OCTOBER 28, 2008

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners held a special joint meeting with the Umatilla City Council on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., in the Umatilla Council Chambers at 1 South Central, Umatilla, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were:  Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Debbie Stivender; Elaine Renick; and Linda Stewart.  City Council members present were:  Scott Purvis, President, David Adams, Vice President, Council Members Peter Tarby, Holly Curley, and Ralph Cadwell.  Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Glenn Irby, Umatilla City Manager; Doug Foster, Umatilla Police Chief; Richard Hatfield, Assistant Public Works Director, Umatilla; Karen Howard, CMC, Umatilla City Clerk; and Ellie McDonald, Deputy Clerk


Mr. Scott Purvis, President Umatilla City Council, welcomed everyone to the workshop with the Lake County Commissioners and had everyone introduce themselves.


Mr. Purvis led the Pledge Allegiance and Mayor Benita Dixon offered the invocation.


Mr. Glenn Irby, City Manager, called the roll.

Mr. Purvis noted that the meeting tonight was a workshop between the Umatilla City Council and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and they did not intend to open the floor to the public for comments or questions.


Commr. Welton Cadwell, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, stated that the first item of business was a discussion on North Lake Community Park.

Mr. Jim Stivender, Director of Public Works, presented everyone with a packet regarding the park noting that it was substantially complete.  He commented that at the present time they were working on the landscaping and watering the turf grass in order to establish a strong root system before opening.  He reported that the parking lots, hiking trails and multi-purpose trails were all complete and emphasized that they had planned to have a formal opening of certain facilities in February, and open the main fields in May.  He mentioned that the road was under construction and would be completed up to the Baker - Roger Giles intersection.  Once completed, he stated that they would come back to the intersection and remove the barricades from the old road by the latter part of next week.  He explained that they would be working on access to the park and that they should have everything in place for the opening in February.  He reported that the road was double surfaced with lime rock underneath and should remain healthy for 10-15 years before it needs to be overlaid.

Commr. Cadwell stated that the Parks and Recreation Maintenance Department would be housed at the park, and would work from that facility daily going to the other parks.  He mentioned that a Park Ranger would always be there.  He commented that Umatilla had an aggressive group putting together each and every sport and that he would like to work with the leagues to bring them under one umbrella.  He mentioned that Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks Director, had helped amend the Contract and by doing so provided funds for construction of the tennis and basketball courts in the first stage of development, rather than the second stage.  He explained that the night hours posted were tentative depending on the leagues.  He stated that the facility was beautiful and something to be proud of, and that he would be happy to give anyone a tour.

Mr. Purvis requested the name of a contact person for to give to groups wishing to access the park.

Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Bonilla would set that up once he gets the folks up there.

Mr. Stivender mentioned that they were coming to work with those groups right now and that coordination of groups, setting up schedules, and rotation schedules would be worked out between now and February.  He stated that as Commr. Cadwell brought up, the key was that they had parks crews moving up there now so there would be a full time staff.  He noted that they had one other site in Central Lake County and that this new site would be one of the main staff locations for everything to be housed from Astor to Tavares.

Commr. Cadwell stated that Mr. Bonilla runs the County’s Park System and knew how to put together parks and organizations to run the leagues.  He explained that all the fields were considered to be tournament level with two of the football fields already lighted.  He commented that most of the youth leagues play in daylight hours, but some of the soccer events occur in the evening.  He referred to the drawing of the park noting that the section noted as “Add Alternate” had been graded and would be an open field of grass where people could have large functions.  He explained that the reason no ball fields were placed there was because they wanted to see what fields were most needed.  He stated that they knew they needed a baseball and softball field, and were considering what other type fields would be needed besides soccer and football.  Since T-Ball does not require regulation fields, he commented that the grassy area could also be used for T-Ball by placing portable fencing around it.  He commented that once the leagues were formed and they know what is needed, they would grow accordingly as funds became available.  He referred to the large area by the parking lot which was intended for playground equipment in four or five different quadrants with small pavilions in the area for shade.  The back side of the area would house four large pavilions and would be another great gathering place for family reunions and could also be used by the leagues for such things as weigh-ins.  There will be an area provided for maintenance staff and another area for equipment storage for the local league.  He stated that some of the bleachers were already on the baseball fields and a few on the football and soccer fields.  He mentioned that the two regulation football fields were wired for scoreboards and hoped that the scoreboards would be donated.  He also stated that there would be a portable press box five or six feet off so announcements could be made from either field at the same time.

Mr. David Adams, Vice President, Umatilla City Council, asked what would be done with the south end of the Park.

Commr. Cadwell stated that right now it was to be used for water retention purposes, but that he and Mr. Bonilla had discussed creating a dog park for use during the dry season and for water retention in the rainy season.  He reported that the entire trail would be lit to provide opportunities to walk in the evenings.  He explained that the trail was approximately three miles long with mile markers placed every quarter mile, together with exercise equipment along the way.  He commented that all native vegetation was being planted on the trail and would be identified on the light posts which would provide excellent field trips for school children.  He remarked that this would be a great ball field facility as well as a great community gathering place.

Commr. Stivender noted that Mr. Bonilla had built a berm, which was not included in the original design, on the front side of the park to help protect the neighborhood across the street from the sound and lights.

Mr. Purvis inquired whether there was ingress and egress on the east end by the ball field.

Mr. Stivender responded that it was a pedestrian connection.

Commr. Cadwell remarked that when this process first began, a community meeting was held where they created a way to secure the park and the citizens sought some form of access for the children.  He commented that they would play that by ear seeing whether or not the people would prefer to come in that way.  He explained that their design shows a gate there which would be locked at night and that a Park Ranger would be on duty.  He mentioned that the long range plans call for a sidewalk at the back portion.

Mr. Peter Tarby, Umatilla City Council Member, asked if there was any talk of putting a sidewalk to the Health Clinic.

Commr. Cadwell replied by stating that they had discussed the entire road, but there was a right of way problem and commented that the sidewalk was on their long range list.

Mr. Stivender commented that their priorities were connecting parks, schools and neighborhoods.

Commr. Cadwell stated that in the future he hoped that residents living in downtown Umatilla could ride their bikes to the park.


Mr. Fletcher Smith, Director of Community Services, stated that the Transportation Disadvantaged Program uses the Lake County Connection buses to take citizens, door-to-door, to and from the doctor’s office.  He explained that in July of 2009 they hope to have an expanded Fixed Route System from The Villages to Umatilla with a circulated route from Umatilla to Altoona and into Zellwood and back.

Commr. Cadwell interjected that the reason Zellwood was important was because they have a connection there with Orlando’s Lynx system.

Mr. Ken Harley, Director of Public Transportation, commented that they were very  excited about implementing the Fixed Route System which will serve the Altoona, Umatilla area, connecting back into Eustis and then into Orlando.  He stated that at the present time they provide door-to-door services, under the Para-Transit System, to residents of Umatilla; however, the Fixed Route is a more efficient form of transportation with a cost difference from $20.43 per trip down to about $9.78 per trip if the residents utilized LakeXpress.  He explained that Mr. David Hope, Fixed Route Coordinator, worked closely with the Umatilla’s City Manager to lay out preliminary plans on a proposed Fixed Route Service in Umatilla.  He stated that there would actually be two-hour headways coming from Umatilla going to Zellwood.  The bus would get to City Hall around 7:02 a.m. and get to Zellwood about 8:01 a.m. and at that point would be able to transfer onto Lynx service.  He mentioned that the cost of riding a bus in Lake County is $1 for a one-way trip and daily unlimited passes are available for $3; and half price for Veterans with a DD-214, those who are disabled, and those six years of age.  He stated there was also an unlimited 30-day pass available for $30, which would be reduced to $15 for those people in the four classes previously mentioned.  He reported that the bus had already been purchased at a price of $279,000, which was funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration and from toll revenue credits which are the dollars received from toll roads along the interstate.  He explained that they were thankful no local dollars were spent on the bus.  He commented that they received a grant in the amount of for $178,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help fund this particular route, with a local match of $83,000.  Initially, they were looking for Umatilla to partner with them and provide approximately $19,000; however, since the time the application was made there had been property tax reforms and those dollars may not be available.  He commented that they were seeking other ways to make up the difference.  He emphasized that they were committed to make this service work for the citizens of Umatilla and Lake County.  He asked for Umatilla’s assistance in supporting and marketing the service once it becomes available, noting that more riders on the system would lower the overall operating cost of the program.  He stated that at the present time they have a Contract with MB Transportation for the Fixed Route System as well as the door-to-door service and they are doing a great job, with an on-time performance rate of approximately 92 percent for both services.  He commented that they were excited about their continued relationship with MB Transportation and looked forward with the same excitement regarding their future relationship with the City of Umatilla, serving their residents, those in Altoona, and in the surrounding areas.

Commr. Cadwell remarked that the bus system, as a whole, was a surprise to them because when it first started nobody was riding the bus, but all of the projected ridership numbers were much higher than anticipated.  He commented that they thought the primary ridership would be the elderly population for use getting around as well as going to doctor appointments, but they found that people were using it to get to work and school, and in these tough times he felt they were going to see more people riding buses.  He explained that the initial start-up costs were high, but that with some available federal funds it was part of their obligation to provide the service.

When asked what the route would be, Mr. Harley stated at the present time there was a  preliminary route beginning around Hwy 19 and going by the Health Department, mentioning that they were still looking at other areas which need service.  He commented that they would like to service those areas where people would be dependant upon transportation and would take advantage of the service.  He mentioned that there were students looking forward to the service to take them to Lake-Sumter, while others have expressed interest in being able to go to Orlando.  He explained that once a connection is made with a Lynx route the cost increases to $2 per trip one-way, but discounted rates are available. Once on Lynx there are 64 different routes available accessing Seminole and Osceola counties.

Commr. Cadwell commented that initially the stops on the routes were flexible in order to see where the ridership was and stated that they would get input from the Council to see where to locate the bus stops.  He mentioned that the Health Clinic was what got this bus system in as quickly, and with the anticipation of providing adult care, they thought there would also be people trying to get to Umatilla.  He noted that this service will be much cheaper than the door-to-door service, but people will not be able to call and arrange to be picked up at their homes.

Mr. Harley remarked that they would continue to work with the City Manager and his staff members to locate bus stops to meet the needs of the community.  He explained that bus stop signs would be provided and they were working through the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (LSMPO) to obtain information about shelters and benches because different communities have different design standards. He commented that they have people willing to put shelters in the community, but they want to be able to advertise on them, and in some communities advertising on bus shelters is not permitted. He reported that shelters cost from $10,000 - $14,000 each.

Commr. Cadwell explained that there are companies who will build and maintain shelters; kicking back some of the revenue from the advertising and that Osceola County uses those funds as a revenue generator.  He mentioned that they had not yet come to a decision on the shelter issue.



            Ms. Tiffany Kapner, City Land Planner, presented a PowerPoint presentation displaying the following maps:  a Future Land Use map highlighting the City of Umatilla; a map showing a short term Joint Planning Area line; a map showing a Umatilla Joint Planning Area/Future Land Use created at a Visioning Session; a Lake County and City of Umatilla 2025 Future Land Use map; recently approved Developments and Developments Served by Water outside the City reflecting changes made in the last three years.  She gave a brief description of the maps indicating areas with Single Family Medium Density of five dwelling units per acre; Single Family Low Density with three dwelling units per acre and noted parcels for agriculture, institutional services and a tourist development area - Olde Mill Stream.  She also identified the long term Joint Planning Area (JPA) line, and referred to the map showing existing Lake County ranch uses which was the rural village in the Altoona area, and suburban and urban expansion. She went on to identify recent annexations and plat approvals in Umatilla.

Mr. Irby stated that someone had expressed an interest in annexation for a parcel of land of approximately 1,300 acres east of Umatilla, and north of Lake Dalhousie to Wiygul Road, but to date no viable application had been received.

Commr. Stewart questioned whether or not annexing that piece of property into Umatilla met their Visioning Plan.

Mr. Irby responded that Umatilla actually did not have a recognized JPA, but this land was not in the first 5 years of the Council’s plan or official JPA.  He remarked that at some point and time they would like to see the Council agree with the County that it would be within their 1-5 year JPA window.  He noted that the 2025 expansion of the existing “JPA” would encompass that property.

Commr. Stewart asked what they envisioned in that area within the next 25 years.

Mr. Irby responded that they would like to keep it as rural as possible and maintain its pristine values.

Commr. Stewart stated that she had a concern because the Local Planning Agency (LPA) has designated that area as a rural protection area and she believed that Lake County’s rural lifestyle should be protected.  She commented that if the cities and the County lack a shared vision for the future the County may grow to be like present day Orlando, Winter Park, and Altamonte Springs.  She stated that they need a shared vision for CR 439, which is very close to the Wekiva Protection Area and the Ocala National Forest, and that in 25 years bringing high density out that far would affect the entire environment.

Commr. Cadwell stated that it was his hope they would all agree on the need for a JPA and would like to have both staffs begin working toward that end.  He mentioned that he thought the LPA was going to transmit their Comprehensive Plan to them in December, so it was hard to discuss a Future Land Use Map which has yet to be adopted.  However, his philosophy was that he would like the development pattern that exists from SR 44 north to remain the same.  He commented that although Umatilla was not annexing unjustifiably, some cities were, and they wanted to prevent the creation of a corridor out to Wiygul Road.  He explained that if they put together a JPA similar to what they did in Clermont, they could be assured that certain areas would be developed the way they should be and would produce a better picture of where they should be going and which direction would allow easier access.  He commented that Lake Yale made it impossible to go west.

Mr. Tarby commented that the Council did not want Umatilla to become like Clermont or Orlando with high densities.  He felt that communication between Umatilla and the County could help them ensure the type of growth they desired in the future.  However, he noted that Umatilla had to allow for some amount of growth.

Commr. Stewart suggested that they keep their densities high in the downtown area by making buildings three stories high and keep sprawl away from the CR 439 area.

Mr. Adams expressed a concern about the occupancy of those buildings.

Mr. Tarby felt that Umatilla would be the logical city to supply water to the surrounding area in the future.

Commr. Stewart pointed out that the water supply shortage gives them even more reason to plan their growth carefully.  She also noted that Umatilla currently has the quality of life important for attracting new businesses and economic development.

Ms. Holly Curley, Umatilla City Council Member, commented that overall they would like the majority of their population to remain clustered in their downtown area, expanding slowly outwards and keep their pristine properties on the outskirts.  She also commented that Umatilla was the gateway to the forest and that they have a lot of beautiful property and wildlife in the area.  She stated it was their intention to preserve as much of that as possible while still allowing smart growth in Umatilla within its means.

Mr. Purvis was concerned that the lack of good transportation in and out of Umatilla to major thoroughfares such as I-75, US 95, and the Florida Turnpike would hurt their chances of industrial and commercial growth.

Commr. Stewart mentioned that she knew of a business that was possibly interested in locating to the former Golden Gem building.

Mr. Purvis stated that he believed in clustering in small areas, leaving more open space and continuing environmental corridors.

Commr. Cadwell stated that if the LPA transmits their Comprehensive Plan in December, even if it were not yet approved, he thought that by January or February both staffs should be able to meet to put together this JPA Agreement because they would have a better idea of that area under the new Future Land Use Map.  He commented that prior to that, the County and Umatilla could have a workshop with their staffs to make sure they have an understanding of what should be done in this area.  Once that was accomplished they could convene at another joint meeting.


            There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.



                                                                                                                                                            WELTON G. CADWELL, CHAIRMAN