january 20, 1975

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners convened in special session on Monday, January 20, 1975, at 9:00 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Room, Courthouse, Tavares, for the purpose of conducting an advertised Public Hearing to consider the adoption of an Ordinance with regards to the Green Swamp as an area of State Critical Concern.  Present were:  J. M. Hoskinson, Chairman; Thomas J. Windram; C.A. “Lex” Deems; Glenn C. Burhans; and James R. Carson, Jr.  Others present were: James C. Watkins, Clerk; Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; and Andrea Gambrell, Deputy Clerk.

The Invocation was given by James R. Carson, Jr., who also led the Pledge of Allegiance.

planning and zoning

Commr. Hoskinson asked if there were any representatives from the State Department of Planning in the audience; there was no response.

Mr. Willett, Planning Director, presented to the Board the latest draft of the Code as required by the State of Florida and reviewed the changes made therein.

At this time, Commr. Hoskinson read a letter to Steve Fox of the Division of State Planning from Mr. Willett requesting answers to some questions regarding this code before this hearing was held.  Mr. Willett stated that to date the letter had not been answered.

Mr. Willett stated that if this code should be adopted, it would not go into effect until the Bureau of State Land Planning approved the code.  He also mentioned that the State could either accept it as submitted, amend it or reject it entirely.

Commr. Carson asked what would the alternatives be if the Board of County Commissioners did nothing on the subject.  Mr. Ford, County Attorney, stated that the State could obtain a Court Order which would require the County to take some action with regards to the Law.  He suggested that the Board adopt a mild code to remain within the requirements of Chapter 22F-S of the Florida Administrative Regulations.

Commr. Windram brought to the attention of the Board his concern over the County’s responsibility for the enforcement of this Code.  He stated that if it is amended, changed or rewritten by the State and then a suit is filed in a Court of Law, the more stringent rule presides.

Mrs. C. Kuharske, a resident in the Green Swamp, stated that the rules and regulations that are being imposed on the citizens of this area are already covered in detail in the Southwest Water Management District Rules and Regulations.  She expressed that in her opinion, these proposed rules and regulations as required by the State of Florida were not for the protection of this land but who had its water rights.

Mr. Donald Bronson, also a resident of this area, stated that he had not seen any written proof that the Green Swamp is a water recharge area.

Commr. Windram stated that there were law suits in this matter and that in his opinion, he could not in good conscience give up any rights to the State without an effort.  Mr. Ford stated that there was a possibility that the Board could join in suit against the State regarding this matter.

Commr. Carson voiced his opinion that the Green Swamp has been in existence for centuries, and Lake County has protected it and will continue to protect this area and felt that it was not necessary for the State to step in at this point and begin to take on the protection of this area.

Mrs. Mary Woodward, property owner in the designated Green Swamp area, was concerned over the ability to build a home on a piece of property that surrounded the lakes in the area.

Mr. John Odham, property owner in the Green Swamp, stated that he obtained and cultivated his land through a lot of hard work and felt that the State had not taken into consideration the feelings of the residents in this area.  He requested that the Board of County Commissioners remain behind the people of Lake County and citizens in this area and oppose these regulations.

At this time, the Board members reviewed the most recent draft of the Green Swamp Development Code as required by the State of Florida and prepared by the Lake County Planning Department.  Mr. Ford, County Attorney, suggested rewording certain parts of this code to protect land owners whose property was large enough to build single-family dwelling units, suggested the removal of certain conditions under Master Land Use Plan Requirements, rewording under the Performance Criteria, and deletions under Site Alterations.  A copy of these changes is filed in the Board of County Commissioners Office under Green Swamp.

Representative Dick Langley appeared before the Board and discussed the position the County would be in with regards to a suit if they adopted a Development Code and had to defend a regulation in which Lake County did not believe was best for its citizens or the area.  Commr. Windram stated that it may place the residents in a better position when a suit is filed to be able to show the Court that Lake County adopted some sort of Code as required by the State.

Commr. Hoskinson stated that in the last draft, the State owned lands were omitted.  Mr. Willett informed the Board that the legal description now included these lands.

Mr. Lewis Kuykentall, a Green Swamp resident, expressed his concern over the fact that the Board has tried many times to come up with a Code that the people could live with, and each time it was sent to Tallahassee it was rejected and that he would much rather fight this matter than have the County adopt a regulation that would certainly hurt the people in this area.

Representative Langley stated that the Board should consider very carefully the fact that if the County adopted a code and the State changes it, the County would be the defendant in a lawsuit and did the County want to be in this position.

Commr. Carson stated that the advertised notice for this public hearing was to consider the adoption of an ordinance and that in his opinion an ordinance had been considered by the Board of County Commissioners; therefore, on a motion by Commr. Carson, seconded by Commr. Burhans and carried unanimously, the Board approved that further consideration of this ordinance be postponed until February 4, 1975 at 11:00 a.m. and that the Planning Department be instructed to send a copy of Lake County’s Zoning Rules and Regulations to Tallahassee with a letter stating that the enclosed ordinance is being considered.

There being no further business to be brought before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:05 p.m.


J. M. Hoskinson, chairman



James C. Watkins, Clerk