A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
october 28, 2014
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 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: Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Sean Parks, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Leslie Campione; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: David Heath, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, reminded the Board that they had added Tab 34 regarding the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) agreement to the Agenda because of an early deadline, and he asked that they include that when they approve the County Manager’s Consent Agenda.
sales surtax committee presentation
Mr. Keith Mullins, Chairman of the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee, which he explained was a group of citizens who are appointed to look at the budgets of the municipalities and the School Board to make sure the one-cent sales tax is being spent in the way the citizens had intended. He explained that their committee met twice a year, since they looked at the proposed budget and then at the actual budget, and they looked at the proposed budgets for the upcoming year at their last meeting on September 15, with the cities submitting answers that were deemed to be satisfactory to the committee’s questions. He mentioned that there was recently an audit of the committee’s work which resulted in some suggestions, such as reconvening to discuss answers to questions with representatives of the municipalities present rather than via email. He related that there was a handbook being prepared for committee members, and their attorney was looking into an issue where there was a disagreement with the auditors regarding whether they should question the change of funding to another item within the same category. He concluded that in general the money is being spent the way the citizens had intended.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Sullivan, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of the BCC Meetings of September 9, 2014 (Regular Meeting) and September 23, 2014 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
No one wished to address the Board at this time.
proclamation proclaiming october as turn lake county pink
Commr. Parks recapped that there was a presentation at the BCC meeting two weeks ago to honor the Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to raise more awareness in the fight against cancer, and they were honoring the Fire Department’s efforts that day to turn the month of October pink. He presented Proclamation No. 2014-131 proclaiming October as Turn Lake County PINK to Chief John Jolliff, and he read the proclamation aloud, noting that the firefighters of Lake County have replaced their normal uniform shirts with special pink uniform shirts, dedicated a pink fire truck to the women of the community, and committed to raising funds by selling their pink uniform shirts to support women’s cancer research.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2014-131 proclaiming October as Turn Lake County PINK.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 9, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk’s Office.
Ordinance from the City of Tavares
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance 2014-13 from the City of Tavares annexing approximately 11.4 acres located on the north side of US 441 adjacent and west of 7th Sunfish Street and including 7th Sunfish Street and rezoning said property from Lake County Planned Commercial District (CP) to City of Tavares Highway Commercial (C-2).
Ordinances from the City of Fruitland Park
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance 2014-021 from the City of Fruitland Park regarding rezoning of approximately .60 acres of property located north of Shore Line Drive and west of Lake Myrtle Boulevard from Lake County RP (Residential Professional District) to R-1 (Single Family Low Density District), along with a letter of transmittal stating that the City enacted the ordinance at its meeting of September 25, 2014.
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance 2014-020 from the City of Fruitland Park providing for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to amend Objective 1-11, Policy 1-11.1 and Policy 1-11.11 of the Future Land Use Element entitled “The Villages of Fruitland Park – DRI.”
Founders Ridge Annual Meeting Schedule
Request to acknowledge receipt of annual meeting schedule for Founders Ridge Community Development District for the Fiscal Year 2015, in accordance with Chapter 189.417, Florida Statutes.
Central Lake Annual Meeting Schedule
Request to acknowledge receipt of annual meeting schedule for Central Lake Community Development District for the Fiscal Year 2015, in accordance with Chapter 189.417, Florida Statutes.
Resolution Amending Meeting Schedule for Arlington Ridge
Request to acknowledge receipt of Resolution 2014-23 amending the designated dates, time, and location for the regular meetings of the Board of Supervisors for the Arlington Ridge Community Development District for the Fiscal Year 2014/15, in accordance with Section 189.015(1) of the Florida Statutes.
Annual Budget from City of Eustis
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 from the City of Eustis, along with a transmittal letter regarding the City of Eustis Redevelopment Trust Fund dated October 6, 2014.
Revised Schedule of Meetings for Southwest Florida Water Management District
Request to acknowledge receipt of the revised Fiscal Year 2015 Schedule of Meetings from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Parks commented that he was pleased to see that the Hancock Road extension is now officially underway, and he thanked the County’s efforts in expediting that project.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 5 through 24, adding Tab 34, as follows:
Request for approval of the Bus Shelter Program partnership with municipalities. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval for the Chairman to sign the FY 2014-2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Action Plan Funding Agreement between Lake County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the amount of $954,505.00. The fiscal impact is $954,505.00 (Revenue) and is totally grant funded.
Community Safety and Compliance
Request for approval and execution of Amendment 001 to the Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse State Reinvestment Grant #LHZ39. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval and signature of the State Financial Assistance DEP Agreement #LP35140 (a/k/a South Lake Regional Water Initiative Phase I Grant) in the amount of $300,000. Request approval for the County Manager to sign grant agreement and approval of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution No. 2014-132. The fiscal impact is $300,000 (Revenue/Expenditure). Commissioner Districts 1 & 2.
Request for approval of License Agreement between Lake County and John R. Prickett, Jr., for the Clerk’s drop box which allows citizens to drop off documents to be recorded in the Public Records of Lake County. There is no fiscal impact.
Fiscal and Administrative Services
Request for approval for the procurement office to issue blanket purchase orders for support of proprietary software systems utilized by County departments and authorize the County Manager to approve future continuations of support. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $471,603.90 (budgeted expenditure).
Request for approval of the unanticipated revenue Resolution No. 2014-133 for the receipt of Help America Vote Act Funds, and approval for the processing of necessary forms and budget adjustment. The fiscal impact is $58,344 (Revenue), $58,344 (Expense).
Request for approval to (1) declare the items on the attached list surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached list from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Manager to execute any required title documents. There is no fiscal impact.
Request that the Board approve and execute the First Amendment to the Structure Lease Agreement for the AT & T Tower Agreement and the Unanticipated Revenue Resolution No. 2014-134. The fiscal impact is $292.50 per month and $3,510.00 annually.
Request that the Board approve issuance of blanket purchase orders to the vendors specifically noted on the attachment to this agenda item to support as-required repairs to various items of Public Safety Equipment. Fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time. The actual expenditure in FY 2014 for the services covered by the requested blanket purchase orders was $138,424.
Request for approval of the updated Master Site Plan for Lake Idamere Park and approval of the preliminary conceptual plan for the Children’s Memorial Garden at Lake Idamere Park. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 3.
Request for approval of Lake County Expo Center/Fairgrounds Facilities Use Agreement, Lake Expo Center/Fairgrounds Farmers' Market Rules and Regulations, Lake County Farmers'/Flea Market Vendor Agreement, authorization for the Expo Center/Fairgrounds Program Manager to execute the Facilities Use Agreements as necessary, and authorization for the Expo Center/Fairgrounds manager to modify the Market Rules, Vendor Agreement and Facilities Use Agreement from time to time with approval from the County Attorney and County Manager. There is no additional fiscal impact; however, estimated revenue for FY 2015 is $214,200. Commission District 4.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2014-135 to advertise Public Hearing (Meghaj K Reddy, Express Shop and Lake County) to vacate a cross access easement in Section 27, Township 22S, Range 26E, in the Clermont area. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Request for approval and signature of Resolution No. 2014-136 to advertise Public Hearing to cease maintenance and to vacate any rights that Lake County may have acquired by any act of maintenance only, on a portion of Pine Ridge Dairy Road (#5603). There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 5.
Request for approval to award contract 14-0035 for right-of-way shoulder rehabilitation services along county roads to Merrell's Grade-All (St Cloud, FL), and authorize Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation. The fiscal impact is $355,913.61 (Expenditure).
Request for approval of the Sign Maintenance Amended Agreement with the City of Clermont. On October 6, 2011, Lake County entered into an agreement with City of Clermont for Sign Maintenance, and the City of Clermont now desires to amend the existing Agreement. The Amendment allows the City of Clermont to obtain street sign inspection, assessment and maintenance service all street signs within the City and to secure the County’s on call services for emergency and non-emergency repair work to such street signs. The fiscal impact is $50,000.00 (Revenue).
Request for authorization to award the North Hancock Road Extension and Widening Phase IIIA and IIIB, Project No. 2014-11, Bid No. 14-0030, FM No. 435515, Tracking No. W&R08042, to Pospiech Contracting, Inc. in the amount of $8,430,070.44, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $8,430,070.44 from the following funding sources: $1,935,858.00 from Federal/State Grants Fund, $1,117,457.00 from Road Impact Fee Benefit District 5 Fund (remaining balance of funds), $842,473.00 from Road Impact Fee South Benefit District Fund, and $4,534,282.44 from Renewal Sales Tax Fund. Commission District 2.
Request for approval and execution of a Release of Easement for a drainage easement granted in a Non-Exclusive Drainage Easement and Joint Utilization Agreement with Just Roots, LLC and Lost Lake Reserve, L.C., for a joint water retention pond that is no longer needed or being used for any drainage or retention, in the Clermont area. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Request for approval to proceed with needed repairs to the scales located at the Solid Waste Central Facility and authorize the procurement office to issue purchase order(s) to Mettler Toledo, LLC (Charlotte, NC) as the original equipment manufacturer. The estimated fiscal impact is $79,569.40 (Expenditure), as described in the background section of this agenda item.
Request for approval of a Sovereignty Submerged Lands Easement Modification to increase square footage on the C.R. 561 Bridge at Lake Minneola, in conjunction with the South Lake Trail - Phase IIIA Project. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Request for approval for County staff to bid at a foreclosure sale for a parcel needed for a pond on the CR466A Widening Project and authorization for the County Manager to sign any necessary documents. The property is currently owned by Joseph and Karen America, and consists of a lot and a residential structure located in the Fruitland Park, Pilgrim Terrace Subdivision, Sec. 4, Twp. 19S, Rge. 24E. The fiscal impact is not determinable at this time. Commission District 5.
public hearing – vacation petition 1121 – szubinski
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that Vacation Petition 1121 was to vacate Harrison Street according to the Plats of Edgewater Beach in the Clermont area in order to eliminate the platted right of ways. He showed the location of the vacation on an overhead map, noting the locations of Verde Park Subdivision and the Orange County line. He further pointed out that they were able to get everyone that lived along there to clear the whole title from Old Highway 50 to the county line. He reported that they have five letters in support and no letters in opposition, and they recommend approval to vacate.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this issue, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Vacation Petition 1211 - Community Development Capital Group LLC, Rep. Clint Szubinski - to vacate right of way on Harrison Street, according to the Plats of Edgewater Beach, in the Clermont area, and approval of Resolution No. 2014-137. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Public hearings - rezoning agenda
Mr. Chris Schmidt, Planning and Community Design Manager, Growth Management Department, submitted the advertisement for that day’s public hearing.
consent rezoning agenda
Mr. Schmidt explained that Tabs 1 and 2 on the Rezoning Agenda were approved unanimously on consent by the Planning & Zoning Board on October 1, 2014, and the staff recommends that the Board make a motion to approve the Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 and 2.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board the Rezoning Consent Agenda, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda, as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2014-61
Verde Park PUD Amendment to amend a development condition pertaining to front building setbacks and replace Ordinance 2014-22 with a new PUD ordinance.
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2014-63
Camden Park amendment to amend the Planned Unit Development (PUD) Ordinance No. 2008-67 to increase the number of residential units and to add commercial uses. Ordinance No. 2008-67 will be rescinded and replaced by the proposed ordinance.
rezoning regular agenda
Pine meadows mining cup – mcup#14/7/1-5
Commr. Parks disclosed that he has a voting conflict of interest in this case by having worked with the applicant on this project several years ago prior to his election to the Board. He further noted that he had discussed this conflict with the County Attorney and would be recusing himself from voting on this rezoning case.
Commr. Conner disclosed that he had received a phone call from Mr. Mark Wambles in which this issue was briefly discussed.
Commr. Campione disclosed that she had numerous emails and correspondence which were in the public record, met with several of the property owners adjacent to the proposed application, and returned several phone calls.
Commr. Cadwell disclosed that he met with the applicant and had a brief conversation with Ms. Sandra Stura as well as with Mr. Chuck Powers.
Commr. Sullivan disclosed that he had received numerous emails from residents and met with the applicant.
Mr. Schmidt explained that the request for Rezoning Case MCUP#14/7/1-5 was for a Mining Conditional Use Permit to extract peat from the Pine Meadows Peat Mine, and he specified that the approximate 133-acre site is located in the Eustis area southwest of the intersection of CR 450A and CR 44A. He related that the applicant, Reliable Peat Company, Inc., proposes to impact approximately 120 acres of wetlands within the 133-acre mining site, which includes approximately 111 acres of peat from the wetlands in three phases, and the mitigation proposed will result in approximately 42 acres of restored high-quality wetlands and approximately 78 acres of open water when the mining reclamation is completed. He noted that the Planning & Zoning Board added two additional conditions for hours of operation of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and limited the number of trucks to 15 per day, and the case was then approved with a 4-0 vote on the regular agenda. He mentioned that staff has received 11 letters or emails in opposition, five in support, and one with question or concerns; and staff has also received two petitions of opposition with 41 and 101 signatures. He stated that the staff recommendation is for the Board to approve this rezoning case.
Mr. Roger Sims, attorney for the applicant, noted that this project has been in the permitting process since 2012, and he commented that this was a family-owned and run business. He explained that what is being proposed is the removal of wet peat and reclamation of the area with clean backfill and native species. He noted that the St. Johns River Water Management District has issued letters which are in the backup information stating that they had no objection and saw this as a restoration project. He stated that the current conditions at the site include peat that was farmed intensively for many years and has built up nutrients which could feed into the downstream system. He related that the applicant plans to start by dyking off the area, containing all of the water, and mining in small cells; and after reclamation, the water will only be allowed to be drained offsite after the water quality is deemed acceptable by the state. He pointed out that they had approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida DEP, County staff, and the Planning & Zoning Commission and were in agreement with the added conditions concerning the hours of operation and the number of trucks allowed per day.
Mr. Mark Stevens, a licensed professional engineer and geologist with the Colinas Group in Lakeland, stated that he would address the concerns from some of the neighbors and residents. He mentioned that there was a study done in 2007 called the Basin Management Action Plan for the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin which identified areas where some nutrient loading on Trout Lake and the basin could be reduced, and he noted that the study identified three muck farms, one of which was the Pine Meadows site, where nutrients accumulated in the peat. He elaborated that DEP has indicated that restoration of a peat area referred to as Muck Farm 3 could reduce the total phosphorous loading by about 458 pounds per year in the Ocklawaha basin. He pointed out that several tables in the report show the cost of the various restoration projects in that basin, estimating about $1.3 million for the Pine Meadows Restoration Area, but this rezoning project will involve no public monies for removal of those nutrients. He addressed concerns about surface water discharges, noting that the Environmental Resource Permit does not allow any surface water discharges from the mining operation. He mentioned that there have been some comments from residents concerning how the operation would affect water levels in the Lake Dalhousie area, but he noted that a study done for the County in 2008 identified that the lake was outside the drainage basin in which the mine would lie and also separated by two smaller drainage basins. He illustrated on a topographic map of the Pine Meadows site location that there was a topographic ridge that runs along the east of the mining area near 44A, and groundwater flow would not be affected, since the Lake Dalhousie area is outside of the same groundwater basin. He pointed out that they do not have a surficial aquifer at this location, and the dewatering that will take place will be within each of the three mine cells and transferred from the active to an inactive cell, resulting in the water being recirculated on the property. He summarized that there should be no impacts on Lake Dalhousie. He related that a stormwater and surface water report was done for the mining operation which concluded that there would be no discharge during the construction phase prior to post development and restoration in each phase, which was also confirmed in a portion of the environmental resource permit issued by DEP, which requires daily monitoring of staff gauges around the dewatering area and the ceasing of the operation if there were any violations of surface water quality criteria. He concluded that he believes he has addressed the concerns that were expressed by the residents surrounding the area.
Commr. Campione asked how deep the surficial aquifer typically was as well as the peat material itself that would be removed.
Mr. Stevens responded that the surficial aquifer typically runs 30 to 50 feet thick, elaborating that it was clay made out of organic peat material on top of it, and the peat material is up to 8 to 10 feet. He also assured the Board that there would not be excavation of anything below the bottom of the peat material, since the clay below that is not a marketable material. He added that the surface water drainage in the area does not go from Lake Dalhousie to the mining area, since it was a separate drainage basin, and surface water comes to the lake from areas that are not associated with the mining operation; also, the groundwater flow that occurs in the surficial aquifer outside the mining area along the western side of the ridge moves towards the mine, since it was a separate surficial groundwater basin, and the groundwater flow on the east side of the ridge is moving towards the lake, noting that they are not interfering with the groundwater flow towards the lake.
Commr. Campione asked about the monitoring wells and rain gauges.
Mr. Stevens replied that there would be rain monitoring, monitoring wells, and surface water and groundwater quality monitoring as part of the environmental resource permit. He added that a report would be put together by a licensed professional engineer and reported to the State of Florida, a copy of which could be sent to the County as well.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Maria Berckes, a resident of Umatilla, commented that although she does not know what the peat mine would do to their area, quality of life, and underground water, she had previously expressed her concerns to the Board. She pointed out that there were always experts on each side of an issue, and she hoped that the Board took both sides into consideration. She stated that they would not be able to assess the effects of this project for a long time. She requested that the authorities in charge of monitoring and testing do not delegate that task to the mining company, and she asked the Board to do their due diligence in protecting their natural resources and the people of the County.
Dr. Stacy John Berckes, a resident of Umatilla, mentioned that he built a home for his family on Lake Dalhousie, which was a 250-acre pristine lake primarily fed by the aquifer, and he commented that there have been concerns about this project and a lack of information. He related that he, his wife, and some concerned residents had an environmental engineer who has previously dealt with peat mines study the information they had and give his opinions about whether this project would have any impacts on the residents of the area, and the engineer had some concerns. He expressed concern about unintended consequences and indicated that he would like to learn about and become more familiar with what kind of safeguards were in place. He opined that it should be incumbent on the entity that stands to profit from this rather than at the cost of taxpayers to address and monitor the concerns of the residents in the area.
Ms. Joan Bryant, a resident of Eustis and a representative of Trout Lake Nature Center, related that they wrote a letter to the Board stating their concerns and noted that the primary concern at Trout Lake Nature Center is about the dikes failing in the event of catastrophic rainfall, which would cause the water to come through Hicks Ditch and into Trout Lake. She mentioned that they have a number of agencies, such as EPA, the Lake County Water Authority, and a private company, who are looking to invest a lot of time and money into trying to improve the conditions in Trout Lake, and the Lake County Water Authority has allocated $150,000 for testing to find the sources of pollution of the lake. She commented that a lot of people are very concerned about this peat mine and that there was a lot of science on both sides of the issue. She relayed a compromise proposed by Ms. Linda Bystrak, President of the Oklawaha Audubon Society, to allow the applicant time to do some testing which would look at the impact the peat mining would have on their lake before determining whether to go ahead with the mining process, which would involve the Board postponing their vote.
Ms. Sandra Stura, a resident of Umatilla who lives near the proposed site, presented a drawing illustrating where Lake Dalhousie was in relationship to the mine, and she noted that the EPA noted in 2012 the potential effect on the environment and the controversial nature of this location will probably cause heightened public concern. She pointed out that this application is on a wetland property and would become a peat mine business. She addressed an issue regarding traffic and pointed out the commercial driveway that would be used with advisory signs for trucks entering the highway, noting that the trucks would be exiting on CR 450A with a speed limit of 55 mph. She commented that the application cites that the dust created will be contained by water trucks, which would be additional trucks and equipment for years and create air quality concerns, and she also expressed a concern regarding the possibility of spontaneous fires due to dry peat. She related that in the event that the peat mining operation ceases for a period of three years, reclamation of the disturbed areas associated with the peat operation are required to commence and be completed in five years of the period of the cessation of the operation, which she believed would cause the project to last many years.
Mr. Rob Sullivan, a resident of Lake Dalhousie, expressed concern about the nutrient rich water that would result from additional rain washing more nutrients out of the peat and where that water would go, noting that he would be concerned about his well if it goes into the aquifer. He commented that all projects like this start out with good intentions and good science, but a lot of those projects go awry. He asked whether the bond to secure remediation of anything that goes awry is for enough money to remediate the loss to property owners in the R-1 zoned area and to ensure that the right testing is done at the right time and that the right measures are taken to make sure any problems are immediately dealt with. He commented that he did not hear that any water believed to be contaminated would be put in tankers and hauled off, and since he was concerned that it would be left at the site to continue to go into the aquifer, he asked that it be stipulated that if that contaminated water is found to be going somewhere else, that it would be hauled offsite to ensure that it would not go to Trout Lake, the aquifer, or any of the surrounding lakes. He opined that there ought to be monitoring of many wells rather than just a few in that area, and he believed the residents should not have to pay to get their water tested. He also believed that any testing that is done by a trusted third party should be copied to the County and made public. He remarked that he understood the good intentions to remediate this environmental problem and to make this site beautiful in five or ten years, although that will seem like a long time to the adjacent residents, and he wondered if the benefit was commensurate with the risks.
Mr. Ken Facemire, a resident of Lake Eldorado, expressed concerns about noise from heavy equipment disturbing the peace and tranquility he currently enjoys and has enjoyed for all of the years he has lived there, and he commented that a good night’s sleep is very valuable to him. He asked who would like this peat mine in their own backyard.
Ms. Katherine Cook, a resident of Umatilla, asked who would be responsible for monitoring this project and take responsibility if things do not go well. She also asked what safety measures were in place in the event that those wells and the concurrent water bodies are contaminated, including bringing in fresh water in that instance to the residents who would be affected. She commented that she heard that the contractor is hiring the person who is going to be evaluating and monitoring all of that. She was concerned that there was more consideration for a company coming from outside the area than for the residents, and she stated that she would like to be protected by the County as a resident of Lake County. She opined that she did not think that the benefits were commensurate with the risks.
Mr. Lester Sumner, a resident of Sumterville, stated that he would speak on behalf of the environmental practices of Reliable Peat, and he personally had the opportunity to work for Reliable Peat. He commented that during his time there, he was amazed at the length that Reliable Peat would go to in order to ensure that the impact on the land and the wildlife was minimal, such as delaying the removal of dykes to allow young animals to mature so that they could relocate and relocating animals by hand to safer areas. He also mentioned that Reliable Peat tries not to remove any trees and will try to transplant any tree that has to be removed. He noted that the company does not allow engine braking or air horns on their facilities, and he has personally seen drivers banned from the mine for throwing trash out their windows. He added that areas which started out as eyesores were transformed into areas that contained wildlife such as ducks and fish, and he emphasized that pollutants were already in the ground at the site.
Mr. Sims stated that he would have Mr. Stevens talk about the monitoring and the provisions that are already in place to protect the residents, and he assured the Board that bond for reclamation was sufficient to reclaim even if the company walked away. He also assured everyone that there would not be an air quality issue and that they will find that Reliable Peat will be very responsible and do a great job.
Mr. Stevens commented that there would be extensive monitoring of this mine, such as water level as well as water quality monitoring for both groundwater and surface water, which would be conducted in accordance with state protocol by independent contractors, and that information would be reported to the state, with copies of the report also submitted to the County if desired. He mentioned that the nutrients were already at the site and contributing to the problems in some of the surface water bodies in the area, and the removal of the peat will remove some of the loading of those nutrients. He also noted that the Floridan Aquifer which is the source for most of the wells in the area is separated from the peat mining area by 30 to 50 feet of confining material.
Mr. Jack Reiner, the applicant and owner of Reliable Peat Company, emphasized that their company has never dried up or contaminated an adjoining property owner’s well in all of the 28 years they have been in Lake County, and he pointed out that they do not use frontend loaders with backup beepers in their excavation operations, adding that they have mufflers on all of their equipment. He explained that the water stays on the site, and most of the contaminants get trapped in the peat and then taken off of the property. He assured the Board that the monitoring would be done strictly by an impartial outside company, and he elaborated that they were required by the Army Corps of Engineers and the DEP to do studies of the flora and fauna and had to address any potential impacts on endangered species, which they did to their satisfaction over a long, hard process that started in 2009.
The Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that this project has been before them before and withdrawn, and he commented that although no one likes the process that has to be done to restore an area that needs the peat removed, it will result in a better piece of property and environment once that peat is removed. He suggested that they limit the number of trucks to 10 trucks a day, noting that there would not be any traffic on CR 44A since the trucks would be traveling west on CR 450A, and that they add additional language stating that the reporting of the water levels would be to the County for review in the ordinance if they decide to approve this. He commented that this project is within a relatively short timeframe compared to a lot of other peat mining operations.
Commr. Sullivan opined that he believed the applicant meets the rule of law in what they are trying to accomplish and that this will restore that site back to a wetland capacity that is better than before, based on other peat mining operations that he has seen of this size.
Commr. Campione mentioned that this site was close to where she lives, and she assured everyone that she has taken all of the concerns and emails seriously. She pointed out that the existing site is extremely polluted and would continue to be a source of pollution for Trout Lake, and she would want to have that pollution removed if she lived next to the site. She stated that they have had an issue regarding truck traffic on 44A, and she supports the limit on the number of trucks, as well as the idea of the County receiving the monitoring reports. She indicated that she has confidence that the monitoring reports would be done by outside independent, professional people with the right certifications and qualifications who would gather information and provide it to the County and other governmental agencies. She expressed concern about the trucks traveling on CR 450A from an impervious surface and asked whether they could add more pavement on the easement side to increase the size of the apron so that the tires would be on pavement before coming to CR 450A to reduce the impact they would have on that road. She added that the small and contained 20-acre cells also give assurance that there will not be the same strip mining effect that they have seen with huge industrialized projects. She pointed out that the taxpayers would not have to bear the cost of restoring this wetland, and this could be a good opportunity for this area to be restored to a jewel for ecotourism in Lake County. She asked about whether they could include dedicating the wetland conservation area to the County after completion of the project as part of the application, in order to ensure that the property would not be opened up to the possibility of future residential development there.
Commr. Cadwell responded that they do not yet know what SJRWMD would do with the adjoining property, and they might be a better owner of that property than the County.
Mr. Reiner explained that this site will go into a conservation easement no matter who will end up owning it, because it is a requirement of their DEP permit.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, with Commr. Parks abstaining, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2014-64, MCUP# 14/7/1-5, Pine Meadow Peat Mine CUP, with the changes to the limit of trucks from 15 to 10 trucks per day, as well as requirements to report the water levels and results of water quality monitoring back to the County under operation permit requirements and changing the size of the apron from 35 feet to include language stating “or such larger sizes required by Lake County Public Works.”
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:25 a.m. that there would be a fifteen-minute recess.
presentation - update from cfac regarding school impact fees
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, stated that this presentation would be an update and discussion regarding the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee’s (CFAC) recommendation regarding the school impact fees. She recapped that the school impact fees were suspended from January 2011 to January 2014, and the previous rate for the fees for single family homes before then was $9,324. She related that the Henderson Young Study of 2011 recommended $10,292 for single family, and the Board reinstated the impact fees for single family homes at approximately 25 percent of the recommended total, which was about $2,500. She noted that the School Board recommended 100 percent of the Henderson Young Study recommendation of $10,292 in a letter dated August 7, 2014, which the Board referred to the CFAC for a recommendation.
Mr. Bill Benham, Chairman of CFAC, related that the committee met twice to consider the School Board’s recommendation and to provide a recommendation for that impact fee to the County. He elaborated that the CFAC recommended an impact fee of 50 percent of the Henderson & Young Study, which would be $5,146, as well as to update the School Impact Fee study and to include a program that utilizes up to $200,000 of General Fund monies for infill for small builders and low-income housing, and he noted that the motion for this recommendation passed by a 5-2 vote by the members who were present. He presented a chart which gave recommended figures for other types of housing such as multi-family and mobile home parks, but he stated that they mainly focused on the single-family home figure.
Commr. Cadwell thanked Mr. Benham for his volunteer service and asked him whether they had an in depth discussion regarding the buying down for infill for low-income housing.
Mr. Benham indicated that was not a main part of their discussion, and they were trying to take into consideration a lot of various elements that were involved in what the impact of those fees would be on the community, as well as all of the economic implications, effect on affordability, and unemployment.
Commr. Campione suggested that a committee could be involved to assist with the selection of the firm that does the study and the parameters on which the study would be based.
Commr. Parks stated that as liaison and non-voting member to the CFAC committee, he thought that part of the discussion also included that they would craft the $200,000 program for buy-down for infill and the requirements for that, including that it should be for a smaller local company.
Ms. King mentioned that staff and the CFAC had briefly discussed the issues brought up by the Commissioners in the past, including that a study is needed to prove that a dual rational nexus test is met to ensure constitutionality. She reported that staff has heard quite a bit from the School Board staff regarding the redrawing of Concurrency Management Areas (CMS) to strengthen the concurrency rules, noting that it would require municipal and School Board participation, and they could take that up at a later time. She related that the requested actions were to advertise a discounted School Impact Fee of 50 percent of the Henderson Young Study and to request that the School Board update the School Impact Fee Study, and she asked direction regarding allocating General Funds to pay School Impact Fees for infill not to exceed $200,000, creation of impact fee zones, and the redrawing of the CMA’s.
Mr. Bill Mathias, School Board Member, emphasized that the ultimate goal has to be for fully funded growth, and he stated that he would appreciate the Board’s consideration of the 50 percent recommendation. He offered for the School Board to share and participate in the process of the infill in the spirit of fairness. He related that five professional firms were being interviewed to update the Henderson Young 2011 study, and he agreed with Commr. Campione about getting the citizens involved with the selection of the firm for the new study. He commented that concurrency and their capital plan only works if they fully fund the growth, and he was grateful to partner with the Board to find a solution.
Commr. Campione suggested that the new study also explore the new benefit zones as a possibility, and she mentioned that Lee County has three different benefit zones, with the impact fees collected in each zone staying in those zones. She added that they could take the study even further to determine whether they can have certain trigger mechanisms.
Mr. Mathias responded that he believed that they could meet the nexus if they work together on concurrency, since they would not transport beyond the lines of concurrency. He commented that there were a lot of opportunities for them to ultimately sort out how they fully fund growth and to come up with a sustainable model that would benefit the taxpayers.
Mr. Harry Fix, Director of Growth Planning, Lake County Schools, reported that they have reached out to five different impact fee consultants, including those that the Board has worked with in the past such as Fishkind and Associates, and he noted that Mr. Randy Young would not be available to do an update. He added that they would be getting the scope of work from each of them, which would be shown to the School Board at a workshop before they made a decision, and the price range for that is estimated at between $30,000 and $90,000.
Commr. Sullivan asked if they could look at redrawing of the areas into different zones as part of that study.
Mr. Fix responded that he had asked each of the impact fee consultants about that, since they know that the CFAC had been having that discussion, and their opinions were that they need to do a full districtwide study and come back to refine it later if that is the direction.
Commr. Conner commented that if the School Board wants different zones, they would have to provide the Board with a study that could legally justify it, and prolonging that would delay any possible implementation of it.
Mr. Fix remarked that the consultants indicated that they believed they would have a hard time justifying the separate zones.
Commr. Parks asked if the recommendation that was sent to the Board in a letter from the School Board asking for the full fee was a unanimous decision and whether they were all interested in the infill program.
Mr. Mathias responded that he would ask that they go back to $9,300, which was what the impact fee was in 2009, but he noted that he supports the recommendation of the committee right now.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a writer of a blog regarding local governmental and fiscal issues, mentioned that he has attended most of the CFAC and School Board meetings, and he commented that the schools need funding but did not have the ability to currently generate revenue. He stated that the funding is needed to fund capital projects such as new schools based on growth, and he expressed concern that the schools will eventually have to utilize double sessions in the future. He also opined that the lack of funding is also creating liability if the lost income results in a shortage of class space, and the CFAC committee is stacked against the schools. He commented that the Board could be perceived by teachers and parents as an obstacle to the schools receiving the funding they need, and he believed impact fees are a reasonable approach. He concluded that the Board needs to address this issue and give the schools the money they need if they cannot come up with alternatives.
Commr. Conner asked the County Attorney for a legal opinion about whether it is a problem that the current study is several years old in order to make sure that their decision would not be challenged or would be defendable if challenged.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, responded that the statute requires that those impact fees be based upon the most recent and localized data, and Mr. Young’s study is three years old at this point. He commented that the closer the Board goes to 100 percent of his number, the more people could question whether it is the most recent, and that is why it is essential that they update the impact fee study and validate Mr. Young’s basis numbers. However, he pointed out that they have at least a 90-day lead time before impact fees would start, which would be closer to five months after advertising and adoption of the ordinance, and he felt comfortable that they would be able to update the study enough to justify the fees in that time frame. He added that if it was shown that they could not justify it, they could readdress it at that time.
Commr. Campione commented that they have to take money from the General Fund when they waive an impact fee in order to subsidize it, and she asked if they could connect that to certain types of places where they want to encourage infill or whether it should be based upon income and hardship.
Mr. Minkoff replied that they would be spending general fund dollars in order to encourage development in a certain area of the county or for low-income type purposes. He mentioned that the County was spending money on the Sector Plan using General Fund dollars, because they felt that it was an important development area, and they could use General Fund dollars for infill activities if the Board made the finding that that was important for a valid public purpose.
Commr. Parks recommended reinstating 75 percent of the recommended fee while working to update the fee study, noting that the School Board made a recommendation for 100 percent while expeditiously moving forward with finding alternatives. He added that he supported crafting a program that would assist with the infill separately at a later date after the issues are worked out with that, and he also recommended that they look at the impact fee zones at the same time as they are updating the school impact fee study and redrawing concurrency management areas.
Commr. Sullivan commented that the support of their school system is a large part of their economic development, and he believed moving expeditiously to put in a recommendation for an impact fee is very important. He opined that they needed another study to include looking at zones and that using a regional approach made sense considering the growth in South Lake County. He recommended that they move forward with concurrency and the dual rational nexus, although it would limit where the money could be spent, and he indicated that he is not comfortable with the infill, because they already have had a lot of people pay the impact fees that they have not made an exception for, noting that there were ways to help using Affordable Housing dollars for impact fees.
Commr. Cadwell commented that they should start with a new study, since there has to be community confidence in the foundation which they start with; however, he emphasized that he does not believe they should use $200,000 out of the general fund for the infill, although he would support subsidizing affordable housing as long as it was not out of the general fund, noting that there were programs already in place using state and federal dollars through their Affordable Housing program, although they might have to change some of their goals and ways they are awarding that money to cover that. He expressed concern about the idea of different levels of service for different parts of the county, although he believes it is ultimately the School Board’s decision. He suggested that they look into the grades of the schools in Lee County which are in different districts to see if there was any difference in the grades for schools that are not in the highly funded areas as opposed to schools that are in those areas. He added that the decision they made that day regarding the percentage of impact fees would be temporary and only to give direction initially, since it would take at least six months before they were done with that process, and he indicated that he believed the suggestion of 75 percent was acceptable.
Commr. Campione commented that although she agrees that she would not want to take money out of the general fund, she sees the infill issue as an opportunity to promote infill such as sidewalks for students to get to school in their urban communities and that the lots that are in the existing urbanized areas of Lake County are actually built upon rather than expanding into large new subdivisions. She also mentioned that they could address new large subdivisions through the concurrency service areas by tightening up those districts and working with the School Board to figure out how that school would get built. She recommended that the Board go with the CFAC recommendation of 50 percent of the recommended impact fee, since it would be safest considering the age of the study, and then proceed to update that study, and she suggested that a member of CFAC talk to people in Lee County, including School Board members, to get some input about their experience with the zones and how that has worked out. She noted that she does not believe in creating different levels of service in Lake County for the education in the schools, but the whole concept behind having the separate concurrency service areas is strictly building capacity where it is needed, and she believed it made sense in a county of their size to have separate benefit districts with regard to the impact fee collection and could help with a lot of their issues. She also recommended having the CFAC take a look at who did the Lee County study and whether they were on their list. She stated that she believed they should use the study as an opportunity to figure out how to fund schools in the Sector Plan and whether they could use the Sector Plan area as a separate concurrency service area on its own.
Commr. Cadwell cautioned about inadvertently discouraging the buying of existing homes by giving an incentive of not paying impact fees by using the $200,000 for the infill.
Commr. Campione replied that it might help revitalize some of their older areas.
Commr. Conner commented that he was torn between advertising 50 and 75 percent of the impact fee study and that he did support updating the study and the concept of the zones, since he believed that the money collected in a high-growth area is going to be spent in a high growth area. He opined that although South Lake County can sustain a higher impact fee without impacting growth, he does not believe other areas of the county can. He noted that they would be approving something to advertise that day, and they were taking preliminary action subsequent to a study from the School Board. He expressed concern about indications that the School Board’s consultants had misgivings about the legality of the zones. He commented that he does not want to use infill from the General Fund, noting that they have to be careful not to send the wrong political message to the people of this county that the County was subsidizing developers while they were asking for a penny sales tax, and he added that having a higher impact fee would help to get the sales tax approved, since people would not be under the impression that they are subsidizing the growth. He asked the County Manager what the motion would accomplish if they will come back and change it after the new study was done.
Mr. David Heath, County Manager, responded that a possible motion would be to approve this to advertise for 50 percent, subject to the School Board going forward with updating the countywide study, which would also look at the possibility of doing it by geographic zones, and instructing staff to continue to work on the program to pay for infill development while continuing to work with Commr. Campione, the cities, and the School Board on the concurrency zones. He estimated that the public hearing would be November or December, with the effective date for the increase of April 1, 2015, which would meet the state requirement of the notice.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they could decrease the amount if they advertised 75 percent, but they could not increase the amount if they advertised for 50 percent.
Commr. Conner commented that that was a good point, and he would be in favor of that with the understanding that it could come down. He elaborated that the goal was to enact the maximum amount of an impact fee needed by the School Board and the county’s children without costing the county job loss, and he noted that they were working towards a solution. He also pointed out that an updated study might result in a much more innovative and creative solution in the future, although this was a good start. He commended the School Board and opined that this was the right way of moving this issue forward.
Commr. Campione opined that 75 percent will hurt people in many areas of the county and will send the wrong message. She pointed out that the CFAC gave a lot of thought to this recommendation, which she believed to be a reasonable approach and compromise. She asked the Commissioners to reconsider and vote for 50 percent, get the study updated, and try to find innovative ways to address the higher growth areas.
Commr. Conner responded that they can readdress the amount of the impact fees if they see that those fees are stifling the economy, and he expressed a hope that the School Board will have the study done by the time the Board is ready to implement the fees, encouraging the School Board to move as quickly as they could to get that done.
Commr. Sullivan commented that if they approve to advertise the ordinance at 75 percent, they can still lower it to 50 percent, and he believed they need to move this forward.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved to advertise a discounted School Impact Fee of 75 percent of the Henderson Young Study recommendation.
Commr. Campione voted “no.”
Commr. Campione asked if they could include in a motion regarding updating the study to address the Sector Plan and the possibility of a separate concurrency service area there as well as concurrency service areas in general based on some changes that the School Board might be interested in making.
Mr. Fix responded that the concurrency service areas needed to be done by the planners working through the Concurrency Oversight Committee and not as part of this, and he added that making the Sector Plan as its own concurrency service area would not preclude them from looking to the neighboring concurrency service areas for capacity, because that is a requirement by the state.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to respectfully ask the School Board to update the SIF Study and look at creation of impact fee zones.
Commr. Parks made a motion to direct staff to present a concept plan for the County to address infill with School Impact Fees, which was seconded by Commr. Campione and later withdrawn.
Commr. Parks made a motion that the Board move for staff to present the Board with a concept of a program that would demonstrate a good public purpose and be approved by the Board that would provide compensation of the School Impact Fee for infill situations, which died for lack of a second.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to direct staff to come back with alternatives to encourage infill.
Commr. Campione requested to continue working with the School Board to reach out to the cities on making some amendments to the concurrency service areas, one of which has to do with infill.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the agreements have a vehicle to allow either side to make changes.
Commr. Campione replied that they just needed to start the process and added that the Board was relying on the School Board to tell them where they can shift some of those lines to make it the best for them in conjunction with the Sector Plan, as well as discussing this with the cities to try to get support. She got consensus from the Board to continue as liaison in order to do that.
presentation regarding wekiva parkway
Ms. Mary Brooks from the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) related that she would give an update on the Wekiva Parkway project, noting that there were a lot of things happening now and would be happening in the next six months on this project. She recapped that the Wekiva Parkway would complete the beltway around Central Florida and would also make some safety and other enhancements to local roads, including remaining sections of SR 46 and US 441. She added that this was also a huge environmental project which would address a number of environmental concerns about all of the natural resources in the area and would include expansive wildlife bridges and the purchase of more than 3,400 acres of property for conservation. She pointed out the Wekiva Parkway corridor on an overhead map and noted that it was part of a much larger and grander wildlife corridor that they were working to protect. She related that one of the new concepts of the plan was all-electronic tolling, pointing out that it would be a cashless system, which is the trend in the development of toll projects nationwide and believed to improve safety, and drivers would need an E-PASS or SunPass transponder to use the Parkway. She related that there were 14 project sections, and DOT was handling the sections in green on the map which were largely in Lake and Seminole Counties. She mentioned that the focus has been on the design during the last couple of years and determining the very specific details about how they are going to build the Parkway and the various locations, and they were wrapping up design at a rapid pace, with all of the Expressway Authority sections expected to be finished with design by January of next year.
Ms. Brooks pointed out the graphics showing some of the aesthetic plans they were working on in order to enhance the driver’s experience and improve aesthetics for those living near the structures as well as some of the structures for the side street crossings on the first two sections in Orange County, including the arching and coloring for the overpasses and decorative sidewalk railings. She mentioned that they will try to have wider medians for increased landscaping, leaving vegetative buffers where possible along the right of way. She reported that the next sections for construction by the Expressway Authority will be Sections 1A and 1B, which will be located from where the 429 currently ends at US 441 up to the planned interchange at Kelly Park Road, and the design for these sections are complete; also, the OOCEA is currently in the process of hiring the firms that will oversee the construction for this project before the end of the year, and they expect to advertise for the contractors by December to build the first sections, with construction to start the first quarter of next year. She related that both of those sections are on track to be built and open to traffic by the end of 2016. She then pointed out the system’s interchange called Section 2B located north of Kelly Park Road, which is where drivers will decide whether they want to go northwest toward Mount Dora or to the east toward east Lake and Seminole Counties. She reported that design will be wrapped up for Section 2B within the next few weeks, with construction starting in 2017 and open to traffic in 2019. She noted that coming east out of that system’s interchange is Section 2A, which has completed design and expected to start construction in 2017, and she pointed out on the overhead map of that section that Pine Plantations is one of the large parcels purchased for conservation as part of building the Parkway. She further explained that Section 2C continued out from the other end of the system’s interchange and to the north, crossing the Lake-Orange County line to SR 46 just east of Round Lake Road, which would be the last OOCEA section, and the design for this section is expected to be finished in January and had a 2017 to 2019 construction timeframe. She pointed out on the diagram of Section 2C a joint use pond in the loop interchange that would handle the retention flow for a good portion of this section and the DOT section to the west of that as a result of some extensive coordination between DOT and OOCEA to try to limit the amount of private property that had to be taken for retention ponds.
Ms. Brooks went over the FDOT sections of the project, including Section 3A, which was one of the non-toll road improvement projects to SR 46, and she noted that there were no more additional retention ponds there, because all of the flow will go to the large pond. She also mentioned that this section is approaching 90 percent design and is on track for the 2017 to 2019 construction timeframe. She explained that the next section to the west was 3B which also involved the improvements to SR 46 and the interchange at US 441 and SR 46 and would also be on the 2017 to 2019 construction timeframe. She related that the sections currently under construction were Sections 4A and 4B from CR 435 to SR 46 just east of Camp Challenge Road, and this project is anticipated to be open to traffic in about March or April of next year. She also stated that they would soon be hearing shortly about some impacts to SR 46 where the construction will have to result in some lane closures, and she noted that they are working with the County to design a multi-use trail that will be built in the future. She related that one of the other non-toll road improvements is Section 5, which is the realignment of CR 46A out of the Seminole State Forest, and this was one of the considerations of the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act that removes a portion of CR 46A from the Seminole State Forest to try to eliminate collisions between vehicles and wildlife, making a new connection to CR 46A at 46 just east of Camp Challenge. She elaborated that this design is approaching 90 percent completion and is on track for construction to start in 2017.
Ms. Brooks stated that the largest section of the Parkway is Section 6, which goes through much of east Lake County basically replacing a large portion of the SR 46 corridor, and she showed some maps which displayed this section, pointing out one of the wildlife bridges and connector roads that they would be installing to ensure that private property access is maintained so that residents can get to and from the service roads that will parallel the Parkway in this area. She emphasized that drivers will continue to be able to get from Mount Dora to Sanford without paying a toll, and there will be non-toll service roads along portions of this section and sections in Seminole County to allow that movement. She commented that the two wildlife tunnels currently along SR 46 have about 80 feet of safe passage for wildlife, but the new bridges would have about 100 times more than that. She mentioned that Section 6 has involved a lot of environmental coordination with the federal and state agencies as well as local environmental groups, resulting in the current design concept for the bridge, which would be very different than it currently looks like, with a much higher profile of 61 feet high and within the tree canopy in order to buffer visually and from a noise perspective and help it to blend into the natural surroundings, and she added that they were using some warmer tones of color for a more aesthetic appeal. She related that Section 7A would be replacing SR 46 in Seminole County, and this section is approaching 60 percent planned and is one of the latest sections to begin. She pointed out that there was a roundabout in the design in this section to address some safety concerns, which has gotten a positive response from the community. She stated that Section 7B would be the last section of non-toll road improvements such as widening of sidewalks and those types of improvements, and Section 8 is the actual terminus of the Parkway connecting to I-4 and SR 417. She commented that all of the sections are expected to be completed and open to traffic by the end of 2021, and she summarized that a lot of the Parkway would be open in 2019. She reported that currently they are continuing to work with the community and doing a lot of community presentations, and she presented her contact information, inviting anyone who has any questions about the project to contact her.
presentation of wolfbranch innovation district work product
Ms. King introduced Mr. Whit Blanton, FAICP Vice President of Renaissance Planning Group, which is a consulting firm in Orlando that primarily serves local governments, metropolitan planning agencies, transit providers, and state transportation agencies. She elaborated that Mr. Blanton, who was the consultant selected to work on the Wolfbranch Innovation District, had 25 years of professional planning experience primarily in the areas of multi-modal planning and design to support redevelopment of corridors, centers, and districts. She noted that his experience spans a wide range of projects in the areas of transportation and land use planning and that he studied urban and regional planning at Florida State University and journalism at the University of Florida.
Mr. Blanton explained that this project originally started out as the Mount Dora Employment Center, and they have since come up with the name of Wolfbranch Innovation District in order to characterize the area as more than just a warehouse facility distribution center and as something that would be home for potentially higher wage jobs, technology, and medical services and supplies, put together with a lot of thought about the community in mind. He specified that this area is located right at the interchange with the Wekiva Parkway and SR 46, and he illustrated a map of the area, which he pointed out was a little more than 1,300 acres just east of the City of Mount Dora. He reported that the project, which came together through a grant from the Department of Economic Opportunity and assistance from the City of Mount Dora, consisted of three components, which were a market analysis of the potential for employment uses in that area; a conceptual master plan to guide development activity in the area, preserve natural resources to the extent feasible, and provide compatibility with surrounding development; and a marketing package to help Lake County Economic Development staff and the City of Mount Dora staff position this employment center for eventual success. He noted that they have had quite an extensive number of meetings with citizens and property owners in the area, starting with a kickoff meeting which provided a lot of good input and ideas, and then stakeholder briefings and meetings with the Expressway Authority, individual landowners, and a number of potential developers in the area to get thoughts about who might be tenants in the area. He mentioned that they also held a community open house to present a draft master plan and market research information to share with the public and get feedback, and they have also presented that information to the Mount Dora City Council on two occasions and gotten approval from them for the Center.
Mr. Blanton commented that there were pros and cons to the potential of locating an employment center at that location, and they used a market analysis to understand what the development program might be, including how to phase it, the general timetable, basic uses and demands in the area, and types of opportunities for job-generating uses in the area. He reported that their real estate research consultants’ assessment was that it was favorable and supportive for employment-based uses, and the location of the Wekiva Parkway would be a huge asset which would drive demand for the area and reinforce the overall access. He added that the prevailing settlement patterns align themselves along SR 46 and US 441, there are few competing sites, and the amount of available land is good. He stated that they have some strong performance indications from six to eight other case studies which looked at where there was a similar type of regional beltway going in and a similar type of context in places throughout Florida. He commented that one of the challenges to the site and an issue to be addressed is the fact that the Wekiva Parkway connection goes right through the center of the site, which would add some noise and other considerations; also, he pointed out that there were some divided ownership problems, although there has been a number of lots assembled, and it is in the Wekiva Basin, which presents some stormwater challenges. He also mentioned that there was a competing project to the south, Kelly Park Plantation, which was a little bit further along. He summarized, however, that generally this was thought to be a very favorable location and well suited to take advantage of the opportunity. He related that the ideal mix of development activity would be about 30 percent of office use, 50 percent in the broad category of industrial-manufacturing, 10 percent retail, and 10 percent institutional-residential, noting that this would ensure that approximately 80 percent would be true employment-based uses, which is a valid and viable use for the site.
Mr. Blanton explained that they had used the information gathered to put together a Conceptual Master Plan which evaluated how to maximize the development opportunities, create a transportation network, guide development in a way that is sensitive to the environment in the area, and buffer existing established residential areas that are looking to stay as rural as possible. He stated that this could be used as a guide by cities and County staff to review development applications and make a determination. He expounded that they started with a composite base map looking at the low-lying areas and road alignment and then put together a transportation network mapping, noting that the Lake Wekiva Trail went through this site, which created a great opportunity for a trailhead and to attract certain types of employment in the area. He added that there were a couple of existing traffic signals at Round Lake Road and 46A, as well as possibly some other traffic signals, and they wanted their Master Plan to work around those, and he commented that they tried to create a balanced transportation network of two-lane roads, primarily that would help distribute traffic and provide opportunities for developable land. He noted that they wanted to keep development away from a couple of low wetland areas where water would flow into those areas, and there were some opportunities where the topography would provide some nice view sheds that would be attractive for real estate development in the future. He related that the next step was to put together a marketing package after discussion by the Mid-Florida Economic Development Commission, Lake County Economic Development staff, and others with a goal to create a brand identity for the site, provide a strategy for public distribution, and align the marketing package with the regional and local marketing strategies that are already in use. He indicated that the primary messages would be excellent regional access, proximity to Mount Dora and its vibrant downtown area, a favorable business climate, location in an area known as becoming an outdoor sports and recreation capital, and supportive demographics and growth characteristics. He showed a prototype of a brochure they put together showing examples of the types of development that could occur in the area, as well as a few key statistics on population and employment growth in the area, the locational advantages, the proximity to get to a regional destination, the fact that Lake County has a lower cost of living but is in an area with some relative affluence, high quality of life in the surrounding area, the available workforce, and an emerging mixed use eco district. He recapped that the City has done a lot of work with the County to establish a joint planning area with aligned land uses for this area, which ensures that there is no conflict with Comprehensive Plan and land use policies, and the City is prepared to extend utilities to serve the area and has the capacity available, which could be an incentive for development. He concluded that they had changed the name of this area to the Wolfbranch Innovation District at Mount Dora to give it a unique name, and an innovative district is intended to be an incubator to develop skills, new jobs, and businesses.
Commr. Parks encouraged the City as they go through the planning process and implementation to explore whether there is any duplication of services with the County to ensure efficient use of those services.
water level update by lake county water authority
Mr. Mike Perry, Executive Director of the Lake County Water Authority, reported that rainfall during the summer was 21.24 inches, which was close to average, and the lakes came up almost 24 inches during that time. He added that the lakes have continued to rise during the month of October, even though October has been a fairly dry month with only a couple of periods of rain, and there was still a good amount of water in the drainage basins. He showed a graph of water surface elevation in Lake Minnehaha in Clermont. He pointed out that although it seems like the area has gotten an abundance of rain lately, they have really only seen about 1.25 inches more than what is considered to be average rainfall; however, this has been on the heels of five to six years of considerable rainfall deficit. He noted that the lakes are currently higher than they have been in the last five years, and he showed a graph illustrating an all-time low lake level in 2002 followed by record rainfall which enabled a recovery of the lakes within one year. He also presented a chart of the Period of Record for Lake Minnehaha showing that it is currently approaching the estimated daily mean lake surface elevation, after being below that point for the last six or seven years. He stated that there were some flapper gates installed on the north side of Lake Lowery that would prevent water from moving south and encourage water to move north and a spill box put in to the south set at an elevation of 131 feet to ensure that no water would move out of Lake Lowery until it got to that level. He presented photographs showing that in September the flapper gates were held closed, with no water moving out of Lake Lowery, and he pointed out on a photograph that there was no water anywhere near the spill box and therefore no water coming out of Lake Lowery in order to prove that Polk County was not taking water away from Lake County. He pointed out that the elevation of the Harris Chain of Lakes increased only a little bit but not as much as other lakes in the area, even with all of the rain to the south of them, and he assured everyone that no water has been moved out of those lakes since April of 2012. He reported that the District is working on a minimum flow and level for the Harris Chain that is likely to include changes in the way those lakes are managed and how and when the structures are opened.
Commr. Campione asked what changes he anticipates for the Harris Chain.
Mr. Perry responded that he believes that after setting a maximum and minimum desirable elevation flow line, they would let the lake flow the way it would naturally, and discharge when it gets to the higher line.
Commr. Parks commented that he appreciated the coordination between Mr. Perry and the County’s Public Works staff as they work on Phase III of the South Lake Regional Water Initiative, which is the water conveyance infrastructure study and request for information.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
economic development and tourism
update on fire station 90 and advertisement of clermont isba
Mr. Bill Veach, Deputy County Manager, related that this presentation would provide the Board with an update regarding Fire Station 90, the business expansion due to the Hartle Road modifications, and the Clermont ISBA (Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement).
Chief John Jolliff, Public Safety Director and Fire Chief, recapped that Fire Station 90 was currently operating from a local hotel and commented that it is their highest priority right now to get those firefighters moved out of that location. He mentioned that they initially proposed relocating them to the Sheriff’s Substation north of SR 50, but that relocation would defeat the purpose of being in an area that would provide the highest level of service; however, relocation south of SR 50 near Hartle Road would provide the highest level of service to the citizens and would also be in conjunction with Clermont’s plans. He related that discussions were held with the City of Clermont Fire Department and the City Manager for a proposed joint fire station, and a process was started for relocating Fire Station 90 to a permanent site south of SR 50 near Hartle Road. He specified that they had identified that Senninger Irrigation needed safer access to SR 50, and the multiple County departments began working on the joint project with Senninger and Clermont, with Senninger providing the fire station site and right of way, the County providing site development and fire station construction as well as construction of Hartle Road, and Clermont providing half of the cost of the site improvement and construction, water, and sewer. He pointed out, however, that Clermont’s participation is contingent on approval of the ISBA. He went over the structure design, which was for 2,464 square feet of living quarters and a detached parking area with an anticipated completion in the third quarter of 2015, noting that they are currently trying to resolve a sand skink issue.
Mr. Paul Simmons, Coordinator with Economic Development and Tourism, stated that he would provide an economic development update on the partnership with Senninger Irrigation on the Fire Station 90 project, noting that Senninger is looking to expand its facility, which currently houses its corporate headquarters, Research and Development, a majority of the mold injection machines, and warehousing and distribution. He mentioned that the company currently employs over 250 employees and has concerns about the safety of the access to the facility from SR 50 for their employees. He stated that staff was proposing to provide access on Hartle Road which would get them to a signalized intersection on SR 50, and Senninger would begin a 64,000-square foot expansion in return. He related that currently Senninger does not want Hooks Street to go through their parcel, but they are very pleased with the Hartle Road alignment, which he illustrated on an overhead map. He reported that as part of this process, Senninger would then transfer about four acres of right of way on Hartle Road for impact fee credits and would donate a two-acre parcel for the fire station. He summarized that the new access for Senninger would work in conjunction with the construction of the new fire station, including the realignment of Hartle Road.
Mr. Veach recapped that the Clermont ISBA process started in 2013, which allowed for joint cooperation primarily in the area of growth management, noncontiguous annexation, and emergency services, and he specified that Automatic Aid will provide significant enhancement to fire service response times. He related that Clermont approved the ISBA in June 2014, and it was approved by the Board in August 2014 with two changes, which were that the entity having jurisdiction has the final decision on development and the parcels greater than ten acres would require the owner’s consent for annexation. He reported that Clermont did not adopt the ISBA but asked in September for the Board to reconsider the original ISBA. He pointed out that Fire Station 90 is not fully funded without Clermont’s participation, and in order to relocate that station without Clermont’s participation, construction of Fire Station 14 in Altoona would need to be delayed by at least a year. He pointed out that with an approved ISBA, staff could complete the agreement negotiations with Senninger for the donation of the fire station parcel and the right of way exchange, complete agreement negotiations with the City of Clermont regarding their financial participation in the project and joint operation of the station, and return the completed agreements to the Board for final approval. However, he commented that without an approved ISBA they would have to delay the Altoona fire station and construct Fire Station 90 solely as a County facility. He mentioned that staff planned to move forward with the Senninger access regardless of the decision, and he requested approval to advertise the amendments to the Clermont ISBA ordinance.
Commr. Campione clarified that the amendment would take out the ten-acre requirement for an involuntary annexation.
Mr. Minkoff responded that there are not significant differences in the annexation requirements in terms of approval by the property owners between the ISBA and the regular ones, with the main difference being that an election would not have to be held if more than 50 percent of voters petitioned for annexation, but it would still require either individual property owner approval or some type of vote of property owners or residents. He elaborated that the Board imposed a requirement that there would be actual owner consent for ten-acre parcels, which is a greater requirement than the regular annexation requirements of the statutes.
Commr. Campione expressed concern that the city would be able to annex non-contiguous parcels under the ISBA, although the statute requires that the parcels be contiguous, which would allow leapfrog annexation. She asked whether the language stating that the entity having jurisdiction would have the final decision on development will be taken out of the agreement.
Mr. Minkoff replied that Clermont did not approve that language, but the ISBA as written in the statutes does not stop the entity that has control of that area from making the final decision. He elaborated that the language in the ISBA as originally proposed is very similar to their joint planning area agreements and was just a notification requirement.
Mr. Darren Gray, City Manager of Clermont, related that they have been working on this agreement for the last couple of years, and the City felt that since the jurisdiction already has control over the development order, there is no need to put that in the agreement. He pointed out that most of the properties covered in this agreement are commercial properties that are served by Clermont for water and sewer service, and this ISBA agreement was initially mainly for the Hwy 50 corridor to the Orange County line. He commented that are very few homes out there and only one development that has just started construction that would be within the ISBA boundaries, with the vast majority of that area commercial.
Commr. Parks commented that this agreement can be a model for intergovernmental coordination and for public-private partnership, adding that this would be a true first response agreement involving the transponders. He pointed out that there may be situations where it is better for the County to serve areas that are in the city with fire service, especially in areas east towards the county line and the Turnpike, and vice-versa. He related that he was in favor of moving forward with advertising the amendment to the ordinance.
Commr. Conner clarified that although Senninger is not specifically part of this ISBA ordinance, the approval of this would foster the County’s moving forward with the Senninger plans, and he opined that Senninger was an impressive business and that this is a good thing for all parties.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved advertising the amendment to the Clermont ISBA Ordinance, with the revisions from the City of Clermont.
appointment to the sales surtax oversight advisory committee
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of the following members to the Sales Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee to serve four-year terms ending November 19, 2018: reappointment of Bea Meeks and Herbert Scott Smith as members of the public at large as designated by the BCC, reappointment of William Smith and Rachel Holtzclaw as members of the public at large as designated by the School Board, and reappointment of Keith Mullins and Glenn Irby as members of the public at large as designated by the League of Cities.
appointment to the tourist development council
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution No. 2014-119 appointing the following individuals to positions on the Tourist Development Council: reappointment of Terry March as owner/operator of a motel, recreational vehicle park or other tourist accommodation to serve a four-year term beginning Dec. 1, 2014; appointment of Thomas Warriner as resident involved in the Tourist Industry to complete an unexpired four-year term ending Dec. 1, 2016; and appointment of Michael Holland and reappointment of Ray Goodgame as elected municipal officers to serve four-year terms beginning December 1, 2014.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – DISTRICT 4
groundbreaking for lake tech center for manufacturing
Commr. Campione mentioned that the groundbreaking for the Lake Tech Advanced Center for Manufacturing would be Thursday, October 30, at 10:00 a.m., noting that it was a huge milestone and an exciting event. She related that their Economic Development Department has worked very hard with Dr. Diane Culpepper at Lake Tech along with their manufacturing community and legislators to make this a reality and to get skill sets taught at Lake Tech that could address the needs of their existing manufacturers.
reports – commissioner parks – vice-chairman and district 2
first rowing regatta
Commr. Parks announced that the first rowing regatta would be held in Clermont on November 8, which would be called the Leader of the Lake.
reports – commissioner cadwell – district 5
Local delegation meeting for st. johns river alliance
Commr. Cadwell requested to represent the County as liaison at the local delegation meetings for the St. Johns River Alliance.
Commr. Cadwell related that the Renaissance Faire would be held starting that weekend at its new location at Lake Idamere Park, and he thanked everyone who helped with that.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER conner – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 3
leesburg rotary club event and farm bureau dinner
Commr. Conner mentioned that he had spoken at the Leesburg Rotary Club last week and attended the Farm Bureau dinner.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.
jimmy conner, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK