A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
july 21, 2009
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 9:00 a.m., in the Board of County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, 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; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; Neil Kelly, Clerk of Court; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
Mr. Ken Harley, Public Transportation Director, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that she would like to pull Tab 13 since they were still working on that and bring it back at a later date, and she mentioned that Tabs 25 and 27 were coordinated items, but that Tab 25 needed to be discussed after Tab 27.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, reminded the Board that they had a 10:30 a.m. closed session to discuss litigation and that sometime during the day they needed to have a closed session to discuss union activity. He also wanted to add under his reports a presentation regarding recent litigation that they had been involved in with the Regional Conflict Council and discussion regarding impact fee legislation.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to add those items to the Agenda.
Commr. Renick mentioned that that she was going to bring up an item under her report that may require a vote regarding an issue about a certificate of occupancy being held up for a business in South Lake, depending on what staff brought back by the end of the meeting.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of June 2, 2009 (Regular Meeting) and June 23, 2009 (Regular Meeting), as presented.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 5, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk’s Office.
Cascades at Groveland CDD Annual Financial Audit Report for FY Ended 9/30/08
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Annual Financial Audit Report for the Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2008 for the Cascades at Groveland Community Development District, pursuant to Section 11.45 and Section 189.418, Florida Statutes.
Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay CDD Annual Financial Audit Report for FY Ended 9/30/08
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Annual Financial Audit Report for the Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2008 for Greater Lakes/Sawgrass Bay Community Development District, pursuant to Section 11.45 and Section 189.418, Florida Statutes.
Plaza Collina CDD Preliminary Budgets for Fiscal Years 2007/08 through 2009/10
Request to acknowledge receipt of Preliminary Budgets for Fiscal Years 2007/08, 2008/09, and 2009/10 for the Plaza Collina Community Development District. The public hearing for adoption of these budgets is scheduled to be held August 27, 2009.
Before the Florida Public Service Commission
Request to acknowledge receipt of Commission Conference Agenda for the Application for certificate to operate water utility in Lake County by TLP Water, Inc before the Florida Public Service Commission for Docket No. 080499-WU, Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. at the Betty Easley Conference Center, Room 148.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
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 Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 12, pulling Tab 13, as follows:
Request for approval of the following Unanticipated Revenue Resolutions and Direct Pay (Check Request):
1. Resolution No. 2009-95 to amend the General Fund in order to receive unanticipated revenue for Fiscal Year 2008-09 in the amount of $5,000 deposited into Donations and provide appropriations for the disbursement to various VolunteerLake operating accounts. Lake County has received non-matching grant funds from the Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network for the “Neighboring Start-Up Grant” to assist in funding programs and services aimed at serving and engaging low-income individuals and families in strengthening their communities.
2. Resolution No. 2009-96 to amend the County Library System Fund in order to receive unanticipated revenue for Fiscal Year 2008-09 in the amount of $8,984 deposited into Other Miscellaneous Revenue and provide appropriations for the disbursement to Office Supplies ($7,820) and Machinery and Equipment ($1,164). Lake County has received a refund check from NCS Pearson for the full refund of the Ellis academic online English language database subscription. This purchase was made using funds from the Library Services and Technology Act Grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services in the course of the Lo Primero es lo Primero (First Things First) Program.
3. Approval of request for payment of an inmate medical invoice. The request exceeds the County Manager’s approval limit of $25,000. Total payment is for $47,909.89.
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman to sign the Interlocal Agreements with Clermont, Eustis, and Leesburg that permit the County to execute its Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1 activities within their jurisdictions.
Request for approval of the transportation Standard Coordinator Contract with Ronald Bush, LLC and Christian Home Companionship.
Request for authorization for the Chairman to sign Certificate of Participation for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant FFY 2009 (JAG) Program and name Brenda Quattlebaum, Special Projects to coordinate all local efforts on this grant. Note: The Lake County Board of County Commissioners does not receive any of these funds.
Request to award contracts to D.A.B. Constructors, Ranger Construction and Middlesex Corporation for the purchase and delivery of asphaltic concrete in conjunction with the County's needs.
Request that the Board (1) declare the items on the attached list(s) surplus to County needs, (2) authorize the removal of all of the items on the attached lists from the County’s official fixed asset inventory system records, and (3) authorize the Procurement Services Director or designee to sign vehicle titles.
Request for authorization to release two maintenance bonds in the amount of $199,965.42 and $247,995.80 posted for Greater Lakes Phase I. Greater Lakes Phase I consists of 153 lots and is located in Section 10, Township 24 South, Range 26 East. Commission District 2.
Request for authorization to release a letter of credit for maintenance in the amount of $97,889.00 posted for Emerald Pond. Emerald Pond consists of 45 lots and is located in Section 14, Township 19 South, Range 25 East. Commission District 1.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution No. 2009-97 authorizing the posting of "Stop" sign and stop bar on Curtis Av (1422) at the intersection of Division St for westbound traffic in the Groveland area, Commissioner District 3, Section 19, Township 22, Range 25.
Request for authorization to award #5771 Bates Avenue Project No. 2009-08, Bid No. 09-0822, to Professional Dirt Service, Inc. in the amount of $904,922.30, and encumber and expend funds in the amount of $904,922.30 from the Road Impact Fees Benefit District 2 Fund. Commission District 4.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 14 through 17 as follows:
Request for release of any liens on the property - Property Owners, Joseph P. & Patricia Dougherty, Case No. 2008120102; and approval of Resolution No. 2009-98 to receive unanticipated revenue. Commission District 3.
Request for approval to Advertise Ordinance Repealing and Replacing Chapter 4, Lake County Code, entitled Animals.
Request for approval to Advertise Ordinance Amending Chapter 8, Sections 8-4 and 8-6, Lake County Code, entitled Code Enforcement Special Master.
Request for approval of agreement with Lake Warehouse & Storage Tavares for Lake County Health Department medical records and Interlocal Agreement between Lake County and Lake County Health Department for reimbursement to Lake County for Lake County Health Department record storage space. Commission District 3.
presentation of resolution to pastor tom keisler
Commr. Cadwell related that over the years they have had a parking problem in Tavares for the County employees, and now that they have solved that problem with the completion of the new parking garage, the Board wanted to thank people that have helped the County through that process all these years. He presented Pastor Tom Keisler of the First Baptist Church of Tavares with Resolution 2009-57, thanking the Church for entering into an agreement with the County in September of 2002 which allowed them to use their parking lot on the corner of Main Street and Joanna Avenue for employee and citizen parking over the past seven years.
Pastor Keisler commented that it has been a privilege for them to be a partner, and they always want to be seen as a partner to the community, the County, and the City of Tavares.
update on wekiva parkway
Mr. Mike Snyder, Executive Director, Orange County Expressway Authority, informed the Board that they have had a preferred alignment of the Wekiva Parkway that had been approved by the Board, by both the Orange and Seminole County Expressway Authority, and by the City of Apopka for a period of time now. He illustrated that alignment with a map on the overhead, which ran from a little west of the City of Apopka on US Hwy 441, around 437 running northerly up through Orange County, and branching off with the main part of the Wekiva Parkway heading towards the east and I-4. He also pointed out the location of the spur out of Orange County into Lake County heading into Mount Dora at US Hwy 441 to replace the existing section of SR 46 in that vicinity. He reported that his agency had met on many occasions with the City of Mount Dora to go over what the interchange configuration would look like at US Hwy 441 and SR 46. He pointed out that some of the wishes that they heard during all the workshops and meetings included bringing the connection from SR 46 coming into Mount Dora down to the Wekiva Parkway and south of the Plymouth-Sorrento area to preserve the integrity and the historical significance of that area, which is what the preferred alternative does. He went on to explain that they have spent a lot of time getting input from the community at both public and private meetings regarding the Lake County East area realignment, and SR 46 west of the river would be bisected and discontinuous through that area. They have worked closely with the Board and the Department of Environmental Protection to provide two full local interchanges in that area just to the east of Camp Challenge, because some of the provisions of the Wekiva Protection Act were to sever and relocate SR 46A and provide better wildlife protection, particularly for the black bear in that area.
Mr. Snyder discussed some of the issues and concerns with this project, including the CR 46A realignment, the fact that SR 46 was not continuous (as a result of the commitments that they have made to the Wekiva Protection Act), and the potential for tolls. He noted that the FDOT and OOCEA (Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority) were considering engineering and financial solutions to the toll issue, with the severing of SR 46 and the Wekiva Parkway becoming the route in and out of Lake County to Seminole County at the river. He stated that they have worked for a very long time to develop a funding relationship with the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation), but since FDOT has experienced a severe financial crunch, they had developed a funding mechanism that was predicated on whether a toll increase was approved by the Expressway Authority. However, he emphasized that he was still going to continue to have discussions with FDOT about being a partner in the overall funding mechanism to build the Wekiva Parkway one day. He also pointed out that this community needed an opportunity to put people back to work. He did state, however, that if they were to build the Wekiva Parkway today, tolls would be the funding mechanism for that. One of their concerns was that residents living in that area would be captive to the necessity of using the Wekiva Parkway, even though the interchanges would provide them an easy way of ingress and egress out of their communities. He also acknowledged that they were very aware of the problem of having no toll-free route for residents traveling from Lake County to that area of Seminole County, and they were doing everything to resolve that problem, including looking at engineering solutions that would provide a parallel service road system, elevated in certain locations for environmental reasons, with a free road next to the Parkway.
Mr. Snyder spoke about where they were in the process, stating that they were trying to get to the point of holding a public hearing for some time, but they first had to get Federal Highway approval of their environmental documents. Their intent was to hold a public hearing in each of the counties of Orange, Seminole, and Lake. He thought that by late this calendar year or early in 2010 they would hold those hearings, make revisions to the preferred alternative according to what they learn at the public hearings, submit their final documents, and be looking for a record of decision from the federal government in the late spring or early summer of 2010. They were planning on doing two bond sales next year in January and July.
Commr. Stewart commented that she appreciated that Mr. Snyder and the Expressway Authority have always been open and receptive to the County’s issues and concerns and willing to work with them.
current status of construction and renovation projects
Mr. Jim Bannon, Director of Capital Construction, gave a brief quarterly update on the Capital Construction projects. He recapped that the Board approved Pillar Homes as the lowest bidder for the construction of the Horticultural Learning Center, which was a 2,200 square foot facility for horticultural education and gardening seminars and mentioned that construction began June 15, 2009 and was expected to be completed in December 2009. He related that the contract for the work of gutting the Clermont Fire Station 110 building due to previous mold damage was awarded to Southern Building Services, and work began in May of 2009, with substantial completion expected in August. He informed the Board that they were recommending Pat Cook Construction for the Paisley Fire Station 13 project, and the construction contract will be presented to the Board for approval on August 4, 2009 for construction that was expected to begin in September. Another ongoing project that he discussed was the Clermont Sheriff’s Sub Station, which was a result of the growth in the South Lake area. He specified that the Office and Detentions expansion part of that would be approximately 8000 square feet, and the Shop area would be 7,700 square feet. The construction bid has already been opened since July 8, and the County and architects were reviewing the bids for construction that was expected to begin September 2009. He also mentioned that they were planning to use inmate labor on this project. He related that the cornice restorations for the Historic Courthouse and Sheriff’s Administration Building were ongoing, and they were establishing a master plan for the interior renovation of those buildings. Some building additions that had already begun were the 720-square foot addition to the Water Resource Lab and the 3,500-square foot Animal Control Addition. Also, the BCC Warehouse Expansion of 13,000 square feet was expected to begin in September. He concluded that the 50,000-square foot Cooper Memorial Library, which was a joint project, was on schedule and expected to open in August of 2009.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
fire rescue assessment fees for fy beginning october 1, 2009
Mr. Doug Krueger, Budget Director, explained that this was the initial process to begin adopting the fire assessment rates for next year, and he requested that they adopt Resolution 2009-99 to begin that process of preparing the fire assessment roll and to advertise for the public hearing for the fire assessment along with the budget. He specified that the fire assessment rate would remain at the current rate of $175.
Commr. Hill stated that someone had requested that they look into the justification for the fire assessment fee for airport hangars without creating a new category, but possibly putting it in a different classification. She wanted to look into the financial ramifications of that on the fire assessment fee. She pointed out that the current determination of the fee using square feet makes it hard for them to expand due to the amount that they were assessed.
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, assured her that they would look into that.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 21, the request from Budget to authorize and execute Resolution No. 2009-99 which initiates the annual process for preparation of the Fire Rescue Assessment Roll, authorizes the publication of the advertisement for the public hearing, provides direction to notice all affected parties of the proposed rates, and directs the imposition of Fire Rescue Assessment fees for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2009, with a Residential rate of $175 per residential unit and $82.85 for the Lake County residential units in the enclave of the Villages.
trip and equipment grant agreement
Mr. Ken Harley, Public Transportation Director, requested approval to enter an agreement with the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged for their Trip and Equipment Grant for funds that were used for the transportation service for their transportation disadvantaged population. He explained that this annual grant is a 90-10 match, and the Florida Commission has already approved Lake County’s application.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 22, the request from Community Services for approval of the Trip and Equipment Grant Agreement between the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for FY 2009-10.
SOLID WASTE INITIAL ASSESSMENT RESOLUTION
Mr. Daryl Smith, Director of Environmental Utilities, stated that this was their request for approval of the Initial Assessment Resolution for Collection, Management, and Disposal of Solid Waste and Recovered Materials for next year and to establish a Public Hearing Date of September 15, 2009, and he related that they have already established that they would have a rate of $184, which was the same as the current rate. He also mentioned that he would like to advise the Board of a new program that they were initiating.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 23, the request from Environmental Utilities for approval of the Initial Assessment Resolution No. 2009-100 for collection, management, and disposal of solid waste and recovered materials for FY 09/10, including a proposed maximum residential assessment of $184 and establish a Public Hearing Date of September 15, 2009.
Mr. Smith reported to the Board that today they would kick off a bicycle recycling program for bicycles that come into their facility that they deem to be reusable, and they had a place set up at their central facility where they would make those bicycles available to the general public for free. If they see that this program works well, they may expand it into other areas as well.
facilities development and management
envelope repair of judicial center
Mr. Bannon presented this item to the Board, which was the approval to add the envelope repair of the Judicial Center to the scope of work of PPI Construction and to define this work as Phase 1A, as well as approval of the budget transfer. He specified that the cost of the work is $800,000 inclusive of contingencies, which he commented was well below the $1.3 million that was projected.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 24, the request for approval to add the envelope repair at the existing Judicial Center to the scope of work of PPI Construction and to define this work as Phase 1A, as well as the approval of the budget transfer.
CONCURRENCY ORDINANCE REWRITING CHAPTER V OF LDR’S
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, placed the proposed Ordinance on the floor for its final reading by title only, as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; REPEALING AND REPLACING CHAPTER V OF APPENDIX E, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, LAKE COUNTY CODE, ENTITLED CONCURRENCY MANAGEMENT; CREATING ARTICLE 5.00.00, ENTITLED GENERAL; CREATING ARTICLE 5.01.00, ENTITLED APPLICABILITY; CREATING ARTICLE 5.02.00, ENTITLED LEVEL OF SERVICE STANDARDS; CREATING ARTICLE 5.03.00, ENTITLED CONCURRENCY EVALUATIONS; CREATING ARTICLE 5.04.00, ENTITLED CONCURRENCY MANAGEMENT REVIEW; CREATING ARTICLE 5.05.00, ENTITLED CAPACITY INFORMATION LETTERS; CREATING ARTICLE 5.06.00, ENTITLED CAPACITY ENCUMBRANCE LETTERS; CREATING ARTICLE 5.07.00, ENTITLED CAPACITY RESERVATION CERTIFICATE; CREATING ARTICLE 5.08.00, ENTITLED ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS; CREATING ARTICLE 5.09.00, ENTITLED CONCURRENCY APPEAL/MITIGATION PROCESS (NON-TRANSPORTATION); CREATING ARTICLE 5.10.00, ENTITLED PROPORTIONATE FAIR SHARE PROGRAM (TRANSPORTATION); PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Ms. Angi Thompson, Development Processing Agent, noted that there was one minor change to Section 5.03.05 on the second to last line changing “a capacity reservation certificate shall be required before the final commercial site plan is approved” to “a capacity encumbrance letter shall be required…”
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Jim Bible from Showcase Homes addressed the Board with some comments regarding this ordinance, and he asked why in Section 5.03.07 dealing with parks and recreation, it provides that the necessary facilities need to be in place within one year of the CO (Certificate of Occupancy), but they allowed three years for transportation and schools, and thought that it should be consistent. He pointed out that he interpreted Section 5.01.05 which was for redevelopment after demolition and for termination of existing use to mean that if a shopping center has been vacant for two years and the owner wanted to redevelop it after that time, the capacity that used to be available was lost, and the owner would have to go through the capacity evaluation to reinstitute the amount of capacity needed. He asked the Board if his interpretation of that section was correct and commented that he felt that a two-year time period was too short, especially during these hard economic times. He also commented that these places may be closer into the city areas where they would want redevelopment to take place, and he did not think this would help that happen. He also asked if they would lose the impact fee credits that they would have had after the use was no longer there. He suggested that they increase the two-year period of time. He stated that the letter to encumber capacity was only good for 120 days, which would be useless from the standpoint of trying to develop a piece of property, and in the interim a municipality could use up that capacity while they were trying to do their due diligence. He also thought that the three year time period after that which they had to actually reserve and use it might be too short for approval of the site plan, getting the permits, and construction. He expressed concern about how projects that were in their first phase would be addressed when they came in to do their second phase.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Minkoff about the concerns regarding Section 5.01.05 and whether they would lose the capacity credit if the building sat empty.
Mr. Minkoff responded that he thought if it was actively trying to be rented, that it would still be shown as an existing use and that a vacancy in a rental situation is not a discontinuance of the use, according to the existing code. He clarified that if the situation came up, staff would look at all the facts that the owner of the property brings in, and he commented that he did not think they have necessarily had a hard edge in terms of nonconforming type uses.
Commr. Renick asked why they would have to do anything with the vacant property within the time frame after demolition of the existing structure.
Mr. Minkoff answered that if a large commercial property was demolished and those trips were not put back into the system, another developer would not be able to build anything in that area, because the old property still had those trips reserved. He clarified that there was a requirement when a building is torn down to either rebuild or the trips that were reserved go back into the system for other people to use. He specified that two years was in the current code, and he mentioned the Board changed the impact fee requirement to six years.
Mr. Bible pointed out that the existing code went back to 1994, when the County did not have concurrency issues. He believed that concurrency would be a concern in the future, particularly for areas outside cities that were gobbling up county road capacity, especially since some of those cities may be exempt from having to worry about that with the new legislation.
Commr. Cadwell asked the Board if anyone had a problem with extending the deadline in Section 5.01.05 regarding demolition to four years.
Commr. Renick stated that she was alright with changing that to four years.
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that the three-year time frame regarding parks was in the existing code and that the three-year language has come up in the legislature.
The Board decided to put a three-year time frame for parks into the ordinance.
Mr. Bible asked if they were going to change the 120 days for the capacity encumbrance letter, which gave a window between the time that they would look at a piece of property and then get a final approval of the site, and the capacity reservation of three years.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there was a change to the ordinance on Page 9, Line 40, which stated that applicants were not allowed to reserve capacity unless the zoning was consistent first. He also pointed out that under the current code, they only had 90 days from the time they do the concurrency evaluation to be able to get the building permits, and he pointed out that the change from 90 to 120 was an increase in time. He explained that the three-year reservation would come at 120 days, and if they were not ready by that time, they could pay a concurrency fee to get three additional years to start construction. He noted that this section presents a small problem for residential construction, because they could not reserve the capacity until they got to the construction fund stage and the zoning was correct.
Mr. Bible commented that projects that were phased typically took more than three years, and that would be a large risk.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Mr. Minkoff added that the Code provides that if an applicant is proceeding in good faith, the County Manager was authorized to grant a three-year extension, which would be a total of six years plus 120 days. He clarified with the Board that the changes they requested in the ordinance were to change from two to four years after demolition and for the Florida Reservation Certificate and that they changed the parks to three years.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Concurrency Ordinance No. 2009-39 which rewrites Chapter V of the Land Development Regulations entitled “Concurrency Management,” with the corrections that were noted as follows: a change to Section 5.03.05 from “a capacity reservation certificate shall be required before the final commercial site plan is approved” to “a capacity encumbrance letter shall be required…” The other additional changes were a change from two to four years allowed under Section 5.01.05 for redevelopment after demolition and for the reservation certificate before credit for the capacity would be lost and a change from one to three years after issuance.
concurrency fee schedule as modified by ordinance
Ms. Thompson pointed out that the item the Board had before them was the fee schedule amendment for all of the fees associated with Ordinance No. 2009-39 that they just passed, and the only item in question that required Board determination was the residential reservation rate. She stated that the matrix that she just passed out to them showed what their current reservation was and how it compared as a percentage to the transportation impact fee, which was all they reserved for under the current ordinance; how it compares to all of the eligible fees for reservation, which are transportation, school, and parks; and then to all of their impact fees overall. She noted that the chart also showed what the reservation fee would look like should the Board choose to adopt it at 100 percent or some other percentage of that fee. She stated that the bottom part showed them scenarios of what a developer would be looking at in reservation fees for different subdivision sizes based upon whatever percentage the Board would choose to adopt. She commented that the surrounding counties that they surveyed based it on 100 percent of their impact fees.
Commr. Cadwell clarified that this was purely a policy decision.
Mr. Minkoff added that the school impact fees and the school concurrency were new to everyone, and up until the time they passed the school concurrency amendment, they technically did not add school concurrency fees.
Commr. Hill explained that there were three ways that they could do this, which were a flat fee per lot, a percentage of the impact fee, or for the payment. She pointed out that a percentage would not take an ordinance change if they wanted to change anything later, and a percentage change could be done by resolution. She also stated that there is a school administration fee that was not shown on the chart.
Ms. Thompson explained that the School Board charged that administration fee to do their concurrency analysis and it was not an actual reservation fee.
Commr. Hill informed the Board that presently they charge 5 to 6 percent for transportation and that she was in favor of the rate being in the 10 to 15 percent range, which she felt would encourage some projects to be started sooner.
Ms. Thompson noted that the current ordinance only has transportation reservation.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he thought they should get at least 50 percent of them.
Commr. Renick thought that the percentage should be consistent for all the categories and should be at least 50 percent.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved Tab 25, the request from Growth Management for approval of the attached fee schedule for Concurrency Fees as modified by the new Chapter V, Concurrency, of the Land Development Regulations presented for Public Hearing, and approval of Resolution No. 2009-101 amending the fee schedules for FY 2008-09 to reflect these fees, and determined the capacity reservation fee for residential subdivisions at 50 percent of the concurrency impact fee for roads, schools, and parks.
Commr. Hill voted “no.”
award to cbo’s for neighborhood stabilization program
Mr. Barnett Schwartzman, Procurement Services Director, informed the Board that the process expressed in this item was to support the initial awards for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1), Phase I and that the reason it was a departmental item was because of the dollar value. He pointed out that they had a supplemental RFP in the process which closes Wednesday for a source to provide an additional coverage. He added that they were still awaiting the actual contracts to be signed from the City of Leesburg and were asking for the Chairman to be authorized to sign that upon receipt.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 26, the request from Procurement to award under RFP09-0218 four Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to support the first iteration of the County's grant-funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1).
WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of the following individuals to the Women’s Hall of Fame Committee: Ms. Carolyn Richardson (District 1); Mr. Rick Reed (District 2); Ms. Gwen Manning (District 3); and Ms. Carmen Cullen (District 4); and appointment of Ms. Priscilla Getchel (District 5).
discussion of solid waste advisory committee
Ms. Cindy Hall, County Manager, stated that the Board had asked them for some information about the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and they have included in the backup material Ordinance No. 2005-38 which had created that committee and a current list of members, as well as some supplemental information related to the meetings of the last couple of years of this committee.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would like to make this a workshop item in the future to discuss making this a different type of committee than it had been in the past and possibly expanding it.
Commr. Conner pointed out that this committee had not met in about a year and that there were vacancies on it that have not been filled in a long time. He recapped that at the last meeting, there was an agenda item for them to enter into negotiations with Covanta, and he felt that they should have a committee made up of a diverse group of people that have some areas of expertise in solid waste to advise the Board on what their alternatives are. He was particularly interested in the expansion of the recycling program, and he opined that they might need to build a transfer station themselves. He wanted to get this moving forward in the relatively near future, and he thought it was important that they be given a wide range of options.
Commr. Hill informed the Board that the Solid Waste Advisory Committee has been inactive, with two members whose term was not expired, and they could readvertise for the other vacancies and fill that committee.
Commr. Cadwell thought they might need to amend the ordinance to do that.
Commr. Renick suggested that they appoint people that have a specific knowledge of the Covanta issue and that the committee would have a large part in looking at the renegotiations of the new contract with them.
Commr Conner suggested that they could perhaps have a new committee for a new purpose and opined that it was important to have a diverse committee.
Commr. Cadwell commented that because of the sensitivity and long-range effect of this issue, it needed to be Commission-driven. He also commented that he did not want to go through an ordinance procedure to try to change it, and he asked the County Attorney if they could set up a sub-committee by resolution.
Mr. Minkoff responded that if it was going to be short term, he thought that a resolution would be more appropriate than putting it in the Code, which was intended for permanent committees.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he would meet with Mr. Minkoff to draw up a resolution, bring it back as an agenda item, and create a vision statement for the philosophy about what they wanted the committee to do.
board of building examiners appointment
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board rescinded the reappointment of Helen Jones made on January 6, 2009 to serve on the Board of Building Examiners for a four-year term beginning January 15, 2009 and appointed Mr. William Scott as consumer member to serve the remainder of the four-year term which ends January 14, 2013.
REPORTS – COUNTY ATTORNEY
agreement regarding clermont sprayfield property
Mr. Minkoff explained that this item regarding the Agreement with the City of Clermont to purchase property near Groveland for a future park was postponed from the last meeting.
Ms. Hall pointed out that in the backup material she had included some cost estimates and ideas on how that would be factored into future budgets. She explained that currently the unincorporated MSTU was used for three functions of the County in the unincorporated area, which were stormwater, parks, and roads. She explained that the Public Works Department made recommendations on an annual basis as to how the funding coming into that MSTU should be split, and she included a chart illustrating how the fund would be split in the next ten years, giving them an idea of how that funding could be arranged. She pointed out, however, that it would be an annual decision of the Board.
Commr. Conner asked if they were sacrificing money for resurfacing of roads to pay for this park.
Mr. Stivender reported that right now they have about $2.2 million worth of sales tax going to resurfacing, and they were supplementing that with the MSTU money. He confirmed that they were reducing resurfacing funding to offset the funding for parks, per Board direction on the interest in parks and stormwater, and they could not balance it without doing it this way.
Commr. Conner commented that he was conflicted, because he was committed to the Park Master Plan, but they were obligating a lot of money for the purchase price of the property and the long-term commitment to that. He wanted to be careful that they did not over-obligate themselves in the future.
Commr. Cadwell opined that in that area parks were more of a priority than roads because of need, and the shortage of parks in South Lake has created a crisis.
Commr. Renick remarked that 80 percent of the children using Clermont’s parks were County residents, and Clermont will get to a point where they would not be able to handle all those users of their parks. She added that because of the population, the greatest need for parks has always been in South Lake.
Commr. Stewart agreed that there was a huge need for a County park in South Lake, and she pointed out that there were other sources of funding for the roads.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he was comfortable moving forward with this.
Commr. Conner thought that the park should be a partnership with the City, and he believed that the $4 million price was high and needed to be negotiated lower, especially since the City bought the property for only $600,000 in the 1980’s.
Commr. Renick commented that she thought that the City of Clermont was partnering with the County by not asking for any money until 2012, and she reiterated that this park will be in the City of Groveland rather than Clermont. She asked if there would be anything left over from the $2.6 million that they already had set aside for park development to pay for the cost of the property.
Mr. Stivender related that they were planning to use the $2.6 million to build a complex of five ball fields and parking areas.
Mr. Minkoff reported that the asking price was close to the appraisal, and this was consistent with what they did at the School Board site on Elementary J. He noted that usually with other governments, they have not tried to negotiate for a lower price, and the lack of payment for the first three years probably translated into a 15 percent or higher discount to the appraised value.
Commr. Hill opined that private industry was a possible funding source, rather than government fulfilling every need and taking funding away from roads, which was a core need. She mentioned that Mr. Chet Lemon was looking to work with South Lake Chamber and EDC (Economic Development Commission) to build an 80,000 square foot building with baseball, soccer, and track fields.
Mr. Stivender suggested getting participation from the cities of Clermont, Groveland, Mascotte, Minneola, and Montverde to build and manage facilities in the future on this site.
Commr. Conner expressed concern that using the money to buy this park would be the opposite of the recommendation given to them by the Transportation Alternative Task Force, which indicated that they were not funding roads enough.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board approved the Agreement between Lake County and the City of Clermont relating to the Clermont Sprayfield property.
Commr. Hill and Commr. Conner voted “no.”
litigation regarding bill 227
Mr. Minkoff recapped that Lake County was the main plaintiff in a suit against the State of Florida along with over 25 other counties regarding the legislation which required counties to pay costs of the Regional Conflict Council, which is the replacement of Public Defender costs. He reported that the trial court as well as the District Court of Appeal had ruled in the County’s favor, and he suspected there may not be an appeal to the Supreme Court. He also mentioned that he thought the counties would be taking the position that they would begin litigation against the State on House Bill 227 passed this year that purportedly changed the burden of proof on impact fees, and at the County Attorneys’ conference call last week they were asked to poll their Boards to see if they would be interested in joining that litigation similar to the one on the Conflict Council. He commented that there would probably be a small cost to do that of about $2,000 to $3,000, depending upon the number of counties and cities that join.
Commr. Cadwell stated that his recommendation would be to tell them the Board would be interested, and the Board gave consensus that they would be interested in joining that litigation.
resolution #2009-30 from town of montverde
Ms. Hall reported that she received a letter from the Town of Montverde stating that they have passed a resolution that creates an Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement (ISBA) that was being presented to the Board today for consideration. She related that they would reply with a responding resolution in which they could identify a different boundary and different services that the County would also like included. She stated that Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, had drafted a map that they were recommending to the Board, which was a little bit larger than the map that the Town of Montverde had sent.
Ms. King illustrated a map on the overhead which had two boundaries depicted. The boundary in yellow was the one that the Town of Montverde had adopted with their resolution, and the boundary in red was what staff was going to recommend to the Board, along with other possible staff recommendations. She explained that they included the larger boundary because they wanted to close the gap to the County line, and they did not think that Clermont would be interested in crossing over the turnpike. They included the larger area on the top because it included the small community of Ferndale, and the only way that they could negotiate for Ferndale not to be annexed by any of the adjacent municipalities was if they were a party to this agreement and therefore included in this boundary; otherwise, they could not take them into consideration in their resolution and negotiations. She related that they would propose, after talking to the community of Ferndale, to consider this a no-annexation area. She also noted that this would be a negotiation among the elected officials, not among staff, and those that choose to be part of this would have to be at the table.
Commr. Stewart commented that she liked staff’s proposal for the additional area.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved for staff to bring back a resolution containing its recommendation of a larger boundary area than the Town of Montverde had set up in response to the Town of Montverde’s Resolution #2009-30 initiating the Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement (ISBA) per Part II of Charter 171 Florida Statutes.
chief financial officer’s request to speak to the board
Ms. Hall stated that she received a request from Mr. Randall Brown, who was the Consumer Outreach Coordinator for Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, to come speak before the Board regarding issues including safeguarding senior initiatives, insurance, and banking topics; and she asked the Board if they would like to do that.
Commr. Hill commented that they would consider it if they thought it would be beneficial and something that pertains to them on a local level.
Commr. Conner opined that he did not think it was necessary, but if they had something that was of interest at the moment that was really critical to the Commission, their citizens, or their employees, then he would think differently about it and that the politics were irrelevant to him. He was concerned that if the presentation was meaningless, it would waste his time.
Commr. Renick asked how they would know it would be meaningless. She indicated that it did not matter to her whether or not they went ahead with this and that she thought it was a decision for the Chairman.
Commr. Cadwell indicated that he would make the decision.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER STEWART – DISTRICT 4
proposed cra for mt. plymouth/sorrento area
Commr. Stewart stated that Tab 34 was a request for staff to move forward to develop a finding of necessity and redevelopment plan for a proposed Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). She commented that the Mt. Plymouth/Sorrento area was a very unique and nice area with businesses along SR 46 which would be affected when the Wekiva Parkway comes through and many of which have been there for years and have been struggling. She related that the community out there wants to establish a nice, attractive downtown area, and she has been meeting with the business owners along SR 46 about a CRA that would be used for streetscaping the area, sprucing up their businesses, and possibly defining an architectural plan for the area. She also added that the Departments of Economic Growth and Redevelopment and Growth Management have been working with them. They are also working with the City of Umatilla, which has a CRA to spruce up their downtown to make their local businesses more attractive and more successful. She opined that she and the business owners along SR 46 thought it was a wonderful opportunity to make the community more attractive and help the businesses be more successful and more permanent. She asked for approval for staff to move ahead with this.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he had some concerns about it, but they could probably be answered in the plan. He stated that he thought they should take this step, but they may not agree with the plan after they see what they bring back as far as the size and the plan.
Mr. Minkoff explained that the first step would be to just find the requirement of necessity, so they would not bring the Board back a plan at that point but would just do a data analysis to see if there was a need for a CRA there. He stated that once they made that finding, then they would move forward with the plan.
Commr. Renick stated that she had some serious concerns, and her experience with CRA’s were that they were a very defined, small area of redevelopment, but on the area shown on the map to be discussed she did not see just the area for redevelopment, but areas that really did not have development yet. She related that she would not have a problem with this if the map showed a very compact area, and she asked what the acreage was that was outlined.
Ms. Dottie Keedy, Director of the Department of Growth and Redevelopment, answered that the acreage was about 950.
Commr. Renick remarked that was a huge area.
Commr. Stewart commented that was one of the issues they could work out later, and this was what the local business owners put together themselves.
Ms. Keedy pointed out that this was not a request to approve the map or the boundary. She explained that blight could be any of about 14 different criteria, including a high number of calls for police and fire, high vacancy rates, drainage issues, and street lights.
Commr Conner was confident that this would qualify to be a CRA based on the broad definition of blight, but he also expressed concern that the area was too broad.
Commr. Cadwell asked if they could come back after they redefine the boundary.
Commr. Stewart responded that today they were not asking for a boundary decision, but were only asking to determine whether to proceed with the blight issue.
Commr. Hill noted that they also needed to determine how they would figure the percentage of the tax revenue that went into this.
Ms. Keedy responded that when they adopt the redevelopment plan, they also create a tax increment financing district, which establishes the base year, and any increases in value of those properties within the boundaries that increase revenue goes into the TIF (Tax Increment Finance) fund. She also stated that one of the next steps is to designate the community redevelopment agency, which could be the Board, a separate board, or a combination of both.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board moved to postpone this item to look into reducing the size of the CRA.
Commr. Stewart voted “no.”
RECESS AND REASSEMBLY
At 11:00 a.m. the Chairman announced that there would be a 15-minute recess before going into a closed session.
Mr. Minkoff stated that pursuant to Statute 286.011, at the last Board meeting, he requested that they have a closed session regarding litigation, and the subject matter of the meeting would be confined to settlement negotiations and strategy sessions relating to litigation and litigation expenditures. He noted that a court reporter would record the time that they begin and end, all discussions and proceedings, the names of all persons who will be present, who will be the members of the Board, Ms. Hall, himself, and Ms. Melanie Marsh, Deputy County Attorney. He explained that they could not have any part of the session off the record, and no one could leave the room and come back. He reported that as required by Statute, they have put an advertisement in the Orlando Sentinel. He noted that the Chairman shall announce the commencement, and the estimated time would be about 30 minutes.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER HILL – VICE CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 1
impact fee committee request
Commr. Hill stated that the Impact Fee Committee requested having a joint workshop with the Board after their study came back and prior to the public hearing, but she commented that she knew that was setting a bad precedent and that it was not something that was usually done.
Commr. Cadwell asked Commr. Hill to tell the committee to finish their work product, and they would look at it and decide if there was a reason to meet before they started the public process.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER RENICK – DISTRICT 2
ALLOWANCES FOR ST. AUGUSTINE GRASS
Commr. Renick mentioned that they were still working on their landscape ordinance, and their discussions regarding banning St. Augustine grass seem to revolve around whether it is put in the right place or not. She suggested that they have Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning Director, Planning and Community Design, come up with some language that they could debate for allowing St. Augustine grass under certain conditions, including soil analysis, if people were willing to go through the expense and trouble to put it into place.
Commr. Cadwell stated that they could have Mr. Sheahan take a look at that.
proposal for public/private sports facility in clermont
Commr. Renick informed the Board that she met in Clermont with the South Lake Chamber Economic Development group and Mr. Chet Lemon regarding the proposal for the sports facility that Mr. Lemon wanted to start. She asked the Board if there was any interest in the project and whether to let Ms. Hall and Ms. Keedy know whether they wanted to hear that presentation. She explained that it would be a public/private enterprise, with Mr. Lemon’s group building the facility, but they were looking for a site to do that.
Commr. Hill commented that they need to hear all the proposals.
Commr. Cadwell related that he talked to Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Trails Director, a little about it, who thought that there may be some tourism and economic development advantage to that project in the future, but he commented that they needed to be careful as they went through the process.
Commr. Renick summarized that since there was interest in hearing the presentation, the Board would let Ms. Hall and Ms. Keedy get something together for them.
food pantry donations
Commr. Stewart mentioned that the Lake Cares Food Pantry in Mount Dora has not been able to keep up with their increased demand for food and needed as soon as possible for the month of August 500 cans of vegetables; common items such as boxed macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, canned potatoes, dried beans, soups, Chef Boyardee Products, flour, cooking oil, coffee, ketchup, maple syrup, and Manwich cans; and non-food items such as toilet paper, dish detergent, feminine products, toothbrushes, razors, and shaving cream. She specified that they were asking the public to bring their donations to the Morningside Drive entrance any weekday between 10 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. She added that monetary donations were always extremely useful.
article in money magazine regarding lake county
Commr. Stewart presented an article to the Board that was featured in Money Magazine and the CNN Money.com website stating that Lake County was rated Number 15 for best for job growth among all other cities nationally. The article mentioned that in recent years service sector and health care industries have shown major development within the County.
recess and reassembly
At 12:00 p.m., the Chairman announced that they would recess and would reconvene at 1:30 p.m.
comprehensive plan workshop
Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, informed the Board that they would begin this workshop by briefing them on what they would be going over, which were the Transportation element and the Parks and Recreation elements, Comments 215 through 239. She began by reviewing the changes that were discussed on June 16 to get direction from the Board.
After reviewing the memorandum that Ms. King handed out containing the summary of the options that the Board chose for each comment at the prior workshop, Commr. Cadwell commented that it looked like it reflected the Board’s direction.
The Board chose Option A, which was to revise the policy in Comment 217 as advised by staff, by deleting the acronym RPA and adding the phrase “in order to help assure the provision of adequate recreational facilities where they are needed” in Policy VIII-1.3.1.
Commr. Renick thought that the revision recommended by staff in Comment 218 was awkward and that it would be simpler and less confusing to say “park or recreation space” rather than “Developed, or Open for Public Use land.”
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that they wanted to get the total acreage included in the numbers, because currently there was some vacant land that would be on the books as part of the total acreage, but if they use just their improved land, that number would go down.
Commr. Renick stated that if they called it a generic recreation space or park, even if it was not developed yet, they were talking about how many acres of park per 1000 people.
Mr. Stivender stated that they were trying to be all inclusive of the developed and non-developed acreage that they have purchased rather than just the developed fields.
Mr. Minkoff asked why the phrase “in unincorporated Lake County” was added, since he felt that makes it unclear whether the land has to be in unincorporated Lake County or for the number of people.
Commr. Renick responded that it was modifying people.
Commr. Stewart agreed that the phrase “Developed, or Open for Public Use” sounded awkward.
Commr. Renick asked if they could change it to “park land (developed or undeveloped).”
The Board chose Option A for Comment 219, which was the staff recommendation to change “open space” to “land” in Policy VIII-1.4.5, as well as the staff recommendations for the revisions in Option A for Comments 220 regarding the trails program, greenways and blueways; 221 regarding guidelines for trail development, maintenance and operation; and 222 (correcting inconsistent and redundant language).
Commr. Renick stated that she had a problem with the part of Comment 223 which stated, “encourage trip capturing developments.” She commented that in theory that sounded good, but she just wanted to make sure that this language would not cause problems in the future by forcing them to have residential in a development when that was not what they necessarily wanted to do. She further explained that when they were pushing for mixed-use type development, if they have an area that was already heavy on residential and wanted to bring in other types of development, they would not want to have any language that would somehow justify that they must have a residential component within that.
Ms. King responded that she believed that the last sentence in that section that read “Such balancing shall consider both built and approved,” would achieve that, and she did not think it would unintentionally force residential components into nonresidential projects.
Commr. Renick also had a concern about the phrase “limiting gated communities” in that Comment. She noted that the Central Florida Regional Planning Council was pushing for the County to no longer have those, and they were trying to prevent the gated communities that did not have the roadway connections. She suggested that they use the word “prohibiting” rather than “limiting.”
Mr. Sheahan responded that he was always cautious about prohibition, because there may be a circumstance that would be appropriate due to location, or the intended use may be suitable for a gated community. He explained that the reason the word limiting was used was because it would allow someone to get a variance.
In regard to Comment 224, Mr. Stivender explained that they were leaning toward Option A3, mainly because if they restrict the expansion of roads from a two lane to a four lane, they would really accomplish the same thing. He stated that anything else with width is more of a safety issue and what kind of amenities they wanted along the roadway, and just restricting the number of lanes a road should have in the future is a key way to manage traffic.
Mr. T. J. Fish, Executive Director of the Lake-Sumter MPO (Metropolitan Planning Agency), added that some of the text, especially the transportation element, was written three years ago, and the MPO adopted a policy that the County has an opportunity to incorporate restricting the maximum number of lanes. He was starting to see that they were getting away from an A, B, C, and D level of service and getting more finite into the actual number of vehicles per day or per peak hour that could actually be supported. He opined that he thought the A3 hybrid was the best choice for this policy, which looked at maximum number of lanes inside a corridor and then on top of that to utilize the concurrency management system that was already in place.
Commr. Cadwell asked if the list of roadways that the Board would approve will be part of this or a policy document.
Mr. Fish responded that it could be referenced as a source document.
Commr Renick commented that they would go with Option A3.
Mr. Stivender added that there may be three lanes in an intersection with a turn lane, or there may be design criteria or safety concerns which would necessitate extra lanes.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that he did not think they would be able to adopt by reference, because changing the reference would change the Comp Plan, which would violate Chapter 163, so there would have to be a specific list.
Ms. King wanted to correct the wording in A3 to read “adopt maximum number of lanes and LOS standards” rather than “adopt lane width.”
Regarding Comment 225, Mr. Stivender explained that since a road may travel in and out of the city limits, Option A1 basically dealt with the area and traffic pattern of a segment of road and not necessarily the city or urban boundaries.
Mr. Fish explained that the reason they went with the additional recommendation of A2 for the Board to consider was that the MPO already has an adopted map of state and federal roads that has urban and rural but also official transition designation. They withheld action on county roads because there was still some question about how that would be handled, and this may be an opportunity to utilize the official transitioning designation. He stated that what they were to consider was whether they were comfortable with one mile from corporate limits or did they officially designate a map that showed where the transitioning was throughout the County.
Mr. Stivender commented that Mr. Fish’s option contained a lot of detail, but he thought that amount of detail would become a problem in the future. He mentioned that they were looking at the details being in the LDR’s and that this would be the more general principle.
Commr. Cadwell commented that way would make it easier to change if there was a problem that presented itself in the future. The Board decided to go with Option A1.
Regarding Comment 226, Commr. Renick asked why they took out the language that stated, “that is sensitive to the local dynamics of the County,” in Option B.
Mr. Stivender responded that to him the most important addition would be the addition of the word “cities” in Option A, because the cities with or without the other factors play the local role to work together with the County on collectors and local classifications.
Commr. Renick noted that they did not have an option that added the word cities as well as took the aforementioned phrase out.
The Board chose Option A, which both Mr. Stivender and Mr. Fish were comfortable with.
The Board decided on Option A, which was the revision recommended by staff, for Comments 227 (trip capturing development), 228 (transportation system and demand management), and Comment 229 (access management on state and local roads).
Commr. Renick asked what the major difference was between Option A1 and Option A2 under Comment 230A.
Mr. Stivender pointed out that the first paragraph in Option A1 that states “the impacts of such development, subject to State law,” was different than Option A2, which stated “The Lake Sumter MPO shall serve as the administrator of the Transportation Concurrency Management System.” He was concerned about the definition of administrator in that phrase, and this would imply that they have some jurisdiction over the management system of what can and can not be put on highways.
Commr. Cadwell commented that it was currently a good thing, and the County had a contract with Mr. Fish to do that. However, he pointed out that if they did not want to do that in the future, they would have to go back and change the Comp Plan, so he did not think they needed the language of Option A2 in there.
The Board gave consensus to choose Option A1 for Comment 230A and Option A, the revision recommended by staff, for Comment 230B, which was regarding the requirement for bicycle and pedestrian facilities being too broad.
Commr. Renick clarified that the phrase “a design exception may be approved by the Board” in Option A1 was not available in Option A-2.
Mr. Stivender stated that public input had a lot to do with how they designed roads, and he noted that they have been putting wide shoulders and bike lanes on roads since 1991, but there were exceptions depending on the situation.
Commr. Renick stated that they were getting to the point where bike lanes and other nice amenities has been their standard when building roads, but because of the money situation they were currently in, they were not always going to be available. She clarified that Option A1 gives them the opportunity to discuss and make decisions on the design, but A2 was more restrictive.
Mr. Fish added that the Board would need some flexibility to deal with issues such as financial feasibility and not having sufficient right of way for those facilities.
Commr. Renick stated that she thought they should go with A1 because of the reality of the economic conditions which they were dealing with.
There was consensus to select Option A for Comment 232, which adds the Black Bear State Scenic Roadway to the list of scenic roads in Transportation Policy IX-1.7.2, and Comment 233, which adds an implementation date to Transportation Policy IX-1.9.2.
Commr. Renick expressed concern regarding Comment 233A that she thought that the noise barriers were unsightly, as well as being a huge expense.
Mr. Stivender related that the definition of a sound wall is a 20-foot wall, but they were trying to use a common sense approach to adapt to the geography of the area, using other alternatives such as lower walls, vegetation, and berms. He also pointed out that a 20-foot wall does not work at all where there were any driveways, because there had to be a continual link of wall. He stated that the buffer could be placed where economically and properly feasible.
Commr. Cadwell commented that the language was more feasible and more appropriate in the policy that was provided, and he was fine with Option A for Comment 233A.
Option A was chosen for Comment 234, which was the staff recommendation to move Transportation Policy IX-2.1.2 under the corridor protection section.
Commr. Renick stated that they could designate Option A for Comment 235 regarding public transit policies, but that the language was still a little awkward, and she directed Ms. King to work on that.
The Board selected Option A for both Comment 236 regarding coordination and public input in Goal IX-3 and Comment 237 regarding a lack of project prioritization of transportation capital improvements in Policy IX-4.2.2.
Commr. Stewart opined that the third bullet down on Comment 238 regarding constrained corridors which read “spread demand for transportation capacity” should be changed to say “create regional high density nodes to spread demand.”
Mr. Fish explained that the network part was the key to it rather than the notes, especially on roads where there was no place to spread out the project and disburse it at all. He suggested that they change the word “spread” to “disburse” demand.
Mr. Stivender added that they could maximize their side roads to balance against the major roads.
The Board selected Option A for Comment 239, which revised the tables TRAN-4 and TRAN-5 regarding road standards.
Ms. Keith Schue, a member of the LPA, stated that under Comment 218, Recreation Levels of Service, he understood that the Board made the decision that the adopted level of service shall be four acres of public land and had the word park added to that.
Commr. Cadwell thought they changed that to developed or undeveloped.
Commr. Renick stated that it would be park whether it was passive or active, but the issue was that they did not want to have to develop every inch of land that they had.
Mr. Schue stated that regarding Comment 223 under the transportation element, he thought Policy IX-1.10.7 contained good specific plan enhancements, but he suggested that the fifth bullet which encouraged increasing the number of roadway intersections may cause an increase in pollutant emission levels, depending on what the situation was. He pointed out that in the tenth bullet down regarding protecting existing railroad corridors, he thought they would want to make clear that they were talking about having central hubs of activity for those commercial or industrial sites. He suggested that they add the words “at central hubs” after the phrase, “protecting busy railroad corridors, encouraging and facilitating the location of industrial and commercial employment centers.” He noted that the extra text following both Policies IX-1.3.4 and 1.3.5 in Comment 229 which were referring to access management for state and local roads were the exact same text, and he thought that the way they would handle a county-maintained road could be different than how they would handle a state road in regard to things such as curb cuts.
Mr. Stivender pointed out that there would be more specifics on the LDR’s regarding the distances and the criteria.
Commr. Cadwell directed staff to work on that.
Mr. John Pospisil stated that he was concerned that a section of Comment 223 would be written in a way that would suggest that the intent was to prohibit all gated communities, and he suggested that they add to that policy, “limiting those gated communities which prevent existing or future roadway interconnections.” He stated that some gated communities could be designed in such a way that there could be right of way going through them. He was also initially concerned that the final bullet on that page appeared to contradict Policy IX-1.6.7 under Comment 231 regarding bicycle, pedestrian, and recreation trails, but his concern was assuaged when he was informed of the new wording in the updated, amended version of the workshop Comments.
Mr. Fish commented that the direction that the Board gave staff regarding Comment 225 to go with Option A could cause some problems for the MPO. He informed the Board that his Technical Advisory Committee has already started the work on the map evolving beyond the state road designations, and they were going to bring back the Transitioning Map, which was the Functional Classification Map, in August. He pointed out that since the Board did not go with a map that was consistent with the MPO and FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation), they would have to revisit that. He stated that the committees and the MPO went through the process of putting transitioning on the map for all the county corridors that was consistent with county and city land use plans.
Commr. Cadwell directed staff to continue to work on that and to bring that item back on August 4.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 1:25 p.m. that they would recess until 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Bob Eggleston, the architect for the Judicial Center project, opined that the courthouse was the cornerstone of the community. He noted that when they started designing the courthouse expansion in 2004, they had a needs assessment done to determine what the projections and case loads were and to determine how much extra space would be needed, and then they came up with a space program that defined individual spaces that would go into the building. After that was done, they looked at three concept options, including an L-shaped building that fronted on Main Street, which was the option that was ultimately selected. The other two options they looked at created a small courtyard out front, resulting in the building being set back further from the road. He noted that all of the options included ways to expand the building in the future, but they moved forward with design on the first option because the other two options had some crossing conflicts due to secure circulation needs, especially with inmates. Due to budget concerns that came up in January, they looked at how they could possibly reduce some space by cutting off the north wing, which was the second option that was before the Board. He emphasized that there was growth built into Option 1, with the high-traffic function of the Clerk of Court on the first floor; inmate holding on the second floor; the Courts on Floors 3, 4, 5, and 6; and the Judicial Chambers on the north wing on Floors 3, 4, and 5. He explained that with Option 2, since they had to consolidate space, there was no growth built into the expansion, with the same court deployment, but with the Chambers being in the south wing along Main Street. He showed some 3-D images which included a new secure entry checkpoint, the elevator lobby on the upper court floors, public corridor with courtroom entries, and the plaza view.
Commr. Cadwell opened the public hearing, and he commented that the two decisions the Board had to make that night were whether there was a need for additional space and whether there was a need to borrow any money to build.
Ms. Patricia Sullivan, a resident of Eustis, commented that the architecture of the building that they were just shown was beautiful, but noted that in her own family’s budget they have had to cut back, since it would be unwise for her family to incur debt in the current economic situation. She encouraged the County to exercise fiscal responsibility and to use the funds that they already had without incurring any debt. She had everyone that was part of the North Lake Tea Party let the Board know by a show of hands who they were and that they were in agreement with the views she had expressed.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a resident of Tavares, opined that the arguments were emotional on both sides and that he could not find a good, logical explanation to justify this building with large, wide atrium areas and other amenities.
Commr. Cadwell responded that he could look at the original space study that was done.
Mr. Robert Ebert, Jr., a resident of Eustis, opined that debt was a form of slavery and that compounding interest could work against them. He commented that elected officials felt that if they had some money saved, they would have to spend it, but he thought they needed to prepare for things such as providing more police officers to protect them during bad times, which he believed would cause more crime due to an inverse relationship. He concluded by stating that taxes contributed to lawlessness and that they spend more than they make.
Mr. Rich Dunkel, a resident of Mount Dora, informed the Board that he has been working on the DOE (Department of Energy) grant, and he related that one of the primary points of that is job creation. He specified that one of the things they were looking at was how they could take industries and businesses that were in Lake County and create other jobs and industries that they could work into, and one of them was courthouses and court procedures. He stated that there were some companies in Lake County that digitize documents for the health industry and do video conferencing for the medical industry that have indicated an interest in doing something for the courthouse. He suggested that they think of ways to use the opportunity to build a new courthouse to help develop jobs and new industry that they could export to other areas.
Mr. Greg Tighe, a resident of Umatilla, was concerned about the tax impact of this decision and the increased debt service, especially if interest rates sharply rise. He opined that the distribution of millage rates would be inappropriate for this, and he did not see the necessity for this expansion, since he never had a problem with waiting times or getting in or out of the judicial center, even during busy court times. He emphasized that he did not think Lake County needed any more debt in the present or the future.
Mr. Ralph Smith, a business owner and resident of Mount Dora, conveyed his appreciation for the Board’s service in the past and present and opined that he did not think that this was one of the more difficult decisions that they had to make. He commented that with unemployment and foreclosures as high as it has been in 17 years, now was not the time to incur any more debt. He did not think they would need 300,000 more square feet during a time when the County has laid off employees and reduced its work force. He admitted that some renovations, more space for the Clerk, and several more courtrooms may be justified, but they had $47 million set aside to do that. He commented that he would much rather have a Commission which made a dignified decision to not saddle every family in Lake County with an additional $700 expense for future taxes than to have an attractive, exquisite edifice. He concluded by urging the Board to acquire no more debt.
Mr. David VonGunten, a resident of Eustis, commented that the last six months have proven that they could not spend themselves into prosperity, especially with borrowed money. He stated that he did not want to see Lake County keeping the county going with IOU’s, and he was concerned that they would get themselves into that situation if they incur debt.
Ms. Kathy Sutch, a resident of Groveland, stated that she was taught that when things got tough, they should not go beyond their means, but to make due with what they have until times got better. She commented that the County had a substantial amount of money already for this project, and she urged the Board to do with it what they could. She asked if it was necessary to provide the planned amenities of the new courthouse, and she believed that they needed to come up with some better options than the two options that they had.
Mr. Bill Soriero, a business owner and resident of Tavares, stated that even though building the courthouse would be good for him personally, he was still against it. He commented that they were in a situation where they could not afford to spend that money right now. He indicated that he disagreed with the architect that the cornerstone of the community was the courthouse, since he believed the cornerstone was the people of the community.
Ms. Marilyn Bainter, a resident of Eustis, pointed out that property taxes levied had increased 127 percent since 2001, but spending had increased 161 percent. She stated that the Board approved many expansion projects in 2006 during a time of prosperity, but there was now a time of recession which could last well into the future. She opined that the project manager, consultant, and architect on this project had a biased view of the need of the expansion, because their salaries were based on the cost of the project, and she believed that the County needed an architect that was familiar with the area. She also urged the Board to match their spending for infrastructure to the average income of the taxpayers they were representing, which was below the state and national level. She emphasized that the burden of additional taxes is something she did not want the taxpayers of Lake County to be burdened with in these hard economic times. She concluded by asking the Board to reject the options for the project that were before them and start over with a plan that they could justify.
Mr. Mike Endres, a resident of Tavares, mentioned that he was an engineer, a scientist, and an economist and commented that he was not against building a new courthouse, since he thought that sooner or later Lake County would need what was being proposed. He emphasized, however, that he did not think now was the right time, and he suggested that they take the $47 million they already had or a lesser amount and minimize the project by determining what was the least that everyone could cope with. He indicated that they may be able to use the existing courthouse for about a year to two years, and then bring it back for review.
Ms. Evelyn Logas, a resident of Mount Dora, stated that Lake County currently has a debt of $151 million, including the incinerator costs, and pointed out that there were fees, taxes, and interest payments on that debt, which were passed on to the citizens of Lake County. She was concerned about a pending bill in Washington D.C. that would increase fuel and energy costs, and she was further concerned that other federal policies would result in further loss of small businesses, jobs, and less money for taxes. She concluded that this was not the financial or political climate for Lake County government to undertake a $90 million project, and she asked the Commissioners to exercise common sense and re-evaluation of their true needs.
Mr. D. J. Morrow stated that he was a representative of the Constitution party of Lake County and expressed concern about the money that was spent on illegal aliens in the State of Florida. He stated that the ad valorem tax for the 68 counties in Florida was over $8 billion in 2007 and that the school tax was over $13 billion. He was also concerned that since he was retired and his income did not change from year to year, if the ad valorem taxes went up, the County could take his house away from him. He asked the Board to stop spending until the economy got better and they were able to get back on their feet again.
Mr. Robert Buckert, a resident of Royal Highlands in Leesburg, mentioned a newspaper article that was in the Sunday edition of the Lake Sentinel which spoke about the size of the judicial suites and comparing this project with Marion County’s courthouse expansion project. He commented that at this time, he could not see the County spending any money, and he asked the Board to restrain themselves and live with what they have for now. He also opined that the courts were not that busy on Thursdays and Fridays.
Mr. Scott Strong, a former member of the Lake County School Board, commented that he thought it was important to recognize the over 300,000 people that supported the project but were not present at that hearing, and he thought the County Commission had a responsibility to represent those individuals as well. He also noted that the Board has had numerous meetings on this subject that would give a fuller picture of what was needed. He stated that his company would be one of the individual companies that would benefit, and this project would help with the unemployment problem during a difficult time for the small businesses in their community. He opined that this was the type of project that needed to be built and that now was the time to build it, since costs of construction are some of the lowest they have been in over a decade. He urged the Board to support this facility, and he opined that government should engage in reasonable, responsible debt.
Mr. Robert Foley, a resident of Montverde, pointed out that there were a lot of needs in other parts of the County. He related that he has gone into the middle schools through the Junior Achievement Program to talk about personal economics, including discussion and real-life exercises looking at the designation of wants and needs. He pointed out that all of the students understood the lesson, and he hoped that the Board would also understand those ideas.
Mr. Johnny Smith, President of Lake Mechanical Contractors in Eustis, commented that there were times when they had to go into debt and that he thought the County Commission has done a great job in prudent, efficient, practical, and proper examination of what should be built there during a process that started in 2004 and ended in 2007. He noted that the architects and designers took practical approaches such as knocking off a floor and paring the project down in a lot of ways in order to take off another 31,000 gross square feet. He pointed out that this was the best time to do construction, and he opined that they would save taxpayers $31 million by going through with the project at this time. He pointed out that Lake County was paying $260 per gross square foot, compared to Marion County’s price of $280 per square foot for their project. He emphasized that if the County waited a few years to do this project, the price could go up substantially. He believed that the County could use infrastructure sales tax to pay for this project, and he stated that this would be an important economic stimulus. He asked the Board to think about and support this effort.
Mr. Jeff Hall, a resident of Leesburg, asked if they had an out-of-state competitively bid efficiency expert take a look at this project to see if they could more efficiently use their space, considering options such as night court, which could at least give them some time to come up with more money. He commented that they were having a debate over a deficit expenditure that they believe would lead to a tax increase, but if the debate were over an actual tax increase, he felt a lot more people would show up and there would be a lot more input. He believed in deficit spending only in times of an emergency. He opined that going into debt at this time and potentially running a risk of having to pay more money later to have money now was a bad idea.
Ms. Gail Boettger, a resident of Howey-in-the-Hills, commented that she lives within her means and related that she has been building her house for 12 years. She stated that they were becoming informed about how their money was being spent, and she complained about how much her tax bill has gone up over the years. She emphasized that they should spend their own money, and she asked the Commissioners to do the right thing.
Mr. Joe Rudderow of Leesburg conceded that the price of construction was cheaper today than it will be in the future, and he predicted that there would be inflation, which would cause more foreclosure, job losses, and further slowdown of the economy, making it harder to satisfy this debt. He believed that this would cause the taxes to creep up along with inflation. He thought this was a time in their economy that they could not apply the type of rationale that had been applied in the past. He suggested that they utilize any available space that they had.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Renick clarified that the issue was whether or not they could handle taking on more debt. She commented that she has never been comfortable with Option 1; she was struggling with Option 2; and she thought there could be a third option. She also stated that she has been uncomfortable with the current debt service since she began her term as Commissioner, even though the economy was not bad at that time. She has had discussions about other projects in the last few weeks that were needed in the County and how they would pay for them, and she was concerned that even if they chose Option 2, everything else would come to a standstill. She suggested as an Option 3 that they keep as a cushion part of the $11 million in the general fund and use only part of the $48 million, and they would go back and re-evaluate it.
Commr. Stewart pointed out that the County made a commitment to the Judicial Center five years ago and that a lot of misconceptions have been given to the public in the last few weeks about this issue. She commented that because of the way the legal system works, sometimes it was unavoidable to have days in which the courtrooms were empty. She stated that she realized that if they did not act today, it was going to cost them more in the future, but she believed that taking on more debt at this time would be too risky and disingenuous to the citizens. She also commented that this has not been an easy decision, because she knows that the people at the Judicial Center needed the space.
Commr. Conner commented that he has had angst about this project since December, because of the changing economic times and concern about the debt. He opined that Mr. Neil Kelly, Clerk of the Court, was a great steward of the space and the limited resources that he has. He saw that they had space needs in the foreseeable future at the Judicial Center, and noted that they had money budgeted now. He emphasized that he would not support any more debt, and he thought that they should establish a budget for this project. He did not believe in building replacement courtrooms, but he would support building about four new courtrooms, and he thought that they needed to bring the Public Defender back into the main building in secured quarters. He concluded that they could meet their needs without borrowing any money and still take advantage of the economic environment.
Commr. Hill explained that the reason for the expansion project was that the Supreme Court of Florida charged the County with providing space for the judicial system and determined by caseload how many judges would be in each county, and it was the responsibility of the legislature to fund that. She pointed out that there have been two judges that have already been allocated to Lake County, but they did not have the funding, and there were probably four more that were going to be allocated due to their increased caseload. She also noted that they looked at security for the jury system very closely, and there was separation of different functions which could not be mixed. She explained that due to 911, they had showers for hazmat purposes, and they derived a lot of their data from the National Center of State Courts and U.S. Court design guidelines. She emphasized that they tried every way they could to leave the existing courtrooms in, but because of the security and flow of people from one destination to another, the building currently was too dysfunctional to do that. She did, however, state that those courtrooms were the last to be retrofitted and that they might stay as they were. She reported that Marion County had already spent over $300 per square foot for their fourth courthouse construction since the early 1990’s, which was over their original calculations. She gave assurances that there was currently sufficient non ad valorem revenue to cover the debt, and no property tax was going towards this project. She commented that providing this space was the core function of county government. She also noted that this project would also help local companies and provide jobs for local residents, which would promote economic health and growth.
Commr. Cadwell commented that even though he has been a proponent of job creation and not neglecting their future needs, he realized that times were different than when they started this project in 2006. He thought they should make a motion to use the current funds available without incurring any more debt and to go back and redesign the project for that amount of money.
Commr. Conner stated that he wanted the architects to understand that they need to report directly to the Commission. He also thought that the Board should have an agreement among themselves about how many courtrooms they would build.
Commr. Hill opined that they were not addressing the need if they build something that was inadequate, and she suggested that they do not build right away and revisit it when they were able to build the full project that was planned.
Commr. Renick agreed that the stakeholders might tell them that instead of doing something that they find inadequate, they may want to wait until they were in a financial situation to do it the way they wanted, but she stated that they needed to see what happens. She also commented that she has agonized over this, because she knew this was a good time to build because of low construction prices and this would get many people back to work. However, she did not feel comfortable taking the risk to take on more debt during these times.
Commr. Cadwell stated that he thought they needed to talk to the users and explain to them that that was how much money was available.
Commr Conner commented that it was not the decision of the constitutional officers when to build or how to manage the County’s money. He stated that if the stakeholders had the attitude that they did not want to build anything unless they would get their 12 new courtrooms, then they were never going to get a building from his vote. He pointed out that he wanted to build something at this time while the prices of construction were lower before they increased, and he did not want to regret in the future that they did not have the courage or the wisdom to move forward a little bit.
Commr. Stewart was concerned about the cost to redesign something that was within their means, and she believed that they needed to speak with the stakeholders.
Commr. Cadwell assured her that the discussion with the stakeholders would take place. He also believed that the stakeholders would try to work with them to go through the process to satisfy some of their needs and move forward.
Commr. Conner added that they could ultimately come to do nothing.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board denied voting for either Option 1 or Option 2 or to incur any more debt for this project and decided to downsize this project to between the price of about $35 million to $47 million that was currently allocated and look into what could be built for that or if they would build at all at this time.
Commr. Hill voted “no.”
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK