comprehensive plan workshop

NOVEMBER 9, 2009

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 6:00 p.m., at the Tavares Civic Center, 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, Interim County Manager; Sarah Rissman, Assistant County Attorney; and Brenda Law, Deputy Clerk.

Commr. Cadwell explained that this was the last of three meetings that give 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.

Ms. Amye King, Director of Growth Management introduced staff as follows: Ms. Donna Bohrer, Public Hearing Coordinator and Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design.

public comment

Mr. Greg Beliveau, LPG Environmental, representing Austin Carriage, presented the proposed Future Land Use Map outlining the Austin Carriage property near Lady Lake.  He asked for the land use on this property to be changed to public service facilities infrastructure and a secondary land use of agriculture.  He stated that the current operations at the site are appropriate for the requested land use, and the addition of agriculture would support the uses outlined in the public service facilities infrastructure category.

Mr. Beliveau asked the Board to reconsider the requirement under proposed policy 2.2.2 in the potable water sub-element of the proposed Comp Plan that requires existing homes and development to connect to public potable water within five years of the effective date of the ordinance.  He stated that it would be a huge burden to fulfill this requirement which does not consider lot size and availability to the utility lines.

Mr. John C. Whitaker (Cliff), representing the May and Whitaker Family Partnership, Ltd., requested that the Board change the zoning on his family property of 400 acres located on the south side of Lake Yale in Grand Island to urban low.  He reported that in 1990 his property was classified as Urban Expansion and was changed a few times after the development of Apiary Road.  He stated that the surrounding area consists of mobile home parks and single family subdivisions, and the remaining open area belongs to his family and two other family farms.  He stated that the reduction in density on his property results in lower property value and would be devastating to his family’s citrus business.

Mr. John B. Whitaker commented that in the future he would like to see more diversity on the committee that would include someone from the industry or private citizens like large land owners that are affected by the proposed regulations.  He commented that he would like to see more communities like The Villages, The Plantation, Royal Highlands and Kings Ridge, but the proposed Comp Plan would restrict these developments, and opined that it should be more flexible to allow the Board to make decisions on the planned developments.

Ms. Linda Bystrak, Oklawaha Valley Audubun Society member, stated that she endorses the Comp Plan and asked that the Board focus on protecting the Green Swamp and the Wekiva.

Ms. Peggy Belflower stated that she was informed that the realignment of CR 437 was going to be developer driven and asked the Board not to make a decision on the Jones property with the understanding that this realignment is going to happen.  She noted that the Lake Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has only projected up to 500 new residences in the Sorrento area near the planned CR 437 realignment.

Ms. Helen McCormick, Mount Plymouth resident, stated that from an economic development standpoint east Lake County needs development to enhance the recreational assets provided by the award winning internationally known Wekiva River Basin Protection area.  She opined that east Lake County is not located close to the attractions like Disney and does not have a high growth rate to support the development like south Lake County.

Mr. John Pospisil provided a history of the acquisition of his property and asked the Board to protect his property rights to allow for one unit per acre with 50 percent open space as allowed in the Rural Transitional category.

Ms. Shirley Schue thanked the Commissioners for denying the request by the Village Commons, because the proposal was out of character for the area and more importantly, violated the Comp Plan.  She opined that it is important to keep the details in the Comp Plan instead of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) and stated that without the details in the Comp Plan, square footage requirements will be calculated on the floor area ratio and the impervious surface ratios.  She reported that the LPA made very specific accommodations for the Market Square and Main Street Districts in the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area, which requires this level of detail in an effort to delineate the Market Square District from the Main Street District.  She asked the Board to keep the details in the Comp Plan to protect her community.

Mr. George Gideon expressed his concern for the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area, stating the plans for that area are constantly changing.  He opined that he wants the details to remain in the Comp Plan and wants the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area to keep its rural character and lifestyle.

Ms. Priscilla Bernardo Drugge, former Mount Plymouth Sorrento Planning Advisory Committee Vice-chairman, presented a list of requests from the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento community that date back to August 2005.  She reported that the community has repeatedly requested a town center with parks and small shops that cater to eco-tourism.  She reported that the community has achieved one of its goals and now has a school and park with recreational areas that are shared in the community.  She stated that the requests of the community were made into policy by the LPA and asked that the Board support those policies.  She asked the Board to keep the details and restrictions that are in the Comp Plan to protect this community.

Ms. Heather Brush, Sorrento resident, stated that the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento community wants the area to stay rural with a small town center that caters to the community and is not a regional draw.  She opined that the Comp Plan should include specifics because the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) are easily changed.  She commented that the details in the Comp Plan would help protect the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area.

Ms. Anita Simpson stated that she owns approximately 100 acres immediately south of the city limits of Howey-in-the-Hills, which is currently being used as orange grove.  She expressed concern with the proposed future land use of rural transition on her property because her property abuts the city of Howey-in-the-Hills.  She commented that the rural transition density of one unit per five acres is not appropriate for this parcel because it neighbors the city.  She noted that the restriction of one house per acre with fifty percent open space would require residents to incur more costs for the maintenance of the open spaces.  She opined that the proposed future land use is not appropriate and asked the Board to reconsider it.

Ms. Anita Gideon stated that the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area is home to numerous horse farms and ranches that hire local residents and that have invested a lot of time and money into the area.  She opined that too much change in the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento area will force the horse farms to relocate to an area that will accommodate the horse community.  She asked the Board to support the LPA policies and recommendations and to keep the details in the Comp Plan that will help sustain the rural flavor of this community.

Ms. Leslie Garvis opined that local residents and businesses are waiting for the Comp Plan to be finalized and to see if the changes will service the existing community.  She commented that the community has already defined itself, and the majority of the residents want to maintain that rural character.  She stated that she supports the LPA recommendations and asked the Board to keep the details in the Comp Plan and to limit the square footage.

Mr. William G. House, River Realty, asked for clarification of the new and old commercial corridors in Astor.

Commr. Cadwell commented that he understood that a lot of the issues are emotional for some of the residents, and thanked everyone for their time and comments.  He stated that he looks forward to the workshop and public hearing to finalize the Comp Plan.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 6:51 p.m.



welton g. cadwell, chairman