REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
august 23, 2011
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, August 23, 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 Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Reverend Karen Burris from the Morrison United Methodist Church gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Jerry Smith, Emergency Management Director, reported that Hurricane Irene was currently a category 2 hurricane with winds registered at about 100 miles per hour but that the Hurricane Center indicated that it should be a category 3 hurricane with winds of 111 to 130 miles per hour when it makes landfall. He related that over the past several days Lake County Emergency Management and senior staff have monitored the hurricane’s forecast track as it continually shifted to the east of Florida with a projected landfall creeping to the north towards North Carolina, and he mentioned that the track is similar to the path that Hurricane Floyd took in 1999. He explained that the anticipated impact to Florida would be bands of rain and gusty winds, along with high surf which is unsafe for boaters, swimmers, and surfers, as well as a great deal of beach erosion on the coast; and Lake County is expected to see partly to cloudy skies and occasional gusty winds with scattered rain showers tomorrow through Friday afternoon associated with rain bands from Irene. He informed the Board that they would be providing a briefing to the EOC staff on Hurricane Irene at their quarterly EOC staff meeting that was scheduled for today.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, noted that there was an addendum added to the agenda and that he wanted to pull Tab 4 and bring that back to the Board in a couple of weeks. He also requested to change the agenda around to start with Tab 15 and Tab 17, move the rezoning agenda up to be heard right after those, then resume back to Tab 16, and continue with the rest of the agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 12, pulling Tab 4, and Addendum 1-IA, as follows:
Request for approval to apply for the Shirley Conroy Rural Area Capital Equipment Grant for two (2) buses for the Transportation Disadvantaged (Paratransit) program in the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget and approval and signature of the supporting Resolution No. 2011-114, as well as the acceptance and implementation of the grant if awarded. Staff is requesting permission to purchase the vehicles if the grant is awarded under the State Transit Research Inspection Procurement Services Program. The fiscal impact is $154,504 (County portion: $15,450 / Grant Funded: $139,054).
Request for approval of the first option to renew contract 09-0004, for financial consulting service with First Southwest Company from 9/30/2011 through 9/30/2012.
Request for approval of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution No. 2011-115 from issuance of the Sales Tax Refunding Note, Series 2011, as approved by the Board on June 21, 2011. The fiscal impact is $3,635,000.00.
Request for authorization to create and recruit four (4) positions in the Department of Public Resources, Parks & Trails Division. Positions would be filled pending Board approval of an agreement with the City of Minneola for operation of the Minneola Athletic Complex. These four positions consist of two (2) newly created Parks Specialist positions and two (2) newly created Trades Crew Leader positions. The effective date for these hires would be after October 1, 2011. (The total fiscal impact for these four positions is $145,230.)
Addendum No. 1-IA
Request for approval of budget change request, transferring capital funds assigned to PEAR Park to capital funds for North Lake Community Park. Fiscal impact is $111,592.
Economic Development and Tourism
Request for approval and signature on the Interlocal Agreement between Lake County, the University of Central Florida and the City of Leesburg for Incubator Services. The fiscal impact is $85,000.
Request for approval for reduced Administrative Services Only (ASO) fees with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) for the County’s self-funded, employee medical plan program. (Fiscal impact is a savings of $30,420 for FY11/12.)
Request for approval to award contract 11-0217 to Quest Ecology, Inc. in the amount of $115,800.44 (100% grant funded) for development of a Lake County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).
Request for approval and execution of: (1) Memorandum of Agreement for Participating Orlando/Orange Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Agencies by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners; and appointment of the Lake County Emergency Management Director as the primary representative for Lake County to the UASI Working Group; and (2) Authorization for the County Manager to sign future amendments/modifications that do not involve financial impact. No local match is required.
Request for approval of Resolution No. 2011-116 authorizing the Programs Manager of Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management Division, Department of Public Works, to execute any required grant agreements, amendments or other documents associated with the receipt of State funding for the arthropod control program. There is no Fiscal Impact.
Request for approval of Amendment #1 amending the Arthropod Control FY10/11 Certified Budget by: increasing revenue by $4,000 due to an increase in funds from DACS for annual contract, increasing revenue by $8,918 due to unanticipated revenue from vehicle and surplus equipment sales; transferring $3,613 from Travel & Per Diem and $550 from Publications and Dues and $380 from Training and $12,100 from Capital Outlay to Operating Supplies to purchase chemicals of adulticiding; and approval of Resolution No. 2011-117. The fiscal impact is $29,561.
Request for authorization to award Lake Eustis Drive/Lakeshore Drive Stormwater Improvement Project No. 2011-05, Bid No. 11-0027, to Boykin Construction, Inc., in the amount of $436,902.20, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $436,902.20 from the MSTU Stormwater–Infrastructure-Construction–Lake Eustis Drive/Lakeshore Drive Drainage Improvements Fund. Commission District 3 and 4. Fiscal Impact is $436,902.20.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 13 and 14 as follows:
Request from County Attorney for approval of agreement between Lake County and Harbor Hills Homeowners' Association, Inc. for Traffic Law Enforcement on Private Roads. No Fiscal Impact.
Request from County Attorney for approval of transfer of certain assets and liabilities, including but not limited to inventory, capitalized and non-capitalized fixed assets, and accrued compensated absences received by Lake County from Lake-Sumter EMS, Inc., as part of the dissolution to Lake EMS, Inc., the new entity which will operate the ambulance system.
update to transit development plan
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of Community Services, stated that this item was for approval of the Transit Development Plan update and explained that the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) requires jurisdictions that receive their block grants for public transportation to prepare a transit development plan and to update that plan annually, which was done by the Department of Community Services working in tandem with the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director of the MPO, explained that this was an annual update of the already-adopted Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Lake County, which the MPO manages for the County, while collaborating directly with the public and the municipalities that are benefitting from transit services. He noted that next year they would be doing a major update, which would be an opportunity for them to take a physically-constrained look at how they are going to be able to fund transit in the future, hopefully without involving local general fund money, which would also involve Sumter County, giving them an opportunity for regional coordination. He related that Wilbur Smith Associates, the consulting firm that has assisted them on a lot of transit issues, did the update for this particular project.
Mr. Robert Hamm from Wilbur Smith Associates gave the annual report on the TDP, which he explained is produced every five years and covers a ten-year planning horizon, but an annual report is required by DOT and state statute to continue the state funding. He specified that the annual report includes accomplishments that were conducted during the past year, revisions to the plan, a revised financial plan, and a list of projects and services to be completed in the future. He recapped that Lake County Public Transit has four LakeXpress routes as well as connections to three Lynx routes to serve the greater Orlando area, and he noted that ridership over the last few years has increased on all four of the LakeXpress routes by 14 to 34 percent and has held steady or increased on the three Lynx connections. He listed the 2011 accomplishments of the service, including that LakeXpress provides service to more than 13,000 of the 14,000 jobs in Lake County, on-time performance of 96 percent, a 17 percent decrease of the more costly paratransit trips, a 45 percent decrease for the costs per passenger trip, and a 41 percent increase in the passengers per revenue hour. In addition, the LakeXpress completed a stop site assessment in the last year for 2012 shelter placements as well as reviewing 195 bus stop locations for ADA compliance throughout the county, resulting in the placement of 26 shelters that would be installed in the coming years and amenities such as benches and solar-powered lighting being added to make the stops more accessible and visible. Also, LakeXpress began offering advertising opportunities on the buses as well as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) improvements and improving their community outreach with various community events, such as Leesburg Bikefest and the Stuff the Bus campaign.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the annual update to the Transit Development Plan as prepared by Wilbur Smith Associates.
florida native plant society award
Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, announced that they would be recognizing the PEAR Association, who was responsible for the Scrub Restoration and Demonstration Garden at PEAR Park which was recognized and presented with the award of excellent in the Ecosystem Restoration category at the Annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference in May. She recognized the following members of the association: Peg Urban, Hal Urban, Nancy Griebel, Peter Moeller, Barb Grigg, Tony Grigg, and Jean Morse, as well as Ms. Wendy Poag, Naturalist/Land Steward, who led the group’s efforts.
Commr. Cadwell encouraged everyone to visit PEAR Park, which he noted was both an active and passive beautiful and great park.
Ms. Poag commented that this is a great group of dedicated volunteers who has made the projects at PEAR possible, and she encouraged people to come out to the park with a camera to visit the site. She pointed out that the park exemplifies scrub restoration as well as wildlife and bird food plants, wildflowers, and butterflies.
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, Department of Growth Management, noted that there were some changes to the rezoning agenda that day, including moving Tab 1, Rezoning Case No. CUP 11/6/1-3, to last on the agenda so that they could hear the shorter cases first and let the people that were present for those cases go. He indicated that another change to the agenda was that Tab 3, Rezoning Case CUP #10/4/2-2 for the Dr. Chon Springwater Project has been postponed until the September 27 BCC Meeting.
rezoning case PH13-11-3 – peggy reithel/kenneth olmstead
Mr. Steve Greene, Chief Planner, presented Rezoning Case No. PH13-11-3 brought by Kenneth Olmstead, Applicant, and stated that this was a request for rezoning of property from Mixed Home Residential (RM) to Agriculture (A) to conduct a nursery operation on the property identified in blue in the aerial presented on the monitor. He specified that the property is located south of SR 48 and east of CR 561 and is in the Suburban Future Land Use category, with Suburban land uses to the north, east and west of the property and the Town of Astatula to the south. He reported that the Zoning Board recommended denial of the rezoning request on August 3 due to incompatibility of the proposed use with the surrounding uses, and the adjacent property owner to the south appeared before the Zoning Board to raise concern about the rezoning request. He indicated that the subject property currently contains five structures, including two sheds and a residence, and he noted that this rezoning application is submitted pursuant to a code complaint for an unpermitted structure of the nursery. He mentioned that the surrounding properties had a mixture of low intensity agricultural uses of ornamental nurseries and large residential tracts featuring low intensive agricultural uses. He added that the plant nursery is permissible within the Agriculture (Ag) Zoning district and that the existing nursery meets the setbacks for the current RM zoning, but rezoning the property to Ag would cause the nursery structure to be noncompliant with setbacks for the Agriculture zoning district of 25 feet from the property line. He pointed out that if the zoning is approved, the applicant would have to obtain a variance to resolve the setback situation in Ag or to relocate the structure, but the Ag zoning is allowable in the Suburban Future Land Use, and the recently adopted 2030 Comp Plan designates this property as rural, which is consistent with the Ag land use. He concluded that staff recommends approval of this zoning request based on findings of fact.
Commr. Campione disclosed that she visited this site and talked with the land owner to the south of the property, and she stated that she noticed there was already a nursery constructed in the front yard on that site, since there was a home on the subject property. She asked if the applicant was able to have a personal greenhouse in the front yard if the zoning stayed the same (RM).
Mr. Greene responded that they could not do that, and the setbacks would have to be to the side or the rear; however, they could seek a variance for that.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that he also visited the site, but was perplexed that the Zoning Board denied the request 5-0, and he opined that he believed they took the Code Enforcement problems into consideration, although they were instructed not to do that.
Mr. Chuck Hiott from Booth, Ern, Straughan & Hiott, Inc. of Tavares, the Applicant’s representative, commented that he agreed with staff and noted that the zoning currently allows them to operate a horse-riding facility and that there were livestock and greenhouses to the north. He related that everyone thought the property was zoned Ag from the time the owner, Ms. Peggy Reithel, bought the property in 1998 to the time Mr. Olmstead leased to own the property, and Mr. Olmstead built the greenhouse under that assumption, but found out that the zoning was RM when the code enforcement issues started.
Ms. Dawn Cucinotta, who owns property to the south of the subject property, stated that she was concerned about the proximity of the greenhouse to her well, which was the source of her drinking water. She showed a photograph illustrating that her property is lower than the subject property and indicated that there was a great deal of runoff from that property towards hers, as well as a photograph showing the proximity of their well to the fence line. She stated that Mr. Olmstead’s horses have leaned over the fence and grazed on her property, destroying the fence and removing the grass, which results in a lot of the debris from Mr. Olmstead’s property washing onto their property. She opined that the condition of Mr. Olmstead’s property, which showed a lack of upkeep, has had a large negative effect on her horse riding lesson business, and there were no other nurseries in the surrounding area. She presented other photographs depicting the condition of the property, including one showing a large pile of Styrofoam beads that have washed and eroded to and through the fence line. She respectfully requested that the Board deny the request.
Mr. Steve Fuller, a resident of Astatula who lives adjacent to the subject property, commented that he drives by the property every day and saw nothing wrong with it. He commented that the erosion and lack of grass had been a problem on the subject property long before Mr. Olmstead moved there, resulting from the sugar sand that made up the property. He opined that the greenhouse was very well constructed, and there was no chance of any runoff from that type of greenhouse. He believed that Mr. Olmstead was entitled to put a greenhouse on his property, and he noted that there were greenhouses north of the property. He indicated that he was in favor of this request.
Mr. James McDonald, a resident of Astatula who lives near the subject property, commented that he believed that everything in the surrounding area was zoned as agricultural, and he presented documents that Ms. Cucinotta submitted to the Town of Astatula stating that the intended use of her horse farm would not be inconsistent with the developmental trends in the area and that the surrounding properties were zoned for agriculture. He stated that he believed Mr. Omstead’s greenhouse would fit in with Ag zoning, and he was not aware that it was zoned multi-residential, which he was concerned about, since he would much rather have a greenhouse and a hydroponic farm on that property than a lot of residential development. He pointed out that Ms. Cucinotta’s property did not contain any grassy pasture land and consisted mainly of sugar sand. He stated he was in favor of this request.
Mr. Kenneth Olmstead, the Applicant, explained that he would be buying the subject property in April 2012 per his lease agreement and assured the Board that he believed the property was zoned for agriculture when he entered into the purchase contract and that it was not his intent to put up a structure that was not compatible with the surrounding area or allowed on the property. He pointed out that there was no actual runoff with a hydroponic system, since it went into a mat, and he was planning to set up a more expensive system in the future in which the runoff would go through pipes into a tank to be re-pumped. He presented a letter from the University of Florida (UF) indicating that the greenhouse was a self-contained unit and that it lends itself well to managing the water application so that there is little or no discharge of effluent to the environment, and he noted that he owned two certifications for pesticides and did not use pesticides inside the greenhouse. He indicated that he plans to put more plants on his property in the future, but he did not foresee that would be a problem regarding contamination of the wells and had data to show that. He mentioned that a University of Florida study showed that lawns cause more pesticide and fertilizer runoff than zeroscaping or the farms. He commented that he did not mean to put himself into this position and was just looking to rectify this in the best way possible. He concluded by stating that within three years of purchasing the property, he plans on building a house further up on the property so that the structure would not be in front of the house, but they could not move the greenhouse to the back because the property was steep and hilly.
The Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Conner asked if the structure meets the setback requirements of the current zoning.
Mr. Sheahan responded that it meets the distance setbacks, but it would not normally be allowed in the front yard without a variance and would be limited to the side or rear. He further explained that the structure is still unpermitted, but permits are not required for agricultural structures if the agriculture zoning was approved; however, they do have to meet site plan requirements, which would require 25 feet for agricultural structures, so they would either be seeking a variance to that 25 foot requirement or moving the structure.
Commr. Conner asked Mr. Sheahan to describe the variance process for the record.
Mr. Sheahan explained that the first step in the process would be to fill out an application for a hearing before the Board of Adjustment stating the reasons why there would be a hardship for the applicant to move that structure from that location.
Commr. Conner commented that he felt that the property should be agriculture, but he was struggling with rewarding someone who built a structure without a permit that close to someone else’s property line. He stated that although he believed it was an honest mistake, he was still torn on whether this structure should be relocated, since it was an encroachment.
Commr. Cadwell commented that they have had the situation come up before over the years of people who were not aware that they needed a permit to construct an agricultural building, and he pointed out that it was not a given that the applicant would get the variance, in which case he would have to make some tough decisions about what to do with that land. He stated that after looking at everything pertaining to this case carefully, he believes that Ag zoning is very suitable for that area.
Commr. Campione opined that the development patterns are more residential with accessory agricultural uses, and she was concerned that all agricultural uses, rather than just use of a greenhouse, would be permitted if the zoning were approved.
Commr. Cadwell responded that the zoning was strictly Ag in an easterly direction of the property.
Commr. Campione commented that she felt that Ag zoning which would allow commercial as opposed to accessory agricultural use was out of character in that neighborhood.
Commr. Parks clarified that during the variance process, the Board of Adjustments could require the applicant to construct a buffer such as landscaping or a fence to address that issue.
Commr. Conner asked the County Attorney whether the variance process could come back to the Board.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, responded that in the past people have gotten variances before the zoning, and they could send a message to the applicant and see what the applicant’s position would be.
Mr. Hiott commented that they were willing to put up some trees and buffering. He also pointed out that if the variance is denied, he would only have to move the greenhouse ten feet with no buffer requirements.
Commr. Hill commented that the applicant was trying to fix the problem.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board approved Rezoning Case No. PH#13-11-3 by Peggy E. Reithel, Owner and Kenneth Olmstead, Applicant, to rezone property from Mixed Use Residential (RM) to Agriculture (A) for the purpose of constructing a plant nursery with greenhouse, and Ordinance No. 2011-49.
Commr. Conner and Commr. Campione voted “no.”
rezoning case ph#11-11-2 – hartle grove pud amendment
Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Chief Planner, informed the Board that the case before them was Rezoning Case No. 11-11-2, which was the Hartle Grove Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendment, and both the owner and applicant is BFG Lakeshore. He related that the property is located in the Urban Future Land Use category, which allows a maximum density of seven dwelling units to the acre, and the PUD is approximately five dwelling units to the gross acre at present. He mentioned that it is in the Clermont JPA (Joint Planning Area) and the Clermont utility area. He explained that the applicant was requesting to amend the Hartle Grove PUD Ordinance No. 2009-4 to allow a multi-family development and to increase the number of dwelling units from 325 to a maximum of 483. He showed the surrounding 69 acres of uplands, commercial element of the PUD, already developed portion of 105 units of single-family residential, open space, buffer for the wetlands, and the area that is being proposed for the additional use of multi-family residential on an aerial map. He noted that the application is consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, but the proposed density will be inconsistent with the 2030 Comp Plan of Urban Low Density Future Land Use which allows a maximum density of four dwelling units to the net acre, which would roughly break down to 282 dwelling units. He reported that because of the increase in dwelling units, the City of Clermont has indicated that the utility service agreement would need to be revised and require an upgrade, and the City was not necessarily in favor of it.
Mr. Hartenstein explained that since there was a mix of commercial and industrial zoning on the property, in order to mitigate any impacts between the industrial and the proposed multi-family, they would be required within the ordinance to have a Type E 50-foot buffer separating them with a four-foot high berm and a six-foot wall along the top with landscaping associated with that. He related that given the proximity of the rezoning to SR 50, which is the principal arterial, the proposed use is consistent with the area’s existing land uses and that multi-family is a good transition from the commercial to the north, the industrial to the west, and the single-family residential to the south. He noted that the PUD is vested for school concurrency for the 325 single-family units currently within the active PUD and was granted an extension by Senate Bill 360, but any development that increases the number of units above those vested 325 units will be subject to school concurrency requirements as set forward in the LDR’s; also, he believed that capacity would be available for transportation on SR 50 to serve the project. He mentioned that recently there were two e-mails of opposition to the project, which he read into the record since the Board was not provided copies of those, one of which asks the Board to hold the developer to 3.5 or a maximum of 4 units per acre and the other requesting that they hold the Hartle Grove property to 3.25 units per acre, since greater density is unwarranted. They also received a letter in favor and support of the request, which he also read into the record, stating that during an MPO workshop it was determined that density belonged closest to the Highway 50 corridor to encourage multi-modal transportation in the future and would provide options for residents who want to live close to where they work. He concluded that staff recommends approval with conditions contained in the proposed ordinance based on findings of fact.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that the applicant would have to reach an agreement with Clermont for utilities.
Commr. Campione disclosed for the record that she had represented the applicant and the owner in the past, but she is not involved nor has any financial interest in this project or request.
Commr. Parks opined that any density and intensity should go on a major road such as Highway 50, and he asked what landscaping was going to be required, which he noted was important to him.
Mr. Hartenstein responded that in the proposed ordinance they would be required to do more than whatever the LDR’s and the landscaping code require, including a 50-foot buffer between the industrial employment center property and residential property, a berm, and a wall.
Commr. Campione pointed out that during the course of the coming year when they make LDR changes, she believed that this project would have to comply with any of the new changes that would be made, such as design features or landscape requirements, and would have to be incorporated into the site plan at the time it comes through.
Mr. Donald Curotto from Shutts & Bowen, the applicant’s legal counsel, recapped that they started this process back in March with some pre-planning meetings and have gone through the zoning process, commenting that he agreed with the findings of County staff and the Zoning Board. He specified that they had town homes now on this site, and they had some concurrency available that would transfer over for up to 359 multi-family units; however, if they need more than that, they certainly understand that they need to go back to the School Board. He related that they have been in contact with the City of Clermont after they filed their application in April and have completed and filed the utility agreement, but he was under the impression that the City wanted to hear from the Board before they went before the City on the utility agreement.
Councilman Ray Goodgame from the City of Clermont related that this case will be heard that night at their city council meeting, and he respectfully requested that the Board postpone this until then. He commented that he did not believe that the image that this portrays to the rest of the county of increasing density and adding more houses to South Lake at this time is a positive one and that it is not warranted. He pointed out that this was not an economic development issue, but would only add additional dwelling units, and that the project did not include any schools, parks or recreational areas. He opined that the density that is being proposed is not anything that they would want in their city. He related that they were in the process of renewing their St. Johns River Water Management permit, and the numbers that the City included in their application does not include the additional units in this request. He stated that he did not believe that it was right for the Board to go forward with this request until they have had a chance to view it at their council meeting.
Mr. Gray clarified that the meeting tonight that Mr. Goodgame referred to was the JPA review for a land use change to recommend to the Board.
Commr. Conner stated that he would prefer to hear from the City of Clermont officially and would be interested in knowing what the entire council’s position would be.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the problem in the process was not the applicant’s fault, and he also did not think it was the Board’s fault.
Mr. Wayne Saunders, Clermont City Manager, stated that they did receive the information regarding this request in a timely manner, but they just failed to get it on their last agenda, which it should have been, and he pointed out that they did not receive the site plan with the changes that were requested until about a month ago. He requested that the Board give the City a little more time to look at it and try to respond, although it was not the fault of the County staff.
Mr. Jeffry Fuqua, Principal of BFG Lakeshore LTD, pointed out to the Board that they have been good corporate citizens since 2002, and they entered into an agreement to work with the County to realign Hartle Road and to create that intersection, which was one of the best four-way signalized intersections in the county; they have also done everything that they have promised to do when they submitted this application timeline. He recapped that it was cancelled last month due to lack of a Zoning Board quorum, and he opined that the City of Clermont has been very difficult to work with since 2002 and has delayed this many times. He stated that this was well within their PUD zoning, that their application meets every County requirement, that this was a great land use, and that they were surrounded by commercial and industrial land uses. He urged the Board to act timely on their request.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this case, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Mr. Curotto commented that they fully understand that they had to live with the JPA standards, and he noted that he got the requested information to the City in three or four days.
Commr. Conner asked if seven units per acre was considered high, medium, or low density.
Mr. Sheahan responded that seven units per acre in their plan is considered a high density land use and is the lowest threshold typically where multi-family is feasible in the urban land use. He commented that it is certainly geared towards concentrated densities along their existing transportation corridors so that they did not have to extend their infrastructure and services further away from where they are currently located. He noted that this was also a corridor that was identified in the myregion project as a corridor being suitable for higher density development.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the developer has done everything they were asked to do, and he did not have concerns about them continuing to do so.
Commr. Campione stated that this was the right location for the higher densities with mixed use, commercial, and industrial all around it.
Commr. Parks commented that he believed Clermont will have their chance to look at this request, and he did not think any due process would be lost for them on this. He added that he believed the challenge for them would be the density issue, although he believed it was logical and made sense to have this density along SR 50.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Rezoning Case No. PH#11-11-2, Hartle Grove PUD Amendment, BFG Lakeshore LTD, Jeffrey B. Fuqua/James H. Fant to amend Ordinance 2009-4 to allow a mixed use development consisting of single-family residential, town homes, multi-family residential, and commercial uses on approximately 69 acres, increasing the number of dwelling units from 325 to 483 (5 du/ac) to 7du/ac), as well as Ordinance No. 2011-50.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:45 a.m. that there would be a 15-minute recess.
rezoning case #cup 11-3-1/3 – stanley pond farm
Mr. Sheahan presented Rezoning Case No. CUP No. 11-3-1/3 for Stanley Pond Farm and explained that this is a request for a conditional use permit in the agricultural zoning district to allow an agritourism facility with horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, recreational activities, educational tours, training, and meetings. He informed the Board that this case came before them by way of a code enforcement action, and since that time the Applicant has been extremely cooperative in rectifying those violations. He stated that staff was supportive of the application and felt that it was a good fit in the location, which was an agricultural area east of Astatula on CR 448 and bordered by large-acreage properties. He mentioned that the property owner to the east was present, who had some concerns particularly related to a mini-airboat that is proposed for the operation, but he has reached somewhat of a compromise between the neighbor and the Applicant, which would require a small change to the ordinance in Section 2(B)(7) which would retain the originally proposed condition with the exception of a change in the decibel level from 70 to 78 at the property line. He explained that the only point of contention is the specific hours of operation of this airboat, and there was an agreement with the parties to have the airboat operations limited to four hours per day and that the airboat operation itself not exceed a total of one hour of running time in that period. He elaborated that each airboat ride is about three minutes in duration, and the neighbors have indicated that they would like that to occur between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.; however, the applicant is adamant that they do this between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., which is the only lingering contention in this ordinance.
Mr. Ted Wicks from Wicks Consulting Services, the owners’ representative, related that the owners have operated this as an agricultural business since approximately 1990, with the primary business of growing plants, along with a small aquiculture operation and animal husbandry. He stated that Mr. Denis is proposing a business plan that brings the agricultural production to a forefront and allows him to increase his exposure by providing different community services, including some recreational activities such as a small airboat with a 25 horsepower motor to take people on a small two or three-minute tour around the internal lake. He opined that they think they have reached a good agreement with staff regarding the noise level of that, and he explained that the operating hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. best fit their operational strategy and business plan to allow people to come in a little before noon, take advantage of the opportunity to take that boat ride, look at the farm, and do the other activities before the farm starts closing down in the very early afternoon so that they could get back to raising crops. He assured the Board that the operational period of the airboat during that time will not be more than an hour. He commented that he was impressed with the business plan, because it would give them an opportunity to give people exposure to their agricultural operations and bring them to these facilities. He also mentioned that it was in their best interest to maintain a good quiet environment out there, because that is what attracts people to them, and the airboat was just an accessory activity to offer their visitors.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Mary Kay Cooper, a nearby resident, commented that Mr. Denis had an excellent business plan, and she has been very agreeable about everything he has done with the property. She related that she has been running an equestrian business off and on for the last 40-years, and currently she is in the process of training and raising sport horses about 25 feet from his property line, which puts her rather close to the pond and the area where the airboat runs. She commented that she does not have a problem with anything else but the noise of the airboat, and she mentioned that she does dressage, which requires a solid block of time in the morning or the afternoon for her to concentrate. She stated that she prefers the hours of 12 to 4 in the afternoon in order to give her a morning block of time of about 4 to 5 hours to train.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this case, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Mr. Wicks stated that visitors that come in the morning generally stay for a picnic lunch, and they wanted to have an hour before lunch to do certain activities, including the airboat, and then the ability after lunch to use the airboat until 3:00 p.m.
Commr. Cadwell suggested starting the airboat time at 11:30 a.m.
Commr. Conner agreed that 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. would be a good compromise.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Rezoning Case No. CUP 11/3/1-3, Susan & Robert Denis/Kenneth “Ted” Wicks, Stanley Pond Farm, the request for a CUP in the Agriculture (A) Zoning District to allow agritourism functions including horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, recreational activities, educational tours, training and meetings, with the condition of the airboat operation for a one-hour total running time between the hours of 11:30 and 3:30 and staff changes, including allowing a 78-decibel noise limit, and Ordinance No. 2011-51.
rezoning case no #ph11-09-2 – eagles landing at ocoee llc
Mr. Steve Greene, Chief Planner, presented Rezoning Case No. PH 11-09-2 for the Lake Apopka Sound zoning amendment brought by Eagles Landing at Ocoee LLC, and he explained that this PUD amendment request is to remove an age restriction from the original Ordinance No. 2005-89 and also to reduce the number of dwelling units from 119 to 102. He related that staff felt the need regarding the age restriction to address the singular access to the property which essentially crosses the Orange County-Lake County line on the east, and the original ordinance required the County as well as Orange County to satisfy the primary access issue. He noted that this case was continued for a number of months, and he noted that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both counties and Eagles Landing was in the backup information in the packet which addresses transportation and other public facility impacts that may be caused by this project. He pointed out that the Zoning Board recommended approval earlier this month with a 5-0 vote, and staff recommends approval based on findings of fact presented in this case.
Commr. Hill clarified that back in 2005 when they were originally looking at this, road access and overcrowding were the original issues, and at the recent Zoning Board hearing the School Board stated that they had capacity and would even bear the responsibility and expense for the transportation and education of the children to the Lake County schools.
Mr. Randy June, the Applicant, stated that he concurs with staff.
Mr. John Starkovich, a resident of Killarney who lives adjacent to the proposed project, expressed concern over the traffic issues, since a two-lane road provides the only access to this proposed development, and he opined that the project would create about another 1,000 trips per day down that road. He noted that the MOU stated that the traffic needs to be looked at within a 2 ½ mile radius and that some sort of mitigation has to be approved before it can move forward. He showed the surrounding region on an aerial map, pointing out potential problem areas, and he added that since Highway 50 is torn up at this time, a traffic study would not presently give a good idea of what the impact would be.
Mr. Greene recapped that the Board had a presentation on May 3 about that access issue, and reported that Orange County purposely delayed the submittal of the traffic study until the completion of the SR 50 road improvements so that they could get a real time, real life assessment of the impacts of this project in a condition that has been brought up to DOT standards at that point in time. There was also a condition in the MOU that the construction plan of this project would not be approved in Lake County until the traffic study is completed, and that mitigation strategy has been laid out with the consideration and input provided by the applicant to Orange County, which was a safeguard to prevent this project from getting too far ahead without those improvements.
There being no one else who wished to speak regarding this case, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Rezoning Case No. PH 11-09-2, Eagles Landing at Ocoee, Rohland “Randy” June, Lake Apopka Sound PUD rezoning amendment, to amend PUD Ordinance #2005-89 to remove the age restriction condition and to reduce the number of dwelling units from 119 to 102, as well as approval of Ordinance No. 2011-52.
rezoning case no. cup 11/6/1-3 - long and scott farms
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, presented Rezoning Case No. CUP 11/6/1-3, specifying that the applicant, Timothy Talbot, and the owner Frank Scott, were requesting a conditional use permit in the agriculture zoning district to allow a biosolids composting operation at the 214-acre site located in the Lake Jem area east of CR 448A south of Keen Ranch Road and east of Astatula, which has a rural future land use. He noted that the site is an existing farm at this time.
Commr. Hill disclosed for the record that she spoke with Ms. Cecilia Bonifay over the phone a couple of months ago as well as Lewis Michael, who was in opposition to the request.
Commr. Parks disclosed that he also met with Ms. Bonifay.
Commr. Conner emphasized that he strives to not discuss anything with either of the parties in order to stay as neutral as possible, but Mr. Len Schultz mentioned to him that he was opposed to this application during a phone conversation regarding another issue.
Commr. Campione stated that she also had a conversation with Ms. Bonifay and visited the C& C Peat operation in the Okahumpka area.
Mr. Sheahan continued to explain that the composting activity is proposed on roughly 44 acres of the site on a location that is completely surrounded by Long and Scott properties, and he showed that location on an aerial map. He reported that the composting material itself is proposed to be used on the Long and Scott Farm crops, and the applicant has indicated that the compost is highly desirable due to the depletion of the soil from decades of intensive farming and will add necessary organic matter as well as nutrients back to the soil. He explained that the reason this is a conditional use is that it is a higher-intensity activity in the agricultural zoning district which requires a higher level of scrutiny and therefore a higher level of approval. He emphasized that this would not grant DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) approval or any EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations that need to be met, nor does it grant any dispositions to any state or federal regulation, and the site plan would demonstrate compliance with all local regulations and necessitate their obtaining all required state and federal approvals. He noted that the Zoning Board recommended approval of this application by a 3-2 margin, and as of last night they had received 83 letters of opposition, 23 letters of support, one support petition with 96 signatures, and a letter of concern by Orange County. He reported that this application has had several changes, and the applicant is requesting that the BCC allow a substitution of the standard operating procedures currently in the backup materials with those that were submitted to the County on August 18 as well as the new conceptual plan that was submitted on August 19. He commented that due to their late submittal, staff has not completed a thorough analysis of these documents and could not state whether they would continue with the current recommendation. He related that the most significant difference is the composting process change from the original catalytic process which relied on a bacteria to accelerate the composting process and only required turning of the material once every 30 to 45 days to a revised process which would require that each windrow be turned at least five times within a 15-day period, which raises a significant concern by staff, because the turning of the windrow increases the risk of odor being released each time it is unencapsulated, and the revised method is inferior in this regard to the originally-proposed process. The major changes they were able to discern in the site plan are that the windrows are turned to run east and west versus the original direction of north and south and reduction of the area for windrows by about 33 percent. He listed some additional conditions staff would recommend if this request was approved, including more restricted hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, limit on trucks to no more than 30 per day, a provision added for trucks entering the site to only use the southern CR 448A entrance, and a stipulation that only clean wood that was also free of plastics be used as a bulking agent in the composting process.
Mr. Sheahan reported that one of the concerns raised with this application is that it is too close to residential properties, but he commented that the lots adjacent to the site are zoned for agricultural uses similar to this property, and the nearest resident to the composting area is just over 1300 feet. He also noted that the nearest subdivision with a residential density of greater than one dwelling unit per acre is Lake View subdivision with eight homes located about 1.5 miles on 448A, and the Lake Jem subdivision is roughly 2.1 miles from the composting site, which was the source of most of the concern, showing that area on an aerial map. He related that staff did a comparative odor analysis using the Arnold facility and C & C Peat, although it was not an apples-to-apples comparison, and staff also did a transportation analysis which showed that this road has more than adequate capacity to handle the truck load to and from the site. Another concern was leachate and stormwater, and he put on the monitor the provisions that would apply in order to get a DEP permit which regulates the stormwater for those types of facilities which is required prior to their site plan approval. He pointed out that the required retention on the site is for a 25-year storm per state and county regulations, and there was a stipulation in the ordinance that they plan for a 100-year storm event; also, water monitoring and application reports are required through the DEP rules, and the proposed ordinance would require their submittal to Lake County for review on an annual basis. He emphasized that odor was the primary concern of staff as well as the opposition, and conditions to limit the potential odor have been included in the ordinance, including limiting turning the windrows when winds are in the direction of residential uses or during high winds and requiring the use of standard operating procedures to ensure the material is capped. He pointed out that the change in process is very significant, and there was every indication that it will increase the potential for odor to be generated from the site, because they take the biofilter, which was a layer of woodchips, off and expose the material with the sludge in it each time they turn the material. He added that birds and other wildlife impacts were a concern, since birds were normally attracted to landfills and similar uses; however, this facility would not accept food waste and would be fenced to keep out other types of animals. He recommended that the Board consider in their deliberations one of the proposals that has been raised of limiting the CUP for a specific interval such as for a one or two year period. He added that the North Lake Apopka Trail is located approximately 1800 feet south of the property.
Commr. Conner expressed concern about the major changes that were made since the time that the Zoning Board heard this case and which were so late in the process.
Ms. Cecilia Bonifay with Akerman Senterfitt, representative for Long and Scott Farms, explained that the primary change was that it has gone from a composting method using a modified static aerobic pile which used some kind of other agent or catalyst that sped up the process that was in the original application to a very traditional composting operation, but with the same windrows, location, number of trucks, and result, with the difference being the number of times it is turned. She further explained that the applicant was in the process of entering into an agreement to utilize this particular catalyst that was similar to one used at Disney, but unfortunately there was a problem in that it was proprietary, and they were not able to use that particular process. She related that the proposed traditional process would put the biosolid with some clean wood chips, and capped, mixed, put on the site in windrows, and turned a certain number of times every 15 days, and she mentioned it has to exceed a certain temperature, which would be tested. She commented that they see this as a very environmentally safe process to be undertaken, and they would have experts that will address any bacteria or pathogens which are located in the mix of the initiation point. She also assured the Board that they will follow any and all permitting requirements, as staff had pointed out. She mentioned that she had encouraged some of the nearby residents to visit the operation at C & C Peat, which was similar to this particular operation, with the exception that they would not be using horse byproducts or any food waste. She stated that the site plan did not change, but they just added more detail to show the access point for entry, exactly where the stormwater retention would be, and where things are located on the site, and she specified that she notified staff of the change in the composting process about a week after the first hearing.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 12:00 p.m. that there would be a 30-minute recess for lunch.
rezoning case no. cup 11/6/1-3 (cont’d)
Ms. Bonifay briefly recapped her overview of the case that she gave before the recess.
Mr. Keith Riddle with Riddle-Newman Engineering in Leesburg, an expert in the field of civil engineering, related that he had prepared a conceptual plan which he has submitted and modified, and he would be doing the stormwater grading plans in accordance with DEP and Lake County rules as well as the detailed engineering plans for the compost facility if the CUP was approved. He explained that they would next have to submit a detailed site plan to Lake County staff that would need to meet all the County’s LDR’s regarding stormwater, traffic, and erosion for a site plan review process at the same time that they would also be submitting to ERP for a stormwater permit pertaining to how the stormwater runoff from the compost area is to be treated. He also will be working with the applicant to submit a modified permit for Shelly’s existing facility to allow them to use some of their lime stabilized residual product for a composting operation, and he indicated that all of the permitting could be a 4 to 6-month process. He showed on a map the location in which the composting operation would take place as well as traffic information showing that there was sufficient capacity to handle the trucks for this operation, which would be between 40 to 60 truck trips per day; however, he pointed out that they would be using trucks that were already presently on the road that were being used for taking lime-stabilized residuals to locations throughout the county and that the roads were designed by DOT for trucks used for farming purposes. He also noted that the truck trips for many of the farms in the area that are no longer in operation have stopped, resulting in a lot less net truck traffic in the area. He explained that the substantial revisions to the site plan would actually result in improved conditions, such as designation of the driveway location to CR 448A at staff’s request, and the positive changes that were made prior to that included changing the direction of the windrows to east and west to slow down the amount of runoff and making the retention area larger and the windrow area smaller. He elaborated that the changes were based on comments from staff, DEP, and some of the residents. He related that they were required to store in their ponds the runoff from an 8-inch rainfall event that would happen in a 24-hour period, which was a significant amount of rain, and they additionally were going to create a berm on the outside of their retention area between that and the wetlands that would be high enough to contain the 100-year 24-hour event to prevent discharge off site, as well as a freeboard. He also noted that the stormwater pond would be lined so that there would be no infiltration into the ground water, and the windrow area would be made impervious with either limerock or clay.
Mr. Tim Talbot, Stillwater Environmental, an environmental consultant who specializes in wetland and endangered species issues, informed the Board that he would be discussing the composting process, and he commented that they did everything they could to locate the composting facility as far from any of the roads as possible and still stay within the farm’s boundaries. He explained that the premixing would take place at the biosolid treatment facility located at Shelly’s Environmental Systems on Jones Road, and the biosolids would be offloaded onto a concrete pad and mixed with 12-inch shredded wood waste using a front-end loader at a ratio of 3-1 of wood to biosolids. Then, the mix will be trucked to the Long and Scott project site and off-loaded at the designated area on an impervious surface into a windrow formation and covered with green waste and/or shredded wood to control odor. He added that the windrows will be turned at least 5 times within the first 15 days as the temperatures exceed 131 degrees Fahrenheit and will be capped with the wood chips each time they are turned. He related that the windrows stay in place for 30 to 45 days, and all finished compost will be applied on the sod fields at the Long and Scott Farm. He indicated that a condition of the CUP was that they would limit the turning of the windrows when the wind is to the northwest in excess of 10 miles an hour, which is the direction of the residents that live closest to the proposed facility. He stated that the farm currently uses compost from the Disney operation as well as the mushroom farm, and this would totally eliminate the need to use that. It was pointed out that this project would definitely employ a number of people. It was also mentioned that Bytek is currently in the process of permitting with Orange County a new $40 million facility next to Shelly’s existing facility which would eventually become a $100 million facility to process biosolids, but since they would not be able to take all of the waste, Shelly Environmental has contracted with Bytek to take up to about 230 tons.
Ms. Bonifay announced that they would be showing a brief video of the composting operation in San Francisco, and she mentioned that there was a number of cities and counties throughout the country that were using composting operations as a way to recycle and go green. The video stated that San Francisco’s biosolids are safe and highly treated, and the metal concentrations are low, with only a small amount of bacteria. It was noted that biosolids must meet special federal and state standards for use and disposal to ensure they were safe and that the biosolids were nonhazardous and nontoxic as well as good for the environment and could improve soil structure, provide essential land nutrients, and reduce soil erosion. Ms. Bonifay also made the distinction that the compost for this project would only be used for on-site use on the Long and Scott farm sod and not the crops.
Commr. Parks asked whether they would be doing secondary or tertiary treatment and using lime.
Mr. Talbot responded that their biosolids have already gone through tertiary treatment, and they were trying to eliminate the liming of the biosolids by using the compost instead of the lime, which was a big part of the odor problem as it releases ammonia among other things.
Ms. Bonifay commented that after walking up and down every windrow at C & C Peat for quite a while, she believed the smell was similar to a horse farm or stable, but they would not be taking any residuals from horses, hay, or urine.
Commr. Conner pointed out that the letter from Orange County mentioned a potential for increased bird activity, and he expressed concern about that being a problem for nearby aircraft.
Ms. Bonifay responded that they saw that concern and did try to map out where those airports were.
Mr. Talbot explained that the majority of bird problems exist around landfills and those types of facilities which take food waste that attracts the birds, but they were not taking any type of grease trap or food waste, so they think that would alleviate that potential problem.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she had asked Dr. George Lukasik to join their team due to the issue of many letters that the Commissioners received about pathogens that were not going to be eradicated and eliminated and/or bacteria and the threat to human health.
Dr. George Lukasik, President of BCS Laboratories in Gainesville, an expert on survival of pathogens during wastewater processes and the effects of land application of biosolids, stated that he has participated in many studies for local utilities and different companies that looked at survival of pathogens through different processes, and they had just concluded a three-year long study for a local utility in Gainesville which looked at that issue at a 30-year operation as well as offsite transport of pathogens and chemicals from the facility to neighboring areas. He explained that composting was just helping nature accelerate what it normally does, and the pathogens are not free-floating but are complex and part of the solid matrix itself. He emphasized that in all of the studies they conducted, they have never found any evidence that the pathogens could just float away and affect people just by aerosolization, and composting accelerates their breakdown. He stated that the high temperatures in these piles are very hot for these pathogens and are comparable to temperatures for pasteurization and would eliminate them fairly quickly. He added that composting has been around for a very long time and approved by the EPA to be a viable alternative for treating biosolids and was part of the green initiative.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would reserve her time for rebuttal.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Nicholas Shannin, an attorney for Lake Jem homeowners who oppose this rezoning, commented that they all rise in strong opposition to the conditional use permit that would allow their neighborhood to become close to a large-scale sewer-treatment facility that they have all heard discussed, and he opined that the Board should follow the recommendation of the Zoning Board to deny this CUP, because it would risk the health, safety, and welfare of these residents. He related that the residents he represents already had a large objection to the original procedure, which is amplified due to the significantly transformed application for this CUP that was changed on August 18, and he noted that staff has already indicated that they have not had enough time to evaluate, interpret, and react to the new CUP. He recapped that staff discussed that the most significant change is a need for more frequent turning of the windrows, which would result in more frequent exposure of the material and potential release of odor during turning, and he pointed out that the original standard operating procedures in the original CUP would have used a modified static aerobic pile composting method, which was noted as superior when compared to traditional aerated static pile and windrow composting methods due to the major benefit of the ability to largely eliminate the excessive mechanical turning while still maintaining aerobic conditions and excellent pathogenic destruction, resulting in less odor, shorter composting timeframe, higher temperatures for longer periods of time, and less particulate discharge among other advantages. He emphasized that this is a major change, and he fundamentally objected and believed it was inappropriate to go forward on the basis on the new proposal. He recommended that if anything was to be done on this rezoning request, he would suggest that they instead return to square one to have staff look at it and make a proposal as to whether they recommend it at all and what the proper conditions would be. He pointed out that the letter from Orange County outlines a number of their concerns and their proposed changes, which was actually referring to the old plan and not even the modified one, which he opined would bring up even more concerns. He specified that one of the things that was not in the original standard operating procedures was the use of tertiary pre-treated material rather than their septic tank, which he believed needed to be in the plan. He related that they had a large number of witnesses that they would call as experts in the subject areas they were there to discuss, including a pathologist, a realtor, and a microbiologist. He requested that the Board deny the proposal as proposed or have this returned back to staff for reconsideration as an alternative based on the new proposal.
The Chairman announced that they would proceed to hear those that filed a notice of appearance.
Dr. Laura Michael, GI Pathologist who owned property next to the subject property, opined that the trucks would be open containers and that there would be seepage from the waste during the trip from Shelly’s to the dumpsite via airborne and particles on the road; also, airborne particles mixed with dust would be released into the air during the dumping process, and it would attract insects, birds, and other wildlife to the site. She went over some of the possible viral and bacterial pathogens associated with compost operations and the conditions that they could cause. She related that the CDC reports over 40,000 cases of salmonella poisoning with 400 deaths, and it only takes 10 organisms to be infected, which can be transmitted through insects. She pointed out that there were a lot of things that they could not culture or were difficult to culture or test for. She related that sewage treatment and composting does not inactivate the human or animal form of pyrons, which causes dementia, blindness, and death in 90 percent of patients, since it was highly resistant to degradation. She noted that although composting reduces bacterial and viral pathogens if they maintain 135 degrees for 15 days, salmonella can quickly regrow on application to carbon-based plants, such as bacterial endospores that could reactivate when the conditions are right. She cited a study done by Cornell of people living within one mile of a land applied sludge which found significant occurrences of upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and flu-like symptoms, and she showed a diagram illustrating how the exposure happens either in the air or leaching into the ground or waterways as well as a pathogen risk assessment showing how humans and animals are infected. She concluded that her profession considers human feces a biohazard in the untreated, unsterilized, or partially-treated form, and she opined that the wood could also cause a hazard unless the wood chips were extremely clean. She also noted that the outcome could not be guaranteed, since the weather conditions can not be predicted.
Dr. Caroline Snyder, PhD, who has worked with microbiologists and others on this issue, indicated that they have a great deal of information showing that biosolids should not be applied to land and that the current regulations were totally inadequate. She stated that she has studied this whole issue of biosolids for 14 years and was considered one of the experts on this issue, and she listed some of the things she has done related to this field. She explained that her group, Citizens for Sludge Free Land, is a clearing house for science-based and contemporary information that deals with this issue. She began her power point presentation and emphasized that sewer sludge was never meant to be a fertilizer and is a pollutant, pointing out that every industry in the country is legally allowed to pour extremely hazardous waste into sewer treatment plants, which is made into sludge, in order to protect surface water. She commented, however, that putting that concentrated waste back into the environment would pollute the ground water and the soil, degrade the agricultural land, and make people sick. She reported that the U.S. rules regarding this waste are the least protective in the whole industrial world, are not based on science, and did not protect human health, agriculture, or the environment. She noted that odor was not just a nuisance, but was also documented as being a health issue that caused illnesses such as nausea, vomiting, respiratory symptoms, and flu-like symptoms. She emphasized that regrowth of Class A pathogens are more robust, new types of pathogens that are much more serious and could not be controlled in this composting process, and she opined that the 503 rules were not protecting the health and environment, resulting in contaminants that go into the food chain. She urged the Board to deny this application.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 2:20 p.m. that there would be a short recess.
rezoning case no. cup 11/6/1-3 (cont’d)
Ms. Janice Murphy, a realtor and a resident of Mount Dora, referred to a handout that she distributed, including a photograph of a sludge hauling truck with a smiley face holding its nose on the back noting the bad smell of the contents, as well as a compilation of the property values of a few of the properties that would be affected by this project out of the 142 properties in Lake and 360 in Orange County that would be affected. She pointed out that if there was a nuisance close by such as a landfill, an industrial area, or an abundance of foreclosures in the neighborhood, the realtors were required to weigh the impact on the subject property, and the values of the property closest to the proposed project will be substantially reduced. She went over a couple of properties that would be the most affected, as they were adjacent to the proposed site, and one that was out further from that. She specified that a tract of vacant land on Timberline Drive sold for $280,000 in 2007, and the current taxable value is $125,000 using recent comparable sales that were close by, but the suggested list price would be $4,000 if the CUP was approved, and she believed that the land did not have any value whatsoever due to the proximity of the nuisance and that any offer should be accepted. Another property she discussed was also adjacent to the proposed project at 25524 CR 448A, which was a bank-owned property purchased at auction for $131,250 on December 31, 2008 and currently assessed for $113,525, and under normal circumstances she would suggest a list price of $80,000; however, her suggested list price would only be $15,000 if the CUP is approved. She then commented that the property at 27007 Lake Lena would give the Board the value of a home that is a little further down from the facility, which had many amenities and was currently assessed at $551,423, stating that although it has a current suggested sales price of $440,000, that would only be $220,000 if the CUP is approved, taking into consideration that this home would not get the truck traffic that the previous properties would experience. Lastly, she stated that the historic home located at 17004 Keen Ranch Road in Mount Dora, which was directly across from the proposed project, was built in 1875, with the owner spending the last 40 years improving this beautiful homestead, and she pointed out that although there were no comparable sales for this home in recent history, she believed that the home would have no value. She spoke about several other properties that would be affected by this rezoning, including a property that was being considered for the location of a local business, and she opined that the tax base would be significantly diminished if all of these homes dropped in value. She related that some residents near a similar site in Marion County indicated that they often had to stay inside because of the smell, that the truck traffic was horrific, that their home values had decreased considerably, that the fly problem was monumental, and that they believed their water quality was compromised. She asked the Board why they would open themselves up to lawsuits from residents and others regarding the facilities and opined that it would devastate quality of life.
Ms. Susan Tobin, an environmental consultant, geologist and resident who lives on Lake Jem Road, related that she spent the last two years developing municipal water supplies and investigating and remediating contaminated properties, as well as sampling similar farm amendment products to determine whether they are safe for their fields and appropriate for their workers to be exposed to. She reported that this facility greatly exceeds in size and scope any other facility of this type that the Board has permitted within Lake County and that it was a heavy industrial use. She commented that the large trucks would be stinky and losing pathogen waste biosolids, putting the health of the neighbors at risk. She mentioned that the Disney facility was covered in birds, even without it containing any food waste, and the fire potential was great. She pointed out that the quantity of water generated by a 100-year storm to be contained within a bermed area would be difficult to move with trucks and would take months; meanwhile, the area would be saturated and have a strong odor. She went through a calculation showing that the trucks going in and out of the facility would be hauling 125,000 to 187,000 tons of material per day. She noted that the composting was a continuous process, and there was always going to be some degree of composting that has to be completed, and she pointed out that the 567 to 851 tons of compost per acre per year this facility would be using according to her calculations grossly exceeds the normal biosolid application rate for agricultural use of 1 to 2 tons per year per acre in areas that are phosphorous-limited like the Lake Apopka Basin. She requested that the Board consider those facts and vote “no” to this CUP request.
Ms. Connie Harvey, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that it was her obligation as a mother of kindergarten-aged twin boys to protect them, and they were the main reason why she opposes the CUP. She commented that trucking in sludge and composting it so close to their homes, watersheds, and aquifer is wrong on so many levels, and she worries about her children’s home and the environmentally sensitive area that surrounds them as well as their health. She stated that she concurs with her neighbors in this community and the points they are making. She listed DEP violations that the BTF facility, which was also Shelly’s Environmental, had in the past.
Mr. Minkoff instructed the Board that the only testimony the Board should consider only should involve the land itself and the suitability of the land under the Comp Plan and the LDR’s for this use, and he noted that the actual applicant in this case was Long and Scott Farms, not Shelly’s. He also added that prior code enforcement or DEP issues are not germane to the zoning case.
The Chairman instructed the speaker to refrain from those items and directly address the land zoning issue.
Ms. Harvey concluded that she did not want this facility in her neighborhood or near this environmentally-sensitive location.
Mr. Stephen Camulli, a resident who lives within a two-mile radius of the facility, emphasized that dramatic changes took place in the standard operating procedure from the original to the revised SOP, which he opined was a convoluted document. He specified that the second sentence in the original SOP identifies the composting process proposed for the project as modified static aerobic pile (MSAP) compost, and the points about the effectiveness, suitability, and major benefit of that was discussed earlier. He pointed out that one paragraph in the original SOP stated that that process was essentially a better quality compost which was produced in less time with less associated costs, and additionally the final compost is shown to have increased numbers of beneficial bacteria when compared to those produced using more traditional composting methods; however, the revised SOP discusses using a combination of conventional method and the use of windrows, and represented a dramatic shift in methodologies and controls. He pointed out some inconsistencies in the revised SOP, including the time frames involved, and he stated that one key area of concern is what is in the load, since the revised SOP did not have the same conditions, processes, controls, and requirements as the original SOP. He concluded that this was a significant change in the operation and in the exposure of pathogens and other materials into the environment, is an empty shell of the original, and should not be allowed to move forward. He opined that it would be the right thing to do for the Board to deny this permit.
Mr. Tom Eppich, a resident of Mount Dora and Chief Financial Officer for Long and Scott Farms, mentioned that they have been in business for about 50 years and was a good-size operation which employs about 180 people directly and indirectly during the peak times of the year. He commented that farming was a difficult business and that there were very few farms of this size left in Central Florida and was the only one of its size in Lake County. He also noted that it has been a difficult operating environment for them for the last five years due to weather conditions and rising fuel and other costs, and the farm actually lost money in 2006 through 2009; however, due to operational improvements that have been made since then, including seeking ways to improve yields, the farm has returned to profitability since 2009. He explained that the CUP was to help improve their operations even further and to increase and enhance their ability to generate levels of profitability, since the profitability that they have obtained in the last year or so has not been enough to offset the past losses, and they were still struggling. He hoped the Board would approve the CUP to help them maintain their business and continue to be a good part of the business community in Lake County.
Mr. Al Derakshan, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that his disabled son along with 115 other disabled individuals lived in Carlton Palms Educational Center close to this proposed facility, and he was there to speak for them. He related that he was opposed to this plan because of the concern about the odor, especially during the daytime, which is the only time the Carlton Palms residents get to be outdoors, and he pointed out that there was an ADA issue and legal ramifications if the facility is the cause of illness for those residents.
Ms. Cindy Scott, a resident of the Lake Jem neighborhood and a member of the Scott family, commented that they have been good stewards of that land since 1963 and that agriculture was a very hard business. She went on record that she was in support of this conditional use permit, and she assured the Board that any decision that has been made on that land has been done with integrity and that they would not do anything that would adversely affect their own children and grandchildren.
Mr. Jeff Roach, a resident of Lake Jem, expressed concern about this project becoming a much larger application and about their selling and hauling the compost off the site in the future. He commented that although he understands that the farm needed to make a profit, he did not understand how the Board could allow one or two people to profit at the expense of every other property owner around them. He asked the Board to vote “no on this request.
Mr. Ace Woodham, a resident of Apopka, related that he did not live near the compost site, but he is in favor of it and that his family has always been part of the agricultural community. He opined that this was an agricultural community, and they could not deny the rights of the farmers. He also noted that the farmers feed the families around them, put the roof over their heads, and pay taxes to the community; and he believed that the Board needed to look at the economic impact. He opined that they have to resolve the issue of treating raw sewage and biosolids and that he recommends composting as an economical way of doing that.
Mr. Kenneth Van Valkenburg, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that he agreed with the previous speaker in that he believed that they have to handle this compost situation and take care of the sewage, but he did not think it was being done the right way for this project. He related that he was a licensed, state-certified general contractor as well as a state-licensed real estate agent, and he had 10 acres on CR 448A approximately 500 feet from the entrance to the proposed composting facility. He commented that most people have most of their lives in their homestead, and this will “put the nail in the coffin” of property values which have already decreased significantly because of the current economic situation. He related that his mother, who also has a home on his property, cannot come out of her house because of the flies and the gnats, and he opined that their quality of life was going away. He commented that he knew Mr. Hank Scott and the Long family personally and thought that they were good people, although he did not think he would be doing this to them if he were in their position.
Ms. Paulette Smariga, a resident of Mount Dora, related that she did not feel that this was a problem with the SOP, because she believed that either method needed to be rejected, and she urged the Board to deny the CUP for this open air compost sludge facility, which the applicant describes as raw organic waste material in their SOP. She understood that they needed to deal with waste responsibly, but neither their community nor the agricultural operation is the producer of the majority of the contaminated waste product that would go to this proposed facility. She added that if they are forced to deal with other areas’ waste, they should be protected from any possible effects their environment could have with state-of-the-art technologies, sampling, testing, and monitoring, and these type of facilities must be located where proper receipt, handling, and processing of the material can be done without environmental or quality-of-life damages. She believed that the risk was too great to have an operation with little or no oversight of the sampling, testing, and determining of what is safe for their health and environment and to make sure the process be subject to the correct time and temperature criteria to make sure that the destruction of pathogens was effective. She was also concerned that the compost operator has the flexibility to bias the outcome, and there were multiple factors that are beyond the control of the compost operator that cause pathogens not to be fully done.
Mr. David Shelly, a resident of Apopka and owner of Shelly’s Septic, apologized for causing all of this confusion and thanked County staff for their assistance. He opined that the residents in opposition to the project did not understand this project, and he was sorry that the good name of his family and the Scott family were being spoiled.
Ms. Mary Ellen Proctor, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that she opposes the Scott CUP and that she toured the C & C Plant, which she opined was nothing like the Scott facility in that it did not process anywhere near the 500 tons a day of sludge that the Scott facility would. She noted that the proposed facility would be operating from morning to night, six days a week, and would be a nasty process which would generate foul, noxious odors on a constant basis. She commented that their quality of life would be ruined and their property values destroyed, which would result in the County’s tax base suffering, and she pointed out that the nearby property owners in Lake Jem pay over $426,000 per year and were an important revenue source to Lake County. She related that Long and Scott Farms shares the Lake Jem community with at least 120 other property owners, and she did not want surrounding counties to bring their waste there.
Mr. Bill McFerran, a resident of Sanford, who has been in the biosolids management business for 30 years, stated that he was in favor of the composting operation, and he noted that the rules have changed drastically with EPA and DEP to further restrict direct land application. He related that Shelly’s is in the process of being the leaders in the industry to recycle, go green, compost, and do fertilizer conversion, and he opined that biosolids is a good reusable product. He asked for the Board to approve the CUP.
Ms. Susan Agnetti, who lives less than 2 miles from the proposed project, entered into the record the Cornell Waste Management Institute Study on compost facilities and their effect on the health of compost workers and the people who live in the surrounding community that was presented by Dr. Laura Michael. She related that she has COPD and has talked to her doctors about the potential effect of this project on her health, who were extremely concerned about her health and her potential for longevity if the CUP was approved. She stated that she had nocardia, necessitating treatment of eight months of very expensive antibiotics to kill the organism and which severely affected her ability to breathe, and she subsequently contracted nocardia a second and third time. She emphasized how serious the airborne pathogens are and how hard they are to kill once they enter the body. She commented that this problem is ironic, because she and her husband selected this area to move to from California because of the clean air and good quality of life. She related that one of her neighbors was fearful about her child who has asthma being able to go out in her yard, and she stated that if the Board approved this proposal, they would be condemning her and her neighbors to be literally prisoners in their own home and to not be able to go outside on their own property to enjoy their yards, gardens, and pools. She also stated that the decision the Board made could have a severe impact on their health and their futures, and she strongly urged them to vote against this request.
Mr. Randy Agnetti presented a handout showing the truck problems on the surface of the road and photographs showing that the surface road is already being deteriorated and the shoulder being broken up. He also commented that the trucks cannot make the crossing in the intersection where the road goes at a perpendicular angle without going to the opposite lane, which is a very dangerous situation. He mentioned a similar facility located in Polk County that resulted in seven years of odors that could be smelled a mile away, as well as lost business, government interruption, and the overall decline of the quality of life.
Ms. Deborah Parks expressed concern about quality of life issues and inconsistencies with Lake County Policy 1-1.16 and 1-1B.6. She commented that the sewage sludge that the farm currently is using can be smelled from her home, although those smells are temporary. She noted that although she understands that the site is a working farm, her concern is what they intend to do in the future, which she does not believe would be normal farming activity. She quoted a Florida Statute known as the Florida Right to Farm Act under a section specifying when expansion of an operation is not permitted which stated that “this act should not be construed to permit an existing farm operation to change to a more excessive farm operation with regard to noise, odor, dust, or fumes.” She asked about her and her neighbors’ rights as property owners as well as their health, safety, and welfare. She respectfully requested that the Board consider those issues and vote “no.”
Mr. James Fisher, a resident of Altamonte Springs and a biosolids expert who was affiliated with the permitting process, noted that they were being permitted on many levels and that this hearing was just the beginning of the process. He assured everyone that there would be many orders of magnitude of odor reduction at the facility where the premixing begins, and stabilization is going to occur at that point. He explained that bacteria and activity are going to be reduced by being mixed with the biosolids, resulting from a premixed material with much lower fecal density, and he emphasized that the analyses that are recommended by the state and EPA are indicators of a process to further reduce pathogens, which is a required safety factor by the state and federal government and which he believed was sufficient to ensure a safe, environmentally-friendly, and beneficial end product. He implored the Board to use common sense in this case.
Mr. Robert Buckmann, a resident of Mount Dora, noted that he attended the Planning and Zoning meeting and the neighborhood meeting and has toured C & C Peat and the Disney facility in order to thoroughly look into this issue and make up his own mind. He commented that this site would handle 500 tons a day or 2500 tons a week, which is much bigger than C & C Peat which handles about 92 tons per week. He also pointed out that C & C Peat is zoned commercial industrial, and he pointed out that both C & C and Disney had windrow turning machines, which would not be present on the proposed project. He noted that the concerns raised by his neighbors regarding health and real estate values are valid concerns, and he commented that he did not believe that someone should benefit at the expense of another, although it may not be intentional. He hoped that Lake County would come up with better solutions to solve those kinds of problems.
Ms. Paula Holcomb, a former employee of Shelly’s, stated that she was in favor of the project, and she believed they were at a time when they needed to start moving forward with ways to “go green.” She commented that the Long, Scott, and Shelly families were all good families who believe in good work ethics and manners, and she opined that they did not want to hurt anyone and were concerned about the future. She assured the Board that she has let her terminally ill child visit the Shelly facility without worrying about it being a hazard to his health.
Mr. Ronald Parks, whose property adjoins the site, opined that there would also be an additional 20 to 30 trucks per day with wood going into this facility besides the previously-mentioned truck trips. He was also concerned that an accident or a fire would become a haz-mat problem and that there would be a long response time from the nearest haz-mat truck in Yalaha.
Ms. Barbara Shelly, a resident of Apopka, septic contractor and part-owner of Shelly’s Septic for over 20 years, commented that her SOP was simple because composting is a simple, natural, and safe procedure, although the regulations from DEP and EPA are not simple, and this is only the first stage of a long process for them. She pointed out that besides the over 200 employees who are employed by both Shelly’s and Long and Scott, many of their family members work there as well, and she asked if anyone thinks they would put them in harm’s way. She also commented that their business is used to being a target of criticism and that it was very hard to start a new business or expand a business. She emphasized that she believes strongly in job creation, especially in today’s economic environment and high unemployment situation, and she believes this is a win-win situation, since they need both jobs and composting to deal with waste. She asked that they be allowed to move forward with this.
Mr. Rick Donohue, a resident of Umatilla, noted that sludge was spread nearby his residence, and they deal with it. He asked the Board to approve this request and to take everything into consideration when making their decision.
Mr. Rich Dunkel, a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, informed the Board that Orange County had a ground breaking two weeks ago for access to approximately 18 miles of bike trails in the Lake Apopka area, which has some of the finest birding locations in Florida and the country and which would be good for economic development. He added that the Scenic Byway grant proposal project was picked in a national competition with the USDOTC Byway Program for the State of Florida and would be granted funding of about $600,000 along with the Lake County match, which would be good for ecotourism. He pointed out, however, that the birding trail would be 1300 feet away from where the proposed facility would be, and the smell from the facility would deter birders from visiting the area. He mentioned that the many economic development projects, organizations, and meetings taking place in Lake County during the last five or six years indicate that people want clean, high tech businesses, and he asked why they did not deal with the two businesses in Lake County that specialize in high tech treatment of biosolids, which would provide high-paying, high tech jobs.
Mr. Gregory Brewer stated that he has lived in Lake Jem for 20 years and commented that he was against the proposed project.
Mr. Jim Thomas, President of the Friends of Lake Apopka and a biologist who has worked on environmental issues, related that they have been fighting to get the lake restored since 1990 and that the lake is recovering slowly with the phosphorous levels dropping slightly; however, he was concerned that this project could possibly reverse all of their progress in this restoration process. He commented that ecotourism is the only way they believe they could recoup any part of their restoration cost, that their proposed loop trail is going to be a fantastic draw for birders, and that birding is increasing. He also pointed out that taxpayers have more than $150 million already tied up in the restoration effort, and he did not want to see it compromised in any way. He related that he has seen many problems involving composting, but the proximity to the North Shore Restoration Area is what troubles them, since it could cause high nutrient discharges from either groundwater seepage or storms. He reported that the technology in sewage treatment has increased tremendously, and they were working on a deal for a waste-to-energy project that does anaerobic digestion with everything being enclosed which produces electricity and biogas, with the end products being used for soil amendments.
Ms. Linda Wheat, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that she was against the conditional use permit for several reasons, including the stench and the probability of it endangering their water supply, but she was most concerned about the increased noise pollution that they would have due to increasing commercial trucks in their area. She cited a noise study done in the Lake Jem area in November 1998 that showed that when truck traffic was present, the average sound level was between 72 and 82 decibels, but would go as high as 86.6 decibels at times, especially when the trucks were downshifting when going around curves or accelerating, which indicated a significant noise problem. She also related that recently a Lake Jem resident took some decibel levels of trucks that were going around the lake that were between 86 and 88 decibels, and she opined that approval of the CUP should not be allowed since it would increase the severity of their problem.
Mr. James Prescott, who lived near the proposed project, stated that he had been undecided regarding this project and realized that they needed to do something with the waste they generated. However, he was as concerned about the health issues as everyone else, and although he wished the applicants well on their venture, he did not want it to be at his expense. He commented that he was opposed to the project.
Ms. Juanita Prescott, mother of the previous speaker, commented that Mr. Scott and Mr. Long were nice people who worked hard, but she noted that their property values have already decreased significantly, and she was concerned that she would have to disclose anything detrimental if she ever sold her home. She also pointed out that that area was no longer an agricultural area, and she mentioned the expense of getting Lake Apopka restored. She opined that this project would be a horrible thing for the birds as well as nearby residents, and she did not believe that it was worth what it could cost Lake County in the long run. She urged the Board to vote against the project.
Ms. Margaret Grimes, who lived less than a mile from the proposed facility, commented that she has more questions now than she had when she first came to the hearing, because the proposal for the SOP has changed so much. She stated that although the applicants have claimed that the biosolids would only be used on the Scott property, there were indications that it would be used on the property north of Jones Road, which would mean that trucks would be used to transport the sludge to that property, creating more truck traffic. She was concerned that her granddaughter would be directly affected since she and other children would be waiting at the bus stop at the same time that the sludge trucks were traveling down that road or that she would be exposed to the sludge while she was playing outside.
Mr. George Wiggins, President of the Tangerine Improvement Society and a resident of Tangerine, explained that Tangerine was an unincorporated rural settlement in Orange County and that many of their residents service many Lake County businesses. He stated that he and the residents he represented were opposed to this CUP, and he pointed out that the Tangerine area was already exposed to severe odors from the Monterey mushroom farm, which was approximately two miles from his house. He noted that there would be additional truck traffic eventually hauling the compost back to the sod fields, and he mentioned the letter that was sent to the Board from the Orange County Planning Department pointing out many other impacts with regard to attracting birds to the site. He also pointed out that although the Disney compost facility run by the Reedy Creek Improvement District is a covered, state-of-the-art facility that does not have food waste, there were many birds there that were attracted to that and that they do receive odor complaints from residents who live one-half to one mile away from it. He related that there are statutory requirements with regard to the location of the airports that require distance separation from different types of landfills. He requested that the Board look closely at the proposed ordinance which could be very difficult to enforce, since a lot of items in it are subjective.
Ms. Linda Bystrak, a resident of Leesburg and a representative of the Okalaha Audubon Society, who she related was opposed to this project for many of the same reasons that were mentioned by other speakers, explained that the north shore marshes that surround Lake Apopka abut this property and is an important bird area that is habitat for over 150 different species of birds, which is a record for highest number of species inland throughout the United States. She commented that sludge attracts insects which would also draw insect-eating birds close to the airport in that area. She emphasized that they have spent over $168 million purchasing 19,000 acres of the north shore plus the money used for monitoring and restoration, but a project like this could undo $146 million of work. She urged the Board not to approve this request and added that it was way too close to this marsh. She noted that since DEP’s budget has been cut, its monitoring was severely decreased, and they would not have the staff to monitor this facility. She mentioned that this facility used old technology, and she suggested that the Board visit a gasification facility in Sanford which takes human sludge and turns it into electricity.
Mr. David Rankin, a resident of Tavares, commented that this is a type of issue that pits neighbor against neighbor, and related that the concept of composting is as old as agriculture itself and was the original form of fertilizer. He commented that he had confidence that with the latest technology they could do the composting in a safe and affordable manner, and he believed the Board should concentrate on prudent science rather than speculation and emotion. He pointed out that the physical location is about a mile from any paved highway or habitable dwelling, and he opined that the business is entitled to use the roads for their business interest. He also opined that the birds would be more interested in the corn than the composting facility, and the biosolids would contain less phosphorous than traditional fertilizers. He commented that everyone in the room was responsible for the existence of biosolids, and they also had to be responsible for the solution.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 4:30 p.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
rezoning case no. cup 11/6/1-3 (cont’d)
Mr. Lewis Michael commented about the large amount of people that he spoke to who were against this project, some of whom could not be present at the meeting that day. He referred to a news article which stated that an in-depth analysis of this process showed that it is highly dependent on diesel fuel, and studies from the EPA showed that it had a huge carbon footprint, since it releases methane and nitrogen gases.
The Chairman closed the public hearing.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she felt a need to combat misstatements, misrepresentations, and nonfactual information that has been presented by a number of people regarding what would happen on the site, and she called Dr. Lukasik to address the points made by the first two speakers, including the referral of this as septage even though there would be no septage involved in this. She asked him to address in his professional opinion those issues as well as the statement made that there was no testing laboratory in Shands to look at some of these issues.
Mr. Lukasik explained that although it was true that most of the pathogens discussed by the opposition were shed with feces, the biosolids were further treated by composting, and he noted that the insect attraction that was noted was going on right now with the ongoing process of mixing biosolids with lime, which emits ammonia-based odors, but the proposed process would actually decrease that resulting in decreased odor and insects. He mentioned that e-coli 157 brought up by the opposing expert is only shed from sick human beings usually in cases of outbreaks and is mainly found in cows, and virus monitoring is very routine in biosolids. He also opined that the mention of prions by that expert was based on a lot of speculation, and he indicated that MRSA was mainly a skin pathogen that was not typically shed with feces.
Ms. Bonifay opined that most of the studies and information cited by Dr. Caroline Snyder about all of the potential issues and problems with this type of composting facility were very dated and a number of years old, and she asked Dr. Lukasik if those have been superseded by later rules, documents, or research.
Mr. Lukasik responded that a lot of the studies that Dr. Snyder referred to were prior to the latest rules and regulations of the EPA biosolids guidance document that came out in 2007, and he opined that he believed that the EPA took into account all of the studies that were pertinent and valid and that this was a very tightly-regulated business. He added that although some of the toxins produced by the pathogens in the composting process are heat resistant, the process also involves good bacteria that break them down and recycle nutrients back into the soil.
Ms. Bonifay recalled Mr. Keith Riddle, a civil engineer from Lake County and asked him about the increased truck traffic that would result because of this facility, including how many trucks would be on the highway with the new trips and where the facility is now taking their sludge for land application.
Mr. Riddle recapped that they would have 20 to 30 trucks per day which equated to 40 to 60 trips per day; however, since the premixing will already have taken place at the Shelly site with the wood chips in it, no extra trucks would be needed for the wood chips. He also pointed out that only 20 acres of the 200 acres or 10 percent of the sod farm are north of Jones Avenue, and that material would be transported internally with farm equipment. He noted that a lot of the odor comes from the mixing of the compost, which would not take place on this proposed site. He assured the Board that DEP will be requiring them to design a closed system with an impervious barrier underneath the windrows and with a lined stormwater pond, so they will have everything contained on site barring a catastrophic event with no groundwater or offsite discharge. He opined that there was not nearly enough land for the farm to use 187,000 tons per year of compost as stated by the opposition.
Mr. Hank Scott, the applicant, explained that they were not looking at the nitrogen or fertilizer content of the compost as much as the organic matter, since the property consisted mostly of sand that contained less than three percent of those organics, and building that content up would help them grow a much better crop with a lot less synthetic fertilizers. He opined that the well water has been fine in the area, and he assured the Board that this would be a very good, clean and green process. He commented that the residents who live on CR 448A would be the only ones to be impacted because of the truck traffic, which he pointed out would be less than when the Duda Farm trucks were in operation, but he did not think that residents who lived further away than that would notice the composting operation at all. He also commented that his farm has been there for almost 50 years, and they have always tried to do the right thing. He assured everyone that if this operation was not as nice and green as they expected, they would shut it down.
Commr. Conner commented that he has known the Long and Scott families and that they were good people and fine families. He pointed out that the Board has a legal obligation to hear this fairly and impartially, and he had minimal contact or ex parte communication with people associated with any upcoming hearing. He emphasized that the process that is proposed is not the process that is used at C & C Peat or in the San Francisco video that was shown during this hearing, and it is problematic that the process is changed between the time the Zoning Board heard it and the time the Commission is hearing it. He related that the main issue for him is the odor problem, and his concern was heightened due to the change in this process, since he was concerned that the process being used would cause unpleasant odors throughout the neighborhood, which would negatively impact the quality of life and diminish property values. He commented that he believed the concerns regarding birds interfering with airplanes expressed in the letter from Orange County were legitimate, and he related that he could not support this.
Commr. Parks related that he had great respect for the Long and Scott families and believed they were great stewards of the land; however, he had concerns as well about the odor control process and about not having enough assurance in the SOP that he saw. He suggested other solutions such as the farm leasing and composting on the County’s landfill site.
Commr. Campione echoed the comments that have already been made regarding the Long and Scott families and what they have contributed to the county, but she pointed out that this was a question of suitability of this property for this particular use, which she saw as more of an industrial rather than an agricultural use. She commented that the size of the property used for the proposed composting, the intensity of the use, and the volume being produced is significantly larger than some of the other facilities that have been mentioned today, and she believed that it would be an incompatible land use for that area. She added that she would like to see the County going in the direction of the advances such as using biosolids to produce electricity, and she was also concerned about the odors of such an incompatible use. She opined that the impacts could not be mitigated on the other surrounding land uses and would be adverse.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Long and Scott Farms have always done what they agree they would do and have been good corporate citizens, but this issue was not just about that. He commented that he would be more likely to approve this if it was a new cutting-edge way of composting with limited turning of windrows, but they were now back to the traditional process, and the proximity to the Lake Apopka restoration greatly concerns him. He stated that he could not support this proposal.
Commr. Hill commented that they usually support a business opportunity, but she would like to see them bring back a more high-tech solution, and she mentioned that there were numerous late-day changes to the application that resulted in a big difference in the operation.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board denied Rezoning Case No. CUP#11/6/1-3, Long and Scott Farms Biosolids Facility, for a request for a CUP in the Agriculture (A) Zoning District to allow a biosolids composting facility.
presentation – preparation of FY 2012 budget
Mr. Gray explained that the Community Services Department administers grants in the amount of about $200,000 from the general fund, and he wanted to inform the Board about what they had in the proposed budget for next fiscal year, as well as the discussions he has had with the Sheriff.
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Community Services Director, related that her department administers the Children’s Services Grant Program, and the Children’s Services Council (CSC) is a Board-appointed committee which creates an RFP to look for applications from non-profit organizations that provide services to children in Lake County, review those applications, and then recommend the funding allocations for those organizations that they feel best fulfill their mission. She showed in a power-point slide the recommended allocations for next fiscal year from that committee, which would come back to the Board in October for agreements for each of those organizations totaling $150,761, which she noted was a five percent decrease from this current year. She went on to explain that the other grant program was the Human Services Grant Program which also utilizes an RFP committee comprised of representatives of other County committees such as Children’s Services and Elder Affairs to review applications and recommend funding allocations for non-profit organizations that provide services for low-income clients in the total amount of $47,500, which represented a five percent decrease as well.
Mr. Gray mentioned that staff was working on revamping that whole program and bringing back to the Board some suggestions and recommendations regarding how they distribute grants in the future.
Commr. Hill asked whether some of those programs were overlapping with others and whether some of those could be handled through their HUD or CDBG monies.
Ms. Keedy stated that there could be, but she would have to look into that.
Commr. Campione commented that it seemed problematic to give general fund money to some of the agencies that already had a large budget, such as Lake Community Action Agency, which already had a budget of $7 or $8 million from allocations from the federal government, and she believed it would be more appropriate to use dollars that came from other sources that the County was passing on to those agencies than to use general fund dollars.
Ms. Keedy related that another program they were proposing to fund was the We Care organization, which is a non profit that coordinates free specialized medical care for Lake County residents who did not have insurance or could not afford to pay for it, in the amount of $75,000. She explained that the money would go towards staffing that organization, including a position to coordinate volunteers who are willing to donate their services.
Mr. Gray pointed out that the 211 Community Call Center was not budgeted for next year, and the County has not received a request from them to fund that.
Ms. Keedy reported that they have received a request from the Early Learning Coalition of Lake County for a $50,000 grant in addition to the $22,200 amount of funding that the committee already recommended for them, but the County did not have that in their budget.
Commr. Hill opined that the Board should seriously look at that request.
Mr. Gray continued to explain that some other organizations that they have funded for next fiscal year include LASER at the original level of $51,800; the Prescription Drug Program (LCHD) at $66,000; $55,000 for Trout Lake Nature Center; $20,000 for the Historical Society; myregion.org funding at $10,000; and non-resident recreation fees of $30,000 which he recommended they stop funding once they get the expected recreation facilities in place.
Commr. Parks mentioned that myregion.org just approved their 2065 plan and would be having a water summit on October 14, and he asked that the Chairman write a letter to the mayors or city managers asking to have their council members attend that.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that they were trying to put together a water use philosophy for the region.
Commr. Campione asked for staff to bring her some information about the LCHD.
Commr. Hill reported that the Sheriff had revised his budget and has decreased it by $3.5 million, and she mentioned that the Sheriff and Commr. Parks are continuing to meet to look at all aspects of the operation and how they could cut costs.
Commr. Parks specified that the decrease was largely due to holding off on capital expenditures, and he would have regular dialogue with the Sheriff regarding next year’s budget.
Mr. Gray added that other changes include reduction of personal services which saved the County about $600,000, reduction of $200,000 in the transfer to the Tax Collector, an updated fund balance projection, and purchase orders that were carried forward to the next year. He reported that the new revenues coming in almost equal the expenses in the proposed budget, and he assured the Board that they would continue to work on that in future years and would present them with a five-year plan. He also reported that staff has done a good job putting money back into the general fund reserves, and it is presently at $26.8 million, with another $7.3 million needed to balance the general fund. He noted, however, that their goal is still to get that number down to $5 or $6 million to balance the general fund by watching what they spend and operating as efficiently as possible. He related that he was planning another budget workshop in December for next fiscal year, when he would be presenting the five-year plan, and their long-term strategy also included presenting a quarterly budget report and presentation to the Board and an economic update. He specified that the first public hearing was scheduled for September 6 at 5:05 p.m., with the second public hearing on September 20 at 5:05; there will also be a Fire Rescue and Solid Waste public hearing on September 23.
update on new school traffic issues
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, reported that traffic and pedestrian flow at the new high school and elementary school opening in Minneola went well for the high school, but the elementary school was more challenging because of the stacking problems to get in and out of the school; however, they expect that to improve since more parents take their children to school on the first day. He mentioned that the School Board provided a school bus service within the two-mile range at that time and also commented that any traffic problem they saw was at Old Hwy 50. He reported that the cost of the remaining sidewalk is very expensive for one segment due to the slopes and walls that would be needed at a cost of $130,000 for 1400 feet, and he did not have right-of-way for four parcels, which he did not think would be a large cost. He explained that the School Board is evaluating whether to continue to provide bus service to students within two miles of the school at a cost of about $2,000 per month or $18,000 per year using existing buses versus the sidewalks which would cost about $150,000; however, they were prepared to move forward with this as soon as they get the right of way. He stated that he was looking into buying the right of way and putting in two lanes versus the entire roadway, which would solve the major traffic problem for all of the schools as well as the traffic pattern in the area which affects the pedestrian pattern as well by shifting the intersection over and making proper turn lanes in a better location for everyone.
Commr. Parks stated that they were planning on going door to door trying to get some right-of-way for the sidewalk, and he believed that the best solution would be to go forward with adding the two lanes to the roadway now.
Mr. Minkoff added that they might be able to reduce the right-of-way costs if they only build two lanes initially and acquire the rest of the right-of-way when the money is available for four lanes.
Commr. Hill announced that they would reschedule the transportation construction program public hearing from Tab 18 for September 13.
Mr. Minkoff indicated that they would have to readvertise it.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
rfp for vanpool program
Ms. Keedy explained that Lynx has been operating a vanpool program for Lake County residents for a number of years, and they have been notified by the FTA that Sumter County and that part of Lake County is out of their area, so they could no longer offer that program at no cost. She related that they have offered to continue the program for the County at a cost of about $16,000 per year, and she asked the Board whether they wanted to discontinue the program or put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to see if there was any interest in the private sector to bid on this at no cost to the County by having this run as an enterprise system with the riders paying all of the costs. She mentioned that they have funding available that could only be used for vanpools that they could use to purchase the vehicles for this program.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the request from Community Services for approval to issue an RFP for the operation of a vanpool program in Lake County. There is no fiscal impact.
Commr. Conner voted “no.”
appointment to affordable housing advisory committee
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board appointed Mr. Gerardo Suarez, Jr. as alternate member to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee to serve a term ending November 30, 2012 and approval of Resolution No. 2011-119.
REPORTS – COUNTY MANAGER
Opening of ellis acres
Mr. Gray reminded the Board about the opening of Ellis Acres tomorrow morning, August 24, at 9:00 a.m.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 1
911 memorial program
Commr. Hill related that they would be doing the 911 memorial ceremony on September 6, with the major program for the public scheduled for Friday, September 9 at 9:00 a.m. in the rotunda of the Administration Building.
letter of commitment to crimeline
Commr. Hill mentioned that the Attorney General’s Office has asked that the Board update their letter of commitment to Crimeline, since they have not done that since 1999, and she indicated that she would do that.
commissioner parks – district 2
grant for scenic overlook at ferndale
Commr. Parks directed Mr. Gray to give a brief update on the grant that they received for the scenic overlook at Ferndale under his reports at the next BCC Meeting.
commissioner conner – district 3
grand opening for osprey lodge
Commr. Conner mentioned that he attended the grand opening ceremony at Tavares City Council for Osprey Lodge, which would be an innovative assisted living facility.
commissioner campione – vice chairman and district 4
family day – eat dinner with your children proclamation
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2011-118 observing September 26, 2011 as Family Day – a Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children.
commissioner cadwell – district 5
opening game for north lake pop warner football
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he and Commr. Conner attended the opening game Saturday morning, September 20, for the North Lake Pop Warner football season at the new ball fields.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m.
Jennifer hill, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK