NOVEMBER 9, 2007

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special session on Friday, November 9, 2007, at 1:00 p.m., in Training Room 233, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Elaine Renick; and Linda Stewart.  Others present were Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk; and Ellie McDonald, Deputy Clerk.  Commissioner Debbie Stivender was absent due to illness.


On a motion by Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, seconded by Commr. Hill, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the Office of Budget’s request for Year-End Budget Transfers in the amount $1,282,252.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the request of the Sheriff’s Office for Year-End Budget Transfers in the amount $783,784.00.


Ms. Angie Thompson, Impact Fee Coordinator, discussed with the Board an Impact Fee Public Hearing to be held at 5:05 p.m., December 11, 2007, following the regular Board Meeting.  It was a general consensus of the Commissioners to agree to that date and time.



Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that she met with the Employee Advisory Committee and would recommend to the Board that they have two toy drives similar to last year, which were “Toys for Tots,” an organization that accepts new toys, and the “Giving Toy Box”, which was a toy drive with the First Baptist Church of Umatilla that accepts nice used toys.  She stated they would like to feature this toy drive at their holiday breakfast and requested approval for the County-wide Toy Drive Campaign.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Ms. Cindy Hall, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the County-wide Toy Drive Campaign consisting of “Toys for Tots” and “Giving Toy Box” for the Employee Advisory Committee to be held at their Holiday Breakfast.



Commr. Stewart reported to the Board that she had attended the Scenic Byway Advisory Meeting and in late November, they were going to present an Ordinance to the Marion County Commission asking them to include loops and spurs in the Ordinance other than just SR 19 and SR 40 which would give Lake County access to federal dollars that otherwise would not be available because loops and spurs are not included.  She asked for approval to write a letter of support stating that the Board approves the inclusion of loops and spurs in the Ordinance.

On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Hill, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved an addition to the agenda regarding the Scenic Byway Ordinance to include loops and spurs.

            On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick, and carried unanimously by a vote of 4-0, the Board approved the request of Commr. Stewart to write a letter supporting the inclusion of loops and spurs in the Scenic Byway Ordinance to be presented to the Marion County Commission in late November 2007.



            Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, stated that he had previously sent to all the Commissioners a letter received from the attorney for Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) wanting to begin negotiation.  He reported that they coordinated a phone conference yesterday with the cities, their attorneys and their managers and some of their consultants and that one of the outgrowths of that is that the cities are interested in exploring with OUC reclaimed water. He reported that they are going to move toward their December 11 or 12 alliance meeting to talk about how they are going pay for it and requested Mr. Minkoff send a letter back to OUC stating Lake County is interested in talking and to request a meeting be set for January and the cities would take it over at that point.  It was a general consensus of the Board for Mr. Minkoff to write OUC stating the County’s interest in reclaimed water and requesting a meeting in January.


Ms. Angie Thompson, Impact Fee Coordinator, requested a time certain for the November 20, 2007, Impact Fee Workshop in order for the School Board to advertise same.  The Board discussed timing of the workshop and set the workshop for 1:00 p.m. on November 20, 2007, noting that there would be no public input.



Ms. Carol Stricklin, AICP, Director, Department of Growth Management, opened the presentation for the Department by stating they would be informing the Board of the work they perform and how they serve the citizens of Lake County.  By way of introduction, Ms. Stricklin stated that the Administration Division consists of herself, Ms. Amye King, Deputy Director, and Ms. Brenda DeMartino, Assistant.  She explained that the Impact Fee Program and Environmental Lands Program are housed within the Administration Division.

Ms. Stricklin mentioned that in terms of managing the department, departmental priorities are set and that they are the conduit between their staff, the County Manager and the Board.  She commented that they set the budget for the Department and also work on intergovernmental relations, noting that Ms. King works with a number of the cities and other agencies on land use and planning maps, as well as regional presence.  She reported that she has set a goal to raise the profile of Lake County in the region.

Ms. Stricklin stated that their priorities are customer service, completion of the Comprehensive Plan, and partnering with other Departments to look at financial feasibility, concurrency and capital improvements.

Ms. Amye King, Deputy Director of Growth Management, introduced the Division Directors as they began their presentations.


Ms. Angie Thompson, Impact Fee Coordinator, reported that the Impact Fee Program consists of road, education, fire and rescue, and library impact fees.  She stated that two employees make up the Impact Fee Program, herself and Mr. Ed O’Malley, Impact Fee Technician.  She reported that the Impact Fee budget was less than $135,000 and was primarily made up of salaries and benefits.  She explained that operating expenses consisted of about 7 percent, and those expenses cover the contract they have in place for reviewing studies, getting legal opinions and ongoing consultations for issues that come up throughout the year.  She stated that they have funds programmed for additional staff to assist for prepayment rushes, for continuing education as available, and customer service training for the impact fee technician.  She noted they have administrative costs for printing prepayment certificates, providing staff support for the impact fee committee, and money for ITE Manuals for commercial impact fee calculations.  When impact fees are collected, she stated the County retains 3 percent of those fees for administrative costs, noting that for Fiscal Year 2007 through the end of August that amount was approximately $280,000.  She stated that the cities retain 3 percent of what they collect for the County for their collection costs.

Mr. Ed O’Malley, Impact Fee Technician, explained the duties of their Division which consisted of improving internal and external customer service and plan reviews in CDPlus, by daily reviewing all residential permits to assess impact fees that may or may not be due on a particular application which gives them the opportunity to apply impact fees to the proper accounts, as well as performing a similar process on all commercial permits on a weekly basis as there are fewer commercial impact fees than residential.  Calendar year-to-date, Mr. O’Malley informed the Board that they have reviewed approximately 2700 applications for impact fees for permits and roughly 2500 of those were residential.  He stated that another responsibility of their division was to ensure that the residential concurrency accounts are updated to reflect credits and allowable permits and to monitor the residuals for the remaining credits due.  He mentioned that they also make certain that prepayment certificates that have been presented have been applied appropriately and have been documented in the prepayment database.  With respect to municipality tracking, Mr. O’Malley explained that of the fourteen municipalities in Lake County, thirteen of those currently collect or issue their own permits and assess their own impact fees.  He specified that the impact fees due to the County were remitted on a monthly basis to Finance and were then given to the Impact Fee Division to be reviewed for accuracy to ensure proper land uses have been applied to the various permits, and if discrepancies are found, they work with their counterparts in the municipalities for their resolution.  He further explained the payments and permits are tracked in a separate database which they maintain.  For interest allocation, he stated they also track the interest income from the impact fee accounts on a monthly basis which they document by district.  He noted that as low income and very low income waiver check requests are completed and approved, the accounts are debited appropriately.  He mentioned that they monitor the Lake County impact fee pages of the Lake County website on an ongoing basis for accuracy.  He further stated that they monitor local and state news to find items of interest with respect to impact fees in Lake and other counties to obtain the temperament of Lake County’s customer base.

Ms. Thompson stated that in addition to the information Mr. O’Malley presented that he was also going to be taking on the recording responsibilities for the Impact Fee Committee including taking minutes for those meetings.  She stated that Mr. O’Malley’s position allowed her to work on administrative duties such as ordinance interpretation and application and administration, stating their division works very closely with the County Attorney’s office for proper interpretation of Ordinances and running the Impact Fee Program.  She explained that she is the primary coordinator for impact fee studies, serving as a liaison for other departments and agencies to get them processed and completed.  She went on to say that concurrency management is a large part of the Division’s responsibility, making sure the concurrency reservation fees are appropriately applied to the transportation impact fee as a credit at the time of permitting.  She mentioned that they also have the same type of accounts for Public Works Road Credits (PWRC) files, which are the tracking files they set up when the Board passes a Developer Agreement.  She stated that she handles the refund, waiver and deferral programs and works with the Board, Community Services and the IDA on those projects, noting that procedures were being written to ensure better customer service.  She commented that she performs estimates and credit calculations to ensure customers are not paying more than they should.  She further stated that everything presented to the Board was prepared by the Administration office.

Ms. Thompson introduced new approaches for improving customer service, one of which was a frequently asked questions section on the impact fee page of the website, and another was a Benefit District GIS Layer located on the website zoning map and explained that by entering an alternate key number for a certain property, it will indicate which road benefit and park benefit district the subject parcel was found.  She stated that in the future, due to changes in the Ordinances, they would like to hold an impact fee roundtable with the municipalities collecting fees for the County to ensure everyone is on the same page with how the changes affect them and how they run the program.  She explained that they are looking toward having a centralized prepayment process and reported that there is an Administrative Ordinance coming before the Board before the end of the year containing language which adds payments back in and to streamline that process keeping it in-house, which would make it easier for people to accomplish their goal.


Mr. David Hansen, Public Lands Manager, reported that they have closed on 8 properties ranging in size from 8.5 acres, for use as a combined preservation and storm water project, up to 800 acres of green swamp; they have partnered on a large acquisition, the Neighborhood Lakes in the Eastern part of the County; and have given a grant to the City of Clermont for a property on Lake Minneola.  He also mentioned they have one property donated, the lake bottoms in Mt. Plymouth and currently have 37 properties under consideration.  He explained the workings of the program by stating that when an application is submitted, the application goes under a stringent review process by reviewing the application, visiting the site, compiling a staff evaluation, and using a GIS parcel based evaluation model which assesses water resources, environmentally sensitive lands, and passive recreation opportunities before being reviewed by the Public Land Acquisition Advisory Council.  He then stated that when they receive a recommendation on a piece of property, appraisals are obtained and are compared to the asking price on the property and if possible, they will make an offer on the property.  He commented that after a contract is entered into with the property owner, they obtain a survey of the property; an environmental assessment to rule out any potential for contamination on the site, and assessment of the trees, vegetation, the fauna onsite for future restoration or management work, and make sure the property has a clear title.  They then request Board approval to acquire the property, and if approved, they close on the property.  Mr. Hansen explained that some of the properties that have fragile eco-systems are purely conservation while other properties lend themselves very well to passive recreation with opportunities for hiking, picnicking, bird watching and things of that nature.

Commr. Renick commented that the County owned 37 properties and had reached the point where citizens calling in to offer property for acquisition by the County should be informed to submit their application, but at the present time the County is not acquiring land, but that their application will be kept on file for future possibilities.


Mr. Brian Sheahan, AICP, Director, stated that the Division has a broad array of responsibilities, including environmental, growth, economic and planning issues, and had many tools to fulfill those responsibilities by having a landscape architect, a GIS manager, an architect, many planners , as well as administrative staff and developmental review staff to assist them.  He noted that the planners, Mr. Rick Hartenstein, Ms. Stacy Allen, and Ms. Karen Rosick, were responsible for reviewing applications  for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations; drafting the 2025 Comprehensive Plan; and Amendments to Land Development Regulations.  He reported that they have reviewed over 350 applications this year, including Comprehensive Plan Amendments and were basically on a moratorium on Comprehensive Plan Amendments until they complete the proposed Comprehensive Plan.

Ms. Karen Ginsberg, Senior Planner, stated that planners perform various tasks, such as providing customer service to answer questions of the public relating to development options on their property; educating and involving them with the application process; reviewing their site plans and plats for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Regulations and any relevant ordinances; evaluating rezoning and conditional use permits for consistency; and taking approved, or denied, recommendations to the Zoning Board and then to the County Commissioners.

Mr. Francis Franco, GIS Project Manager, explained that he provides spatial analysis for planning projects using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), technical expertise in automating planning, zoning and environmental analysis, combining the various layers that the GIS employees produce, superimposing them over each other and analyzing them.  He related that the GIS produces an output that the planners can review and recommend to the various bodies of the planning agency and to the Board.  He then offered a power point presentation of how the GIS produces layers using various data applications. He stated this process allows the planners to perform more administrative tasks as opposed to dealing with technicalities and intricacies of GIS.

Mr. Grant Wenrick, Landscape Architect, explained that his main task was to review landscape plans, administer the tree removal permits, and to update the landscape LDRs and tree removal permits.  He explained that in reviewing landscape plans they have developed a 28 question checklist, and that he answers questions from residents who call in about landscaping. As part of the review, he coordinates with Code Enforcement who take the landscape plans with them to be sure items are installed to the proper specifications and then go back 11 months after the landscaping is complete to assure the items are living.  This gives the developer a chance to go to the contractor to seek replacements under the one-year warranty on landscaping, which is a very proactive approach to landscape review and enforcement.  He stated that he is also responsible for administering tree removal permits, and to date there have been 65 tree removal permits beginning January 1, which represents 9,000 tree removals in the County.  He noted if they were replanted, it would result in a $5 million impact on the trees that were removed, noting that the builder is required to replace one-third of those.  He commented that he updates the LDRs and tree removal permits, and rather than have a quantity based system, they are working on replacing tree quality, trying to increase the character and preserve more in Lake County.  He went on to say in relation to updating the LDRs, Chapter 9, that they are in the process of improving the landscape in Lake County, preserving the lakes and the water, and are working towards implementing Florida friendly landscape standards in order to reduce the use of turf types and reduce water usage.  He mentioned that the updates with landscape development are going before the LPA at the end of the month, and it will come to the Board for consideration.

Karen Ginsberg, Planner/Architect, stated that she performs the same tasks as the other planners, but also provides design expertise which includes reviewing ordinances to make sure the design complies with the ordinance, noting that they currently do not have design regulations for Lake County as a whole.  In addition to her other responsibilities, Ms. Ginsberg commented that she would be working with staff to draft design guidelines for submittal to the County Commissioners for implementation.   Ms. Ginsberg distributed a brochure entitled “Spatial & Architectural Design” to educate readers on quality design practices and wise practices for our community.  She further stated that she had served as staff coordinator for the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Planning Advisory Committee by organizing meetings and assisting committee members.

Ms. Jennifer Myers, Development Review Supervisor, informed the Board that the Development Review Staff consists of two full time and two part-time office associates, Ms. Rosemary Martin, Ms. Deborah Parker, Ms. Kelly Messer and Ms. Krista Wright.  She stated that they are the main contact for people who have an interest in development in Lake County, whether by phone or at the counter, and that they make it their goal to provide the best customer service by checking the website, providing information and directing them to the proper person to answer a question.  She reported that they accept all applications and ensure that they are distributed throughout the County to be reviewed by the appropriate staff, noting that the review is not always just in the Planning and Community Design Division, but that Public Works, Zoning, Public Services, Solid Waste and Emergency Management also play a big role.  She explained that a development review meeting is scheduled every other Thursday with the applicant to review staff comments, noting that the DRS agenda and staff comments are posted on the Division’s County website.  She commented that it is important to know that the Development Review Staff not only processes applications for planning, but also assist the customers making the connection to other staff departments and agencies.

Mr. Sheahan referred to the slide presentation and named those shown as Ms. Sherry Ross, Ms. Donna Bohrer, and Ms. Ann Corson, who are the Division’s Hearing Coordinators.  He stated that the Hearing Coordinators publish notices making sure all legal requirements are met, create meeting minutes and prepare agendas for the Zoning Board as well as the local planning agencies and Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Advisory Committee and ensure that all the administrative needs of the Division are met from greeting customers to ordering supplies and paying invoices.  He mentioned that his Administrative Assistant, Ms. Joan Greany, was not pictured on the presentation.

Mr. Sheahan explained that an added function of his Division was the Emergency Operations Center Support, and his division provided over 420 hours to the citizens of Lake County during the Groundhog Day tornadoes.  He reported that he and Ms. Anita Greiner are the Planning Section Chiefs for the EOC, and many of his staff work with Ms. Terrie Diesbourg at the Communication Center.  He stated that the Division’s customer service initiative is to simplify the development review process and provide training to ensure the public is provided accurate and consistent information. With the approval of the Board, they have brought in an Environmental Specialist position which will greatly expedite their ability to review applications and work with the Information Technology Department to implement technology in order to speed up applications by digitizing records making them easily accessible.


Ms. Terrie Diesbourg, Director of Zoning, displayed the current Zoning maps which were very old and worn, and explained the project for replacement of the old maps.  She stated that the Zoning Division is the entry point to the development permit process for Lake County.  She stated that they interact with the citizens, and their goal is to provide the best customer service possible.  She mentioned that the customer service specialists, one of whom is Ms. Kathy Chaudoin, must be able to multitask by greeting people, asking questions, answering questions and inputting information into Lobby User, all while manning the phones.  She commented that last year they logged in close to 33,000 people in the Lobby User, in addition to answering over 48,000 phone calls.

Ms. Renee Hull, Customer Service Representative, explained the duties of her position stating that she meets new people daily, logs them into Lobby User, guides them to the correct department, makes sure they have all information needed to obtain a zoning clearance or building permit, as well as other projects as assigned.

Ms. Diesbourg informed the Board that in 2007, the Division issued 4,393 zoning clearances.  By way of the slide presentation, she introduced Ms. Natali Trejo, Associate Planner Trainee, Ms. Debby Rosenmund and Ms. Mickie Schwartz, both of whom are Associate Planners and Ms. Lorena McCarroll, Associate Planner Trainee.  She stated that in addition to all the other permits, they also issue variances and have completed 139 this year.

Ms. Anita Greiner, Chief Planner, stated they are responsible for presenting cases before the Board of Adjustment, consisting of seven board members appointed by the Commission, who serve four year terms. She commented that the meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m., and the Board of Adjustment was authorized to grant variances to Land Development Regulations, but are not authorized to grant variances to anything that is inconsistent with the Lake County Comprehensive Plan or to any uses that are not permitted in the zoning district.  She stated that the Board of Adjustment has the ability to condition a variance, and that those conditions become land development regulation; if there are violations to the conditions they would be handled by the Code Enforcement Division. She reported that they receive applications at the zoning counter and check them to be sure that proof has been submitted showing the application has met the intent of the Code and a substantial hardship or that the Land Development Regulation creates a violation of principles of fairness. Once proven, she can recommend approval of the variance request.  She mentioned that they present the cases before the Board of Adjustment, who make the final determination and an appeal of the decision must be done in Circuit Court.

Mr. Paul Simmons, Planner, stated he processes all of the lot splits which come through the Zoning Division and that the County currently has provisions for three types of lot splits – the minor lot split, the family lot split and the agricultural lot split – noting that each of these splits have different attributes which make them useful in certain situations.  He commented that the agricultural lot split was useful for someone who had a large tract of land and wanted to divide it into 40 acre parcels, which is as small as you can go on agricultural lot splits, and reduce the size of their land to make it more manageable, or are allowed to grant the parcels as an inheritance to someone.  He explained that the family density exception was useful to someone who had an ascending or descending family member 18 years of age who intended to build a home within a year of performing the lot split, noting that the split has deed restrictions placed on it which restrict the sale or lease of the land immediately after the lot split is performed.  He commented that the minor lot split allows the creation of two parcels from the original parent parcel and these lots must run on a publicly maintained road and must meet all applicable regulations from Lake County Land Development Regulations.

Commr. Renick questioned how follow-up of these splits was maintained to be sure someone was not abusing the process by selling the property before the five year ownership term had expired.

Ms. Greiner explained that when a family lot split is performed, they record a final development order and also record deed restrictions in the Public Records of Lake County so that when someone closes on the property they know that they are not allowed to sell the property for five years from the date of closing.

Mr. Minkoff stated that this creates a title defect and often new lenders will not loan on the property because they see it as a violation.  He commented that when a violation occurs, they usually will go back to the Variance Board because someone is trying to get a variance on that restriction.

Ms. Diesbourg mentioned staff members shown on the slide presentation who were Ms. Shelia Short, Senior Planner; Ms. Karen Chester, Associate Planner; and Ms. Anna Ely, Public Hearing Coordinator who handles all the public hearing duties for the Board of Adjustment and also backs up the Customer Service Representatives as needed.  She stated that the Zoning Division provided 564 hours of assistance to the Emergency Operations Center in February during the Groundhog Day tornadoes.  She commented that Ms. Greiner is the Planning Section Chief and assisting her from the Zoning Division were Mr. Paul Simmons, Ms. Lorena McCarroll and Ms. Natali Trejo.  Ms. Diesbourg stated that she and Janie Barron are supervisors from the message center and when the EOC is activated, the message center must be manned 24 hours a day in addition to their 40-hour per week job.

Ms. Diesbourg commented that the new approach to customer service would include informing realtors as to Land Development Regulations, enabling them to provide better information to citizens purchasing land.  She stated that she and Ms. Greiner taught 14 informational classes to 257 people, the majority of which were comprised of realtors.  She mentioned that Ms. Sheila Short inputs new subdivisions into Log User in CDPlus, and this routes people to the Building Department, bypassing the Zoning counter.  She reported that they have been approved in the new budget process to upgrade three Associate Planner positions to Planner, stating that as the requirements for upgrade the Associate Planner must complete Level 1 Fundamentals of Code Enforcement, Zoning Inspection Certification Test, and must have been an Associate Planner for three years.  She reported that they are moving forward with online permitting which will allow citizens to complete an application online, scan in their site plan and email to Zoning their whole package which can be paid online with a credit card.  She commented that they have been working on the recognized parcel layer since 2005 and mentioned that GIS has converted 27,384 documents into the GIS layer, creating parcels, and have scanned 39,571 pages which are attached to those documents allowing Zoning to convert from paper maps to digital maps.  By using the recognized parcel layer, citizens of Lake County will eventually be able to pull up their parcel and see all the history of their property.

Ms. Janie Barron, Associate Planner, demonstrated the recognized parcel layer process on the computer, showing the technique of searching through this database.  She explained that searches can be made by using addresses, alternate key numbers, parcel identification number, owner’s name, subdivision name, Section, Township or Range.  She then went through the process adding layers one at a time which reflected everything around the property, easements, developments, boundaries, and roads.  She stated that the customer can draw a site plan of how they wished to develop the property.  By using this site plan and the process, Ms. Barron stated that they could visualize what can be done with the site plan and approve setbacks or rearrange the site plan to meet requirements and apply for a variance if needed.


Mr. Dale Greiner, Building Director, stated that they verify what is being done with respect to the Building Code of the State of Florida.  He reviewed several sections of the Florida Statutes, noting that Section 553, part 4 is the Building Code itself and the Fire Prevention Code, how they are interrelated and how the differences are handled.  He stated that the first chapter in the Code is the Administrative section which can be altered by the Counties, noting that a couple of exemptions from the Code are railroads and non-residential farm buildings on farm land.  He reported that Section 553.74 addresses the Florida Building Commission and its creation, its organization and its powers, both general and specific and is a 23 member board appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida, of which he is a member.  He stated his membership benefits Lake County by knowing exactly when the Code will be changed.  He explained that this Board adopts rules, enters into contracts, adopts and updates the Florida Building Code, issues Declaratory Statements, is part of the Florida Fire Code Advisory Council, determines the types of products that can be used statewide and provides technical assistance and education.  He called attention to the Code by exhibiting the four books comprising the Code used in 1991 and compared those four books to several volumes of books presently used, specifically Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Energy Accessibility, and Fire.  He reported that the Florida Building Code came into play after Hurricane Andrew noting that the next code change in the three year cycle is 2007 and is set to be effective October 1, 2008.  He further stated that the only people who are allowed to interpret the Code are the Building officials and the Florida Building Commission.

Mr. Greiner explained that Section 553.79 addresses permitting, applications, issuance, plan review and inspection requirements of the Code and that the Building official is unable to issue a permit unless he has made sure it has gone through these plan reviews.  He continued by explaining that Section 553.79 states that the actual building official has to issue a permit for a single family residence within 30 days after receiving the applications, reporting that Lake County Building Department issues single family residence permits within 3 weeks 70 percent of the time, if the application is sufficient.  They also work with applicants who have deficient applications.

Mr. Greiner reported that Section 553.80 was the area allowing the establishment of fees and all that non-expended balances have to be transferred year to year.  The fee structure for the Building Department is not part of the general fund, but rather a separate fund supporting itself and is based on square footage.  He also stated that these funds can only be spent on the enforcement of the Florida Building Code and cannot be used on Planning and Zoning, inspections of public buildings at a reduced fee, programs not related to the enforcement of the Florida Building Code, enforcement and implementation of any other ordinance, and an accounting must be provided for oversight practices.

Ms. Carmen Carroll, Office Manager, stated that the administration team manages the daily operation and administration of the Building Division, establishes workflow, policy and procedures between permitting plan review and inspection, and works closely with contractors and property owners to establish positive approaches to customer service using the current statutes, ordinances and technology.  She commented that they prepare the Building Services quarterly newsletters, do billing, and give informative presentations onsite and offsite with regard to licensing, permitting and inspections, and manage the Division’s web pages.  She had Ms. Tracey Isbill demonstrate the web permit look-ups, which will inform the person if a permit has been issued and who the contractor was, and will connect to the Property Appraiser’s website for GIS mapping.  She mentioned that they work closely with EOC by having their inspectors in the field assessing the event for the citizens.  She noted that they have an emergency plan in place with permitting and plan reviewers stationed at mobile locations to assist people so they do not have to drive in for permits and information, and also prepare location maps of the damaged areas, working very closely with the Property Appraiser’s office to make sure all affected areas and citizens have been located and assisted.  She explained that they also oversee CDPlus software maintenance and security, specifying that this software is used by Zoning, Planning and Community Design, Public Works, Code Enforcement, Solid Waste Assessment, and Fire Assessment; coordinate and perform updates and information for the Divisions as needed; and have a team member who trains new users in the navigation of the CDPlus software.

Ms. Tracey Isbill, Permitting Specialist, performs training for the Building Division for the Permitting Specialists.  She stated that a Permitting Specialist is divided into six different sections which creates a customer friendly flow, and those sections are:  intake, where customers are greeted and assisted with forms and submittals that are needed to begin their permitting process along with the assigning them an application number; data processing verifies accuracy of all documents and compiles the legal documents obtained from various agencies, verifies the completeness of the plan reviews by all the departments, calculates the fees and any other applicable fees; expert permitting where citizens submit their permit if they do not need a plan review, where the permit is processed and issued while they are waiting; scanning section, which scans all documents into the database and indexes each page into individual document type providing easy access for public records; phone center, which consists of specialists who are designated to answer incoming calls related to permitting requirements, scheduling inspections and answering any questions the customer has as well as processing applications which have been submitted on the internet; and cashiers, which handle the fees related to the permit and provide the customer with documents for the jobsite.  She explained that all six areas are cross-trained to provide daily customer service through guidance of the general public, contractors, and other agencies regarding permitting inspections; plan review; and contractor inquiries.

Mr. Skip Nemecek, Chief Plans Examiner, stated that almost every permit needs some type of plan review such as backyard decks, room additions, entire subdivisions, Publix Food Stores, and entire malls.  Mr. Nemecek had Mr. Greiner exhibit a 50-page roll of plans which have now been placed on a disk, noting that they have moved toward the electronic age with their plan review process, and have issued permits online.  To perform a review, Mr. Nemecek stated they would pull up all the plans sent to them by the FDEP (FTP) sites without using any paper, and they can respond, markup, and use the program itself to calculate measurements.  The examiners can then digitally sign them, lock them down so that they alone can print them, and a raised seal is placed on it.  He commented that this process saves paper and time.  He explained that for customer service, they have three different Divisions performing their plan review - over-the-counter express situation, residential group and commercial group by trades such as electric, building, plumbing, mechanical, and the fire team.  He stated that all examiners are licensed by the State; so the customer would deal with a person knowledgeable of their needs and obtain the correct answers.  He reported that the customer can do most of the review when they initially come in.

Mr. Greiner explained the inspection process after people have actually received the permit and are in the process of constructing a particular project.  He noted that the Plan Examiners, and the Building Officials are all licensed under Chapter 468.  He mentioned that all Lake County Inspectors are multi-disciplined, having knowledge of more than one category such as building, plumbing and electrical, versus some surrounding counties who have single discipline inspectors.  He then introduced the Chief Inspectors, Mr. Al Sikes, Mr. Ron Schwab, Mr. Jim Copenhaver, and Mr. Jay Dagner, all of whom are multi-disciplined, and noted that there are twelve inspectors in the field.  He stated that the inspectors perform all their inspections using blackberries which has eliminated paperwork, and that each inspector is sent to a zone where he is licensed for that inspection.

Mr. Tony Lopresto, Licensing Investigator, reported to the Board that Lake County currently has about 6,000 contractors on file, and the job of the Licensing Investigator is to ensure the licenses are current and that the contractors provide proof that they have insurance and other mandated documents.  He stated that they issue and accept licenses from surrounding counties.  He related that statutorily they do not have the authority to take certain actions against people; however, items related to the Building Code, fraud, theft, and abandonment, can be taken on by the Division, as prescribed through Florida Statutes 489, as well as Lake County Ordinance, Chapter 6.  He stated that annually they receive 200 complaints, some official and others simply inquiries which they try to mediate.  He reported that they have been successful in recovering thousands of dollars for consumers, but there are times when they have to refer cases to the Board of Examiners, which can impose fines, demand restitution, and suspend or revoke a contractor’s license.  He commented that they take a proactive approach in ascertaining whether contractors have permits for construction work being performed and whether they are licensed.  He reported that they work with numerous agencies, both State and local, such as the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, their Bureau of Investigative Services, the Department of Financial Services and the Department of Insurance, as well as having a good relationship with the local police departments and Sheriff’s office.


Mr. Ron Collodi, Director, stated that the Division consists of himself, Mr. Jim Wills, Chief Code Enforcement Officer; Mr. Lou Gisone, Code Enforcement Supervisor; six zone officers; three countywide officers; and an administrative staff of four employees.  He noted that Mr. Jimmy Kirby, Senior Code Enforcement Officer handles Conditional Use Permit inspections, checking them annually to bring them into compliance; unsafe housing and standard housing inspections for the Building Department; and performs commercial site inspections.  He explained that if someone makes an anonymous complaint by either calling or emailing Code Enforcement, that person will be informed as to what the Division can or cannot do.  He stated that if the case does not come into compliance it is sent for a hearing before a Special Magistrate who will set a compliance date, and if the compliance is not obtained, then he sets a daily fine becoming a lien, which is the property of the County.  He then described some of the common complaints relating to items on property within the County, including inoperable vehicles, old appliances, furniture, debris not stored in an enclosed structure, trash or garbage on the property, and oversized vehicles in excess of 12,000.

Mr. Collodi stated that when they find structures being built without permits during their inspection, they are reported to the Building Department and would be required to obtain a building permit.  He stated that any overgrown property on less than an acre shall not be allowed.  He explained that the Commercial Site Inspector is responsible for inspection of approved commercial construction projects, county roadways, storm water systems and other commercial construction projects.  He reported rather than cite someone for a violation due to Mother Nature, they coordinate with Emergency Management in the event of a natural disaster, and will perform safety inspections, obtain staff volunteers for call centers, and suspend normal Code Enforcement activity during that time period.

Mr. Collodi reported that they have some new approaches to customer service by decreasing initial inspections from 7-9 days down to 1-3 business days, reducing the time on Special Magistrate hearings from at least 210 days before being heard to 75 days or less, and by reducing the lien amount to a maximum of 50 percent from being 100 per cent complaint driven.  He commented that customer service is their main goal and that currently they work five days a week, eight hours a day, and pay overtime on weekends and Sundays, but starting next week they are going to an eleven hour shift, seven days a week, with no overtime, through alternative work schedules and working four days longer shifts.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.