april 9, 1975

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners convened in special session on Wednesday, April 9, 1975, at 9:00 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Room, Courthouse, Tavares, Florida, for a workshop session with representatives from the State of Florida regarding their proposed regulations for the Green Swamp as an Area of Critical State Concern.  Present were:  J. M. Hoskinson, Chairman; Thomas J. Windram; C.A. 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.

planning and zoning

The following people were present at this special meeting representing the State of Florida: Mr. Wallace Henderson, Assistance Secretary for the Department of Administration; Mr. Earl Starnes, Director of the Department of State Planning; Mr. Eastern Tin, Chief of Land and Water Management; Mr. Steve Fox, Planner; Louis Hubner, Attorney; and Mr. Earl Bennetta, Soil Scientist.

Commr. Hoskinson brought to the attention of the State representatives that according to their regulations, there will be a certain amount of development allowed in the wetlands, whereas Lake County’s Zoning Rules and Regulations protect these wetlands by not allowing any development whatsoever.  He also stated that any abuse of the land has been done by the State Land Sales Board.

Mr. Eastern Tin stated that they would go through the proposed regulations and discuss problem items.

He began the session by stating that all land used for agriculture would be exempted from these regulations.  Commr. Hoskinson asked if this would include the construction of roads, installation of power lines, building of living quarters for workers, etc., which are needed for agricultural pursuits, but was mainly concerned about the construction of roads needed to attain access and removed products from agricultural lands.  Mr. Starnes stated that the regulations dealt mainly with the construction of public roads.  At this time, Mr. Henderson stated that if it could be clearly shown that these roads would be used in agricultural pursuits, their exemption would be automatic; however, if specific examples would help clarify the matter, the two planning staffs could confer on the proper language to be incorporated in these regulations.

Commr. Hoskinson requested that they explain their interpretation of vested rights and who shall determine if vested rights exist.  Earl Starnes stated that an individual has the opportunity to appeal to the State or County to determine if they possess vested rights.  The agency to which the individual appears makes the only and final determination as to existence of vested rights and there is no further remedy available by any other agency.

Detailed discussion was held regarding the burden these regulations would place on the single family dwelling lot owner.  It was agreed that changes would be made in the rules and regulations so that the modification of an existing single family residence, no matter how extensive, and the construction of the single family dwelling will not fall within the rules and regulations of the Green Swamp.

The Board then reviewed the definitions contained in these rules and regulations.  The State said these definitions would be expanded to include the definitions of Florida Statute 380.

Other areas in the regulations that the State was conducive to changing were the elimination of vegetative association within the regulations, changing the topography requirements in no more than one foot contours in wetlands areas and flatlands and two feet otherwise, and the paragraph on transportation will be removed on agreement by the State.


At 11:00 A.M. Commr. Carson excused himself from the meeting due to a Law Library meeting previously scheduled.

planning and zoning

Discussion was held on the regulations regarding the site plan.  Commr. Hoskinson commented on the fact that according to these regulations, the County could approve a site plan, yet the State still had the right to disapprove the site plan at a later date.  Mr. Starnes suggested that the two staffs get together and rewrite this section.  Commr. Windram voiced his opinion that when a site plan is submitted and approved if the State had some objection, its objection should be made known at that time and not weeks or months later.


At 11:40 A.M. Commr. Carson returned to the special Board meeting.

planning and zoning

The Board members requested that these regulations be defined as applying solely to the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.  Mr. Starnes stated that proper wording could be inserted to convey this meaning.

Discussion was then held on the section dealing with site alterations.  It was stated that for public use, site alterations would be limited to 60 percent of the total site size; however, re-wording was done within this section which, when completed, stated that public communications facilities would be totally removed from section seven and that paragraph “b” number 2 was changed from governmental uses which provided tax-supported services to the residents of Lake County; to “governmental structures which provide tax-supported services.”

Commr. Hoskinson questioned which agency would defend a court suit when filed.  Mr. Louis Hubner stated that this was covered in Chapter 120 and that if the validity of the regulations were challenged, the State would defend the suit.

Private individuals who appeared before the Board in opposition to these regulations were Mr. Alex J. MacDonald and Mr. Donal Bronson, as well as a representative from the Cattlemen’s Association.

At this time, Commr. Hoskinson wanted to confirm the fact that the Board did not agree with these regulations; however, certain changes had been made that would ease the burden, only slightly, to the Lake County citizens who owned land in the designated Green Swamp Area but that the Board of County Commissioners would not approve adoption of them.

Commr. Carson stated that a lot of the problems could be solved if the designated area was re-studied with regards to the boundaries.  Mr. Starnes stated that this assignment had been given to them but that these regulations were a priority with the State.

Mr. Ford, County Attorney, explained to the representatives from the State that the Board did not want to be placed in a position where it would have to defend a lawsuit involving these regulations with which the Board does not agree.

On a motion by Commr. Windram, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried unanimously, the Board approved travel for Michael Willett, County Planner, and any necessary staff members, legal counsel and any commissioner to Tallahassee to confer with the State’s Planning Staff with regards to incorporation and the elimination of corrections in the Rules and Regulations for the Green Swamp as an Area of State Critical Concern.

There being no further business to be brought before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.


J.M. Hoskinson, chairman



James C. Watkins, Clerk