The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 24, 1998, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: G. Richard Swartz, Jr., Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; William "Bill" H. Good, and Rhonda H. Gerber. Others present were: Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Valerie Fuchs, Assistant County Attorney; Sue Whittle, County Manager; Ava K. Kronz, Director, Continuous Quality Improvement; James C. Watkins, Clerk; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Good gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commr. Swartz noted that there were two addendums to the agenda.
Commr. Gerber requested that a Proclamation regarding Juvenile Justice Week be placed on the agenda for action by the Board.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved to place the Proclamation regarding Juvenile Justice Week on the agenda, as requested.
COUNTY MANAGER'S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following requests, Tabs 1 through 4:
Accounts Allowed/Economic Development/Central Park/Contracts, Leases & Agreements
Request for approval and execution of Real Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement for sale and purchase of property at Lake County Central Park between Lake County and First Capital Property Group, Inc., in the amount of $77,800.
Road Vacations - Permission to Advertise
To advertise Vacation Petition No. 861 to vacate portion of road (Illinois St.), unrecorded map of Bloomfield, Sec. 21, Twp. 20, Rge. 25, Yalaha Area - Commissioner District 3.
Road Vacations - Permission to Advertise
To advertise Vacation Petition No. 862 to vacate drainage and utility easements, Harbor Hills, Unit 1, Sec. 13, Twp. 18, Rge. 24, Lady Lake Area - Commissioner District 5.
Road Vacations - Permission to Advertise
To advertise Vacation Petition No. 863 to vacate road, Lake Gertrude Groves, Sec. 24, Twp. 19, Rge. 26, Mt. Dora Area - Commissioner District 3.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
Commr. Gerber stated that, through the Executive Committee for the Constitution revision for the State Association, she was coming to the Board with a request to fund an Article V campaign initiative, which is an effort to pass the referendum on the Constitution Revision Commission's (CRC) docket. It is a campaign to educate the people as to the advantages of the State funding, Article V. The CRC is currently using the Clerk's language, and if this meets the approval of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), the County is going to try to get $.27 per capita, which would be $49,223. She stated that, as of yesterday, all of the counties have agreed on the assessment. If the language on the CRC's docket meets with the approval of the FAC, the County will drop this effort. Commr. Gerber noted in the backup material there were figures for the assessments for each of the individual counties, and the amount of money that Lake County spends each year, which was $2,988,623.
Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk, explained that the CRC proposal was actually a proposal that had been worked out with the representative of the Florida Association of Court Clerks (FACC), and a representative of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC), and the FAC may have a problem with the language, but it is not the language pertaining to the Clerk. The language pertaining to the Clerk would make the Clerk a fee officer in which the fees would be established by the Florida Legislature and would fund the office, and therefore, ad valorem taxation for the court side of his operation would not be a County issue. Mr. Watkins stated that he had some reservation with this issue, because he felt it would be healthy for the Board to review these budgets. He stated that the effort here involves the FAC working on developing an initiative to go to the ballot. It has always been his understanding that the Board can spend public monies to foster an idea that has been developed, but it is not a proper expenditure of public funds to go to a political committee to develop that idea. Mr. Watkins stated that the expenditure of funds is where he questions the advisability of authorizing this to be done, because he does not think that the authority is there. He stated that the opinion of Mr. Mark Herron, P. A., tells him that it is a simple thing to get an Attorney General's, or Elections Commission, opinion and as the Board's County Comptroller, this would be a comfort level that he would like to seek. Mr. Watkins stated that either the FAC, who he felt would be the appropriate one since it was their effort, or the Board, should make this request.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he serves on the FAC's Board, and he wholeheartedly supports their position to have a Plan B, because of the politics of the CRC. He felt that the Board should take action today to solidify the Board with their position, and he felt the Board could do this pending a comfort level with the Clerk, if that comes from the Attorney General. He would like the Board to go ahead and approve the action pending an Attorney General's opinion that this can be done.
Mr. Watkins stated that he was of the understanding that the Board was approving the expenditure, but it was not going to expend the funds absent that opinion that it may do so. If the Board receives that opinion, then he would have no problem signing the warrant. He stated that the man who wrote the opinion to the Association gave the Board language that tells him that he has given it to the Board, and he believed it to be correct, but if he had felt totally and completely correct in his opinion, Mr. Watkins did not think he would have added that line.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that, the Board could request the County Attorney's Office to request an opinion from the Attorney General. Secondly, his office would be glad to render an opinion.
Commr. Gerber noted the following three distinct fairness arguments to which the electorate responds, as reported in the Executive Summary by Schroth & Associates, Washington, D.C.:
1. Unfair for county property taxpayers to foot the bill rather than all Florida taxpayers (including non-Florida residents paying the sales tax).
2. Unfair for the quality of justice to be even potentially determined by the affluence of a county.
3. And unfair for the counties to pay for an entity over which they have no effective control - writing a blank check, so to speak.
Commr. Swartz stated that first he wanted to see if the entire Board was supportive of trying to deal with the Article V issue, because Lake County was one of the counties in the forefront of this whole discussion. He stated that the County was spending millions of dollars every year in Lake County property taxpayers' monies to pay for what we believed to be a State requirement to fund. He stated that, secondly, if this Board were to take action to support a position that tries to rectify Article V, but to withhold these funds until such time as it has an Attorney General's opinion indicating that it would be a proper expenditure, then this appeared to be satisfactory to Mr. Watkins.
Mr. Watkins stated that he has great respect for Mr. Minkoff and his legal opinion, and he would accept Mr. Minkoff's opinion also, but he felt it would be wiser if the FAC sought an Attorney General's opinion for all 67 counties. He stated that it would only be the second time in the history of him being a Clerk that he withheld his signature from one of the Board's checks, and he felt this could be avoided by getting that level of comfort, as stated in the letter from Mr. Mark Herron, P.A., on behalf of the FAC, which states "If FAC desires additional comfort regarding this conclusion, an Attorney General's opinion and a Division of Elections opinion could be sought."
Commr. Cadwell noted that it was a short turnaround time, but he felt the question could be answered, and if the CRC stays on task with this issue, the County will not even need the funding.
Commr. Swartz asked Mr. Minkoff to give the Board an idea as to whether or not an Attorney General's opinion could be sought within the time constraint. He stated that he would be comfortable if Mr. Minkoff wanted to give the Board an opinion of his review, as opposed to how quickly the Board could get a response from the Attorney General.
Mr. Minkoff stated that he was sure that his office could give an opinion more quickly than the Attorney General, because the issue is under the County's control, but the Attorney General typically is a 60 to 90 day process, which would still be time enough for what is involved, so he felt either way would work.
Commr. Gerber made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Cadwell, to approve the action for the County Attorney's Office to review the funding for the assessment of $.27 per capita for funding of Article V campaign initiative for the FAC, and pending that approval, appropriate $49,223 for that initiative, from the Board's Contingency.
Under discussion, Mr. Watkins stated that the question still remains as to whether the Board will ask the FAC to seek an Attorney General's opinion, or whether it feels the need to make the request. He felt it would be prudent for the Board to take this action.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did not know of any reason why the Board could not ask the FAC to review and to make the request of the Attorney General.
Commr. Gerber stated that she had asked the FAC to do this, but they indicated that they were not inclined to do that, because none of the counties have brought it up except for Lake County, and they were getting cooperation from everyone else. She stated that, if the request went through the Executive Committee, maybe this could be done.
Commr. Swartz stated that, unless there was opposition by this Board to make a formal request of the FAC, the Board would take this action.
Mr. Watkins stated that he appreciated the invitation to be involved with this matter.
PERSONAL APPEARANCES/PUBLIC HEARINGS
PETITION NO. 859 - DAN AND MONICA CONNOLLY - ASTOR AREA
Mr. Don Griffey, Engineering Director, addressed the Board and stated that he was handling the issues from the Public Works Department today for Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, because Mr. Stivender was talking with the eighth grade science classes at the Tavares Middle School as part of the Engineers Week Program.
Mr. Griffey explained that the request involved the vacation of a portion of Dora Street in Astor north of State Road 40. He noted that no letters of opposition were received, it has been reviewed in the field, staff has no particular need or use for the right-of-way, and staff was recommending approval of the request.
Commr. Swartz opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney representing Dan and Monica Connolly, stated that she has worked with the applicants, and the Public Works Department, for a number of months, and Mr. Connolly has talked to all of his neighbors and bought additional property in this area on both sides of the easement, and he has agreed to do a Unity of Title, if the easement is approved, as requested by the Public Works Department.
Mr. Griffey explained that the Unity of Title would be for Lots 1 and 2, because staff felt that, if Lot 2 was sold off individuality, it would be denied access, so staff requested the Unity of Title to combine those two lots.
Discussion occurred regarding a Unity of Title for Lots 3 and 4, with Ms. Bonifay noting that the applicants own Lots 1 and 2 to the south and Lot 5 to the north with all access being through his property.
It was noted that all of the surrounding property owners had been notified, as required.
The Chairman called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Vacation Petition No. 859 by Dan and Monica Connolly, to vacate Right-of-Way (Dora St.), Map of Astor, Sec. 37, Twp. 15, Rge. 28, Astor Area - Commissioner District 4, as advertised.
PETITION NO. 860 - EUGENE G. AND KAY W. HILL - SORRENTO AREA
Mr. Don Griffey, Engineering Director, presented the request for vacation and noted that the applicants were being represented by Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney. Mr. Griffey explained that the vacation involved easements that were originally dedicated as part of a large lot split process, and the property was recently rezoned on Wolf Branch Road. The vacation was part of the process that the applicants were going through to develop and subdivide the property. He stated that staff received a letter of opposition from Battaglia Fruit Company, and Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, was here representing them. He further stated that Battaglia Fruit Company has recommended that the request be postponed pending them working out an acceptable alternative. The applicant is desirous to proceed forward with the vacation petition. The Battaglia's contention is that they rely upon these easements for access to their property. Mr. Griffey noted that they have a large acreage of property to the north, and in reviewing this issue, staff found that there appears to be access from the north via Cardinal Lane. He pointed out the location of the property on the aerial map and stated that it was difficult to make a recommendation when there was an opposing interest on the vacation petition, and because the applicant wants to proceed forward, he felt it would be best to let her present her reasons. Mr. Griffey explained that staff does not know the exact boundary of Battaglia Fruit Company, but there is a 50 foot right-of-way down to the section corner of the property in question, which was deeded in 1956.
Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney, stated that she was representing Eugene and Kay Hill, the prior owners, and Eric Coe, the current owner of the property. She stated that there appears to be access to the Battaglia Fruit Company along Equestrian Trail, and she was not able to confirm whether Senese Road is a dedicated easement and part of a lot split and reaches Battaglia Fruit Company. She stated that, based on the research prior to the hearing, it appears that Cardinal Way and Brown Road come right to this property. She stated that they do not want to postpone the hearing, unless there is a compelling reason based on evidence presented by the representative of Battaglia Fruit Company, because next Thursday the preliminary plat for this project is going forward to be reviewed by the DRS and hopefully the construction drawings will be completed in the few weeks after the review. If it is postponed, it would mean that they would have to hold up on construction drawings another 30 days. Ms. Campione noted that she had researched Attorney General opinions on vacations, and a court case on vacations, and based on the fact that this road was not utilized as a thoroughfare, and because it was a paper easement, it was dedicated as part of a lot split that was never completed. She stated that it was hard to know what the intention of the owner was at that time, but based on looking at the files, it appeared that Mr. Hill had it surveyed, he had the easement surveyed, and he did not want to go back and resurvey it just to dedicate easements that went part way up the property; therefore, he used all of the easements that had been surveyed, but these easement have never been used. In the event that roads are used and a petition is filed to vacate them, the Board must find it is in the public interest to vacate the roads, and it would not be injurious to the public welfare. She stated that this would be in the case where the roads were actually being utilized. Ms. Campione stated that the lack of the concept that was brought before the rezoning process would be ruined if the County was to make this a connector type road, and if they were to provide easements along the sides of the subdivision, they would lose the entire concept of open space, because then there would be homes that would be backed up to a thoroughfare. She stated that they have looked at the possibility of providing some sort of an alternate easement to take the place of the easement east and west, but this would put a road in the backyard of these lots.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, stated that she was representing Battaglia Fruit Company, and Mr. Bob Battaglia was present to answer questions of the Board. Ms. Bonifay stated that they were in opposition to this particular proposal and would ask that the Board either deny it, or continue it at this time. The Battaglia property is approximately 210 acres and is to the north, and it is shown on the plat map as John and Priscilla Hall, who were the former owners and predecessors in title to The Hills. Ms. Bonifay stated that she represented them at the time they got their rezoning, and at the time when they did their large lot splits, which were then allowable under the County's Land Development Regulations (LDRs). The dedicated rights-of-way that were required by the County, as part of the lot split process, were 66 feet in width, which were to allow not only for the development of those five acre tracts, but also to connect to Battaglia and to allow for the development of the property to the north. Ms. Bonifay pointed out that, in regards to the other accesses pointed out by Ms. Campione, there appears to be access to the north via Brown Road and Cardinal Lane going up to SR 44. She stated that the issue here was not just the issue of having access, but it has to be a convenient access, as indicated in Florida case law. She explained that portions of Brown Road and Cardinal Lane are not paved and are not County maintained, and they are only 50 feet in width. Ms. Bonifay stated that, to regulate the Battaglia property to only access to the north, because it happens to be inconvenient and might slow up Ms. Campione's client whose predecessor entitled dedicated rights-of-way to meet County road standards for future development, is inequitable and unfair at this point in time, and also results in a serious diminution in value to the Battaglia property. Ms. Bonifay stated that the County was not orienting its growth to SR 44. She reviewed the surrounding property and stated that the development potential is to the south. Ms. Bonifay stressed that, if Ms. Campione's client was working within certain time constraints, they would have appreciated them taking the time to talk to the Battaglias prior to their rezoning. She discussed one of the offers that was made that would give the Battaglias access through their platted road system, but noted that now Ms. Campione was wanting to take that off the table, and she was now telling them that any access through their property would change the character. Ms. Bonifay stated that they have prepared a legal memorandum, and if access is denied through the southern portion through the Coe property, which would force them to use access to the north when it denies the development of their property, it would be the taking of property rights and taking of their compensable value of their property. She stated that she would leave the memorandum with the Board and Mr. Minkoff. Ms. Bonifay stated that, in the case of Bouldin v. Okaloosa County, 580 So.2d 205, 210 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), there must be a public interest here. The fact that they have never used these roads does not, in her review of the case law, carry any weight or merit. She stated that the public interest test is very hard to determine at this time, because the planning Statute deals with the public interest of the people who bought in the platted subdivision, and this subdivision has not been platted. She stated that it would be the weighing of the interest, depravation, and the diminution in value to Battaglia versus the benefit to Dr. Coe in developing this property. There would be no other members at large affected by this request. Ms. Bonifay stated that the County will not allow development of a 210 acre parcel on a 50 foot unimproved publicly dedicated right-of-way, so their only legal access, from a development standpoint, which is much shorter and which they know legally abuts the property, is to the south through the Coe property. Ms. Bonifay noted that the northern property is the Eustis spray field, and there were easements that had to be dedicated to allow them to get to their sprayfield. She pointed out that Equestrian Trail and Integrity Way are not an option, because after research, Equestrian Trail is a private easement, and the only County maintained road in the vicinity is Integrity Way, and it does not connect to the clients' property, so there is no legal access to the east.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether Bahata Fruit was a predecessor of Battaglia, because if they are the predecessor, the access they had before 1991, with the deed from John and Priscilla Hall to Lake County being dated August 23, 1991, would be the same access that they would have today, if this vacation occurred, because Bahata Fruit was apparently on the ground with the same access before.
Mr. Bob Battaglia addressed the Board and explained the name change of the company. He stated that, prior to 1991, and currently, there is a lane that runs up the western side of the property, it is an agricultural access, and it is not 66 feet. When the other access was granted seven or eight years ago, it gave him the opportunity to do what his neighbors have done, in terms of being able to develop at some future date, but now he feels the opportunity is being taken away from him.
Commr. Hanson clarified that the applicants were able to develop, because the property had been rezoned, but today they probably would not be able to get the density they did on the hard road.
Mr. Battaglia noted that he owns approximately 800 acres in four different locations.
Mr. Wiley Davis stated that he owns 25 acres directly north of The Hills, and his concern is that Mr. Hall did all of them a favor by setting up the road for all of them to have a good entrance. He was concerned about insurance companies dropping homeowner policies, because they cannot get a fire truck into the property, and because of tornados and hurricanes. He was also concerned about the devaluation of his land, but they have offered him a suggestion, which they would have to bring before the Board, to give him access up through the middle from the south. He stated that they would want him to bring the road up to a paved road and meet County standards, which might cost him $20,000 to $40,000. Mr. Davis stated that he was currently traveling down the west side on a 19 foot dirt/clay road, and it washes out quite often, and he has put several thousands of dollars worth of clay in it. In the northwest corner, he has to cut across the corner of their land to reach his property, because of the angle of it.
Mr. Ron House, a licensed professional engineer and surveyor in the State of Florida, stated that he represents Heronwood Park. He stated that Mr. Davis bought the property in 1994, which was after the easements were in place. He pointed out the 18 foot easement being discussed and noted that it does not meet County standards for development. He stated that currently there are 66 foot easements to the property, and diminution of dollars would be many thousands of dollars of value. He stated that everyone needs to have access to their property, and if the Board was going to vacate the easements, it seems that it would be better to know what was going to be done to get access to the property, which will take some time. Mr. House stated that they were not opposed to the development, so they were asking for a continuance to have time to work out a legal agreement where they can swap easements.
Ms. Campione explained that the property being represented by Mr. House is landlocked, until he works with Mr. Shepard and gets the right to the easement that runs to his property. She stated that, for the record, they have attempted to work with the surrounding properties, because they felt that they were small enough that, if they were to develop in a way that was consistent with the PUD, it would not be detrimental to the overall concept. She addressed the issue brought forth by Mr. House regarding the diminution in value and noted that the property that fronts on the right-of-way was certainly more valuable, from a real estate standpoint, than the one that is 2,000 feet from a paved right-of-way, and it does not actually have the frontage on the paved used right-of-way. Ms. Campione stated that the applicants should not be expected to bear the burden of trying to make their property more valuable for them. She stated that they do have access to the north. Ms. Campione reviewed the Attorney General's opinion 078-125 and stated that, in this particular situation, the roads are not being used, and they are not required for public use and convenience. She explained that Mr. Davis has an easement, and it is the one that he relied on when he purchased his property. She stated that the easement is 18 feet wide, it a dirt road, and it is being used by them as their primary access. Ms. Campione noted, once again, that she corresponded with Mr. Davis indicating that they would be willing to dedicate a tract to them, if they wanted to construct a road, but they did not want to construct a road to their property when there were several contingencies out there that may never occur, so there was no reason to do a dedication, at this point, until they knew for sure if they could rezone the property and would need the access. She stated that it would reasonable and just that they would be required to pave that small portion of the road adjoining their property to the subdivision.
Ms. Campione had questions of Mr. Griffey regarding whether it was the intention of the County to require a 66 foot wide easement, in order to allow inter-connects of subdivisions.
Mr. Griffey stated that he did not know if it was the specific intent, but the County's approach to all subdivisions is to try to provide inter-connects through subdivisions. He stated that this was subsequently changed in the LDRs, at the direction of the Board. He further stated that the 66 feet is more for the future improvement of the road, because the County gets a lot of requests for special assessments and paving of roads, and the standards for paving a road in a 50 foot right-of-way, which calls for curb and gutter, and out in more rural areas, there would be the need for swales and shoulders, and therefore you would need the 66 feet. There was a general approach towards development to provide for inter-connects in the future, but he did not think the 66 feet were for that specific purpose, but was more for future improvements and being able to build a road in there.
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management, stated that access management was not an issue as far as lot splits, but it was more just access to those lots, not inter-connections, etc.
Ms. Campione questioned Mr. Griffey whether the 50 foot right-of-way that comes into the property off of SR 44 could be paved, if they were to construct a subdivision on the Battaglia property.
Mr. Griffey stated that the 50 foot right-of-way could be paved to County standards to provide access to the property.
Commr. Swartz called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County has talked about the needs of paving Cardinal Road, but even though a lot people live along that road, it was not on any plan to be paved. She was concerned that the Board has approved a fairly unique development on Wolf Branch, but on the surface of it, if the Board looks at the 210 acres, if it were to be developed today and had paved road frontage, it could be developed into 42 five acre tracts. She did not feel this was a big problem, but there was the potential that there would be pressure for connection from that road over to Cardinal Road. Commr. Hanson stated that 42 lots would change the character of the subdivision being represented by Ms. Campione. She stated that, at the very least of voting the request down, the Board could sit down and try to work it out, but she was not sure it could be worked out through this small subdivision.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did not believe, while this is a publicly dedicated easement, it was primarily designed to provide access to the lot splits that were occurring here. The idea that they run along the property line is not uncommon at all, and in regard to the Battaglia property, he believed their access was the same as it was when it was previously owned, and if something developed here that provided them additional access, then they would reap a benefit. With regard to Mr. Davis, Commr. Swartz believed that, if this was vacated and a requirement in the platting process was to give him access, it would seem to be appropriate to give access to him, but he did not know if they should be obliged to pave it. Commr. Swartz stated that, with regard to Mr. House and his people, he was not sure that, if there was some development, the County would allow them to come over to the easement and connect into it. He explained that a road is not intended as an arterial or collector to have some way to connect and provide other through traffic, and it would be sub-standard for that type of use, and he did not believe this was ever intended for that use. He questioned whether the access could be determined.
Mr. Griffey explained the frontage for the Battaglia property, and stated that, to verify access, staff could go to the property records and check the legal descriptions of the property against the legal descriptions of the platted right-of-way.
Commr. Swartz stated that, if he knows that they have access to the property, and Mr. Davis is given access, he would tend to support the vacation.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to postpone Vacation Petition No. 860, Eugene G. and Kay W. Hill, until 6 p.m. this evening, pending the investigation of the right-of-way from Public Works.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell questioned whether the intent of finding out the information noted would give the members a comfort level with the vacation, and is so, the Board could go ahead and move on it, pending the existence of the right-of-way.
Mr. Minkoff stated that, if the motion was recommending to approve the request, if adequate evidence was shown that Battaglia has a 50 foot access, or right-of-way up to his property, he would be comfortable with this motion.
Commr. Hanson withdrew her motion, and Commr. Gerber withdrew her second to the motion.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Cadwell, to approve Vacation Petition No. 860 by Eugene G. and Kay W. Hill to vacate Easements, Sec. 24, Twp. 19, Rge. 27, Sorrento Area - Commissioner District 4, subject to verification that needed access down Cardinal Lane and Brown to the Battaglia property does exist, and that only access be granted to Davis through the subdivision.
Under discussion, Commr. Cadwell asked for an explanation of the access to the Davis property.
Commr. Swartz stated that it would be access to the Davis property, but to use the access, it would require it to be brought up to County standards similar to the subdivision.
It was clarified that Mr. Davis will continue to have the 18 foot access on the sand road, but if he chooses to come through the subdivision, he would have to build the same type of road.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:30 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for ten minutes.
PETITION NO. CUP#752A-3 Amend existing CUP DONALD MIFFLIN
LAKE HARRIS LODGE
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management, stated that the CUP before the Board amends the existing Conditional Use Permit (#752-3). The correct number is 37 units, with the correction being made in the mobile home park models. Ms. Farrell stated that staff was recommending approval to make these corrections, so that what is on the ground matches the language in the ordinance.
Commr. Swartz opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Leslie Campione, Attorney representing the applicant, stated that she was present to answer questions of the Board, and to state that they are satisfied with the language being presented.
There being no further public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to approve an amendment to the existing Conditional Use Permit which provided for 15 cottages, and on which currently exists ten cottages, a residence home, one store/office building, one shed, one fish cleaning house, and three mobile homes and 20 RVS, Ordinance 1998-20.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz questioned whether the Ordinance title were being read for the record.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the titles were not ordinarily read for rezoning cases.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
ORDINANCE AMENDING LAKE COUNTY ZONING MAP
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management, informed the Board that this was the first reading of the Ordinance Amending Lake County Zoning Map relating to Florida Fruitland Park Tropical Homesites, Paisley Highlands and Niles Subdivision. She stated that this is a staff initiated rezoning of all three subdivisions to R-7 to provide for the mixed residential use.
Commr. Swartz opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
It was noted that the second reading of the Ordinance was scheduled for March 24, 1998, at 5:05 p.m. or soon thereafter.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the first reading of the Ordinance Amending Lake County Zoning Map relating to Florida Fruitland Park Tropical Homesites, Paisley Highlands and Niles Subdivision.
ADDENDUM NO. 2
COUNTY MANAGER'S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
CONTRACTS, LEASES AND AGREEMENTS/GROWTH MANAGEMENT
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that the procedures were not being changed, in terms of addendums to the agendas, and the item on Addendum No. 1 was scheduled at the request of the Board last week, and the item on Addendum No. 2 was time sensitive, so staff felt it needed to be brought to the Board today.
Discussion occurred regarding the request to approve and execute the Preliminary Development Agreement between Lake County and the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs for the Christopher C. Ford Central Park.
Commr. Hanson questioned the exclusion of the 100 acres, and Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that, in advance of the Development of Regional Impact (DRI), the County cannot develop any part of the 100 acres, but it does not mean that when the DRI is done, it could not be shown as fairgrounds, or any other use that the Board approved.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had a major concern with the actual designation of the property as fairgrounds/expo conference center, because of the impact that a project of that type would have on the industrial folks and others in the park, and the fact that it does not have good access and visibility from Highway 27. Commr. Hanson was concerned about the County not being able to sell any part of the 100 acres as part of the industrial park until the DRI is completed, and with this in mind, she hoped that the Board would consider this and perhaps the Board may want to change that direction before the DRI is completed.
Mr. Mark Knight, Principal Planner, directed the Board's attention to Page 2 of the Preliminary Development Agreement for Christopher C. Ford Central Park, and stated that Item 4. identifies that the 100 acres has been leased, so it cannot be developed until the DRI gets approved, and it states that the maximum amount of construction and site development shall be 256 acres, which will be limited to development which provides a maximum of 2,000 parking spaces.
Commr. Good stated that he had attended the DRI review process in Howey, and as the County moves forward with a Development Agreement, which allows for future construction on the site, he has real concerns about the inadequacy of the landscape buffering that the County has at the park. He stated that there are a lot of neighbors surrounding the area who were very concerned about the landscape buffering. Commr. Good stated that discussion has taken place during the LUFNET process about the need to address landscape buffering in the industrial park, and as the County moves with Phase II, it exacerbates the problem. He stated that, in terms of infrastructure, it is at a great site, it is on the transportation net, it has great access to the turnpike for distribution purposes, and it is also somewhat of a rural area of the County. In the past, the County has approved RV dealerships along the road and this seems to make the residents and neighbors of the park uncomfortable, because they would like to see development occur in a way that enhances the aesthetics of the area. Commr. Good stated that this gives the Board an opportunity to step forward as the developers of a project and do it right.
Commr. Cadwell felt the issue being brought forward by Commr. Good was outside of the issue being addressed today, but the Board could look at its own landscaping rules inside the park. He felt that the County had done a good job with the landscaping at the park.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether the landscape requirements are any less in this park than any other industrial parcel in the County.
Mr. Knight noted that there was no difference in the requirements.
Commr. Good stated that he would like the Board, after he has time to review with staff the requirements of the park, to sit down and talk about some of the requirements that are presently in place and have an opportunity to establish with the Board the goal of what they would like the park that the County is developing to look like.
Commr. Swartz stated that through the DRI process, the Board has the opportunity to develop the requirements, but today on the agenda is a Preliminary Development Agreement to allow the Board to go forward in anticipation of the DRI. He tends to agree with Commr. Cadwell that the landscaping that has been done at the park has been quite good, and the difference may be the landscaping that occurs around individual buildings, as opposed to a broader landscaping that might be more around the whole park.
Commr. Good stated that the neighbors of the park that were at the meeting do not think that the County has done a good job, and he wanted to remind the Board that it needs to do better, and he will be working on this issue, and he will continue to work with the Board on this issue.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, informed the Board that yesterday staff met with the neighbors that were at that hearing and got their ideas, and as staff works with the engineer and determines the layout of Phase II, then the landscape buffer requirements will be addressed. She stated that staff would be glad to work with Commr. Good on this issue and bring it back to the Board.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County may want to work with the Sheriff, because he is growing a lot of plants.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the name of the park is the Christopher C. Ford Lake County Central Park.
Commr. Cadwell made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Hanson, for the approval and execution of the Preliminary Development Agreement between Lake County and the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs for the Christopher C. Ford Central Park.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz extended his appreciation to staff, from the County Manager's Office, the County Attorney's Office, and the Growth Management Department, who really worked to make this happen, and he knew they would be just as sensitive to Commr. Good's concerns as they were to making this happen.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER GERBER - DISTRICT #1
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation 1998-34 proclaiming March 15 - 21, 1998, as Juvenile Justice Week.
Commr. Swartz informed the Board that Commr. Cadwell would not be in attendance of the meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. this evening, because he would be representing the Board at the Economic Development Commission meeting tonight.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - DISTRICT #4
Commr. Hanson reported that she traveled with Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr., some of the judges, and someone from the State Attorney's Office to Jacksonville to visit the Juvenile Jail facility, which works in cooperation with the School Board. It does not cost the School Board anything because of the Florida Department of Education (FDE) dollars and the Drop-out Prevention Grants they receive. Commr. Hanson stated that Sheriff Knupp would be putting together a very small task force and making a presentation to the Board at a later date.
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess until 6 p.m., at which time the Board will reconvene for the public hearing on MSP#97/11/1-2 (Center Lake Properties/Tarmac America Inc.).
PETITION NO. MSP#97/11/1-2 CENTER LAKE PROPERTIES
TARMAC AMERICA INC.
Commr. Swartz reconvened the meeting and noted that the scheduled zoning case would be heard under quasi-judicial procedures. He asked the representatives to come forward to discuss the rules that would be agreeable to both parties, in terms of swearing in witnesses and providing for questions and cross-examination.
Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney representing the applicant, stated that she would prefer to have everyone sworn in tonight, and she felt that cross-examination was a series of questions, so they would try to keep it as informal as possible. It was her understanding of the rules that the only individuals who would be allowed to cross-examine would be those with standing. She was the only one that, on behalf of her clients, would be doing any cross-examination, and she would ask that Mr. Jimmy Crawford, Attorney representing the opposition, do the same.
Commr. Swartz noted that Commr. Cadwell would not be present for the hearing.
Ms. Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk, swore in the following staff members who would be testifying in the case: Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Growth Management; Ms. Paula Blazer, Principal Planner; Mr. Allen Hewitt, Water Resource Manager; Mr. Walter Wood, Staff Geologist; and Mr. Jim Smith, Planning and Development Services Director.
Ms. Paula Blazer, Principal Planner, stated that this was a request was for an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) #119-3 A, B. & C to add an accessory use to the existing mine, and to add land for future expansion of mining reserves. Ms. Blazer stated that the existing zoning is agriculture, the future land use is rural, and the size of the parcel is 320.9 acres that will be added to the existing 977.2 acreage, for a total of 1,298.1 plus or minus total acreage. She stated that the existing use is a sand mine operation, and the surrounding uses are primarily vacant or scattered residential in a rural setting. The application for the expansion of the existing mine dates back to the original approval for the applicant Browne Gregg in March 10, 1969, CUP 119-3. A mine expansion was approved as Mining Site Plan (MSP) 119C-3, on September 28, 1993. The mine has been in active operation since 1969, and it has submitted annual mining reports in compliance with the MSP and Chapter 6.06 of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), as amended. Ms. Blazer reviewed the Environmental Comments and noted that there was no letter of opposition, or in support of the project from the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, but they were aware of the program. She continued the presentation by reviewing the Water Quality Services Division Comments, and the Findings, in terms of Accessory Use and Mine Expansion, as noted in the staff report in the backup material. She explained the project being proposed and stated that staff was recommending approval of the accessory use and expansion of the existing sand mine reserves.
Commr. Swartz asked if there were any State or local agencies that were present this evening, with it being noted that there were none at this time.
Commr. Swartz opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Ms. Bonifay, Attorney with Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, addressed the Board and stated that she was here on behalf of the applicants, Tarmac America, Inc., Svanholm International Ltd., the autoclave facility which is deemed to be an accessory use to the mine, and TruStone Florida, which would be the new entity that would be created, which would actually operate the facility, and which is the recipient of an allocation of $9 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds, and a County Economic Development Grant, and is the applicant for a $225,000 Transportation Improvement Grant, all of which have been approved contingent upon this application being approved tonight. Ms. Bonifay stated that, if the expansion is not approved tonight, it will end the life of the mine in a three to five year time frame. They have tied TruStone to the life of the mine and have asked that the Board look at the two applications both in conjunction, but independently, tonight, in terms of any conditions of approval that could be dealt with separately. She asked that those present in favor of the TruStone Mine application and the accessory use to please stand and let the Board recognize them.
Ms. Bonifay started with an overview of the application, which basically had been presented by Ms. Blazer, and stated that she would like to call Mr. James M. Mason, Plant Manager, and offer him as an expert in plant operation and management given both his educational background and experience. A copy of his resume was provided to the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. James M. Mason was called by Mr. Bonifay to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and briefly presented an overview of his educational background and some his operating experience.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, if there were no questions of the Board, she would proffer him as an expert in the area of plant management operation related to surface mining.
Mr. Mason discussed what happens at a sand mine, and the operating history of the site, and stated that there were individuals who live in the area that feel they should not be able to expand the mine, but the exhibits from the Center Sand Mine file were part of the public record and would present justification for the expansion. Mr. Mason reviewed the following exhibits, which were submitted and marked by the Deputy Clerk, and testified that the 1990 Mining Ordinance required all existing mines to be registered and vested: Exhibit 1-A, Area History (1969-1997) and Exhibit 2-A (composite), Letter to Mr. Donald L. Findell from Silver Sand Company, dated January 23, 1990; Original Lease, August, 1968; Application for Conditional Use Permit, February 3, 1969; and Conditional Use Permit approved March 10, 1969; and Exhibit 3-A (composite), Letter to Mr. R. Fred Crabill, Manager, Gurr & Associates, Inc., from the Lake County Department of Environmental Services, dated September 27, 1990; General Legend.
Ms. Bonifay stated that the purpose for showing Exhibit 3-A (composite), the General Legend, is to demonstrate that, when Center Sand Mine applied for their registration, Lake County noted in its own file that the "purple", as highlighted, was the area that currently had a CUP for mining; however, Lake County was informed, at that point, that all of the Center Lake Properties was ultimately to be mined, and the additional "yellow" area, as highlighted, was included. She stated that they were not questioning that they need a mining site plan amendment tonight for the expansion, but they were offering this exhibit to demonstrate that, at the time Center Sand Mine came in, they indicated to Lake County that the entire site was to be mined in the future.
Mr. Mason continued his testimony by reviewing the Letter to Lake County Planning and Zoning Commission from Austin Caruso, Jr., CPM, Vice President, PMC, dated August 7, 1990, which was submitted to the Deputy Clerk and marked as Exhibit 4-A, which objects to a variance that was granted for Mr. Cappleman when the property was split. He stated that the Center Sand Mine has put all of the adjacent property owners on notice that they intend to continue to mine, and all of these letters, as noted, are available from the County file. He testified that the City of Clermont began annexing land, which is known as Kingsridge, and prior to the annexation, he had written two letters to the City of Clermont. These letters were submitted to the Deputy Clerk and marked as Exhibit 5-A, Letter to Mr. Robert Pool, Mayor, City of Clermont, from James M. Mason, and Exhibit 6-A, Letter to Mr. Lanny Harker, Planning Director, City of Clermont, from James M. Mason. Mr. Mason testified that the letters stated that they did not object to other owners developing their land as they see fit, but they wanted to make them aware that they were a sand mining operation and it was their intent to mine the full acreage owned by Center Lake Properties. Mr. Mason noted that there was one other property owner to the east in Avalon Estates. He referred to a Letter from Cecelia Bonifay, Attorney, to Ms. Sharon Farrell, Director, Lake County Planning and Development, dated June 3, 1996, which was submitted to the Deputy Clerk and marked as Exhibit 7-A, advising her of the same situation, that they intended to mine the property between the current mine and the land he was developing as five acre tracts. Mr. Mason testified that, to his knowledge, all of the letters being presented were found in the Lake County files.
Mr. Mason presented a quick overview of the mining process, as noted in the graph of Florida's Aquifers, which was submitted to the Deputy Clerk and marked as Exhibit 8-A, and stated that the operation has 130 employees including the drivers, and they have an annual impact on the Lake County and the Central Florida Region of about $12 million in gross sales. The site being asked for tonight involves the final 320 acres that would bring the entire property under one mining site plan. The site has pine trees planted on it today, and they are six to eight feet heigh, and it would be their proposal that the entire buffer zone be left planted in pine trees, so the interior of the site would not be visible from the roadway, or from the surrounding properties. The new acreage would be for excavation, and the only thing that would be moved over to this area would be the electronic dredge and a booster pump. Mr. Mason reviewed the excavation process and noted that the original CUP area is approximately 80 to 85 percent complete. The area closest to the residents will be the first area mined and reclaimed on the new section. Mr. Mason stated that, at the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing, they heard complaints about some blowing sand, and they have maintained, from the very beginning, that they are a good corporate neighbor and have made every effort to talk to the residents, and because of the complaints and concerns, they have begun to construct a berm that will effectively hide their existing operation as you drive down Hartwood Marsh Road, as shown in the Established Visual Buffer Berm document, which was submitted and marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 9-A.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she reserved the right to recall Mr. Mason.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford, Attorney with Steven J. Richey, P.A., stated that he represents about 23 neighbors. Mr. Crawford asked Mr. Mason questions about the letters to the City of Clermont, Avalon Estates, and the County regarding vesting and covenants, and whether anything had been recorded as a deed.
Mr. Mason testified that, to his knowledge, the letters had not been recorded as a deed, but they were retained in the file with the zoning application. Mr. Mason answered Mr. Crawford's questions about the phasing process that had been proposed in the application; how many acres were being mined a year; the blocks of property and the pattern of drilling on the site, and whether any hazardous materials or spills have occurred at the site. Mr. Mason indicated that he was not aware of any hazardous materials or spills, and he has been at the mine since October, 1993.
Mr. Crawford submitted documents to the Deputy Clerk, and they were marked as follows: Exhibit A-O, the Center Sand Mine 1997 C.U.P. Addition - Mining Plan; and Exhibit B-O, Letter to Richard Roof, Department of Environmental Services from Silver Sand Company dated September 26, 1991.
Mr. Mason testified that the letter, Exhibit B-O, refers to a situation around the country at that time, and they have installed a state of the art system that meets, or exceeds, all requirements for the future, and they are current on all of their hazardous materials and fuels.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. R. Fred Crabill to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like to offer Mr. Crabill as an expert in the area of environmental assessments specifically related to sand mining and the sand mining industry. She provided a copy of his resume to the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Crabill presented his background including his certifications and educational experience and testified that he routinely does an environmental assessment of mining properties, which involves total assessments of the site such as threatened and endangered species assessments, wetlands assessments, review of mining permit conditions be it local, State or Federal, and how all of that meshes together in permitting and mining operations.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board would accept Mr. Crabill, as it will probably accept a number of people tonight who have special knowledge and information in the area specified by counsel.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would proffer Mr. Crabill as a witness and expert, and Mr. Crawford stated that he had no objection.
Mr. Crabill testified as to his historic role in the Center Sand Mine, and his specific job and responsibility with regard to the expansion area. He was the lead environmental consultant for the mine on environmental permitting issues, and he has assisted with several of the mining site plan amendments during the past several years, and they were the consulting firm that was assisting them in this mining site plan amendment. Mr. Crabill testified that there are no wetland impacts associated with this proposed expansion; there are gopher tortoises on site; the reclamation standards are a little more stringent than the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, the Bureau of Mining; and his review of all of the permits for this mining site for the amendment are in conformance and in compliance with current reclamation plans, and current water quality permits. He testified that there are no underground storage tanks at this facility, and they are in compliance with Lake County and FDEP.
Ms. Bonifay submitted the Internal Memo - Tarmac - Lake County Storage Tank Inspection - Silver Sand MEG/Center Sand AGG dated July 15, 1997, which was marked as Exhibit 10-A
by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Crabill testified that he has not found any adverse impact by the operation, or the proposed operation Sand Center Mine on the areas of wetlands, environmental species, reclamation, water quality, or storage tank maintenance.
It was noted that Mr. Crawford had not questions of Mr. Crabill.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Mark R. Stephens to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would be proffering him as an expert in the area of hydrology, geology, hydrogeology, and specifically with the areas of water quality, quantity and recharge.
Commr. Swartz stated that Mr. Stephens was accepted by the Planning and Zoning Commission as being knowledgeable in this field, and therefore, Ms. Bonifay could begin her questioning of the witness.
Mr. Stephens testified that his role in the project was to investigate the hydrogeology of the site, what effects the mining operations would have on recharge, and what effects the mining operations would have on ground water quality. Mr. Stephens referred to Exhibit 8-A, Florida's Aquifers, and stated that the hydrogeology of this site consisted of basically three units of interest, the surficial aquifer, the semi confining unit, and the Florida aquifer system, which he explained in detail. He testified that most of the aquifer system was not usable for potable water, and the potable water in this area probably goes to a depth of approximately 1,500 feet. He explained that, of the approximate 50 inches of rain each year, only five or ten inches of it is runoff. After Mr. Stephens presented further detailed information regarding the aquifer, he testified that the mining operation has very little effect, if any, on recharge in the area.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, in terms of the issue of recharge, Lake County has a Comprehensive Plan policy, and although the staff report indicates consistency and compatibility with this application and the plan, she questioned whether Mr. Stephens was familiar with Policy 7-13.3 which deals with mining and prime and high aquifer recharge areas, and if he had analyzed it, and if so, she stated that it appears to be inherently inconsistent on its face. She asked him to help her understand this policy and why it either applies or does not apply in this case. Ms. Bonifay submitted to the Deputy Clerk the Letter to Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, P.A., from Atlanta. Testing & Engineering dated February 16, 1998 regarding hydrogeologic Issues Center Sand Mine for Tarmac America, Inc., which was marked as Exhibit 11-A by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Crawford stated that he was going to offer an objection, if Mr. Stephens was trying to offer an expert opinion as to the Comprehensive Plan, because he did think he had been offered as an expert.
Commr. Swartz stated that he may not be an expert on the Comprehensive Plan, but whether or not he can answer the questions with regard to prime and high for recharge and whether or not this land falls into that area, he would like the Board to hear his comments.
Ms. Bonifay clarified that she was not offering him as an expert, or for his legal opinion, but she was only asking him for his opinion as a professional engineer and geologist, as far as taking this particular policy and interpreting it as it applies to this site. She questioned whether Mr. Stephens studied the policy and, if so, what his interpretation was of the application, because it reads "No mining shall be allowed to be conducted in high and prime aquifer recharge areas as identified by the SJRWMD/SWFWMD pursuant to S.373.0395(3), F.S. and provided for within the East Central Florida regional Planning Council Regional Policy Plan Policy 54.2." She questioned whether St. Johns has identified prime aquifer recharge areas, as referred to in S. 373.0395(3), F.S.
Mr. Stephens stated that St. Johns has not identified prime aquifer recharge areas. He met with the SJRWMD staff in Orlando a couple of weeks ago and they told him specifically that they had not identified high and prime recharge areas. He testified that a hydrogeologic report has been submitted to determine the recharge potential of the site, and they agreed with Map 1-1i of the Future Land Use Element Data Inventory and Analysis, and the area is identified as having recharge areas probably greater than ten inches per year, and they do not disagree. He noted that both maps have disclaimers on them that say those should not be used for site specific purposes. Mr. Stephens stated that one map says greater than ten, and the other says greater than twelve.
Ms. Bonifay explained that staff was using a recent County atlas provided by the SJRWMD, which is different than the map that is part of the adopted Comprehensive Plan, but if the Board looks at the policy, it refers specifically to Map 1-1i of the Future Land Use Element data inventory and analysis section. She submitted Lake County Comprehensive Plan, Policy 7-13.3, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 12-A.
Mr. Stephens explained that the SJRWMD maps only show numbers. They do not have a designation low, medium, high. The County map has the numbers plus the designation for low, moderate and high. He stated that the County map says it is a high recharge rate, and he would not disagree with that.
Mr. Bonifay stated that, because it is not their attempt to play a game of semantics, however, if this policy is going to be used to say that no mining can be allowed in Lake County, then she wanted the record to reflect that the SJRWMD has really not identified prime and high, but they deal with levels of recharge. The County's map does give certain designations to that.
Mr. Stephens referred to Exhibit 11-A and testified that a hydrogeologic report was submitted and he has signed and sealed that report as a registered geologist, and therefore, they have met the criteria of Item 1. He stated that the State standards would apply to this site, and the visible ground water would be classified as a Class G2, which would mean that all of the ground water at the site must meet drinking water standards that are promigated in the regulations. He stated that, in his opinion, it does not reduce the volume of recharge. He explained that the rate of recharge and the volume of recharge is controlled by the hydraulic activity of the sandy clay. Mr. Stephens stated that he did not believe that the area lies within the water use caution area of the State. He went into much more detail regarding the issue of recharge and stated that the south part of the County is in a high or very high aquifer recharge area based on Map 1-1i. He stated that, after looking at the County map that had the location of all sand mines, it was determined that virtually all of the sand mines were located in high to very high recharge, because of the nature of the materials that are there, and the areas where someone would find the sand deposits are in the areas of high recharge. He stated that, in reviewing the monitoring reports, there has been no noncompliances at all. Mr. Stephens testified as to the testing that was done, when it was done, and the parameters of the tests. He discussed the drinking water samples that were done by Savannah Laboratories, which were submitted and marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 13-A
Commr. Good submitted a map of the Ground Water Issue Areas, Lake County, SJR, December 1996, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 1-C.
Mr. Stephens noted the location of the site and stated that it was in the priority water resources caution area. This area consumes about three-quarters of Lake County, which was primarily the Wekiva Basin and the southwest area, which is the Green Swamp, and are the areas that are omitted. He stated that this information will be used by the SJRWMD in evaluating consumptive uses of water at the site. Mr. Stephens testified that this mine is required to obtain a consumptive use permit, and the SJRWMD is the governing body and regulatory body for the permit. They currently have a consumptive use permit for the site, and the district staff has evaluated the compliance with the existing permit and have found that all of the conditions necessary to have a consumptive use permit are currently being met by the mine.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a letter that was written to Albert W. Townsend, Director, Real Estate, Tarmac America, Inc., from the SJRWMD, dated February 23, 1998, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 14-A.
Mr. Stephens pointed out the following sentence in Exhibit 14-A: "In general, Lake County is identified as having high to moderate recharge to the Floridan aquifer." He explained the information that was supplied in the exhibit, in response to Mr. Bonifay's questions.
Ms. Bonifay reserved the right to call Mr. Stephens again.
Mr. Crawford submitted the Center Sand Mine, Tarmac America, Inc. Application for Amendment of Mining Site Plan, which was prepared by Southeast Environmental Solutions, Inc., and the Deputy Clerk marked it as Exhibit C-O. He cross-examined Mr. Stephens, as to his previous testimony, and stated that he would be referring to sections of the hydrogeologic report, which was submitted and certified by Mr. Stephens. Mr. Crawford stated that Mr. Stephens had testified earlier that the Floridan aquifer was semi-confined at this, and that there is a difference between the Floridan aquifer and the surficial aquifer above it. Mr. Crawford began by asking Mr. Stephens to read a portion of the report, as follows:
Executive Summary on Page B-1: "The Surficial and Floridan Aquifers are unconfined and have the same water level."
Commr. Swartz stated that this would be different than what had been stated earlier by Mr. Stephens.
Mr. Stephens explained the this statement was too much of an over generalization of the findings of the report, but it was different than what he had said previously.
Mr. Crawford had Mr. Stephens read the following sections of the report to the Board: Page B-2, C.16.b. (1st paragraph); and Page B-3, C.16.c (last paragraph); Page B-3, C.16.d. (second paragraph), Page B-4 (last paragraph), and Page B-5 (second paragraph).
Mr. Stephens testified that the report was written in 1993, and after reviewing additional records and reviewing the report, he recertified it.
Mr. Crawford continued his cross-examination of Mr. Stephens by asking him to present an explanation of Figure 9, Cross Section A-A of the report, and to address other questions regarding the Floridan aquifer and the surficial aquifer, in terms of the water table level, and the two maps that had been addressed earlier.
When questioned by Ms. Bonifay, Mr. Stephens indicated that, in terms of the questions that were asked by Mr. Crawford, he saw no inconsistencies between what appears in the application and his testimony given earlier. Mr. Stephens stated that, in his professional opinion, there was no adverse impact created to recharge by the operation of Center Sand Mine.
Ms. Bonifay submitted the Conservation Element Map 7-16, Mining Operations 1989, and the Deputy Clerk marked it as Exhibit 15-A.
Mr. Stephens testified that Exhibit 15-A was an accurate representation of an overlay of Map 1-1i and the area in "yellow", in his opinion, fairly accurately depicts the high recharge areas where Lake County's current mines are located, and the majority of the sand mines, as shown, are areas of high recharge according to Lake County Comprehensive Plan. He noted that the new expansion, since 1990, was also located in the areas of high or very high recharge areas according to the Plan.
Discussion occurred regarding the direct hydrogeological connection between the Floridan aquifer and surficial aquifer, and the benefit of the confining layer in relation to recharge.
Commr. Good questioned whether Mr. Stephens had personal knowledge of the relationship between the Floridan and surficial aquifer at any one of the other sites, as indicated on Exhibit 15-A, and noted as A, B, C and D.
Mr. Stephens stated that the only knowledge that he had on the sites was based on information that was published by the SJRWMD, and he has no personal knowledge of those sites, except for regional information, and the similarity would refer to the confining bed characteristics.
Commr. Good stated, for the record, that he has asked the question over Map 1-1i, and the word "similar" was one of those relative terms, and he does not recall having seen that in any of the other hydrologic reports, and he did see it in this report.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Walter Wood, Staff Geologist for Lake County, to testify and noted that he had previously been sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Swartz stated that it would be appropriate, to the extent they have a report and they have recommended approval, to ask them about the report, but to use them purely as Ms. Bonifay's witnesses for anything beyond that, he did not feel it would be appropriate. He stated that the Board has dealt with this issue before, and the staff members were not here on her behalf, and they were here on behalf of the County.
Ms. Bonifay noted that she would be discussing with Mr. Wood his review of this particular application. She asked him to explain his position with the County, and his educational background and qualifications.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board accepts Mr. Wood, because he is a County employee and is knowledgeable in this area.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like Mr. Wood to state his profession, and the functions he performs for Lake County.
Commr. Swartz stated that Mr. Wood is a geologist, he had training and background that was sufficient for the County to hire him as its person to review these types of issues, and the Board accepts him as being knowledgeable in that area.
Mr. Wood testified that he was familiar with the Center Sand Mine located off of Hartwood Marsh Road, and he has worked for the County almost nine years. He testified that he was on staff when Center Sand Mine came in for an expansion in 1993, and he was one of the individuals that reviewed the application at that time. He reviewed the areas of recharge and water quality and one of the things staff looked at, in addition to the hydrogeologic report that was offered, was the water quality and what effects had occurred in that particular area. Mr. Wood testified that he had found no adverse impact on the water quality from the mining operation. He further testified that the County requires water quality monitoring of mine sites, and he would be one of the individuals that would review the reports. The primary reviewer would be Mr. Al Hewitt, or Ms. Paula Blazer. Mr. Wood testified that, to his knowledge, Center Sand Mine has been in compliance, and in his professional opinion, there would not be an adverse impact on recharge.
Commr. Swartz clarified that Mr. Wood would not be testifying to those who had testified, and Mr. Wood will not become Ms. Bonifay's witness.
Mr. Wood testified that, based on his knowledge, as a professional geologist who is charged with reviewing mine applications for Lake County, there has been no conduct by Center Sand Mine that has an adverse impact on the recharge of this area. In regards to the hydrologic connection that exists between the Floridan and surficial aquifer, he testified that he had read the report, in making his staff recommendation for approval of the mine. He stated that by having site specific information from other projects from a previous employer, he was somewhat familiar with the site specific geology in that area, and based upon his personal knowledge, there was nothing that alarmed him in the report as to the description of the hydrologic connection that exists on the site. He further testified that, in reviewing the report and the issue of a leaky confining layer, it did not raise any concern as to the issue of water quality. Mr. Wood testified that there is a potential for impact, but how great it would be could be argued. He testified that he reviewed the application for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, or the LDRs, only as it would relate to water quality and quantity.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 8:20 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for 15 minutes;.
PETITION NO. MSP#97/11/1-2 CENTER LAKE PROPERTIES
TARMAC AMERICA INC. (CONTINUED)
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Allen Hewitt, Water Resource Specialist, to testify and noted that he had been sworn in earlier by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Hewitt testified that he was familiar with the Center Sand Mine application currently under discussion, and he was involved with the review of the current mine site amendment. He was with the County in 1993 when Center Sand Mine came in and asked for an amendment to their mining site plan amendment. Mr. Hewitt testified that staff has reviewed reports from Tarmac that are file from 1993 through 1998, and in review of the 1993 application and the 1998 application, he found nothing that would change the impact on recharge or water quality.
Ms. Bonifay stated that there were people in the audience that wanted to speak to various aspects of the mining site plan application, and she would like to call TruStone individuals to come forward at this time, because of their work schedules.
Mr. David M. Kovacs was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and stated that he lives in Clermont and has been a resident of Lake County for six years. He testified that he is probably one of the newest members to Tarmac America, which provides him with a great income and benefits. He stated that extending the life of the mine gives him more opportunities to stay on with the company and look forward to a future retirement pension. Mr. Kovacs testified that Tarmac has enhanced his quality of life, because it is a lot closer to his home, and he turns more of his dollars back into Lake County, because he does not have to commute.
Commr. Swartz stated that he was aware that many of those in the audience were here in support of the request, because they are employed by Tarmac, or their family and friends are employed by Tarmac.
Mr. Tom Fulford was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and stated that he has been in Lake County since 1981, and he has worked for Tarmac for 17 years. Mr. Fulford stated that the medical benefits are outstanding.
Commr. Swartz stated that there was no one disputing the issue of what the people were being paid, or their benefits, and the County has already agreed to submit economic development grants for them.
Mr. Fulford testified that he has not suffered any health or respiratory diseases from being worker at Center Sand Mine. He testified that they have a good safety inspection program, and they enforce safety very strictly. He further testified that, to his knowledge, there has never been any lack of compliance with any kind of government regulations.
Ms. Ruby Nix was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and stated that she owns ten acres, and they own the property behind her and to the left of her property. Ms. Nix testified that it is a lot quieter with the mine being there, because there are no houses behind her or beside her, and they have always been very nice and very cooperative. Ms. Nix stated that she knew the sand mine was there when she moved there. She stated that there was another mine in front of her and she has never had any trouble with any of them. Ms. Nix noted that she does not travel on Hartwood Marsh Road, so she was unaware of the sand problems being addressed by others. She has had no problems with sand blowing onto her property, because of the berm that was built on the property, and she felt that her quality of life was good.
Mr. Crawford asked Ms. Nix several questions abouyt the purchase of her property.
Mr. Tom McNeill was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk and stated that he would like to address the economic impact of Lake County, if it loses the additional property. He testified that there are some sand mines to the south, and their reserves are running out, and this is going to directly increase the cost of cement, asphalt, and any building products made out of sand. It is also going to increase truck travel, because trucks will be traveling further distances to Lake County areas and into Orange County. Mr. McNeill testified that he travels Hartwood Marsh Road, and he has not found any difficulty in traveling that road due to sand deposits on the road from Center Sand Mine, and he has not experienced any health problems from working with Tarmac. He noted that he lives in Groveland and he recently purchased a house on Ivy Avenue.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Frank Cone to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Cone presented a brief review of his educational background and stated that he is the Safety Manager for the Tarmac Minerals Division.
Commr. Swartz noted that the Board would accept his testimony with regard to his evidence from a safety perspective and with regard to operations at Tarmac.
Mr. Cone testified that, as to the type of Federal regulations that Tarmac has to respond to as a mining operation, it has to respond to the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which is a sister agency to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He stated that he had received data that went back 11 years, and MSHA has been on their property a minimum of two times each year. During that period of time, they conducted 32 health surveys, and all 32 were in compliance, and no citations were issued. He testified that they had a consulting firm come and conduct air quality and noise studies throughout all of Tarmac American, and once the studies were analyzed, they indicated that there were no over exposures of dust or noise at Center Sand Mine. Mr. Cone stated that Tarmac goes beyond the minimum standards for safety. He noted that Tarmac owns 16 mines.
Mr. Crawford cross-examined Mr. Cone who he testified that there has been no accidents involving non-employees in the pit, to his knowledge, but he has not been directly responsible for Center Sand Mine.
Ms. Bonifay called Dr. Deborah Barsotti to testify, and she was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she was offering Dr. Barsotti as an expert in environmental health and risk assessment specifically in the area of air quality and noted that she was also competent to testify in the area of noise.
Dr. Barsotti presented a brief background summary of her education and areas of expertise.
Commr. Swartz stated that, without objection, the Board would be glad to take her testimony as being knowledgeable in the field.
Dr. Barsotti testified that she is with Harding Lawson Associates, and the company's involvement came from doing a proactive evaluation of what possible impacts there may be on the health and welfare of the workers at Center Sand Mine. She has had the opportunity to evaluate all of the data, as well as the data from the MSHA data base, and she can say that there are no mines in Lake County that have had over exposure, and it is a very safe environment. Dr. Barsotti testified that the analysis from the data would indicate that there is no adverse impact from an air quality perspective. She also reviewed, in great detail, the data and information that was done by Golder and Associates, a Gainesville Engineering firm, and explained, in great detail, the health condition called silicosis, which is caused from the inhalation of silica dust. Dr. Barsotti explained what has to happen, in terms of both the size of the particle and what has to happen to the particle, for that condition to be present.
Mr. Crawford cross-examined Dr. Barsotti and questioned whether there was a difference between the tailings of the sand mine operation, which are generally finer particles than in the pit.
Dr. Barsotti testified that there was very little quantitative differences between them, because it was really the surface reactivity that was important. She testified that nuisance dust has been known, at high enough levels, to cause irritation, and could cause an acute reversible effect at those levels.
Ms. Bonifay called David A. Buff, Golder Engineering, to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she was offering Mr. Buff as an expert in air quality specifically as it relates to the mining industry, air quality permitting, and ambient air quality standards.
Mr. Buff presented highlights of his profession, in terms of certification and his experience in air quality standards in this country, and stated that his specialty is in air quality permitting, and air quality impact analysis.
Commr. Swartz noted that the Board accepts Mr. Buff to be a professional in his area of expertise.
Mr. Buff testified that he did an analysis of air quality impacts related to the Center Sand Mine and explained, in brief detail, where and how these studies were conducted. He stated that, in his professional opinion, there was no adverse off site air quality impacts associated with Center Sand Mine, and in summary, the impacts were well under the EPA standards at off site locations.
Mr. Crawford had no questions for Mr. Buff.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Art Murphy to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay submitted the Sound Level Survey and the Air Quality Analysis, which were marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 16-A, and Exhibit 17-A.
Mr. Murphy testified that he was the Safety Manager for the northern area of Tarmac America in Florida, and he briefly described his educational background. He testified that he conducted a sound level survey at four points around the Center Sand Mine property, and he noted the information that had been supplied in the South Level Survey, Exhibit 17-A. Mr. Murphy explained how he conducted the study, and the decibel values for several typical sounds and stated that, of the four measurements that he took on November 20, 1997, the decibel levels ranged between 40 to 45 decibels, which would be comparable to a quiet office to a residential dwelling. He testified that he did not feel that the operation would have any impact on the background noise levels, and he found that, once the dredge is moved across, he would anticipate the same noise level at the southern boundary of the property as he found at the location where the dredge is located today.
Commr. Swartz stated that there was a number of staff at the meeting that have to get up and come back to work in the morning, and unless they are needed and they have already testified, he was going to let them go home. He noted that those employees would include Mr. Wood, Mr. Hewitt, Ms. Blazer, and Mr. Smith.
Mr. Crawford and Ms. Bonifay stated that they would not be needing further testimony from those individuals noted by the Chairman.
Mr. Crawford cross-examined Mr. Murphy, who testified that, when he takes the decibel readings, the readings are at a point in time, and he was aware of a siren in the sand mine, and none of the readings coincided with the siren going off.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Al Townsend to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Townsend testified that he was the Director of Real Estate for Tarmac America, and he has been with Tarmac for 19 years. He testified that, in his capacity, he has done numerous zoning applications including the 1993 expansion being discussed today. He further testified that, when the 1993 expansion was going through, there was also an adjacent piece of property that was seeking development approvals or permits. It was the McPherson property, which was to be purchased by Lanar Homes, and the property was adjacent to the expansion area. He testified that there were concerns expressed by Lanar Homes (the developer) and Mr. Rex McPherson (the owner) regarding having a sand mine as a next door neighbor, but they worked with them and worked out an agreement in a letter.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a letter to Mr. Al Townsend, Tarmac of Florida, Inc., from the Law Office of Cecelia Bonifay dated September 17, 1993, and it was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 18-A.
Mr. Townsend testified that Mr. Doug Miller, Engineer for the development, had testified to the effect that Lanar Homes and Mr. McPherson had no objection to Tarmac's expansion and being an adjacent neighbor to them. He stated that there are homes all over the golf course now and they are now moving the infrastructure closer, and to his knowledge, they have had no complaints from any of those neighbors. He testified that Lanar Homes has made a significant and substantial investment in the development of that project.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a letter to Mr. James Seay, Esquire, from Tarmac Florida, Inc., dated September 23, 1993, and it was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 19-A. Ms. Bonifay stated that no letters, to her knowledge, are ever placed on the public record; however, Mr. Seay was the repository of it, and the attorney representing them at that time.
Mr. Townsend testified that the homes being built are approximately one to one and a half miles from the expansion site, but their development does come up to the property line.
Mr. Crawford cross-examined Mr. Townsend, who testified that he handles real estate transactions for Tarmac, and there was no transaction between the Nix and Tarmac. He testified that there are five acres of the Nix land included in the 1997 CUP addition. He further testified that the effect on the value of a home next to a sand mine have to be evaluated on a case by case basis and fair market value.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she would like to re-direct questions to Mr. Townsend.
Mr. Townsend testified that he would think that the issue of property values and location to a mine would be dependent on the topography of the area, and the buffers that would be installed and the visibility. He described what could be seen if you were on the southern boundary of this property looking back over the area to be mined by Tarmac as part of this expansion area and stated that, in this particular case, to protect those individuals to the south, he has agreed to leave an extensive buffer.
Ms. Bonifay wanted Mr. Townsend to review the economic impacts created by Center Sand Mine. She submitted five economic sheets of information from Tarmac America, Inc., and they were marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 20-A.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did know that there was not any dispute about the economic impacts by Center Sand Mine, and it was not the subject of any disagreement. He stated that the Board members have the information in their backup material, and they understand the economic benefits, but the economic benefits themselves are not the basis for the decision. He further stated that they were not suggesting this is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which promotes economic development.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Steven Gervasio, the CEO for Svanholm International Ltd., and a member of the Board of Directors of TruStone, to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
She submitted 18 pages of TruStone American information, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 21-A, and she submitted seven pages of TruStone Florida, Inc. information, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 22-A.
Mr. Gervasio reviewed the information in Exhibit 21-A and Exhibit 22-A and testified that they were looking at this as an accessory use, and they are a milling process that takes natural resources and processes them. He stated that there were two issues here, first the Phase 3 for the sand mine, which is their project. After evaluating all of the industrial sites in Lake County, they were not able to find any that had the logistics they were looking for, or the raw materials. Mr. Gervasio reviewed, in great detail, the workability of wood with the durability of concrete. He provided information about the size of the factory, the type of system it would be, and the process, and stated that he has not had any problem in obtaining necessary Federal or State permits for the operation of the Arizona plant. He further testified that he had the opportunity to meet with Lake County staff during the process of supplying the application, specifically with representatives of the fire department and others, to have them look at any potential safety hazards from his operation, and there were none. Mr. Gervasio stated that over 65% of his product uses sand. He stated that he looked at four sites in Lake County, which included the County Industrial Park, property across the street from the incinerator, and property in Astatula, which was not as conducive as the Center Lake Sand location. He explained that, if the Florida Economic Development Transportation Improvement Grant for Road Improvements to Hartwood Marsh Road is approved, it would be in the amount of $225,000, and it would straighten out the two curves in front of the sand mine.
Commr. Swartz noted that, in 1993, during the rezoning, it was a request of staff to straighten out the two roads, and the applicant in the case was opposed to the request.
Ms. Bonifay stated that the applicant has worked with Mr. Gervasio to try to bring funding to Lake County to make this happen, as the Chairman had wanted it to happen in 1993, and as designed by staff. She stated that staff has designed, under Mr. Griffey's direction, the roadway improvements they feel would be necessary to improve the road, and that is what will be submitted as the basis of the application to the State, and Center Lake Properties would have to give additional right-of-way.
Ms. Bonifay called Mr. Mack Cope, expert in the area of land use, to testify, and he was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay stated that she was offering Mr. Cope as an expert in the area of land use, site design, and compliance with development regulations.
Mr. Cope highlighted his educational credentials and work experience for the Board and testified that this will be a milling operation of which there will be the process of a raw material, and the LDRs, under agricultural uses, describe and define "mining", which is the principal use of the operation for Tarmac, and "milling", which will be the principal operation or the accessory use, and it was his consideration that the LDRs, Zoning Category 3.0, Agricultural Districts, describes and defines both "mining" and "milling" as conditional uses that are consistent with agricultural uses. Mr. Cope stated that the way the LDRs read "heavy industrial", there are certain words in the definition that could apply, but he believed that there are words in that definition that would not apply. He stated that there is a sense of obnoxiousness that would be considered to an industrial use, as opposed to the milling operation and its consideration as an agricultural use, and the difference is in the level of obnoxiousness. It has been described to him as a clean operation that processes a natural resource, which is sand, and sand is 75% of the product that the accessory use will produce. Mr. Cope testified that this would be almost perfectly fitting with the definitions that the LDRs put forth.
Ms. Bonifay submitted The Land Planning Report, Tarmac America Center Lake Sand Mine prepared by Mack Alan Cope, which was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 23-A, and Lake County Comprehensive Plan, Policy 7-13.5, as Exhibit 24-A.
Mr. Cope referred to Exhibit 24-1 and testified that the policy reads "predominant residential area", and he does not consider a rural land use designation, and an agricultural zoning designation, to constitute a predominant residential area. He testified that, if one was to read the definition for agriculture, it would read that it was to essentially not to permit residential uses, let alone predominant residential uses, and it seemed to him that the definition for agriculture by Lake County wants to protect agricultural uses from residential encroachment.
Ms. Bonifay submitted the Detail of Residential Property Purchases (1969-1997), and it was marked by the Deputy Clerk as Exhibit 25-A.
Mr. Crawford cross-examined Mr. Cope and questioned whether he had considered the totality of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan, or just selected policies and objectives that he had testified about. Mr. Crawford directed Mr. Cope's attention to Page I-2, Future Land Use Element, Policy 1-1.3 "Mitigation of Impacts from Adjacent Development" and questioned from what point an area transfers from being rural agricultural open space to being residential.
Mr. Cope responded to Mr. Crawford's question by testifying that it has to do primarily with infrastructure and urban services that can be provided that allow greater densities for what would be considered a residential subdivision. He testified that, in regards to the five acre subdivisions that have been approved in the area by Lake County, they are currently zoned agriculture, and they are within the rural land use designation, and he feels that states the fact for itself. Mr. Cope testified that those are single family homes on agricultural parcels.
Mr. Crawford referred to Page I-4, Policy 1-1.6(d) "Guidelines to Maintain the Viability of Residential Neighborhoods", and 1-1.6(e) "Regulations to Ensure Compatibility" and questioned whether these two references would apply here, because the infrastructure and services are not available to make this residential, or because of the zoning and land use remaining agricultural and rural.
Mr. Cope testified that this area is agriculture and agriculture promotes uses such as mining and milling, and it was his opinion that the residential areas have encroached upon the agricultural uses. He explained that the Future Land Use Element provides for compatibility between mining operations and PUDs, and the context means residential PUDs, and he believes that there is record evidence of compatibility between this operation and a record PUD.
Mr. Crawford referred to Page I-22, Objective 1-1b, "Rural Lifestyles" and questioned whether, in Mr. Cope's opinion, a five acre subdivision constitutes a rural lifestyle that would be worthy of preservation under this objective.
Mr. Cope testified that such a subdivision would be worthy of preservation under this objective.
Commr. Swartz addressed Exhibit 24-A and questioned Mr. Cope's interpretation of the sentence that was included in Section k and l, which states that "It is recognized, however, that mining activities may be compatible with PUDs in some situations."
Mr. Cope testified that he would have to recognize that a PUD is a time sequenced plan, and there will be land uses occurring on specific areas at certain periods of times, and it should be understood that the property owner will be using it for a higher and better use that is the same as the adjoining uses in the future. He would agree that the mining and coring definition from the LDRs was primarily for the extraction of the natural resources. He stated that it is an accessory use in the sense that it is not the primary or principle use of the property, which is the mining, and which is the extraction.
Commr. Swartz stated that the Comprehensive Plan does not really talk about the secondary or non-principle uses, and it really refers to the principle use when it is talking about these.
Mr. Cope felt that it is referring to a permitted use, whether it is a principle or an accessory.
Commr. Swartz stated that the permitted use today is extraction.
Ms. Bonifay explained that, when the Board calls for those who want to make comments in support of the project, they are not here as expert witnesses, but they are here to give other testimony.
Mr. Crawford stated that, under the Comprehensive Plan LDRs, mining expansion is treated exactly like a new mine. The MSP review standards are in Chapter 14 in the CUP standards. He stated that this particular mine fails in at least three major areas, as follows: 1) consistency with the local Code and Comprehensive Plan; 2) effect on adjacent properties; and 3) it must be compatible with the existing or planned character of the neighborhood in which it will be located. He stated that the burden is on the applicant to show an entitlement to a conditional use permit by at least the preponderance of the evidence. Mr. Crawford stated that he would like to ask some of the people who would like to speak in opposition to the mine to address the Board at this time.
Mr. Gary Logan was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Logan stated that he and the neighbors were strongly against the mine. The mine was there first, and then the neighborhood moved in, however, the mine was on the other side of Hartwood Marsh Road and one-half mile away from them. Now the mine was going to come across the road and will back right up to his property. Mr. Logan stated that there were a lot of young families with small children living in this area, and one of his biggest concerns was the safety of the children. He stated that there is a big hole on the property and a big sand mine, which will be very intriguing to children, and even though he knows that people are here to protect their livelihood, he felt the lives of their families were more important. Mr. Logan explained how the sand blows over the road and stated that, during the last storm, it completely covered about a 50 foot section, and it does create a lot of dust and particles. He stated that his daughter, as well as a neighbor's daughter, have asthma problems, and they try to do whatever they can to keep the dust down, but with the mine right behind them, it will add substantially to the amount of dust in the neighborhood. He addressed the noise levels and stated that the back of his house faces the mine, and when the breeze carries the wind, the slamming of the tailgates on the trucks can be heard as well as the siren. He was glad to hear about how good the water is in the area, but there may be future problems with the quality of the water, if the mine is 100 feet from his well. Mr. Logan was concerned about the increase in truck traffic, his property value, and the well being of his livestock.
Mr. Logan responded to questions from Ms. Bonifay by stating that he does not claim an agriculture exemption on his property taxes; there is a 20 foot easement between his property and the sand mine and his property does not touch it; the easement is a clay road; and there may be dirt from his own easement or entrance road blowing across his property. He pointed out the location of his property.
Mr. Logan responded to a question from Mr. Crawford by stating that, when the wind blows from the northwest from the Tarmac reclamation area, it is far enough away that he has not noticed any sand blowing.
Mr. Cleveland Lee was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Lee stated that the people that work at Tarmac come and go, and he and others live there, and this was going to be in their backyards. He worked for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, and he has been passed on Hartwood Marsh Road on the double yellow lines by sand trucks. He was concerned about the safety for the children, as expressed by Mr. Logan. He pointed out the location of his property.
Ms. Patricia Benjamin was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Ms. Benjamin stated that she and her husband purchased their property about three and one-half years ago. She explained that, before they purchased the property, they went to the Zoning Department and asked for their help, and they pulled up all of the records they could find, and there was no mention of any concern for the property they were buying, or about the adjacent properties. After purchasing the property, they started hearing of the potential for the expansion of the mines. The mines were located approximately one mile away from their property, so they did not move adjacent to them, and they were not bothered by the fact that they were there. Ms. Benjamin stated that there was a lot of concern about the aquifer and, if the traffic increases on the roads and some sort of hazardous waste spills onto the land, she questioned whether there was a possibility for contamination, if the sand is removed. She stated that they have said that their uses for construction purposes were large and medium grade, and the tailings would be left there, but it sounds as if they are saying something different now. She felt they had addressed her concerns on the health matters relating to the sand, but she was concerned about being able to get the financing to build her house.
Commr. Hanson stated that Ms. Benjamin's financing should not be affected by the expansion of the mine. She questioned whether she checked the ownership of the property in question when we was getting ready to purchase her property.
Ms. Benjamin stated that she asked staff about the surrounding properties, and she was told the name, but she was under the impression it was a fruit company.
Mr. Crawford noted that the property was listed under the name of Center Lake Properties, and it is the same group that applied for land use plan amendment at Cherry Lake, so they are in businesses other than sand mining.
Ms. Bonifay cross-examined Ms. Benjamin and asked questions about the assistance she received from staff when investigating the surrounding properties.
Ms. Benjamin explained that she asked staff to pull up anything that may have been any concern, and they said it looked like everything was just fine. She testified that the name of the mine, Tarmac Sand Mine, is posted very conspicuously at the entrance and along the property, and she was under the impression, from her neighbors and the gentleman he purchased the property from, that the life expectancy of the mine was three to five years.
Ms. Bonifay clarified that the wrong name of the ownership was given to Ms. Benjamin, the property is not owned by a fruit company, and it is owned by Center Lake Properties, so she was not sure what information the County gave her.
Ms. Kathy Waldrop was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Ms. Waldrop addressed the safety issue and stated that she has two small children and, after the test wells were put in right behind her property and along the property line in question, they left the test wells open. She stated that her three year old has severe allergies, and she has to have shots that are not even given to a child at this age. Ms. Waldrop explained to her doctor where she lives and the situation, and he said it was definitely a cause of the problem. She addressed the safety issue involving the school buses and stated that there are at least six children that wait for the bus. There has been three wrecks at the same curve within the past year where trucks have flipped over. It was her understanding that a Lake County school bus cannot go past the sand mine to get to the houses that are around the curve, because it is a safety hazard. Ms. Waldrop stated that they have refinanced their property, and their property will be paid for next year, and they have put everything they have into this property so they can build a house, and now they are concerned about the devaluation of their property.
Ms. Melissa Legg was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Ms. Legg stated that she is a previous Lake County bus driver, and the bus drivers were not allowed to go past the sand mine. She still travels on Hartwood Marsh Road and it is still a safety issue, because she has seen many wrecks on the curve, and this is where the children stand to wait for the buses. Ms. Legg stated that, if they expand across the road, there will be more trucks, more traffic, and more hazards for other people.
Mr. Robert Niebert was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Niebert noted the location of his property and the property that he leases and stated that, when he moved to this area, he knew that Tarmac was across Hartwood Marsh Road, but he did not know that the mine would expand across the street. He stated that had he known about it, he would not have purchased the property, because he felt that it would greatly reduce his property value. He felt that it would be a mistake to let the pit come across the street, because of the adverse effect it will have on the people that live there now. Mr. Niebert stated that there are people that have lived there all of their lives and not expected it to come across the street. He stated that the sand does blow across Hartwood Marsh Road at times, where you do have to roll the windows up in your car when you drive past it. He further stated that, when you drive down Hartwood Marsh Road, at any time of day or night, you will be passed by several trucks more than likely driving recklessly. He noted that the sand has been blown up into curb like structures on the sides of the road. Mr. Niebert stated that the mine operates about 24 hours a day seven days a week, and he can hear the siren go off, and he can feel the vibration from the machinery, and it is annoying. He feels the property values will decrease. He stated that they said they took the noise level readings at the fences, but there are no fences around the property. There is a two foot tall berm and that was the only thing that separates the property from the general public. Mr. Neibert stated that there used to be signs there years ago, but there are no signs. A truck ran off the road and into the pit, but there were no signs, no berm and no fence. He stated that the pit is dangerous and they do not need it expanded across the road.
Ms. Maryann Johnson was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Ms. Johnson stated that her sister-in-law fell into the pit and spent over a week in the hospital in ICU, because her lungs were totally full of water. Ms. Johnson was told that, if she had not drowned, the alligators would have gotten her. She has lived there for 15 years, and she has talked to the people at the mine about the problem with the pit, as well as the sirens that are extremely loud.
Mr. Bob Maples was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Maples stated that he has lived on his property since 1985, and he was told that the mine would not be coming across the street behind his property. He stated that he owns more land by the proposed area than anybody in the area. He has put up approximately 250 feet of fence, and his neighbors have put up about 300 feet. Mr. Maples stated that he was a land surveyor and he used to survey the mine, and about two years ago, they blew a large hole through the bottom of the pit, and the water dropped about 50 feet in elevation. He was concerned about where the water was going and how it would affect the drinking water. Mr. Maples stated that he was also concerned about the value of his property being affected by the mine.
Mr. Kerry Rose was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Rose stated that he has lived in the Central Florida area for eight of the last ten years, and he thought that even the best of realtors would find it exceptionally difficult to obtain current market resale value on a home after a sand mine comes in beside it. Mr. Rose stated that it was important to note for the record that all of the opponents here this evening are residents of properties, or owners of properties, where they intend to put residences around the parcel in question. He stated that he had in his possession a petition containing 70 signatures representing both those individuals here and those that could not attend for a variety of reasons. He discussed the issue of economic impact and stated that, after doing some research and utilizing the Tarmac name, he found that, according to the County records in 1997, the tax bill for Tarmac was approximately $4,300. Of the surrounding homeowners present, he quit counting at $50,000, which, in most cases, was residential rates. He knows that it was not an issue as far as taxes, but there may be some economic aspects that are worth considering. Through his research he found that construction over the last two years in this area has resulted in annual home price tax values of $2,000 and more, and the trend is increasing. Mr. Rose explained that Mr. Logenbach has 32 home sites east of the parcel that has been pre-approved for residential use by the Board, and the development of Mr. Cappleman's property is pending construction based on the outcome of the decision tonight. He noted that there are between eight and ten other sand mines operating in this area, and there will be work, traffic, fuel taxes, and economic revenue from those other sources. He explained calculations that he made using figures from research and from Tarmac for 1999 through 2006 and estimated a loss to Lake County in the amount of $294,000 to the County coffer, but under Tarmac's current payment schedule, it would be about $30,000 on their side of the ledger. If Center Sand Mines found another use for their 320 acres, and he estimated 50 homes, over that same period of time, it would bring $445,000 in potential tax revenue, if home values remained constant. Mr. Rose was a firm believer in individual property rights, and everybody has the right to make the best use of their property, with the one caviot that they all have on all of their rights, which is we do not negatively impact the others around us. He feels that TruStone has a very fine project, and it has a good use in this particular arena, and there was no doubt that there were other operations that would be willing to provide material to this operation. TruStone believes that this facility if compatible with the residential use, and he was sure they could fit into any commercial, corporate, or industrial park in the County quite well, and those economic values would be realized. Mr. Rose showed a video which depicted three separate days of wind and sand problems. The video was submitted and marked as Exhibit D-O by the Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Robert Lyles was sworn in by the Deputy Clerk. Mr. Lyles stated that he represents Mr. Vandenberg who owns 160 acres, which he offered to the Lake County School Board, and Mr. Jerry Cox, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Support Services, had a negative reaction to the offer, because you would have to go by the sand mine to get to the school. He stated that Mr. Crittenden, who owns 80 acres to the west of the property in question and has water and sewer, personally took three of the School Board Members to the site, and they all said what a hazard this would be, because the children could possibly get into the sand mine. He stated that Mr. Vandenberg has his 160 acres approved, platted and prepared to cut roads for 32 home sites with deed restrictions, and they are having a hard time selling the property, because, as realtors, they have to tell people there is a proposed sand mine by the property.
Commr. Hanson stated that the School Board has rejected the property, but she questioned what the additional decrease in value would be on the property Mr. Lyles was representing.
Mr. Lyles stated that across the street and catty corner there is a development of five acre tracts. He stated that they started out with Phase 1 across the road that has eight tracts that they could sell immediately, because they do not have to build roads. They started out at $59,000 and his office gets more calls about these tracts in a weeks period of time, but because they have to disclose that there is a proposed sand mine, people lose interest. They have reduced the price from $59,000 to $42,500, and that is the adverse on the property owner.
The map depicting the surrounding property owners of the mine site was submitted and marked as Exhibit E-O by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay questioned whether Mr. Lyles was involved with the property when it was going through the subdivision process and whether he ever saw a letter in the public file to Lake County saying that Center Sand Mine's plan was to develop and be adjacent to his property.
Mr. Lyles stated that he was involved with the subdivision process, but he never saw the letter being noted. He stated that he did talk with Center Lake Properties and Mr. Joe Caruso who said they would want to develop. He noted that the lots in the back were being advertised for $65,000.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 11:20 p.m., the Chairman announced that the Board would take a ten minute recess.
PETITION NO. MSP#97/11/1-2 CENTER LAKE PROPERTIES
TARMAC AMERICA INC. (CONTINUED)
Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney, stated that he would like to present a brief history of the Lake County Comprehensive Plan. He wanted to talk about Policy 7.13-3: Mining in Prime and High Aquifer Areas, which is in the Conservation Element of the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Richey stated that there has been ample evidence from the Tarmac experts, staff and others that say this site is in a high recharge area, and there was discussion about it being a prime recharge area. He stated that, in looking at Policy 7.13-3, mining is prohibited in high and prime recharge areas in the current plan. Mr. Richey stated that, in December, 1990, the Board adopted the following language in the Plan: "Mining in Prime Aquifer Recharge Area. No mining shall be allowed to be conducted in prime aquifer recharge areas as identified by the SJRWMD/SWFWMD pursuant to s. 373.0395 (3), F.S." He stated that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) pointed out that the County had put the protection of prime recharge areas in the hands of another agency and suggested revising the policy to protect high recharge areas not tied to the SJRWMD. The County left the language in the policy, as noted in the Conservation Element dated July 9, 1991. Once again, the DCA found the County in noncompliance by raising the same issue by saying that Lake County does not want to rely on another agency, or tie it to a specific Statute. In the Settlement Agreement that Lake County entered into with DCA, Page 108, Policy 7-13.3, the word high was added, which is not tied to the SJRWMD Statute and the SJRWMD procedures. Mr. Richey stated that high recharge is prohibited from being mined in Lake County. He discussed "public-purpose" mines and stated that the County approved these in recharge areas, with two conditions. He stated that there has been a lot of confusion about this issue by staff, but the intent was not to allow it. Mr. Richey stated that there has been one mine that has violated the policy, and that was the 1993 expansion to Tarmac. He stated that none of the other mines that the Board has considered has violated the policy. When the application was filed, he objected on these very grounds and said it should not be processed, but no one had the historical perspective that he presented tonight, and therefore, it was processed. He stated that this is high recharge, and it is prohibited by the Comprehensive Plan, and that, in itself, deserves to have it turned down. Mr. Richey stated that they want to put an industry in a high recharge area, and Lake County does not allow industries in high recharge areas, and it is in violation of the Plan.
The language from Policy 7-12.1 through Policy 7-13.7 dated December 21, 1990 was submitted and marked as Exhibit F-O by the Deputy Clerk.
Ms. Bonifay objected, on the record, that, if they were in court, an attorney would not be allowed to come in at the last moment and have two rebuttals. Mr. Crawford has handled the case, and he filed the Notice of Appearance, and Mr. Richey has done the rebuttal. She would like the record to reflect their objection, if Mr. Crawford continues.
Mr. Crawford submitted the following documents, and they were marked, as follows, by the Deputy Clerk: Exhibit G-O - MSP#96/7/1-2, Florida Rock Industries - turnpike South Sand Mine Map; Exhibit H-I - an aerial map date March, 1994 - TWP23S RNG 26E ; and Exhibit I-O - the aerial map dated March, 1994 - TWP21 S RNG24E.
Mr. Crawford referred to Exhibit G-O and stated that he counted the homes within a half a mile radius of the proposed mine and there are three, and there are four more that are just over the line, and there are none within about 1,000 feet. In comparing this to the Tarmac mine, it takes in an entire subdivision, half of the subdivision by Mr. Logenbach, 19 homes that are already constructed, and about 18 more platted lots within a half mile radius. He stated that the neighbors have testified that mine expansion is incompatible with their surrounding neighborhood, and they believe it will lower their property value. Mr. Crawford noted that neighbors that come forward and say they do not want it in their back yard are not competent substantial evidence; however, neighbors are qualified to testify about the character of their neighborhood and things they have personal knowledge about. They are qualified to testify about the value and the devaluation of their property, which they have done tonight, and this is competent substantial evidence. Mr. Crawford stated that they have seen evidence introduced about a Comprehensive Plan policy that they believe prohibits sand mining in high recharge areas in Lake County. There are additional Comprehensive Plan policies designed to protect neighborhoods in rural communities. Mr. Crawford said that the issue involves whether they meet the standards for approving the expansion of the Tarmac mine, consistency with the LDRs in the Comprehensive Plan, no undue adverse effect on nearby properties. They have to demonstrate that it is compatible with the existing and planned character of the neighborhood in which it will be located, and they have been unable to demonstrate those, so he was asking the Board to disapprove the mine based upon those factors.
Ms. Bonifay stated that, since the Board took a break before Mr. Crawford began his rebuttal, she did not think the question was ever asked if there was anyone else here that she did not present as a witness, or that they would call forward that wanted to speak to this application.
Commr. Swartz did not feel this was correct, because he asked for anyone that Ms. Bonifay wanted to speak, or anyone that wanted to speak on behalf, and a number of people came forward to speak on behalf, and therefore, the Board went to the opposition and invited them to do the same.
Ms. Bonifay stated that there was one member in the audience who did not understand the procedures and that was the owner of the property. She asked that Mr. Myer be allowed to approach before she did her rebuttal.
Commr. Swartz asked that Ms. Bonifay begin her rebuttal, and to include any comments she felt was appropriate on behalf of those individuals she was representing.
Ms. Bonifay requested that the record reflect that the representatives of Center Lake Properties who were here tonight were not allowed to address the Board.
Commr. Swartz stated, for the record, to make it perfectly clear, that the Board spent about four hours letting Ms. Bonifay present all make and manner of witnesses and people, and there was an opportunity, but the Board was not going back.
Ms. Bonifay requested that the record reflect that the applicant does not ask that these proceedings be quasi-judicial in nature. Those are imposed upon us through court rulings and the rules adopted by Lake County, Florida, and her duty is to put on the best evidence possible on behalf of her client, because if they do not prevail, their only remedy is to go to Circuit Court, and the only record that is reviewed is the record below.
Ms. Bonifay addressed the language discussed by Mr. Richey in the Comprehensive Plan and noted that the word high was added to the language by the Board between July 9, 1991 and November, 1992, which may or may not have been at the urging or direction of DCA. However, DCA is not the body that has to enforce the language, but it is the Board. She noted that the language went from "Mining in Prime Aquifer Recharge Areas" in July, 1991, to the following language November 3, 1992: "Mining in Prime and High Aquifer Recharge Areas. In addition, Lake County shall implement the following requirements for mining within the areas of the County identified as 'very high and high recharge' areas pursuant to Map 1-1i of the Future Land Use element Data Inventory and Analysis." She stated that this language and the two criteria, as outlined, are still in the Plan today. According to the Legislative copy, the small scale public purpose mines that are compatible when limited in size and duration and operation, was not put in at that point, which would be contrary to the intent and Mr. Richey's contention that those two criteria are only in this plan to modify public purpose mines. She noted that the following language was in the July, 1991, policy: "Small-scale, public-purpose mines are compatible when limited in size and duration of operation." She stated that this is the identical language in the November 3, 1992 policy, and the only language that has been stricken is the following: "Where mining is a permitted activity under Florida Law, permitted mining activity shall not significantly alter the quality and quantity of ground and surface waters. Where required, the costs of water monitoring activity shall be born by the extractor." Ms. Bonifay stated that, by taking the language out, as noted, the Board inserted a new condition that dealt with recharge and water quality. The same language appears in the February 5, 1993 policy. She stated that public purpose mines have been in the language since 1991; the Board took out the part about altering water quality; the Board added the language saying that, if you are going to mine in high and high recharge, you will do these two things, which is part of the mining ordinance, which was done in 1990. It is the same language that was there in September 1993, June 1995 and is in the Comprehensive Plan today. Ms. Bonifay felt as if Mr. Richey was implying that the Board, nor staff, knows how to read the Plan. She does not feel that it was unreasonable that Tarmac had proceeded forward under the same Comprehensive Plan language that has been there since 1992, and they either must be a public purpose mine, if she follows Mr. Richey's analogy, and that is why staff approved them, because they meet the two criteria as to the hydrogeological report, and no adverse impact on aquifer recharge and water quality. She stated that they have a staff recommendation for approval, and she would offer this chronology and this analysis and those portions of the Comprehensive Plan for the record.
Ms. Bonifay submitted a composite of language from the Lake County Conservation Element, as discussed, and it was marked as Exhibit 26-A - (composite) by the Deputy Clerk. Ms. Bonifay stated that the policy has not changed, and Mr. Richey's interpretation has not changed. She referred to Map 1-1i and noted that it defines all of the areas of high recharge, which is where the majority of the mines are located including the new ones. She stated that, for the Board to say that this map has no relevance, or no merit, is defying what is in the Comprehensive Plan.
Ms. Bonifay submitted copies of the BCC meeting dated September 28, 1993, and it was marked as Exhibit 27-A by the Deputy Clerk. She noted that not one of the individuals present tonight, that lives near the mine, was at this meeting to testify against the mine. Furthermore, there was no discussion on the record as to any issue as to high recharge; there is no statement they were in violation of the Comprehensive Plan; and the only reasons given for the Board's lack of support by two members of the Board was the improvements that were desired to Hartwood Marsh Road, and in fact, they could support the mine, if those improvements were made. Ms. Bonifay stated that they have worked diligently to make application for a grant, and they have used the design from Public Works to apply for a grant for $225,000 to make those road improvements. She stated that she cannot compete with the emotion displayed by the public, but the responsible applicant has pulled together the best people in those fields to address those questions and concerns. Ms. Bonifay stated that the Board has not documented evidence of any vehicular safety problems, and when allegations are made, the case law says that those have to be supported by something, and the Board has not seen any traffic data, because there is not any to show traffic accidents on Hartwood Marsh Road. She explained that they were only increasing the life of the mine, the plant does not increase, the plant does not move, and there will be no more trucks. In terms of loss of value, the Board has heard testimony about someone who is closer to the mine today than they were in 1986, and someone who has refinanced their house and lives 600 feet from the sand mine. She discussed the testimony that they should not cross Hartwood Marsh Road and stated that, in the original CUP, they were south of the road, and they have always be allowed, up until this time, to be east and contiguous of where some of the people live. She addressed the safety issues and stated that the dredge operator contends there has been no problem. She stated that there has been no adverse impact on recharge, or water quality, and they contend that you can have as much or more problems, for these people and their wells, from agricultural pursuits through livestock and other animals as you can ever have from the mine. Ms. Bonifay stated that she has shown water quality data as late as December, 1997, which is better than bottled water. She discussed the drill holes that have been done on the property over a period of time to determine the underlying sand layer and explained the process for filling them, and she stated that, if someone is mining well holes, or monitoring wells on their property that are large enough for a small child to fall into, they would like to know who they are because it is not them creating the safety hazard. As to the issue of children, animals, vehicles trespassing on their property and getting into the pit, Tarmac imposes a fencing. She stated that they do not fence, because they put up safety berms. If that is a concern, Tarmac was here tonight and stands ready to fence the entire southern area, in addition to 100 feet of pine trees, a safety berm. She noted that, after hearing testimony about the value of property, she wanted the Board to know that Mr. Joe Caruso is not an officer, or a representative of Center Lake Properties. The original size of the mine was spelled out by staff when they vested and registered the mine in 1990, and they knew the existing size and included the 320 acre expansion area today. She stated that her client has gone to a greater level and detail to try to put Lake County on notice. She further stated that Lanar Homes, which has just completed a development of regional impact, testified in 1993 that they saw no incompatibility and they were going to be building 3,600 homes in that area. If they had been concerned with blowing sand, they would have been at the September, 1993 meeting and interpreted the policy the way Mr. Richey did and said no mining is allowed. Ms. Bonifay stated that they were not here tonight, but she talked with them and they have no problem with the mine. They put the City of Clermont on notice, and Ms. Bonifay did not know of anything else her client could do. Ms. Bonifay stated that the Board's interpretation in 1993, the issue of no mining in high recharge, was never raised, and that policy has not changed. She urged the Board to approve the expansion and the accessory use. She stated that, if the noise is a problem, they can install lights on some of the machinery rather than sirens. She stated that they would be happy to do this where Federal law prohibits. Ms. Bonifay stated that the mine has been in operation for 30 years, and all of the mines that have been approved in Lake County operate on the same basis, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and different shifts.
The following was submitted by Ms. Bonifay, and it was marked by the Deputy Clerk, as follows:
Exhibit 28-A - Report of Jim Mason, Tarmac America, Inc., Center Sand Mine -
Mining Site Plan #97-11/1-2 - February 24, 1998
Exhibit 29-A - Water Quality Review, Tarmac America, inc., Center Sand Mine,
Lake County, Florida
Exhibit 30-A - Harding Lawson Associates - Center Sand Operations -
Dust Exposure Evaluation - Deborah Barsotti, Ph.D., DABT
Exhibit 31-A - Risk Characterization of Potential Exposures to Dust Associated with
Site Plan Amendment for the Center Sand Mine -
Deborah Barsotti, Ph.D., DABT
Exhibit 32-A - Letter to Cecelia Bonifay, Esquire, from Howard Stockton, South Lake
Chamber of Commerce - December 16, 1997
Exhibit 33-A - Letter to Cecelia Bonifay, Esquire, from Raymond Gilley, South Lake
Development Council - February 24, 1998
Exhibit 34-A - James M. Mason - resume
Exhibit 35-A - R. Fred Crabill - resume
Exhibit 36-A - Mark R. Stephens, P.G., P.E. - resume
Exhibit 37-A - Frank Cone - resume
Exhibit 38-A - Deborah A. Barsotti, Ph.D., DABT - resume
Exhibit 39-A - David A. Buff, M.E., P.E. - resume
Exhibit 40-A - Arthur Ellery Murphy - resume
Exhibit 41-A - Albert W. Townsend, C.F.E.A., N.R.E.P. - resume
Exhibit 42-A - Steven J. Gervasio - resume
Exhibit 43-A - Mack Alan Cope - resume
Exhibit 44-A - David A. Bare, M.S. - resume
Exhibit 45-A - Peter Morse - resume
Exhibit 46-A - Michael R. Kane - resume
The Chairman called for further public comment. There being none, he closed the public hearing portion of the meeting leaving comment and discussion to the Board, and staff if necessary. Commr. Hanson questioned whether the letter of vesting of the project included the subject property, too.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that Ms. Bonifay had indicated that her client's position was that it was not included in the vesting letter, and he did not think that was in dispute during the hearing.
Commr. Good stated that he tries to look into the future and see the vision of what is happening in District 2 and in the Central Florida community. He has tried to weigh the character of the community and the economic benefits to come up with a decision. As he has traveled the District 2 area and looked at the changes in this particular area, he realized that it is an area in transition. He has voted for and against mines and mine expansions. Commr. Good referred to Exhibit 15-A and noted that any mine expansions that were done were done in zero to four inches of recharge and not 12 plus inches of recharge. As he reads Policy 7-13.3, he does not think mining needs to happen in an area that is transitioning. He believes the CUP and the expansion are in violation of the Comprehensive Plan. He was involved with making that decision in Policy 7-13.3. As he looks at the kind of development that is occurring around this property, he did not feel it would be wise to move with an expansion. He was not sure the expansion would be in character with the community, or compatible with the existing changes in this part of the County. He stated that, as the mining jobs change from mining jobs to construction jobs, he hoped the County would stay involved and help people make those transitions. He stated that, after stating his position, he was ready to make a motion. Commr. Good noted, for the record, that he was not here in 1993 when the other decision was made.
Mr. Minkoff explained that, if there is a conflict between the Mining Ordinance, or the LDRs in the Comprehensive Plan, the Comprehensive Plan would take precedence.
Commr. Gerber stated that, on the recharge issue, regardless of what the controversy is surrounding the language in the Plan, they heard staff saying that the impact to recharge can be positive, and there is no detriment. She drove to the property today and found that most of the sand that she saw was from the Lennar (Kings Ridge DRI/PUD) expansion who is expanding right up to Hartwood Marsh Road and doing their infrastructure in there, and the farther back you go, there really was no sand blowing from the mine. Commr. Gerber stated that she was of the understanding that the 1993 CUP addition, which she voted against, was already reclaimed and had been mined, but now she understands that it will probably be mined regardless of what the Board does with the addition tonight, and if that is mined, and the Board turns this down, the County will not get the grant money that will enhance the curve and make it safer. She stated that the curve would remain the same and the mining will probably go in there anyway right next to the same people, so she saw no advantage to not granting the addition to the CUP other than the fact that the improvement will be there for the folks that are there. She discussed the pine trees with regard to their buffering and stated that she would have to be in favor of the addition, and she has no problem with the block plant.
Commr. Hanson stated that she agrees with Commr. Gerber in that staff and expert opinion has said that there would really be no net loss of water, and it would actually be an increase of recharge capability. In reviewing the BCC minutes from September 1993 (Exhibit 27-A), she noted that Commr. Swartz stated that the applicant has met the conditions that the County requires in the new Mining Ordinance, and his concern was in transportation. She stated that there has been no history of adverse environmental impact, and staff has said it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The Villa City is a pertinent issue, and as far as property values, if there was nothing there and it was brought in, then she would say yes, it would definitely impact the property values. She agreed that it would still impact them to some extent, but having it already there in place and already backed up to many of these properties, she was not sure how much additional impact would occur on the property values. She stated that, if the request is passed, she would certainly want the chain link fence and some hours of operation, but she understood the concerns that would be there.
Commr. Swartz stated there are several things that are different than they were in 1993, one of which is this Board has taken a lot closer look at mining approvals. He thought, in part, this one may have not had as much scrutiny, because it was viewed as an expansion of an existing mine, but, secondly, he did not believe that in 1993 there was yet as much interest in looking at issues of high recharge. If it was not discussed adequately and dealt with in 1993, then that was a mistake that was made in 1993, and the Board does not want to repeat a mistake. There is another difference tonight that was not present in 1993 from the standpoint of receiving more information for the record and more for the Board to consider. Commr. Swartz stated that there were a couple of things that he thought were pertinent, as follows: 1) the high recharge issue and the mining; and 2) whether or not this is a valid accessory use to that mining. He stated that mining has been considered as an extraction process, and to now consider that this type of industrial is an accessory use, even if you could accept this, the other argument is whether or not that is an appropriate use in a high recharge area, and he feels that the Comprehensive Plan speaks to that point, as well. He stated that when a new mine comes to the Board today, it is viewed and scrutinized much more than they ever were before and more than an existing one has been in the past. He stated that it still comes back to the issues of consistency, undue adverse effect, compatible with existing or planned development. If mining was planned in this area, the appropriate time would have been to bring that zoning forward in 1993 with the other zoning, and that would have clearly put anybody on notice, because it would have been a governmental action to approve an expansion of that mine. Commr. Swartz believed that the Board probably made a mistake in 1993, at least not exploring it in more detail, and he would not be able to vote to support it again tonight.
Commr. Good made a motion to deny the request for an amendment to CUP#119-3 (A, B & C) to add an accessory use to the existing mine and to add land for future expansion, Tarmac America/Center lake Sand Mine.
Commr. Swartz, Chairman, passed the gavel to Commr. Hanson and seconded the motion for denial of the request.
Commr. Hanson called for a vote on the motion to deny the request, with the motion failing by a 2-2 vote. Commrs. Hanson and Gerber voted "no".
Commr. Hanson returned the gavel to Commr. Swartz, Chairman.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to approve the request for an amendment to CUP#119-3 (A, B & C) to add an accessory use to the existing mine and to add land for future expansion, Tarmac America/Center lake Sand Mine.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion to approve the request, with the motion failing by a 2-2 vote. Commrs. Good and Swartz voted "no".
Mr. Minkoff stated that, in accordance with Board procedures, when the motion for approval fails on a tie vote, the petition is denied.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:50 a.m.
G. RICHARD SWARTZ, JR., CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK