JANUARY 11, 2005

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, January 11, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Catherine C. Hanson, Vice Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell; Debbie Stivender; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; William “Bill” Neron, County Manager; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, Board of County Commissioners’ Office; and Toni M. Riggs, Deputy Clerk.


Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Commr. Hill welcomed public officials who were present, Mr. Randy Moye, Mayor, City of Minneola, Ms. Lewie Wise, City Manager, City of Minneola, Mr. Edward Earl, City Council, City of Minneola, Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, City of Tavares, and Mr. Terry Adsit, Senior Planner, Lake County School Board.


On a motion by Commr. Stivender, seconded by Commr. Pool and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 and 2, as follows:


Tab 1 - Request from Program Analysis and Contract Management for approval for the Lake County Office of Program Analysis and Contract Management Transportation Disadvantaged staff to apply to the Department of Transportation for Section 5311 Transit Grant Application FY 2005-2006 and Resolution 2005-6.


Tab 2 - Request from Program Analysis and Contract Management Transportation Disadvantaged staff to apply to the Department of Transportation Section 5310 Transit Grant Application FY 2005-2006 and Resolution 2005-7.



            Ms. Blanche Hardy, Director, Department of Environmental Services, addressed the Board and stated that she is here to give the Board an update on the Blueway Project.  Staff presented a handout to the Board members that she would be reviewing with them.  Ms. Hardy explained that the Board had asked staff to develop a concept for a program, and it has been an interdepartmental cooperative effort between Economic Development/Tourism, Environmental Services, and Public Works.

            Ms. Hardy stated that staff participated in the Orlando Trekkers Annual Jamboree, which is the largest outdoor water sport event in Central Florida, on November 12, 2004, where they presented questionnaires, and the results are as follows:

The Ideal Blueway


·        Wildlife and scenery

·        Easy access, canoe slip

·        Camping, restrooms

·        Power craft restrictions

·        Wide clear trail

·        Signs, guidebook

·        Pick up point (transport) or looped trail

·        Festivals, social events, guided trips


Ms. Hardy stated that they were able to get a number of volunteers, from meeting with others, and there are several people who are willing to help them further develop the program, if the Board chooses to go forward with it.

Ms. Hardy explained that, through staff discussion, the Blueway Trail Areas were determined to be as follows:  St. Johns River, Golden Triangle Oklawaha Basin, and Palatlakaha Basin.  In the backup, there were preliminary maps of each trail, and Ms. Hardy noted that each of them can be easily expanded.  Staff determined the following Blueway Zones:

Waterfronts Lake

Short trails in populated areas with developed waterfronts suitable for casual or novice users


Shorelines Lake


Transitional “day trip” trails in mixed density areas offering amenities such as refreshments and restrooms


Wilderness Lake


Remote, undeveloped and challenging offering paddle and hike or paddle and remote camping opportunities


Ms. Hardy stated that the first proposed partner in the Blueway Project is the City of Tavares.  She stated that Ms. Dottie Keedy, City Administrator, was kind enough to provide the map included in the handout material.  The City of Tavares is already developing a program, and the County will be doing this in conjunction with them.  Ms. Keedy has generously offered to be the county-city assistant in spearheading the program with the cities.

Ms. Hardy pointed out the St. Francis Dead River, which is an already nationally recognized trail, and stated that it is one of the “Ghost Town” historic sites, where there are very few buildings, but the original pilings are there.  It has remote campsites available with bear boxes, and it fits the description perfectly of the kind of trail that people would use and where they might spend two or three days in one area.

Ms. Hardy referred to the matrix that represents all of the people that could be involved in the program and noted the federal and state agencies that could assist the County with funding, and the number of municipal, local and national support groups.

Ms. Hardy stated that they would like to immediately start promoting existing paddle trails within the County, for example, the Wekiva River and Alexander Spring Creek, which do not require permits.  The State already has a trail system at Wekiva River and has identified the Wekiva Falls Park as one of the access points, and staff would like to get these on the web sites, as soon as possible.  Ms. Hardy pointed out that the Lake County Water Authority (Water Authority) already promotes many areas.  Staff has also identified about eight canoe rental places and would like to get them on the web sites, as well as many restaurants located on the waterfront.  The next steps will include the formal permit kick off with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Florida Fish and Wildlife).

  Ms. Hardy explained that the January 18, 2005 workshop will be an all day event and, at that time, Florida Fish and Wildlife will deliver the County’s formal permit package, which they anticipate will take up to four months to complete.  She explained that this is a very aggressive program, and they hope to create a permit that can easily be expanded to include many more areas.  Once the permit package is submitted, there is a six month review time, and it will have to be approved by the Army Core of Engineers, as well as other federal agencies.  Ms. Nikki Foster, Special Projects Administrator, Department of Environmental Services, will be completing the County’s permit application.  One of the biggest expenses in securing the permit is the requirement to have a certified Water Search and Rescue Team, but the Lake County Sheriff’s Department already has one, so they will not have this expense.

Ms. Hardy stated that staff would like to develop and post interactive web pages on BCC and Tourism Information sites and establish county-city partnerships.  Yesterday the City of Eustis contacted them and indicated that they would very much like to be involved in this program.  Staff would also like to identify costs and pursue funding opportunities, as soon as possible, to get the partnership.

Commr. Stivender wanted to know whether the Water Authority was involved in any of this process, and to make sure that they are a part of this overall plan, because they have a lot of resources. Ms. Hardy explained that the Water Authority worked very closely with County staff, and they have expressed an interest and have been very helpful in identifying areas and determining where to concentrate their efforts first.

In terms of cost estimates, Ms. Hardy explained that the permit will be free.  Most of the costs will be incurred when Public Works becomes involved in the process, when they make signs.  She discussed the cost noting that other counties are spending about $1,000 for guidebooks and, since a consultant will have to install the signs, it should not be more than $25,000.  After their meeting on January 18, 2005, staff will be able to give the Board an update on anticipated costs.

Mr. Greg Mihalic, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, stated that the Tourist Development Council (TDC) will certainly cover the costs for the guidebooks, which will be given away, because this will be another way to help bring more people to Lake County.

Commr. Hanson stated that this is a tremendously exciting and natural way to let people know about the environment.  As they talk about public-private partnerships, it seems like this would open up the door for overnight facilities, whether it be cabins, rural, or bed and breakfast facilities.  She feels that a lot of the burden will be on the private sector and, as the County moves forward with this project, they will begin to see the opportunities.

Mr. Mihalic explained that they need to let people know what they have to offer them, and then they will come and experience these opportunities.  The private sector will join in when it begins to see the market.  Commr. Hanson stressed that they need to be clear on their regulations and be flexible with their use of some of these facilities, and Mr. Mihalic noted that a lot of people use these facilities, but they need to identify these hidden assets.  Commr. Hanson pointed out that they need to make sure their rules allow for the overnight stays, so they can get back the tourism dollars.

Discussion occurred regarding the rewriting of the Comprehensive Plan, with it being noted that they have always had a problem sighting commercial-recreational in the rural areas.

Mr. Mahlic explained that the TDC is looking at their advertising program and recently Lake County has been featured in many well known publications.  They are also reaching out into Georgia to their eco-tourism area, specifically to clubs in Atlanta that may be interested in Lake County.

Commr. Hanson pointed out that the county-city partnerships were mentioned in the report, but she felt that staff needed to include government and private partnerships, and to make sure they are flexible enough to allow those to happen.

Discussion occurred regarding directional signs that had been placed in the lakes by the Water Authority, and Mr. Mihalic indicated that they now have an opportunity to look at virtual signage with GIS and others.  Commr. Hanson noted that “Florida Trend” had a whole section on signs that were promoting healthy lifestyles in the County, and she had sent copies to staff members.

Ms. Hardy clarified that the permit requires them to use specific signage, and the permit will give them national exposure.  They have already meet with Public Works, and they want very explicit signs for camping, parking, sleeping, etc., so that people can be directed in every way possible within Lake County.  They have already talked about a uniform signage beyond the requirements of their permit.

It was noted that the meeting on January 18, 2005 will be held at the Environmental Services Department, Administration Building, Conference Room, and everyone was welcome to attend.

Commr. Hill stated that the Board is going to have more discussions on this item probably at the Board Retreat.


Lake County Health Departments

Mr. Travis Whigham addressed the closing of the three health care facilities and noted that, at the legislative meeting, there was discussion about having one large health care facility instead of renovating and reopening these facilities that are already in place.  Mr. Whigham explained that this would be a major mistake because, with the closing of the Umatilla clinic, many people need to get to the Health Department, but they cannot afford to travel the distance, because these people have limited incomes and limited means of transportation. 

Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, clarified that the County has an architect on board to redesign and enlarge the clinic in Umatilla; they are looking for grant money to go towards the clinic in Tavares; and they are also looking at expanding the clinic in South Lake County.  It was also noted that the mobile health unit was approved last week by the Board.

            Flooding – Lake Mack Area

Mr. Whigham addressed the flooding problems in the Lake Mack area and explained that he had previously discussed with the Board the possibility of the County purchasing these properties and turning them into public lands.  Mr. Stivender noted that he will be meeting with the consultant next week to discuss this plan.

            Sidewalk Construction

Mr. Whigham informed the Board that, while he was visiting family in Boston, Massachusetts, he found out that they use asphalt to construct their sidewalks, and he felt that this may be a cost effective method that the County may want to consider.  Mr. Stivender noted that all of the trails are asphalt, and staff has looked at this process, but there are some challenges with it.  Mr. Whigham explained that he is aware of the different weather patterns, and the fact that it depends on where the materials come from.




            Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, addressed the Board to discuss the conditions, right-of-way status, and construction program of road projects in the Minneola area.  Mr. Stivender noted that Mr. Fred Schneider, Director of Engineering, will be presenting most of the engineering and right-of-way issues.  He stated that this is a workshop, so staff will be sharing as much information as they can with the Board, as they work through some of the topics. Mr. Stivender stated that Mr. Matthew Click, Senior Transportation Planner, the Department of Transportation (DOT), Florida Turnpike Authority District (Turnpike), has been working with staff on the road alignment, and he will be watching this closely and will be working with the developers in the County to see how this is going to transpire, and Ms. Lynn Morris is also here from the DOT as an observer today.  He noted that the DOT is very interested in the access to US-27, and the alignments, signalization, permitting, and storm water issues and, by having everybody on board early on in the process, they hope to avoid having the same type of situation as the one with Hancock Road where schools were being constructed while they were still working through the permitting process for drainage, storm water, and the traffic signal.

            Staff presented a map of the region, a 2004 aerial (included in backup), which
Mr. Stivender would be discussing with the Board.  Mr. Stivender explained the coding on the aerial; the areas in “green” are programmed and funded; the areas in “yellow” are programmed and unfunded; and the areas in “blue” are un-programmed.  He pointed out the location of specific facilities including
East Ridge High School, the areas where work is currently taking place, and areas that are completed noting that these areas are an integral part in allowing multiple access points to the high school, because right now it is a single access point.  This is the area where the County has been spending money, and the southern connector will eventually tie back to the intersection to the south.  The individuals who agreed to donate the right-of-way now have deeds in their possession.  The engineering staff has worked very hard on Hancock Road to phase and coordinate it with all the growth that has occurred in that area, and they are ready to go out to the bid for the South Lake Trail, with additional money coming from the DOT.

            Mr. Stivender stated that two projects were added to the impact fee program list, as follows:  Part 1 – Hancock Road, North Extension C-1354 from C-50, north on Turkey Farm Road to Grassy Lake Road, west to US-27; Part 2 – Hancock Road, North Extension C-354 from Phase I, north on Turkey Farm Road and west on North Grassy Lake Road to US-27.  He pointed out the property purchased by the Lake County School Board (School Board) along Sullivan Road, and where the City of Minneola (Minneola) has their wastewater treatment system.  The Reserve at Minneola is ready to begin construction, which will include their access to the south, and Founders Ridge has been annexed and approved by Minneola in that process.

            Mr. Stivender reviewed the south end of the region noting that a signal has already been warranted at the intersection of Hancock Road and SR-50, because of the volume of traffic in this area, and it will be installed this year.  He stated that adding another signal at the intersection will still not be enough to handle the traffic, as these developments continue to occur in this area.  Mr. Stivender noted that staff has been very cautious and are very aware of private property rights.  He referred to the intersection of Old Highway 50 and Turkey Farm Road that accesses to the north and explained the alignment of power lines noting that there are a lot of homes that front on Turkey Farm Road, therefore, this is a public issue that deals with residences and not developer owned property ready to be developed.  Mr. Stivender explained that there is going to be a traffic flow problem, if they do not determine the route for a road in this one-quarter/one half mile area.  He explained that this is a very critical area, because this could easily access the Florida Turnpike to the north.  It could also be the access from Clermont to Tavares, because US-455 is a scenic highway and is basically restricted to being a two lane road, and CR-561 fits the same topography and design criteria.  In order to handle the traffic in this area, there has to be a new north-south road.  Staff has also considered developing an east-west route from the Bella Collina area in Montverde to the Florida Turnpike and back to US-27.  They are basically trying to work on a north-south, east-west pattern to handle the future traffic flow for the entire area.

            Mr. Stivender stated that staff has met with Minneola twice to work on the traffic patterns noting that the time frame for the school is the fall of 2007.  He pointed out the property now owned by the School Board, the boundary of the Lowndes property (Founders Ridge), and the residences along Grassy Lake Road and Sullivan Road and explained that staff has considered the possibility of splitting this area and developing a new road altogether, however, there would be many topography challenges, as he explained in further detail.  He noted that, in some cases, the County has been asking for 100 feet of right-of-way, and another extra 50 feet on each side of the road, as temporary construction easements, so that they can actually build these roads and establish the right grades.  Right now the roads are not at the right grades, and they do not have proper drainage.  He explained the locations where they have dedicated right-of-way and stated that there needs to be extensive title work done on this segment of road.  Staff also wants to work with the DOT so they can coordinate the signal locations, which is also a timely issue, because it is a part of this development.  Mr. Stivender stated that the two lane road would handle the capacity at Founders Ridge, the part that will be coming to US-27, and the two-lane road would handle the property to the south, as the traffic flows to Hancock Road, because there is a lot of commercial there, but it is not going to handle the build-out situation in this area.  So they are looking for an 80 foot right-of-way (a collector road minimum), to a 120 foot right-of-way for an urban four lane segment, which is the kind of road that Hancock Road is today.   They will also have to take into consideration the property owners that are not part of the development community.

            Mr. Stivender pointed out that, in order for the new school to open in the fall of 2007, the School Board will have to start construction at the end of this year and, in order for them to use Sullivan Road as a construction road to get to their site, the depression site on this road will have to be built up, but there is no right-of-way at this location.  They will also have to address the situation at the intersection of Sullivan Road and US-27 in the same manner as they did Hancock Road, in terms of cutting down the hill in both directions.  These are two things that need to be taken care of immediately prior to construction, or they are not going to be able to get adequate construction equipment in there to handle a 40 to 50 million dollar job.   Staff would like to try and address all of these issues as quickly a possible and, at the same time, they need to be able to get everyone to work together on the development of a transportation network so, if they get to the point where they have to buy, or condemn, a piece of right-of-way, they will at least have something, from a legal perspective, that justifies the need for the improvement, and the need for the taking of the property.

            Commr. Pool asked whether the homeowners have been approached with some ideas in concept, and Mr. Stivender responded that the County has not approached them at this time.  Commr. Pool felt that, in some capacity, the County could take the lead in this but work with both the developers and homeowners, and the cities, and begin planning together, because they do not want to look at the need for just today, but the need for the next 25 years in this vicinity.

            Commr. Stivender stated that, as Mr. Stivender had indicated earlier in the discussion, this road network comes all of the way into Tavares, and CR-561 goes all the way to CR-455 and through the Sugarloaf area, and it includes Montverde and Ferndale.  They have to preserve all of that area and, since staff is talking about Montverde and Minneola, they need to include all of these groups, in order to achieve what is being presented today.

            Mr. Stivender informed the Board that the 2025 plan is being worked on through the Lake Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), to help address and justify a lot of these plans, but they do not have the details to work on this particular area, as discussed, but Commr. Stivender stressed that there needs to be a time frame.  Mr. Stivender explained that he has tried to put as many issues on the table, in order avoid situations like those that took place on Steve’s Road, and Hook Street.

            Commr. Pool questioned whether the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) may be willing to facilitate some meeting and be included in the conversation, but not actually be given the authority, and Mr. Stivender stated that he felt the suggestion made by Commr. Pool was, in some way, exactly where the County needed to be going.

            In talking with the School Board, Mr. Stivender stated that there was a chance that all of the details will not be worked out for the roads before the school opens in 2007.  He suggested that they concentrate on the two sections of Sullivan Road, as discussed, noting that, even though it is only a 20 foot road, it is going to deteriorate from just the construction traffic, but they may be able to address this problem, if they require the contractor to maintain it before the school opens.  In terms of other access points, there will be clay and dirt roads, as part of this development area and, in order to keep high school students from driving on them, as a safety issue, they would probably want to temporarily close them to better control traffic in the area, between the time school opens, and the time that all the roads are put in.

            Commr. Stivender stated that, if staff puts together the community meeting with the School Board and Superintendent Anna Cowin, County staff, and all other parties that will be involved in getting this done, in the next four months, then everything can get done.  She stressed that fact that they do not need to drag things along.

            Commr. Cadwell pointed out that no one has said anything about the funding source and, as pointed out by Mr. Stivender, everything in “yellow” on the map is unfunded.  Right now the projects include $2.5 million on Hooks Street, and another $6 million on the southern connector, not to mention the cost for Steve’s Road, or the Hartwood Marsh corridor, where a PD&E has already been done for a design.  He stated that staff has talked about the possibility of the School Board advancing some of the improvements and working out an interlocal with them on some of these issues, in order to take care of this road.

            Commr. Cadwell wanted to know if the Reserve at Minneola, Founders Ridge, and the Lowndes property could start developing there today, under the County’s current concurrency rules, and with the transportation system that is there today.

            Mr. Fred Schneider, Director of Engineering, addressed the Board and stated that those developments, as referred to by Commr. Cadwell, would require two lane roads.  He feels that, if they were paved to certain standards and designed to certain standards, the two lane roads that are there today would be more than adequate for those developments that have already been approved in this area.   He explained that staff is looking at the future of the area, if it continues to develop in the way that the developers have described to them.  He did meet with Center Lake Properties, the development to the south, several years ago, and with other developers, to discuss  road alignments in that area.

            Mr. Schneider stated that Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc. (Glatting Jackson) was the consultant for Center Lake Properties, and they were working on providing staff with traffic information, but it never got to that point.  Staff is having this workshop today to provide the Board with information, and to let them know that staff will be moving forward in trying to communicate with all of the developers.  Mr. Schneider stated that physically Sullivan Road needs improvement, specifically at the intersections of Sullivan Road and US-27, and North Grassy Lake Road and US-27, because neither of these is adequately designed for heavy traffic volumes.

            Commr. Pool questioned whether there would be an opportunity to partner with the Turnpike in some design, or studies, and/or even monetarily, and with other developers that own these lands, to help connect the US-27 corridor to the turnpike at this location., and
Mr. Schneider explained that those discussions have taken place, but he has not been involved in them, and he does not know the outcome of those discussions.

            Commr. Pool referred to a future project, the six laning of US-27, and suggested that some of these intersections could be modified as that project goes forward, but Mr. Stivender explained that this would be a long term project, and it is not included in the funded program.  Mr. Stivender pointed out the key locations for signalized intersections noting that they just meet the space requirements and, even though they have two lanes, they need to be planning for those things that they assume will be occurring in the future.  He also clarified that they need to make sure they have adequate right-of-way to handle the volumes of traffic that they are talking about in this area, and he sees this as a major road effort that needs to be done right the first time.

            Commr. Cadwell appreciated the efforts of staff to not piece meal this but, with the timeline for the school, he wanted to know how Sullivan Road will not become another Hook Street with all of its problems.  Mr. Stivender explained that this is much more difficult than the Hook Street project because, with Hook Street, they had total vacant land, and there were no residents in the area, but staff still had to work through right-of-way issues for the high school.  With this project, they actually have individual homestead properties and property owners that need to be approached about additional right-of-way.

            Through further discussion, it was pointed out that the School Board has purchased the property for the school, but it has not been before the Board for the rezoning of the property.

            At 10:05 a.m., Commr. Hill announced that the Board usually does not open the meeting for public comment but, if the Board wishes to ask the School Board representatives, or public officials, any questions, she will open the meeting to public comment, if the District Commissioner wishes to hear comments.  The Commissioners agreed that they wanted to hear public comment.

            Mr. Matthew Click, with the Florida Turnpike, addressed the Board and stated that they have not agreed to anything with the development community, and the last time they talked to them was probably in the excess of a year ago noting that it was his understanding that they had some changes in their leadership and agreements.  He explained that this is the location that their consultant showed on their site plan, for the package they were going to give to the appropriate governed body to review, as well as the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).  They have not agreed to the fact that this is where the location should be.  In regard to the location of the interchange, they do know that there will only be one interchange location in that general 13 mile area where there is currently no access.  The Board has two issues before them, one, a land use development issue, and two, a corresponding infrastructure issue.  Mr. Click stated that, as a State agency that provides transportation infrastructure, they do not really have a lot of say in the matter; they do not hold any police power over the County’s land development, nor do they want to; and they are looking for them, as the local body or, if it is incorporated into a city boundary, for those parties, to get together with the development community to determine what is appropriate for their area.  Once they have made those determinations as a community, they are glad to enter the conversation about how they can help provide transportation infrastructure, to help facilitate the traffic that will be generated by those land use decisions that have been made.


            At 10:08 a.m., Commr. Hill announced that the Board will be taking a 15 minute recess.




            Commr. Hill reconvened the meeting and called for further public comment.      

            Ms. Lewie Wise, City Manager, City of Minneola (Minneola), addressed the Board and stated that the City has met with Mr. Stivender, and Mr. Schneider, and they have been very good about keeping them informed but, for the Board’s information, they may want to speak to the development community.  Ms. Wise stated that there is a consortium of developers that are working on putting this road network in and that will facilitate quite a bit of the process.  Because Minneola is working on their wastewater system, to open in 2006, they have already surveyed and started working on obtaining the right-of-way on some of these roads. She stated that, when Minneola met with County staff, they told them that they need to all work together, to facilitate the process, by pooling all of their resources, which should cut the costs and time with the process.  Ms. Wise stated that it was their understanding that Turkey Farm Road has always been part of the road network for the County.  When developers have come to Minneola, they were given the County’s master road network plan and told they had to comply with this plan, as part of Minneola’s plan.  She applauds their suggestion that they all work together on this matter.

            Commr. Cadwell clarified that this group of developers has been looking at this for awhile, but the Board needs to give some kind of direction to staff for those developers to officially be at the table, or the County needs to be leading the effort, as opposed to just going along with everyone else.

            Mr. Howard Lefkowitz, President of Leeds Holdings Southeast, developers of the Founders Ridge project (located between the Lowdes property and Reserve of Minneola, as shown), addressed the Board and stated that, after listening to the presentation made by
Mr. Stivender and Mr. Schneider, it is as if their work was not even brought up for consideration.  In order to put this into the appropriate perspective, Mr. Lefkowitz stated that he would like to present a little bit of history.  Mr. Lefkowitz explained that they, as representatives for the Lowndes folks, met with representatives for the F. Browne Gregg,
Center Lake, and Reserve of Minneola properties, and they determined a need to develop a master transportation plan for this particular area.  They hired Glatting Jackson, who did preliminary study work for them, and they had numerous meetings with County staff to discuss the “yellow” network, the area being shown and adopted and placed into the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in August, so it was their understanding that they had basically defined the road network that they were all impacting and that was needed to accommodate the growth in this area.  He stressed that there was a year and a half of solid work done on this project, and they not only met with County staff, but they met with each of the Commissioners, as it went through the process.  They appeared publicly before the School Board at their work sessions to discuss not only the layout of the road systems, but their commitments for improvements to those road systems, which are more than just a little significant.  In listening to the discussion today, Mr. Lefkowitz felt that there was a question as to their involvement in these discussions.   He explained that they annexed into Minneola, and their project was approved with three primary conditions:  1) they pay their way for growth impact; 2) they develop a road system and provide for the accommodation of the road system, for those areas being discussed; and 3) they do everything they can to help alleviate the school situation.  With the approval from Minneola, they now have commitments in writing, in a Developer’s Agreement, which he has shared with everyone.  He pointed out that Mr. Hagan (Reserve at Minneola) has very specific obligations including the dedication of an elementary school site, road improvements, and right-of-way dedications, as well as road improvements on existing road systems, in order to service his site.  Mr. Lefkowitz stressed that every bit of that has been shared on numerous occasions with County staff.  He stated that the work that they had done conjunctive with the School Board was done in order to meet the goal of getting these schools standing and operational as quickly as possible.  In their Developer’s Agreement, which they took to Minneola, they committed to the installation of a two lane road conjunctive with the construction of their property, from US-27 easterly to Grassy Lake Road (north-south road), and northerly to the intersection with Sullivan Road.  In the past month, they have had no less than two meetings with the School Board staff outlining their timeframes, and they plan to have new roads accessible to this school, based on the 2007 initial opening.  In terms of any additional expenditure, Mr. Lefkowitz stated that, at no expense to the County, they have done the surveying of the road sections, as described; at no expense to the County, they have researched the rights-of-way circumstance on that road system, as described as the one mile section from US-27 to their property; and at no expense to the County, they have spoken to Mr. Lowndes, the landowner to the north of them, and he has committed to right-of-way dedication as part of this particular process.

            Mr. Lefkowitz stated that he did not want to downplay Mr. Stivender’s presentation of a master system, because they happen to agree with it 100 percent.  He stated that this area needs the full study that Mr. Stivender wants to implement, but he feels that they can look at this entire issue, on a prioritizing basis of providing the opportunity for these schools to open as scheduled, by directing County staff to work with them on solving the current problems and allowing them to meet their commitments to install the road systems.  The biggest issue is certainly the right-of- from US-27 to their property.  They have put on the table the current right-of-way maps, which are adopted from maintenance maps, and they reflect the narrowest point of right-of-way to be approximately 39 feet, in a relatively small section.  They also found that, from the 16 property owners that abut that section of road, eight of them have deeds from the original transfer of the property, from Mr. Howey, Howey-in-the-Hills, that provide for a dedication of right-of-way to the County, subject to the needs of the County.  Because these date back to the 1930s, in order to address the legality of them, they had the Akerman Senterfiet firm do some research, which found them to be defensible, which was also the findings from two title underwriting firms. If they have County support of this opinion, they can solve all of the right-of-way problems by having no less than 39 feet from US-27 to their property.  Even though that does not solve the entire right-of-way issue, they can provide a 28 foot standard suburban road section, as defined by the School Board, to service these high schools.

            Mr. Lefkowitz stated that he is here today to ask the Board to ask County staff to work with them to provide this particular program, as follows:  1) work with them in the attainment of this right-of-way program; 2) cooperate with them in the design of their minimum standard two lane road system, so they know that this two lane road can ultimately be expanded to be a part of the four lane system; 3) establish a pragmatic timeline for all of them to work and define the road needs and find the funding mechanism.  He stated that, because they are really looking at four to five years out before a full road system is needed, this should be adequate planning time to provide for the funding and bring the CIP up to date without damaging whatever other plans are in place.  Mr. Lefkowitz noted that the County will be receiving a tremendous amount of impact fees from this area over a five year period of time.

            Mr. Lefkowitz explained that, when Mr. Stivender pointed out that the segment from Hancock Road to Turkey Farm Road was being assessed along the power line easement, and the power line easement was the alignment that was under consideration, the County did not take into consideration the fact that there had been discussions with the representatives of the Caruso and Center Lake properties and that configuring the road through and around those properties would have a relatively nominal impact on them, even though  there are a couple of private properties that will be impacted but not to the extent being advertised.  Mr. Lefkotwitz stated that the storm water issue is a challenge on North Grassy Lake Road, but the initial engineering is something they are undertaking at their expense, with respect to the two lane road installation.  They have developed an entire drainage system to handle a 1,000 unit project including all of these road improvements.  Through this whole process, they have provided County staff with all of their survey information, and they feel they have a viable option.  All they need is County Commission direction to County staff to work with them, to get this two lane road section in this defined area where the master road system is going to go and they, as developers, are paying for it.

            Commr. Pool stated that, as Mr. Schneider has said, and the School Board is in agreement, while the two lane road may not be the end result, it will work.  The School Board has many schools now on two lane roads, including South Lake and East Ridge, and Mr.Lefkowitz is saying that they are ready to fund and pay for that corridor and build that road, if that right-of-way is available, and include the storm water and all other related issues.

            Ms. Cecelia Bonifay, Akerman Senterfit, stated that she is legal counsel for Founders Ridge, and they have been working very closely with Minneola, the School Board, and County staff on this project, as well as other projects, and with several other developers.  They have sent their research package to Mr. Minkoff regarding the right-of-way between US-27 and the boundary of Founders Ridge.  Even though it is their opinion, as well as the opinion of two underwriters, she realizes that it may be difficult to enforce it, but clearly those deeds are somewhat unique and allows the County to have 20 feet, or whatever right-of-way is necessary.  She stated that right-of-way in this area is their top priority to move forward with Founders Ridge, and to meet the timeframe with the School Board.  Ms. Bonifay pointed out that, as stated earlier by Mr. Lefkowitz, his Developer’s Agreement requires them to provide a north-south access to the school, and Mr. Lowndes has already indicated that he would be willing to give the right-of-way on that portion that goes through his property.  She noted that Minneola has indicated that it is moving forward with its wastewater treatment system, which will be utilized by development in the area.  In regards to the Reserve at Minneola, Ms. Bonifay stated that she does not represent Mr. Hagan, but he was a part of this consortium.  She does, however, represent Center Lake Properties, the other member of that consortium, and they have spent almost two years working with staff and, over a year ago, they began vacating a number of the rights-of-way, which were parts of old plats.  In return, they entered into a Developer’s Agreement with the County, and she is pleased to say that this past week, Center Lake Properties dedicated that right-of-way along the entire southern length of their boundary to the County for the South Lake Trail.  They are also working on any necessary realignment for Blackstill Road, the extension of Hancock Road, and  a connection with Turkey Farm Road., and #3, as shown in “yellow”, which goes through the top of Center Lake and across the top of Black East, so these are three major segments where they have a developer on line.  On Friday, January 7, 2005, they submitted a Comprehensive Plan amendment for Center Lake Properties, and they filed a Comprehensive Plan amendment, annexation, and rezoning with the City of Clermont and, with the uncertainty of what was happening with the land use map for the joint planning area (JPA), they felt incumbent to file with both and work with both Clermont and the County, since they are in the Clermont Chapter 180 District for utilities.

            Ms. Bonifay addressed the Sugarloaf area, which has been identified with a “blue” line as unprogrammed and unfunded and noted that they are moving forward with development, and their staff has met with County staff to discuss an alignment that will work with their development plan and also give the County some north-south relief.

            Ms. Bonifay stated that she feels the priorities are Sullivan Road, Grassy Lake Road, Founders Ridge, and specifically that piece of right-of-way that is needed between US-27 and Grassy Lake Road.  She stated that Center Lake will continue to move forward as they bring in their development plan with the County’s plan for those items that are numbered #1 Hancock Road, North Extension; #3 Minneola-Montverde Collector; and #6 Blackstill Lake Road, as shown in “yellow”.

            Commr. Pool wanted to publicly thank Center Lake Properties for that missing link, because that was a large piece of land that the County needed to connect that trail, and today the County has the whole corridor aligned and will be starting soon on that trail corridor.  He noted that it will connect Orange County to Lake County in the south end.

            Commr. Pool stated that the Board had indicated that it wants to have a meeting with the cities, School Board, landowners, and homeowners, and he asked Ms. Bonifay whether they have had a meeting with the homeowners and/or Minneola.

            Ms. Bonifay explained that they have had numerous meetings with Minneola and the County, and with the County and School Board and, until they knew the County’s priority, and their timing on moving forward on right-of-way acquisition, they have not had meetings with individual homeowners.  They also were waiting because they did not want to appear to be representing something on behalf of government that perhaps was not going to happen.

            Commr. Cadwell agreed that they need to move forward first with Sullivan Road and Grassy Lake Road, because of the school but, by policy, he wanted to know if this Board wants to look at that language in those deeds and exercise that language and take these five acre tracts and homes from these folks, because he felt it would be bad policy to use it either way, for a couple of reasons.  He explained that most of these are five acre tracts and, understanding that eventually that is going to be a four lane road, he thinks they are doing those folks a disservice by trying to buy just the minimum of what they need for right-of-way, and understanding that they are going from a very small rural road and five acre tracts to be on a four land road.  He thinks they need to look at the viability of purchasing all of the property, if they are willing to sell it, because it is definitely going to change their lifestyle.  He hopes this Board would not even discuss exercising the language in those deeds to take that property because, even though it would move the project along quicker, it would do a lot of damage to them otherwise.

            Commr. Hill explained that originally, when this was brought forward, the County did a full cost analysis of the road structure in that area and, at that time, the School Board had not purchased that property.  Now that they have bought the property, she wanted to know if those homeowners were contacted and allowed to give their input knowing that there would be a four lane road there in the future.

            Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the property has not yet been rezoned and, even though  Commr. Hill felt that the homeowners must have had some concept of a future road network there because of the school site, the time for that conversation will take place when they request rezoning of that property.  Commr. Cadwell stated that he assumes the school is going to be built in a quick manner, so the Board needs to put all of their emphasis on those two roads, and portions of them, as well as the commitments of the developers.

            Commr. Pool stated they need to work with the homeowners, and he believes a meeting is in order, and he feels that the Board should at least direct staff to try to facilitate, or generate, this meeting with the developers, the homeowners, and the School Board, to talk about what may happen, and what will eventually happen in this area.

            Commr. Cadwell stated that the Board needs to give staff clear direction on what their policy should be to those homeowners.

            Commr. Hill questioned whether it was the Board’s responsibility, or the School Board’s responsibility, to contact the homeowners, at this point.

            Commr. Cadwell explained that the Board is responsible for transportation, and they should be the ones talking to the homeowners, because the property will be deeded to the County, and it is going to be a County road.  He stated that they need to move forward but they need to be straight with those folks.

            Commr. Pool agreed that they need to have that meeting to at least bring this issue to the forefront, because they cannot proceed without that meeting.  He stated that they need to see the school plans and see what they need to do to get a road there, and they need to recognize that a two lane road is not going to function for the next 25 years; it will function adequately for two to five years, but not 25 years.

            Mr. Stivender stated that a year ago they discussed getting some modeling done on the traffic patterns that will occur in this area, as well as the impacts to US-27, SR-50, and the roads in between them.  He stated that this can be done and presented at the public meetings through whoever will be in charge of those meetings.

            Discussion occurred regarding material that has already presented to staff from Glatting Jackson, with Mr. Stivender noting that the information would helpful in justifying their need to do modeling of the area.  He stated that staff feels that they would need four months to complete the task, which will not exceed a cost of $50,000.  The Board members asked that staff review all information that has been made available to them, and to not create a new study, if one has already been done, and to utilize the information available to them.

            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, explained that right now the County does not have an agreement on issues regarding the southern road.  He has received some deeds in the last couple of weeks but, at this point, he has not had the opportunity to review them. He stated that the Board needs to remember that the eminent domain process takes about a year.  Right now they are assuming they have willing sellers, but that is almost certainly not going to be the case.  They still do not have the right-of-way that was promised to them five years ago, and everybody there was a willing participant in that roadway.  If the school is truly going to be placed at this site, they may want to at least look at Sullivan Road to make sure they have a way in and a way out and, even though Mr. Schneider has indicated that a two lane road will work, as they saw at East Ridge, a two lane road is not going to work for a high school.  If they add a middle school to it, they will have huge problems in that entire corridor.  He felt that they should be working on getting at least one access to this school site, to get a constructed road.

            Commr. Pool stated that this is why a meeting is so important because they do not know how many landowners are not willing to participate and, if staff needs to have direction from this Board, and the school is moving forward, they need to do the modeling and try to obtain information as soon as possible and utilize whatever information they may now have at hand to facilitate the process.

            Commr. Cadwell wanted to know if Commr. Pool, in his motion, was going to include inviting Minneola to participate in the meeting, and Commr. Stivender wanted to know if they were going to meet with the property owners in the next two weeks.

            Mr. Minkoff explained that staff needs authorization to start working on the right-of-way issue in advance of the study.  He clarified that the Board should do everything they have suggested but, in addition, give staff the ability to go out and start to try and acquire the right-of-way that is there, which would include paying for some of it because, as they are going through this process, they are finding it harder to acquire property through voluntary means.

            Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, wanted to make sure that staff understands the intent of the motion, that the Board wants staff to go ahead with the process to start the modeling and ask Minneola to participate in the funding of it; the Board wants to, in the near future, have a meeting with all the parties involved in both road projects, and to begin work on right-of-way on both projects and, at a minimum, that would include the School Board, Minneola, the development community, and the property owners in the area.

            Commr. Stivender suggested that they include Montverde, and Commr. Pool indicated that he was clear on the suggestion, but he felt that they may be included in the future.

            Mr. Stivender felt that staff needed more time, perhaps until the first of February, and it was noted that the County could pay their share of costs from impact fees.

            Commr. Pool stated that he would present this as a motion, because it is covers every issue, and it includes Minneola, and the landowners that live there; and the Board is giving staff direction to seek right-of-way and see what is available there, and then to have that joint meeting and do the study.

            Mr. Stivender requested that Commr. Pool include in his motion that point of Turkey Farm Road down to Highway 50.

            Commr. Pool amended his motion to include Mr. Stivender’s request, as noted.

            Commr. Stivender seconded the motion, as amended.  The Chairman called for a vote on the motion, as clarified, and as amended, and it was carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote.



            Commr. Stivender informed the Board that the ESPN Bass Tournament will be held February 3, 4 and 5, 2005, at Venetian Gardens, in Leesburg.


            CAT PROTECTION SOCIETY INC.           

            Commr. Hanson informed the Board that she is going to ask the County Manager to place on the next Board agenda, for discussion, the letter they received from the Cat Protection Society Inc. about their impact fees.  She wanted to discuss, not the possibility of a waiver, but a credit for the size of the building that they have now, to be placed against the fees for the construction of their larger building, because the current building will be torn down. The County ordinance does not allow this and she would like to discuss the issue next week.



            Commr. Pool reported that Steve and Glennys Barber provided an opportunity for the Commission to meet with the Chinese Delegation, to try and encourage participation in the Dragon Boat Races.



            Commr. Cadwell noted that there will be a lot of activity this weekend, in regards to the Martin Luther King celebration, and that Commr. Stivender will be representing the Board at the breakfast.

            BOARD RETREAT

            Commr. Hill, Chairman explained that she is putting together an agenda with the County Manager for the Board Retreat, on February 14, 2005, and it will be presented to the Board members prior to them meeting.  If there is an issue that any of the Commissioners do not see on it, and it is something he or she would like to discuss, they will be happy to include it.



            Commr. Pool reported that he has been asked by the South Lake New Jacobs Chapel to participate in their Martin Luther King event on Monday so, regrettably, he will be unable to attend the main event.



            Commr. Hill questioned whether there was still a need to have a regular Board meeting on February 15, 2005, since the Board Retreat is scheduled for Monday, February 14, 2005.

            Mr. Bill Neron, County Manager, stated that he will review the need for a regular Board meeting, as noted, and report back to the Board.

            Commr. Hill apologized that she would not able to attend the Martin Luther King celebrations this weekend, since she will be touring perspective colleges with her son.


            Commr. Hill stated that, under the Board’s policy manual, the County does not allow solicitation on their properties, but they have a request from the American Legion for permission to sell poppies in front of the Judicial Center and the County Administration Building on February 4, 2005.

            On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Hanson and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the request from the American Legion for permission to sell poppies in front of the Judicial Center and the County Administration Building on February 4, 2005.


            There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at 11:18 a.m.