A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JUNE 9, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special workshop session on Tuesday, March 13, 2009 at 9:00 a.m., in Room 233, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Welton G. Cadwell, Chairman; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Jimmy Conner; Elaine Renick; and Linda Stewart. Others present were: Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Cindy Hall, County Manager; Amye King, Growth Management Director; Brian Sheahan, Planning Director, Planning and Community Design; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
discussion of financial plan for the judicial center expansion
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, noted that within the packet that she handed out, there was a packet that was done by their financial advisor from First Southwest Company. She recapped that the Board had asked that some sample financing illustrations be put together for sample-sized projects, which was also contained in the package. She explained that since that time, they had gone out to bid and were currently getting in real numbers that they could discuss. She wanted to talk about the concept behind how they would be putting together a financial plan, and informed the Board that next Tuesday, June 16, they would be bringing to them during the regular meeting the options that the Facilities Department, along with their consultants, the construction manager, and the architects have put together for different portions of the downtown projects. She stated that the Board would be able to look at the different options and make a selection of what project they wanted to move forward with and that the goal today would be to explain how the financing would work to help them make the selection next Tuesday. She specified that there were three sources of money that they would be able to access to finance the project, including the $36 million worth of bonds that they already had which were left over from the $90 million bond issue they had done two years ago. She mentioned that there was a timeframe in which they should be spending that money, because there were reasonable expectations that they would be spending it within a three-year period. Another source of money was $11 million that they had set aside through the budget process this year for the Judicial Center Project, on a separate line item in the budget which would be carried forward until they spent it, and the balance of the project would come from non-ad valorem revenues. She explained that their financial advisor was recommending a bank loan that was a line of credit that they would draw upon as they needed it to fill up the balance of the financing needed, with the pledged source being non-ad valorem revenues. Her recommendation to the Board was that they first target the infrastructure one cent sales tax, which would bring in about $3 million a year, and she reported that they had about 8 ˝ years of that revenue coming in.
Ms. Hall specified that the entire construction project for the building came out at around $70 million plus contingency and other types of costs. She also reported that eventually they would have a Phase III part of this project, which would be the refurbishment of the current courthouse, and the Board would be choosing to approve anything from a full-blown refurbishment to a minor refurbishment. She noted that there was likely to be some savings, so the total costs given were probably worst-case scenario costs. She went on to report that the total cost of the downtown project was about $143 million, but the amount that was originally budgeted was $180 million. She also mentioned that there were some cost offsets, such as leases that they currently were paying. She showed the Board a handout illustrating another option that would be presented to them at next Tuesday’s meeting, which would be a reduced size and some minor renovations of the building, at a cost of $121 million, and she informed the Board that the architects indicated that to finish out the project to make it whole as originally envisioned at a later time would be another $46 million.
Commr. Cadwell clarified with Ms. Hall that if they went with Option 2 and built the rest later, it would cost the County an additional $20 million more than if they had done that originally.
Ms. Hall explained that part of that cost would be to rip out the courtrooms and reconstruct those when they build on the rest of the building.
Commr. Cadwell also confirmed with Ms. Hall that they would not draw the line of credit for the minor renovations for Phase III until 2011 or 2012, depending on the extent of the renovation.
Mr. Gary Akers, Financial Advisor from First Southwest Company, stated that he wanted to go through the Financing Plan that was submitted in April and mentioned that they looked at three scenarios, which were a $60, $70, and $80 million project. He noted that the larger the project, the earlier they would deplete the existing funds. In developing this financing plan, they have looked at basically from a budgetary standpoint what would be the least expensive. He pointed out that since they were using existing funds first, they were avoiding the interest charges during that time and would only be paying interest as needed.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought the concept of a bank loan as opposed to going to market in these conditions was a fiscally prudent thing to do. He asked Mr. Akers how easy it would be for them to get a bank loan of the magnitude of what was discussed, as well as what funds they would use to pay that bank loan.
Mr. Akers responded that he thought that it would be available and that they would have access to the funds needed. He stated that the major revenue sources were half cent sales tax, infrastructure sales tax, provision from the State for revenue sharing, and communication services tax, and that there were a variety of smaller revenue sources.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the Board would need to know ahead of time how they plan on paying that back and what funds would be affected by it.
Commr. Stewart pointed out that those non-ad valorem sources were already used for other services, and they have already cut some of that and would probably have to cut more.
Mr. Akers directed the Board to look at Page 2 of the handout showing funding currently available and projected infrastructure surtax revenues, which was the first source they looked at to pay debt service off, and all the options that they presented. He mentioned that this money was being used for infrastructure and was available until 2018, but after 2018 they did not know if the tax would be renewed.
Commr. Renick stated that when they were looking at taking on that kind of debt service and how they were going to be paying it back, she did not know if looking to all those other sources in the future was a risk that they wanted to take. She understood that this was a great time to build because of the lower construction prices, but it was a bad time to take on more debt. She commented that she would rather be in a position where they went smaller now and went bigger in the future if needed instead of building something larger now that might not be needed.
Commr. Stewart commented that she thought the judges deserved the size building that they wanted, but the debt service concerned her and she did not know if she was willing to take the risk.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that it was an investment and that it was like their own local stimulus package which would give a lot of local vendors work and help get money back into the community.
Commr. Conner pointed out that they were seeing sharp decline in revenues, and he did not think it was wise to make a $3 million commitment from the general fund. He thought that even though there was economy to building bigger, he did not think there was wisdom into going into more debt than they were comfortable with. He noted that there was a middle option that they could more easily afford that would still accomplish a lot of the objectives of the end users as well as give an economic stimulus to the area.
Commr. Cadwell asked Ms. Hall to explain the minor renovations she had mentioned.
Ms. Hall responded that the consultants looked extensively at what needed to be done in the current courthouse. She explained that in order to be able to move the Public Defender back into that building and to be able to make use of the first floor, a substantial renovation would be needed on Floor 1, with minor renovations on Floors 2 through 4. Originally what had been envisioned was that once the full courthouse was built, they would move employees into it, completely gut the current courthouse and renovate it to improve the workload efficiency and to fix the leaking, which would have cost about $20 million. She stated that they have been looking into making the renovations less expensive, but it was still important to gut the first floor. She noted that in any scenario, the renovations would be 2 to 3 years away. She stated that they would be refining some of those numbers so that they could present the Board with a fairly complete package at the meeting on June 16.
Commr. Hill added that they would also go into the need of the construction at the next meeting, and she pointed out to the Board that the Covanta contract would sunset in 2014, which would result in added dollars to the County that would be freed up.
comp plan workshop
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, stated that they would be going over the remainder of the Future Land Use Element as well as what they had discussed at the last meeting and have a presentation on the wetland density transfer.
Commr. Hill asked if the new Growth Management Bill would change anything in their Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan).
Mr. Sandy Minkoff explained that he did not think there would be major changes to what was proposed which was in front of them, but there was one minor, inconsequential change in the intergovernmental unit in terms of a dispute resolution that has to be changed.. He recapped that Mr. Sheahan indicated that they would bring those back to them.
Commr. Cadwell asked to set aside time at next week’s meeting to talk about mining.
review of changes made may 26, 2009
Commr. Renick asked to talk about Comment 3 regarding whether Settlement Agreements should be included or not, and she thought that this section should be separate, like an addendum at the end, since it was unusual rather than part of the regular Comp Plan, instead of being at the beginning.
Commr. Cadwell directed to put it at the end.
Commr. Renick stated that under Comment 14 regarding creation of more options for mixed use, she wanted to clarify that was with the understanding that they were eliminating the 100+ idea and coming up with something else.
Ms. King stated that the Board did not give them any direction as far as any option and just wanted them to look at other opportunities there.
Commr. Renick clarified that on Comment 17, they would keep the word “implementation.” On Comment 21, she wanted to clarify that they had chosen Option C, changing the ten to twenty percent, rather than choosing both Options B and C as stated in the handout, which were contradicting each other. She also noted that on the last bullet in Comment 25 on page 31, they liked the sentence that was added there, which stated “encourage redevelopment and revitalization of existing strip style development.”
recess and reassembly
At 10:00 a.m. the Chairman announced that there would be a 15-minute recess.
2030 comprehensive plan comments numbers 36 through 89
Commr. Stewart commented that under Comment 37, she liked Option B, because since Policy 1-3.3.9 already stated that there was no new industrial development within the Wekiva River Protection Area, they needed to leave the industrial out in that part of the policy also. There was consensus to go with Option B there. She also wanted Option B for Comment 38.
Commr. Renick stated in regard to Comment 41, that she was alright with their revision, but she asked if they wanted to keep the word “swale” in where they added maintenance of natural drainage patterns and took out swales.
Mr. Sheahan explained that that was covered under the low impact development strategies, and this change would allow the use of the word swales in the appropriate places.
Commr. Stewart commented that Option A was fine under Comment 43.
Commr. Renick in regard to that comment suggested that instead of removing line 19 because of this redundancy, to add “as outlined below;” include it in Policy 1-4.1.5 above the protection objectives and regulatory guidelines that were there; and take out 1-4.1.4, which would make it a little clearer.
Mr. Sheahan clarified that they would move the line which consisted of 1-4.1.4 and put it into 1-4.1.5.
Commr. Stewart thought the revision under Option B was best regarding Comment 44.
The Board thought that Option A, which was to delete the policy, was the best option for Comments 45 through 48.
Commr. Renick stated that on Comment 49, it seemed like they needed a combination of Option A and B.
Mr. Sheahan suggested additional language recommended by staff, which would insert after, “The entity accepting said conservation easement shall enforce its provisions. In addition, wetlands shall not be included as part of any platted lot,” the following phrase, “except as provided herein.” He noted that they would retain the phrase, “Any isolated wetland that was less than one acre,” in the beginning of the last sentence and then replace the remainder of the language with, “may be included within the platted lot.”
Commr. Renick stated that she believed that Mr. Sheahan’s solution would solve the problem.
It was decided that they would go with Option B under Comment 50, which would leave the policy as proposed, since they had deleted the other policy that was in conflict with this one.
Regarding Comment 51, Commr. Renick stated that originally the policy limited irrigating to 50 percent including all types of irrigation, and they went to limiting the overhead irrigation to 20 percent and letting them do whatever they wanted in terms of other types of irrigation. She believed that this was a continuation of the landscape issue.
Commr. Stewart thought it was important for them to be consistent.
Mr. Sheahan stated that staff indicated at the landscape ordinance workshop that the Wekiva policies use a 50 percent limit, which was recommended by the St. Johns. He related that the extension service as well as St. Johns was now recommending 60 percent but that both groups had indicated that 50 percent would be acceptable as a compromise, which gives them a ceiling.
Commr. Renick indicated that if they decided to use the 50 percent figure, it would be with the understanding that it would include any type of irrigation.
Mr. Sheahan noted that this policy exempts micro-irrigation and drip irrigation.
Commr. Renick clarified that this would mean that the whole property could be irrigated and indicated that she would not be in favor of that.
Commr. Cadwell commented that this was not just for Wekiva, but for all rural areas.
The Board decided to wait until they did the landscape ordinance to make a decision on this issue. Also, they chose Option A for Comments 52 and 53.
Commr. Renick liked that staff used a stronger word, which was “shall” instead of “may,” than the original language on Comment 54. She commented that she did not understand why the protection area language was not the same here and for the next couple of pages.
Mr. Sheahan indicated that he was actually going to suggest that, since there was a little discrepancy in the wording, and the intent was to make it the same. He related that staff’s suggestion would be to strike the second sentence under Comment 54 A and add the underlined language that was in the following comment, and that would make them conform.
The Board went with Option A, which was the staff’s recommendation, for Comments 56 through 65.
Commr. Renick stated that she did not have any problem in Comment 66 with changing the 12 months to 24 months, but she thought that the part stating that home occupations shall not employ more than two employees was taking it a little too far.
Commr. Cadwell thought that this section had to do with LDR issues and stated that over time that situation would eliminate something that would make sense to do. He commented that they could change an LDR, especially regarding home occupation.
Commr Renick did not think the number of employees would be an issue, but how many cars end up on a street would be of concern, and the LDR’s would have to refer to parking and hours of operation.
Commr. Cadwell commented that if they left the first sentence in that was scratched out, he did not have a problem.
Commr. Renick agreed and added that they would have to address scale, parking, and hours of operation, but not the rest of it. On Comment 68, Commr. Renick stated that she did not want the language to sound like they would have to do a county-wide study each time the construction of a communication tower came up.
Mr. Sheahan commented that that kind of specificity such as the range of thresholds would be provided in the LDR’s, and he pointed out that the County had a good communications ordinance. He added that it was also an area of land use that was strictly regulated by the Telecommunications Act.
The Board decided to go with Option B for Comment 69, which was to delete the Future Land Use Policy I-1.7.8 as redundant and confusing.
Commr. Stewart asked Mr. Sheahan to explain the ramifications of Options A and B under Comment 70.
Mr. Sheahan explained that it described how the transition would take place when a corridor got widened and started transitioning to more commercial use.
Commr. Renick commented that the policy on Page 86 was fairly general, and she did not think it would stop anyone from doing anything. She thought they could leave the policy as they had it, and in addition to that they could state that the conversion criteria could be in the LDR’s.
Commr. Cadwell asked how Option A under Comment 71 would affect a company such as Durastress.
Commr. Renick commented that it looked like that policy would be limiting expansion, even if it was an existing use. She asked if they could have language in there stating that an expansion would require a Conditional Use Permit.
Mr. Sheahan agreed and commented that staff also had concerns about that.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, pointed out that the expansion language should be underlined also, because that was not in the proposed policy. He commented that this would prohibit any heavy industrial use adjacent to residential.
Commr. Cadwell stated that if they take out the mention of expansion of existing industrial uses, he might be in favor of the rest of the revision.
Mr. Sheahan noted that they could always address the other contingencies through the LDR’s.
Commr. Cadwell directed Mr. Sheahan to work on some additional language for that and bring that back to the Board.
The Board noted that Comment 72 involved the same issue as in Comment 51, and they chose Option A in regard to Comment 73.
Commr. Renick stated that she did not understand why they would be adding the DRI (Development of Regional Impact) language in the policy referred to in Comment 74 and that she was leaning towards leaving the policy as proposed.
Mr. Minkoff explained that this did not except them, but expressed that if they warrant the DRI, they only had to address it in general terms. He related that without this comment, it could be written that every single family house would have to do this.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they would come back to this.
Regarding Comment 75, Commr. Stewart stated that she wanted to go with Option A.
Commr. Renick asked Mr. Sheahan if they could extend the 12 months given to implement a wetlands assessment program to 24 for that.
Mr. Sheahan responded that he noted from the other comment to extend on all policies from 12 to 24 months wherever possible.
Commr. Renick stated that she also had a concern about changing the word “classification” to “assessment,” since she believed that the word “assessment” implies more work for the County in going out and evaluating them. She clarified that she thought they could be more restrictive, but she suggested that they leave the policy as it was, except for the change to 24 months.
Mr. Sheahan stated that a classification system was already built into the State Statutes regarding wetlands, and he did not think there was any need to have a redundant policy to classify those wetlands, which would require specialized training of staff. The assessment was put in because it was felt that it was important for the County to have the ability to implement this system. He understood their concern, and noted that they can change the “shall” to “may,” so if the Board chose to have an assessment program later on in the future, they could include that in the LDR’s.
Ms. King stated that another option would be to change it to “classification or assessment program,” and to have that determination come back to the Board at that point in time.
Commr. Stewart stated that she thought Option A would be best under Comment 76, adding “may also be included in a platted lot.”
Commr. Renick pointed out that was basically what they did in Comment 49.
Mr. Sheahan stated that on the fifth bullet down on Comment 77, under Option A, the word “approve” should not be in there, and it should just say, “wildlife corridors and buffers.”
Commr. Renick thought that the language staff had taken out on Page 62, on the next to the last line that was crossed out, where it stated “permanently protected by conservation easement,” may just need to be kept in, because they want to have permanent protection, and she asked if a conservation easement was something that could come and go or whether it was permanent.
Mr. Minkoff responded that there was no permanency in an interest in real estate, and it could always be changed, since it was against the law to have a permanent restriction on real estate.
Commr. Stewart asked that on that same Comment, if the word “criteria” should be substituted for “method” where it stated, “the LDR’s will specify additional methods to preserve required open space,” so that they would have something to base it on.
Mr. Sheahan stated that the word “criteria” instead of “method” there would be fine.
Commr. Renick pointed out in Comment 78 that she agreed with Option B, which stated that they were prohibiting gated communities which prevent existing or future roadway interconnections. She went on to state that she also chose Option B under Comment 79 to extend the deadline to 36 months.
Mr. Sheahan explained that Comment 80 referred to a policy which was very similar to a policy they currently had that required a minimum of 50 feet and avoids some of the issues where they have non-compatible uses encroaching on agricultural lands, and this would clarify that it is a distance buffer and not a landscape buffer.
Commr. Renick stated when agricultural operations would expand onto new land not formerly designated for agriculture, they would have to come back and get a land use change. She asked if they would require the buffer there when land near residential was rezoned to agriculture.
Mr. Minkoff noted that in the last two lines, Mr. Sheahan tried to require the use of best management practices to minimize potential impacts in the case where somebody rezoned agriculture next to existing residential.
Mr. Sheahan pointed out that they had very little control over agriculture uses under the Right to Farm Act, so they needed to take that into consideration.
Commr. Renick inquired whether they could take the word “zoning” out of Comment 81 to avoid problems. She stated that they could have sunset clauses and all of that spelled out when something was changed in a PUD, but that was not necessarily the case with PUD zoning.
Mr. Minkoff explained that currently when they approve a PUD, they change the zoning map from R-1 to PUD; the R-1 ceases to exist; and the PUD becomes permanent. The alternative would be to have it be an overlay like a conditional use permit so the underlining zoning remains there, which would mean that even if the PUD has a sunset and ceases to exist, they would still have R-1.
Commr. Renick stated that that was what she wanted, since she did not want the PUD to exist indefinitely.
Mr. Sheahan clarified that they were suggesting that throughout the plan they take out the references to “PUD” and leave it open so it could be conditional use or zoning, depending on which way they go with the LDR’s.
Commr. Cadwell commented that regarding Comment 82A, he thought the current process of the staff reporting to them works satisfactorily. He also thought that they would not know everything about a project early in the process, which could cause unfair prejudice for the applicant.
Commr. Stewart questioned whether it has worked well the way it currently was, and she did not think the notification would cause any prejudice.
Commr. Renick thought this would just be another vehicle to disseminate more information, and she commented that she did not think this was to receive specific information about the project, but rather just that a DRI was proposed for a certain area of the County.
Commr. Conner commented that he thought Option C would be a good compromise and still provided notification to the LPA.
Commr. Cadwell noted that Option C was what they currently did and was the normal public hearing process.
Commr. Hill asked how this would work with Senate Bill 360.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there would be no change as to the law regarding DRI’s in the County, and it might encourage more of them in the municipalities.
Commr. Cadwell thought they should keep working on that.
Mr. Sheahan expressed concern that “activities involving County staff” was an extremely broad statement and pointed out that there were several meetings where DRI’s were discussed that were located in other counties and municipalities such as Wildwood, Sumter County, or Broward County.
Commr. Cadwell responded that he did not think that was what they had in mind, but just a progress report stating an application has been made, what the applicant has done and a stair step of where the project is, which would be the points where they will notify the LPA of what is going on in the process.
Mr. Sheahan stated that was what was suggested originally.
Regarding Comment 82, Commr. Stewart pointed out that they had discussed this issue earlier, stating that they would keep the first “shall” and the second “may.” She asked how the new law regarding impact fees would affect the issue discussed in Comment 83.
Mr. Sheahan recommended that they add “The County may require private investment in infrastructure improvements or impact fees” and strike “mass transit facilities and stormwater.”
Commr. Renick and Commr. Stewart both expressed concern about having the word “may” rather than “shall” in that sentence. It was decided to use the word “shall” in that sentence, to read as “The County shall require private investment in infrastructure improvements or impact fees where a rational nexus demonstrates that the improvements are needed.”
The Board decided to choose the revisions recommended in Option A for Comments 84 through 86.
Commr. Renick stated that she did not have any problem with the first section of Comment 87 where they had the additions underlined. She thought there was a big difference between demonstration and description, and she wanted to keep it as demonstration. She noted that her interpretation of a conceptual site plan was that it was a rough site plan, but general description would not indicate even any suggested lay out. She did not know why they would want to take the words “submission of a conceptual site plan” out.
Commr Cadwell asked Mr. Sheahan if they had a definition for conceptual site plan in the LDR’s or anywhere else that would depict how specific it would need to be or not be.
Mr. Sheahan stated that they currently had some general criteria in the LDR’s.
Commr. Cadwell directed that for now to leave the words “conceptual site plan” in there and directed Mr. Sheahan to meet with him to look at that.
Ms. King noted that they could not hold an applicant to a conceptual site plan at that stage as they had seen in the past with the Future Land Use Map amendment.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they would come back to that one.
Commr. Stewart asked to add in the second bullet after the underlined text stating, “the most appropriate location with respect to the efficient use of public facilities and services for this increase in density,” the phrase “with respect to policies laid out in this Comprehensive Plan.”
Mr. Sheahan stated that adding that phrase would be fine and would add clarification.
Commr. Renick opined that adding “or will be” after the word “are” in the bullet about the levels of service associated with the municipalities and utilities would be opening a whole can of worms and that it probably would be annexed into the municipality at that point. She also commented that the whole overreaching thing in the Comp Plan was to push growth to the cities.
Ms. King asked if they could add some language there that correlates the facilities and services with the Capital Improvement Element of the jurisdiction of the city or the County.
Mr. Sheahan suggested after where it stated “amendment is located,” they could have an interlocal service kind of agreement.
Commr. Renick wanted to discuss the bullet that stated “demonstration that the amendment would not cause unnecessary and unmitigated negative impacts.” She thought it read better when it stated “would not cause negative impacts.”
Mr. Sheahan explained that the concern there was any impact to habitat is a negative impact. However, if someone is preserving 90 percent of that habitat in buying credits from the mitigation bank, it offsets that impact.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was comfortable with that language.
Ms. King clarified with the Board that they wanted to use the word “demonstration” rather than “description” under the third bullet.
Commr. Stewart stated regarding Comment 88 that there was a requirement for a super majority for other types of important votes, and she thought that the Comprehensive Plan was important enough to require a super majority vote to change it and that it should be held to a higher level, so that it could not be changed just on a whim. She emphasized that a lot of dedication, time, and hard work has been put into this; and the final product will be what they truly believe was in the best interest of Lake County and its citizens.
Commr. Renick thought it was a level of scrutiny issue. She also noted that she never felt good about a 3-2 vote.
Commr. Conner opined that most people believed in majority rule, not super majority rule. He also related that there were bad feelings generated when a super majority vote was required on the School Board.
Commr. Hill commented that things could change, and they may want a non-super majority option in the future. She also opined that nothing would get done with a super majority.
Mr. Sheahan stated that staff wanted to change wherever the word “should” occurs to “shall” throughout the document.
wetland density transfer
Mr. Steve Adams noted that back when the original transfer of development rights of wetlands of one unit per five acres of wetlands came about, the wetland rules were not what they are today. He explained that there were two reasons for this change, one being an incentive to lessen the impact to wetlands, because at that time they had a County rule that said they could impact ten percent of wetlands. He also related that it was prior to a lot of the Water Management District rules and changes in the Corps of Engineer rules, so it was an incentive-type thing. He stated that the second reason was a value-type issue in terms of value of those wetlands from a loan perspective with banks in terms of getting money to borrow against for development purposes. He pointed out that there was a lot of discussion before adopting this policy, and eventually the Board decided that was what they wanted to do.
Ms. Peggy Belflour, a member of the LPA, stated that in the introduction during the May 7 initial workshop with staff on the Comprehensive Plan, it was stated that the staff-recommended changes did not change the tenor of the Comp Plan, but she felt that some of those changes did change the policies and the tenor of certain policies of the Comp Plan. She stated that she would appreciate if the Board could discuss those issues with the LPA members sometime in July after the staff workshops were finished and before they made a decision on it. She commented that as the Board was moving into the fifth month of their deliberations on the Comp Plan, she hoped they could understand how the LPA with several members and making several changes along the way, took a considerable amount of time through a thorough and thoughtful process to complete it, and they wanted to be able to explain that process to the Board before they made any changes to the Comp Plan.
Mr. Keith Schue, a member of the LPA, encouraged the Board to look at Comment 87 very carefully, because those were the standards by which they were reviewing Future Land Use Map amendments and was perhaps one of the most important policies in the Comp Plan for that reason. He commented that they needed to be careful that what did not come out of that was simply an incomplete checklist used to grant a Future Land Use Map amendment. He asked the Board to embrace the value and intent of the whole Comp Plan when they looked at Future Land Use Map amendments, and what they state in the policy about standards of review should reflect the overall broad intent of the Comp Plan. He specified that what the LPA had recommended on the second bullet was that the sentence more simply state “a demonstration of additional lands…if the Future Land Use Amendment involves a potential increase in residential density and that land subject to the proposed amendment is most appropriate for this increase in density.” He explained that they meant by “most appropriate” was in the context of the whole Comp Plan. He urged them to add information to that carefully so that they do not narrow the focus of what those standards of review are. He suggested that if they were going to add that level of detail, some of the other things that would have to be added would be such things as discouraging urban sprawl and protection of agricultural lands. He also opined that there was an issue in the fourth bullet with the added phrase in parentheses where it stated “demonstration of facilities and services are or will be available within the level of services adopted throughout the Comp Plan (or the level of service adopted by the municipality in whose utility area the proposed amendment is located), because they were talking about basing their standards of review on another city’s description of their Comp Plan and utility agreement. He suggested that it state “or the levels of service adopted by the County and a municipality in a joint agreement.”
The Board pointed out that they had done this earlier in the meeting.
Mr. Schue opined that they had to be careful when they were talking about including permitted quantities, because legally they might not be able to do that, since those applications were being made before a consumptive use permit was requested by the applicant for the district. He explained that when an applicant tries to get approval for a new CUP without the requisite zoning in advance, it was considered speculative and hoarding of water. He stated regarding the discussions of unnecessary or unmitigated impacts that he thought “unnecessary” was a very subjective comment. He suggested “avoidable or unmitigated impacts” there and in the next bullet down as well. He urged them to look carefully at the proposed language in the second to the last bullet that read “Demonstration that any proposed urban Future Land Use Map amendment is contiguous to existing urban development,” because he thought that staff’s revision could be misinterpreted as only applying to a category that already was urban and was being made some other density of urban. He suggested changing that language to “demonstrate that any proposed Future Land Use Map amendment that replaces a rural Future Land Use assignment with an urban Future Land Use assignment is contiguous…” He thought that on the last bullet, the best way to provide for that compatibility was to also add to that “additional open space.”
Mr. John Pospisil presented a handout with his suggested changes pertaining to Comment 49 regarding treatment of wetlands in the Green Swamp. He related that his concern was that it appeared that these provisions were to apply not just to individual home sites or a limited area around them, but even large parcels containing a large percentage of wetlands, possibly requiring prohibitively expensive pre-development work, with not even a hint of proportionality. Another of his concerns was that the language stating that the wetlands “shall be maintained in their natural and unaltered state,” which he was not sure meant minimal maintenance such as weeding of invasive species or by state-licensed biologists for any site with more than a nominal percentage of wetlands, could impose a large burden on Home Owner’s Associations (HOA) and everyone involved in the development process. He also was concerned about the mention of buffer areas around the wetlands and the requirement to restore those areas. The third point was in regard to the language which stated, “In addition wetlands shall not be included as part of any platted lot. Wetlands shall be…a common area…deeded to the” HOA or County, and he stated that since most central Florida lakes are ringed by wetlands, he thought this policy would abolish the sale of individual lake front lots. He noted, however, that this problem was partially solved in Policy 1-7.4.5 in Comment 76 which stated that a portion of wetlands between an upland lot and water body may be included in the lot to allow the lot owner access to the water.” He did not think, however, that this provision would allow the homeowner to put in his own dock and would give others access to his yard, and he suggested that they modify this policy to say, “The portion of wetlands between an upland lot and a water body shall be protected by a conservation easement, but may be included in the lot to allow the lot to be purchased and sold as a lakefront lot.” He recommended that the same language be inserted as the second to last sentence in Policy 1-4.4.8. He added that he thought it would be better to remove the requirement that wetlands generally be held as common area, and he thought this was an example of why they should have flexibility in the Comp Plan and specificity in the LDR’s. He also opined that instead of prohibiting or discouraging gated communities for transportation purposes, he thought they could simply design them in such a way that future transportation corridors would be preserved. He pointed out that gated communities increase property values, an advantage both to developers and to the County tax rolls.
Commr. Renick commented that she understood about the concern that the use of the word “maintain” could imply that there was a lot of work involved, and she suggested that they just require the wetlands to remain in a natural state.
Mr. Pospisil stated that the language seemed to imply that everyone would have to get rid of all the invasives on their property, even if those were not a result of any actions on their part. He specified his concerns over the last paragraph on Page 45 under Option A.
Mr. Sheahan explained that the term maintain was intended to mean unmanaged and left alone, and there was language in other policies which they had covered in the last session that stated that someone would need approval from the Board or DEP to remove the invasives from wetlands.
Commr. Renick pointed out that they had a similar concern regarding the landscape ordinance, and they ended up only requiring that within the area around their home. She noted that the policy under Option A did suggest that a developer building a huge development where there were wetlands with invasives that were already there would have to remove all the invasives before the development could go in, and she asked if that was what they intended to say.
Mr. Sheahan pointed out that the policy contained a disclaimer which stated “to the greatest extent possible.”
Mr. Pospisil commented that “feasible” instead of “possible” would better take expense into consideration.
Commr. Cadwell directed Mr. Sheahan to continue to work on that.
Mr. Bill Ray concurred that they needed to revisit the issue previously discussed regarding Comment 49, since he believed that this policy would imply that the buffer would need to be restored to a required level of condition, which could cost about $40,000 an acre. Regarding Comment 75 on Page 60, he did not think the terms “assessment” and “classification” were interchangeable. He specified that assessment typically referred to taking a defined wetland or ecological system and giving it a value, but a classification was a name, which could be ascertained through GIS using Florida land use and cover codes to determine if they were seeing any decline, increase, or status quo on what type of ecosystem there was. He believed they should be clear which one they were referring to in their definition. He asked regarding Comment 80 if the buffer was going on the development land or the agricultural land, and what that land owner was to do with a 50 foot buffer that was adjacent to his land and what uses were allowed in the buffer. He pointed out that they were finding out that lands could not be just set aside in easements and conservation zones, because all lands in Florida require some level of management. He wanted to clarify where the buffer was and the level of maintenance they had for it.
Mr. Rob Kelly, a member of the LPA, recommended that the Board leave Policy I-7.4.2 as mentioned in Comment 74 as proposed, deleting the underlined section that was added by staff, because he felt that the sub DRI developments and smaller developments also need to adhere to this policy, but he stated that they may want to include some language in the paragraph that exempts single family homes or whatever they were originally concerned about. He indicated that he heard what the County Attorney related regarding the word “permanently” in the second to last sentence under Comment 77, but he was wondering if there was some other language that could be included to indicate that it was intended to be permanent, such as perpetual or long-standing. He pointed out that the intent of the Policy 1-7.8.2 referenced under Comment 82A was to include the public much earlier in the process so that they could attend the regional planning committee and any other types of meetings as early as possible. He commented that the Policy I-7.13.6 referred to in Comment 87 was a very important policy, and he thought that the revisions added a lot of additional language that narrowed down the criteria that someone would need to meet when they might want to keep it much broader.
rescheduling of meeting
Commr. Conner stated that they had a workshop scheduled for July 7, which was a regularly-scheduled Board Meeting day, and he asked if they could move that workshop to July 14, because he had a conflict for the afternoon of July 7.
Ms. King related that the consultants that were doing the financial feasibility study rearranged their schedules to attend the July 7 meeting.
Commr. Cadwell asked Ms. King to ask them to rearrange their schedule to be there on July 14 instead.
mosquito and leachate management
Ms. Hall recapped that Commr. Hill asked at their last Board meeting how the recent rains had affected the issues of mosquito control and leachate, and she informed the Commissioners that there was a handout in the packet with some information on these issues. She commented that they were keeping up with mosquito control and did not intend to change their schedules, but that there was quite an expense that they would need to incur for the removal of leachate. She reported that they would be coming back to the Board on July 7 with some more detailed analysis and some answers to other questions they had asked relative to the solid waste fund.
Ms. Daryl Smith, Director of Department of Environmental Utilities, explained that the problem they had was the nature of their leachate, which has to be metered in by diluting it. He also stated that they could not move the kind of volumes they needed to move with the capacity they had available at this point in time. He explained that the leachate went to a pre-processing facility in Jacksonville to be processed to a condition that would make it possible to go into a wastewater treatment plant at sufficient volumes. Then, it was treated just like the effluent from a normal wastewater treatment plant, and it was all regulated by DEP. He specified that the cost was 12.75 cents per gallon for an estimated of 5.4 million gallons, which would result in a total cost of about $670,000.
Commr. Hill asked if there was a municipality locally that could handle the treatment.
Mr. Smith responded that none of them could handle that, and added that they could take it, but they would have to meter it with their normal intake, resulting in a very limited amount of volume that could be taken from the County. He mentioned that they have had some ongoing discussions with the City of Tavares about taking in their leachate once they start their new landfill.
Ms. Hall also pointed out that they were seeking FEMA reimbursement for this expense.
discussion on recruiting agriculture extension director
Ms. Hall related that Ms. Deborah Boulware, County Extension Service Director, has accepted the County’s Early Out Program and would be leaving. She stated that the University of Florida has made an appointment on an interim basis of an in-house individual, but in order to proceed in making a permanent selection for that position, she needed authorization to let them know to proceed with that, and she asked for that authorization.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s request for authorization to allow the University of Florida to fill that position.
discussion of filling other county positions
Ms. Hall stated that Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Director of Parks and Trails, through the budget process had requested four maintenance positions, and she asked for consideration to move forward with two of those at this time, giving first consideration to the individuals that were laid off on Friday, June 5 if they were found to be qualified for those jobs. She pointed out that those positions were part of the Parks MSTU fund and not the general fund.
Commr. Renick pointed out that even though they had directed to not cut the Parks funding, this would actually result in an increase in the department’s staff and funding.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they have done a lot of additions in the Parks Department, but that department has the same number of employees as they had in 1995.
Commr. Conner opined that Mr. Bonilla needed more help, because they have taken on more responsibility. He also commented that he was very impressed with that department and the cross-training of the employees that they were doing.
Ms. Hall also related that the Public Defender requested the opportunity to fill an Office Associate position that was part of the Early Intervention Program and that he would first interview any qualified candidates from those laid off, and then recruit externally if needed. She also related that they would have two vacancies in Probation, and she asked for approval to do an internal transfer for those positions.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to put the approval of the afore-mentioned positions on the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved all the requests to fill those positions.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:35 p.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK