NOVEMBER 10, 2009

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special workshop session on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 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, Interim County Manager; Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.

Commr. Cadwell announced that the Green Fair would take place this Saturday, November 14, starting at 9:00 a.m. at Wooten Park, and he encouraged everyone to attend.

review of presentation of revised judicial center design

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, informed the Board that he had asked Mr. Jim Bannon, Director of Capital Construction, and Mr. Bob Eggleston from Heery Architects, to give them an update every six weeks regarding the Judicial Center project to keep the Board informed about how the project was progressing and to give them an opportunity to talk about issues that may come up that needed to be discussed at the Board level.

Mr. Eggleston commented that he was pleased to report that so far the process was going very well after they got through the initial budget rework and culled everything down to about 150,000 square feet.  He stated that the departments that were currently in the project were the Judiciary, Clerk of Court, Court Administration, Public Defender, and State Attorney, and noted that there were a few departments of the Clerk’s Office that were out of the project, including Recording, Marriage and Passport, Internal Audit, Information Resources, and the mail center, since they could not accommodate them within the square footage.  He related that they had a joint meeting about a week ago with the City of Tavares to go over site plan review comments as part of their approval process.  He reported that the City’s comments were essentially to downsize the roundabout, get rid of the fountain, eliminate pedestrian access to the middle, and do a landscape diamond out there.  He commented that these changes would further slow traffic and save money, and Heery agreed with those recommendations.  He also related that Tavares has plans for downtown that were coming up later, and they requested that as part of their project the County do some infrastructure underground utility upgrades of sewer and stormwater on some of the off-parcels that they did not have.  He reported that the City agreed that they would reduce the impact fees to the County’s project by $100,000, which would cover the cost of doing that.  He also recapped that the Board decided a few weeks ago to put the new EOC (Emergency Operations Center) on the courthouse property, and stated that they could feed that from their central energy plant.  He suggested that it would be a good idea to rough in some connections for that now as they move forward with their current design.   He stated that at some point they would need a relative size of the facility so that they could size the connections.  He also reported that they studied the potential relocation of the main entrance of the Judicial Center, which was currently located based on previous design studies.  He illustrated on the overhead the proposed relocation to the east end of the new extension tower, which would be closer to the center of the campus at Sinclair Avenue and Main Street, a lot closer to parking, and would reduce the amount of plaza, resulting in a cost saving.  However, the travel distance from the new entry pavilion to the main circulation core would be much greater, and they would have to add some exterior doors as well as widen the main corridor along Main Street to accommodate the increased traffic, which would add 1800 square feet to the building that would have to be taken from somewhere else.  He noted that security was another potential issue, since court security would need to be located where the entry pavilion was and where they could get to central holding.  He mentioned that there would be some redesign time that would delay the construction start date.  He recommended leaving the entrance where it currently was located.

Mr. Minkoff related that the current agreement and zoning calls for them to vacate the Records Center at the completion of the project, because it was contemplated originally that the County would sell that building so that the City could put it into private ownership, and they would also have to modify that agreement.  He stated he was concerned about handicapped access, since there was no parking along the Main Street side of the building, with all public parking expected to be in the garage.  He suggested that they do not replace the existing parking lot and have the employees park in the garage to save the cost of rebuilding that parking lot after it was destroyed in construction.

Mr. Eggleston added that they have also looked at extending the arcade in their current design to provide cover from at least where the building starts down to the main entry and adding about 6 to 8 handicapped spaces on Main Street.

Commr. Cadwell commented that if they could place those handicapped spaces there, then he would not have a concern leaving the entrance where it was.

Mr. Minkoff stated that he did not know if the building official would allow them to use the spaces in the garage for handicapped parking in the Judicial Center, because of the distance to the door.  He explained that the handicapped spaces needed to be two percent of the total parking spaces in the parking lot.  He informed the Board that they could explore this issue more, check to see whether the City of Tavares would allow them to put spaces on Main Street in that area, and bring it back to the Board.

Commr. Conner expressed concern about the distance from the parking garage to the entrance of the Judicial Center, and he thought the public would be more receptive to looking at an alternative entrance that was closer to the parking garage.  He commented that he thought it was important for this building to be user-friendly.  He also expressed concern about getting the project started as quickly as possible before inflation occurs.

Mr. Bannon requested approval from the Board for an amendment to the contract with Heery Architects to cover the redesign of the Judicial Center in the amount of $2.7 million.  He pointed out that there was no budget impact of this additional work, as the previously approved contract with Heery and the agreed not-to-exceed fee will not be surpassed by the addition of these new services.  He also sought approval for the execution of the Appendix M to the existing contract with PPI Construction for the envelope repair to the existing Judicial Center.  He explained that the envelope is continuing to leak, and they could start that work within the next few months if approved.  He specified that the cost of the work is $726,631.00 and that approval was sought to cover an allowance to also cover permit fees and contingency of $73,369.00.

Commr. Conner commented that $2.7 million for the redesign seemed high to him.

Mr. Bannon explained that the total projected estimated cost was $43.5 million for the new building, and the redesign fee was a percentage of 7.7 percent of the final construction cost.  He pointed out that it was actually a not-to-exceed fee, which would go down if they received very competitive bids.

Commr. Conner related that he thought they could save money by negotiating flat fees, and he opined that he thought it was wrong to give an architect a percentage based on the cost of the building rather than the time of the services at a given amount per hour.

Mr. Minkoff responded that in this case if they had done a flat fee on the full construction price, the fee would have been a lot higher since the original budget was a lot higher, but because the bids came in so much lower, the fee dramatically reduced.

Commr. Cadwell pointed out that the County entered into a contract with the architects to pay them that way.

Mr. Minkoff stated that he could try to negotiate with Mr. Eggleston an actual fixed figure as well as this figure and bring back both of those to the Board.

On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the following items under Tab 1:

1)  To amend the design of the round-a-bout to a smaller footprint following additional input from the City of Tavares. 

2)  To install additional water and stormwater lines as part of the Judicial Center project which are not required for the project but are requested by the City of Tavares to meet their future needs.  The estimated cost of this work is $100,000.00.  This approval is subject to the City of Tavares crediting the County this amount on impact fees due to the city for the project.

3)  Execution of Appendix M to the existing contract with PPI Construction for the envelope repair to the existing Judicial Center.  The cost of the work will be $726,631.00.

4)  An allowance to cover Permit fees, etc. and a contingency of $73,369.00 to be used with the approval of the Director of Capital Construction and the County Manager.  This work is part of the previously approved overall project budget of $55,225,000.00.

Commr. Conner commented that what they were doing with the City of Tavares on the underground utilities was a good example of governments cooperating together, and he appreciated the County staff working with the City.

The Board gave consensus to leave the entranceway where it currently is if they can get some handicapped spaces on Main Street.

presentation – rainwater harvesting

Mr. Gregg Welstead, Director of Conservation and Compliance, stated that rainwater harvesting could be anything from a small private operation in a rain barrel in a backyard to a commercial operation.  He commented that he was amazed at the amount of information available on rainwater harvesting, and he noted that civilization has been capturing rainwater for irrigation, drinking, and landscaping for thousands of years.  He explained that a rainwater capture system relies on a surface, which is a roof in most cases, which captures the rain that goes into a collection gutter system, and flows off the gutter.  He mentioned that a first flush diversion was something that was standard in the industry, which discarded the first five percent of the water to remove contaminants such as dirt, bird droppings, and things that were not wanted in the rainwater system.  Then the rainwater flowed into the rainwater harvesting system, such as a tank or storage system, and a pump was utilized to access the water if it was used for irrigation.  He specified that there were several types of storage systems, including metal, fiberglass, stone and masonry, polyethylene, wood, and concrete; and the system could either be above or in ground.  He showed some examples of storage units, including a rain garden, an architecturally designed cistern, a storage tank made to look like a rock, a tank made from used tires, a system located under a deck, and an underground cistern adjacent to the building which was covered with landscape.

Mr. Welstead explained that one inch of rainfall over 1,000 square feet would equal 620 gallons of captured water, which would mean a potential harvesting of about 227,000 gallons for the month of August for both the Administration Building and the parking garage after the first flush was taken out.  He took the rainfall that occurred in Lake County during the last fiscal year of 47 inches, which was slightly below normal, and showed that it would equate to over 1.8 million gallons of captured rainfall.  He presented a graph that showed whether the rainwater could meet their irrigation needs, illustrating that they would have a shortfall using either a 30,000, 40,000, or 50,000 gallon tank, with the shortfall being less with the larger tanks because of the lower amount of overflow from the tanks.  He related that the cost of a small storage tank for a house or a small business of 2,500 to 10,000 gallons would be $11,000 to $26,000 and generalized that the cost would typically be about double the size of the tank, specifying that a 30,000 tank would cost $65,000, which could be amortized over the life of the tank.  He noted that they would have harvested in one year 529,000 gallons, which equates to $7.09 per thousand gallons.  He explained that they were able to collect 529,000 gallons of the 719,000 gallons of water needed for the irrigation.  He illustrated the cost of the harvested water from 2008 to 2030 under existing conditions taking into consideration the cost of the system as well as the supplemental municipal water at between $104,374 and $153,229 depending on the size of the tank and compared it to the cost of the municipal water of $68,366, concluding that there was a significant disparity.  He named some cities and countries that have made use of, encouraged, or required water harvesting systems, including Tucson, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Queensland, AU.  He presented a less expensive alternative that was used in conjunction with stormwater retention.  He stated that LEED did not specifically have any points assignable to rainwater harvesting, but points were available for related things such as use of re-use water and water-efficient irrigation.  He noted that this could be done as a mandated or suggested policy.

Commr. Renick asked if he had figured out how many years it would take to recoup the expense of a water retention system.

Mr. Welstead stated that he had not figured that out, because it would depend on the ultimate cost of the local water.

Commr. Renick commented that water would be expensive in the long term.  She suggested that Mr. Mark Wells address the Board regarding the implementation of a water retention system.

Mr. Welstead pointed out that the larger the project, the less cost effective it was.

Mark Wells, owner of Water Conservation Designs in Clermont, which was a water harvesting and catchment company, stated that they had other design criteria that other municipalities were looking at to increase cost efficiency.  He discussed the educational aspects of the system, and he suggested that a large part of their design criteria should be visible for educating the public, such as making a sculpture part of the capture or harvesting system to catch the public’s eye.  He noted that rainwater tanks were being utilized when there was a lack of water after hurricanes and emergencies.  He mentioned that the City of Eustis had an artistic-type rain barrel at their water utility building that looked like a large terra cotta vase and used gravity for drip irrigation to their plants.  He wanted to make the Board aware that they did not necessarily need 30,000 gallons of capacity of water for their plants and for the Board to think about the public-education aspect of this type of system.  He also noted that retention ponds have been used as industrial process water and was a very good viable alternative.

Commr. Renick commented that they were trying to encourage different types of green industries, and she thought that they might be able to incorporate something like this into some of their construction projects.

Commr. Stewart mentioned that she believed Volusia County was incorporating those kinds of systems into their fire stations.

Commr. Cadwell asked if the first flush mentioned previously had to always be discarded.

Mr. Wells responded that the first flush would have to be discarded if the water was used for potable or consumed water, but it would not have to be discarded if it was used for irrigation.

Mr. Minkoff suggested that they explore creating a demonstration project either at North Lake Park or the Horticultural Center where they could create a visible barrel and irrigate an area around it, and he could bring the Board back some information regarding the cost to do that for public education.

Commr. Renick asked if they could give this information to the Green Team, have them look at where they think would be the best locations, and bring it back to the Board.

Mr. Welstead responded that he had given this presentation to the Green Team last Thursday morning, November 5, and that they thought it was a great idea.

Commr. Conner asked what Mr. Welstead’s opinion was as to economic viability.

Mr. Welstead answered that currently it should be a voluntary effort, but depending on what happens with water prices, it could become a very cost-effective means of providing irrigation and an alternative water supply in the future.

recess and reassembly

At 10:10 a.m., the Chairman announced that there would be a ten-minute recess.

proposed landscape ordinance

Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, stated that this was the final workshop on the landscape ordinance, and she proposed having a hearing for the landscape ordinance on December 1.

Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, pointed out a memo from staff that was distributed outlining the last remaining items that the Board had some questions about.  He noted that the first item discussed in the memorandum had to do with plant lists, and he related that they had concerns from numerous parties which suggested that trying to create a Lake County-generated plant list based on their existing resources would be duplicative and possibly not as scientifically based, exhaustive, and accurate as some of the plant lists that already existed, particularly those generated by the University of Florida, which has professional horticulturalists and plant scientists on staff.  He stated that he was proposing in the first option to do away with a Lake County-generated plant list and simply have a document that references those outside resources.

Commr. Cadwell stated that they would go with Option A, which was to revise the Plant List to use existing Plant Lists under Section Four, Chapter II, Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations entitled Definitions.

Mr. Sheahan explained that Item 2 was related to the percentage of irrigation, which they have broken into three different approaches.  The first approach is to limit the amount of lawn area that can be provided on any new development, which has the benefit of providing a meaningful percentage of a lot that the developers can place sod or non-drought-tolerant turf and gives them the flexibility to choose the plants they want.  He specified that the developers would be able to plant Bahia sod, which is considered a drought-tolerant grass; use mulch or gravel; plant it with ground covers and trees; or use any appropriate treatment they wanted to use for a 40 percent portion of the lot, and the remaining 60 percent could be planted with Zoysa, St. Augustine, or some other grass that they thought was appropriate.  The irrigation potentially would not be required to be limited in this ordinance, but there were other requirements of limited watering per week that they have been cooperating with the St. Johns River Water Management District on.  It would also alleviate the need to have a mandated percentage that is provided in landscaping other than sod.  He went on to explain that Option B was a soil analysis option that would allow the use of any grass, provided that appropriate soil conditions existed on the site, which would be verified by a soil analysis.  He stated that the last option discussed in this item was whether existing development would have to replace their lawn, and they were proposing that language be changed to clearly say that existing development replacement with drought-tolerant turf or Florida-friendly landscaping is encouraged.

Commr. Cadwell commented that the soil analysis option would seem to take care of a lot of the other concerns.

Mr. Sheahan responded that there were a few pitfalls with that option, and there was very little oversight that they could do to ensure that the soil sample came from the actual site.  Also, if the soil conditions do not exist, then topsoil has to be brought in to augment the property, which was expensive.  He explained that if the property owners did not wish to do that, they could plant Bahia sod or some other appropriate drought-tolerant grass.  He also noted that enforcement for them in the review process would require a little more staff involvement, which would add to staff’s workload.

Commr. Renick commented that people could not just bring in soil for testing without a guarantee of where it came from, which was a big loophole, and the testing would have to be done by a professional or a soil scientist.  She opined that the fact that it was expensive to do that would discourage people from using St. Augustine sod and would ensure that it would only go somewhere that was appropriate.

Ms. King pointed out that soil changed and was very diverse throughout any given property.

Commr. Conner commented that soil analysis was problematic in a lot of ways.  He added that he was in favor of water conservation and limiting the percentages of the areas there, but he was not in favor of banning certain kinds of grasses.

Mr. Sheahan added that if soil needed to be augmented to add organic content, it would need to be done again in a few years to add more soil.

Commr. Renick pointed out that that the backup contains a chart showing the drought tolerance for Bahia as excellent and for St. Augustine as fair and that this was for new development only.  She opined that limiting the turf to 60 percent would still not solve the problem and that people were still over-watering St. Augustine grass.

Commr. Stewart commented that water was very critical right now, and they had to change the way they view water and prepare now for a shortage of water in the future.  She thought that people needed to put the right plant in the right place.

Commr. Conner commented that the issue of water shortages in central Florida was a real issue that he was concerned about.  He also expressed concern about governmental interference, and he thought that they had to have the right balance.

Commr. Hill stated that she believed that Option A which limited turf to a maximum of 60 percent of the landscape was a good option, and the marketplace and the cost of water would determine the kind of sod that was used.

Commr. Stewart commented that conservation was the cheapest alternative water supply, and conserving their water right now would keep water cheaper for everyone for a longer period of time.

The majority of the Commissioners, which were Commr. Cadwell, Commr. Hill, and Commr. Conner, decided to advertise Option A, with Commr. Renick and Commr. Stewart saying “no.”

Mr. Sheahan informed the Board that the choice the Board made for Item 2 precluded making a choice for Item 3, so he skipped down to a discussion of Item 4 instead regarding the diversity of trees on the site.  He explained that there was concern that they needed a base or very minor diversity requirement to ensure that at least two species of tree were put back on sites that were cleared of multiple species.  He noted that the threshold was set at five acres in Option A and B, and the diversity requirement would not need to be met if there were existing non-invasive trees kept on the site.

Commr. Hill commented that she wanted to delete that whole section, because she felt that they needed to let citizens have the kind of trees that they wanted on their property.

Mr. Sheahan commented that compared to other ordinances that staff reviewed, this was a fairly conservative requirement, and he explained that typically diversity requirements were put in to ensure that at least two species were put back when a new site is cleared for development, since the site could originally have up to 100 types of species of trees that were removed.

Commr. Conner stated that he thought some level of diversity would be appropriate, but he did not want to over-reach.

There was consensus from the Board to choose Option C, which was to delete that section.

Mr. Sheahan explained that Item 5 was a simple addition which was requested at one of the hearings by a member of the public that wanted an option to putting in a landscaped buffer, and the option would allow a five-foot landscaped buffer to be replaced with a six-foot high fence.  He added that it would require an access point of a minimum of every 500 feet to ensure that they were not blocking off communities.

Commr. Conner opined that he did not like fences as buffers, and he thought landscaped buffers were a much better approach and were aesthetically better.

Commr Renick stated that she thought they should make sure that they were not in any way either prohibiting walls or requiring walls other than buffers for industrial in the landscape ordinance.

Mr. Sheahan noted that staff added an Addendum on Item 7 that was brought forward by someone who wished to discuss eliminating walls entirely from the buffer requirements except for industrial, which was somewhat related to this item.  He assured the Board that this requirement would not preclude someone from putting a fence in.  He related that they had a screening requirement in the code already for commercial and industrial uses where they abut residential uses, which was a separate requirement to protect against those kinds of impacts.

The Board gave consensus for Option C to leave as proposed without adding the 5-foot row in the chart for Item 5 and for Option A in the Addendum, which was to revise the ordinance to remove the fence or wall requirement from Type B through Type D under Section Four, Chapter II, Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations.

interim space allocations and lease terminations

Mr. Minkoff explained that Tab 4 was to accommodate giving the historic courthouse to the Sheriff’s Office and dealing with the interim space needs at the Judicial Center.  He noted that his recommendations were noted in detail in the memorandum, with a change that was necessitated because the Clerk has been hesitant to follow his recommendation regarding the mail center, so they were going to work with him to find an alternative location for that use.  He emphasized that he particularly needed direction on Number 9 regarding whether they should provide space to Congressman Grayson, and then he would locate the most appropriate space.

Commr. Cadwell commented that he thought they should provide the space if they had it.

Mr. Minkoff stated that there would be space for him in Building B or in the Pruett Williams building.

Commr. Hill stated that she would prefer to move him to Building B, because the spaces closest in town were very viable to the people who were working there.

Commr. Conner asked if Building B was accessible to the public.

Mr. Minkoff stated that it was adequately accessible and was located in the complex where Community Services was located.

On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 4, the request from the County Manager for approval of recommendations regarding space allocations and lease terminations and providing Building B for the location of Congressman Grayson’s office under recommendation No. 9.

options for recruitment of county manager

Commr. Cadwell commented that he did not think they needed an outside consultant or citizen committee to help them with the recruitment of a new County Manager, and the dynamics of the County Manager was how that person would communicate and whether they had the right chemistry and mindset with the Board.

Commr. Renick agreed with that comment, and she suggested that Mr. Minkoff consult with organizations other than government, such as private companies, and change the time frame that they originally had in mind for this process.  She opined that she was satisfied with the way things currently are, and she thought that Mr. Minkoff should go through the budget process as County Manager.  She was concerned that hiring a new County Manager at the wrong time would put that person at a disadvantage.

Commr. Conner stated that he also wanted to change the timeline, since he was impressed with the job that Mr. Minkoff was doing and was not in a hurry to move forward with the search for a new County Manager.

Commr. Cadwell suggested that once the Board narrows their decision down to a few people, they needed to do a lot of research and physically go to where that person was from and talk to people to find out more about the candidate.  He commented that he had no hesitation about asking Mr. Minkoff to continue on as County Manager until they found a new one, since he had done that job before and had the history and ability to move forward.

Commr. Conner commented that Mr. Minkoff had a lot of history with the County that helped with his duties as County Manager.  He also opined that the way private companies recruit was very different than the way local governments could recruit, since they operated under the Sunshine Law.

Commr. Cadwell pointed out that they would be waiting about a year before hiring someone if they waited until after the budget process.

Commr. Conner responded that he thought an ideal time for the new County Manager to start would be sometime between October and December.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he wanted to talk with Mr. Minkoff about this and then bring this back next week.

There was consensus by the Board to postpone this item and bring it back at the retreat on December 8.

transfer of cdbg function to community services and merger of budget and procurement departments

Mr. Minkoff stated that Tab 6 was a request for approval of some changes to the organization that he recommended, which was to move the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program back to the Community Services branch and combining the Procurement and Budget Departments.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request for approval of the transfer of the CDBG function to the Community Services Department and the merger of the Budget and Procurement Departments.

buffer requirements for multiple parcels

Commr. Renick pointed out that under residential subdivision development, they were requiring the developer to buffer along a public road, but if they require developers to put that buffer in immediately, it would be a huge expense.  She suggested that they could require the buffer to be put in as those lots were sold instead of up front.

Ms. King clarified that she was suggesting that the buffer go in as the development occurs rather than up front.

Mr. Minkoff reported that he thought they put a revision in the code that lets developers post a bond to delay some of the buffers for a certain period of time.  He stated that he could bring that back to the Board.

Commr. Renick stated that she also wanted to discuss a policy that required the first outparcel restaurant site to be developed to put in all the landscaping, including the ones for all the parcels developed after that one.  She felt that this would make it unfair to the first business and that the burden of putting in the buffer should be shared among all the outparcels.

Ms. King stated that she would bring this back to the Board.  She clarified that they were talking about buffers between uses and that the initial developer would not provide 100 percent of that landscape buffer.

Mr. Minkoff suggested that they could bring the Board that language, and they could adopt that after the public hearing if they elect to do that.

Commr. Cadwell directed staff to bring some language back, and they would look at it.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.



welton g. cadwell, chairman