A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
NOVEMBER 12, 2002
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 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: Robert A. Pool, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson; Jennifer Hill; and Debbie Stivender. Others present were: William A. (Bill) Neron, County Manager; Sanford A. (Sandy) Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Administrative Supervisor, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; Barbara Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Judy Whaley, Deputy Clerk.
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that Tab 4 under the County Manager’s Consent Agenda has been revised per language distributed to the Board. He stated that he would like to add Addendum No. 1, which contains one item under the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, and two Report items. Mr. Neron also requested a Closed Session with the Board at the end of the meeting for an update on Fire Union negotiations. It was noted that no Board action will be required during the Closed Session.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, informed the Board that he would like to add an item to the agenda concerning extending a Purchase Agreement with the Kristen L. Bartch Family Limited Partnership and Timothy H. Sennett for a right-of-way.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved placing the item regarding the right-of-way, as requested, on the agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 5, and Addendum No. 1, County Manager’s Consent Agenda I. A., for the following:
Budget and Administrative Services - Procurement Services
Request to declare items as noted as surplus to County needs; authorized disposal at public auction to the high bidder; and authorized the Procurement Services Director to sign the vehicle titles.
Request to advertise Fair Housing Code Amendments.
Request for approval of Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and the City of Mt. Dora for provision of reciprocal first response fire and rescue within the area indicated on Attachment A.
Request to declare 122 used airpacks as surplus equipment and approved the trade-in of 122 airpacks toward the purchase of new carbon wrapped SCBA bottles, and add language to indicate 30 bottles have already been turned, generating a $7,000.00 credit.
Request for Agreement between Lake County and Lake Sumter EMS to use a portion of Lake County Fire Station 65 located at 1201 Lewis Road, Fruitland Park, as an ambulance station. Lake Sumter has agreed to reimburse Lake County Fire Rescue for 75 percent of the utilities cost.
Request to enter into a “Joint Participation Agreement” with the Lake County Water Authority for joint funding of five stormwater construction projects in the Lake Griffin basin.
AMENDMENT TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of the Department of Community Services, along with Ms. Liz Eginton, Community Development Block Grant Director, requested an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 to include $5,000 for staff costs for the housing rehabilitation program. Mr. Smith explained that $50,000 was allocated this year for that rehabilitation program and a public hearing is required by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations to include the staff costs.
Commr. Pool opened the public hearing portion of the meeting and called for public comment. It was noted that no one wished to speak regarding the requested amendment. There being no public comment, the public hearing portion of the meeting was closed.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant funds for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 to include $5,000 for staff costs.
LAKE COUNTY CODE - REFERENCE NOISE
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out that, according to a November 2, 2002, article in the Orlando Sentinel regarding an effort by New York City Mayor Bloomberg to quiet that City’s streets, the issues Lake County has with noise are not localized. He showed a web site chart which listed the typical noise levels of common appliances and activities.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the workshop was scheduled because, over the last year, many noise complaints have been referred to his office, including complaints of barking dogs, boat noise, particularly air boats and jet skis, early morning construction in residential neighborhoods, restaurants or bars, individuals with loud stereos or musical instruments, and noise from industrial sites. Because the complaints tend to be made on nights and weekends, the Sheriff’s Office is usually the first department to be involved, and the complaints are then usually referred to the Code Enforcement Department. The latest issue, according to Mr. Minkoff, involved remote-controlled model airplanes being flown all day long on a weekend day, which is disturbing to the neighbors.
Mr. Minkoff stated that noise issues seem to be growing, whether because of growth or inconsiderate neighbors. He asked for direction from the Board as to whether or not they want to make changes to the current codes. Mr. Minkoff recommended that his office, along with the Code Enforcement Department, hold public hearings throughout the County and bring back citizen comments to the Board.
Mr. Minkoff stated that the Constitution of the State of Florida provides that freedom from unnecessary noise is one of the goals of the Constitution. He added that State Statutes run the gamut from prohibition of regulation, such as new automobiles, to authorization, such as barking dogs, to requirement, such as an airport zoning ordinance. He pointed out that the County has an ordinance relating to noisy animals which was created in 1999, a noise control ordinance which was passed in 1994, and a prohibition of air boats on Lake Yale between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned a report in the backup material from Mr. Gary Siebein, an acoustical architectural expert at the University of Florida. The report was done in 2000 for the County as a result of a noise complaint. Mr. Minkoff stated that the report outlines the different types of noise regulations that are in use throughout Florida and the United States. He stated that Lake County uses a Nuisance-Type ordinance which is subjective. He added that complaints that are clearly a violation or are clearly not a violation are easy to deal with, but the group in the middle is very difficult to deal with and can result in a difference of opinion. Another type of ordinance is referred to as Activity-Based, and the Lake Yale ordinance falls into that class. Also in this class would be a prohibition of lawn equipment or construction activity during specific hours. Mr. Minkoff explained a third type of ordinance which is referred to as Plainly Audible whereby, essentially, a noise could not be heard at a certain distance, perhaps 50 feet or even 250 feet, from the source of the sound or from a property line. He added that this type could also include a time of day or night restriction. Mr. Minkoff stated that the advantage of this type is that the violation would no longer be subjective, i.e., can it be heard or not heard. He stated the Plainly Audible type is a fairly easy standard to enforce. The issues with this type of ordinance would be the distance and whether noise would be measured from the complainant or the property of the source. He explained a fourth type of ordinance that is referred to as a Technical Type, which would usually be based on a decibel limit. He referred to Ch. 327.65 F.S. which states “no person shall operate....a vessel....in such a manner as to exceed the following sound levels at a distance of 50 feet from the vessel: for all vessels, a maximum sound level of 90 dB A.” He added that more complicated Technical Types include an octave band, and these Technical Types would require the use of sound meters, as well as trained operators.
Mr. Minkoff then explained the last type which might be referred to as a Combination. This type would combine one or more types and might include Nuisance and Plainly Audible. He mentioned a Combination ordinance from the City of Gainesville, Florida, included in the backup material, which prohibits nuisances and specific activities as well as regulating continuous and impulsive sound levels. He noted that the Gainesville ordinance also regulates boom boxes, electronic equipment, loudspeakers, animals and construction equipment. He stated that the Siebein report lists many Florida counties and cities, including Alachua County, and that Mr. Siebein commented in his report that it is very unusual to have an ordinance with only a Nuisance standard.
Commr. Hanson stated that the County’s current noise ordinance was created several years ago and many other noise problems have been seen over the years. She commended Mr. Minkoff on his outstanding work in preparing today’s presentation.
Commr. Stivender stated that she thinks it is a good idea for the County Attorney and the Code Enforcement Department to hold public meetings and would like to know if industrial and commercial uses versus residential uses are a problem in the other four districts of the County.
Mr. Minkoff commented that there is a significant segment of the County that believes they should be able to use their property as they like, and that some industrial and agricultural uses might have concerns about regulations.
Commr. Hanson stated that most of the complaints in her district involve barking dogs and, recently, remote-controlled airplanes.
Commr. Pool remarked that he has had complaints of construction equipment and trucks in the very early morning hours in residential neighborhoods. He stated that residents should expect construction to take place during reasonable hours, and he would like that issue addressed in an ordinance. He added that some residents have moved to close to an industrial or commercial site without knowing that night time noise might occur.
Commr. Hanson stated that enforcement might involve tremendous costs. She pointed out that, working through the Code Enforcement Department, most issues in her district have been solved without a violation occurring.
Commr. Stivender pointed out that the Sheriff, or someone from his office, should participate in the upcoming community public meetings.
Commr. Pool stated that reasonable changes need to be made to the current code, and that public meetings would shed light on some of the situations and would allow the Board to more clearly make a decision that would be beneficial to the residents and to those doing business.
Mr. Don Milmine, a resident of Tropical Shores Drive in Tavares, spoke on behalf of residents in four neighborhoods (Venetian Park Subdivision, Tropical Shores Subdivision, Imperial Terrace West and Palm Gardens) and asked for help from the Board regarding loud music at Dead River Vic’s. He asked that a November 7, 2002, letter to the Board be made a part of the record. He urged the Board to (1) enact an ordinance that will protect the citizens of the County, pointing out that the bar is in the City of Tavares, (2) not limit an ordinance to nighttime hours, (3) provide that noise can’t be heard more than 50 feet, 100 feet or 200 feet from a property line, (4) include a provision that deals with noise that crosses a city or municipality boundary into the County, (5) base an ordinance on the definition of Plainly Audible as opposed to the use of a decibel meter.
Ms. Shirleen Harrison, a resident of Tropical Shores Drive in Tavares, also spoke on behalf of residents who live on the Dead River. She stated that ambient noise from Highway 441 traffic does not bother residents, but probably is noisy for Dead River Vic’s. She submitted, for the record, an October 28, 2002, letter to Tavares Police Chief Stoney Lubins that outlined inconsistencies by the Tavares Police Department regarding enforcement of the City’s noise ordinance. She mentioned a meeting between Police Chief Lubins and Lake County Sheriff Knupp and asked the Board to consider helping the County residents, citing all the costs to the County already associated with noise problems at Dead River Vic’s.
Commr. Hill asked for a clarification from Mr. Minkoff regarding where meetings would be held and how citizens would be notified of those meetings, and commented that notification of the meetings might be costly.
Mr. Minkoff confirmed that he would like a meeting in each of the five districts, as well as any particular neighborhood or area within a district at the request of Board members. He added that notice of meetings would be by newspaper advertisement and possibly community-type notices, with the goal being to get as much citizen input as possible.
Commr. Hanson stated that, as pointed out today, a conflict between a city and the County is a tough issue, and that issue should be looked at.
Mr. Tomas Leathers, Director of Code Enforcement Services for Lake County, stated that this is a tough issue and with County growth, construction, agricultural and industrial noises are being heard. He stated that the Board should keep in mind just which agency would respond to complaints, whether the complaint is made at 3:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. He added that his department responds to some complaints while the Sheriff’s Office responds to others. He commented that sometimes his department successfully resolves issues with a handshake and a smile.
Commr. Pool commented that the public hearings should be held as quickly as possible for public input and the Board should adopt an ordinance that the public would embrace.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board instructed staff, and the County Attorney in particular, to evaluate what changes should be made to the County’s current noise ordinances, and to hold public hearings for citizen input.
CITIZEN QUESTION AND COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Richard Gonzalez, a resident of Estes Road in Eustis, stated that he brought a petition to Commr. Hanson about a year ago from residents who live on Blue Lake, near the corner of Estes Road and Highway 44, requesting an ordinance prohibiting motorboats, either gasoline or diesel, on the lake. He stated that part of Blue Lake is in the City of Eustis and Mr. Mike Stearman, Eustis City Manager, wrote a letter to the County in support of this request.
Commr. Pool stated that he supports this request and the City of Clermont, about ten years ago, banned gasoline or internal combustion engines from every landlocked lake in the City limits. He expressed the importance of such an ordinance which helps provide for clean lakes, especially when all the residents surrounding a lake embrace the idea.
Commr. Hanson stated that the petition was given to staff and she expressed regret that this issue had been put on hold while a countywide regulation was being considered. She stated that this issue, along with a similar issue on Lake Elsie, would be advertised and placed on an upcoming Board agenda.
Commr. Stivender stated that all the residents around one lake in her district were for the same type of ordinance, but on a different lake in her district, residents were half and half. She stated that if all the residents want an ordinance prohibiting motorboats, that is what the Board should do.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that staff will advertise both the Blue Lake issue and the Lake Elsie issue for a public hearing, and look at these situations on a case by case basis in the future until staff has further or different direction from the Board.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
COMMUNITY SERVICES - FAIR HOUSING BROCHURE
Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, stated that Ms. Liz Eginton, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Director, has been working in conjunction with the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on the County’s Fair Housing Ordinance and how it is being implemented. A new brochure states that “it is unlawful to refuse to rent or sell housing to families with children unless you comply with Federal and local regulations.” He stated that the County’s Fair Housing Ordinance is patterned after Federal regulations and “prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or handicap.” Mr. Smith added that there are some exceptions to the familial status clause that applies to housing for individuals who are 55 or 62 years of age or older, but the proper exemption requests have to be filed with the Federal government according to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). For example, “at least 80 percent of the units must be occupied by persons 55 years and older” and “operators must publish and adhere to policies and procedures which demonstrate an intent to operate as housing for older persons.” He continued quoting from the brochure by stating “occupancy by persons over 55 must be routinely documented.”
Mr. Smith stated that his department requests approval of the brochure by the Board because some mobile home park residents or developers may not be familiar with Federal regulations and the local ordinance regarding Fair Housing and may not understand the intent of the brochure.
Commr. Pool asked for clarification as to whether this is a Federal mandate.
Mr. Smith clarified that this is a Federal requirement.
Commr. Stivender inquired if active adult communities have their own restrictions which supercede these guidelines.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the County has a local ordinance which could be enforced but the Federal government very actively enforces this complaint-based issue. He further explained that under 55-years-of-age housing, so long as 80% of the people who live in the development are 55 years of age or older or 80% of the homes are occupied by one person who is 55 years of age or older, and services are provided to the elderly, then the community can create whatever rules they want. He continued by stating that if someone applied to move in and felt the law was being violated, they could file a complaint with the Federal government, the Federal government would investigate, and would take enforcement action if a violation occurred.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, under the law, the County is required to actively try to eliminate this type of impediment from Fair Housing.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Fair Housing brochure as presented.
PUBLIC SAFETY - TRANSFER OF TIME WARNER CABLE FRANCHISE
Mr. Bruce Thorburn, Communications System Director, stated that Time Warner Cable has filed a request to transfer the Lake County/Time Warner Cable Franchise to Advance/Newhouse. He stated that, under the County’s Cable Communications Ordinance, the Board has the authorization and duty to approve or deny the transfer of a cable franchise. He stated that about two years ago, Time Warner Cable and Advance/Newhouse entered into a partnership. At this time, Advance/Newhouse plans to take proprietary control of all Time Warner operations to include the franchise which is in effect in various areas of the County. The Cities of Groveland, Clermont and Minneola are in agreement with the County that the County will be the sole source of contact regarding franchise agreements. Although the franchise agreement terminated in July 2002, under Federal law, the agreement is in effect on a month-to-month basis until renewed.
Mr. Thorburn stated that staff recommends the Board authorize the transfer but pointed out that the Board and the Cities have the right to request a fee for attorney and staff time, materials, etc. for the transfer.
Commr. Stivender inquired about the number of hours that staff had spent on the transfer request.
Mr. Thorburn stated that he had worked on the transfer about 10-12 hours.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he would like to recommend a much harder stance on the transfer, but, unfortunately, based on questions he had previously asked, the Board is preempted by Federal regulations from doing so.
On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to transfer the Time Warner Cable Franchise to Advance/Newhouse and authorized a letter to Time Warner as to approval, and approved Bruce Thorburn, Communications System Director, to prepare and sign the letter of approval.
REPORTS - COUNTY ATTORNEY
RENEWAL OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN LAKE COUNTY AND
GREATER ORLANDO AREA LEGAL SERVICES, INC.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, requested that the Board renew an Agreement with Greater Orlando Area Legal Services, Inc. (GOALS) to handle appellate work in dependency cases. He explained that currently, when the Department of Children and Families moves to permanently terminate parental rights, the County is required to pay for lawyers at the trial. If there is an appeal, GOALS has agreed to handle the appeal for a fee. He added that, while last year there were no appeals, the Agreement, to July 1, 2004, should be in place. He confirmed that there is money in the budget for this line item.
On a motion by Commr. Hanson, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved renewal of the Agreement between Lake County and Greater Orlando Area Legal Services, Inc. for appellate work in dependency and termination of parental rights cases.
RIGHT-OF-WAY PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITH KRISTEN L. BARTCH
FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP AND TIMOTHY H. SENNETT
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that the Department of Public Works had an Agreement to purchase right-of-way from Kristen L. Bartch Family Limited Partnership and Timothy H. Sennett. Because the time of the Agreement has expired, he requested renewal of the exact Agreement, with the only change being that the contract will include language that this purchase is under threat of condemnation, which will allow the sellers to take advantage of a Federal tax law.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously, by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request to extend the time of a Purchase Agreement with Kristen L. Bartch Family Limited Partnership and Timothy H. Sennett for right of way in conjunction with the Thomas Avenue Extension Project in the North Leesburg/Fruitland Park area, with the change as noted.
REPORTS - COUNTY MANAGER
BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE SCOPE OF WORK AND APPOINTMENTS
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, explained that, during the recent budget sessions, he recommended the Board appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee to work on a five-year financial plan for the County between now and next March, for consideration by the Board for next fiscal year’s budget. He referred to the “Blue Ribbon Panel Scope of Work” included in the backup material and a list of six proposed members which was distributed to the Board. He added that a seventh individual is being considered. He requested that the Board approve the Scope of Work and the proposed members for the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Under discussion, Commr. Hanson inquired whether the Committee will be looking at operations. Mr. Neron stated that operations probably would be part of the scope of work by the very nature of the task of looking at and projecting expenses. He stated that the Committee might initially review each of the programs and operations of County government, including meeting with the Constitutional Officers, and rate the programs as mandatory, essential or discretionary.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Stivender and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Scope of Work and appointments to the Blue Ribbon Committee to prepare a five-year financial plan for the County.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
PARKING LOT RESURFACING AT FORMER FIRST UNION BANK BUILDING
Commr. Stivender stated that she has toured the parking lot and met with the Public Works Department and Mr. James Watkins, Clerk of Court, regarding resurfacing at the former First Union Bank Building in Tavares where the Clerk’s Public Records Department will be housed. She explained that the Public Works Director had scheduled this item for discussion in January-February 2003. However, she continued, the Clerk’s employees will be using the building at that time and, because parking space is limited in that area, employees and the public would not have a place to park if resurfacing occurs in January or February 2003.
Commr. Hanson expressed concern at using old local option tax dollars for this project. She stated that those diminishing dollars were being set aside should the opportunity arise to purchase the incinerator in Okahumpka.
Commr. Stivender stated that, while the figures may not be complete, the land purchase was $883,000 and the original building improvements were $1,440,000 for a total of $2,323,000. She stated that, so far, the Clerk has turned back to the Board the amount of $1,837,674 in fees and the difference is approximately $486,000. She pointed out that dollars from fees, not ad valorem taxes, are coming back in from the Clerk’s Office and that most of the cost of the project is not being paid for out of the General Fund.
Commr. Hill stated that a lot of work has been done on the existing parking lot, including striping and bumpers, and the lot is currently safe and adequate. She added that all the County parking lots are being assessed and prioritized, and this particular resurfacing project may or may not be the highest priority. She mentioned that the funding for the Clerk’s Public Records parking lot might even be piggybacked with resurfacing of the Judicial Center parking lot.
Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that this project was scheduled to be part of the proposed capital improvement program that would include the new local option tax money as well as the balance of the old local option tax money.
Commr. Hanson estimated that less than $5 million of old local option tax money remains and she reiterated that those dollars should be set aside in the event a purchase of the incinerator is possible.
A motion was made by Commr. Hill and seconded by Commr. Cadwell to continue patching and striping the parking lot, and to postpone consideration of resurfacing of the parking lot at the former First Union Bank Building, 122 East Main Street, Tavares, until January 2003.
Under discussion, Mr. Chuck Creel, Public Works Department, stated that the Public Works Director would like to patch the current lot and install bumpers, and bring the resurfacing item back to the Board on January 14, 2003, along with the Judicial Center parking lot.
Commr. Pool called for a vote on the motion, which carried by a 4-1 vote.
Commr. Stivender voted “no.”
REPORTS - COMMISSIONER STIVENDER - DISTRICT #3
NATIONAL JUNIOR COLLEGE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Commr. Stivender congratulated Ms. Kelly LaFollette of the County’s Information Technology Division for winning a contest to create a poster for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s competition which will be held May 15-17, 2003, in Clermont. The poster contest was open to all Lake Sumter Community College students and alumnae. Commr. Stivender expressed appreciation to Ms. Nancy Clutts, who is with Lake Sumter Community College and who is on the County’s Cultural Affairs Council, for coordinating the contest, and to Dr. Dot Richardson and her husband for their work in bringing the National Junior College Athletic Association to Lake County next year.
Commr. Pool commented that this is a major event for Lake County and a major opportunity to bring in a lot of tourists who will generate dollars for the County.
LAKE SAUNDERS BOAT RAMP
Commr. Stivender stated that she is working with staff on a new boat ramp for Lake Saunders. She stated that the existing boat ramp is causing great harm to property owners around it, other sites are being looked at for a new boat ramp, and the item will be on an upcoming Board agenda.
FIRE UNION NEGOTIATION UPDATE
At 10:15 a.m., Commr. Pool announced a Closed Session regarding Fire Union negotiations. Those attending will be the Board of County Commissioners and the negotiating team for the purpose of an update on negotiations. No Board action will be required. There will be no tape or recording of the meeting.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
ROBERT A. POOL, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK