A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JENKINS AUDITORIUM - CLERMONT
JULY 5, 1989
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, July 6, 1989, at 7:30 p.m., at Jenkins Auditorium, Clermont, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: C. W. "Chick" Gregg, Chairman: Richard Swartz; Michael J. Bakich; and Don Bailey. Others present were: William Stearn, Assistant County Attorney; Robert K. McKee, Chief Deputy Clerk: Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services; Ava Kronz, County Manager's Assistant; and Linda Springston, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Bakich gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Swartz.
Commr. Gregg turned the meeting over to Commr. Swartz due to the fact that the meeting is being held in his district.
Commr. Swartz thanked the people in the audience for attending the meeting, and introduced the commissioners and county employees to the audience. Also introduced were several persons in the audience, those being Mae Griffith, Mayor of Minneola; Ann Dupee, Clermont City Council; Wayne Saunders, Clermont City Manager; and members of the press.
Commr. Swartz stated that the presentation this evening is on the upcoming request from the Reedy Creek Improvement District (Walt Disney World), to bring treated effluent from their wastewater plant, which is in the Reedy Creek area, into an area of Lake County.
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, explained to the audience Reedy Creek's request and the process used to dispose of the effluent. He stated that Reedy Creek is proposing to utilize a portion of South Lake County as an effluent disposal area, and plan to expand their wastewater treatment facility, off of the Walt Disney properties, to approximately 14 million gallons a day. The effluent that will come from that plant will be primarily used as wastewater reuse for irrigation within the Walt Disney properties, however, they do not have enough land area within their developed properties to utilize all of the generated wastewater for irrigation purposes. As a result, they have taken steps to determine where they might best utilize additional land for effluent disposal, one of those areas being in Lake County and one in Orange County. The property in Lake County is bounded on the west by Bradshaw Road, the north by Shellpond Road, on the south by Sawgrass Lake, and Lake Louisa to the west.
Mr. Findell informed the audience that the Conserv II Project, which borders the Reedy Creek property, is operated by Orange County and the City of Orlando, where highly treated effluent is disposed of. In order for the Reedy Creek Improvement District to implement this plan they have had to hire CH2M Hill, a consulting engineering firm, to prepare a feasibility analysis, to determine the feasibility of utilizing these properties for wastewater disposal. The engineers will develop a regional ground-water model and do site specific geologic testing to determine the hydrologic capacity of these soils, such as, how much wastewater could be disposed of on that particular site. The model, which is being developed, will also have the capability of reviewing the interaction and influence between the Conserv II project and the proposed Reedy Creek Improvement project. It will determine the hydrologic capacities of the soils in this area and the potential impact for each project individually.
Mr. Findell stated that, in order for Reedy Creek to implement these activities, they would have to apply for a land use change, through Lake County's Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. The land use change request would be for a Public Facilities District (Conditional Use Permit), which is specific to those activities that are of a public necessity or public benefit nature.
Mr. Findell noted that the Board of County Commissioners has recognized that this will be a fairly controversial project, because the project may have positive or negative impacts, which are presently unknown. Therefore, the Board felt that it was necessary to protect the interests of Lake County by hiring a preiminent engineering firm which has an international reputation as ground-water consultants, that being Geraghty L Miller, Inc., from Tampa. The responsibility of Geraghty L Miller, Inc. is to work with the county staff, CH2M Hill, and the Reedy Creek Improvement District, to determine what the potential impact of the proposed activity is. In order to determine these impacts, Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will review the Reedy Creek Improvement District's plant disposal methodology, which is on Reedy Creek Property, the effluent from that plant will flow to Orange County and Lake County. It is to be a very highly treated effluent, and Lake County is concerned what the impact of that effluent is going to have on the county. To make that determination Lake County wants to inspect the Reedy Creek Improvement District's wastewater treatment facility, checking for problems with the plant or its processes. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will review and provide input into the development of the regional ground-water model that will be developed by CH2M Hill. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will also determine the validity of that model. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. are to review and provide input into CH2M Hill's hydrogeological field investigation activities and their ground and surface water monitoring plants. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will review the results of the modeling, hydrogeologic testing, and impact analysis reports that are prepared by CH2M Hill. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will provide the Board with an overall evaluation of the proposed project in terms of water quality, water quality and quanity impacts, health impacts, and impacts to crops in the area.
Mr. Findell stated that Geraghty L Miller, Inc. will provide a level of expertise in evaluating the proposed project, which will allow the Board of County Commissioners to make an educated and informed decision, as to whether it is a viable and beneficial project for Lake County.
Mr. Clint Hooten, Clermont, questioned Mr. Findell whether Reedy Creek would have sole jurisdiction over this property.
Mr. Findell responded that the Reedy Creek Improvement District was established by special acts of the Legislature, which provides the people in authority of the drainage district with municipal powers, and therefore, have total control of the activities within those boundaries. Reedy Creek will not be expanding their boundary control, in this case, they are merely purchasing the property in Lake County, which they plan to utilize for disposal of effluent, if Lake County approves rezoning for a Public Facilities District. Lake County will still have jurisdiction of the activities conducted in that area.
Commr. Swartz added that the Reedy Creek Improvement District is a subdivision of government similar to the Board of County Commissioners in Lake County, and have authority over their property, therefore, if the property were in the Reedy Creek Improvement District they could do as they choose, but the difference is that the property is located in Lake County, and approval must be granted by Lake County to rezone and/or use that property for any type of land use other than its current Agricultural zoning.
Mrs. Mae Griffith, Mayor of Minneola, questioned whether Disney World is utilizing the ground they already own or are they saving theirs for development and dumping the effluent elsewhere.
Mr. Findell responded by stating that Disney is using a substantial portion of their property for effluent disposal and also a substantial portion of their property is not suitable for effluent disposal, due to the fact that it is of a wetland type nature. A large portion of their effluent disposal is going to be utilized on Disney property for irrigation purposes.
Mr. Findell pointed out, on the map, where the Orange and Lake County lines are, and the portions of Orange and Lake counties which Reedy Creek is interested in.
Mr. Jerry Chicone, who owns 275 acres of Lake County orange grove, stated that he was the original grower that signed up for the Conserv II project, and that he worked with the City of Orlando and Orange County to establish what would best serve Orange and Lake County's, so it would enhance the county economically. He noted that Disney is under an order from the State of Florida not to dump any more effluent in the Reedy Creek District, which is the reason for the need for additional land. He noted that the Conserv II project won an award in 1988 for the number one engineering project in America, based on innovation, purity, and being the project of that nature. He stated that the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services comes to the Conserv II area once a week to test for disease. Therefore, Orange County, the City of Orlando, and Charles Bradshaw (owner of Hi Acres), all would like to see Walt Disney World's Reedy Creek Improvement District enter into the existing Conserv II project, and in doing so the zoning does not need to be changed.
Mr. Chicone urged the Commissioners to have one project, which is already successful, and encourage Disney to enter into that project (Conserv II).
Ms. Ann Dupee, Clermont City Council and South Lake Press, questioned Mr. Chicone whether he had received an update from Walt Disney World concerning a certain meeting which they had attended, with Mr. Chicone responding that he had not received the information.
Commr. Swartz stated that Disney has agreed with the Board to fund the independent hydrological study that Geraghty & Miller, Inc. is performing for Lake County. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. is being paid by the Board with money received from Disney. Geraghty & Miller, Inc. is working as an independent consultant for the Board to review the aspects of the engineering, and factors that the county staff feel are important in order to review the water quality and quantity.
Mr. Findell added that Geraghty & Miller, Inc. will not only review what is proposed by CH2M Hill and the Reedy Creek Improvement District, but will also review what is currently being performed by the City of Orlando and Orange County regarding Conserv II, to determine what is in the best interest of Lake County for this area.
Ms. Cookie Whitehead, Clermont, questioned how this water would be disposed of, because she did not want to see the lakes destroyed.
To which Mr. Findell responded that the county has discussed with Disney how they will dispose of the water, and Disney indicated that they would use spray irrigation as Conserv II does. They also indicated that they would be agreeable to planting citrus groves if that was one of the conditions which the county inscluded into their Public Facility District zoning.
Mr. Bud Hubert, Clermont, questioned the type of benefit the Public Facilities District will provide Lake County.
Commr. Swartz responded by stating that, at present, Lake County is trying to determine if, in fact, there is any public benefit for the citizens of Lake County through the independent firm of Geraghty & Miller, Inc.
Mr. Findell also responded by stating that the potential benefits to Lake County would be identical to the benefits of the Conserv II project, such as, in recharging the aquifer and assisting in the replanting of citrus groves and agricultural industry, but at this point in time, assurance cannot be guaranteed whether those benefits would occur or not.
Mr. Dennis Cunningham, Florida Boys Ranch Road, questioned the time period of this project, and stated that, possibly, a ten year agreement should be established.
Commr. Swartz noted that the Orange County/Orlando Conserv II project has lease agreements with the landowners, that vary from ten to twent Y years, but Disney does not want to proceed in that fashion. Reedy Creek purchased the land and would prefer to have the ability to use the land as a spray field as long as they wish to, prov i ded that they have received the requested zoning and maintained that zoning under the conditions which are required.
Mr. Cunningham questioned whether another contractor will be brought in to review the studies of Geraghty L Miller, Inc. for Lake County, and paid by Lake County.
Commr. Swartz responded by stating that there are currently two engineering firms. Reedy Creek has hired CH2M Hill to do studies for Reedy Creek. The Lake County Board of County Commissioners has contracted with Geraghty L Miller, Inc. and they are presently working for the county in reviewing and requesting items that they would like information on that CH2M Hill was not contemplating performing. He stressed the fact that, Geraghty & Miller, Inc. is an independent firm, working for Lake County.
Ms. Francis Hartle, Clermont, questioned the type of land that makes up the property that Reedy Creek is proposing for this project.
Mr. Findell responded by stating that, it is mostly high land, which has some replanted groves on it, a portion of it is burned out groves as well. The land varies from acre to acre as to what it is made up of, and that is one of the reasons why the Reedy Creek Improvement District has hired CH2M Hill, to look at each piece of property separately, for determining the feasibility of delivering water and how much water to deliver to each of those properties.
Ms. Hartle questioned whether this property would be tax exempt, to which Mr. Findell responded that it would not be exempt.
Commr. Bailey addressed concerns due to the fact that Disney is funding the study for Lake County. He stated that it should not be a problem, because if the Board is not comfortable with the study that the consulting firm is doing, the Board will take appropriate steps at that time.
Mr. Findell commented that, the fact that Disney is paying for the study, arises out of an agreement which was negotiated with Disney, where Lake County informed them that they would not even consider this type of activity in Lake County unless Disney were willing to pay for an independent consultant to review and assist their consultant (CH2M Hill) in the work effort that is being proposed for that activity, and that the independent consultant would be selected and employed by Lake County.
Commr. Swartz added that Geraghty & Miller, Inc. is currently working with the county on the underground monitoring for the county's landfill.
Mr. Chicone informed the Board and the audience how the Rapid Infiltration Basins (RIBS) operate, which consist of open land that has berms on the side. The water comes in them when the groves are already saturated. One advantage of Disney entering into the Conserv II project, is that Disney would only have to build one line into the distribution center, without any other major construction projects. Much of the effluent could be put into the existing RIB sites, which are primarily in Orange County, and would not impact as much Lake County land.
Commr. Swartz stated that he had informed Reedy Creek that he could find no way to justify the RIBs as being a benefit to Lake County, but being able to put the effluent, in some way, on the citrus in the county would be a benefit.
Ms. Whitehead questioned whether there were any other possible benefits to Lake County , other than watering citrus groves. To which Commr. Swartz responded that the study will determine other possible benefits, such as for additional underground water recharge.
Ms. Whitehead questioned who the actual owners are of the land which is being discussed. To which Commr. Swartz responded that the land is owned by Disney. The Conserv II project land is individually owned, but is under contract between the individual owners, Orange County, and the City of Orlando, to put treated effluent on that land. If Disney entered into the Conserv II project they would operate in that fashion, but Disney is not requesting to go that route, because they want to have total control over the land.
Mr. Charles Hogue, questioned whether the area was now owned by Reedy Creek (Disney), to which Commr. Swartz responded by stating that the area is presently owned by them.
Commr. Swartz stated that Reedy Creek is requesting that the land be rezoned as a Public Facilities District, which is the type of zoning that the Lake County Board of County Commissioners uses for such projects.
Mrs. Griffith questioned that if the zoning were approved could Reedy Creek put a sewage disposal plant on the property. To which Commr. Swartz responded that they would only be able to use the property within the conditions and requirements the Public Facilities District, as approved by the Board of County Commissioners, therefore, they would not be allowed to do anything else with the property unless they obtained an amendment to the Public Facilities District zoning, also approved by the Board.
COMMISSIONERS/CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS
Ms. Cookie Whitehead congratulated Commr. Swartz for representing District Three and holding to the campaign promises he had made regarding the environment. She stated that the citizens of South Lake County are unhappy with the decisions made on the Wekiva and other delicate situations in the county, and feels that their concerns are not being met. She questioned what has been done in the area of recreation for the county.
Commr. Swartz informed Ms. Whitehead that on this date the Board approved a recommendation for recreation projects in Clermont and Minneola, and an interlocal agreement will be forwarded to both cities for their approval, with the monies to be available as soon as the interlocal agreements are approved.
Commr. Swartz stated that prior to the present Board taking office, there have never been any town hall meetings such as this for public input. The present Board has made a commitment to soliciting input from the public, and their comments are being heard, even if the results are not always what the individual citizen would like.
Commr. Gregg noted that in reference to the Wekiva, the Board spent a great deal of time on that issue and they felt that the end result was a good, workable plan. The Department of Community Affairs also agrees with the plan, since they have toured the land in the Wekiva area.
Commr. Bailey noted that at the last meeting of the Board dealing with rezoning, certain actions were taken in the Wekiva area based on the Wekiva amendment.
Mr. Dennis Cunningham requested an update on the Federal prison issue, to which Commr. Gregg responded that the Site Selection Committee will be meeting on Monday, July 10, 1989, and that the Committee has visited several Federal prisons. The Committee has developed a map outlining some of the proposed sites located in the county, but have not yet discussed the recommended sites. The Committee will recommend to the Board approximately three to five prioritized sites, with the Board deciding whether to proceed or not, if so, public hearings will be held in the area of the located site.
Mr. Clint Hooten read to the Board a excerpt out of the Wall Street Journal regarding a town in Michigan that was ready to welcome a prison or nuclear waste dump because things looked so grim. He questioned why the Board would even consider a prison in Lake County.
Commr. Swartz noted that a majority of the Board feels that the Federal prison is a worthwhile project to pursue, therefore, formed a committee to search for possible sites.
Commr. Gregg responded by stating that he has been hearing more support for the Federal prison than against it. The people who show up for the meetings are generally opposed to the issues, the people in favor usually do not attend. Those who have been to the Federal prison and have looked at the available information can see the merit of it based on what it has to offer the county. The Committee was selected to look at the Federal prison based on its merits, and locate it in the best location. The Board did not have any prior knowledge whether the members of the Committee supported the prison or not when they were appointed.
Mr. Hooten commented that, as far as industry in the county is concerned, the Board should pursue an entity which would generate more commerce for the county, and would be on the tax rolls, since the land for the prison is to be furnished without taxation.
Commr. Gregg noted that when the Hwys. 19 and 27 site was considered, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was interested in the county furnishing the land. Currently, there is a site near that area that Greater Construction is willing to donate to the county or directly to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The bulk of industry the county has received over the years has generally been lower paying jobs, therefore, the offer of a Federal prison is attractive.
Ms. Ann Dupee, Clermont City Council and South Lake Press, questioned the current status of the E911 system, to which Mr. Lonnie Strickland, Director of Health and General Services, responded that a July 31, 1989, cut on date is planned. The system is currently in an "811" testing mode and the operators are receiving specialized training. When the system is operational, the whole county will be able to utilize it. Any enhancement problems are due to problems with United Telephone service records, because some of the records do not correlate with what is presently in the E911 computer.
Ms. Francis Hartle, Clermont, questioned the effect E911 will have on the residents who have Orange County or Marion County telephone numbers, to which Mr. Strickland responded that those lines will go through the Tandem System in Orange or Marion County then go directly into the E911 system in Lake County, therefore, that resident will reach an E911 operator in Lake County.
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (CONT'D.)
Mr. Charlie Lovett, Clermont, questioned who would have control of the number of inches of water per acre on the property which Reedy Creek proposes to utilize in Lake County.
Commr. Swartz stated that a combination of agencies would be controlling the amount of water because Reedy Creek must also obtain permits from the Department of Environmental Regulations and other state agencies, such as the St. Johns River Water Management District, which will can regulate what occurs on the property. The Lake County Board of County Commissioners also has the ability, through its Public Facilities District zoning, to have certain requirements written into it.
Ms. Bonnie Ray, Clermont, questioned whether the water would be secondary treated, to which Commr. Swartz responded that the current Reedy Creek Wastewater Plant water is secondary, but initial discussions with Reedy Creek indicate that this project would require them to enter into a primary effluent treatment process. To which Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, added that the effluent quality would have to meet bodily contact standards, therefore, it would be an advanced tertiary treament process.
It was noted that the area in question is not in the Green Swamp area.
Ms. Cookie Whitehead noted concerns regarding the incinerator, such as the toxic ash.
Mr. Don Findell, Director of Environmental Services, stated that the facility is currently being constructed, on schedule, to be ready for test burn in June or July of 1990, and to be fully operational in January, 1991. The staffs opinion of the ash is that if toxic materials are put in, they will also come out, be it ash or conventional garbage. The ash is not classified as hazardous waste unless it is made from such waste.
Commr. Bakich stated that the Solid Waste Committee is trying to stress to the cities, the fact that whatever goes into the waste stream must come out. The Recycling Committee is working out a system where the first priority is to remove the toxic materials. He further stated that the county has received a Recycling Grant which will enable them to educate the public on toxic and hazardous waste.
Mr. Findell noted that the county has been conducting Amnesty Days for hazardous waste, to remove as much of the toxic waste from the general waste stream as possible, and to educate people on such wastes.
Mr. Clint Hooten, Clermont, questioned Mr. Jerry Chicone, citrus grower in the Conserv II project, how the number of gallons of water per minute works in the Conserv II project. To which Mr. Chicone responded that each of the 25 growers that have signed a contract have their choice of how much water they want to accept, with the average being one inch per week. If they choose not to take the water for some reason, the valves are turned into the RIBS, and the water goes through the Orange County aquifer.
There being no further business or questions to be brought before the Board, Commr. Swartz thanked the audience for their attendance, and the meeting adjourned at 8:56 p.m.
C. W. "CHICK" GREG , CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK