A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
october 26, 2010
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 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; Elaine Renick, Vice Chairman; Jennifer Hill; Jimmy Conner; 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.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor John Barham from the First United Methodist Church in Tavares gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no changes to the Agenda.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 and 2 as follows:
Request for approval to execute a Cooperative Service Agreement between Lake County and United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services Branch, for removal of feral hogs and coyotes from Ferndale Preserve, P.E.A.R. Park, Pine Forest Park, Palatlakaha River Park and Boat Ramp and Public Lands Park properties which include Lake May Reserve, Pasture Reserve, Ellis Acres Reserve, Mt. Plymouth Lakes, Neighborhood Lakes, NE Lake Co. Scrub Preserve, South Pine Lakes Reserve, Lady Lake and Helena Run properties. Fiscal impact is $30,000.
Request for approval to award and execute a contract for the construction of a groundwater remedial system at the Astatula refueling facility to Diversified Professional Services Corporation in the amount of $449,962.80. (Fiscal Impact is $ 449,962.80)
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tab 3 as follows:
Request that the Board reject the bids on two County owned properties: (1) 45700 Oleander Street, Paisley - Alternate Key 1335175, and (2) 27834 County Road 42, Paisley - Alternate Key 1339855 and explore other options to dispose of the property. There is no Fiscal Impact.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
federal grant to purchase sheriff’s cad system
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, Interim County Manager, stated that Tab 4 was authorization for the County Manager to sign the documents necessary for the federal grant that was received in the amount of $800,000 to purchase the Sheriff’s CAD system and to authorize them to use the sales tax to purchase it this year rather than pay for it over time. He noted that they have provided the Board with the background for this item in the report, and he pointed out that by utilizing sales tax that was expected to be used in future years and having the Sheriff reduce his portion of sales tax money used for vehicles in those years, they were able to save about $200,000. He recommended approval.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he appreciated the way Mr. Minkoff structured this to save the County money.
Sheriff Gary Borders related that the CAD system has been a project of the Sheriff’s Office for three years, and they have had nine companies come in with demonstrations of their products for their agency to see if their product would fit their needs. He added that they have also visited sheriff’s offices and city police departments throughout the state to see what their systems were like before they came back with a recommendation, and then they began a negotiation process. He reported that they have also been able to secure an $800,000 technology grant after about a year of working towards receiving that award. He explained that they were initially planning to budget this CAD system over the next two years from their budget, but the County Manager was able to save them about $200,000 by purchasing the CAD system now using the sales tax money, with the Sheriff budgeting money for his vehicles out of his own budget over the next few years rather than take the lump sum of that out of the sales tax money. He also noted that they had previously discussed this purchase at previous Board meetings when they asked for approval to begin this process.
Commr. Conner commented that he scrutinized this thoroughly and spent a lot of time discussing it with the Sheriff, and he noted that the Sheriff has negotiated the price for this $500,000 to $600,000 down from what is was originally. He also reiterated that Mr. Minkoff has come up with a different way to structure the financing which would save the County $200,000.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 4 to authorize the County Manager to sign documents related to $800,000 federal grant to be used to purchase Sheriff’s CAD system; authorize a transfer of infrastructure sales tax to the Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of a CAD System from Spillman Technologies (equipment and related software); approve associated budget transfer; and approve agreement with Sheriff to reduce budgeted amounts for Sheriff vehicles from $700,000 to $292,590 in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014. Fiscal impact: $1,222,230.
agreement with OOCEA for wekiva parkway
Mr. Fred Schneider, Engineering Director, Public Works, explained that the Wekiva Parkway has been in the Lake County Comprehensive Plan since about 1990 and was known as the northwest beltway at the time. He stated that they were currently recommending to the Board to go forward and approve the agreement, and he pointed out that the agreement provides some protection for the Board for things the County requested such as the connection to Mount Dora and implementing or integrating the multi-use trail. He illustrated on a map on the monitor the locations of I-4, US 441, the county line, the Wekiva Parkway toll road facility which ran from I-4 into Lake County and down to Apopka at the interchange of US 441, as well as the toll-free segment that would connect to the new interchange of US 441. He reported that as part of the agreement with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA), the County requested that the segment shown in blue on the map needs to be built concurrently to avoid having an overloaded road system of traffic to the interchanges. He stated that when the other part of the Expressway was constructed, it would require an SR 46A realignment, reworking of SR 46, and looking at how the multi-use trail would fit in that area. He noted that according to the County’s adopted master trail plan, the multi-use trail runs along the old railroad bed, and once that was implemented into some design, the OOCEA does not want to be responsible for construction. He pointed out a segment of SR 46 that would become County owned and maintained and noted that SR 46A would also become County owned and maintained.
Commr. Stewart thanked the Expressway Authority and FDOT for cooperating and working hard with them to make sure Lake County’s citizens would not have to pay tolls.
Commr. Hill asked that if there is a future regional transportation authority created, she would like Lake County to be included in that.
Commr. Renick pointed out that she was pleased to see that Lake County at least had a seat on the Right of Way Committee.
On a motion by Commr. Stewart, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Agreement with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority for the design and construction of the Wekiva Parkway.
public hearings – rezoning
rezoning consent agenda
The Chairman opened the public hearing regarding the Rezoning Consent Agenda.
There being no one who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Renick, seconded by Commr. Stewart and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda, as follows:
Tab 3 – Ordinance No. 2010-49
Rezoning Case No. PH#27-10-2
Green Isle Children’s Ranch
McCoy Investments, Inc.
Green Isle Farm LLC
Request to amend PUD Ordinance #94-88 and CFD Ordinance #1996-52 to correct a scrivener’s error and to reconcile allowable uses between the two ordinances.
rezoning regular agenda
cup #10/10/1-5 - village paw spa /doralice hartman/nancy herrin
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, informed the Board that the rezoning agenda was properly advertised.
Mr. Steve Greene, Chief Planner, presented the Village Paw Spa CUP #10/10/1-5, which was a request for conditional use on a five-acre tract in the agricultural zoned district to allow a kennel. He reported that the property was located west of Rolling Acres Road approximately two miles from the intersection of Lake Ella Road and Highway 27 in Lady Lake, and he related that currently the property was being served by well and septic tank. He noted that the request came as a result of an inquiry by their Code Enforcement section. He related that this kennel has been in operation for about five years and that currently the property contains a single-family residence, a dog run, a kennel shelter, and a play yard. He explained that they examined the CUP request for consistency with their Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, and the urban expansion future land use category allows kennels in this FLU category. He related that on June 12, the applicant sought a variance request to the setbacks situated on the north and east property lines, which have been qualified and placed into the proposed ordinance, and he noted that the CUP contains conditions that would minimize the adverse impacts to surrounding properties, including landscaping, buffering, screening, and possibly sound attenuation with the submittal of a site plan. He stated that the City of Lady Lake has indicated that because of the nature of the property, connection to potable water and sewer would not be required, and fire and emergency services were located approximately five minutes away at Fire Station 52. He reported that the Zoning Board recommended approval of the request with conditions, and staff had received 52 letters of support and one letter of opposition.
Ms. Nancy Herrin, the Applicant, stated that they have been in business for 43 years in Brevard and Orange Counties and have always been licensed in every location. She commented that if they were not allowed to have their business at this location, they would never have spent over $550,000 on the property and improvements to the property. She stated that they have put their family’s savings into the business. She mentioned that their customers were in need of great quality pet care for their peace of mind during events such as surgeries and cancer treatments and that some of their dogs detect ailments such as seizures, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as therapy dogs that visit people in assisted living centers. She opined that they were an asset to their community, and she provided photograph albums of the facility to the Board. She stated that their pets were not outside a lot of the time, their waste was picked up twice a day, and they had a contract with a waste disposal company. She also noted that they have provided the Board with letters from neighbors and customers attesting to the quality and cleanliness of their business, and they have had no complaints other than from the land owner next door, who currently lives in New Jersey.
Mr. Andy Mayo, an adjacent property owner, gave a power point presentation expressing concern with the noise attenuation mentioned in Section 2B(6)(a) of the proposed ordinance which stated that soundproofing will be done with materials such as walls and fencing and/or landscaping, and he wanted the language changed to ensure that a wall will be built there, since sound would travel through a fence. He noted that it is in his near-term plans to retire on this property, and he wanted to make sure that he would have comfort, peace, quietude, and repose within the vicinity of the establishment as provided in the Lake County Animal Control regulations. He pointed out that 97 percent of the letters of support for the applicant were written by customers, 30 percent of them from nonresidents of the County, and 90 percent of the Lady Lake residents that wrote supportive letters lived one to five miles from the facility. He noted that the business’ play yard was within 50 feet of his property, separated by only a containment fence that was not structured to mitigate noise, and he asked that the language in the ordinance be changed to require a wall to deflect noise upward and not towards his property, or as an alternative to put a wall around the perimeter of the property to ensure noise abatement. He opined that this business was up for sale, and he was concerned that the next business owner might not be as responsible as the current owners.
Ms. Herrin rebutted the claim that the business was currently for sale and explained that she placed an ad on the internet in 1997 to see what kind of response she would get to sell the property, because she was extremely sick at that time, but her daughter took over the business and ownership of the property after that.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Greene about the language regarding the fence.
Mr. Greene responded that the language in the ordinance lists a variety of ways for noise mitigation such as walls, fencing, and/or landscaping, and he pointed out that subparagraph c) also indicates that the recommendations for noise mitigation will be through a noise study. He mentioned that walls were typically used to buffer noise.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he was comfortable with the language that was currently in the ordinance regarding noise.
Commr. Hill pointed out that she believed they addressed the issue regarding noise with language that addressed hours and days of operation for the play yard and the limitation on the number of dogs.
Commr. Renick commented that there should be language put in the ordinance specifying that Code Enforcement inspections did not need to be announced or scheduled, and she believed Code Enforcement should check to see that the facility did not contain a number of dogs that were over the required limit.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance No. 2010-50 for Rezoning Case No. CUP#10/10/1-5, Village Paw Spa, Doralice Hartmann/Nancy L. Herrin for Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in the Agriculture (A) Zoning District to allow a kennel, with the inclusion of additional language regarding hours of operation, use of the play yard, the maximum number of animals in the ordinance, and a provision that Code Enforcement inspections will not be announced.
rezoning case #09/7/3-3 – zafarali – peer’s meat/slaughterhouse
Ms. Melanie Marsh, Acting County Attorney, recapped that the Board had previously heard this request last summer and denied the request, but the Applicant appealed that decision to the Circuit Court, which determined after reviewing the evidence that was presented to the Board that there was insufficient evidence on the record to support the Board’s denial. She related that the Circuit Court entered an order quashing the denial of the CUP and remanded it back for further proceedings in accordance with law. She explained that today’s hearing will be conducted as if the hearing last summer did not take place, and the Board will hear all of the evidence and testimony and will make their decision based upon what they heard today. She also reminded the Board that they could not consider evidence or testimony of a previous Code Enforcement case, which was not relevant to what was heard today regarding the CUP provisions of the Code.
Mr. Sheahan presented CUP #09/7/3-3 and stated for the record that all e-mails, correspondence, and letters received by the County have been placed into the Zoning file, which would also be provided to the Clerk for the public record. He noted that several studies from both the opposition and Mr. Zafarali, as well as the information from the Royal Highlands attorney, which was just received by staff this morning, have been provided to the Board. He reported that the request was for a conditional use permit for a slaughterhouse, which was also known as an abattoir, for up to 50 animals per day on the 26-acre property located in the Rural Future Land Use Category (FLUC), which allows agricultural uses with limited residential use, and zoned Agricultural. He noted that slaughterhouses are permitted as conditional uses with the Rural FLUC as well as Agricultural zoning. He specified that the property is roughly 3,000 feet from the nearest subdivision of Royal Highlands with density above 2.0 dwellings per acre and 3,000 feet from a residential private airstrip, showing those locations on a diagram, and he also noted that family members own an adjoining 15 acres. He stated that the property has wetlands and is partially located within the 100-year floodplain; however, the proposed structure is located outside of the floodplain and approximately 200 feet from the wetlands, which would exceed the required minimum of 50 feet from the wetlands. He related that the surrounding properties have uses characteristic of agricultural such as pasture, livestock, citrus, tree farms, and large lot rural residential and that there were significant existing vegetative buffers to most of the adjoining properties. He showed photographs on the monitor of the east and northeast view taken from the site of the proposed structure which illustrated the location of Royal Highlands off on the horizon, a south view showing the location of Soto Road, a western view illustrating where the wetlands primarily were located on the property looking out towards CR 33, and a northern view showing Mr. Leland Stahelin’s property.
Mr. Sheahan stated that this CUP hinged on outside agency approvals, with most of the review being done at the site plan stage, which will require review of wastewater by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Health (DOH), and possibly the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). He added that the stormwater would be reviewed by both Lake County and SJRWMD, and facility compliance would be reviewed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumers, as well as possibly the USDA. He specified that wastewater was required to be permitted prior to approval of the site plan and shown to be consistent with state law. He mentioned that the property is subject to all state and local requirements for maintenance of stormwater on the property to preserve the water quality and quantity on the site to prevent runoff into the adjoining wetlands and water bodies. He pointed out that noise was a concern with this application, but it was not expected to be any greater than a large pasture for the keeping of livestock. He explained that there was no limitation on the number of animals currently allowed to be maintained on an agricultural piece of property, but there was a guideline of a minimum of 50 animals to maintain an agricultural exemption. He related that noise study and mitigation were required prior to approval of the site plan to ensure that the noise level is maintained, and the FDACS permit review would study whether the 6,000 square foot facility would be sufficient to process 50 animals a day. He also noted that odors generated from the facility would be addressed through the FDAC and USDA operational and permitting requirements. He stated that there was a concern that access to the property was from an unpaved easement that could generate dust as a result of the truck traffic to and from the site, but the applicant has not specifically addressed that concern in his application. He commented that the proposed use will require site plan approval beyond this conditional use process, and they would ensure that all setbacks, construction requirements, and access requirements are properly addressed in the application. He pointed out that the Code Enforcement Division will respond to any complaints usually within 24 hours of the complaint, and the facility was required to have an annual inspection that was not necessarily scheduled. He also mentioned that the CUP could be revoked by the Board for non-compliance.
Mr. Anthony Deno, a resident of Tampa who was representing the applicant, stated that he hoped he could address all the valid concerns and worries residents at the meeting had, and he emphasized that their facility would not be similar to the meat processing plant at Center Hill, since theirs was a small sustainable agricultural business that provides good quality hormone-free meat to the community for farmer’s markets, small grocers, and local restaurants, while maintaining excellent stewardship of their nation’s air, land, and water. He stated that they would not be processing 50 animals a day, since the land could not sustain such an environmental impact, even with self-contained treatment facilities, and they would only be processing 10 to 12 animals per week. He opined that this in no way constitutes an intensive industrial processing facility, and they were planning to employ only up to five people.
Mr. Deno began his PowerPoint presentation, relating that the Lake County Code expressly permits livestock slaughterhouses in agricultural and rural districts as a conditional use. He showed a diagram illustrating the proximity of adjacent properties, and he pointed out that they were not in the 100-year floodplain. He noted that they well exceeded the required 200-foot setback for all facilities or structures that are used in the operation of the slaughterhouse activity. He stated that the facilities must not be visible and that according to Table 9.01.04.B.2.a of the Lake County Code of Ordinances, a Type B landscape buffer consisting of vegetation having a minimum width of 15 feet, a minimum of 4 canopy trees and 3 ornamental trees for every one hundred feet of buffer, and one single row of shrubs shall screen all slaughterhouse related facilities and structures where visible within 200 feet of the property line. He noted that there shall be no signs permitted on the site, except directional signage, and the only access to the property shall be from CR 33 and not Soto Road. He mentioned that they must provide a solid waste containment and disposal plan with the site plan submittal for review and approval by the County. He related that they have already put together a waste containment and disposal plan which designated that all inedible waste including blood shall be collected and placed in large airtight containers in a cold storage area, which would slow down cellular and molecular degradation and completely eliminate odor of the by-product waste, and these containers would be picked up and removed on a regularly scheduled basis by professional companies which would recycle the waste into useable items. He also noted that pest control inspections and any needed treatment shall be handled by a professional local pest extermination service on an ongoing basis. He reported that a noise study shall be required with the site plan application in accordance with the Land Development Regulations and commented that the expectations of noise were being based on an industrial processing plant and not a typical small slaughterhouse. He pointed out that all of the walls within the slaughterhouse will be insulated, which would provide a stringent sound barrier.
Mr. Deno opined that the conclusions of Dr. Michael Dicks’ expert report would not pertain to this facility, since the scale of this proposed business was much smaller than the intensive industrial use on which Dr. Dicks based his findings. He also pointed out that an environmentally sound wastewater treatment has already been addressed to prevent a heavy burden on the already taxed water table created from urban sprawl, and they will utilize large rainwater collection devices during the rainy months to help offset the expected water utilization. He opined that a 6,000 square foot facility is more than enough to be appropriate for handling, processing, and cold storage space to facilitate the expected five head per day processing capacity. He addressed the issue of property depreciation and values, stating that there is no factual based evidence concluding that property values will be depreciated by their business, and he commented that the depressed real estate market and foreclosures have been responsible for decreasing values.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 10:05 a.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
rezoning case #09/7/3-3 – peer’s meat/slaughterhouse (cont’d)
Ms. Allison Strange, an attorney with Brent Jones PA representing Royal Highlands, which was an adult residential community with 1500 homes and over 3,000 residents, commented that the residents were very concerned about the proposed slaughterhouse site because it was only one-half mile from their homes and there were wetlands separating this site from their community. She recapped that the Board made a unanimous decision in July of 2009 to deny the application, and she pointed out that the Circuit Court did not reverse the Board’s July 9 decision, but just noted that there were some procedural issues that were not followed. She also noted that Judge T. Michael Johnson found that although there was competent evidence, it was not necessarily substantial. She stated that there were three things that a court would look at on appeal should the Board make the same decision at this hearing to deny this application, the first one being whether due process was followed, and she pointed out that the notice was given of this hearing and that citizens were given opportunity to be heard. She reported that the second point the court was going to consider is whether the essential requirements of law are followed, such as disclosure of outside communications, to ensure that the decision was based on the evidence before the Board, and she emphasized that it was important that the Board cite the appropriate Land Development Regulation and the reasons for the denial. She explained that competent evidence could be expert or nonexpert, and she specified that they would present testimony from an expert at this hearing who will discuss the environmental concerns and the application of the Comprehensive Plan to this request and another expert from a real estate firm who will discuss the impact of this application should it be approved on the Royal Highlands community. She noted that the important factor to consider when the Board is considering evidence provided by nonexperts is whether they have personal knowledge, and she opined that she provided the Board with a substantial amount of evidence, including affidavits from adjacent property owners about the effects of this business on them, including noises, odors, and buzzards, and a petition that was signed by over 1300 Royal Highlands owners stating that they would not have bought their home in that community if they had known that this was a possible use located within a half mile of their property. She opined that the Board would be able to rely on that and the experts to make the decision to deny the application today.
Ms. Strange related that the four points to consider when looking at the subject Land Development Regulation 14.05.03 were the consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, effect to adjacent property owners, adequacy of public facilities, and adequacy of fire protection services. She noted that their experts would be talking a lot about the consistency with the Comp Plan, and there were significant floodplain and water issues. She pointed out that the Lake County Water Authority sent a letter to the Board asking them to address that issue, and the aerial displayed by staff earlier illustrated that there were nothing but wetlands surrounding this property and separating it from all of the adjacent property owners. She also commented that if those wetlands were to be contaminated, it would result in havoc on the entire area. She pointed out that the pending Comprehensive Plan has a maximum of 5,000 square feet for a facility for a commercial use, and that this was not a commercial corridor and was not consistent with the Comp Plan. She also noted that there is no accommodation at this point for water on this property, and they will show that the water usage at a site like this is so much higher than would be experienced on an agricultural or residential usage. She mentioned that the road that accesses the property is a small dirt road, and no ambulatory or fire service would be able to turn around on it. She emphasized that the largest reason that the facility was not in compliance with LDR 14.05.03 was the effect on the adjacent properties, and she specified that the affidavits of the residents were in the backup material they provided under Tab 8 of the dark blue report citing the specific issues she previously mentioned. She also noted that the monetary effects were substantial on the residents that this slaughterhouse would have as an industrial commercial use, and introduced Mr. Jeff Schaffer, from Weaver Boos Consultants, who would discuss how this plan is incompatible with the Comprehensive Plan and the other effects on the adjacent properties.
Mr. Schaffer related that they did a very thorough review of the current Comprehensive Plan; looked at the pending Comp Plan, USDA regulations for this use, and potential regulations by FDEP; and investigated the other USDA inspected facilities statewide of similar uses and development around those uses. He reported that USDA will strongly recommend the spreading of pesticides outside the facility and the removal of standing water near the facility, which would have an adverse effect on nearby properties because of the interconnected waterways and be incompatible with the neighborhood. He showed aerial photographs of 18 other USDA inspected facilities within the state from north to south illustrating that those other facilities were in extremely rural areas with no development of significant density within a 4,000 square foot radius, but he commented that they did find two facilities that had significant development nearby, one which was on Dean Road east of Orlando and owned by a family since the 1960’s before the development occurred and another on the edge of the town of Zolfo Springs, which was a town that is focused on agricultural activities.
Ms. Strange emphasized that the facilities in Orlando and Zolfo Springs were present, that people chose to come to those areas, and it was not a circumstance where the residences were already established before the government decided to allow a slaughterhouse in the middle of it. She commented that the fact of the residents and community choosing the circumstance was very important.
Mr. Martin Puryear, Owner/Broker for two real estate brokerages in the South Lake County area, explained that he was asked to look at the potential impact value-wise on properties should a commercial/industrial business be located near a residential development, and he commented that he discovered that there were virtually no meat processing facilities that were allowed to come in near a development. He related that he found another active adult community property that he was familiar with that was impacted by an industrial park, and he opined that potential buyers refused to purchase homes in that community mainly because of that facility. He presented a spreadsheet that looked at sold properties in similar communities with values from the last 12 months broken down into dollars per square foot, showing that the one near an industrial park sold for about 30 percent less than the other communities that are very similar and in close proximity to that property, and he pointed out that this kind of reduction in Royal Highlands would result in a net value impact of over $80 million in reduction of property values as well as a significant tax revenue loss to the County.
Ms. Strange added that Mr. Puryear’s full report could be found in Tab 7 of the light blue supplement that they had handed out to the Board. She specified that the loss to the County in actual dollars as a result of an almost $81 million reduction in property value based on last year’s taxes would be $1.2 million annually.
Ms. Stephanie Adams with the Law Firm of DLA Piper, representing Mr. Leland Stahelin who owns approximately 360 acres of property directly north of the proposed slaughterhouse operation, stated that Mr. Stahelin opposes approval of the conditional use permit on the basis of the significant socioeconomic and environmental impacts associated with the operation of a slaughterhouse right next to his property. She related that the expert report and findings of Dr. Michael Dicks will reveal that there was substantial competent evidence to deny the conditional use permit. She pointed out that although the representative for the Applicant stated that they would be processing only 10 to 12 head per day, originally they asked for 100 head per day and then changed it to 50, which was reflected in the CUP as currently written.
Dr. Michael Dicks, Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University, explained that he was retained by the land owner to take a look at the environmental and economic damages that might be attributed to a slaughterhouse. He commented that since he had no specifications for any of the mechanical water systems or slaughtering and harvesting systems, he used the best management practices for harvesting and processing a 50-head a day operation on a six-day basis. He explained that the processing industry made a slim margin of profit and grossed about $75 to $125 a head, so if someone were to build a 6,000-square foot plant at $150 to $200 per square foot given the mechanical system, they would have to generate a lot of sales to get a return on their investment. He commented that he would have told this particular business initially after looking at the finances that it was not a good strategy for a money-making business and that this would be the wrong location for the business, which would change the planned character of the community. He also noted that a 50-head a day operation would mean a lot of trucks and equipment going in and out and a lot of wastewater, and he specified that it would take on average based on current standards 640 gallons of water to process one animal. He stated that the Natural Resource Conservation Service, a national organization within the USDA, has mapped all of the soils in the United States and has come up with recommendations for the best and worst things to do on each of the soils, and he specified that the soil type in the location of the facility was Chandler sand, which was considered very limited and not intended for the use of manure or food processing waste suitability. He mentioned that because of the topography of the area, there was a high potential for waste contamination, and liquids and odors would flow downhill from the only high ground they had 110 feet above sea level. He also pointed out that any contamination would go right into the ground and surface waters because of the permeability of the soil. He noted that there was nothing on the site plan for the holding of animals. He emphasized that the permit in front of the Board for approval was for 50-head per day, but the 6,000-foot capacity of the plant, the soils, and the groundwater and surface waters in the area are not appropriate for the site, and he believed it was in the best interest of the community to not allow the facility to be built.
Ms. Adams opined that Mr. Dicks’ presentation illustrated that there was substantial competent evidence for the Board to deny this conditional use permit, and they requested that the Board do so.
The Chairman opened the public hearing for citizen comment.
Mr. Bryan Wilson, a resident of Winter Springs and the Central Florida Coordinator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, which he stated opposes any slaughter house, whether it was one that killed thousands of animals every day or a small one that they were currently reviewing the permit for, commented that these slaughter houses do not reflect the values and the image that the Board would wish to have portrayed for the County. He encouraged the Board to deny this permit on the reasons that have been listed by Dr. Dicks as far as the environmental impact, as well as the cruelty to the animals and the low paying, low skilled, injury prone jobs that are going to be created. He also opined that the waste created by these slaughterhouses has been documented to contaminate the ground and the precious wetlands that animals require to live, and Lake County was an appealing place because of the natural surroundings that the County has been working so hard to preserve. He noted that the wastewater ideas that the applicants have proposed have no specific details and are best case scenarios, and the 50 animals per day they were permitting were a tremendous number of animals that would be slaughtered and result in a tremendous amount of waste that would be generated, such as blood, fecal matter, and the containment of the animals while they were waiting to be slaughtered. He encouraged the Lake County Commission to make the humane choice and ban this slaughter facility and any other slaughter facilities that may come into Lake County.
Mr. Steven Allen, a resident of Okahumpka and former police chief in Center Hill, spoke on behalf of Mr. Stahelin and stated that he dealt on a daily basis with Central Packing, which is a slaughter house in Center Hill. He commented that the sprayfields emitted very strong odors most of the time, and the plant had open trailers with byproducts of bone and meat which were rotting and put out an odor throughout the town of about three square miles. He asked the Board to strongly consider not permitting this CUP in this area. He also mentioned that he lived within three miles of this area, and it would have an impact on him as well.
Mr. David Gay, a resident of Groveland and owner of Grass Roots AirPark, which was less than 3,000 feet away from the proposed slaughter house, stated that he was opposed to the proposed use and believed that it would create a flight safety hazard due to scavenger and predatory birds that would be attracted to this facility. He mentioned that he submitted several documents to County staff, including a Florida Statute which gives power to local governing boards to deny use of a facility which would create a public safety hazard and requires that airport zoning regulations will be adopted which restrict new incompatible uses, activities, or construction within the runway clear zones of one mile, which would endanger the health, welfare, and safety by resulting in congregations of people, emissions of light or smoke, or attraction of birds. He also referred to a document which he submitted to the Board from the Florida Department of Transportation, which was an airport compatible land use guideline which deals with any use which would attract birds or other wildlife which would create hazards on the ground or in the air. He also submitted an FAA advisory circular which also deals with attraction of bird populations within the airport flight zone, and he opined that if this facility was allowed, they would be creating a flight safety hazard and potential liability. He also had the same concerns regarding property use and value that were previously discussed.
Mr. Ken Pumphrey, a property owner on McKenzie Road in Groveland in close proximity to the proposed slaughter house, commented that the whole area generally is a wet area and that he was not allowed to improve or do anything to his property because of that. He mentioned that there was an outflow from the slaughterhouse property that flows into the lake that is on his property. He stated that another problem was that buzzards are predominant in the area, which roost in his trees in the afternoons and evenings before sunset and create an insidious odor. He opined that the facility did not belong in their community, and he did not want it that close to his home, which was about 150 feet away. He noted that it was becoming more and more a residential area, and he did not think anyone would appreciate having a slaughterhouse in their backyard or close to their property.
Ms. Carla Wilson, a resident of Winter Springs, stated that she was opposed to the slaughterhouse, and she opined that it should not be anywhere near residents and their homes.
Ms. Marsha Dixon, who owned a small farm in Orlando, stated that she opposed the slaughterhouse for ethical reasons.
Mr. Richard Vaughan, a 19-year resident of Soto Road across from the Zafarali’s property, stated that he has seen 12 to 15 buzzards at times flying over that area and has heard a lot of shot gun shells going off on the property. He opined that it was not a good place to put a slaughterhouse and that the property owners have not followed regulations up to this point and have operated the business without the property permits for years. He stated that he and other residents on Soto Road are concerned about whether the blood had been going into the water system during previous years, specifically regarding the eight-acre lake in back of their property that flows into the Zafarali property, then throughout a chain of lakes, and ultimately into Lake Harris. He commented that he has been dealing with the operation of the facility for about six years.
Mr. Egor Emery, a resident of Eustis, asked the Board to deny this permit today and related that the Commission altered the Comprehensive Plan through an amendment process to allow for the construction of the Royal Highlands subdivision at the time, which forever changed the compatible uses in that area. He noted that the Comp Plan speaks in great length about what is compatible and protecting those residents who are in an area from any incompatible uses, and he opined that this strikes him as a very incompatible use in this area. He was also concerned about the wetland issues, both regarding the soils and the existing plant and animal communities in that vicinity.
Mr. Ed Noland, a resident of Soto Road for about a year who worked at Central Beef in Center Hill, stated that his concerns were the wastewater; the amount of waste from the plant; the type of refrigeration that would be used; radius of the evacuation route for the coolant, product and waste of this particular application; what type of waste removal they would have for the machinery, and the type of chemicals that they are going to use for sanitation purposes that would effect the groundwater. He also noted that it was a very expensive operation to stay in compliance with the state.
Mr. George Fencik, a resident of Royal Highlands, expressed a concern about the negative impact the growing bird and mosquito population will have on the present value of their homes and the health and safety of their residents, and he requested denial of the application.
Mr. Deno commented that they have been compared to light industrial and heavy industrial processing plants, but they were a small “mom-and-pop business” and not a commercial facility or plant. He suggested putting in a stipulation that they could not process more than 25 animals a week if the CUP is granted, so that there would not be any more questions about how many animals would be processed. He pointed out that there were hundreds of golf courses in Florida which used thousands of gallons of pesticides.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Conner commented that he has heard a lot of things today that certainly caused concern, and he asked the County Attorney to put into the record what the legal basis for denial is, and he wanted to make sure that in all of the wide variety of evidence that they have heard, it would meet the legal test for denial.
Ms. Marsh responded that as the Board deliberates and makes their decision today, they need to put on the record whatever evidence or testimony they have heard that would meet the following parameters: whether or not this application is consistent with the Comp Plan or the County Code, what effect it would have on adjacent properties in terms of an undue adverse impact, whether it is compatible with the existing or planned character of the neighborhood, whether all reasonable steps been taken to minimize any adverse effect of the conditional use on the immediate vicinity, and whether the proposed use would be constructed, arranged and operated so as to not interfere with the development of neighboring property. She commented that the Board has heard a lot of evidence today, and it was their job to weigh that evidence. She asked that the Board enumerate whatever evidence they base their decision on for the record based on the parameters that she had just given them.
Commr. Conner stated that based on the evidence that was presented today, he was concerned about the water that was involved and the potential impact on the wetlands, and he believed testimony has been produced showing that potentially spraying the area even after being treated could cause environmental problems. He commented that the testimony in regard to the property values was significant, and it could easily be argued that a slaughterhouse would have more of an adverse impact on property values than an industrial park. He noted that this had a negative financial impact to Lake County as well as a negative financial impact to the residents. He also believed what Mr. Gay said about safety hazards and the incompatibility of the air field and buzzards.
Commr. Stewart commented that this was why development was directed to the urban rather than the rural agricultural areas, but she was basing her vote on the negative effect of the facility on the surrounding residents, who testified under oath that there were a lot of buzzards in the area, that they actually have had smells coming from the property, and that they have heard the distressed calls of animals in the past.
Commr. Cadwell referred to LDR 14.05.03 and the effect on adjacent properties, and he commented that the airport issues concern him. However, he stated that his main concern was that there were not suitable public facilities. He opined that even a small operation would need water and sewer there, and he did not think that the roadway was adequate. He also did not think it was suitable to the adjacent properties.
Commr. Hill concurred with the other Commissioners’ comments, which mirrored the same concerns she also had, including the public facilities, the road, the effect on the water, and the effect on adjacent properties.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Renick and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board denied the conditional use permit for Rezoning Case No. CUP#09/7/3-3 by Peer Ali Zafarali LLC and Liyyankaat Altaf Zafarali for Peer’s Meat/Slaughterhouse.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
welton g. cadwell, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK