A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
april 26, 2011
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 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: Jennifer Hill, Chairman; Leslie Campione, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Commr. Cadwell gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, requested to pull Tab 2 and bring that back at the next BCC meeting on May 3.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 1 through 9, pulling Tab 2, as follows:
Facilities Development and Management
Request for approval of award of Invitation to Bid (ITB) 11-0404 for Chiller Maintenance and HVAC/Boiler System Chemicals to Siemen’s Industry of Winter Park, Florida. Fiscal Impact $29,983.00.
Request for authorization to purchase 80 replacement computers from Dell Computer Corporation. Fiscal impact is $42,394, using budgeted State Aid to Libraries operating grant funds.
Request for approval of budget change request of $50,623 to transfer funds from Regular Salaries to Contractual Services at three branch libraries to pay temporary workers. Fiscal impact is $50,623, budgeted in Library System Fund.
Request for approval to advertise an ordinance that establishes Public Lands Rules and Regulations and the Special Use Application and Permit that is mentioned in Sec. 16-67 of the ordinance. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval to execute the Local Agency Program Supplemental Agreement between Lake County and Florida Department of Transportation for Picciola Bridge, Project No. 2010-16, Bid No. 10-0025, FPN No. 428082-1-58-01 and supporting Resolution No. 2011-54 to include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system language. (Fiscal Impact is $0.) Commission District #1.
Request for authorization to release a performance bond in the amount of $80,682.00, accept a maintenance bond in the amount of $104,764.00, execute a Developer's Agreement for Maintenance of Improvements between Lake County and BFG Lakeshore, Ltd. and execute Resolution No. 2011-55 accepting the following roads into the County Road Maintenance System: Caju Road (Co. Road No. 1361), Laranja Street (Co. Road No. 1361A); and Pitanga Street (Co. Road No. 1361B). Terrace Grove consists of 103 lots and is located in Section 26, Township 22 South, Range 26 East. Commission District 2. There is no fiscal impact.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution No. 2011-56 authorizing the posting of “No Parking, Standing or Stopping" signs on Forestdel Drive (6384) at CR 44A, in the Eustis area, Section 36, Township 18, Range 27, Commissioner District 5.
Request for approval and signature on Resolution No. 2011-57 authorizing the posting of "NO PARKING ON RIGHT OF WAY" signs on Obrien Road (2427) in the Groveland area. Section 21, Township 21, Range 25, Commissioner District 3.
vacation petition no.1164 – c.w. harrell road – clermont
Mr. Stivender reported that Vacation Petition No. 1164 in Commission District 2 requests a vacation of a portion of C.W. Harrell Road, noting that a few years ago a portion to the south had been vacated, and he illustrated the location on an overhead map. He explained that there was a problem with people driving down this dirt road, so barricades were placed on the south side of the road a couple of years ago, and the applicants have asked to vacate it. He pointed out that the access has not caused any detriment to anyone’s flow of traffic, and this would just permanently eliminate the public ingress and egress across the old easements that existed on those five-acre tracts. He recommended approval to vacate.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Lachelle Allen, a resident of Clermont, stated that she was there to represent the South English Clermont Congregation that was located on C.W. Harrell Road and Sunburst Lane and objected to the property that was adjacent to the church being closed off to the public. She commented that currently there was only one access road to Sunburst Lane, and she expressed concern about their ability to go though there to safely leave the area in an emergency.
Mr. Stivender explained that Sunburst Lane was a city-maintained, paved road, and it was part of the subdivision requirements. Mr. Stivender asked if the church was in the City of Clermont.
Ms. Allen responded that the church was in the city, and that part of C.W. Harrell was annexed into the city with the condition of building that they pave C.W. Harrell Road and Sunburst Lane.
Mr. Stivender clarified that they have to improve this intersection to get their access to this church, but it does not affect the part to the north, and he noted that the ingress and egress has not come up as an issue in the last two years. He pointed out that C.W. Harrell was never intended to handle traffic and was only for access to single lots for citrus, and the barricade just eliminated a nuisance of vehicles using it as a shortcut or alternate route.
Mr. Ryan Schultz, a resident of Clermont and one of the applicants, noted that when the church was annexed into the City of Clermont, they did a traffic report which stated that they had no desire or use for C.W. Harrell, and representatives of the church had stated at a previous BCC meetings that they were in favor of the barricade. He stated that the road has been used exclusively by the three residents who live on the road for the last couple of years, with no issues or problems previously expressed.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, related that he had been working for the City of Clermont when this came up, and Mr. Schultz was exactly right about the church indicating that the access was adequate for them.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Campione noted that Mr. Stivender determined that there would not be properties losing legal access as a result of this road vacation.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Vacation Petition No. 1164 as well as execution of Resolution No. 2011-58 to vacate a portion of an unnamed platted right of way, now known as C.W. Harrell Road, according to the Plat of Postal Colony Company, located in Section 34, Township 22S. Range 26E in the Clermont area.
vacation petition 1157 – arnold groves/john r. arnold
Commr. Hill disclosed that she had spoken to Mr. Chris Roper, the attorney of record, regarding the memo of the survey that was sent to them by the applicant.
Commr. Parks disclosed that he had met with Mr. Roper on Friday, April 22.
Commr. Campione disclosed that she had met with Mr. Roper on Monday, April 25.
Mr. Stivender stated that Petition No. 1157 was a resolution to vacate a portion of right-of-way in Commission District 2. He recapped that this initially came before the Board in November, when it was given an extension for 60 days, and then it was given another extension in January for 90 days. He explained that the petitioner has asked to vacate a large section of right-of-way that was shown in red on the map, but Mr. Ondis, who owns property in the area, was contending that he has access to it, which was disputed by the petitioner. He mentioned that his staff has done some initial appraisal work and has tried to get the parties to work together. He opined that Mr. Ondis has requested a large sum of money for this property which they think is far above the appraised value; however, the petitioner is willing to pay an amount of money that is lower than the appraised value, resulting in negotiations between the parties hitting a standstill. He recommended denial of the request, because he hoped that the parties would work together to resolve this.
Commr. Cadwell applauded Mr. Stivender’s efforts to try to work this out between the two parties, but he believed that ultimately if the property is not contiguous to this right-of-way, it would be a civil action rather than the County’s business at that point.
Mr. Chris Roper with Akerman Senterfitt, representing the applicant, recapped that the purpose of the request is to vacate Boggy Marsh Road which runs through the middle of a citrus grove owned by his client, Dr. Arnold, and there are a total of three property owners who abut the road and have legal access to it, including his client, who supports the request because it will stop the public from gaining access to his citrus grove and stealing any more farm equipment than the $60,000 worth of equipment that has unfortunately already been stolen since the road has been open. He stated that another abutting property owner is Ms. Georgette Hudson, who supports the request, since she gets her access from the north and does not wish for the public to have access to the southern piece of her property for privacy reasons, and the final abutting property owner is the Florida Fish and Game, who owns an approximately 50,000-acre wildlife refuge located immediately to the west, which does not have any concerns about the right-of-way vacation with the caveat that the action taken today would not impair the drainage characteristics of the wildlife or negatively affect the wildlife management area. He pointed out that the road leads to nowhere, and the area to be vacated is drivable from the south, but then it ventures into the swamp before it becomes impassable. He opined that he did not see any benefit to the public for keeping this road open, and vacating the road would eliminate the County’s responsibility for clearing the northern section of the brush and the swampy undergrowth and maintaining it for the traveling public.
Mr. Roper mentioned that there were a couple of objections to the vacation, one of those from Mr. Ondis and the other from a family member of the 50-acre parcel to the south. He commented that Mr. Ondis objects because he felt it might cut off his access, but the fallacy to that argument is that he never had any access to begin with, and the survey that was done to determine whether Mr. Ondis’ property was contiguous to the right-of-way indicated that it is approximately nine feet away from the right-of-way. He noted, however, that it was possible for Mr. Ondis to have legal grounds to support an easement by necessity, since the parcel appears to be landlocked, but that was a private matter to be worked out in circuit court, with some criteria that would be looked at in that venue being whether the property was capable of being put to productive use and other statutory requirements. He mentioned that the County’s GIS map showed that the Ondis property appears to be 100 percent covered by either wetlands or in the floodplain, and it would be questionable whether they could meet the productive use criteria. He then related that Mrs. Walker claims she is a part owner of the southern 50 acres of a nearby piece of property, because her father appears on the deed as a co-owner with his client, but the fallacy with that argument is that her father is deceased, and before she can claim any interest in the estate, it must go through probate in the circuit court. He also mentioned that she signed an agreement in 1983 that gives all of this property to his client in exchange for several hundred acres which she previously sold in 1985 for residential subdivision development, but afterwards a scrivener’s error was found in the deed for the 50-acre portion that accidentally omitted the area in question, which his client was working with an attorney to correct. He produced an affidavit by a family member who was present when the agreement was made attesting that the intent was for the 50 acres to be conveyed as part of the overall Boggy Creek Marsh farm that his client owns. He pointed out that regardless of this claim, this vacation would not affect her ownership interest because she would still have access from the south. He concluded that everyone who has legal access supports this request, and it is in the public interest to vacate this right-of-way.
Mr. Tyler Van Voorhees with the law firm of Reed & Archer, counsel for Mr. Ondis, stated that the genesis of this particular issue was in November 2009, when a notice of code violation was issued by the city to the applicants for unilaterally placing a chain link fence across South Boggy Marsh Road which obstructed access to his client’s property and all of the other properties northbound. He related that his client talked with the Arnolds in an effort to have them remove it voluntarily, but after they refused to do so and indicated that they intended to vacate the right-of-way, his client obtained the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Walker to have the chain link fence struck down, which was subsequently substituted with a giant dirt berm that was pushed onto the road with the use of a front-end loader. He assured the Board that he understood that vacation of right-of-way under the County Code and Florida Statute was entirely at the discretion of the Board in determining whether it was in the public interest. He opined that this controversy was brought to the Commission’s attention because of seemingly unilateral actions taken by the Arnolds, and to allow them to vacate the right-of-way in this manner would essentially award bad behavior that was done because the road was inconvenient to their private interests, and would be bad policy. He noted that the petitioner maintained that the Ondis property was not contiguous and was at least 20 feet away from the road at the northeast corner of that property, but the survey reported that the property was nine feet away and that the notations at the bottom of the survey indicated that this description could not be plotted accurately because the center line of the road is indeterminable since the road line could not be firmly located. He opined that since it was inconclusive, he believed that the Board’s policy ought to be in favor of access rather than more restrictive of access if there is an honest question regarding that, and he believed that the great majority of the property could be developed with little or no drainage necessary. He disclosed that he met with the Walkers and consulted with them about their issue, but he does not represent them.
Commr. Campione related that she does not think case law supports the behavior of the applicant as being one of the factors that they would look at for public interest criteria in road vacation cases. She asked how Mr. Ondis acquired the property.
Mr. Van Voorhees answered that Mr. Ondis acquired the property about four or five years ago through a tax sale for about $7400, but the representation from the Tax Collector at that time was that the property was not landlocked and that in fact South Boggy Marsh Road did touch the northeastern tip of the property and therefore had right-of-way.
Commr. Parks commented that the code enforcement issue does have to be dealt with separately, but he did not think they should forget about that either.
Mr. Roper indicated that they were going through a separate code enforcement process that has been ongoing for about a year, and he has kept in touch with the code enforcement staff and attorney. He pointed out that his client has spent a lot of money on legal fees, surveys, and title searches to defend what are basically speculative arguments without any evidence, and he opined that Mr. Ondis should have done better due diligence before the purchase of the property since there are certain risks to buying property at a tax deed sale.
Commr. Hill asked whether the Board would have to defend their decision in the event that the Circuit Court decides that Mr. Ondis does need access in the northern section of the property after they vacate the right of way.
Mr. Minkoff answered that if the Board elected to close the parcel and it was appealed, the County would be defending their position, but if that was not done and Mr. Ondis filed a petition under the statute to gain access through the adjoining property owners, the County would not be involved in that.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he does not think Mr. Ondis has any access, and he encouraged the Board to conclude this road vacation case.
Commr. Campione commented that the right-of-way is impassable and environmentally sensitive, and it would require a tremendous amount of cost and permits to make it passable. She also did not think it was in the public interest to take on that responsibility, and she did not think they were taking away a right of a property owner, since the Ondis property does not appear to touch the right-of-way.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Vacation Petition No. 1157 and approval and execution of Resolution No. 2011-59. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
rezoning consent agenda
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Director of Planning and Community Design, Department of Growth Management, displayed on the overhead monitor that this meeting had been properly noticed and informed the Board that there were three rezoning cases that day, all of which were on the consent agenda. He noted that the Zoning Board had some comments regarding Tab 2, Case No. 33-10-2, for Brown’s Auto Sales, but it turned out that there was just a scrivener’s error on the submitted conceptual plan for that site having to do with the impervious surface area, which has since been corrected by the applicant. He added that it is now consistent with the code requirements and has met the concern of the Zoning Board. He reported that they have not had any requests to pull any items off the consent agenda.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding any of the rezoning cases, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the following rezoning cases and ordinances:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2011-21
Cup Revocation CUP#275-5
The CUP is no longer necessary as the caretaker’s residence has been converted into a vehicular sales office.
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2011-22
Craig and Mary Ann Brown, Brown’s Auto Sales
Richard P. Newman, Esq.
Proposed rezoning to add Minor Auto Repair Uses to an existing Auto Sales/ Office Use.
Tab 3 – Ordinance No. 2011-23
Rezoning Case No. PH#07-11-1
Kenneth and Melanie Wagner
Request to change a 14.11-acre property from Rural Residential (R-1) to Agriculture (A) for the purpose of constructing a plant nursery with greenhouse.
reports – commissioner parks – district 2
feedback on expedition of permits
Commr. Parks commented that he was starting to hear some good feedback about staff’s efforts to expedite permitting both for residential and business uses, and although they still had a lot of hard work ahead of them, he wanted to compliment staff on the good changes that have been made as they get ready to unveil their expediting permitting system in the next four or five months.
business incubator locations in south lake
Commr. Parks reported that he met with Mr. James Spencer from UCF regarding the business incubator at South Lake on Friday, April 22, and they would be looking at some potential locations that week with the South Lake business community.
reports – commissioner conner – district 3
sheriff’s volunteer banquet
Commr. Conner mentioned that he attended the Sheriff’s volunteer banquet on Friday evening, April 22, and he appreciated the large turnout and the recognition of over one half million dollars worth of volunteer service that benefited the Sheriff’s Office.
school board meeting
Commr. Conner related that he attended the School Board meeting on April 25, where they awarded scholarships from the Scott Strong Foundation. He mentioned that he was going to send a letter to Mr. Steve Strong and asked if the Board wanted to send a letter or be included in the one he was sending.
Commr. Hill asked him to include the Board in his letter.
REPORTS – COMMISSIONER campione– vice chairman - DISTRICT 4
appointment to lake community action agency
Commr. Campione related that she was liaison to the Lake Community Action Agency, and she requested that the Board appoint an alternate member for her on that committee for evenings that she has a scheduling conflict between meetings for that committee and other events, obligations, or meetings. She assured the Board, however, that she intends to be at those meetings as often as she could, and she recommended that they appoint Ms. Dottie Keedy, Community Services Director, as the alternate member.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to place that item on the agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board appointed Ms. Keedy as an alternate member to the Lake Community Action Agency.
public lands acquisition program
Commr. Campione commented that the approval for advertising their ordinance that sets policies in place for public lands is very timely and noted that the actual ordinance would be coming back to the Board for approval. She clarified that when she raised the question of whether they could sell portions of land that had previously been acquired, she wanted the Board to look at the possibility that there were situations were there was additional land involved besides just the environmentally-sensitive portions of land due to sellers selling an entire tract which included environmentally as well as non-environmentally sensitive land.
Commr. Conner commented that he believed it had to meet strict criteria before it was bought.
Commr. Campione agreed that was true, but noted that she thought there might have been portions of those properties that did not meet the criteria, although she could be mistaken about that. She pointed out that she knew when she brought that up that any money that would come from selling off any portion of property which had been purchased with bond money under that referendum would have to go back into that fund to be used to buy another piece of conservation or preservation land that met the criteria or for improvements on the land that they had acquired. She commented that she had believed there were already criteria for the land management plans and the level of improvements that were required in order to make those properties available for public access, but she has realized in the last couple of days that the Board has the discretion to open up some of those lands to the public without fully implementing all of those improvements that had been previously been discussed at a much lower cost with some inexpensive amenities such as grass parking areas, signage with trail maps, and bear trash cans. She requested the Board’s support to go in that direction to look at doing minimal improvements to get those properties accessible to the public, as well as looking at possibly changing the phasing of the management and improvement plans so that they do not add a significant amount of operating cost.
Commr. Parks stated that his recollection was that it was not Commr. Campione’s intent to sell off public lands when she brought that up at the last meeting, and he applauded her efforts to discuss the issue. He also agreed with the concept of opening up the public lands with minimal amenities.
Commr. Campione commented that she thought they needed to look at the language in the referendum, which included a wide variety of uses, and she opined that they have covered a lot of those areas with the properties that they acquired.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that although they had gone through a very diligent process to buy those properties, some of the present Commissioners were not on the Board at the time those properties were purchased. He thought they had already directed staff to start analyzing those properties regarding what Commr. Campione had mentioned. He assured her that getting those properties open was the goal of the old Commission, and he agreed that they could minimally open them, but they had to be careful of the long-range effect of the park not being taken care of, since staff would be needed to take care of some problems once they were opened.
Commr. Conner commented that it was already a challenge for the County to keep their active parks staffed with the number of rangers they had, and he was concerned about how they were going to pay for maintenance of the public lands for things such as controlling litter, although he stated that he was in favor of opening those parks to the public. He also stated that he would not feel comfortable selling off any of the public land they have already purchased unless they did that by a referendum.
Commr. Hill opined that she believed the intent of that request was to have a designated funding source for the improvements to the parks.
Commr. Campione opined that the people who use those parks with minimal improvements would be the ones who would take the trash with them out of those parks, and she suggested that they could possibly designate certain areas of some properties as off-limits.
Mr. Gray reported that he had met with staff regarding public lands and would be coming back with a plan, and he would also be discussing that in May at their budget workshop.
There was a consensus of the Board to proceed with having staff look into opening three public lands properties, which were Ellis Acres Reserve, Lake May Reserve, and the Pasture, with minimal amenities in place within three months.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER CADWELL – CHAIRMAN AND DISTRICT 5
lake 100 luncheon
Commr. Cadwell related that last week he attended the Lake 100 luncheon, which is a group of business people who volunteer to help the business community, help recruit new business, and make industry visits.
white house briefing
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he would not be present for the next BCC meeting, because he was invited to join a nonpartisan group of county commissioners who have been invited to the White House for a briefing.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
jennifer hill, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK