A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
MAY 30, 2006
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida, for the transmittal hearing on the Karl Corporation Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Commissioners present were Catherine C. Hanson, Chairman; Welton G. Cadwell, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Debbie Stivender; and Robert A. Pool. Others present were Melanie Marsh, Deputy County Attorney; Cynthia W. “Cindy” Hall, County Manager; Linda Green, Executive Associate, Board of County Commissioner’s Office; and Judy McAuley, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT - LPA#06/3/1-2 - KARL CORPORATION, ET AL - KIERAN J. KILDAY, KILDAY & ASSOCIATES - TRACKING NO. 11-06-LPA
Commr. Hanson recommended, and the Board agreed, that the applicant will be given up to an hour for the presentation, that ten minutes will be allowed for any city representative and that five minutes will be allowed for other persons who wish to speak for or against the request.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT PROCESS
Ms. Carol Stricklin, Lake County Growth Management Director, announced that this is the transmittal public hearing for Comprehensive Plan Amendment LPA#06/3/1-2, Karl Corporation, et al, Kieran J. Kilday, Kilday & Associates, Tracking No. 11-06-LPA. She stated that the amendment includes a Future Land Use Map amendment, an amendment to the Traffic Circulation Element and an amendment to the Capital Improvements Element related to a Development of Regional Impact (DRI), the Karlton DRI. The comprehensive plan amendment process takes place in two stages. The first stage is a transmittal public hearing where the Board is being requested to pass the amendment along to the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for review. That is the beginning of the review process in terms of the details of the project approval. The second part will be the adoption public hearing at which time the Board is asked to make a final decision as to whether to amend the comprehensive plan to change the land use and adopt the changes to the Traffic Circulation and Capital Improvements Elements. Between the transmittal and adoption hearings, comments will be received from DCA regarding the consistency of this comprehensive plan amendment with Florida Statutes. There will be a detailed review of the DRI.
Ms. Stricklin explained that the DRI process is a state and regional review process where all state agencies and all other local government jurisdictions that may be affected by a project over a certain size have an opportunity to be involved in the review of that project, to comment on it and make recommendations for ultimately what will be in the development order that approves that project. She stated that that process is managed by the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (Regional Planning Council). The public hearing on the DRI is scheduled at the Regional Planning Council on June 21, 2006. The Regional Planning Council, at that time, will issue a set of recommendations about the conditions that need to be in place to manage the impacts of this project. The mitigation of those impacts, relating to transportation, the environment, schools, etc., is what will be addressed through those conditions of the development order. Ms. Stricklin stated that there is a local review process which is review of the rezoning, the PUD (Planned Unit Development) and all the issues related to land use regulations such as setbacks, design and open space.
Ms. Stricklin stated that, should the Board choose to transmit the amendment, it will go through the remainder of the review process and come back at the adoption stage with a set of recommendations for how to mitigate the regional impacts through the development order and also how to manage the land uses through the PUD zoning ordinance. Those will all be heard on the same day. Before final approval is given on this project, the Board will have specific recommendations as to how to mitigate those impacts and how the land uses will be regulated.
Commr. Cadwell stated that the process has its flaws because it is hard to get a real good look at a project until the process is started. He asked if transmitting this plan today would give the applicant any additional rights.
Ms. Stricklin stated that approval of the transmittal creates no obligation for adoption of the amendment. It simply approves it for further review by DCA and there are no rights attached to such a decision. Ms. Stricklin confirmed for Commr. Cadwell that DCA has informed Lake County that it needs to adopt the comprehensive plan update before any further amendments to the comprehensive plan are adopted.
Mr. Alfredo Massa, Senior Planner, Comprehensive Planning Division, Lake County Department of Growth Management, presented Comprehensive Plan Amendment LPA#06/3/1-2, Karl Corporation, et al, Kieran J. Kilday, Kilday & Associates, Tracking No. 11-06-LPA, a request for Future Land Use Map amendment from Rural (1 dwelling unit to 5 acres) to Urban Expansion (4 dwelling units to 1 acre); text amendments to (a) Traffic Circulation Element, adding Policy 2-4.10 re: Karl Kahlert Parkway, and (b) amending the 5 Year Schedule of Capital Improvements adding a $30,670,000 private/public funding partnership for the Karl Kahlert Parkway. He showed the Karlton Proposed Future Land Use Map and explained that the property is located east of US 27, south of Hartwood Marsh Road, north and south of the Schofield Road right of way to the Orange County line.
Future Land Use Map Amendment
Mr. Massa, in continuing to read from the backup material, stated that there are 2,098 +/- total acres, it is in Commission District 2, and it encompasses Sections 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36 of Township 23, Range 26. As defined in the existing Lake County Comprehensive Plan, Policy 1-1.6: Rural allows up to one dwelling unit per five acres. The primary functions of the Rural areas, as designated on the “Future Land Use Plan Map”, shall be to allow for the continuation of existing agricultural uses, maintain open space, and protect native habitats. Residential development in the Rural area shall have a maximum density of one dwelling unit per five acres. The current zoning for the site is “A”, Agriculture District. As defined in the existing Lake County Land Development Regulations, Chapter III, 3.00.02.C: The purpose of the district is to provide a method whereby parcels of land which are most suited to agricultural usage may be classified and preserved for this purpose.
Existing Land Uses in Surrounding Area
Mr. Massa stated that existing land uses surrounding the property include:
Joint Planning Area Future Land Use
Mr. Massa stated that the project lies just outside of the Joint Planning Area with the City of Clermont and, at this time, there is no annexation planned.
Text Amendments - Capital Improvements Element
Mr. Massa stated that the text amendment for the Capital Improvements Element proposes amendments to the five year schedule of Capital Improvements for Category A Facilities with the addition of the following: it proposes the Karl Kahlert Parkway which would be a connector from US 27 to SR 429 on the Orange County border. As previously noted, this would be a private/public partnership with a projected cost of $30,670,000 and a scheduled year of 2007. The Lake County Public Works Department has indicated that a private/public partnership may be an acceptable and workable solution but that the applicant cannot presuppose that the County accepts any financial responsibility for any non-negotiated major road construction projects.
Text Amendments - Traffic Circulation Element
Mr. Massa stated that the applicant requests the addition of Policy 2-4.10 as follows: Policy 2-4.10: Karl Kahlert Parkway Addition to the Traffic Circulation System. By the end of 2006, Lake County shall included Karl Kahlert Parkway, between US27 and the Lake and Orange County line, into its Traffic Circulation Model and include the patterns that would be created by the construction of this east-west regional transportation connector. Karl Kahlert Parkway is identified on the adopted Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization Long Range Transportation 2025 Needs Plan. The County shall then revise its Future Land Use Map and Future Traffic Circulation Map to include Karl Kahlert Parkway.
Mr. Massa stated that, per Section 14.02.03 of the Lake County Land Development Regulations, a detailed staff report has been provided and entered into the record. Based on the Findings of the staff report, it has been determined that the requested Comprehensive Plan amendments will be consistent with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, contingent on stipulations which will be included in the development order that staff will prepare at a later date.
Mr. Massa read into the record as follows:
D. Whether there have been changed conditions that justify an amendment.
The project site under review appears to have been active in both agriculture and grazing in the past, which were dominant industries in the County, and no appearance of viable agricultural activities were observed in a recent inspection of the site. The agricultural focus in Lake County was greatly diminished as a result of several “freezes” which impacted many landowners in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As the County now prepares for its future in the 21st century, and an anticipated nearly half million residents by 2025, the need for mixed-use communities, variety in home styles, and retail/industrial development, is stronger than ever. The current and future residents of Lake County could also benefit by the proposed Karl Kahlert Parkway east-west connector which could help to alleviate the traffic pressures now being faced by commuters on SR 50 (the only east-west connector in south Lake County). It should be noted that the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern lies to the west of US 27 and this development is possible infill and, probably, one of the last developments in the area. Also, market pressures from the previously identified Horizon West Sector Plan greatly impact this proposed project site. Additionally, the applicant has made a market analysis conducted by Real Estate Research Consultants that considerably expands upon the changed conditions noted above.
H. Whether, and the extent to which, the proposed amendment would result in an orderly and logical development pattern, specifically identifying any negative effects on such pattern.
Residential and commercial development continues to expand along the US 27/SR 25 corridor south past the Clermont city limits and north from the southern limits of the county (the Four Corners area). Presently, at the intersection of Hartwood Marsh Road and US 27/SR 25 can be found a Publix Shopping Center as well as the entrance to the closest residential development (Lake Louisa Vista) which is less than a mile from the proposed project site. Given the anticipated population growth within the county over the next twenty years, along with the growth being observed as a result of the Horizon West Town Center project (east of the project site in Orange County), the Karlton DRI would seem to be a logical extension of development along the US 27/SR 25 corridor.
J. Any other matters that may be deemed appropriate by the Local Planning Agency or the Board of County Commissioners, in review and consideration of the proposed amendment.
1. Staff recommends transmittal of the aforementioned amendments to the existing comprehensive plan contingent upon DRI approval.
2. Staff recommends incorporation of residential development limits within the final development order to restrict applicant to a maximum of 5,211 dwelling units.
Mr. Massa stated that, on March 31, 2006, the Lake County Local Planning Agency (LPA) recommended approval of the request for transmittal by a vote of 8-1.
Commr. Hanson opened the public hearing.
Mr. Steve Richey, attorney representing the applicant, explained that, when this project was started three years ago, Karl Kahlert was the head of the project team. He put the corridor together and assembled the land and the parkway was his vision. Mr. Richey explained that Mr. Kahlert was killed in an automobile accident, losing about a year in the process of the DRI. Mr. Richey introduced the team as follows: representatives of Kilday & Associates (landscape architects/planners); Devo Engineering (environmental/geotechnical); Donald W. McIntosh Associates (civil engineers/land planners/surveyors); the law firm of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed; LPG Environmental & Permitting Services; LPG Urban & Regional Planners; Real Estate Research Consultants; Traffic, Planning and Design (TPD); and Herb Kahlert.
Mr. Herb Kahlert, an elected official in Palm Beach County, Florida, stated that he spent twenty years as county engineer. He stated that a planned community goes far in an effort to put together all the various components necessary to bring services forward. He stated that today’s presentation shows a mixture of uses and how the applicant proposes to solve many of the major planning problems. He stated that the Board, through the planned community, can help define the future of that segment Lake County. He explained that Disney owned this property, about 2,300 acres, and asked companies to come forward with proposals as to how they saw the distribution and ultimate disposal of this real estate. Mr. Kahlert asked for the Board’s support.
Mr. Richey stated that a lot of today’s presentation (Exhibit A) deals with the overall project. He referred to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel which mentioned the Horizon West project. He stated that the Karlton project will go through a detailed analysis that will meet or exceed anything that happened in Orange County on the Horizon West project. He stated that going through the Regional Planning Council is one step more than Horizon West had to follow.
Real Estate Research Consultants
Mr. Bill Owen, founder and president of Real Estate Research Consultants, stated that he has been working and living in the Central Florida market for almost 30 years. His presentation, Growth Trends Analysis, (Exhibit A) is focused on the local study area. It summarizes residential and commercial development patterns and included the following:
· Annual Employment Growth, Metro Orlando, 1998-2005
· Annual Employment Growth, Metro Orlando, 1970-2005
· Average Annual Population Growth, Lake County and 5 County Region, 1980-2005. Currently 2.5 million people in the 5 county area.
· Annual Population Change, Metro Orlando, 1970-2029
· Average Annual Population Growth by County, Historical and Estimated
· Average Annual Household Formations by County, 1990-1999 vs. 2000-2005
· Annual Building Permits by County, 2000-2005
· Annual Building Permits Lake County and 5 County Region, 2000-2005
· Karlton Study Area Map
· Karlton Study Area Active Subdivisions Map (less than a 1.5 year supply)
· New Residential Construction Karlton Study Area 1990-2004 (400% increase)
· Karlton Study Area Existing & Emerging Employment Centers Map
· Estimated Employment Gains 2005-2020: 10 Mile Radius Around Karlton
· Estimated Employment Generated by the Karlton Development Program (3,700-3,800 jobs, 2/3 medically related)
· Summary: Employment and population growth are occurring in Central Florida at a record pace; economic foundation guarantees continued expansion and housing demand; Karlton Study Area is in “path of growth”; ready access to regional employment centers is critical to “smart growth”; attractive, well-planned communities will “capture” growth potential.
Kilday & Associates, Inc.
Mr. Kieran Kilday, Kilday & Associates, Inc., land planners and zoning consultants, stated that they are the primary land planner on this project. His stated that this is the first of a three-part process. His presentation (Exhibit A) included the following:
· Lake County Comprehensive Plan, Policy 1-1.6: Function of Future Land Use Categories. The primary function of the Urban Expansion area shall be to contain urban sprawl, to economically provide for public facilities and services, and to provide for the efficient use of land while providing for the retention of adequate levels of open space and native habitats.
· Site Map
· Site Map - close-up (seen as infill)
· Karlton Master Development Plan - Map H
· Karlton Phasing Schedule (5,211 units in 3 phases over a 10-year period)
· Karlton Land Use Chart (2,496 of 5,211 residential units to be age-restricted)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (5-mile aerial photograph)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes lakes)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes Parkway)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes a pedestrian pathway system)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes mixed use medical/institutional community commercial)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes 50-acre institutional/school site) (after 10 years, will generate enough elementary school students for 42% of capacity, 58% will be capacity to the greater south Lake County area; generate enough middle school students for 20% capacity; generate 12% of high school capacity)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes Karlton Commons and active park area; village center made up of retail, office, civic uses)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes age-restricted residential, primarily on the north part of the site)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes residential, not age-restricted, on the south part of the site)
· Karlton Master Development Plan (aerial, includes community college east of the Orange County line)
Mr. Kilday confirmed that they intend to build the schools. A 5-acre site has been set aside for a public safety facility but construction of it has not been discussed. He stated that the land immediately to the north, about 80 acres, is Conserve II which is owned by Orlando/Orange County and has a reclaimed water facility. That property, along with 40 acres owned by Karlton, makes up a natural upland site.
Mr. Richey confirmed that 5,211 homes is the maximum allowed in the current DRI but this Board could reduce that number.
Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc.
Mr. Richard Levy, Donald W. McIntosh Associates in Winter Park, project engineers and planners, stated that he will show the Board why this area of Lake County is justified being designated Urban Expansion, focusing on the transportation issue. His presentation (Exhibit A) included the following:
· Karlton Location Map. Regional roadway system consisting of SR 50, US 27, US 192 and SR 429.
· Lake-Sumter MPO Long Range Transportation Plan (map). In this part of Lake County, only SR 50 provides multi-lane east/west connection into the metro Orlando urban area.
· Horizon West (map). The construction of the SR 429 beltway, in western Orange County, contributed to enormous urban growth, including Horizon West. Horizon West contains over 45,000 residential units on over 30,000 acres.
· Town Center (map) on the eastern side of the Orange County line, has a significant quantity of urban development.
· Horizon West/Town Center Summary. 1,686 acres, 5,600,000 square feet of office, 2,000,000 square feet of retail, 6,400 residential dwelling units, miscellaneous industrial and hotel uses.
· Karlton Master Development Plan (map). The developer will build the four-lane Karl Kahlert Parkway at the start of the project. Approximately 130 acres of right of way will be dedicated. The project cost is estimated to be around $36 million, including the cost of right of way. One amendment is to add this roadway into the County’s Capital Improvement Program; another amendment is to add it into the Traffic Circulation Element of the Growth Management Plan. The project is designed to connect on a north/south basis into the planned future roadway network into south Lake County. Karlton is committed to make sure there is not one way in/one way out of the project. The corridor will be designed with transit in mind and meetings have been held with LYNX. Due to the mixed use nature of the project, mixing jobs and housing, there is a high degree of internal capture. There will be a lower impact on external roadway systems than is typically found in a traditional residential development.
· Lake-Sumter MPO Long Range Transportation Plan (map). Four-laning of Hartwood Marsh Road is scheduled for 2007 providing an additional east/west access in this area. The six-laning of US 27 from US 192 to SR 50 is in various stages of design, right of way acquisition and construction and is phased through 2012. The widening of SR 50 to six lanes is in the State’s five year plan. The construction of interchange ramps connecting Karl Kahlert Parkway to SR 429 is planned for completion at the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009. Mr. Levy stated that the impact on the roadway system is metered. It does not happen all at one time and the Board ultimately controls the timing and staging of development on this site as the applicant comes back with a DRI development order. Mr. Levy stated that they will pay their fair share of roadway improvements as are deemed necessary as the phasing plan is put into place.
· Transportation Summary. The Karlton project provides the most logical, feasible east-west corridor to connect south Lake to west Orange. Karl Kahlert Parkway provides a creative way for the County to build needed regional transportation improvements. The Karlton Project will mitigate its transportation impacts as required by state law.
Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc.
Mr. John M. Florio, Vice President, Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc., spoke about water resources. He explained that this project is in a special area. It is part of Lake Wales Ridge, it is a high recharge area and is included within a priority water resource caution area. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the property was almost exclusively used for citrus and agriculture. Since the freezes, some small parts have been used for nursery and plant production. Over that time, many wells have been drilled and eighteen wells, not all active, are still on the property. Orange County and the City of Orlando have wellfield facilities on this property and have been irrigating it more than twenty years through agreements with Conserv II. Mr. Florio stated that their water resources consist of potable water, wastewater, non-potable water, stormwater and ground water recharge. He stated that the Karlton Project is within the Lake Utilities Services, Inc., service area. Lake Utilities Services, Inc., is a Florida Public Service Commission certified utility provider, a national company, with a service area in this region of over 39 square miles. They are required and committed to serve the Karlton property with potable water, wastewater treatment and reclaimed water for non-potable uses and irrigation. Mr. Florio stated that Lake Utilities Services, Inc., has treatment facilities in place to serve a large part of the Karlton project. He stated that the project, at build out, will need approximately 2 million gallons per day of potable water and between 1.5 and 2 million gallons per day of non-potable water. The need for treatment is approximately 1.5 million gallons per day. Mr. Florio stated that Lake Utilities Services, Inc., permitted in April for a 1,500 foot deep well for consumption about five miles south of the Karlton project site. Because it is in the lower Floridan Aquifer, as opposed to the upper Aquifer, it has virtually no impact on surficial water bodies, no impact on lakes and has increased their current capacity of a million gallons per day of potable water. He stated that Lake Utilities Services, Inc., received a grant from the St. Johns River Water Management District to provide additional affluent reuse capability and expand their reclaimed water system to provide non-potable sources.
Regarding conservation, Mr. Florio stated that most of the regional problems are due to a lack of controlled use of a water resource, specifically, abuse. The technologies associated with landscape design and irrigation design and stormwater and effluent reuse have moved forward significantly as a result of water resource issues in Florida. The Karlton project is looking to bring the conservation element to the forefront of their development because they recognize that it is a very special resource. He stated that they are looking at incorporating Florida Water Star and Florida Energy Star principles, special drought-tolerant sods and plantings and different levels of plantings that require different irrigation needs. He stated that they have engaged Dr. Pierce Jones of the University of Florida, who runs the Program for Resource Efficient Communities.
Because the time allowed for the applicant’s presentation ended, Mr. Richey stated that comments by Mr. Steve Adams, LPG Environmental & Permitting Services, Inc., will be made at the end of the public hearing.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 10:20 a.m., Commr. Hanson announced a ten-minute break.
Commr. Hanson asked that speakers not be repetitious. She clarified that different representatives from the municipalities will be allowed to speak.
Ms. Kyleen Fischer, Lake County School Board, expressed concern that the project gives oral statements of how they will help the school system but that nothing in writing has been received. She expressed concern that we are talking about concurrency and impact fees and that there is no deliberate document that outlines exactly what is being offered. She stated that, at this time, she, as a School Board member, is opposed to the project that will not put their intent in writing.
Commr. Hanson asked for a response to what the process is and what assurances there are that schools would be built.
Ms. Sticklin stated that the DRI development order may contain conditions regarding the timing of the construction of the schools and the application of school concurrency. As an alternative, this Board may require that an agreement with the School Board be in place before the issuance of the development order. She stated that the Board could issue a conditional approval or require that the agreement with the School Board be executed before the adoption hearing.
Mr. Ray Gordon, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, stated that he is opposed to the project as it is being proposed because of the extreme density. He stated that he would like to make sure that, should this project be sold, everything must follow with it.
Mr. Jim Purvis, a resident of Kings Ridge and president of a homeowners’ association with 2,088 homes and about 3,500 residents, stated that there is no demonstrated need for this project. He pointed out that it will greatly, and forevermore, impact all the existing residents and the 10,000 approved but not-yet-built homes in south Lake County. If following the City of Clermont’s densities, which are based on usable acreage, not gross acreage, this project would approximate about 1,000 or 1,500 units less than the proposed 5,200 units. He urged the Board to seriously consider transmitting that as a density figure rather than 5,200. He asked that the Board not approve this DRI in its present form.
Mr. Len Hamel, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, stated that he has heard a lot of opposition to this project. He stated that he has not heard any checkpoints for the three phases of the program. He asked, if the goals are not met, where will they be stopped.
Mr. Ed Proli, a resident of Summit Greens in Clermont, stated that, because of his background, he knows about public safety, firefighter/paramedic response, police presence and ambulance service. He stated that Lake-Sumter EMS has reduced their service within the City of Clermont from one and one-half every day to no ambulances at night. He stated that we cannot depend upon mutual aid and that the City authorized over $2 million for a fire station and additional personnel to reduce response times from eight minutes to three or four minutes. He stated that, even though the applicant will provide a site, there will be annual recurring costs for firefighters and police. Mr. Proli requested that the Board leave the zoning as it is and let an orderly transfer take place, allowing Lake County to build up ambulance, police and fire services.
Mr. Robert Johnson, President, Chamber Alliance of Lake County, stated that the Chamber Alliance represents seven chambers of commerce comprised of 2,500 local businesses. He stated that the Karlton project has the potential of significantly impacting all of Lake County and portions of surrounding counties. He stated that his comments are for the benefit of the Chamber Alliance members but should not be taken as an endorsement for or against the project. He made the following points:
Mr. Choice Edwards, a resident of Clermont, stated that he is very disturbed about how stealthily this has come upon us and he is dismayed at how the Comprehensive Plan can be completely negated by an amendment and change of zoning, often without much public input or public awareness of its implications. He stated that Karlton is symptomatic of a broader issue and that the current Comprehensive Plan has been violated and abused. He implored the Board to keep everyone, all governmental agencies and citizens, informed about significant formal and informal activities that may come forward for approval or transmittal. He implored the Board to stick unwaveringly to the Comprehensive Plan. He stated that small changes are understandable, major ones are appalling and bewildering.
Ms. Judy Proli, a resident of Summit Greens in Clermont, stated that she has been a Florida resident more than 50 years and she opposes the Karlton development. She stated that she is not against reasonable growth but the Karlton development does not qualify, in her opinion, as reasonable growth and changing present zoning to four houses per acre does not sound reasonable. She asked the Board to consider the effect this project will have on our overcrowded schools and highways and the impact it will have on our water supply. She urged the Board to vote against this massive development.
Ms. Ruth Riley, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, stated that she wants to speak against the project as it currently exists for reasons such as traffic, roads, schools, emergency services and our environment. One presenter made a comment that the reason all these people are moving to our area is because it is a great place to live. She stated that she came here because of the beautiful rolling hills, the rural atmosphere and the lack of urban sprawl. She implored the Board to maintain our Central Florida for the reason she moved here.
Mr. Hal Turville, Mayor, City of Clermont, stated that the first step in this process is to convince us to change our Comprehensive Plan from environmental protection and rural agricultural to 12,000 people. He stated that he heard language such as “as this area grows,” “donut hole” and “infill” and this is a textbook example of urban sprawl. He stated that the project is on environmentally sensitive land in an area of special concern as relates to water. He stated that urban sprawl represents the least efficient, most expensive way to try to provide urban services and he asked if we going to choose Karlton or are we going to choose to raise taxes. He stated that he heard about free roads in previous presentations but today he is hearing about a private/public partnership and a capital improvement amendment. He asked if the collective we, as it relates to schools, means a Community Development District (CDD) or a benefit district or if the cost will be put on the homes. He stated that he asked how much a CDD would impact a homeowner in year one but they did not know the answer. Mr. Turville stated that this project embraces a hospital that they do not have a Certificate of Need to build. All the economic development, two-thirds of the jobs, is associated with it. He stated that one of the intents of joint planning is that it would make it much easier for the County Commission to protect the rural nature of this County. He asked, if we draw this line further out, what will happen when they go outside of that. He stated that, once this project is approved, he is not sure how others can be denied. He stated that the people in the audience are concerned that they will be paying with their pockets and will absolutely be paying with their quality of life. He pointed out that Publix or Winn-Dixie will not be there on day one and the folks in the audience will be paying with impacts on their future. He stated that thousands and thousands of people who were not there last week will be standing in line at Publix. He stated that the Karlton Parkway will not go anywhere but where the rest of the roads go now and will benefit absolutely no one unless they are somewhere south of the Karlton Parkway and choose not to go US 192, the closer way, to get on it. As relates to parks in the City of Clermont, there are 700 boys in the Little League program, of which about 200 are Clermont children.
Commr. Pool asked Mr. Turville if he considers Kings Ridge, Summit Greens and Legends assets to Clermont. Mr. Turville answered that he would say, today, yes. Commr. Pool asked Mr. Turville if he supported and embraced those developments. Mr. Turville replied that Kings Ridge was a County approved project that the City had to adopt after the fact because it was on their borders. Mr. Turville stated that one of his greatest dissatisfactions is that the City of Clermont does not plan the City anymore because it is essentially built out; he added that the Board is planning the City now.
Mr. Steve Johnson, attorney representing the Lake County School Board, stated that he was asked to report the position of the School Board. He shared the following facts. From fall 2001 to fall 2005, in the 67 school districts in Florida, there was an increase of approximately 173,000 students, about 6.84%. From fall 2001 to fall 2005, there was an increase in Lake County from approximately 30,400 to 37,848, or 24.47%. The four-year increase in Lake County of 7,448 students would have filled three elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The County Commission increased school impact fees to $7,055. The School Board believes the cost of a student station currently is twice that amount. Mr. Johnson stated that the proposed development has asked to increase the student population of Lake County by 944 students. He stated that, about three years ago, there was a deficit in current facilities, not including new growth, of over $200 million. Since that time, the School Board has essentially bonded, financed and borrowed every dollar that it can for capital projects. He stated that the School Board asked him to bring a message that, until there is confirmation that the Karlton development will not have a direct impact on the current $200 million deficit in facilities, they cannot offer their approval or their consent or agreement in any way to proceed with the process. He stated that they realize today’s hearing is merely for approval to transmit; however, this is the first step in the process. He stated that they have been burned by developers in the past in this kind of process because they promised to provide a school site on the condition that the School Board would say it would not object. He stated that the School Board has been left empty-handed in some of those situations. He stated that, in negotiating with some developers, they offer to donate land but take away the impact fees. He stated that the School Board has issues about the financial benefit districts. Different methods can be utilized to finance some of these on the part of the developer that essentially reduces the tax dollars that would be received by the School Board in the same area. He thinks several members of the School Board expressed the concern that they are not interested in creating economic segregation in the schools. During school concurrency discussions, some developers want to have chits so that the kids in the builder’s houses go to that school. The kids in a neighborhood that are much more amenable to transportation costs and administrative costs will not go there because the developer holds certain chits. He stated that the School Board does not have an agreement. He reiterated that until the developer and the School Board can agree on a written agreement that cannot be broken or changed, the School Board is unwilling to offer its approval of this development. He urged the Board to not go to the next step and not process this to DCA until those concerns are met.
Mr. Rodger Anderson, a resident of Orange County, stated that people who develop property have been portrayed as being evil or bad. He stated that people have the right to move to Lake or Orange County and the developer is just meeting a need. He stated that the Karlton people have a great reputation and will do what they say. If they say they will build a road without cost to the County or build schools, they will, and the Board has the right, as part of the approval process, to make sure that is in writing with the school system. He stated that there are lots of checks and balances.
Mr. Alan Parrow, a resident of Minneola and President/CEO of Pringle Development, stated that this is the first time he has ever spoken in favor of a competitor’s project. He stated that making a ton of money is what America is all about and that developers typically make less profit than do most other industries. He stated that throughout the country opposition to growth has resulted in a variety of measures designed to limit or manage growth. Zoning restrictions, growth boundaries and impact fees have had the observable consequence of increasing housing prices, restricting choices, making homes unaffordable to our citizens and, most importantly, slowing economic development. He stated that the fundamental benefits of growth today are obscured by several years of uninterrupted prosperity. Mr. Parrow stated that anti-growth forces fail to recognize the foresight of our Florida legislators and the new bills regarding concurrency and the level of scrutiny to which development plans must be submitted. Mr. Parrow stated that he has never met or talked to Mr. Kahlert or any of his staff. He stated that the Karlton project is the antithesis of sprawl. He stated that it is a project adjacent to one already approved for 20,000 houses and huge commercial impact. He stated that this is an area that is surrounded by high density development. He stated that the people in the audience are retired and they do not necessarily have a long-term vision of our County. He stated that this project will ensure jobs for folks in the construction industry which has carried this economy for a long time. Mr. Parrow stated that he could have easily filled this hall with 220 of his employees and he guaranteed that they would be here arguing in favor of this project. He stated that thousands more in the trades, electricians, masons and plumbers, would be on the side of transmitting this.
Mr. Robert Knopf, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, stated that there apparently are no literal commitments if this is transmitted but there is an implicit one that whoever votes for it somehow agrees with the whole scheme. He stated that he is from Fairfax County, outside of Washington, DC, and in 31 years saw that area roughly triple in size. He advised that, in Fairfax County, a landowner acquires property under the status quo and the system does not obligate itself to let you change the status quo in order to be more profitable. Mr. Knopf stated that he gives the proposal a thumbs down.
Ms. Phyllis Smith, a resident of Clermont, stated that she hopes the Board will consider the children before proceeding with this change. In August, she will be starting her tenth year as a volunteer in Lake County schools. She attends School Board meetings and realizes what dire straits the schools are in now. She stated that the hills of Lake County are not filled with music, they are filled with the sound of bulldozers clearing area for large developments. She stated that residents can express their concerns and go to the polls.
Mr. Jack Hogan, City Council, City of Clermont, stated that he won his recent election by 64% on the basis of his concern about water, traffic and schools. He related that, at a recent meeting, only six of about sixty people knew about this project which has been underway three years. He is appalled that East Ridge High School, which is four years old, has 17 huts out back for kids. He stated that this project is on the south side of his area and he asked, if 12,000 people are plunked there, where will those kids go to school. He remarked that he has not seen anything in writing. He stated that those schools would be filled very easily from that immediate area and there still will be a problem of where their students will be put. Mr. Hogan referred to newspaper quotes by Commr. Cadwell regarding growth in and around Umatilla that will add about 380 students to three schools that are beyond capacity. He stated that Karl Corporation bought the property from Disney knowing they could build about 500 homes. He stated that there is a terrific difference between 5,000 and 500 and he urged the Board to vote no on this project.
Mr. Wayne Saunders, City Manager, City of Clermont, stated that he represents the City Council. He presented and reviewed a summary of City of Clermont issues (Exhibit B) which included the following:
Ms. Tamara Richardson, Director of Engineering and Utilities, City of Clermont, stated that, according to the St. Johns River Water Management District (District) and their East Central Florida Groundwater Model, groundwater withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer must be limited to prevent adverse impacts to our lakes and wetlands. The withdrawals that the District have identified as sustainable are nearly used up and competition for the remaining allocation is fierce. Because of the way the District did their permitting during their development of their water supply plan, it requires a lot of existing permit holders, including the City of Clermont, to come back and reapply. The City is competing with new withdrawals, and with projects that have been approved, to supply water to its existing residents. The District has nearly 30 open permits vying for the same groundwater allocation that the City of Clermont and this project will be asking for. Once this groundwater allocation is gone, the water suppliers will be required to find alternative water supplies. The cost for alternative water supplies would be in the tens of millions of dollars and would be passed on to existing residents. She pointed out that she is not a consultant, she is a staff member trying to balance the needs of the existing residents with the environment. She stated that getting permits from the District is very difficult, financially and with staffing. Ms. Richardson stated that reclaimed water has become as precious as potable water. Orange County and the City of Orlando are being influenced to supply Clermont, Groveland, Minneola, Winter Garden and Ocoee with reclaimed water and have invested millions of dollars to redirect their own reclaimed water to be used in Orange County to meet the requirements of their own permit. She stated that there is not a lot of reclaimed water left. She explained that reclaimed water will not be available when the project begins because it is not economically feasible. They will be using totally groundwater withdrawals. Ms. Richardson stated that the groundwater outlook for Lake County is grim.
Mr. Bob Foley, a resident of Montverde, SAC Chair at Windy Hill Middle School and Vice SAC Chair at East Ridge High School, stated that he has heard that the applicant will build the schools but he did not hear who will pay for them. He asked how decisions can be made without absolute agreements with the School District. He stated that, under state law and under the data that was provided by the applicant and the School Board, the School District could have to possibly finance up to $24 million to pay for these two schools. That is an encumbrance on all the taxpayers in the audience. Mr. Foley stated that there are too many “ifs.” He stated that the due diligence process should be done. He urged the Board to vote no on the transmittal.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 12:00 noon, Commr. Hanson announced a one hour lunch break.
PUBLIC COMMENTS (CONTINUED)
Mr. T.J. Fish, Executive Director, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (Lake-Sumter MPO), explained that the Lake-Sumter MPO adopted a 2025 plan in December 2005. He stated that connections in south Lake County are glaring needs. The primary artery, east and west, is SR 50, for commuter patterns to Orange County. South of SR 50, the next arterial is US 192 and no other arterials are planned at this point. The only other road improvement, a collector road, is the widening Hartwood-Marsh Road and that will be an incremental process. Mr. Fish stated that there is a need for at least one arterial between SR 50 and US 192. Due to the cost of an arterial, that connection would likely be a toll facility under current conditions. The Lake-Sumter MPO has asked the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) to do a financial feasibility study which would determine if there are enough trips to warrant doing a study and design of an expressway. If the OOCEA were to approve that road, it would be 2015 before that need could be met. He stated that the Karl Corporation asked to talk to Lake-Sumter MPO staff about a year ago about meeting some of the regional transportation needs by proposing to connect US 27 to SR 429 and providing 220 feet of right of way.
Ms. Dorothy Fears, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, a former commissioner in Washington, DC, stated that she is impressed with the project. Ms. Fears presented a statement (Exhibit C) which related to her May 24, 2006, meeting with Mr. James Hollingshead, P.G., Supervising Regulatory Hydrologist, Division of Water Use Regulation of the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). She stated that, according to Mr. Hollingshead, if the Karlton project is not approved, the water will be allocated by SJRWMD to Orange County and that the Karlton project will implement alternative water supply methods.
Ms. Anne Bueter, a resident of south Lake County, stated that the Kahlert family’s vision is not the vision of the current citizens of south Lake County. She asked if putting another 12,000, 15,000 or 20,000 people into this rural area, which is designated one home per five acres, is in the best interest of the citizens who live in south Lake County. She urged the Board to stop this massive project.
Ms. Elaine Renick, City Council, City of Clermont, stated that she has received numerous e-mails from people who feel strongly against this project. She stated that the checks and balances are about mitigating the impacts but saying no to this today will avoid mitigating those impacts. She remarked that it seems we use development to justify development. She stated that she has not heard any figures from the Sheriff on what this development will cost in extra deputies. She stated that to suggest this is infill is to suggest that anything that is not paved over is infill. Ms. Renick stated that Lake County and the municipalities formed the Lake County Water Alliance (Alliance) because of the concern about water. She stated that they voted recently to take our issue with Orange County’s request for more water for their consumptive use permit to an administrative hearing with SJRWMD. She stated that she does not know how we can take a stand against Orange County for increasing their withdrawals and decide it is okay for us. She described water conservation measures and stated that we give that conserved water to new development. Ms. Renick stated that since the County okayed Kings Ridge, which was about three miles out of town, everything has filled in behind it. She stated that, if Karlton is approved out in the country, the same thing will happen towards Clermont and Four Corners. She agreed that we are heavily dependent on the construction industry and it will be over when we are built out. She stated that she does not want to wait until Lake County is totally paved over.
Commr. Pool stated that he did not approve Kings Ridge but that he annexed it as Clermont’s Mayor to be sure they could vote and have a voice in the community. He asked Ms. Renick if, given the chance, would she approve Kings Ridge.
Ms. Renick responded that she would not and that development should be from the city out.
Mr. Bill Turnbull accused the Lake County Commission of failure to provide for the common good. He stated that this property will exhaust our water, clog our roads and stress overcrowded schools, all to satisfy the greed of less than 1% of the population, the corporate builder. He asked how will we supply the energy for Karlton if another embargo happens. He stated that Central Florida is rapidly closing in on the 650 million gallons of water that experts say can be safely pumped from the ground each day without serious harm to the environment. He stated that we do not have enough water for tens of thousands of new lawns and that most of the construction workers will be foreign nationals, not Americans.
Mr. James Hicks, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, stated that this rural area, with current zoning of five acres per home, is fine the way it is and that a project of this size is not needed. He believes a project of country estates would be proper and consistent with current zoning. He stated that he does not think the data used by the realty consultant supports his growth projections for the out years or supports the need for quarter-acre lots. Mr. Hicks stated that this property is surrounded by a state park, a wetlands area, Conserve II, and a still-working grove. He stated that he expects a dramatic increase in traffic on Hartwood-Marsh Road and Hancock Road because of connector roads. He pointed out that SR 429 is a toll road and that we should let the Expressway Authority put in another toll road. He stated that he hopes, if the Board feels the need to approve this transmittal today, it is kept within the current zoning.
Ms. Nancy Fullerton, speaking as Alliance to Protect Water Resources (APWR) Land Use and Water Issues Chairman and as a resident of Clermont, asked the Board to recall the 2002 land use amendment hearings for the Hartwood-Marsh properties which had the same cast of characters and a similar setting. It is election time and the conflict is over land use change amendments that drastically increase the density of the area. She referred to her April 11, 2006, letter (included in the backup material) in which the APWR Board of Directors asked the Board to deny this future land use amendment and its subsequent transmittal to DCA. Regarding the transmittal being a procedural step, Ms. Fullerton stated that she cannot think of a single case of Board reversal at final approval time. She stated that they believe this hearing is the most crucial step in the process and, if approved, will change the destiny of south Lake County. She stated that it is crucial because this is where the project can stop. She noted prior comments about the water situation, especially those of the City of Clermont. She stated that new state laws are close to coming to link land use plans to district water supply and Lake County is involved in two battles in the water war.
Ms. Nancy Bell, a County resident, asked the Board not to approve this transmittal. However, if the Board plans to vote in favor of adding more than 5,200 homes, Ms. Bell had the following questions. How much development is too much? How crowded should our schools be before the Board says enough is enough? She noted that some schools in south Lake County are 150% capacity. She stated that voters have a right to know if Board members stand with special interests, with the children and their families, with the voters, or with the School District. She stated bigger is not always better. She reiterated her request to the Board not to approve this transmittal.
Mr. Keith Mullins, City Council, City of Clermont, stated that he is the pro-business member of the Council but he does not see jobs in this development. He stated that the applicant’s presentation showed potential job growth around Karlton but not in Karlton. With 12,000 people (950 of which are school students) and 3,700 jobs, about 7,300 people would be driving down the road to go to work. He pointed out that a lot of people in Summit Greens, Kings Ridge and The Legends still hold part-time jobs. Mr. Mullins stated that his problem with this residential planned community is that there are no real jobs for the residents of Lake County and that there are not enough high paying jobs, above the County average, within this project to support itself. He stated that the real jobs are in Orange County and we are duplicating the same problem over and over. He stated that, if people worked in this community, they would be involved in this community and it could grow to a city someday. He stated that all the Board is doing now is building bedrooms for Orange County. He stated that he is the pro-growth guy in south Lake County; but, not this project in this place at this time.
Commr. Pool asked if Mr. Mullins had put a pencil to how many jobs would be created by five-acre tracts. Mr. Mullins responded that he had not. Mr. Mullins asked Commr. Pool how much traffic would be generated by 380+ homes. Mr. Mullins added that there are a lot of really good things in this project but there are more negatives than positives.
Mr. Jimmy Roper, a lifetime resident of Orange County and Lake County, stated that his relatives homesteaded in Winter Garden five generations ago and they have been active in the citrus business approximately 150 years. He stated that he has been active in the real estate business in Orange and Lake Counties for 45 years. He stated that he has known the Kahlerts since before the final acquisition of the Karlton property. Given their reputation and the responsible plan they presented, he stated that he is in favor of their development. He stated that he has owned adjacent property to the south more than 70 years. He stated that he recognizes responsible growth and he thinks this will be a windfall for south Lake County. He stated that he wants to be on the record as being in favor of this project, personally, and for his family.
Mr. John Brandeburg, whose family has lived in unincorporated Lake County for twelve years, stated that he is a real estate broker and does development in commercial and industrial real estate. He stated that he has nothing to do with the Karlton development. He stated that the slides on growth that were shown are 100% consistent with the kinds of things they have seen all along in this area. He stated that he believes growth is coming. He stated that he tries to bring good jobs to Lake and Sumter Counties as part of his mission in business. He stated that the Board is capable of documenting Karlton’s promises in a way that the County could get the benefit from them. He stated that he has not heard anyone computing what the income would be to the County. He stated that, when more people come and the growth pays its way, it has the potential to help the school system problems, the road problems and a lot of other issues. He stated that, in his view, this will bring jobs. He stated that this is a time for leadership and he hopes the Board will support this.
Ms. Kerrie Ireland, who moved to Clermont five years ago, stated that she is concerned about schools, water, services, roads and other things. She stated that the schools, which are overcrowded and are older and rundown, are her main concern. She stated that Minneola Elementary has one restroom, stalls in Gray Middle’s bathrooms have no doors and children sit outside to eat lunch. She stated that Pine Ridge, a new school located next to the water treatment plant, has portables and toilets cannot be flushed because of water pressure. Ms. Ireland stated that approximately 53% of our high school children graduate and 27% of that number go on for further education. She stated that we are creating a community that our own children will barely be able to afford to live in. She stated that water is a huge problem. She has a well, has orange water and spends over $50 per month for drinking water. She stated that this will be a relief for Horizon West and nothing for Clermont.
Mr. Mark Esche stated that his folks came to Lake County in 1982 because of the quality of life. He stated that his family moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania, which had 17,400 planned community homes, and he was never in a portable classroom during his years in public schools. He stated that Lake County children spend their school years in a portable classroom, in a co-teaching environment and in year-round schools or double sessions. Mr. Esche stated that 5,200 new homes in any part of Lake County will put a huge strain on the County as a whole. We only have so much water or money and he has great difficulty believing 5,200 homes would pay their way and would present little or no impact on the County’s resources. He pointed out that the requested increase in density would be ten fold.
Mr. Robert Kelly, President of Citizens Coalition of Lake County, stated that the Citizens Coalition represents more than 200 people in Lake County. He opined that many more developments will be jettisoned off this development. He related a story about a developer, in Jackson, Wyoming, who wanted to build more than 2,000 units on 1,700 acres not far from the city. He stated that the county commission denied the project. After three years of reworking the project, the county, city and the community told the developer they could develop with the existing allowed 480 units and commercial clustered on 500 acres. The developer would have to donate the remaining 1,200 acres to open space to be a boundary around the area. The developer agreed to the proposal and has submitted an acceptable design. He stated that Karlton’s design of approximately 38 acres of upland natural habitat for a 2,000-acre project is a far cry from the Jackson quality scenario. Mr. Kelly stated that the current inventory of parcels in Lake County supports a population of approximately 900,000 people and our current projection for 2025 is 470,000 people. He stated that, if we do not increase density on one parcel of land between now and 2025, we can still accommodate twice as many people as are projected. Furthermore, the population growth supported by the expansion plans of Mascotte, Groveland and Minneola far exceeds the population projections for south Lake County. He stated that Karlton is not needed in Lake County and it is not wanted by the community. He stated that this Commission should deny this land use transmittal today.
Ms. Pam Burtnett, President of the Lake County Education Association and a resident of Mount Dora, stated that Dr. Seuss published a book, The Lorax, which describes the far-reaching impact that one single decision can make. She stated that the Karlton project is very complex and, in its complexity, the potential effects in Lake County are profound. She presented copies of the book to members of the Board and asked that they consider its message in weighing their decision. She stated that, as the Lorax speaks for the trees that have no tongues, the Lake County Education Association speaks for the children who have no voice.
Mr. Egor Emery referred to the Comprehensive Plan’s Objective 1-1(B)(1), Objective 1-3(A), Objective 1-7, Objective 1-8, Objective 1-10, Objective 10.2 and Objective 7-11. He stated that we heard information that the commercial use is expanding and this is a logical extension. He stated that is an indictment of the mistakes we have made in the past. He asked that we grow logically in urban areas first. He stated that Lake County should not be in the business of approving urban development in the rural areas. He agreed that attractive, well planned communities will capture growth; however, internal capture applies to our cities and we need to support our cities. He stated the Karlton project and the Four Corners area will not be cities. He asked the Board members to decide today what population they are prepared to build the infrastructure to support and communicate that to the LPA (Local Planning Agency) and the public. He asked the Board to let the LPA finish their job, then adopt and follow that plan. He stated that DRIs should be a part of the comprehensive plan.
Ms. Joyce Abney stated that she lives over the county line and that she and her neighbors are some of those impacted. She stated that she is the President of the Lake Hickory Nut Homeowners Association. She stated that the Karlton property, Sawgrass Lake and Sawgrass Bay flow to Lake Needham and into her lake during the rainy season. She stated that they monitor the quality of their lake through the University of Florida’s Lake Watch program. She stated that they are very concerned that they will receive more runoff that will degradate their lake and possibly flood them. She stated that they are in Horizon West and will have 6,700 homes around their lake. She stated that this property is in the St. Johns River Water Management District even though it flows to the Kissimmee River which is in the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). She stated that SFWMD is in the process of trying to make stricter rules as to the quantity and quality of runoff water. She stated that she hopes they do not get to develop the property but, if they do, she would like to see them agree to abide by the new higher standards for discharge of runoff. Ms. Abney stated that Horizon West was in the planning stage more than ten years. She opined that the Karlton developer feels that if they build it, they will come. She stated that if it is not built, they will go somewhere else.
Ms. Patricia Donahue, who lives north of Minneola, opined that there is a bigger issue than Karlton and that issue is who is our God. She stated that, according to scientists, Florida took at least 6,000 years, maybe millions, to create. She stated that a satellite view of Florida shows the Miami/Dade, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville areas as large grey rectangles. She stated that we have endangered species. She stated that the proposed school site near Minneola was in the wrong place and it would have spurred the growth of 10,000 houses on the second highest hill in peninsula Florida.
Ms. Tammy Phelps stated that she represents approximately 300 members of VOICE (Voters Organization Involved in Children’s Education). She stated that VOICE is requesting that the Board deny the transmittal of the Karlton DRI until a time when there is a signed interlocal agreement between the Lake County School Board and the developer that adequately addresses the school impacts. She stated that members of VOICE attended the three town hall meetings in Clermont and, while there were verbal promises by the Karlton representative to build an elementary and middle school on a 50-acre donated site, they know land alone does not build a school. Ms. Phelps stated that she asked how the schools would be paid for and by whom and she was told not to worry about that. She stated that most of the south Lake County schools are 158% or greater capacity and they will continue to grow in student population. She stated that we have 28,000 properties that are vested in the County alone and it is her understanding that these are not subject to school concurrency. She stated that we have heard that growth pays its way but we know growth does not pay the school impact fees to provide the new student stations. She stated that there is no land in south Lake County zoned for a high school after 2010. She stated that East Ridge High School, whose capacity is 1,800, projects an enrollment of 3,000 in August. She asked if there will be specific statements regarding the school impacts if the Board approves the transmittal. She asked the Board to consider the education of the children currently in Lake County and to consider how the Karlton development could impact their education.
Ms. Rosemary Blankenhorn, a resident of Kings Ridge in Clermont, noted the issues of electricity, water, schools and traffic. She stated that no one is opposing one home on five acres. She stated that she does not understand how there would be an issue with all the problems that have been brought to light with more than 5,000 homes. She stated that the people in Lake County put their faith in the Board to do what is best for the community, not what is best for a builder.
Ms. Angie Langley, a lifelong resident of Orange and Lake Counties, stated that she supports this project and has heard nothing but support for it from folks her age who are working young professionals in Orange County because the jobs they are looking for are not in Lake County. She stated that most people located here for the rolling hills and lakes in south Lake County. She stated that people are going to continue to want to move to south Lake County. She stated that large projects are the only ones that can afford to donate large amounts of acreage for schools and roads. She stated that this project is aesthetically pleasing with a common theme and that she would rather have a large development that can offer a roadway between Orange and Lake County and land for schools rather than several tacky hodgepodge small developments that cannot offer these things. She stated that this parkway is a huge benefit for this area and will help the traffic problem. She stated that property owners have rights and, if people want to protect these properties and never have them built on, they need to buy them. She stated that Lake County owns a lot of property and the more property that is not owned by individuals, the more the tax burden on individuals. She asked the Board to support this project for transmittal.
Mr. Alex Kane, a resident of Heritage Green, stated that he has been involved in property development for a number of years. He stated that development has achieved a new art form and has become cognizant of the environment, the people and the wishes of the entire future of our society. He stated that he looks at a property by looking at it in terms of what he is doing to preserve this land for the future of his children. He stated that he lived in affordable housing and, when he builds developments, he makes sure there is a mix and a blend of environment, work, commercial, retail and walkability. He stated that these are the issues this developer is taking on as well. Mr. Kane stated that he supports this proposal.
Mr. Mike Perry, Executive Director, Lake County Water Authority (LCWA), read the May 9, 2006, letter to Chairman Hanson from Larry Everly, Chairman, Lake County Water Authority, which is included in the backup material. According to the letter, the LCWA “Board has an interest in this issue because South Lake County is a high recharge area near a zone of high-leakance, identified as a Water Use Caution Area and dotted with lakes that are affected by changes in surface water flow. Currently, the Karlton site has 155 acres planted with citrus and 58 acres as a cultivated tree farm for a total of 213 irrigated acres. The applicant’s proposed use increases the area of irrigated land by 142% to 515 acres. The accompanying additional withdrawal of groundwater may increase the cumulative impact upon the Floridan aquifer beyond the present agricultural use withdrawals. This overall cumulative impact may result in the loss of wetlands and in the reduction of flows in the Gourd Neck Springs on Lake Apopka. The Board of Trustees of the Lake County Water Authority request that the County Commission consider all aspects of the current and future surface and ground water conditions in South Lake County as you deliberate this proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment.”
Mr. Steve Luche, a resident of Mount Dora, addressed the issue of suburban sprawl in south Lake County in particular and in Lake County in general. He stated that he is sure the benefits mentioned for the Karlton development are the same arguments used for developing suburban sprawl in and around Clermont. He asked how these developments have improved school crowding and roads. He stated that he has not seen anything in the plans that resembles smart growth. He suggested that the Board consider the wishes of the constituents, not the developers. He asked the Board to vote no.
Mr. Keith Schue, a member of the Lake County Local Planning Agency (LPA), stated that he is not speaking on behalf of the LPA but as an individual member of that body. He stated that he would provide information on why he could not support the Karlton DRI. He stated that a number of factors need to come together in order for us to honestly say we are embracing smart growth. He stated that there is a temporal component and a spatial component. In terms of timing, in order for us to say that we are not promoting urban sprawl, it is necessary to establish that a land use change is needed to accommodate the projected population. In order to do that, we need to look at our inventory of existing lands that already have the urban land use designation. He stated that has not happened as relates to the assessment of this property. He stated that the applicant provided general statistics regarding growth in Central Florida but the applicant did not demonstrate that this additional conversion of rural land to urban land was necessary due to an insufficient quantity of available urban land use to meet the County’s growth projections. He asked where do we want to grow. He stated that smart growth means that you do not do leap frog development. He stated that we infill our urban centers first and then grow outward in a logical pattern. He clarified that he did not vote against this because he thought the best alternative to this piece of land was 400 five-acre lots. He opined that we do need to look at a more innovative way of development. A large parcel of land such as this, through a DRI process, could afford us with the ability to be more innovative. He stated that this could have been a golden opportunity to do something special but that has not happened. He stated that this could have been a project that recognized and provided for the unique environmental attributes that this property offers and could have been an ecologically responsible development that is mutually beneficial to wildlife and to mankind. Mr. Schue showed an aerial photograph (Exhibit D) depicting the distribution of 1,800 gopher tortoises on this property. He stated that this property should have set aside, as a condition for seeking such a dramatic change in land use, a sizeable portion of the site as an upland preserve. Instead, a site of about 38 acres has been set aside out of about 2,000. He stated that is woefully and shamefully inadequate. He stated that this could have provided valuable ecosystem connectivity, areas for habitat preservation and restoration, and reestablishing that important relationship between uplands and wetlands that occur on the site. He showed another aerial photograph (Exhibit E), as a conceptual idea, which is a true clustered conservation design whereby substantial uplands are set aside that otherwise would be lost, not just wetlands and water that the developer was going to leave alone anyway. He encouraged the Board to think about this concept. By doing this, there would be areas that do not require irrigation, areas that could provide continuing habitat for tortoises, and areas where natural aquifer recharge can continue to occur. Mr. Schue stated that his concern relates to this piece of property and to the precedent that it could set about how we might consider the conversion of rural land into urban land use in the future. He asked the Board to deny this.
Commr. Hanson asked what overall density Mr. Schue feels is appropriate if this type of concept were to move forward. Mr. Schue stated that the first thing that has to be done is look at the environmental attributes of the site and then economic balance has to be considered. He stated that it is critical to strike the balance that the number of jobs created is comparable to the amount of housing created. He remarked that he does not have an exact answer to the question.
Ms. Peggy Belflower, a resident of northeast Lake County, stated that she could have let the Karlton development go by and considered that, perhaps, it would not impact her. She stated that she is most concerned about the Karlton project because of the way it was presented to the LPA (Local Planning Agency) on March 31. She stated that the staff report was completed, apparently, on March 30. She stated that, at the LPA meeting, Mr. Steve Richey, who was presenting on behalf of Karlton Village, encouraged a quick vote because neighbors to the east, Horizon West, were pressuring Karlton Village to get a move on. She stated that some misrepresentations were made at the LPA meeting, including one by Mr. Don McIntosh, engineer for Karlton, who said there would be no impact to the environment as a result of this project. She referred to a newspaper article which quotes Mr. Richey’s views on development. She stated that Mr. Richey said today that Karlton is here with a general view of this project and not to talk about the comprehensive plan. She stated that they are asking for a change in the comprehensive plan and that they should have been justifying the reason for the need for these additional homes. She stated that Mr. Massa (Senior Planner, Lake County Department of Growth Management) said today that the DCA told Lake County that Lake County must adopt the comprehensive plan update before making any changes. She asked why would we send it to DCA until the comprehensive plan has been finished and until Karlton has made true justifications for the increase in populace to Lake County.
Mr. Jimmy Conner, Chairman, Lake County School Board, stated that the purpose of concurrency is to force the developer to come to the School Board. He stated that has not been done and the concurrency pilot program is not being followed. He stated that he authored a growth resolution three years ago and that the School Board has passed the Martinez Plan and, yet, the pressure on them borders on being unbearable. He stated that we are co-teaching in classrooms and the State is eliminating co-teaching. He stated that we are in portables. He stated that they are out of money. A growth study by Deanna Newman shows that every time a school is built, the School Board suffers a capital loss, even with the $7,055 impact fee. He opined that people will never understand the gravity of the problem until the day we have double sessions and year-round schools. He stated that they have bonded to their maximum capacity allowed. He stated that they are financing a middle school by bonding impact fee money and the legislature is talking about eliminating impact fees. Mr. Conner stated that it is frustrating to be denied a rezoning for a piece of property in a relatively highly populated area and then hear that reasons in favor of this project are because a school will be allowed in a rural area. He stated that the City of Clermont has taken a position by unanimous vote and the School Board has taken a position by unanimous vote. Speaking for himself, Mr. Conner stated that he thinks we need a moratorium in south Lake County because they are so far behind it would take years to catch up. He stated that they are on life support and this project will pull the plug. He stated that he was struck by the fact that a certificate of need has not been obtained for a hospital for the project.
RECESS & REASSEMBLY
At 3:00 p.m., Commr. Hanson announced a fifteen minute break.
PUBLIC COMMENTS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Ray Kemp, a native of Lake County, stated that Lake County is not a rural county anymore. In the late 1940s and 1950s, Lake County was the leading watermelon producing county in the state and that was followed by citrus and explosive growth. Tenant farmers came from Georgia and Alabama for high paying citrus jobs and that created over crowding in our schools. He stated that he had 50 students in his fifth grade class and 50+ years later we still face the same problem. He stated that we lose our lakes when we do not have rainfall and that we have irrigated the groves for years and it does not seem to affect the lakes. He stated that a lot of water that was used to irrigate groves is now being consumed for our showers and drinking water. He asked the Board to continue the modern progress of Lake County and strongly consider this.
Mr. Rick Joyce, an attorney with offices in Tavares and Orlando, stated that he is a member of the Industrial Development Authority and serves on the CRA advisory committee of Tavares, and, most importantly, is a resident and a small citrus grower in the unincorporated area on the outskirts of Howey. He stated that he is ecstatic about the 3,700 jobs being provided in this development, 60% of which are in the medical field and are higher paying jobs. He stated that the inclusion of Class A office space will encourage more solid, high paying jobs. He stated that he shares the same concerns as everyone in this room about uncontrolled growth. He stated that this is a professional, well thought out proposal that will be subject to state, county, municipal and citizen review before the first permit is pulled.
(Deputy Clerk’s note: Eight Lake County residents who did not speak submitted speaker request forms in support of the project; six non-Lake County residents who did not speak submitted speaker request forms in support of the project; twenty Lake County residents who did not speak submitted speaker request forms in opposition to the project.)
APPLICANT’S PRESENTATION (CONTINUED)
LPG Environmental & Permitting Services, Inc.
Mr. Steve Adams, LPG Environmental & Permitting Services, Inc., gave a presentation (Exhibit A) which included the following:
Regarding what happens to the gopher tortoises, Mr. Adams explained that three things are allowed under the regulatory criteria. They can be relocated on site, relocated off-site or they can do a take permit. He stated that their goal is to relocate on site as many as they possibly can within preserve areas, buffer areas and along the wildlife corridor. Those habitats will be managed and maintained long-term. He stated that the tortoises were tested for upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) and that limits the options in terms of off site relocation; take permits would have to be used. He stated that the County, the School Board and cities commonly do that. He stated that a stakeholders group, consisting of various members of academia, is working to come up with new rules to discourage take permits because of the perception of what that is. Those stakeholders have drafted rules where they would give relief on the URTD testing because of the unknown issues associated with that disease but also to permit off-site relocation. They want these to be permanent off-site recipient locations that would take the URTD type tortoises. Under current rules, if one tortoise in a population of 500 tests positive, all 500 would be subject to the take permit; under proposed rules, only the tested positive tortoises would be subject to the take permit and those tested negative would be able to be moved. He stated that there is a move to relocate tortoises to public lands which is not prohibited because state agencies do not want them. He stated that there are a lot of opportunities, particularly in the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area which is owned by the game commission, where they do not have funding for management activities where funds could be earmarked to relocate tortoises. He stated that those are the things they would like to do and have been advocating as part of the stakeholders group.
REBUTTAL BY APPLICANT
Mr. Steve Richey, attorney representing the applicant, stated that the needs analysis and the 3,750 jobs are documented. With regard to the hospital, he stated that the hospital has a contract with Karlton that requires Karlton to have Karl Kahlert Parkway and water and sewer extended to them in the next two years because they cannot start the certificate of need process until they have a piece of property that is part of a PUD (planned unit development) and a DRI that is zoned for their use. He stated that, with the generation of residents in the Karlton development and the residents in Horizon West, there is no doubt that the certificate of need will be granted.
Regarding schools, Mr. Richey stated that this project is committed and will be required to build an elementary school and a middle school, or cause those schools to be built. He stated that, in a couple of years when they come back with their development plan, they will contribute towards a high school based on the actual construction costs at that time, in excess of impact fees. He stated that will be in the developer’s agreement and in the development order with the School Board. He stated that they will generate 12% of a high school capacity, and a small percentage of an elementary and a middle school and the rest of that capacity will be available to take up the gap in south Lake County. He stated that nobody has proposed to build excess capacity. He stated that they will borrow privately or through a Community Development District (CDD) or through a benefit district and build those schools or provide the funding for the Lake County School Board to build those schools. He stated that the project will not be approved unless that agreement is there because it will be an absolute condition of the development order. He stated that they started talking with School Board staff when Pam Saylor was Superintendent.
Regarding transportation, Mr. Richey stated that they will be building the four-lane Karl Kahlert Parkway, from US 27 to SR 429, on day one of phase one as houses and commercial are built. He stated that it will be evaluated under the DRI process at the end of phase one and, if there are problems with other roads or segments, they have to stop or fix those other roads and segments. He stated that Orange County does not want them to build a six-lane road to Orange County, but Karlton is providing right of way so that it can be enhanced to six lanes. He stated that limited access and tunnels for golf cart crossings are part of the plan. He stated that it is not speculative, it will be mandatory, and they will finance it themselves or finance it through a benefit district or CDD. He stated that, according to traffic studies, up until the build out, there will be excess capacity galore and excess capacity at build out. Mr. Richey stated that 37% of their traffic is captured in-house and they are not going to have folks leaving.
Regarding Publix, Mr. Richey stated that studies have shown the 37% of people who leave Lake County to go to work will create a need and a justification for Publix, based on their criteria, the day they build the road. He stated that he can assure that it will not be years before there is a Publix, based on their traffic studies.
Regarding water, Mr. Richey stated that their studies show they have used more water on this property for agricultural purposes than they will use at the completion of this project. He stated that, if this were developed into five-acre tracts, there would be a lot more water being used in unregulated wells than what they will use through their project. He stated that there will be major requirements of them for conservation and they have offered the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Star Program. He stated that they will have a proposal in the development order to maximize that conservation. He stated that they have a certificated private utility that will have to comply with all the rules and regulations. He stated that they have been approved for a million-gallon, lower-aquifer well to be utilized, in part, to serve this project which protects the lakes and wetlands systems in a very significant way.
Mr. Richey stated that each phase of this development will be looked at because it is a DRI and there will be thresholds and criteria on everything that has to be done regarding concurrency. He stated that they have filed a booklet as part of their application which shows the design criteria of high standard for Karlton Commons. He stated that the Florida Legislature passed a provision that requires all the DRIs in process to evaluate an element of work force housing. He stated that they have apartments and rentals and all kinds of housing and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will look at that element as part of this process. Mr. Richey stated that the CDD, or Karlton money, will pay for the roads and the schools and it will not be a burden on the taxpayers of Lake County. He stated that they carry their own regarding fire, the Sheriff and EMS.
Regarding urban sprawl, Mr. Richey stated that they have filed a justification of why they are not in violation of 9J-5 (Florida Administrative Code) which is being evaluated by the Regional Planning Council and will be evaluated by the State and the 24 agencies to determine if what they say is true is true. He stated that they do not violate the confines of 9J-5. He stated that their self-contained community, with the services they will provide, is exactly what anti-sprawl is about. He stated that dividing this property into five-acre tracts is urban sprawl at its absolute best picture because that would be remote services, the most expensive services for government for 400 people.
Mr. Richey stated that the LPA (Local Planning Agency) passed this 8 to 1 and that they had the information to make a decision. He referred to a May 27, 2006, e-mail from Mr. Sean Parks (LPA member) to the Board of County Commissioners (Exhibit F), which says, in part, “…Opportunity is a chance for progress or advancement. Sometimes opportunity lies in the most tumultuous of situations. Sometimes, opportunity is seen by few….Development must be balanced, considering the economy, the environment, and people…” Mr. Richey stated that is the opportunity Mr. Parks said he found in the Karlton DRI; it was balanced and provided jobs, transportation, schools and a mix of housing. He stated that this is a golden opportunity to approve a mixed-use development and put the burden on the developer, financially and every other way, to make this project right. He asked the Board to approve this project and allow it to go to the State for comments. He stated that the Board’s vote today means nothing other than they have voted to send it to the State and the other regulatory agencies. He stated that if they come back with negative comments, those are decisions the Board will make at another day. He stated that they deserve an opportunity to have the Board have that information.
In response to Commr. Cadwell regarding the DRI process with the Regional Planning Council, Mr. Richey stated that they have a hearing on June 21, 2006. Mr. Richey stated that they did their first round and provided information but did not go through the second round because they met with everybody individually. Mr. Richey stated that they met with Orange County last week and they are meeting with DOT to continue discussions to get those issues resolved before June 21.
COMMENTS BY THE BOARD
There being no further public comment, Commr. Hanson closed the public hearing, reserving comments to the Board.
Commr. Pool stated that he has had the privilege of serving for 26 continuous years, on the Clermont City Council, as Mayor of the City of Clermont and as County Commissioner. He stated that, in looking back at the overall development in south Lake County, the County experienced terrible freezes during the 1980s. He stated that Lake County lost 110,000 acres of groves in one decade, hence, Kings Ridge, Summit Greens, Horizon West and The Legends, all on previously zoned agricultural property. He stated that Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Publix, the college, the hospital and the national training center all were groves zoned agriculture. He stated that has brought change and economic prosperity and an all-time low unemployment rate of 2.6%. He explained that the Kings Ridge project was approved by the County Commission and annexed by the City. He stated that Lake County is anticipated to have an additional 200,000 to 250,000 people in 25 years, that Lake County’s population has doubled every 20 years since 1948 and is now 270,000. He stated that it is the Board’s responsibility to ensure they provide housing, job opportunities, schools, recreation and transportation. He stated that Lake County will change. Commr. Pool stated that, if we can put the proper density in its proper place today, the future will take care of itself and tomorrow will be a bright tomorrow. He stated that, after all the six-county region is developed in five to ten to twenty-five years, Lake County will still have the lowest population in the area. He stated that he would far rather build out at some better densities today, maybe 2.7 units per acre overall, than what may be a hodgepodge at four, five and eight units to the acre. He stated that there are 44,000 units across the Orange County line, a big difference from 5,000 units. He stated that, if he could be promised that development would not take place on that site in the next 25 years, he would say let’s do away with it. He stated that he knows things will happen. He stated that opportunities like this do not come along every day. He stated that he honestly believes that, if we do it right today, we will be far better off than doing it wrong tomorrow. Commr. Pool stated that the room was packed all day long for people in adamant opposition to Pine Island (now Bella Collina) and, today, that will be the number one, premier project in all of Central Florida. He stated that he is proud of that vote and in five, ten and twenty-five years he will know we took the right stand. He stated that someone has to have vision for the future. Commr. Pool stated that the things we do today can benefit us tomorrow whether we recognize it or not.
Commr. Stivender stated that she agrees with most of Commr. Pool’s comments and that she too was born in Lake County. She stated that everyone knew Lake County would change. She stated that this is a planned development and staff, the State and everyone has their hands around it. She stated that it has the principles that Commr. Hanson has been pushing, the smart growth. She stated that no one wants the growth. She stated that they are building commercial in front of her subdivision and she is not happy but she knew it was going to be there because it was on the plan when she moved there. She stated that if she does not like it she will move. She stated that schools are an issue we have been challenged with the last four years and they are going to build the schools in this project and they are going to help with the high school. She stated that these are requirements as part of their development order which goes to DCA. DCA will tell us if we are right or wrong. She stated that DCA sends those comments back and it is up to us what we do from there. She stated that this development has green space, the passive, the employment base and it is not just a hodgepodge subdivision like the one she lives in. She stated that it is a community that helps take care of itself and she thinks they have done a great job.
Commr. Cadwell stated that, normally, development order time is when the type of rules and regulations are put in to say exactly what will happen with a project. He stated that the political atmosphere prohibits that because of the lack of trust folks have in government in general. He stated that, for us to say we will take care of it the next time it comes before us, folks do not believe us for a second. He stated that the timing of this project concerns him more than anything else. He stated that we are in the comprehensive plan process, we are asking the community what they want to do and we are setting our goals for 2025. He stated that this project’s density is a real concern for him. He stated that the transportation corridor is tempting because of the need but the things we would have to give up to get that concern him. He stated that the schools are in a crisis. He stated that, because we are going through the comprehensive plan process, DCA will get this and, privately at least, say, “are you kidding me? Get your comp plan done and then we will start taking care of these types of things.” He thinks the timing could not be worse for this project. He agreed with Commr. Pool that something, not one unit to five acres, will be there. He stated that, in talking to citizens in the County, their heads are spinning at the rate we are going. He stated that, while we will not stop growth, we can certainly control the pace a little bit. He thinks we can do that by slowing down some of these projects that have been moving forward. He stated that the City of Clermont’s elected body, the School Board’s elected body, and the Water Authority’s elected body are asking the Board to wait and that it is too early, too premature. He thinks it is hard to ignore those folks. Commr. Cadwell stated that the line for Clermont’s JPA (Joint Planning Area) is the north end of this property, but, in the spirit of the JPA, he does not think anyone was going to ignore what happens on either side of the line. He reiterated that the timing is not right and we need to slow it down. He stated that, if they want to come back once the comprehensive plan is finished, and hearing some of the concerns today maybe make it a better project, it might be something the Board would consider, but not today.
Commr. Hill stated that she tried to discuss this with Mr. Richey during the break and she understands his concern that it could be two years before it should come back to the Board. She stated that she thinks it is very premature. She does not understand DCA allowing this to be transmitted, and evaluating it, under Lake County’s current comprehensive plan, when we are so close to having our re-write of the new comprehensive plan. She understands the comprehensive plan will be going to the Local Planning Agency this month and probably be adopted by the end of this year. She stated that it does not make sense to be going through this exercise today. In reading the whole book on this project, she stated that she feels the County needs a complete financial analysis to see if the County can meet the public service levels being talked about without additional tax burdens to the citizens. She stated that she did not see anything in the planning or the book about the solid waste aspect, that capacity, and how we will deal with that major impact. She expressed concern about the traffic analysis because it looks like we are amending our five-year plan again. She stated that it did not address who will pay for the acquisition of the right of way and where the TRIP funding would come from. She stated that she would hope these things would be addressed further in the process.
Commr. Hanson stated that she thinks this is a very good attempt at a good planned community and the conservation of water and energy and the low impact development were addressed, which is critical for the whole County. She stated that schools, jobs, maybe not the diversity of jobs, trails, walkable communities and a town center were addressed. She thinks we have to realize that what we are doing currently with the comprehensive plan is not working. She stated that our comprehensive plan is based purely on density and we will continue to get exactly what we have always gotten if we keep doing it the same way. She thinks it is extremely important to look at more innovative ways of planning and, to be able to do that, we need to look at the big picture, more than an 80-acre or a 100-acre subdivision. She stated that is how Clermont happened, other than the larger scale developments mentioned by Commr. Pool. She stated that when people mention what they do not like about Clermont, it is all the small developments that have creeped in. She stated that they creeped in over the years because we did not have a bigger picture study and because we looked at each one individually. She stated that we know more now than we knew 15 or 20 years ago as far as development goes and we can base our decisions on history. She stated that we can do much more to protect the environment and create more of a community the larger the tract is. She stated that we need to, with larger tracts, see the actual set aside of the open space and she did not see that here. She thinks moving from rural to urban expansion is a big jump and, once this happens, there will be others. She stated that one criteria must be at least 50% open space. She stated that we need to see that throughout the County but particularly when moving from rural to urban expansion.
Commr. Hanson stated that she recognizes that five-acre tracts throughout the County are probably the worst kind of rural sprawl that we can have and there is no sense of community with large acreages of five-acre tracts. She stated that does not mean there is not a place for five-acre tracts but 800 or 1,000 acres of five-acre tracts becomes very fragmented and very difficult to work with in the future and very difficult to have wildlife corridors. She suggested that a small area study should be done using the boundaries of SR 50 to US 192 and Orange County to US 27, looking at what has been and is still to be developed, looking at the transportation corridors that can be created, looking at the open spaces that can be put together and creating contiguous corridors with a park system. She knows the project needs more employment opportunities and larger amounts of property should be set aside for the high-end commerce park. There should be some light industry. She stated that we know clustered development can be very effective in conserving water usage and we need to continue to talk about that point. She thinks it is premature and we need more work to go with the project but she thinks there is a lot of benefit that can be gained by moving forward with this project, improving some of the ideas. She stated that this is not a political vote. She stated that she has never voted for a large scale land use amendment since being on the Board while her fellow Commissioners have. She knows that, once the door is opened, many, many changes occur. She stated that this project can set the standard for what happens in the rest of the area and she thinks that is why we need to look at it very carefully. She stated that, if there are changes in the meantime, it should go back to the LPA, letting them do the changes in the comprehensive plan. She thinks the comprehensive plan needs to be changed and we need to look at the area around Horizon West, an area that is urbanizing with the possibility of transition to the west. She thinks the LPA could look at that and come back with some recommendations to the Board. She stated that she appreciates the LPA’s courage to move the project to the Board because it shows that they understand that we need to look at a better way of planning. She stated that we do need to look more progressively at some of these issues. She stated that she appreciates her fellow Commissioners embracing some of these strategies. She stated that, if we do not look at clustering and the smaller amount of land that higher density can take up and the larger amounts of open space that can be created around it, we will again get what we have always had. She thinks that there are some lessons to be learned and she thinks it is a good project but she thinks it can be better.
Commr. Pool stated that he will take credit for The Legends and Summit Greens, which he did as Clermont’s Mayor, but he had no say in everything else around Clermont. He stated that things did happen in our community that he did not agree with. He stated that is why he came here to ensure that, as we grow and develop, it is done correctly. He stated that this is an opportunity. He stated that he sees it is three to two in opposition for transmittal.
Commr. Pool asked staff, in the event transmittal is denied today, if it is over as far as having the Regional Planning Council’s review or comments of what they might want to see as a regional impact.
Ms. Stricklin stated that she would imagine that the regional review would stop and that would be the decision of the applicant at this point. Since the concurrent land use map amendment is not going forward, she would imagine the regional review would stop.
Commr. Pool agreed with Commr. Cadwell that we are on the verge of a new comprehensive plan adoption and a new comprehensive plan future land use map. He stated that, from what he can tell, things are going to change on the landscape. But, if the comprehensive plan is approved in three months, six months or a year, he asked if that will be an opportunity to take a good look at future developments as the new comprehensive plan is approved.
Ms. Stricklin agreed that the applicant would have an opportunity to receive a new proposal once the new comprehensive plan is in place.
Commr. Pool asked if that would be in the event we adopt a plan in six months or if they need to wait one year. He stated that the maximum density would be 5,200 units and asked if all we could do once it comes back, if we chose, is lower the density.
Commr. Cadwell stated that this is not quasi-judicial, it is legislative, and they can bring this back tomorrow if they want to.
Commr. Pool stated that he wants to make sure that he is not prohibiting them from bringing back a good project at the right density. He remarked that the original conversation was 7,000 units and that he suggested that 5,000 was probably a better number. He thinks we need to lower those densities and continue to go forward with these good plans. He stated that this is a good plan, it may be premature, but he does not think it is that premature and that is the key.
Ms. Stricklin explained that the chief difference, if it were brought back under the new future land use map, is that it would no longer be a request for urban expansion but would be a request for a new future land use category under the new map.
Commr. Pool stated that he is not in a vacuum and that the Board works as a team. He stated that, if he thought we could leave this green forever, he would say let’s go for it but something is going to happen and the key is that it needs to be done correctly, at the right density, and it will take care of itself.
On a motion by Commr. Pool, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously, by a vote of 5-0, the Board overturned the recommendation of the Lake County Local Planning Agency and denied transmittal, at this time, of LPA#06/3/1-2, Karl Corporation, et al, Kieran J. Kilday, Kilday & Associates, Tracking No. 11-06-LPA.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.
CATHERINE C. HANSON, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK