The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, March 28, 2000, 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: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Robert A. Pool; G. Richard Swartz, Jr.; and Rhonda H. Gerber. Others present were: Sue Whittle, County Manager; Sanford A. Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner's Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Sue Whittle noted that the Board has before them a printed addendum for today.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of March 7, 2000, as presented.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - CHAIRMAN - DISTRICT 5
Commr. Cadwell stated that the Resolution before the Board regarding the Water Authority was brought to them last week, under public comment, by the Conservation Council, and it was placed on the agenda for this week.
Commr. Hanson stated that she had the same question as last week, which was whether or not the recommendation to suggest names of individuals could be submitted by the County Commission to the Governor. She questioned whether this would affect the independent taxing position of the Water Authority.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he would research the issue brought forth by Commr. Hanson while the Board continued its discussion.
Commr. Cadwell stated that a plan like this was brought forth about a year and a half ago by Commr. Gerber, and her intent was to slow down the process that the Board sees happening now, and at that time, the Water Authority was not interested in such a plan. He was concerned about moving forward on this issue now, because the Board is going to Tallahassee today to talk to the Legislature, and the legislative delegation has heard about this issue for two years and has moved in a particular direction. Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board has other issues that are just as important as this one, and if the Board takes a resolution this late to the delegation, it is not going to help, and the timing would be terrible for the rest of the issues being presented to them. He feels that the Board may lose some of the battles by taking a position on this issue.
Commr. Hanson stated she feels that this is a compromise, and she is not sure that the Board will get the best people in the position with an election. She stated that she did have some major problems with three members on the Water Authority Board, and the power that could be in the hands of either one or two of the people on that board. If the Commissioners were to make one recommendation from each district to the Governor, or maybe two from each district, the Governor would ultimately make the choice of who would serve. Commr. Hanson stated that it might be a better process for the County, in the long run, than an election process, and even though it would not be an elected process, they would still be appointed by the Governor, and because they would be recommended by the Board members, there would be some relationship to the voting process.
Commr. Gerber explained that, if they approve the seven member board, the County will be paying for the election process anyway. She stated that the suggestion of having the Board appoint to the Governor is a little bit of a hybrid of what she came up with the first time. The concern, at that time, was the lack of independence of the Water Authority, if the Board was to put into effect the Board appointing the members, and them losing their taxing ability, but if the Board was to give the names to the Governor, she thinks that would be a better hybrid, if they do not lose their independence.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the Board could not recommend just one or two individuals, but if the members sent several recommendations to the Governor, and he was able to chose, and if the Board did not have the ability to take them off the Water Authority Board, and only the Governor could remove them, then they could remain independent.
Commr. Pool stated that there is going to be an election, and there will be a millage cap, and there will be, hopefully, an increase in the number of Water Authority Board members. He stated that he does not believe, in the last 25 or 30 years, that the Water Authority, whatever the makeup, has focused enough on storm water. He explained that the County already owns 6,000 acres, and only $3,000 has been spent on storm water, and this has to change, in order to get something done.
Commr. Hanson stated that she does not believe anyone has been more critical of the Water Authority than she has in that regard, and that was one of her concerns when she went to them three or four years ago and appealed to the them to start focusing on storm water, because they are the logical entity that should be dealing with storm water, even though they did not think so.
Commr. Pool noted that it took the legislators to insert the word "storm water" in their bylaws to get it done.
Commr. Hanson stated that the Water Authority did have the ability earlier on to look at water quality, even though there was no mention of storm water, but her concern goes back to the power base on that board with three people. She feels that this could take care of that problem, and she would be willing to live with it. Commr. Hanson stated that there has always been a cap, and this will keep the cap at the level it is now, because, if it is reduced, there will be even less funding for storm water.
Commr. Gerber stated that she would have no problem with them changing their emphasis, or influence, to storm water, as long as there is some entity in this county buying land, and right now it is only them.
Commr. Pool stated that currently 25% of Lake County is held by either federal, state, or county governments, as far as park lands. He stated that the State just bought 4,000 acres south of Clermont, and he is not saying that they should not buy lands. Commr. Pool stated that he supports endorsing and embracing that idea, but the focus today needs to go for storm water, and that is where he wants it to be. He stated that $300,000 in 30 years is not enough.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, as far as resolutions to the legislative delegation, he is not able to find a comfort level with telling the delegation that he does not think that an elected board is the way to go. He stated that, as an elected official, he cannot find comfort in telling another group, that is in charge of a very important issue, that being elected would be a bad thing.
Commr. Swartz stated that the timing issue is more urgent and requires the Board to step forward on this issue, because of what is happening in the Legislature today, that, in fact, the Board has, through a letter that the Chairman wrote, addressing the activities of Polk County visavis Lake Lowery and what they are trying to do, which is to carve out a district down there that will be without any supervision requiring permits. He stated that this Board got active in conjunction with the Water Authority, but the Water Authority has clearly taken a lead on that issue, and those issues are in the Legislature right now. Commr. Swartz stated that this Board really needs to be saying to the legislative delegation that they need a strong, viable Water Authority, one that has been able to act in the interest of the citizens of Lake County in protecting their waters, wetlands, and associated uplands in Lake County. He stated that there has been no organization in Lake County that has done the job, or has done it as well as the Water Authority has over all of these years. He further stated that the Board can be critical of the Water Authority for not doing more sooner, but they did more earlier than any other agency in Lake County, and some of the purchases they have made of land are bound to also be important in the whole issue of water quality, which storm water is part of that issue. Commr. Swartz stated that he certainly supports, and the Water Authority has supported for years, increasing the Water Authority Board to five, even if there is nothing else that the Board can agree on. He stated that the Water Authority is appointed by the Governor, the chief elected official in the State of Florida. There is another appointed board in this County that has a taxing authority of two mills, double what the Water Authority's cap is and four times what its current millage is and that group is appointed by the Governor very similarly to the Water Authority, but there has not been one word about addressing that one, too. If the Water Authority's non-elective status is so important and so critical, then why would this other board not face the same legislative action. The other board is the South Lake Hospital District, which is appointed by the Governor, at two mills, with the money passing through directly to the hospital. Commr. Swartz stated that he has heard no outcry from the legislative delegation about this issue. He stated that he is perfectly comfortable to let the South Lake Hospital District exist as it is today, because it has appointees who are interested in the hospital and health care in South Lake County, just as the Water Authority has always supported the water and lakes in Lake County. Commr. Swartz stated that he would applaud Commr. Hanson for whatever involvement she had in encouraging this to come before the Board. He certainly would support it, even with the language that allows the Board to send names, and he would certainly support that being a part of that legislation, although he is perfectly satisfied with having the Governor do it. Commr. Swartz stated that the Board members need to convey their feelings to the legislative delegation, even at this late moment, and perhaps with the Lake Lowery/Polk County issue, it is of even more importance. He stated that he would support this resolution, and if Commr. Hanson wants to include in it, the recommendation of the County Commission sending names to the Governor, he will support that position as well.
Mr. Minkoff explained that there would not be a problem including the recommendation, as stated, as long as it is from a group of names and, if you add that the Governor has the ability to reject those and ask for additional names, that would not make it a dependent.
Commr. Hanson asked that Mr. Minkoff develop the language to be submitted in the resolution. She stated that the members of the St. Johns River Water Management District are not elected, but appointed. She agreed that the timing is not great, but then again it is never too late to do the right thing, and she feels that this is the best thing for Lake County at this time.
Commr. Hanson made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Gerber, to approve Resolution 2000-40 regarding the status of the Lake County Water Authority, with the addition that the Florida Legislature increase the Lake County Water Authority governing board to five members, and that they be appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida from applicants recommended by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.
Under discussion, Commr. Pool stated that the Water Authority and the Hospital District are two totally different areas of concern. He stated that he wants the Board to understand that he supports, embraces and endorses a Water Authority, as he always has but he does not support the focus. He clarified that, by his negative vote, this does not say that he does not support the Water Authority. He stated that he does not support the fact that the focus has not been where it has needed to be, and for that reason, he will not be able to support this motion. He can support increasing the number of members from three to five, or three to seven, but he does not believe that the Board is going to change the position. The Governor has the final veto, and the legislators that he has contacted have said they want it elected.
Commr. Swartz stated that he knows the Chairman is troubled by this issue, but he also knows that, over the course of the Chairman's time on the County Commission, and when the Board had gotten to points where it related to Lake County's lakes and its waters, on every occasion, even though some of those were tough votes for him for other reasons, he has always supported those important things that ultimately were going to benefit the citizens of Lake County and protect its lakes and waters. He urged the Chairman, on this issue, to do as well, even though he has some questions about it, and let the Board go to the legislative delegation, as united as the Board can be, in this effort.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he has never questioned the Water Authority's contribution, and he has been there to support them, but he can not get over the hurdle that having an elected board will be an evil thing for Lake County. He stated that he will take this resolution, as the Chairman, and present the views of the majority of the Board to the legislative delegation.
Commr. Swartz reminded the Chairman that the citizens of Lake County have voted on this issue, because some years ago, a State Senator, at that time, convinced the legislative delegation and the Legislature to put an issue on the ballot for the voters of Lake County, which was basically one of either turning them into an elective body, or doing away with the Water Authority, or leaving it the way it was, and the referendum was so worded that it took an extremely intelligent voter to realize you had to vote no to say yes, that you wanted to keep the Water Authority. The voters of Lake County have voted and said that they want to maintain it in some semblance of what it is today, and one of the most disturbing things that the legislative delegation did was deny the voters an opportunity to vote on it this time.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that, if the Board was going to pass the resolution, it should add to the first section that the Board of County Commissioners request that the legislative delegation reconsider its position regarding the Lake County Water Authority.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would amend her motion to include the suggestion made by Commr. Cadwell.
Commr. Pool stated that he would amend his second to the motion.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, as amended, which was carried by a 3-2 vote. Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Pool voted "no".
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that she had received a request to withdraw Tab 4, Case PH#57-99-2, Rinker Materials - CSR Rinker, Tracking #84-99-MP/AMD, from the agenda.
CASE PH#8-00-3 - SOUTHDOWN INC. - AMENDMENT TO EXISTING MP(PLANNED INDUSTRIAL) - TRACKING #17-00-MP/AMD
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that this is a request for an amendment to an existing MP (Planned Industrial), to amend it to allow for additional uses to include mini-warehouse, general warehouse, professional office, personal care, research services, vehicle storage, consumer service and repair. Ms. Farrell stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request for limited uses, as follows: mini-warehouses, professional office, vehicle storage and general warehouse, with the condition that only operational vehicles may be stored. She noted that there was no opposition at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and the approval was 8 to 0. Staff is recommending approval and they see it as an improved use of the property.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether the recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval was based on the recommendations by staff.
Ms. Farrell stated that staff had recommended mini-warehouse, truck yard, and related professional offices, and the Planning and Zoning Commission added general warehouse and operational vehicle storage.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
It was noted that no one present wished to speak in opposition to the request.
Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney representing the applicant, addressed the Board and stated that Mr. Ted Wicks, Wicks Consulting Services, Inc., did the preliminary site plan, which was before the Board today. Mr. Richey presented a brief history of the facility and stated that it has operated under strict conditions, and it has operated in relative compliance with those conditions, until the time the County started building the jail, and then it pumped in violation of that MP zoning to meet the needs of construction. After the facilities and the new courthouse were built, this facility did not operate , even though it continued to be a legal facility with all of its permits. He stated that Southdown has decided that it is in its best interest to sell the property, if some uses can be added to it that will make it sellable. Mr. Richey stated that the Stinsons have entered into a contract to purchase this property, and a site plan was filed that requested mini-warehouses, because the property has a complete covering of concrete on it. The site plan shows a couple of larger buildings where they will put general warehousing, because his clients are in the electrical subcontractor and contractor business. He noted that there were some other concerns expressed and the Planning and Zoning Commission raised the issue of this turning into a junkyard. The original motion was to approve the uses, as noted in the backup, and "only operational vehicles may be stored there" was not a condition of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Before the Board voted on the motion, Mr. Richey asked that this be a condition and that it be added to the report. There was discussion, with regard to the general warehousing, and based on the site plan he had before the Board, the Planning and Zoning Commission felt comfortable voting for it. He noted that one neighbor who just built behind the facility expressed concerns at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, but he felt that the buffering gave him a level of comfort.
Discussion occurred regarding the natural woods buffer, with Mr. Richey noting that the trees are already there, and there is a 50 foot setback all around the edge of the property, as shown on the site plan.
Commr. Swartz directed the Board's attention to Page 2 of the Ordinance, g., which indicated that the applicant shall provide a left-turn lane on Old 441 at the proposed entrance.
Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, addressed the Board and explained that mini-warehouses generally do not generate a lot of peak hour trips, and staff usually looks at 50 peak hour trips, or 500 daily trips, before it requires the turn lanes. They also look at the safety requirement, and if they see heavy traffic on Old 441, they would require the turn lanes. He noted that staff did not have a good idea of how much traffic would be generated there.
Mr. Richey stated that there were two questions raised when the original zoning took place, which were regarding noise and operational hours.
Commr. Swartz stated that he recalled another issue being the importance of the access off of Old 441, and the berm along Fairview Avenue.
Mr. Richey stated that the access on this site plan is limited to one egress and ingress, and it comes across the railroad tracks where there is already a County road crossing the tracks and shared access to LM zoning. He stated that he would have no problem, if the Board wanted to say that there will be no access off of Fairview.
Commr. Swartz stated that, because of the uncertain nature of what might be in there, and the number and type of trips, they may want to have not only the review, but some future review to decide where the left turn lane would be required.
Mr. Richey stated that the applicants will be building this in phases, and they will be coming in with site plans in phases, so there will be an opportunity to review the necessity for the turn lane through the process. He stated that he would have no problem with it being reviewed through the stages, as they go through the process. Mr. Richey stated that there was a question raised by staff about the need for central sewer for those buildings, but the two 5,000 square foot buildings are extremely non-intensive, in the sense of the warehousing that can be placed on this site plan, and therefore, they were allowed to add general warehousing.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether there was some way to use language that might either provide for review, or limit certain types of activities that might go into those spaces. He stated that he has no problem with what the applicants want to do, and it is going to be an improvement to the site, but he wanted to ensure that there would not be any obnoxious and detrimental uses.
Ms. Farrell discussed the list of uses under general warehouse and stated that the only thing that the applicants will be doing from the whole industrial list is warehousing.
The Chairman called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
Commr. Swartz made a motion, which was seconded by Commr. Pool, to uphold the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approve Case #8-00-3, Southdown Inc., Tracking #17-00-MP/AMD, Ordinance 2000-14, a request for an amendment to the existing MP (Planned Industrial), formerly a concrete batch plant, with the following uses: mini-warehouses, professional office, vehicle storage and general warehouse with the condition that only operational vehicles may be stored, with the understanding that future review would occur on the transportation needs, as it develops.
Under discussion, Commr. Swartz discussed whether he needed to include specific language pertaining to the Old 441 access, as indicated on the site plan. He amended his motion to include that the County is relying on the site plan for the access as shown, in addition to the Planning and Zoning recommendation.
Commr. Pool stated that he would amend his second to the motion.
Under discussion for clarification, Commr. Hanson questioned whether professional offices will be allowed and whether they are compatible.
It was clarified that the Planning and Zoning Commission did find professional offices to be allowed.
Ms. Farrell noted that there was a staff error in the ordinance, and she requested that the following be stricken from the language: f. The maximum floor ratio shall be 1.0.
Commr. Swartz amended his motion to include the staff request.
Commr. Pool stated that he would amend his second to the motion.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, as amended, which was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.
CASE CUP#00/3/1-4 DONALD RICHARD HOLTER - CUP IN A
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that this is a request for a CUP in A (Agriculture) to allow continuing operation of an existing processing/packaging house (cooler) used for packing/storing meat. Ms. Farrell stated that staff was recommending approval and there were no letters of opposition, and no opposition at the public hearing. She stated that, in the backup, staff did put some conditions, and the applicant will be subject to the annual inspection.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted the no one present wished to speak in opposition to the request.
Mr. Holter, applicant, addressed the Board and stated that the operation he is proposing is something that the community needs. He noted that the USDA inspected the operation while staff was there, and he has a letter stating that his operation was the nicest custom cut operation that they have seen in 25 years, and he will be inspected by them quarterly.
There being no further public comment, the Chairman closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved the request for a CUP in A (Agriculture) to allow continuing operation of an existing processing/packaging house (cooler) used for packing/storing meat, Case CUP#00/3/1-4, Donald Richard Holter, Tracking #20-00-CUP, Ordinance 2000-15.
CASE MSP#00/3/1-2 - C & C PEAT INC - EXPANSION TO AN EXISTING MINING SITE PLAN IN A - TRACKING #22-00-MSP
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that this is a request for an expansion to an existing Mining Site Plan in A (Agriculture) to add 253.9 acres for peat extraction. Staff has looked at this request very closely and was recommending approval. Ms. Farrell noted that there is a net gain of ten acres of wetlands. The applicant is present with his technical advisers, and there was one letter of opposition that was forwarded to staff.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney representing the applicant, stated that Mr. Steve Adams and Ms. Cheryl Eleanor were present and would be happy to answer questions of the Board.
Mr. Allan Hewitt, Lake County Water Resource Manager, stated that there has been no violations on this site since 1993, under the new CUP.
The Chairman called for further public comment. There being none, the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Commr. Swartz questioned the Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation with regard to the setback and stated that he understand that they have to comply with the 150 feet, as recommended by staff, unless they were able to get letters signed by the adjacent property owners.
Mr. Richey explained that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that the applicant maintain the normal setback, unless the adjacent property owner consents and requires all of the other environmental issues.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board upheld the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved the request for an expansion to an existing Mining Site Plan in A (Agriculture) to add 253.9 acres for peat extraction, Case MSP#00/3/1-2, C & C Peat Inc., Tracking #22-00-MSP, Ordinance 2000-16.
CUP#986-5 - LAVERNE & JANICE BROCKNER - REVOCATION OF CUP#986-5
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that this is a request for a staff generated revocation of CUP#986-5 for violation of the conditions contained therein. Ms. Farrell explained that this CUP was granted several years ago, based on the need for agricultural housing, and there is no longer an agricultural use there. She referred to the Minutes from the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and noted that it has become a bit confusing at each public hearing, but she explained that it is a ten acre parcel with two mobile homes on it, and it is inconsistent, because it does not have a lot split, and there are some other avenues that are not available to this particular request.
Commr. Cadwell noted that he was contacted by Ms. Brockner several months ago not knowing that the issue she discussed was either a Code case, or it would be coming before the Board. Her attorney contacted him and explained that the case would be coming before the Board, so he has not had any other contact with her. Commr. Cadwell stated that he was contacted, and it will not affect his ability to make a decision today. He explained that the issue before the Board today was the CUP and not the illegal lot split. He encouraged anyone that was going to speak today, on behalf of the applicant, or anyone in opposition, that their comments be related to the CUP and issues involved with it.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Mr. Archie Lowery, Attorney in Mount Dora representing Ms. Brockner, addressed the Board and stated that the issues were stated properly by staff. Mr. Lowery explained that Ms. Brockner and her mother purchased the property, a ten acre tract, in 1979, and the CUP was issued in August, 1985, for a caretaker and cattle and horses. He stated that Ms. Sue Martin and Ms. Paula Simpson moved into the new mobile home, as a result of the CUP. In 1991, 1.5 acres was conveyed to Ms. Martin and Ms. Simpson, and in 1997 that same part was conveyed to the Glombs who currently reside on the property. Mr. Lowery stated that, prior to the Glombs taking residency, Ms. Brockner had requested a revocation of the CUP in 1996. He stated that the purpose of the CUP is no longer there, and it is clear that the agricultural use of the CUP is no longer in existence, therefore, they are in support of the revocation of the CUP.
Mr. John Merritt, Attorney in Eustis, addressed the Board and stated that he is representing Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Glomb who are the present owners of the property. Mr. Merritt explained that Ms. Brockner who is requesting the CUP revocation is basically responsible for the problem that has been created here. After she got the CUP, she created an illegal lot split by transferring the property that is in question today to Paula Martin, who was the previous owner of the property, who sold it to his clients, Mr. and Mrs. Glomb. Mr. Merritt stated that they are bonafide purchasers, and they properly closed on the property; they paid fair market value for it; they had a title search done; the title of the property was clear; and they had no idea that there was any problem with the mobile home that was on this property. After they took possession of the property, it was Mr. Merritt's understanding that a problem developed between Mr. and Mrs. Glomb and Ms. Brockner, and that dispute has now led Ms. Brockner to conclude that she wants the CUP revoked, so that his clients can no longer live there. Mr. Merritt explained that he spoke to Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, yesterday about instituting a request for a special master meeting to try and get some relief for his clients, so they are not removed from their home. He stated that he just got a copy of a petition filed by Ms. Brockner last July requesting a special master on this issue, and his clients owned the property then and lived there and was not even advised that Ms. Brockner had instituted that process, but she subsequently dismissed that action through her attorney, Mr. Lowery. Mr. Merritt stated that, if this CUP is revoked today, basically Code Enforcement will be in a position where they will have to start fining his clients. Mr. Glomb is disabled and unable to work, and he would request that the Board continue this matter and let them file a petition for a special master and see if there is some way that Mr. and Mrs. Glomb can get this matter resolved.
Commr. Cadwell stated that whether there was a revocation or not of the CUP would not affect a Code case, because if the CUP is still in effect, they would be in violation of the CUP anyway.
Mr. Merritt stated that he was of the understanding that the Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request for the revocation. He explained that it did not appear that his clients would get relief through their title insurance, and financially they are unable to afford litigation, and therefore, it would create a financial hardship for them.
Ms. Gloria Newbern addressed the Board and stated that she lives caddy-corner to the property in question. Ms. Newbern stated that she understands the situation with the Glombs, but she understands that, in April, 1997, a Code Enforcement Officer, Mr. Rick Hartenstein, acknowledged receipt of Ms. Brockner's request for revocation, and at this time, the Glombs already knew there was a problem, so this all occurred before the Glombs bought the property.
In June, 1996, Mr. Brockner voluntarily asked that her CUP be revoked, and in April, 1997, she got a reply from Code Enforcement.
Mr. Barney Newbern addressed the Board and stated that, when he bought his property, it was zoned as a ten acre tract, for one dwelling to be placed on five usable acres, and he does not see how one mobile home can sit on 1.5 acres on a ten acre tract that does not have a CUP. Mr. Newbern stated that he and a lot of other property owners bought land in this area for privacy, and if you can put a mobile home on a 1.5 acre tract, he and several of the property owners would have moved into town. He stated that it was his opinion that the mobile home should be removed from the property, and the property should be the same zoning that was there in the beginning, to allow one dwelling on a ten acre tract with five usable acres. Mr. Newbern stated that the feuding between these property owners has been going on for some time, and he does not know why property owners like himself should have to take this to a civil matter in a higher court and spend their hard earned money to resolve the problem.
Commr. Swartz clarified that this is rural land use, which would require five acres per residential dwelling, or one unit per five acres, and there is no ten acre requirement.
Mr. Lowery clarified that the people that the Brockners brought onto the property, which were Martin and Simpson, were well aware of the CUP and the conditions, because they lived on the property, and they were the ones who conveyed the property to the Glumps, and if anyone had checked in the Zoning Department, it would have stated that the CUP was there and what the conditions were for it.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this request is in his district, and he feels the only way to finalize this issue is to have the revocation of the CUP and let it proceed through Code Enforcement and through the court system. He recommended approval of the revocation of the CUP.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Gerber and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board overturned the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved the staff-generated revocation of CUP#986-5 for violation of the conditions contained therein, Case CUP#986-5, Laverne and Janice Brockner, Tracking #32-00-Revocation, Ordinance 2000-17.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:10 a.m, the Chairman announced that the Board would recess for five minutes.
CASE #59-99-2 - RUFUS L. SUGGS/JUANITA KUHARSKE - (HARRY KWIATKOWSKI) - TRACKING #86-99-PUD
Ms. Sharon Farrell, Senior Director, Department of Growth Management, informed the Board that this is a request for rezoning from R-6 (Urban Residential) to PUD (Planned Unit Development) for development of a single family residential subdivision, with a gross density of 2.23 dwelling units per acre (91 lots). Ms. Farrell stated that the request involves a 40.67 acre parcel of property in the suburban land use, in the south end of the County. The request, as it originally came to staff, was for 91 lots on this particular parcel. It had gone through a timeliness test several months ago and passed, and staff advised the applicant that he passed the test. They came forward with a draft development plan and went through the Development Review Staff (DRS) prior to the rezoning. Ms. Farrell explained that density, whether it be suburban, urban, or urban expansion, is always presented as a range, and the maximum is never a guarantee, and therefore, an individual would go through the public hearing process. She noted that there was a lengthy staff report in the backup, and the underlined language was added after the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Ms. Farrell explained that the staff report reads very negatively towards the 91 lots, and staff has recommended approval for 50 lots, with one half acre for a park, and open space. She stated that, because it is in the suburban land use and immediately adjacent to urban expansion in an area where there are existing residential subdivisions, staff had a lot of difficulty with the request. Staff tried to come up with a recommendation that would be a good transition between the rural and urban expansion, and staff is recommending approval of 50 lots in this particular area, with conditions. Ms. Farrell noted that staff had started with 104 letters of opposition several months ago and noted that there were several more received by staff (Exhibit 1-C - 11 pages). She stated that, if someone meets timeliness, he can get up to three dwelling units per acre, and these ranges are provided as a maximum and not a guarantee. Ms. Farrell stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of the request, after a motion for approval with amendments failed; a motion for approval of 91 lots failed; and a motion for approval of 75 lots failed (Exhibit 2-C - P.U.D. Master Plan).
Commr. Swartz stated that he has some very serious questions about the staff recommendations. He questioned Ms. Farrell if the recommendation right now from staff is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan language relative to the timeliness issue.
Ms. Farrell responded that the recommendation from staff is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and it meets the quantitative measure of timeliness. She noted that there could be strong debate either way, with the one exception of the transportation issue.
Commr. Swartz explained that this does not seem to be what the staff recommendation says in the backup, for example, on Page 2, it states "The proposed PUD does not meet the stated purposes of the Planning Unit District (PUD) (403.01 of the LDRs), is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and places undue adverse impact on public facilities."
Ms. Farrell clarified that staff believes that the request, as conditioned, meets those elements of the suburban land use. She explained that it reads as a negative staff report, but it is negative with the PUD as proposed, with the 91 lots, no recreation, and that high of a density in that area. Staff was looking for a transitional use and was pretty comfortable that agricultural on the 40 acres would not be the best use at that location, with the existing subdivisions.
Commr. Swartz stated that staff makes a very strong compelling argument that it is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. He stated that the Comprehensive Plan on timeliness says that, if any of the following factors are present, then the project is premature, and you cannot develop at the densities that would be allowed in suburban, if meeting the timeliness criteria, and you are required to develop as the rural is developed. He pointed out that the staff report states the following:
The proposed project fails the timeliness test in the Comprehensive Plan for increased density. "Timing residential development in the Suburban Land Use Category" contains the multi-part test to determine whether a proposed development is premature or not. The presence of any one of five factors indicates that a proposed development is premature. In this case, four of the five factors are present; thus, the project may be considered premature.
Commr. Swartz explained that, if the request was meeting all but one, and that one was in question, then staff might be able to state a case for it, but staff is saying that it fails to meet four of the five factors, and therefore, to recommend anything greater than rural density would be inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan. Even though staff was indicating that it would be a decreased use on the parcel, with a small park area, Commr. Swartz explained that it would not be a decreased use, because it would be approving a density that is higher than the existing density.
Ms. Farrell explained that there are subdivisions to the north and the south, and staff tried to look at the big picture and not just tie themselves to the text. Unfortunately, in the staff report, they did not elaborate on how they got to a comfort level. She explained that generally this is a residential area, with some agricultural uses still left, and when you look at this parcel, to introduce an agricultural use would not be the best thing to do, as far as compatibility. She stated that 91 units would be too much, and staff did not want to see five acre lot splits in this location, because that would be incompatible. Ms. Farrell stated that basic compatibility, infill, transition between the urban expansion and the rural, which is south of the suburban, and attention to the environmental issues, led staff to a comfort level of 50 homes, with a small park. She stated that, other than some gopher tortoises, and a small area in the front that is a depression, there is not a whole lot left on that property, as far as conservation open space.
Commr. Swartz stated that, when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted, the concept of timeliness, as it related to the suburban land use designation, was included. The intent was to say that, unless it can meet all of these criteria, then it has to develop at rural, until such time as it can meet the criteria and then develop at higher densities, if, in fact, what is on the map as suburban should be treated as rural, until it meets that criteria. He hopes, as part of the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) process, the County will find alternatives that will allow for development in the rural area, but not just by splitting into five acre tracts. Commr. Swartz stated that he has never seen a staff recommendation for approval that said the proposed rezoning was in conflict with the applicable Code. He stated that everyone of the factors (a through j), staff has said that it is inconsistent with these provisions of the Plan. Commr. Swartz stated that, if this is true, and he believes that it is true, then it seems to him that it is inconsistent with the Plan.
The Chairman opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment.
Mr. Steve Richey, Attorney representing Green Gate Development, and Mr. Harry Kwiatkowski, addressed the Board and stated that this is the first case, after the Comprehensive Plan passed in timeliness, and suburban was put in the Plan as part of the settlement process with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), where the timeliness criteria has gone through the process, and a project has been evaluated and come before the Board and met timeliness based on the Comprehensive Plan policies. Mr. Richey stated that Commr. Swartz's comments, with regard to the staff's interpretation of the Comprehensive Plan and their evaluation and recommendation of this project, is absolutely appropriate, and he hopes to show the Board today that this piece of property meets all of the tests of the timeliness to include the numerical numbers that were put in there.
Mr. Richey called Mr. Harry Kwiatkowski to present testimony at this time.
Mr. Kwiatkowski stated that he represents the Green Gate Development Group, which is a residential and development company that specializes in providing outstanding community opportunities to Central Florida builders. He stated that one of his clients wanted to expand into south Lake County somewhere preferably other than the Highway 27 corridor. Mr. Kwiatkowski reviewed a map, which depicted the roads in the area of the proposed site, and noted that the areas colored in pink were areas that had been developed (Exhibit 1-A - map showing roads and areas developed). He stated that he had three reasons for picking this site, as follows: 1) the Land Use Planning Map indicated that it could be developed up to three units per acre; 2) it is vacant property; and 3) it was one of the few properties left that could be developed for a subdivision. Mr. Kwiatkowski stated that, on October 8, 1998, he had a conversation with the Planning staff, in regards to what would be required to pursue the development of the property, and he was told that a Timing Audit would be required. On October 26, 1998, he had his initial meeting with staff who confirmed that he would have to do an audit. After considering the cost and time that would be involved for the County to do it, he contacted staff to let them know that he had decided to personally do the audit. He testified that he was to meet timeliness based on the criteria set forth in the four page document that he received from staff (Exhibit 2-A - Letter dated March 18, 1999 from the Department of Growth Management to Harry Kwiatkowski - 4 pages).
Mr. Richey asked Mr. Kwiatkowski to identify the timeliness file the County staff has in its possession, which contains all of the original documentation that he provided to the County, and he identified it at this time.
Mr. Kwiatkowski referred to a map with a one and two mile radius around the property in question (Exhibit 3-A - map) and explained the process he used to do research in the Property Appraiser's Office to formulate his Timeliness Audit Tally Sheet. He noted that the audit contained detailed information on each parcel within the one mile radius He met with County staff again to discuss how to complete his audit, to include current development, and after consulting with staff, he decided to physically check each one of the parcels, before he presented staff with his audit. He noted that the information was dated 10/98 - 12/98 (Exhibit 4-A - Timeliness Audit Tally Sheet - 9 pages). Mr. Kwiatkowski stated that, on November 10, 1998, he had his third meeting with staff, and at that point, they felt everything was okay. He referred to a hunnicutt assessment map with dots, which showed all residences, and stated that he presented the red dot verification to staff on December 4, 1998 (Exhibit 5-A - Hunnicutt assessment map).
Ms. Farrell explained that the language in the policy is such that someone does not count plats that have never been developed, and lots that are just platted. There has to be rooftops to count. It was clarified that 50% of the subdivision has to be developed in order to count it towards timeliness.
Mr. Richey explained that Mr. Kwiatkowski eliminated those subdivisions that did not qualify, as well as the open water bodies, and road rights-of-way.
Mr. Kwiatkowski explained that he had a matrix of all of the different uses, the acreages, and the timeliness test, which had a calculation of 58.83% and was well above the 40% threshold that is required for timeliness. He stated that, on December 30, 1998, he met with staff for the fifth and last time and submitted the information that is reflected in the County file called "Timeliness - Suggs and Kuharske". He explained that the file includes the radius map, the original assessment maps, the inventory sheets, the summary sheets, the master tally sheets, the Property Appraiser codes, and everything else that was collected, as of December 30, 1998.
At 10:55, it was noted that Commr. Cadwell, Chairman, had turned the chairmanship over to Commr. Hanson, Vice Chairman.
Mr. Richey addressed Commr. Hanson and stated that he would like to substitute copies for all of the items being shown on the screen, after the hearing today, because their originals are in the County file.
Mr. Kwiatkowski stated that, on March 22, 1999, he received his timeliness letter from Lake County, which indicated that there were no special conditions, or cautions, and it did not refer to any County policy as to inappropriate development densities, and it indicated that he had an option to either develop it at the density of one dwelling unit per acre, or since it was zoned R-6, he could pursue a development up to three dwelling units per acre, if he submitted it as a PUD. At that time, he decided to do a PUD application.
Mr. Richey referred to the letter that notified Mr. Kwiatkowski that he met timeliness, and stated that staff had reduced his figure down to where Mr. Kwiatkowski barely met timeliness.
At 11 a.m., it was noted that Commr. Hanson returned the chairmanship to Commr. Cadwell.
Mr. Kwiatkowski testified that there was really no explanation given to him by staff for the reduction in his percentage figures, and he did not question it, because he met timeliness. He testified that at no time during this process was he informed, or cautioned, as to what appropriate development densities staff would look for; at no time during the process was he ever told that they would limit it to 1.25 units; and at no time was he told of any other requirements to timeliness.
Commr. Cadwell felt that everybody seemed to understand and to be in agreement with the issue of timeliness.
Commr. Swartz stated that staff believes that the request meets timeliness criteria, and he does not dispute that issue.
Mr. Richey called Mr. Robert E. Farner to present testimony.
Mr. Farner stated that he has been a professional civil engineer and land surveyor in Lake County since 1981.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the Board would accept Mr. Farner as an expert witness.
Mr. Farner testified that he has been associated with over 20 PUDs as an engineer, and he was retained by Mr. Kwiatkowski to develop a PUD for this project. He further testified that he met with staff and presented a preliminary plan, and there were some questions and concerns about that plan, because it had the green space spread about the development. He was advised that the green space, under the Land Development Regulations, had to be contiguous. He modified the plan and submitted it to staff, and then he went to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) on October 7, 1999 with the modified plan. Mr. Farner testified that the comments from the Planning Department stated "no comments, recommend approval" for the plan, as shown on Exhibit 2-C - P.U.D. Master Plan. Mr. Farner stated that there were comments from Fire Protection about the provision of fire hydrants, which were satisfied with the new drawing, and Public Works had comments about a traffic study being required, and an additional right-of-way being dedicated on Lakeshore Drive, which were all furnished to the County. It was also determined by the Health Department that the site met all of the requirements of the State for septic tanks. He testified that no one at that time, at either one of the staff meetings, had any comment with regard to the uniqueness of the plan, as shown, or its ability to meet the PUD requirements of Lake County. He further testified that this piece of property is designed this way, because in the middle of the green space, there is a depressional area (about one and half acres). The topography, the road access, the configuration, the length and depth of the property, and the requirements of the County to have the green space contiguous, guided him in developing that plan, and the plan is unique to that piece of property, based on the County's Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations (LDRs). About 20% of the total project is open space, and it equals about 8.2 acres, and this does not include the water retention areas. It will also operate on central water from Lake Utilities. Mr. Farner presented detailed information about the proposed development of the master plan and noted that a traffic analysis was done by Traffic Planning and Design, and it included back ground traffic of approved projects that have not been built. Mr. Farner stated that the project is as unique as they can make it, to accommodate all of the requirements of the Code. He further stated that there are other things that they could do to make it a better plan, but the Code restricts their ability to do so. Mr. Farner testified that, about two days before the public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, they were notified of the additional comments from the Lake County Planning Department (Exhibit 6-A - 14 pages of documentation that was transmitted from Erin A. Degutis, Associate ASLA, Planner).
Mr. Greg Beliveau, Land Planning Group (LPG), Mount Dora, was called by Mr. Richey to present testimony.
Commr. Cadwell noted that the Board would qualify Mr. Beliveau as an expert witness.
Mr. Beliveau testified that he was one of the expert witnesses that assisted the County through its summit process of adopting the Comprehensive Plan, and he served as a member on one of the sub-committees that worked on the original Comprehensive Plan document. Mr. Beliveau further testified that he has been involved in several timeliness evaluations in Lake County including going to DCA on one evaluation that was prepared for the City of Tavares. He stated that LPG was retained specifically to analyze the components that were brought up at the last moment by County staff. In reviewing the necessary criteria, they found a letter signing off with regards to the percentage of develop around the property to qualify it for that component of the test, and to fulfill the other component of the test dealing with the adequacy of the collector and arterial network, a traffic study was prepared and submitted to the County staff. Mr. Beliveau presented detailed testimony on the following: the relationship and function with this project to its adjacent and adjoining properties, as shown in Exhibit 7-A - Figure 2. 1999 & 1998 Aerial Photography; the current land use classifications under the County's Future Land Use Map as shown in Exhibit 8-A - Figure 3. Lake County Future Land Use Map; the existing zoning in the area as shown in Exhibit 9-A - Figure 4. Lake County Zoning Map; the surrounding subdivisions as shown in Exhibit 10-A - Figure 5. Subdivision Map. He presented the Board with an aerial that illustrated the one mile radius, Exhibit 11-A - View North towards Crescent Lake and View to Northwest and stated that they did an analysis of the densities that are already in place and are being developed, as shown in Exhibit 12A - Summary - Vista Grande. He noted that there are 37 active subdivisions that make up the one mile radius, and none of them have 20% of the project designated as open space. He further noted that the average density of all of the subdivisions was determined to be 1.9 units per acre. He noted that this is a vested project even though it is in suburban, so it did pre-date the County's suburban criteria.
Mr. Richey clarified that the 91 lots being proposed calculates to 2.2 units per acre on the 40 acres.
Mr. Beliveau testified that is was his opinion the applicant meets all five of the criteria, which would include all public services (Exhibit 13-A - Figure 6. EMS & Fire Station Location Map). He stated that they ran a points check, which would allow them to develop at 2.5 units per acre (Exhibit 14-A - Urban Area Residential Density Chart from LPG). He further stated that this project is centered in the middle of a development pattern that is already established within the one mile radius, because there is development north, south, and west of the property in question. Mr. Beliveau stated that it was his professional opinion that they comply with the County policies for suburban and timeliness.
Commr. Swartz stated that he was not challenging the specific criteria of timeliness, because Mr. Kwiatkowski did go to such a great detailed review, but he questioned whether Mr. Beliveau or Mr. Kwiatkowski looked at any other sites that were not in the suburban designation to see if any land was available other than in the suburban.
Mr. Beliveau responded that he did not look at other sites, because he was asked to analyze this site specific.
Mr. Kwiatkowski responded that he did look at other sites, and they were not for sale.
Mr. Richey stated that he had no other evidence to present, but he would like to reserve the right to bring forward any rebuttal that may be necessary, based on any concerns expressed by those present today.
Commr. Hanson stated that she did not see any comments in the backup regarding the joint planning area in Clermont.
Ms. Farrell explained that there might be a future joint planning area, but staff was not privy to any of those meetings, or to those discussions, and the City of Clermont had no comments regarding the issue today.
Ms. Mary Ellen (Shawn) Gurbacki and Ms. Rhoda Apfelbeck addressed the Board to make comments in opposition to the request.
Ms. Gurbacki stated that she and Ms. Apfelbeck are residents in South Lake County in Sections 13 and 14, and they were asked to represent their neighbors in their small neighborhoods to contest the development of a PUD in their area.
Ms. Apfelbeck informed the Board that its members should have received in their packets copies of the letters of concern signed by the residents of South Lake County regarding the proposed rezoning of the Sections 13 and 14, Twp. 23S, Rge. 25E, on the Suburban Land Use map adopted April 28, 1998. She submitted copies of letters that the Board should have received with approximately 200 signatures of citizens from South Lake County (Exhibit 1-O - 111 letters). Ms. Apfelbeck stated that their general concerns are described in their report, which she distributed to the members at this time (Exhibit 2-O - Special Presentation - Report presented by: Shawn Gurbacki and Rhoda Apfelbeck). She stated that Sections 13 and 14 are the only two areas designated as suburban (1 d.u. per 5 gross acres) in South Lake County. These are the last two square miles on the Future Land Use Map before intrusion into the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern. This area lies on the eastern, southern and western peripheries of Sections 13 and 14. At this time she presented an aerial video presentation, which demonstrated the proximity of the Area of Critical State Concern to Sections 13 and 14. Ms. Gurbacki narrated the video (Exhibit 3-O - Video), and presented photographs of the area in question (Exhibit 4-O - 11 photographs).
At 11:52 a.m., it was noted that Commr. Cadwell turned the chairmanship over to Commr. Hanson, Vice Chairman.
Ms. Apfelbeck addressed the Board and read from her report detailed information pertaining to the roads, insufficient urban services, property values, environment, agricultural concerns, with the conclusion that the residents urgently request and trust that the Board will uphold the Lake County Comprehensive Plan adopted in April 1998 regulating Sections 13 and 14 as the transitional zone of 1 d.u. per 5 gross acres.
Commr. Pool questioned Ms. Apfelbeck as to why she chose to move from Mississippi to this area of the County, and if she was not concerned about the issues she was bringing forth today at that time, why she was concerned about them now. He also questioned whether she would approve of what staff was recommending today, which was 50 units.
Ms. Apfelbeck responded that she was concerned about those issues today, because they were being threatened, and she would reluctantly approve of 50 units today.
Ms. Gurbacki reminded the Board that the neighborhood directly abutting the west and south of the property in question have numbers of 12 homes to 32 homes currently, and 50 homes is still a little much.
Commr. Hanson asked if there were any questions of those who had presented testimony.
Mr. Richey noted that, since Ms. Gurbacki and Ms. Apfelbeck were not addressing the Board today as expert witnesses, he would not be cross-examining them.
Ms. Juanita Basica addressed the Board and stated that she lives directly across the street from the proposed property for rezoning. Ms. Basica stated that she does not feel that this property is incompatible to the surrounding homes. She stated that most of the homes to the west are on approximately one acre lots, and into the south, they are also on one acre or larger lots. She stated that, if you drive south on Lakeshore Drive from the proposed rezoning property to CR 561, there are a total of 35 homes, a church and orange groves. She noted that these would be only the homes that face Lakeshore Drive. She noted that to the north, one property owner lives on approximately five acres, another on 1 1/3 acres, and several others on one acre lots. She stated that, from the east, she can only see trees. Ms. Basica stated that this type of development will decrease the property values in their area, and she does not feel it is a good design. She stated that, according to the plan, the front of the subdivision will have two retention ponds, and it shows 20% of open space. The community has signed hundreds of letters requesting a compromise of lower density of one acre lots. The Planning and Zoning Commission also recommended lower density, but at their March 1st meeting, Mr. Kwiatkowski stated that it was not economically feasible for him to develop less than 91 homes, because he has worked two years on the project and has spent money on application fees, which amounted to less than $1,000. Ms. Basica stated that considering the hundreds of homeowners in the area that have invested their life savings to purchase their homes, he has not invested very much. The effects of the environment is also an issue, because there are two lakes near the property, one to the north, and one across the street to the west. Both of these lakes are less than 300 feet from the property. There are concerns of possible groundwater contamination, because of 91 septic tanks being clustered together, and public safety will be affected because of the increase of traffic on an already congested Lakeshore Drive. She stated that urban sprawl increases crime, and the Lake County Sheriff's Department is already understaffed throughout the entire County and is currently working 1.0 officers per 1,000, when it should be operating 2.4. She noted that she got this information yesterday from the Lake County Sheriff's Department. Ms. Basica stated that she was not against the development, but she thinks it needs to be a much lower density, and she did not think that 50 houses was low enough, but it would be more compatible to the area than 91 on one-quarter acre lots. She presented pictures of retention ponds, some of the homes on small one-quarter lots in subdivisions off of Oswald Road, and rooftops facing in the north direction (Exhibit 5-O - 13 photographs). She requested that the Board vote against the request.
At 12:05 p.m., Commr. Hanson returned the chairmanship to Commr. Cadwell.
Ms. Nancy Fullerton, resident of South Lake County and President of Save Our Lakes Committee, addressed the Board and stated that she was speaking in opposition to the 91 unit plan. Ms. Fullerton stated that the residents, in general, feel that the new development and rezonings in Lake County should be denied, until Growth Management provides an inventory of approved subdivisions. She stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board need to know the facts of the total development picture to access the growth impacts on roads, schools, and resources, and the quality of life of the area. She further stated that they are very concerned about their water quality and water quantity. Ms. Fullerton noted that the special interest for the Clermont area residents is the extreme low water levels in the Clermont Chain, which have been partially attributed to the massive amount of development in the Lakeshore Drive corridor, which is in the highest recharge area of the County. She stated that this rezoning continues the pattern of urban sprawl, and by admission of all, the Lakeshore Drive corridor has been a planning failure. The addition of 91 more homes to this pattern would add more evidence to the EAR finding that Lake County has not achieved Objective 110 in the Comprehensive Plan to discourage urban sprawl. She stated that Sections 13 and 14 should be the buffer between this urban area and the Green Swamp. Ms. Fullerton stated that they were asking the Board to take the leadership in redirecting the land use and development patterns of Lake County, and this is going to take education. She referred to comments made by one of the Planning and Zoning Commissioners, as noted in the backup, regarding strategic planning, and stated that the Board may have to develop a coordinated plan that will preserve land. She stated that they were asking the Board to find a way to slow down the development of South Lake County, if it takes assessment, a moratorium, or whatever, and as far as this property is concerned, they were asking that the Board follow staff's recommendation and turn it into a buffer and deny the request. Ms. Fullerton further stated that, if timeliness has not been met, then it should be kept 1 to 5; if it is met, it should stay 1 to 1.
Commr. Pool clarified that he did not want the residents of South Lake County to think that they cannot use the water. He stated that, in 1981, the water in this area was six inches below where it is now, and it was not due to growth, but rather weather patterns.
Mr. Wilbert Stewart addressed the Board and stated that he owns Lot #6 on Sawmill Lake, and he has not built a house on the property yet. Mr. Stewart stated that he lives in urban right now in Orlando, and he bought the noted lot, because it is not urban. He stated that the houses where he would love to live are individual and distinctive, and this is an area that is scenic and quiet and peaceful, and it has a lot of things that people are looking for and looking to move towards. Mr. Stewart stated that, to put 91 houses on one-quarter acre lots would dramatically change that area, not only aesthetically, but in traffic and utilities.
Commr. Hanson questioned whether Mr. Stewart read the Comprehensive Plan before he bought the property.
Mr. Stewart responded that he went through a realtor and he knew about timeliness, and he believes that, in the information he was given, timeliness failed four out of five tests, yet the experts are stating that they passed.
Commr. Hanson explained that, if it does not pass today, it will pass at some point and it will be developed.
Mr. Bill True, Loghouse Road, addressed the Board and stated that, unless you live in the south part of the County in this particular area, you do not realize the impact of the traffic. He wanted the Board to know that, about six months ago, he counted over 30 vehicles behind a stopped school bus, and he questioned what it is going to be like a year from now. He and his wife are looking at moving from this area, because of the traffic condition of Lakeshore Drive. He stated that the homes are being stacked in this area. He has two parcels on Sawmill Lake, and they are three to three and a half acres each, and two parcels over from him, someone is putting 19 homes on their two parcels that are the same size as his parcels.
Mr. Richey stated that the aerial that was shown by Ms. Gurbacki and Ms. Apfelbeck pretty well supports and substantiates the map shown by Mr. Beliveau, because it shows the density and the intensity in the area. He discussed the issue of urban sprawl and stated that it has taken ten years for the development to come out concentrically and around this piece of property to have it meet timeliness. The densities surrounding the property are absolutely compatible and consistent with the 2.2 density being proposed. Mr. Richey stated that the older subdivisions do not have storm water, open space, or anything that they are required to have, because they are in suburban and have to meet the new criteria. He stated that this is not urban sprawl, and the aerial speaks to that fact. Mr. Richey stated that he reviewed the report made by Ms. Gurbacki and Ms. Apfelbeck (Exhibit 2-O) and he does not have a problem with anything in it, because Mr. Beliveau, in his presentation and his evaluation, has overcome every one of those issues, and he testified affirmatively that they met all of the tests. There was an issue raised about the 50 foot buffer, if there is active agriculture, and Mr. Richey stated that, when they plat, they will have to meet that requirement, but that is not the issue today. The issue today is whether this area is comparable to the other areas, in terms of density and land use. Mr. Richey discussed a video that was taken by staff and presented at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and stated that it did not show any traffic on the road, in the afternoon, but truthfully, at times, this road has traffic on it, and according to the traffic analysis, it meets the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan and the LDRs, with regard to capacity on the road. Mr. Richey stated that they feel that 91 homes is absolutely compatible and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, but they would be willing to live with what the majority of the Board feels is compatible, based on competent substantive evidence that has been presented today. The evidence in the record shows it is, in fact, under testimony, meeting the criteria of timeliness in the Comprehensive Plan. He respectfully asked that the Board approve the PUD for this property, which is down zoning it from the R-6, reducing the density for 91 lots.
There being no further public comment, the Chairman closed the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Commr. Pool stated that staff is recommending 50; the request is for 91; and when you review the summary (Exhibit 12-A) that shows four sections, 690 total acres, with 1,289 total lots, the average density on all of those four quadrants is 1.9 units to the acre. He stated that he would like to make a motion to reduce, per the request, the densities that were 2.2, 2.1, or 2 from the 91 down to the 1.9 units to the acre, which is consistent without any doubt of what is in the area.
Commr. Pool made a motion to reduce the densities to 1.9 units to the acre, which would allow the applicant to have a grand total of 77 units, in Case #59-99-2, Harry Kwiatkowski, Tracking #86-99-PUD, Ordinance 2000-18. He stated that they have demonstrated that they meet timeliness.
Commr. Hanson stated that she would second the motion for discussion. She stated that the question that the County has to answer is whether it meets timeliness. She stated that the County has a Comprehensive Plan that was developed to attempt to reduce urban sprawl, and she thinks that this is the only case, since the Plan was developed, where the Board has actually addressed an issue like timeliness, which means it is working. Commr. Hanson stated that those who have built there should have known that the land was zoned R-6, and they should have known about the history of the property around them, in order to know what to expect on the land surrounding them. The timeliness allows up to three units to the acre, which she feels is totally inappropriate for this property, and yet she also feels agriculture is inappropriate for this property at this time. She stated that it does appear, at the lower density, to be compatible with the surrounding area, as required in the criteria in the Comprehensive Plan.
Commr. Gerber stated that she believes the request does meet timeliness, after reviewing the evidence presented to the Board. Her concern has to do with the compatibility issue, and she feels that the aerial indicates to her that there might be 25% over the 2.2 units per acre, which is not a lot, when looking at the one mile radius. Commr. Gerber stated that she is also concerned about the septic tanks, and she will not approve anything over 50 units, which is the staff recommendation, because she feels it is too intense, and it is a compatibility issue.
Commr. Swartz stated that there were two issues that the Board is looking at, one is the timeliness issue, and the other is actually a consideration on top of the timeliness, because you can meet timeliness and deny the zoning. He stated that, on the first issue, timeliness, when you have staff who have recommended approval and written the backup so eloquently in a manner that says it is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, it is inconsistent with the PUD development, and it is inconsistent with timeliness, i.e. the Comprehensive Plan again, they must feel very strongly about it, and it has got to be very unbiased. He gives staff credit for the most eloquent delineation and outlining of all of the issues that should be taken into consideration. Commr. Swartz stated that, if the County had been doing planning and reviewing developments, even in the last ten years or more, and evaluating them as well as it is outlined in the backup today, the County would not have created so many of the problems that exist today. He stated that the areas where most of those live today would not have been approved especially the way they have been approved, because the properties they live on meet the classic definition of urban sprawl just as this does. Commr. Swartz stated that most of the development being shown on the map occurred either pre-Comprehensive Plan, or they occurred because the County has a terrible Comprehensive Plan today. The Plan gives nobody assurance in Lake County that they can live and build their home and future in any kind of certainty. Commr. Swartz stated that, when Mr. Beliveau talks about the calculations from the residential density chart, to show that this property can come in at 2.5, shows how flawed the chart is today. The Board needs to remember that there is active agriculture on the eastern and southern boundaries of this property. Commr. Swartz stated that he thinks that staff issued a letter dealing with timeliness that they later realized they had not fully evaluated. The only thing that the letter really evaluated was the timeliness criteria, as it relates to these densities. After they really looked at it, they realized it did not meet it, in all of the other aspects of it. Commr. Swartz referred to the County Attorney and questioned whether with or without timeliness, there are other issues that this plan can be approved or denied on, but even with the issue of staff not issuing as correct a letter as they might have liked early on, is that a fatal flaw that says this Board cannot come to the determination that it does not meet timeliness, it does not meet the Comprehensive Plan, and therefore, the Board is not required to approve it, even though there may have been an unfortunate letter written.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the Board had testimony from staff, as well as the written report, indicating that they believe the project does not meet timeliness, and the Board had testimony from experts indicating that it does, and the Board has to weigh the facts, and that letter is just another fact for the Board to consider in making its weighing, but it is nothing fatal one way or another.
Commr. Swartz stated that everything he was going to read now was from the staff evaluation of the project, as noted in the backup:
Page 3: "The second factor of timeliness is incompatibility with adjacent and adjoining land uses. The policy specifically mentions agriculture as an example, and in this case, incompatibility with the abutting active agricultural use to the south exists. In this design, the 1/4 acre lots are clustered directly against this agricultural use. Further, the project at its overall density of a 2.2 units per acre is inherently incompatible with agricultural uses."
"The lack of urban services is a factor whose presence has already been mentioned. Schools, ball fields, shopping areas, libraries, employment centers, medical facilities are all four road miles or greater from the site, and none of these facilities are reasonably accessible except by automobile."
Commr. Swartz stated that the Board has seen proposals come before them repeatedly, and while each development incrementally adds a relatively small amount of traffic to the road, know that eventually the County is going to reach a point where the road is fully saturated. He continued his comments by referring to the language in the report, as follows:
Page 3: "The only part of the multi-part timeliness test that this site passes is the forty-percent developed lands criterion within one mile of the project site. Development included in meeting this part of the test includes older subdivisions in Suburban that are inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan."
Page 5: "In isolation, the proposed rezoning would likely place no adverse impacts on the natural environment, but given the proximity of numerous
water bodies and the presence of hundreds, if not thousands, of nearby homes, all on septic tanks, the risk of potential groundwater pollution seems inordinately high."
Commr. Swartz stated that he was going to vote against the motion. He stated that it is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, and he believes it does not meet timeliness, and he believes also that it is a perfect example of urban sprawl, the type of thing that the County should have been aggressively fighting for years. He stated that something is wrong when developments go in and people who live there cannot find that they can support them.
Commr. Pool explained that the Board created a method of timeliness to create an opportunity for people who come in and find a parcel of property. He stated that the County and applicant have demonstrated very clearly, very openly, very honestly how timeliness is met. He stated that 1.9 is consistent with the people as a neighbor, and he believes that the timeliness test was proved very eloquently, and with that, his motion stands.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, if you look at the surrounding area, he feels that it is consistent with what is going on out there. He stated that 90 is too much, and 75 is probably a better number to make it more compatible.
The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, which was carried by a 3-2 vote. Commr. Swartz and Commr. Gerber voted "no".
ADDENDUM NO. 1
COUNTY MANAGER'S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to charge fifty percent (50%) of Day Care Facility Transportation Impact Fee for day care developed according to the attached Zoning Clearance approved by the City of Clermont with City of Clermont Zoning Clearance issued on February 11, 2000, and to use interest accumulated via other transportation impact fees collected by the County for payment of the other fifty percent (50%) required via the adopted Fee Schedule, in the amount of $27,251.20.
Commr. Gerber explained that last week, during the discussion of the appointments to the Historical Museum Advisory Committee, the Board appointed the public-at-large and did not actually appoint the Historical Society members, or the Commission liaison.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regard to the Commission liaison, he would be bringing that issue back to the Board at the next meeting, and he would just assume that everybody keep doing what they are doing for the time being.
Commr. Gerber stated that she would go ahead and move herself as the liaison, since it was okay with her, and if it is okay with Commr. Cadwell.
On a motion by Commr. Gerber, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the following appointments to the Lake County Historical Museum Advisory Committee, with the following designated terms:
Dr. Franklin Klohn 3 years
Elizabeth "Betsy" Reed 2 years
M. Pauline Yowler 1 year
Historical Society Members
Don Copeland 3 years
Howard King 2 years
Sanna Henderson 1 year
Jacquelyn Hester 3 years
Margaret Elmore 2 years
Robert Cook 1 year
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER GERBER - DISTRICT #1
Commr. Gerber informed the Board that the Leesburg Cancer Relay for Life last weekend raised in excess of $70,000. The Eustis Relay is this weekend, and about $42,000 more dollars has been raised. With the addition of the Clermont event next week, the Cancer Society will have raised in excess $150,000 in the last three weeks. She extended her thanks to all of the staff members who were involved and extended an invitation to the Board members to come to the opening ceremonies in Eustis Friday night at 6 p.m.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER POOL - DISTRICT #2
Commr. Pool extended his thanks to staff for their successful Southwest Orange & Southeast Lake Counties Transportation Alternatives Study meeting that was held last week at the Lake-Sumter Community College, and to the College for allowing them to use its facility. He stated that the meeting was well attended by people who are concerned about transportation in South Lake and the corridors between East and West, Metro-Orlando, and Lake County. He noted that there are more meetings scheduled for the future.
CONTRACTS, LEASES & AGREEMENTS/FIRE PROTECTION
Commr. Pool stated that there has been some concerns expressed and calls received about the Montverde Fire Station. They have asked the County to develop an agreement to move out and vacate that facility and to consolidate to the Montverde Fire Station. Mr. Tad Stone, Senior Emergency Services Director, has explained that the Board will receive this agreement.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, noted that the agreement has been approved by the County, and it has gone to Montverde.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT/SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
Commr. Pool informed the Board that there have been concerns expressed about logging in the Green Swamp. Discussion has occurred regarding using the Geographic Information System (GIS) Department, along with the Global Position System (GPS), to spot four corners, and the Sheriff can fly over the area and determine whether they are in their location, because many people are traversing onto other peoples' land and cutting timber, when they have no business being there.
EDUCATION/ROADS-COUNTY & STATE
Commr. Pool informed the Board that the Lake County School Board unanimously voted 5-0 for the right-of-way acquisition of Hook Street for the Bosserman site. He stated that there is 99% approval today, with only one landowner being indecisive, and he feels this is a clear message that the Board should go forward on this item. He stated that he is very excited about this partnership between the School Board and the County Commission and those landowners of that corridor.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER HANSON - DISTRICT #4
ROAD/COUNTY & STATE
Commr. Hanson stated that Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, informed her this morning that the Forest Lake Hills Road in Pine Lakes has been on the table for awhile for a special assessment, and the permits have been approved from the State, it is in the Wekiva, and the money is in the bank, so the County will be able to move forward on this issue. She is discussing, with Ms. Sue Whittle, the issue of tying up dollars on special assessments, because they believe the Board needs to look at alternatives such as either bonding them, or finding other means of keeping that money flowing in other projects.
Commr. Hanson informed the Board that she would like to get on the agenda, in the near future, to discuss allowing the Code Enforcement officers to have the ability to issue citations for repeat offenders.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that the County has the power in the Florida Statutes, but the Board has never elected to put that in the Code.
It was noted that this item would be placed on a future agenda.
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER CADWELL - CHAIRMAN - DISTRICT #5
Commr. Cadwell informed the Board that there were several Lake County School Board members present today who may have something to add to the report made earlier by Commr. Pool regarding the Bosserman site.
Mr. Gerald Smith, School Board member, stated that the Lake County School Board voted yesterday 5 to 0 to come before the Board today to discuss the Bosserman site. The School Board is meeting again on Friday, and it has put the Bosserman site as its number one priority, and it is no longer considering Lincoln Groves, at this point in time. Mr. Smith stated that timeliness is an issue that he would like to discuss today, because they have about 45 to 50 days to close on the site. He stated that the School Board needs a commitment from the Lake County Board of County Commissioners that they are going to proceed with this issue. He noted that there is a meeting scheduled for April 21, 2000, with the property owners, with the intent of getting a letter signed by each property owner that has agreed to donate his right-of-way, so they can start the engineering process and surveying process to put in Hook Street. Mr. Smith reviewed a site plan with the Board and noted the location of those individuals who are willing to donate their right-of-way. Mr. Smith stated that there is already 30 feet of existing right-of-way in this location, and the additional 70 feet will make the total of 100 feet. The 70 feet in this section equates to one acre, which is worth approximately $20,000, but looking at the appraisals they have gotten on both properties, the actual price is lower. Mr. Smith stated that the School Board is asking for a consensus from the Board, for their meeting on Friday, that they are going to start the process, specifically the engineering and surveying necessary for that road.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County did not feel that the process would be started until the letters were signed by the property owners. If a site has been selected, then they need to move forward with the road by doing the surveys, and then move on to the engineering and construction.
Commr. Pool explained that the process has been expedited by getting the corridors aligned, and the property owners to agree to it.
Mr. Smith questioned whether the County could begin the process for a RFP, so that the company can be contracted after the letters are received on April 21, 2000. He stated that there has been a lot of discussion, but the School Board has formally put Lincoln Groves on hold, and he would request the consensus of the Board on its position to do the same.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, while the Board would look at Lincoln Groves, its position would be different than the one of the School Board.
Mr. Smith stated that the School Board's analysis and consideration of buying Lincoln Groves required the County to buy the front 80 acres, and the School Board will buy the back 80 acres.
Commr. Pool explained that there was a partnership trying to be formed with the thought that there might be a South Lake Annex and a large park parcel. There had been some discussion about the possibility of improving some of the State park lands (4,000 acres with Lake Louisa), with the focus not being on the Lincoln properties, but on the Bosserman site in the Hook Street corridor, which is what they have done, with the help of staff.
Commr. Swartz stated that he did not think that, even at the last meeting, the Board took a position with regard to which site the School Board should pick. The Board talked about some of the factors with regard to one or the other, but the location of the school is the decision of the School Board. He questioned how much the road is going to cost, because this would be just one of the roads. He noted that there would have to be a north and south road that does not exist. He questioned staff about how much it will cost to put in the road, forgetting the portion where the School Board might have to acquire the right-of-way.
Mr. Jim Stivender, Senior Director of Public Works, addressed the Board and stated that it will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million dollars to construct the road. Mr. Stivender stated that it is a collector road that parallels Highway 50, connects to Highway 27, to Citrus Tower Boulevard, to Hancock Road. He stated that the County would look at building at least a segment and connecting to Highway 50 on the east and west end. He noted that there is already a signal at Hancock Road, and there is a signal proposed at Citrus Tower Boulevard.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether this impact fee district, in terms of funds that are not allocated to any other project right now, has sufficient funds to build this road.
Mr. Stivender stated that, based on the numbers that he saw this week, there are enough monies to also do this road. He explained that there is another segment of Hancock Road that is ready to go, and the developers are also contributing to it. He noted that this project and the other two projects are funded.
Commr. Swartz explained that any other road impact fee projects in that district, unless additional funds came in, the County would have to recognize that all of these funds will have to be dedicated to this project.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they need to make sure that the City of Clermont understands this point, and staff needs to get something to them in writing.
Mr. Stivender noted that he received a letter in the mail this morning from the City of Clermont identifying that Hook Street is their number one project.
Commr. Swartz questioned whether the County has done any preliminary analysis or review to determine how many people might decide to get off of SR 50 and get on this road and how this will impact school safety.
Mr. Stivender explained that 10,000 cars could easily be pulled off of SR 50.
Discussion occurred regarding the present traffic situation and what is being proposed as an alternative, in terms of school safety.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, in regard to Hook Street, the County has been working on the preliminary issues, and the County is ready to move on that, and in regard to the other parcels, the Board did not come to a consensus to do anything other than to direct staff to find areas for consideration, but it is not ready to do anything else at this point in time.
Mr. Frank Caputo, Clermont, addressed the Board and stated that he cannot stress strongly enough the importance of the Board's commitment to the Hook Street extension and committing the dollars necessary to see this completed in the shortest period of time possible. He believes the Board has an obligation to Lake County, the School Board, the City of Clermont, and the residents of South Lake County to see that this road happens. He is a resident that currently has to deal with the traffic on SR 50, and he is also a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Clermont, and he wanted to make it very clear that he was speaking on his own behalf and not on the entire Planning and Zoning Commission. The Hook Street extension project is imperative to the future growth of the City of Clermont and to South Lake County. He recently attended a meeting on the Southwest Orange & Southeast Lake Counties Transportation Alternatives Study, where Commr. Pool spoke, and he saw the projections for the gridlock that is going to be on Highway 27 and SR 50. He urged the Board to get the information from that meeting, in order to see what is going to happen to Highway 27 and SR 50, and he believes that, with the Hook Street extension, it is going to ease the problem, not only the problem on Highway 27, but also on SR 50. Mr. Caputo discussed the appraisals and stated that he could not understand how they could have accomplished the appraisal and increased the density on the Lincoln Groves to bring it up to the value that they did, and based on that, he was wondering what the feeling of the Board was in relationship to purchasing that property.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this Board does not have any consensus to do anything with that property right now.
Mr. Caputo stated that the County needs to get the message out through a press release, or some other way, to make it clear that the County is not pursuing that property at this time.
Ms. Sue Whittle, County Manager, stated that staff would like to be very clear on the direction of the Board, on what the staff will be doing in the next few months.
Mr. Stivender stated that, in regard to the meeting that has been scheduled with the property owners on April 21, 2000, if the County gets clear direction on alignment, to put a RFP out on the street and to survey it, and to get it back so that deeds can be written, it is looking at about a six month process.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the County can begin the RFP for the surveying, but it may have to wait on the engineering. The two other pitfalls would be that retention areas will have to be available, and that means, if the property owners are not willing to give them to the County, it will be an additional eminent domain involved, and secondly, the alignment usually does not stay the same. He further explained that, even in April, the County will not have final approval from property owners to give the County right-of-way, because you will not know what it is and all of those things will have to be negotiated, once the engineer gets here and starts. So the County really will not have a final right-of-way decision until the design is almost done on the project. The natural process would be to hire the surveyor, survey it, get the engineer to design it, and work with the property owners to get the rights-of-way donated. He wanted the Board to know that the eminent domain may end up involving more than one property owner, because with the final result, a property owner that agrees today may not like the way the road is designed, and the County may have to take some of their property, too.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the County is going to build the road there, if the School Board is going to put the school there, which is what they are going to do, so the County needs to do everything it can, and as quick as it can, and get staff to go ahead with a RFP for the surveying and engineering. It was noted that it would cost about $250,000.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting
adjourned at 1:18 p.m.
WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK