decided they were going to put a huge amount of effort into it and invest a lot of resources, and, in March of 2004, they enacted an Ordinance that split the former Planning and Zoning Board and created a Zoning Board and a new Local Planning Agency (LPA), which at the time was a nine member body that included a School Board member and later would become a ten member body, with an ex-officio member from the Navy, because of the military operating zone that is present in the Ocala National Forest. Staff began collecting data inventory and doing an analysis of that data and, in 2005, the County started a massive campaign for public meetings and, to date, has held 195 public meeting and has obtained 6,753 signatures of people who have attended said meetings. She stated that, in 2006, the LPA began their FLUM exercises and, in June of 2005, transmitted all the elements, with the exception of the Future Land Use Element and the Future Land Use Map, and, on January 30, 2009, the LPA transmitted the FLUM and the Future Land Use Element, which brings them to the workshop this date.
Ms. King stated that the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) has given the County their most recent set of population projections, which she displayed and reviewed with the Board. She stated that the Board adopted a hybrid of BEBR low and medium projections, which show the County as having a population of 410,050 by the year 2030; however, the revised BEBR low is 334,800, medium is 444,000, and the high is 558,100 people. She indicated that BEBR is projecting a growth in population, but a slower growth, so the trend that was going upward at an expediential rate has now dropped. She clarified the fact that the low/medium that was adopted is 410,050, but the new medium is 444,000 – a difference of 34,000. She stated that an argument could be made, if the Board were to go with the BEBR medium, that it closes one avenue of possible objection by the DCA.
The Chairman questioned whether there was any interest in it by the Board, or whether they would like to just stay the course.
Commr. Renick stated that the last time the Board discussed the matter, they felt that medium/low was very defensible.
Ms. King commented that, between the two numbers - the 410,050 and the 444,000, BEBR is proving what the County said earlier, which is that the trend upward is decreasing, so by next year it is possible that the number that was adopted by the Board, being 410,050, will mirror what BEBR medium is next year. She stated that the County does not know where the trends are going, but suspects they will be going down.
Commr. Renick interjected that she was not interested in changing it.
Financial Feasibility Requirement
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Director, Growth Management, addressed the Board stating that he came before them last year and requested permission to hire a consultant to look into the financial feasibility of the Comprehensive Plan and that work is very near completion. He stated that it is specifically required in the Florida Statutes – to demonstrate that the Plan can be implemented, which includes the cost contained in the Capital Improvements Element. He commented that the financial feasibility is necessary to provide needed infrastructure; to achieve and maintain adopted levels of service; to sustain concurrency management systems, through the Capital Improvements Element; to address infrastructure backlogs; and to meet the demands of growth on public services and facilities. He stated that financial feasibility means that sufficient revenues are currently available, or will be available from committed funding sources, to finance programs, staff, and capital improvements required to implement the policies of the Plan. The analyses that are being performed are concerned with the tangible effects of the policy, or the event – the public sector costs and revenues. He commented that the County is taking a very proactive role, noting that the DCA has held more and more scrutiny on this aspect of the adoption process over the years. He noted that, once the Plan is adopted and found to be financially feasible, the County will be required to update the Capital Improvements Element on an annual basis, so it will be continually updated, once the initial adoption takes place.
State Mandated Policies
Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern
Mr. Sheahan informed the Board that there are several state mandated policies, most of which are unfunded, that are handed down to the local government, which the County is required to address, one having to do with the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern. He commented that a significant portion of the Green Swamp is located in the County and the County is very fortunate to have it, in that it is one of Central Florida’s ecological jewels. It is a 560,000 acre region that lies in Lake, Polk, Sumter, Pasco and Hernando counties. It is the headwaters of the Hillsborough, Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha, and Peace Rivers, and it provides much of the area’s water supply, in one form or another. It has a diverse ecological environment, containing numerous endangered plant and animal species. The Florida Aquifer is very close to the surface in the Green Swamp, allowing the water to easily percolate. He stated that, in 1974, the Florida Legislature recognized this fact and designated 189,000 acres of the Green Swamp in Polk County and 106,000 acres in Lake County as an Area of Critical State Concern, which means that it has a very high level of state oversight, and approximately 104,000 of the 106,000 acres in Lake County are protected by public or private agencies. He indicated that the proposed Plan has a specific goal and many policies throughout it provide additional and higher levels of protection for the Green Swamp and that said goals and policies are written to comply with the requirements of Chapter 9J5, also known as Rule 9J5, of the Florida Administrative Code.
Wekiva River Protection Area and Wekiva Study Area
Mr. Sheahan stated that the Wekiva River Protection Area and the Wekiva Study Area have been the topic of much discussion of late and staff is very near the County’s state mandated Comprehensive Plan Amendments, which they will be bringing before the Board on April 28, 2009. He gave a brief background history of the Wekiva Basin, noting that it is an area of biological transition between the northern limits of numerous tropical plants and southern limits of tempered zones – it sits in the middle of northern and southern Florida. The Wekiva River is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water and the lower three miles have been designated as a Scenic Wild River. He stated that, in 1988, the Legislature enacted the Wekiva River Protection Act, which provided for review of local Comprehensive Plans, Land Development Regulations, and some development by the State. The Act declared that the Wekiva River Protection Area is a natural resource of the State and has regional importance. It was then followed in 2005/2006 by the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, which requires local governments within the designated Wekiva Study Area to amend their Comprehensive Plans to reflect new statutory requirements for master stormwater management plans, water supply plans, interchange land use plans, and land use strategies, to optimize open space and promote patterns of development that protect most effective recharge areas, karsts features, and sensitive natural habitats. In addition, local governments are required to prepare wastewater facility plans and coordinate with DCA and the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), to identify adequate water supplies, protect surface and groundwater resources, using best available data, and to optimize open space and protection of recharge areas. He noted that one of the central themes of the proposed Plan is the protection of open space, as well as the protection of sensitive natural resources.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that School Concurrency was the latest addition to mandated concurrency elements statewide and that Lake County is ahead of most of the counties in the State, because it was in the pilot program, and, for the most part, has completed concurrency. He stated that it is hard to think about concurrency, without putting an eye on the Legislature, noting that, in this year’s legislative session, there are some growth management bills, one that has already been approved by the Senate, which impact concurrency. He stated that they appear to be lessening the timeframes and giving local governments more time to comply with concurrency, but that will not have a big effect on the County, since it is already through the process. With regard to Transportation Concurrency, he feels there will be a dramatic change coming out of this year’s legislative session, which will affect several cities within the County, in that it will remove transportation concurrency requirements from those cities. He stated that it is based on 1,000 people per square mile and there are several cities within the County that meet that threshold. He informed the Board that what was transmitted from the LPA does not include the School Concurrency language, in that they transmitted the concurrency element before it was completed, but they did send a separate concurrency element, which has been transmitted to DCA, who has objected to it. He stated that, on April 21, 2009, a settlement agreement will be coming before the Board, which will lead to the final adoption of it, but the School Board updated their Capital Improvement Element, while the County was in the transmittal phase and the DCA objected to it, because it did not contain the exact date. He commented that, as of that date, the County will be in compliance and staff’s goal is to take that element and put it into the new Plan, so that when the County finally does transmit it, hopefully, it will be exactly what has already been approved by the Board.
Water Supply Plan
Mr. Gregg Welstead, Conservation and Compliance Director, addressed the Board, stating that, in 2005, the Legislature changed the way the County operated and mandated that a Water Supply Plan be part of the Comprehensive Plan. Since the County is not a water provider, at that point in time, all that was required of the County was to send a letter saying that it does not provide water and that sufficed, but, in 2007, the law changed again and required that the County submit a plan, but it was a compilation of plans from all the municipalities. He stated that the Growth Management Department hired a land use planner, Ms. Wendy Grey, to consolidate all that information and come up with a plan for the County, which she has accomplished; however, the SJRWMD objected to it, in as far as an alternative water supply is concerned, and questioned where the County is going to get alternative water. He commented that conservation is a real key to it and how the County treats it in the future will go into how the SJRWMD accepts the Plan. Some minor modifications are being recommended to the Plan, which he feels the Board should consider, noting that one of the elements the County has to look at is domestic self supply, which is an issue that the Legislature, the SJRWMD, the Cities, and the County recognize is a huge one. He noted that the current plan, unless it is within a municipal area, requires additional domestic self supply wells, which is something the Board will have to consider, as it proceeds through the adoption of this Plan.
Required and Optional Elements of the Comprehensive Plan
Mr. Ian McDonald, Chief Planner, Planning and Community Design, addressed the Board stating that Chapter 163, Part II, of the Florida Statutes, requires the County to have specific things within the Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use Element, the Housing Element, the Transportation Element, the General Public Facilities Element, the Conservation Element, the Recreation and Open Space Element, the Intergovernmental Coordination Element, and the Capital Improvements Element (ties in with Concurrency Management System). He stated that the County has proposed a separate Concurrency Management Element, which is subsumed into the Capital Improvements Element, since they go hand in hand, and there is also an optional element, being the Economic Development Element, which is allowed to have quite a few elements within it, such as Public Safety, Preservation of Historic Resources, Mass Transit, etc. – anything that it is felt is appropriate or special to the community.
Mr. McDonald reviewed the various elements, noting that the Concurrency Management System in many ways drives the cost of the plan and, as was pointed out by the County Attorney, there are probably some changes coming from Tallahassee and, once staff has those in hand, they will look at the implementation dates and may have to do some tweaking. He stated that, basically, the Concurrency Management System looks at roads, potable water and sewer, solid waste, drainage, and school facilities, noting that there are seven things that are classified as Type A concurrency facilities. He commented that the County has to look at its population growth and level of service that has been established for those things and see where it is and what it needs to provide, noting that the Concurrency Management System is designed to ensure that the services are in place at the time of getting a Certificate of Occupancy. He remarked that the Capital Improvements Element is the element where the County lists the basic programs for its stormwater and which roads are operating under a level of service that needs to be beefed up and coordinated with the School Board on their facilities plan, which the County is now required by law to include in its Capital Improvements Element, even though it is the School Board’s facilities plan. He indicated that the element also has to show how the County manages its standards for debt and the County is allowed to go to a long range schedule, if it so chooses, which gives the County some flexibility. He informed the Board that he feels the most interesting and important element is the Future Land Use Element, which basically indicates how the County expects to grow and where it expects to grow and that it will ensure that there are adequate areas of land allocated to accommodate growth, being residential areas, areas for commercial and industrial development, areas for future transportation corridors, etc. The element also has to address where school facilities are allowed, which is everywhere except in industrially zoned land. Some other things that the element has to address by Statute is compatibility of lands adjacent to military installations, discourage urban sprawl, and address energy efficient land use patterns and green house gas reduction strategies. With respect to energy efficient land use patterns, one of the things that the current plan is looking at is trying to focus the more intense development into the urban corridors along the major roadways and those places where public facilities and services are already available, which by definition leads to a more efficient land use pattern.
Regarding the Public Facilities Element, Mr. McDonald stated that the County is required to address sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water, groundwater, and aquifer recharge, which ties back into the Future Land Use Element and the densities and intensities of land uses allowed, which the County has to balance, according to the levels of service. He commented that the County does not provide central water and sewer, noting that it relies on municipal or private suppliers for those services, so it contains some policies that deal with hooking up or encouraging small package plants to hook up to the regional facilities when they are available. The Conservation Element is closely tied in with the Future Land Use Element, in that it deals in large part with the Wekiva, the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern, and such, but the County also has areas around the Lake Apopka Restoration Area, Emeralda Marsh, and a few other scattered conservation areas. He stated that it tries to tie that all together and it tries to establish protection for those areas, so that they can be maintained into the future, for future generations. He indicated that it is closely tied into future land use, as well as the Recreation and Open Space Element and the Intergovernmental Coordination Element. It deals with four broad areas, being Air, Water, Future Land Use, and Environmental Systems. He stated that there is also a Recreation and Open Space Element and, since the LPA first started work on it, the County has adopted a Parks and Recreation Master Plan and a Greenways, Blueways, and Trails Master Plan. He reported that the Housing Element is required by Statute and there are certain things that have to be looked at, in that there needs to be enough land to provide housing for expected future residents, the County has to eliminate substandard dwellings, it has to address structural and aesthetic improvement of existing housing, it has to address affordable workforce housing for the various income categories, and it has to look at historically significant housing and other housing for rehabilitation or preservation. Some newer things that have recently been added are energy efficiency in their design and use of renewable resources, which can be in either building materials or renewable energy – promotion of solar, passive solar, recycled materials, etc.
With regard to the Intergovernmental Coordination Element, Mr. McDonald stated that the County is required to coordinate its plan with those of the municipalities and adjacent local governments, when it involves things that affect the County, especially with respect to transportation, and it has to coordinate with the School Board, noting that it has an interlocal agreement with them and there is a planning group that meets quarterly with all the municipalities, the County, and the School Board. He stated that the County has to, by Statute, address the regional water supply plans for areas within a water resource caution area, being the SJRWMD. He stated that there is a little bit of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) within the southwest portion of the County, in the Green Swamp, and there are no water resource issues that have been identified there as yet, so the County just needs to work closely with the SJRWMD and make sure that, when they update their plan, the County has to incorporate any necessary changes in its plan within 18 months, and it has to be consistent with the State plan, the regional plan, etc., which he noted are technical requirements. He commented that the Transportation Element addresses coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, at which time he noted that the County works very closely with the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (LSMPO), who handles Transportation Concurrency for the County and all 14 municipalities, in all its transportation issues. He stated that they are currently in the process of developing a new 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan and when that is done, staff will come back to the Board with an amendment to the Transportation Element, to update everything for consistency. He indicated that the County has to address major thoroughfares, local streets, and the Interstate; it looks at alternative modes of travel, being pedestrian ways, bicycle transportation, and alternative transportation modes; staff is trying to work with the LSMPO, to establish density for certain nodes, and it can take advantage of mass transit, future bus systems, potential for light rail and increasing the use of the rail system for the shipment of goods, in order to get some of the big trucks off the road and onto the tracks. He commented that the County has to look at land use compatibility with the transportation system and it has to address airports and aviation facilities.
Regarding the Public School Facilities Element, Mr. McDonald stated that the County has subsumed its element into the Public School Facilities Element as a separate sub-element, which is based on the County’s Interlocal Agreement. He remarked that one of the things the Comprehensive Plan is based on is the Future Land Use Map, which lays out the different categories of land use that the County is proposing, as well as the general intensity and density of land use allowed, open space requirements, etc., noting that most of the detail work is in the County’s Land Development Regulations. He noted that the County also has to have an existing land use map and it is supposed to show planned water wells, wetlands, lakes, rivers, water bodies, minerals and soils, energy conservation, areas of groundwater recharge, and the County’s current transportation system, including the type and size of the County’s roads in its future proposed system. He stated that the County has to show existing and proposed educational sites, which it has obtained from the School Board, historic and ecological resources, etc. He briefly touched on the County’s Optional Element, being the Economic Development Element, noting that the Legislature does not specify what the requirements are for it – they leave that up to the County. He indicated that the County recently adopted a Strategic Long Range Economic Development Plan and staff has worked with the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Department to incorporate the background data for the Economic Development Element, noting that Ms. Dottie Keedy, the Director for that department, has provided him with a series of new Goals, Objectives and Policies for implementation of that plan, which staff proposes be incorporated into the material that the County has already received.
Presentation of Staff Comments and Public Workshops
Ms. King readdressed the Board stating that what staff gave them was an overview of the Comprehensive Plan and its history and requirements, however, noted that it is not solely a Growth Management document, but something that is going to require the cooperation of all the departments. She stated that they are in the process of compiling recommendations from the departments and will be holding workshops with them, to discuss the recommendations, before bringing them to the Board. She recommended that there be at least two half-day workshops with the Board sometime in early May, to present staff’s recommendations, noting that staff will be available to answer any questions there might be from the Board. She stated that they would like to schedule the three regional workshops to be held in south, northwest, and northeast Lake County, as well.
Commr. Renick questioned whether the LPA would be able to sit in on some of the workshops, before any of the regional workshops are held, at which time the Chairman interjected that he had not planned to do that, noting that the LPA had the plan for five years and now it is time for the Board to do their job. He indicated that, if the Board were going to do it, he would want to wait until after the two half-day workshops are held before committing to anything dealing with the LPA.
Commr. Hill stated that she just completed a course by the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) on Comprehensive Plans, which she elaborated on, so she will have a lot of questions for staff to answer. She questioned whether there will be citizen input and a chance for the Board to listen to the community, noting that she wants to make sure the Board hears from the entire community. She stated that she feels the LPA did a wonderful job, but feels there are a lot of things that the community did not get a chance to talk about. She commented about the issue of the BEBR, which Ms. King alluded to, noting that she would like to have a copy of said information. She asked what population data the Comprehensive Plan that was transmitted to the Board from the LPA was based on – whether it was the BEBR low or the BEBR medium.
Ms. King stated that it was a hybrid of the BEBR low/medium, but that the numbers were not going to be precise, because the densities that are allowed by the Comprehensive Plan change with rezoning, etc. She stated that the numbers will not match up, but they are within a certain percentage that can be justified in staff’s opinion to DCA.
Commr. Hill stated that, when she took the course she alluded to, she was told that local is first and local is best, when doing a Comprehensive Plan, and that the County needs to remember that there are some things that it has to comply with at the State level, but that consistency goes a long way. She stated that a county can be silent in their Comprehensive Plan, but it cannot be in conflict with the State regulations.
Commr. Renick commented that she took the same course and that one of the things they emphasized was to not put any details in the Comprehensive Plan – to put the details in the LDRs and that you should not have any duplication. She feels the pendulum swung way too far before, but acknowledges the fact that there are those that will say that it is swinging way too far now, but there are some things that she feels they can agree on and that is where the County gets its protection. She stated that they need to make the Comprehensive Plan more difficult to change - not that it cannot be changed, because it is not written in concrete, but it has to be made more difficult to change. She feels the Board has to decide what their philosophy really is and what they really want reflected in the Comprehensive Plan. She stated that it may be too specific for some people, but that is what they are going to have to iron out.
Commr. Cadwell interjected that the community feels the Board is just going to rubber stamp the Comprehensive Plan, but wanted to assure them that they are going to go through it and make the changes they think are right and leave those things alone that they feel should be left alone. He stated that the citizens are going to have a chance to address the Board and those individuals who felt they were disenfranchised with the system before are going to have an opportunity to speak.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, reminded the Board that this process is a legislative process – it is not like a typical zoning case, so it is not quasi-judicial. He stated that, subject to the Board’s preferences, they are able to talk to anyone without breaking the Sunshine Law about any part of the Comprehensive Plan. He commented that there is no legal reason why they cannot talk to citizens or other people, if they wish to, but, if they would prefer to have all comments on the record, they can do that as well - they just cannot talk to each other about it, unless it is in an advertised meeting.
OTHER BUSINESS (CONT’D.)
STATE OF THE COUNTY DISCUSSION
The Chairman stated that the County usually holds a State of the County Address in October of each year and that he wanted to get direction from the Board regarding it, noting that the biggest cost involved with it is the printing of the books and refreshments. He feels the County does not need to do either one of those; however, he feels there should be some type of a presentation, which he noted could be used during the entire year for meetings held with the various civic clubs, etc., and the video could be done in-house.
Commr. Renick indicated that she felt perhaps the cities should be asked if they had anything they would like to have presented as part of the State of the County Address, since they are a part of the County.
Commr. Conner stated that he would like for jobs creation and economic development to have more of a presence in this year’s State of the County Address than it did last year.
LETTER FROM LEAGUE OF CITIES REGARDING ALTERNATIVE WATER
Commr. Hill referred to a letter that she received from the League of Cities about the alternative water supply issue and a letter they had written to the SJRWMD and questioned whether the Board was going to comment on it, wanted to comment on it, or whether the Board was on board with what they were asking and whether there was anything the Board could support them on.
Commr. Renick interjected that her understanding about the matter is that the League of Cities has written the letter and are now going to take it back to their respective Boards and will be voting on it in May of this year. She noted that she did not feel the Board needed to weigh in on it at all – that she feels they just wanted the Board to see what they are doing. She stated that it was written in response to the fact that the Water Alliance had not gotten their act together to do it, so the League of Cities took the lead and did their own letter, which she applauded them on. She feels the role of the Board is just to listen to the League of Cities and be informed about what they are doing.
Commr. Conner stated that he felt what the leadership in the League of Cities did not want to do, as a body of a Board of Directors, is pass something without going back to their individual cities first. He feels it was more of a process concern from their standpoint and questioned whether the Board wanted him to take it to the Board of Directors for approval.
He was informed that it was not necessary – that the Board would be overstepping its bounds.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Ms. Alta Trask, the Executive Director for the Lake County League of Cities for many years, passed away recently, but that it was his understanding that there would not be a memorial service for her.
LAKE COUNTY WATER ALLIANCE – VISIONING WORKSHOP
Commr. Renick distributed to the Board a draft ten page handout from the Lake County Water Alliance Visioning Workshop that was held recently, noting that, as they try to decide what they want to be for the future, they are doing a survey, as part of their Visioning Workshop. She stated that they are making some additional changes, since the draft she distributed was put together, and that Mr. Gregg Welstead, Conservation and Compliance Director, would be getting the final draft for the Board in the near future. She indicated that some of the questions in the survey are pretty technical and involved and is something that has to go back to each of the respective Boards, for them to agree on and submit one survey representing what each Board wants to do. She did not feel the Board would want to go through each one of the questions; therefore, in the essence of time, asked how they would like to handle the matter. She remarked that she and Mr. Welstead could go through the survey and give the Board their copy, after which the Board could give Mr. Welstead the issues where they disagreed, and he could put something together for them, so that they are discussing only a few of the items, rather than all of them. She noted that it would be an item on the Agenda for the April 28, 2009 Board Meeting.
HARTWOOD MARSH ROAD GRANT
Commr. Renick informed the Board that she was informed by Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director of the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization, that the County was not going to lose the $3 million grant for the Hartwood Marsh Road Project, noting that it was a topic that had come up a few times with the Board, as well as with the LSMPO, and they were all scrambling around trying to figure out how those funds could be saved.
RESEARCH REGARDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN LAKE COUNTY
Commr. Conner questioned whether the Board would allow him to work with the County’s Economic Development Department, the Procurement Services Department, the County Manager, the County Attorney, and the business community, to research how other counties balance the desire to do business locally, without stifling competition, do some brainstorming, and bring a report back to them at a later date.
It was the consensus of the Board that Commr. Conner do so.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
NEIL KELLY, CLERK