A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
May 24, 2011
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor Michael Sweeney from the New Life Church of God gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, requested to move Addendum IA after Tab 10 to make that a presentation to the Board. He stated there was an Addendum IIA that would be put under Commr. Hill’s Business, and he requested an Executive Session after the meeting.
Commr. Cadwell asked to add under his Business an approval for support of the Golden Triangle YMCA’s Get Moving Lake County campaign.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board moved to add the campaign to the agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Hill recognized that Sheriff Gary Borders was present that day for Tab 4, and added that the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grant was great, mainly because the County did not have to match it.
Commr. Cadwell stated, regarding Tab 5, that this was the first contract coming through on the new maintenance for the trails and parks, and because they were using separate outside vendors, the County would save almost a quarter of a million dollars.
Commr. Conner added that the work was awarded to a Lake County firm.
Commr. Campione stated, regarding Tab 4, that this grant gave the flexibility of filling vacant positions due to budgetary constraints instead of hiring for new positions, and thought that was a benefit.
Sheriff Gary Borders commented that they were planning on filling positions that had been frozen during the budget sessions over the years, and were also considering additional court deputies to put in the new courthouse once that was completed. He noted that the County did not have to match the funds, the grant was for three years, and the positions had to be kept for at least an additional year.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 9, as follows:
Request authorization to fill one (1) Equipment Operator I position within Public Works/Road Operations Division. (The fiscal impact is $33,731.)
Request authorization to fill one (1) Senior Building Inspector position in the Growth Management Department/Building Services Division as a limited term position, duration up to twelve (12) months. (The fiscal impact is $43,969.)
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request that the Board (1) declare the items on the attached list(s) surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached 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 that the Board approve the request from the Lake County Sheriff's Office to apply for the FY 2011 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grant.
Request that the Board approve award of ITB 11-0408 for Trail Landscape Maintenance and Related Services to Action Enterprise, Inc. of Leesburg, Florida, and authorize Procurement Services staff to execute the related contractual documents. The fiscal impact is $36,360.00.
Request approval for participation in the E911 State Grant Program. Approve application to the State E911 Board for a Grant for enhancements to the Lake County E911 Services/System. No fiscal impact.
Request authorization to accept a maintenance bond in the amount of $6,249.00, and execute a Developer's Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements Between Lake County and Eagleridge I, LLC. Golden Eagle Village is in Commission District 2. There is no fiscal impact.
Request that the Board approve an Interlocal Agreement Between Lake County and The Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (LSMPO) relating to the Lake County Traffic Count Program. Fiscal impact: $8,500.00.
Request authorization to execute Resolution No. 2011-71 accepting the following roads into the County Road Maintenance System: Weldon Drive “Part” (Co. Road No. 6386); Kirkland Place (Co. Road No. 6386A); Darien Court (Co. Road No. 6386B); Barrington Drive “Part” (Co. Road No. 6486); Milford Drive “Part” (Co. Road No. 6586); and Danbury Court (Co. Road No. 6586E). Upson Downs is located in Commission District 5. There is no fiscal impact.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Campione, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tab 10, as follows:
Request approval to Advertise the proposed ordinance amending Section 2-88, Lake County Code, regarding membership of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee to provide for alternate members.
Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, announced that this was Hurricane Preparedness Week and Lake County was participating in the statewide hurricane drill. He added that the County would be performing training on Wednesday and Thursday, focusing on recovery and utilizing the new emergency management software for organizing the emergency operation center. He wanted to remind citizens of preparations they should take, which included having a family disaster plan, having an evacuation plan, knowing the location of shelters, having different forms of communication with family outside of the area, putting together a disaster supply kit, taking first aid and CPR classes, planning for pets, and gathering important documents. He noted that they also encouraged citizens to be informed with weather radios, the local media, AlertLake, and the citizen information line.
He then discussed the request from Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) for an additional $50,000 for funding. He noted that LASER was founded in 2004 after the three major hurricanes had occurred in Lake County, and was comprised of multiple not-for-profit organizations, as well as the Community Services and Emergency Management Department. He added that the organization was formalized after the Groundhog Day tornados in 2007, which allowed them to be the County’s long-term organization. He stated that their main focus was to help citizens recover from disasters, and added that they have also assisted with wildfires in the County. He noted that they have not received any money from the state since there has not been a disaster in a few years, and without the additional funding, they would have to cease operations.
Commr. Hill commented that she appreciated him coming back with a scope of work, since that was a concern she had, and opined that it would cost three times that amount for the County to put together a team like that.
Mr. Smith noted that LASER did provide a service that the County could not, because the volunteers were able to go onto private property to remove debris and get it to the roadway, whereas the County was restricted in providing those services.
Commr. Parks asked how LASER differed from VolunteerLAKE.
Mr. Smith explained that VolunteerLAKE managed volunteers into different areas of the community, and their primary mission was to run the volunteer reception center. He noted that there were two different kinds of volunteers: affiliated and unaffiliated. He added that the affiliated volunteers were organized, trained, and had been background checked, whereas the unaffiliated volunteers were individuals that felt compelled to help during a disaster, and the volunteer reception center interviewed them to see what skills they had to match them to the needs of the community. He related that VolunteerLAKE also did donation management, and since that can be time consuming, they agreed to take on that challenge with volunteers.
Commr. Campione asked what portion of LASER was funded by Sumter County.
Mr. Smith responded that he was not aware of any portion being funded by Sumter County.
Commr. Parks asked if there were any cities that helped fund the program.
Mr. Smith replied that they were proposing to get additional funding from Sumter County, municipalities and other not-for-profits within the area.
Commr. Campione opined that she would feel more comfortable having Sumter County contribute as well, since they were included in the organization’s name. She asked if they had researched other counties to see how they handled this type of program.
Mr. Smith answered that Volusia and Seminole County had separate organizations, Orange County handled theirs through their Community Services Department, Polk County was struggling to put something together, and Osceola County still had not established anything at that time.
Commr. Campione noted that she was not comfortable approving additional funding to LASER, and added that they should look at whether some of the functions could be done in house without increasing costs to the County. She related that they could also look at having a contract rate where if they did have a disaster, then LASER would be paid at a certain rate for the services they were providing.
Commr. Parks stated that he was uncomfortable with approving this as well, since it was in the middle of the budget year.
Mr. Gray added that LASER was making the request to the Board for additional funds because they have run out of funds from other sources.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was inclined to help them out this year, but would not commit to help them out next year, and recommended that they postpone making a decision until the first meeting in June so they could meet with Mr. Michael Tart, Executive Director of LASER, to discuss other options.
Commr. Campione noted that they could just look at what it would take to get them through the remainder of the year, and then look closely at the next year’s budget to see if they could use some County personnel.
Mr. Gray stated that during the next two weeks, he and Mr. Smith could evaluate and see which duties could be performed internally.
Commr. Hill noted that LASER took over a lot of the responsibilities of VolunteerLAKE since the downsizing of Community Services.
Commr. Cadwell commented that they needed to know which additional responsibilities they took on to see if there was more they could do.
Commr. Conner expressed that he was very impressed with Mr. Tart and LASER and wanted to continue supporting them, but they needed to find other funding sources because the County could not be their only source. He suggested that LASER also look at personnel costs since that was one of their biggest expenses.
Commr. Campione expressed her concern that many residents who relied solely on cell phones were not aware they needed to add their cell phone numbers to AlertLake.
Mr. Smith noted that they had prepared a press release regarding the training that was coming up, and would be adding information about AlertLake so individuals who relied on cell phones or voice over internet protocol for their phone service would know to sign up to receive emergency information.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board moved to postpone the decision until the June 7, 2011 meeting.
economic development and tourism
Mr. Cary Pierce, Business Development Coordinator, gave a PowerPoint presentation regarding the second update of the Economic Action Plan, noting that the progress of the plan was available online at egr.lakecountyfl.gov and howwehelpbusiness.com. He stated that they created a matrix to track the activities that had been completed and those that had not. He referred to slides that stated their vision and mission and the goals of the plan. He added that they have been updating the ordinances and put intradepartmental agreements in place to expedite the issuance of building permits and to streamline all permitting processes. He related that the “concierge” pilot program was designed to have one individual walk a business through the entire process, but they found that by having multiple departments together at the start of the process, they could then determine which department was best to carry the business through the process. He noted that all of the development applications, the Planning and Community Design Division applications, the residential construction permits and some of the small commercial permits could be applied for, processed, and approved online, and related that they achieved the goal of completing residential and small commercial permits in-house, within hours instead of days. He noted that they have received positive feedback from citizens, contractors and the Homebuilders Association (HBA) with regards to these new processes.
Mr. Pierce pointed out that they had an ISBA (Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement) between the City of Umatilla and Lake County, and were working with the cities, landowners, and brokers to get more information for development of the interactive map. He related that they were meeting with the City of Leesburg to discuss their infrastructure needs for airport manufacturing, they were doing a visioning session with Mount Dora on the 429 expansion, and were working with cities to help in the creation of the South Lake Incubator. He stated that many positive things came from the Education Economic Action Workshop with the School Board and the Board, and they were scheduling a follow-up meeting for June. He noted that they were working on a Distance Learning Program with representatives from Florida A&M University (FAMU), Lake Sumter Community College (LSCC), and the City of Leesburg with hopes of marketing a nursing program for the area. He added that they also assisted LSCC with their Workforce Needs Assessment Study, and the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra was working with Lake County Schools to mentor students to help get music into the schools. He stated that five businesses from the county went through a Search Engine Optimization training class, which taught them how to get their business on the first page of the Google search results. He noted that they had selected three possible sites for the South Lake Incubator, and were working with the South Lake Chamber Economic Development Committee (EDC) on providing a demographic data analysis to show the importance of the incubator and the impact it could have. He reported that after the news release, they had three businesses contact them who were interested in participation in the incubator. He mentioned that they responded to four Request for Proposals from Enterprise Florida, and have collaborated with the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SECO), the City of Groveland and the City of Leesburg to help these businesses. He noted that they were participating with the West Orange Aviation Authority and with the creation of the West Orange South Lake Transportation Task Force. He then mentioned the statistics for the property finder website, noting that there had been 164 visitors to the site, with the average time on the site being three and a half minutes. He related that they helped lead a tour, emphasizing birding sites, for members of the Sun City Audubon Center and members of the Harbor Ridge Birding Society. He stated that the County received a grant to assist with the establishment of wildflower roadside sites, and noted that the safety improvements of the South Lake Trail Phase II were in the design phase, while the South Lake Regional and Community Park was in progress. He added that they were able to connect a capital investment agent with the National Training Center for a possible future field house, and noted that they were currently receiving Tourist Development Council grant applications, as the applications were due on May 25. He mentioned some events that happened over the past month in the area that were great for the County, including the NCAA Men’s Golf Regional, the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, and the FHSAA State Finals, and reported that there were over 800 total participants in the events, almost 4,000 spectators to the events and over 2,000 room nights. He stated that a workshop was held regarding the parks and trails, and there was approval to move forward with four potential projects. He noted that there were continuous discussions on the opening of public lands, and with the adoption of the ordinance suspending school impact fees, the Board also suspended the collection of associated capacity reservation fees.
Mr. Pierce related that the Action Plan Progress Matrix was created to help establish specific targets and track their progress, adding that many departments contributed to it as well. He reported that over 60 percent of the specific action items on the matrix were addressed within the past month. He noted that for the future, they would continue to streamline the policies and procedures to foster “pro-business,” they were anticipating an Economic Action Plan Workshop with the School Board and the Board, they would continue to work on the South Lake Incubator and the online permitting to get those completed within the next couple of months, and they would continue to modify and update the action plan with specific targeted and quantifiable goals.
Commr. Campione expressed that the update was great, and added that she would like to see a demonstration of the property finder for the next update.
Commr. Parks commented that he was very pleased with the update and looked forward to having this on the agenda. He asked if they would soon be going to the cities to request participation in the South Lake incubator.
Mr. Pierce responded that they were, and added that the South Lake EDC and his department would be coming together to show the regional impact this would have. He also noted that the three businesses that have asked for inclusion were not all in the same city; they were just interested in that location.
Commr. Cadwell asked how Orange County was contributing to the visioning process with Mount Dora on the 429 expansion.
Commr. Campione answered that she had been in contact with Commissioner Brummer from Orange County, and they were trying to coordinate a meeting with the cities of Apopka, Mount Dora, Eustis, and maybe Tavares, to get input from each city and to formalize the process.
Mr. Gray commended the Economic Action Team, and added that they put together the matrix to help stay on track and organized with the goals and action plans. He also recognized Ms. Shelly Weidenhamer from the Metro Orlando EDC, and introduced Mr. Scott Blankenship, the new Economic Development and Tourism Director.
Commr. Campione stated that the Metro Orlando EDC had been making significant changes, and she would like to give a report to the Board on those changes at a future meeting.
vacation petition no.1165 – montverde
Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, stated that this was a request to vacate utility easements between Lots 8 and 9 in the plat of Bella Collina, and they were going to reserve the utility easement along the road frontage and the drainage easement in the rear for the St. Johns swell requirement. He added this was in Commission District 3, and they recommend approval.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Brad Heckenberg, a resident of Montverde, explained that he owned the land across the street from the proposed vacation petition, and noted that he was in favor of it because the owner of that property wanted to make improvements to his residence, and since the easement was there, he was never able to.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Vacation Petition No. 1165 to vacate side yard utility easements in the Montverde area, and approval and execution of Resolution No. 2011-72.
public hearings: rezoning
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Director, illustrated on the screen that this meeting had been properly advertised and there were no changes to the agenda.
rezoning consent agenda
Commr. Hill opened the public hearing for the case 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. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2011-26
Rezoning Case No. PH#8-11-5
Thomas L. & Marlene Bacsik and Twofus Investments, LLC
Lake County Division of Planning and Community Design
Request to correct a scrivener’s error in the legal description of Ordinance #1996-37. Ordinance #1996-37 will be rescinded and replaced by the proposed ordinance.
rezoning regular agenda
Commr. Hill disclosed, regarding Tab 3, that she spoke with Ms. Miranda Fitzgerald, the Attorney for the Homeowner’s Association, on May 23, 2011 and she stated concerns about the buffer and the elevation of the panels, and she was requesting a 30 day continuance if they could not resolve the issues.
Commr. Cadwell disclosed, regarding Tab 3, that he spoke to Ms. Fitzgerald; and regarding Tab 1, he met with Mr. Norman, the applicant, before the rezoning application and at a site visit afterwards.
Commr. Campione disclosed, regarding Tab 3, that she spoke with Ms. Fitzgerald; and regarding Tab 1, she talked to Mr. Musgrove, a neighbor of the proposed site, and to Mr. Norman, and toured the site as well as the neighborhood.
Commr. Parks disclosed, regarding Tab 3, that he met with Ms. Fitzgerald; and regarding Tab 1, he met with Mr. Norman.
rezoning case no. CUP#11/5/1-5 norman’s outdoor adventure park
Mr. Sheahan stated that this was a request by Mr. Lewis J. Norman, the applicant, and Ms. Sharon and Mr. Ronald Clifton, the owners, for a Conditional Use Permit in the Agriculture Zoning District to allow an outdoor recreational facility for motocross and all terrain vehicles, which included a clubhouse and primitive campground. He noted that the property was approximately 80 acres, and about 20 acres would be developed for this use. He reported that as of that morning, the County had received 47 letters in support, seven in opposition, and a petition with approximately 30 signatures in opposition, of which 19 were within a two mile radius of the site. He added that the use was consistent with the Wekiva River Protection Area Sending Area A-1-20 district, with the conditions included in the proposed ordinance. He pointed out that there were two major anticipated impacts: transportation and noise. He related that the preliminary analysis of traffic impacts indicated that this would not adversely impact the local service on SR 44; however, a more detailed analysis would be conducted if the application was approved. He mentioned that conditions were placed in the ordinance requiring the completion of a noise study to be submitted with a future site plan. He noted that there were other conditions in the ordinance regarding limited hours of operation and the requirement of buffers, and added that the site was heavily forested around the perimeter, and this existing vegetation would remain. He illustrated on the screen the proposed site, the residences that were within a two mile radius, and the residences that sent in letters of opposition, noting that the ones nearest to the site were approximately 1,000 feet away. He explained that the impacts to the residents within a two mile radius would be reduced through the installation of a berm, and with the construction of the clubhouse. He mentioned that staff conducted a preliminary noise analysis based on a formula, and anticipated that the ambient noise from the track would be roughly 90 decibels; the noise would be reduced to 69 decibels at a distance of 1,000 feet, which was equivalent to a loud cash register; and the noise would be reduced to 63 decibels at 2,000 feet. He explained that staff had requested to add two additional conditions to the ordinance, one being a 20 foot berm along the south and west side of the outdoor track, and the second being a fence along the shared property line of the Seminole State Forest, with the wetlands remaining on the property.
Commr. Conner asked what the Zoning Board recommended.
Mr. Sheahan answered that the Zoning Board recommended denial on a three to two vote.
Mr. Chuck Hiott, from Booth, Ern, Straughan & Hiott, Inc., stated that it was obvious that noise and traffic were a big concern for the neighbors, and since the Zoning Board denied it, he suggested taking it to the Commissioners for their approval, so they could move forward with the project. He noted that the next level was to perform a traffic study, a noise study, and start the engineering, but he did not want to start these until the project was approved, since these studies were quite expensive. He added that if they could not meet the conditions, the project would not happen.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Tom Ball, an Attorney representing Boggy Creek Gang, Inc., stated that Boggy Creek was a camp for medically challenged children, and was located within a one mile radius of the project. He commended Mr. Norman on his efforts to provide a recreation facility for children; however, his client’s sole objection was the location, since it presented issues of traffic, parking and noise. He explained the traffic concern, noting that the entrance to the site would be near a curved portion on SR 44, which did not have adequate acceleration or deceleration lanes to accommodate the volume of attendees. He then addressed the parking concern, adding that because of the unlimited number of attendees, he was unsure where they would all park. He emphasized that the biggest concern was noise, and mentioned that the Zoning Board recognized that it would be a tremendous problem for the development, and had offered Mr. Norman the opportunity to table the CUP application, obtain a noise study, and then present that for consideration. He asked that the Board consider that option, since noise was the fundamental issue for the project, and there was no evidence thus far showing that the noise requirements could be met.
Mr. Adam Henrich, a resident of Orlando, opined that since there was not a facility like this in the area, it would be a great asset to this community and would provide a safe environment for citizens to ride their four wheelers.
Mr. Jeff Wegner, a resident of Mount Dora, clarified that a normal conversation between two people, three to five feet apart, was between 60 and 70 decibels, and a telephone dial tone was 80 decibels. He remarked that, according to the noise analysis which was previously discussed, the noise would be less than a standard telephone dial tone. He expressed that this was a wonderful opportunity for children and the County because he has driven all over for a park of this nature, and given the current economy, this County could use the revenue.
Mr. David Houstoun, a resident of Eustis, showed pictures of his children on the screen, stating that he currently takes them to a track in Bunnell. He commented that he would like to have something like this in Lake County and would rather spend his money here.
Mr. Richard Wegner, a resident of Eustis, pointed out that motocross was an increasingly popular world wide sport, and it would be an incredible opportunity to bring this to Lake County. He opined that this was a family sport where kids learned the values of commitment, athleticism and camaraderie, and defined motocross as a group of specialized athletes who enjoy good, clean competition and the constant goal of bettering themselves through the riding and camaraderie that cultivate the sport.
Mr. Ronald Cleary, a resident of Eustis and a property owner in Royal Trails, stated that this project would be less than two miles from many property owners in Royals Trails, and added that he bought his property for the wildlife and for the peacefulness of the area. He expressed his concerns about the decrease in property values and the disruption of the wildlife, and commented that he would not have bought in this area if he knew such a project would be built. He also mentioned that he had 131 petitions in opposition.
Mr. Brian Padgett, a resident of Mount Dora and General Manager of Champions Powersports, noted that since this would be a central location for riders, it would not disturb the habitats outside that area, and explained that most of the Ocala National Forest had been shut down to riders, as there were only three areas left. He understood that noise was the biggest issue, and asked the Board to continue to the next step of doing the noise studies.
Ms. Laurie Stahl, a resident of Eustis, opined that this was not the right place to put this park and stated that her property was right against the proposed site. She noted that she was approximately 750 feet from the tracks and 200 feet from the parking lot, and the trails would be a few feet from her property line. She was concerned about the noise level, and felt like there would not be enough of a reduction to make being in her yard enjoyable.
Mr. Mike Moore, a resident and a farmer in Eustis, stated that he had four pieces of property in that area, and have had his fences cut by people riding four wheelers. He opined that centralizing this location would be a great thing, and added that he has known Mr. Norman for many years, and knows that he will do a great job on this project.
Mr. Brian Crossland, a resident of Eustis, explained that his 20 acre property was adjacent to the proposed site, and commented that he moved to the country for the serenity. He noted that previous citizens spoke about the additional revenue Lake County would receive from this project, and opined that the money would be going to Deland instead, since that was where the nearest restaurants and hotels were. He added that this would only decrease the property values in the area.
Mr. Corey Van Dyke, a resident of Eustis, stated that he lived at the end of Walker Cemetery Road, approximately 1,500 to 2,000 feet away from the proposed site. He added that this was not the right location for this park since it was such a tranquil area, and the property owners would have to give up a lot just for a business owner to capitalize on revenue that came from the park. He expressed his concern that if this became successful, it could create a multi-million dollar industry and could get out of control. He asked the Board to consider the approach of doing more research and studies before approving to move forward.
Mr. Albert Musgrove, a resident of Eustis, explained that his property on Walker Cemetery Road was approximately 1,000 feet from the proposed site. He pointed out that there had already been some site development for commercial use on the property. He opined that the noise study should be an unbiased study, not done by the petitioner, and added that he did not understand how the motocross tracks were compared to hunting and fishing camps in the conditional use permit, since they were clearly unrelated. He emphasized that the project was not compatible for this neighborhood and asked that the Board not approve the project.
Mr. Earl Wright, Pastor of Sorrento Christian Center Church, commented that there have been vandalisms by children in this area over the years, and felt that this park would provide a safe place for these children to go to have something to do. He added that he has known Mr. Norman for a few years and knew that everything he does was top notch.
Ms. Deborah Burns, a resident of Eustis, stated that her concerns were the location and the traffic, noting that this would devalue the property in that area and would increase the amount of traffic on SR 44, which was already heavily traveled. She mentioned that she understood the need for a family facility like this, but not at this location.
Ms. Marcia Weatherly, a resident of Eustis, noted that her property was near the entrance of the proposed site, and added that she had moved to this area because it was a peaceful, rural community. She commented that although this park would be very beneficial to children, it should be placed in a different location.
Ms. Jackie Bursley, a resident of Eustis, mentioned that she owned 20 acres of property, which was 650 feet from the proposed site. She opined that this park would ruin their property values and the noise level would be outrageous. She remarked that when her son rides his dirt bike in the woods, she could still hear him five miles away.
Mr. Derek Eveleth, a resident of Yalaha, stated that this would be a family atmosphere and a centralized area where children could ride. He also reminded the Board about the facility at Renninger’s where they have sand drags and mud bogs, and wanted them to keep that in mind.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced that there would be a 15-minute recess at 10:48 a.m.
rezoning case no. CUP#11/5/1-5 (cont.)
Mr. Lewis J. Norman, the applicant, stated that the goal of this project was to create a recreation facility for families to have fun in a safe environment and to get the children off the roads to eliminate “spot riding”, which was when people ride all over the county. He then addressed many of the concerns of the residents, noting that they would have irrigation on the roads and tracks to maintain them and eliminate dust. He added that current property values were down, but felt like the values would probably increase after the park was built. He related that they would enforce a set of rules to address any problems that may arise, and added that those rules included no racing. He explained that he understood noise was the biggest concern, and noted that he agreed to install a fence around the property, as well as around the wetlands, the surrounding trees would remain, and a 20 foot buffer would be installed. He added that they also had a rule which required all bikes to have mufflers to eliminate some of that noise. He related that he owns 171 acres in Mount Dora, behind Round Lake Elementary School, where he also had tracks. He handed out several letters from the surrounding neighbors, including the principal of the school and the minister of the Round Lake Christian Church, indicating that they all supported these tracks. He noted that these neighbors were approximately 600 to 2,000 feet from the tracks, and they stated that Mr. Norman had always accommodated their requests, they never had problems with dust, and even though they could hear the dirt bikes in their yard, it was never bothersome. He explained that he had worked with the principal of Round Lake Elementary School to offer an incentive of riding for free to the children who made perfect attendance or good grades, and commented that he would like to continue this program for all elementary schools in the County.
Mr. Norman mentioned that the park would create approximately 25 jobs, and they would offer two peewee tracks and three regular tracks, designating the tracks as beginner, intermediate and advanced. He added that they would have a tower to observe the tracks, and would offer professional riding instructions. He also noted that they would have primitive camping, a clubhouse with events such as birthday parties and auctions, and the area would be patrolled by a police officer day and night. He emphasized that he wanted to work with the surrounding neighbors to address all of their concerns, because he wanted to do this the right way.
Commr. Cadwell commented that this was a very big problem in his district when people ride where they should not be, and added that the state forest and national forest had limited areas where they could ride. He explained that although this was not the perfect location for this park, it was a pretty good location. He stated that he was in full support of this project, with the additional language the staff added of having a 20 foot buffer and a fence on the forestry property side, and the understanding that Mr. Norman would have to meet the noise abatement and any traffic studies that were done. He moved for approval of CUP 11/5/1-5, and it was seconded for discussion by Commr. Parks.
Commr. Conner asked why the government eliminated driving in the forest.
Commr. Cadwell answered that it was because it was unorganized and such a big area to try to control.
Commr. Hill added that she could attest to all the problems in Commr. Cadwell’s district, and opined that this park was very much needed in this area, and if it was organized and run well, it would be a great way to eliminate a lot of those problems.
Commr. Parks asked if site plans normally came back to the Board for their approval.
Commr. Hill answered “no.”
Commr. Parks noted that staff would have to let the Board know whether all of those conditions had been met.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that historically, Mr. Sheahan and staff have listened to the neighbors, knew what was important to them, and would make sure that the ordinance was adhered to.
Commr. Campione stated that the rights of the nearby residents should be put first, and since all of the other issues could be addressed, she would like to know the results of the noise study to see whether that problem could be mitigated.
Commr. Hill asked when the noise study would be conducted.
Mr. Sheahan responded that the ordinance required it to be completed as part of the site plan process.
Commr. Conner asked if that would be done before approval.
Mr. Sheahan replied that it would be at the discretion of the Board.
Commr. Campione pointed out that typically after the study was completed, the expert would explain if the noise could be mitigated and what steps needed to be taken.
Commr. Cadwell explained that the ordinance stated that the applicant agreed to do the recommendations of the expert, and if not, the project would not get approved.
Commr. Conner opined that the noise study and the steps to mitigate the noise should be done before the project got approved. He added that there were many positives to this project; however, he felt like they should assist the applicant in finding a more suitable location. He noted that he was unsure of how barriers could contain that type of noise, but if he saw proof, he would reevaluate his position. He stated that property values were based on supply and demand, and with a race track nearby, the demand would probably be low, causing the values to decline, meaning less property tax revenue for the County. He expressed that the economic impact of this project was unknown, and he would not support this project unless they could find a better location for it.
Mr. Sheahan pointed out that the Board adopted the noise ordinance to address these same concerns, and it required that the existing noise level not be increased by any new development coming in. He added that with this application, the ambient noise level would be primarily generated from SR 44, and the ordinance would require the applicant to bear the cost of conducting a noise study by a professional in that area of expertise.
Commr. Parks added that the applicant would have to meet the conditional use criteria, and if he does not, he would lose his money. He mentioned that they could make the criteria for a conditional use permit stronger for the future.
Commr. Conner asked if it was possible to approve this today, subject to the Board’s review and approval of the final site plan.
Mr. Minkoff replied “yes”, and added that they have done that on limited occasions in the past.
Commr. Conner stated that he would like to include an amendment that this was subject to the approval of the final site plan by the Board.
Commr. Hill noted that if the applicant adhered to the site plan and the noise study, it was not necessary to have the site plan come back for review.
Commr. Conner explained that he would like to amend the motion to state that the Board approved this, subject to future review and approval of the final site plan by the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried by a 3-2 vote, the Board approved the amendment.
Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Hill voted “no.”
Commr. Campione expressed that she wanted to see the noise study to know exactly what needed to be done to mitigate the noise rather than leaving it up to someone else. She commented that she wanted to be clear before she voted on something that could negatively impact an adjoining property.
Mr. Hiott emphasized that he did not want to spend the time and the money doing the study, then present the findings to the Board and have the project denied.
Commr. Conner stated that was the risk they would have to take, and added that he did not support the project in that location.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion which was seconded by Commr. Parks to approve the ordinance, with a condition to install a 20 foot berm, a fence and with the approved amendment. The motion failed by a 2-3 vote.
Commr. Conner, Commr. Campione, and Commr. Cadwell voted “no.”
Commr. Cadwell noted that he voted against the motion because he did not support the amendment.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion which was seconded by Commr. Parks to reconsider the last vote. This was approved by a 3-2 vote.
Commr. Conner and Commr. Campione voted “no.”
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried by a 4-1 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2011-27 and CUP#11/5/1-5, from Mr. Lewis J. Norman and Mr. Ronald E. and Mrs. Sharon K. Clifton, with a condition to install a 20 foot berm on the south and west side of the property, install a fence along the shared property line of the Seminole State Forest, and with the amendment stating that this was subject to future review and approval of the final site plan by the Board.
Commr. Conner voted “no.”
rezoning case no. ph#9-11-4 sorrento solar energy facility
Mr. Sheahan stated that this case was brought forward by the applicant and Project Manager, Mr. Craig Livingston, and the owner, Blue Chip Energy LLC., requesting to rezone approximately 201 acres from Planned Unit Development (PUD) Zoning under Ordinance 2008-5 and Agriculture to Community Facility District (CFD) to permit the construction and operation of a Solar Energy Facility. He noted that the site was currently undeveloped, it was located in the Sorrento area, between SR 46 and SR 44 along CR 437, and it was previously approved for 160 units on the property. He related that the site was located in the Rural Transitional Future Land Use Category and the proposed rezoning was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. He added that the Solar Energy Facility would significantly reduce any anticipated impacts from the previously proposed subdivision. He noted that the applicant had been very cooperative, and the attached ordinance contained conditions to mitigate any aesthetic impacts that the site may have. He pointed out that the Zoning Board recommended approval with a vote of 5-0, with a clarification in section 1C, to specify that any fences installed on the property would be to the interior of any installed landscaping.
Commr. Hill asked about the request from the Attorney from the Eagle Dunes Homeowners Association (HOA).
Mr. Sheahan stated that originally, a letter was sent to the Board requesting a 60 day extension, but they are now requesting only a 30 day extension.
Ms. Rebecca Wilson, Attorney representing Eagle Dunes HOA, stated that the HOA board members have never been contacted in regards to this project, and although the staff had assured her that notices were mailed, they only found out from postings in the neighborhood. She added that they were asking for a 30 day extension so they could facilitate a meeting with Blue Chip, the Commissioners, and the HOA so the concerns of the homeowners could be addressed.
Commr. Parks asked if any of the property owners adjacent to the proposed project knew about this.
Ms. Wilson responded that she did not speak to every homeowner, but there were homeowners present that could testify never receiving notification. She added that no one alerted the HOA, and when they sent an email to the neighborhood, that was when they were made aware that the homeowners did not receive notification.
Mr. Craig Livingston, Project Manager and Architect with Blue Chip Energy, explained that they have been working closely with the residents for the past two months and were doing everything they could to mitigate the project. He noted that they had until December 31 to get five percent of the project in the ground, so they do not want to lose the time.
The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the postponement.
Ms. Jeanine Hoffman, a resident of Longwood and property owner in Eagle Dunes, stated that she did not receive a letter; she was notified by email through the HOA. She added that she would like a continuance so they could do some research on the property values, since the values had already taken a hit.
Mr. David Warden, a resident of Eagle Dunes, noted that he was never notified of the request for rezoning, and stated that he was not against the project, but he felt he needed more information in regards to the impact it would have on the community. He requested that the Board grant the 30 day continuance so they could be given more information on the project.
Mr. Chuck Stuckey, a resident of Eagle Dunes, explained that he has never received notification, and although he is not against the project, he cannot be for it either.
Mr. Ernie White, a resident of Sorrento, stated that his property was right against the proposed site and he never received notification either. He added that he was not against the project, but would like more information.
Commr. Cadwell asked if Mr. Sheahan could verify if they were notified.
Mr. Sheahan confirmed that a notice was sent to the White’s address.
The Board clarified that the green postcard that Mr. and Mrs. White had received was, in fact, the notice.
Mr. Sheahan stated that at least one of the individuals who spoke earlier was outside of the notice boundary, and added that the code required a notice range of 300 feet; however, they gave notice to residents 350 feet away to make sure they captured everyone that was on that edge. He mentioned that they also notified the Eagle Dunes HOA.
Ms. Alicia Stonebreaker, a resident of Sorrento, commented that she lived across the street from the proposed site in the Rolling Oak Estates subdivision, and noted that she did not receive a notice and knew that many of her neighbors were unaware of the project as well.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing regarding the postponement.
Commr. Campione asked if the code required that notices be sent to the residents that were across from CR 437.
Mr. Sheahan answered that it would be within the 350 foot range.
Mr. Minkoff clarified that the statute only required a legal advertisement in the newspaper; it did not require a mailed notice or any signage. He added that the Board had chosen to go above and beyond that, so through the codes, signs were required to be posted at the site and postcard notices sent out in an effort to get the notice out to everybody.
Commr. Campione opined that she felt like the County met all the requirements of the statute and the codes of sending notices to the residents.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Cadwell, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board denied the request for a 30 day postponement.
Mr. Sheahan pointed out that the ordinance required a 20 foot buffer between the Eagle Dunes subdivision, a 15 foot buffer along CR 437, which was going to be a solid hedge along with three to four trees per one hundred feet, and the applicant had also agreed to maintain all of the existing heritage trees in that location. He added that the area adjacent to the clubhouse was being set aside as a conservation easement for the Longleaf Pine Community.
Mr. Livingston presented his proposal to the Board, explaining that this was a $200 million investment in Lake County, with a plan to develop a 40 megawatt solar farm on land they currently owned, to use as a low impact solar module that would power 8,000 homes. He added that the project was adjacent to a SECO and a Progress Energy substation, and there was a 100 foot wide transmission line that would run diagonally through the entire property. He related that there were no moving parts, no noise, no mirrors, and it was low profile, with it being approximately six feet in height. He noted that they conducted an environmental impact analysis, soil borings, and had a gopher tortoise expert at the site, and they plan on leaving the tortoises there. He stated that this was a clean renewable energy; it would create over 500 jobs; there would be no impact to the schools, traffic, or water supply; and the energy that was produced would be sold to Progress Energy. He mentioned that this would also be an eco-tourism site since it would be the largest solar farm in Florida, and with the visitation center and an observation deck, schools and tourists could visit the solar farm. He added that in these uncertain times, it was imperative to seek other sources of renewable energy.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Wilson stated that the homeowners have already suffered a decline in property values and believe they need answers to their concerns. She mentioned that the property was in their Community Development District (CDD), and they have not had the time to speak with the attorneys regarding this zoning change. She noted that since the properties have different elevation levels, a lot of the homeowners would still be able to see the solar farm, so there really would not be a good way to mitigate that even with putting up a fence. She thanked Blue Chip for meeting with them the day before, as they addressed some of their concerns, but she was still unsure of the jobs that would be created, the maintenance of the property, and the fact that there may be additional traffic with tourists and school children coming to view the site. She again requested that they defer this for 30 days, and if not, they were requesting the project be denied.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the golf course was open to the public.
Ms. Wilson answered “yes,” and added that traffic studies and impact studies were completed to make sure that was mitigated.
Mr. Steven Barcus, a resident of Sorrento, explained that he owned 32˝ acres on Equestrian Trail, which bordered the proposed solar field directly to the west. He was uncertain about what kinds of buffers were planned for the property to the west, since he had only heard about the buffers to the east and the south. He stated that his concerns were noise, property values, the power lines, and whether the solar panels would be sturdy enough to withstand a hurricane. He commented that he would like to receive information on other comparable solar fields to see what the effects have been for that area.
Ms. Heather Brush, a resident of Sorrento who lives on Equestrian Trail, stated that her property was 150 feet to the south of the project. She noted that she did attend the zoning meeting and had mentioned several of her concerns there as well. She pointed out that she was not opposed to this project, but since solar was such a new industry, she had questions about the ambient air temperature, property values, whether the panels were sturdy for high winds, and if there were health risks. She questioned what would happen to all the panels if the company went out of business; if there was a plan or if they would stay there and deteriorate. She also asked about the health risks, noting that she would like to know if living near this facility would become a major health concern.
Mr. Warden requested again that the Board grant the 30 day continuance so that Blue Chip could speak to the neighborhood about the project.
Mr. Bill Gray, a resident of Sorrento who lives on Equestrian Trail, stated that he was not in favor of having poles throughout the property, and asked if the transmission lines could be underground instead. He mentioned that there seemed to be a contradiction in the site plan of whether the trees would be removed, and he wanted clarification on that.
Ms. Hoffman expressed that this property was previously zoned as PUD and it was potential for contribution to the CDD, but without that contribution, the community would have to make up for it, as well as take upon the devaluation of the property.
Mr. Shane Miller, from Mossy Oak Fence in Sorrento, noted that he was a homeowner in Eagle Dunes and he would also potentially be handling the fencing project and the tree removal. He mentioned that they have been instructed to only do some light trimming to some of the trees, but no trees would be removed. He added that he was just as concerned about the impacts of the project as the rest of the homeowners, but he knew that every courtesy had been extended to accommodate the HOA and the adjacent property owners.
Ms. Stonebreaker commented that the only notification the Rolling Oak Estates subdivision had was seeing the yellow posters. She added that they would like some extra time to evaluate the project to make sure it was the right thing for the community.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Mr. Livingston addressed the concerns of the neighbors, stating that these systems were designed to meet Florida Building Code and Florida Wind Code, and the foundation and electrical wiring would be designed by engineers. He noted that the panels were warranted for 25 years, and as experienced in Europe, they have lasted up to 45 years. He added that each panel was worth at least $1,000 to replace, so if for some reason Blue Chip Energy went away, they could be detached and sold. He explained that they were not going to cut down the trees on the west side, the solar panels would actually reduce the temperature around the site, and they have never contributed to the CDD. He emphasized that he would be more than happy to meet with the neighbors to show them site plans and to answer any questions.
Commr. Hill asked if he could address the health concern issue.
Mr. Livingston stated that there was no evidence that solar panels were a dangerous health risk.
Commr. Campione asked about the power lines and how they would be interconnected.
Mr. Livingston responded that they have been working with Progress Energy, and after they complete an interconnection study, they would then know what was needed. He added that they could ask them to put the lines underground if possible, but unfortunately, they have no control over what Progress Energy does. He mentioned that typically, they would be connected directly to the transmission line, and then brought to the substation and sent out. He stated that the lines would be on the ground behind the panels, so there would be no wires above.
Commr. Parks asked if they were ever part of the CDD.
Mr. Livingston replied that Blue Chip does not pay any money to nor gets services back from the CDD.
Commr. Hill asked if the County would have anything to do with the CDD.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the CDD was created by an ordinance, and it was a unit of local government that had the ability to levy assessments on the property. He added that this would be a matter of the property owner and the CDD.
Commr. Campione asked if the County could be brought in if there was litigation over that issue.
Mr. Minkoff answered that it was likely the County could be part of it.
Commr. Campione inquired whether a payment would be a required since the property was approved for 160 homes and was never developed.
Mr. Minkoff remarked that he was not familiar enough with the CDD terms, but usually the assessments were done to pay back the cost of improvements to the property so it could be sold; therefore, if improvements were not done, then the property could not be assessed for that. He added that sometimes, the CDD did have the ability to assess for other operating costs, so it was possible they would have the ability to do that.
Commr. Campione stated that the CDD would be in the same situation regardless of whether this project was created on the property or if the property was never developed.
Commr. Cadwell asked if it was reiterated that trees were not being cut down.
Mr. Livingston stated that was correct.
Mr. Minkoff commented that the ordinance did not currently state that no trees were allowed to be cut down, so if the Board wanted to insist on that, it should be placed in the ordinance.
Mr. Sheahan clarified that the ordinance did contain a landscape plan showing which trees were to be preserved; however, a condition could be placed in section 1C that would state that removal of any mature trees would not be allowed.
Commr. Campione stated that she was primarily concerned with removing the perimeter trees since they acted as a visual buffer, and opined that it should be included in the ordinance.
Mr. Minkoff added that it would be the trees on the west, south and the northeast portions of the property.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Sheahan to describe the buffer that was along CR 437.
Mr. Sheahan explained that the buffer would be 20 feet wide, with five ornamental trees per one hundred feet, plus a solid hedge.
Commr. Campione asked how that compared to the buffer by Mr. Gray’s house.
Mr. Sheahan noted that it was a customized buffer that was worked out between Mr. Gray and the applicant, which included three canopy trees and four ornamental trees per one hundred feet. He added that this buffer exceeded County requirements.
Commr. Campione stated that they were not anticipating noise to be a problem, but it would be addressed with the requirement of completing a noise study.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2011-28 and the request in Tab 3, Rezoning Case No. PH#9-11-4, from Mr. Craig Livingston with Blue Chip Energy, LLC, with a condition that the removal of any mature trees would not be allowed, and any fences installed on the property would be to the interior of any installed landscaping.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 1
proclamation for civility month
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2011-73 proclaiming May as Civility Month.
time capsule for lady lake public library
Commr. Hill thanked everyone who attended the Grand Opening ceremony at the Lady Lake Public Library on May 19, 2011, and mentioned that the library was putting together a time capsule, and thought the Board should create a resolution to put into it. She noted that Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, would help write it.
reports – commissioner parks – district 2
west orange task force meeting
Commr. Parks reported that he attended the West Orange Task Force meeting last week, discussing Resolution No. 2011-70, and there would be a follow-up workshop in June. He added that the purpose of that workshop would be to further refine the vision of the new corridor between Highway 27 and 429 in Orange County.
East Central Florida Regional Planning Council
Commr. Parks announced that he was now officially on the Executive Board of the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, which put him in line for chairman in two or three years.
question about swearing in the public
Commr. Parks asked if it would be good practice to start swearing in the public when they came to comment at the public hearings.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the County had a quasi-judicial ordinance which said that witnesses could be requested to be sworn when attorneys were participating, but when members of the public gave their comments, they could not be required to be sworn. He added that the ordinance would need to be changed to do that.
reports – commissioner conner – district 3
acknowledgement judge boylston
Commr. Conner commented that Lake County had been blessed with an outstanding judiciary, and he wanted to acknowledge the passing of Judge Richard W. Boylston and express his condolences to the family, as he was part of the judiciary for over 20 years.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – VICE CHAIRMAN & DISTRICT 4
funeral of judge boylston
Commr. Campione expressed her condolences to the Boylston family and added that the funeral would be on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Paul Catholic Church in Leesburg.
West orange task force
Commr. Campione asked if the Board would support her involvement with the West Orange Task Force and whether they needed to advertise for it.
Mr. Minkoff stated that they could advertise all of the meetings so all of the Commissioners could attend. He added that they would arrange for a staff member to be there to take minutes, but if not all Commissioners were going, then a staff member would not be needed.
major road problems
Commr. Campione reported that she has been receiving letters from residents in her district regarding the major road problems in their area. She noted that there was a group of residents who were actively pursuing signatures for a possible special assessment to take care of that particular area, and knew that staff was also working on this and would be getting together some numbers so they could see what the financial impact would be if they went that route.
Commr. Hill added that they have never been able to reach the percentage required for a special assessment, but hopefully things have changed.
Commr. Campione commented that she was taking her lead from Commr. Cadwell because he had been successful with this in some areas.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER CADWELL – DISTRICT 5
Get Moving Lake County campaign
Commr. Cadwell requested that the Board approve support for the Golden Triangle YMCA’s Get Moving Lake County campaign, noting that the rally was on Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., and all participants would receive a free YMCA month long membership pass that would expire on June 30, 2011. He added that 65 percent of Lake County adults were considered overweight, 29 percent of the residents have not had physical activity in the last 30 days, and 35 percent of the community had been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the support of the Golden Triangle YMCA’s Get Moving Lake County campaign.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
JENNIFER hill, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK