SPECIAL JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS,
LAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD AND LAKE COUNTY MUNICIPALITIES
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special
session with the Lake County School Board and representatives of Lake County’s municipalities
on Monday, December 5, 2005, at 10:00 a.m., at the Tavares Civic Center,
Tavares, Florida, to discuss school concurrency. 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 for
Lake County were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall,
County Manager; Gregg Welstead, Deputy County Manager; Carol Stricklin, Growth
Management Director; Amye King, Assistant Growth Management Director; Valeria
Golden, Administrative Associate II, Department of Growth Management; and Judy
Whaley, Deputy Clerk.
The Lake County Schools were represented by School Board members
Jimmy Conner, Chairman; Larry Metz, Vice Chairman; Becky Elswick; and Scott
Strong; and by Superintendent Anna Cowin and Attorney Steve Johnson.
The municipalities were represented by: Tim Green, Town of
Astatula/City of Minneola/Town of Montverde; Elaine Renick, City of Clermont;
Frank Royce, City of Eustis; Krystal Stock, City of Fruitland Park/City of
Umatilla; Teresa Greenham, City of Groveland; Janet Shira, Town of
Howey-in-the-Hills/City of Mascotte; Sanna Henderson, City of Leesburg; Mark
Reggentin, City of Mount Dora; and Nancy Clutts, City of Tavares. No one was
present representing the Town of Lady Lake.
Commissioner Hill called the meeting to order, called the
roll, and introduced the joint meeting facilitator, Mr. Robert Nabors, of
Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson P.A.
Mr. Nabors explained that the issues being discussed today
are School Siting/Infrastructure Requirements and Joint-Use/Colocation of
Facilities. Participants will divide into three groups with each group being
represented by the County Commission, the School Board and the cities. He asked
each group to discuss the issues for about one and one-half hours and formulate
a consensus bullet point sheet that represents the policy objectives to be
achieved. Mr. Nabors noted that this is a public, advertised meeting and there will
be a public input process at a later meeting.
At 10:10 a.m., the three groups began their discussions on
At 11:55 a.m., Mr. Nabors asked a representative from each
group to report on their agreed upon points. Those points will be distributed
to the participants for discussion at the December 14, 2005, joint meeting in
an effort to resolve the issues and to develop language to be used in an
Group A reported discussion of the
- Zoning and land use and special considerations that
would need to be given.
- Infrastructure from the standpoint of the cities and
- Sensitivity to being in an urban area as opposed to
being in a non-urban area as an issue raised by the cities.
- Municipal discussion about redevelopment opportunities
and the need for data analysis to determine what types of sites are in the
cities that could be identified for redevelopment, including existing
school sites that may not be sufficient for the current needs.
- General agreement to establish a committee which would
come up with a criteria list for school siting; a list of criteria that,
if met, would allow the school district to build without further
administrative approval; if one or more of the criteria were not met,
there would be an alternative procedure similar to a zoning process.
- Recommendation that a formal Technical Advisory
Committee be based on region, rather than by city or for the entire county.
- Acknowledged that joint use would be a consideration
for new and existing schools; issues to be addressed would be liability,
maintenance, priority of use and supervision; the School Board and Lake County
and the city, in the interlocal agreement, would list the criteria for use
of school facilities; if met, a policy that would be passed by the School
Board would direct the principal to allow the use, with the principal
being the ultimate decision maker as to whether it is possible to use the
facility under those circumstances; conversation occurred about some
principals allowing use and some not; under current School Board policy,
the principal has authority to make that decision; issues dealing with
individual principals and differences of opinion should be resolved with
the interlocal agreement.
- Colocation of facilities between government agencies
and the school district is a good idea; the School Board has a colocation
planning effort with Lake-Sumter Community College and some agencies in
south Lake County; parks and schools should be built contiguously with the
purpose of allowing both to use both facilities; consider opportunities
such as building a gymnasium in a city as part of the construction of a
school with a sharing of the cost and equal access by the city, School
Board and/or Lake County.
Group B reported discussion of the
- Colocation - expect written expectations including
periods of time and the monies cospent by either cities, Lake County or
the School Board; cost sharing; general policy for the use; possibility of
an oversight committee regarding supervision and upkeep; new facilities
versus existing facilities and past programs that work well and others
that are no longer in place, perhaps because of the lack of an agreement;
open process to communicate, perhaps with an advisory board or group made
up of either cities, citizens, School Board, and County.
- Standard contract and policy from the School Board with
specific terms that go with an agreement between the cities and the School
Board or the cities and Lake County or the School Board and Lake County.
- Agreement that colocation is a good thing.
- Joint Use - Group B agreed with Lake County’s position
that “Lake County School Board should establish a district-wide policy to
allow use of any school facility during non-school hours and throughout
the summer months by any governmental entity. This policy should eliminate
local (school principal) discretion as to scheduling.” Group B agreed to
add cities and Lake County to the School Board.
- School Siting - School Board working group to find the
sites based on specific criteria, roads, utilities, etc., and the working
group would meet with the public as part of the public input process.
- Rezoning and rezoning hearings by local governments use
specific objective criteria, taking most of the emotion out of the last
hearing where a rezoning might take place; public input and involvement
early on through the working group to avoid problems in making the end
- More city and county involvement to find school sites
which has worked well in the past, bringing in parties involved in those
particular areas; School Board work more closely with county and city
staffs regarding their knowledge of utilities, roads, etc., to find the
- Size of school sites, the School Board’s policy and
Florida Statutes - the School Board mentioned that even though their size criteria
was larger than what is required under Florida Statutes, that does not
limit their search for sites and they are open to different sizes of
- Shared facilities among schools and future school sites
- need to be identified at the time of new development rezoning.
Group C reported discussion of the
- Joint Use - consensus that the cities, Lake County and
the School Board would all allow other groups to use each others’ facilities
anytime not in use by that entity; the School Board would eliminate the
provision for principals to make those decisions and this would be
countywide policy; all groups would be allowed to allow community groups
to continue use of the facilities; as part of the joint use, the actual
costs would be paid by the users; it has been discovered that some principals
have set costs so high so as to discourage use; anytime a city or Lake
County or the School Board plans a new facility, they would consult with the
County to consider joint use at the time of building the facility so that
things such as gymnasiums could be placed at the front of facilities where
they could be easily accessed by the public during off hours; insurance;
priority of use and who would determine that; how charges would be applied.
- Colocation - Group C adopted the position submitted by
Lake County, “All parties to the agreement should agree to colocate
facilities that are not incompatible whenever possible. As part of this
agreement, all entities should agree to contact all potential partners to
explore options prior to purchasing and/or planning for new capital
infrastructure and actively pursue colocation opportunities.” Essentially,
strongly encourage colocation and all agree not to build anything until
other entities are contacted to see if they would be interested in
colocating; lots of governmental-type buildings, other than gyms, could be
built that could easily be colocated; provision for cost sharing done at
the time of planning.
- School Siting - consensus to accept the School Board’s
position, “The School Board is open to considering smaller acreage sizes
for schools than those typically chosen, especially if colocation is in
place and all the needs for parking, playfields and setbacks are met.
There are a number of factors which affect acreage requirements, such as,
but not limited to: topographical issues, environmental issues, on-site
retention requirements and drainage, colocation and school size.”
- Zoning issue - could be an agreement which would allow
schools to be allowed in any zoning district without rezoning so long as
the particular school site that was proposed by the School Board met an
agreed upon criteria (Group C did not discuss who would write the criteria
other than they would be negotiated) and so long as a committee approves
the criteria-met site (again, general talk about the makeup of the
committee thinking it should be elected people, one County Commissioner,
one School Board member, one elected municipal member, possibly others);
and, once approved, the School Board could build the school without going
Mr. Nabors reiterated that the worksheets will be combined
and distributed by December 8, 2005, to the working group for discussion at the
December 14, 2005, joint meeting. At that meeting, a consensus of the
comprehensive list will be developed so the policy decision can be reduced to
words that would go into the interlocal agreement and specific criteria so that
it could be debated at a future meeting. He noted that the next session deals
with District-Wide Concurrency versus Concurrency Service Areas as well as the
Standardized Methodology for Capacity Calculations. These and upcoming issues will
lead to the development of a Capital Improvement Plan and how that is developed
will affect the School Board, Lake County and the cities. Thoughts and a
consensus will be developed but no final decisions will be made until the data
is done. Data will include population estimates, policies on placement of portables,
and student generation figures. Mr. Nabors requested that position statements
on the next issues be submitted by December 8, 2005.
Mr. Strong pointed out that the State Legislature has
mandated that school districts provide the EHPA (Enhanced Hurricane Protection
Area) requirements for the entire district and surrounding area. The school
system would have to construct facilities to provide about 10,000 spaces and
this will be a huge financial burden, costing millions of dollars. He explained
that the cities are allowed to contribute and that the school system has about
8,000 spaces. The County implements the programs and a waiver would be required
if the school system varies from the required number. Charter schools are not
required to participate.
Mr. Nabors remarked that he may take the liberty of
including this issue in a future joint meeting and include discussions on which
schools are suitable for shelters and what modifications may be needed. He
noted that, because of a conflict, the February 13, 2005, joint meeting will be
rescheduled for Wednesday, February 15, 2005. The next joint meeting will be
held at 10:00 a.m., December 14, 2005, at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora,
being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the
meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
JENNIFER HILL, CHAIRMAN
C. WATKINS, CLERK