comprehensive plan workshop

NOVEMBER 2, 2009

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, November 2, 2009 at 6:00 p.m., at Cooper Memorial Library in Room 108, Clermont, 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, Interim County Manager; Erin Hartigan, Assistant County Attorney; and Brenda Law, Deputy Clerk.

Commr. Cadwell explained that this meeting was an opportunity for the Board to hear public comment and that all comments would be reviewed and researched by staff and presented to the Board at the November 17, 2009 workshop.  He stated that the final public hearings would be held on January 19, 2010 before the Comprehensive Plan is transmitted to the Department of Community Affairs.  He mentioned that there is a three minute time limit for each speaker.

Commr. Cadwell requested a moment of silence for Ralph Hester, Groveland City Manager who recently passed away.

Commr. Renick welcomed the public and commented that she wanted to address a previous issue presented to the Board by Mr. Ray regarding his property which is located in part of the Green Swamp on CR 561.  She reported that Mr. Ray suggested there was a scrivener’s error and requested that the density be changed from one dwelling per ten acres to one dwelling per five acres.  She recommended that the density remain at one dwelling per ten acres although staff did suggest that there was some merit to Mr. Ray’s claim.

public comment

Mr. Choice Edwards, Lake County resident, opined that the Comp Plan should not be amended, and that any changes should only be made if there is a recognizable community emergency.  He asked that the Board honor the time and effort already spent by several individuals on the original Comp Plan.

Ms. Miranda Fitzgerald, attorney for South Lake property owners, stated that the proposed Comp Plan does not support the County’s economic development strategic plan.  She submitted a report that presents her comments for some of the policies in the proposed Comp Plan.  She reported that the property owners she represents own 1,980 contiguous acres in southeastern Lake County, and suggested that this property is one of only two potentially viable locations for the development of new agri-tech and bio-tech industries in Lake County that has access to the regional road network with availability to SR 429.  She opined that if the Hometown Democracy Amendment passes, the opportunity to make changes will be lost.

Mr. Lowrie Brown, Lake County resident, opined that the Comp Plan should not be a tool to limit growth.  He commented that there is a significant amount of opposition to the proposed Plan due to the lack of flexibility in the plan and the cost versus benefit of complying with the new policies.  He suggested changing the language in the Comp Plan from “shall” to “may”, to put specific language in the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), and to utilize Conditional Use Permits in an effort to make the plan more flexible.  He commended the Board for their recent decision on the utilities subcontractor and commented that issue is a good example why the Comp Plan should be more flexible.

Ms. Lonita Cotteleer, Clermont resident, expressed concern that amending the Comp Plan will result in runaway development.  She commented that if the Comp Plan is changed, there will be many different interpretations and the policies will continue to be reinterpreted as the Board members change and that there will no longer be a definitive law regulating development.

Ms. Patricia Myers, former Planning and Zoning Commission member, who was involved in writing the original Comp Plan, explained that the Commission was very careful when reviewing requests for zoning or permitting and commented that the Boyd Davis property was intended to be one dwelling unit per ten acres when she was a member.

Mr. Mark Stover commented that he owns ten and half acres on CR 455 and he is having disputes with the City of Minneola regarding his property and city boundaries.  He stated that his property is not part of Sugar Loaf Mountain and that he wants the area to remain rural with the density set at one dwelling per five acres.

Commr. Cadwell directed staff to assist Mr. Stover with this matter.

Ms. Judy Proli, Clermont resident, stated that there were a lot of hours put into the original Comp Plan and opined that it should remain as written.

Ms. Leslie Campione, attorney for ICI Homes which owns 985 acres in the Four Corners area and is located in a rural protection zone that abuts Orange County, stated that it has the opportunity to positively impact the Four Corners area and could provide an East/West connection to US Highway 192.  She noted that the proposal for this property had been previously submitted to the Board.  She reported that this property currently has three Future Land Use Categories, and requested that Urban Medium classification be applied to the entire property, noting that they need this designation in order to accommodate the right of way for the connector.  She opined that once the proposed Comp Plan is finalized, there should not be any more amendments except for extenuating circumstances.

Commr. Cadwell directed staff to provide an analysis of the submitted proposal to the Board at the workshop scheduled for November 17, 2009.

Commr. Renick confirmed with Ms. Campione that she is only requesting staff to review the land use for this property and not the proposed development.

Mr. David Haas, President of Land Acquisition and Development for ICI Homes, opined that the Comp Plan is intended to be a living and breathing document that will require updates and amendments.

Ms. Peggy Cox, resident of the Green Swamp, asked how much more residential and commercial growth is expected in unincorporated Lake County based on the Proposed Comp Plan.  She opined that making the Comp Plan subjective undermines its purpose and the County should not allow the fear of the impending Hometown Democracy Amendment determine the action it takes on the Comp Plan.

Mr. Stephen Cook opined that the Board, staff and Local Planning Agency (LPA) has put in a tremendous amount of work over the past four years in this plan, and that it is not a perfect plan, but encouraged the Board to adopt the proposed Comp Plan.

Ms. Nancy Fullerton, Clermont resident and Land Water Use Chairman of the Alliance to Protect Florida Resources, asked the Board to deny any requests to change the land use for the Boyd Davis property located on CR 561 and the other surrounding properties.  She stated that the County has fought for the Green Swamp and that particular area since 1998 and trusts that the Board will not make any changes to the Green Swamp.

Commr. Cadwell asked all current and former members of the LPA to please stand.  The Board acknowledged all members and applauded them for their service.

Mr. Rob Kelly, President of Citizen’s Coalition, stated that the request for the land use change of the Boyd Davis property in the Green Swamp located along CR 561 has been brought before the LPA three different times and was carefully reviewed each time but resulted in the same decision by the LPA to deny the request.  He opined that the Green Swamp is one of seven jewels in Central Florida that need to be protected and that any changes in the Green Swamp should be held to the highest standards.

Mr. Jim Hitt, City of Clermont Planning and Zoning Director, commended the staff and the LPA on their efforts on the proposed Comp Plan.

Ms. Ann Dupee, Clermont resident, reported that a lot of Lake County residents commute to Orange County for better paying jobs and that Lake County has fewer college graduates with a lower quality work force.  She opined that underemployment is an issue and hopes this Future Land Use Map provides land that will give the County the opportunity to create high tech, higher paid jobs for its residents.

Commr. Cadwell thanked Ms. Dupee for her years of service and concern for South Lake County.

Mr. Sean Parks, Montverde resident and member of the Economic Development Commission (EDC) Infrastructure Committee, noted that this committee consists of professionals from diverse backgrounds that provide recommendations to the EDC.  He commented that the committee is not recommending any changes to the Green Swamp.  He presented the following committee recommendations to the Board, encourage the Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement process, encourage infill and redevelopment, encourage brownfill designation, incentivize mixed use development, combine the Industrial Land Use Categories, remove some language from the Comp Plan to create specificity in the LDRs, and add a “workplace district” along the border of the Horizon West community into the Comp Plan.  He commented that this meeting is just as important as the first meeting held five years ago and asked the Board to make changes to create and retain more jobs in Lake County.

Mr. Bernard Yokel, Mount Dora resident, submitted a memo to the Board.  He expressed his concern for the Green Swamp and commented that the strongest shield of protection for a healthy, functioning, undeveloped ecosystem is an intact and enforced commitment to protect it, and such a commitment is currently in place in the Green Swamp and should remain intact.  He opined that the proposed zoning changes for the Green Swamp are a mistake.

Ms. Cindy Barrow, Lake County School Board Member, stated that as a former LPA member she informed the Board that the LPA reviewed the existing housing patterns in Lake County and separated the Industrial Land Uses into two separate categories in an effort to bring more industry into the area.  She commented that it is a goal of the LPA to create high tech, bio-agricultural jobs in Lake County.  She opined that the County needs to recruit people with the creativity to create these kinds of jobs.  She noted that there are designated commercial corridors throughout the County, which were carefully planned by the LPA, and additional designated areas along Highway 27 is not needed for commercial growth.  She thanked the Board for being available and traveling to South Lake County to hear public comment.

Commr. Cadwell acknowledged that Ms. Cindy Barrow, Lake County School Board Member; Mr. John Harris, Lake County Water Authority Member; Mr. Ray Goodgame, Chairman of the Lake Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization and Mr. Keith Mullins, Chairman of the Salex Surtax Oversight Advisory Committee were in attendance.

  Mr. John Harris, Lake County Water Authority Member, expressed his concerns about maintaining the quality of life in the Green Swamp.  He asked the Board to keep the Comp Plan which protects the Green Swamp.

Mr. Scott Blankenship, Lake County Zoning Board Member, reported that the people he deals with in his professional life state that Lake County does not have the tracts of land available for economic development.  He commented that South Lake is a bedroom community for Orange County and that every day there are over 50,000 cars on Highway 50 and it is Lake County residents commuting to work in Orange County.  He opined that the County needs developers like the ones that built this library, the hospital and some of our schools.

Commr. Cadwell thanked the public for attending and providing their input.  He stated that the next meeting was going to be Thursday, November 5, 2009 at six o’clock at the Cassia Community Building on SR 44.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:07 p.m.



welton g. cadwell, chairman