November 8, 2011

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in a special workshop session on Tuesday, November 8, 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; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Shannon Treen, Deputy Clerk.

Agenda update

Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, requested to add an assignment of a contract for the South Lake Bridge project under his Business.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Cadwell, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board moved to add the contract for the South Lake Bridge to the agenda.


economic development and tourism update

Mr. Scott Blankenship, Economic Development and Tourism Director, stated that he would give an overview of the activities of Economic Development and Tourism over the past quarter and an update on the business opportunity centers.  He first discussed the activities for the Economic Development Department and noted that the two additional coordinators had been onboard for about six weeks and they had been conducting business visits throughout their micro regions and developing business profiles.  He related that they had been spending a lot of time on the Economic Development Summit, which was scheduled for November 14, 2011, and mentioned that at that time there were 217 registered participants with almost $14,000 in sponsorship commitment and $5,500 in registration commitment.  He explained that they partnered with the Astor Chamber of Commerce in organizing business roundtables to discuss challenges and ways the County could assist them in promoting their initiatives for economic development.  He added that the Economic Development Department had also held an aerospace roundtable where representatives from five local aerospace companies and municipalities with invested interest in aerospace had come together for a networking session.  He then discussed the activities for the Tourism Department and announced that Lake County would be the host of the 2012 Florida State Harley Owners Group (HOG) Rally and it would attract thousands of people from all over the region.  He pointed out that there was a recent groundbreaking for The Big House Sports Complex in Tavares and that the Carriage House concert series outside of Leesburg was very successful.  He added that they were also trying to start a Lake County Rowing Association and were fine tuning the Tourism Impact Model.  He noted that Lake-Sumter Community College would be conducting statistical surveys on events in the County that did not have hotel nights so they could get an idea of the economic impacts of those events.  He related that the South Lake Business Opportunity Center would be located at the visitor center and that the target opening date was January 1, 2012.  He also mentioned that they had already identified their first incubator client.

Mr. Russ Sloan, Executive Director of the Business Resource Center with Lake-Sumter Community College, continued the presentation discussing the business opportunity center.  He noted that they planned to have an on-site administrator available to meet daily client needs and would handle the scheduling of additional professional expertise.  He opined that it was important to schedule sessions with the occupants to discuss their goals, needs, impediments and progress as well as to recruit and match business mentors with clients and added that there was a tremendous amount of business expertise that was willing to help.  He mentioned that they planned to have professional development seminars and a reference library for the clients.  He explained that the entrepreneurial institute was started in 1993 and that it was a 10 week program taught by instructors from the private sector covering a variety of topics, such as legal structure, sales, marketing, business insurance, credit and budget.  He added that all of the incubator clients would go through the program and stated that there had been over 2,000 graduates since the program started.  He remarked that the County had an extremely proactive economic development approach.

Commr. Cadwell asked whether more than one business in the same market would be allowed to be part of the incubator.

Mr. Sloan replied that if a business was already in the incubator, then the other business would be put on a waiting list because it was basically first come, first serve.

Commr. Campione stated that those businesses could possibly work together or cluster a particular concept if it served both of their interests.

Mr. Sloan commented that the business could choose another location because the intention of the business opportunity center was to help businesses anywhere within the County.

Commr. Campione mentioned that she met with the Eustis Chamber Economic Development and there was a discussion regarding minority businesses in the enterprise zone area and how those businesses needed instruction on where to start with their ideas.  She opined that it would be a good idea to tailor the entrepreneurial institute to help those businesses develop their next steps.

Mr. Sloan stated that it was a good suggestion and added that Wells Fargo had provided a grant opportunity so that all of the chambers could offer scholarships for the entrepreneurial institute program.  He pointed out that the opportunity had been a huge help and had enabled them to keep the program very affordable.

proposed 2012 comprehensive plan schedule

Ms. Amye King, Growth Management Director, stated that she would provide an update on the activities of the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) for the next few years.  She explained that the Comprehensive Plan required that the LDRs be adopted and be consistent with its policies and that the process be concurrent with requested amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.  She pointed out that the Comprehensive Plan required that most of the LDRs be adopted within 12 to 36 months and noted that some of the existing LDRs were already consistent with the Comprehensive Plan so those did not require an amendment.  She related that the LDR amendment and adoption process must be balanced with daily operations and special projects and that significant time and resources were required for writing and for public participation.  She added that they had started developing a notification list for keeping the public informed as well as for providing an opportunity for them to comment.  She then discussed the special planning projects that were currently underway and the Comprehensive Plan schedule and noted that they would transmit the 11 map amendments that were approved by the Board but were rejected by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and would initiate amendments to allow a community store in the Pine Lakes area.  She stated that they would look into the new amendments requested by the Board as well as the non-conforming zonings and vestings and any applicant initiated amendments.

Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Director, continued the presentation discussing the Comprehensive Plan schedule and explained that they completed an analysis of the non-conforming commercial zonings under the old plan and the new plan and corrected about 100 out of the 188 that existed.  He noted that most of those were in the rural future land use category.  He related that property owners had about 12 months to file vested rights claims against the Comprehensive Plan once it was adopted.  He then discussed the LDR adoption schedule and stated that they would continue to use the current LDRs until the adoption of the new ones.  He added that they were proposing a five-year plan in order to effectively use available County resources and pointed out that for year one, they planned to adopt new zoning districts and a map and would be bringing back landscape ordinance amendments so that the ordinance was more business-friendly.  He related that they planned to discuss the mining regulations and the mining committee and would review the non-conforming zoning and vested rights issues.  He added that they would also bring back the agricultural signs ordinance and the agricultural uses in the industrial zoning district ordinance as requested by the Board.  He explained that for year two, there might be some carry over items with the approval of the zoning districts since that required a lot of participation and communication from the public.  He added that they would also discuss resource protection, such as wetland setbacks and habitat protections, and the Green Swamp and Wekiva regulations, as well as parking and concurrency.  He stated that for year three, four and five, they would be looking at the special communities of Ferndale, Sunnyside and Lake Jem, access management and transportation, stormwater and site alteration, sign regulations, air quality, viewshed protection, and revision and refinement.

Ms. King concluded the presentation with an overview of the requested actions of the Board and noted that the twice per year limitation for comprehensive plan amendments were eliminated; however, staff recommended they retain the cycles as it gave certainty to both the applicant and staff.  She added that they were proposing that the schedule exempt small scale amendments of less than 10 acres, Economic Development projects and any Board or staff initiated amendments from the twice per year cycles.  She stated that the current Zoning Board served as the Local Planning Agency (LPA) and under State law, the LPA was tasked with review and recommendation of the LDRs, so they were proposing to consolidate the review in one body and rename them to the Planning and Zoning Board.  She explained that they were also proposing a Green Swamp Mining Committee, which would be a seven member committee comprised of environmental and mining stakeholders to determine the needs for additional protections in the Green Swamp, since the Comprehensive Plan required the County to form a committee.  She then requested that the Board approve the previously outlined schedule.

Commr. Conner asked when the agricultural signs ordinance would be completed.

Mr. Sheahan replied that they could bring that to the Zoning Board in December if they received direction from the Board that day and it could then be brought back to the Board in January.

Commr. Parks stated that members of the business community had expressed concerns about the noise ordinance and the sign LDRs and felt they needed to be tweaked.  He asked whether those could be added to year one for discussion.

Ms. King mentioned that any ordinance could be tweaked during any time of the year as long as they were consistent with the comp plan policy.

Mr. Gray added that they had dedicated year one to look at those types of business-friendly initiatives to see whether anything needed to be modified.

Commr. Cadwell stated that he thought the format of the mining ordinance was good and that the Board should decide which organization would be considered as the member of the environmental advocacy organization.

Commr. Parks commented that he agreed with that and felt the committee should stay at the seven member format and not expand it.

Commr. Conner opined that the Board should make deliberate and thoughtful decisions when making appointments to committees so that there was the right balance of people.

Commr. Campione explained that she received a recommendation of having someone from the agricultural and the utilities community on the committee and opined that those particular interests might be helpful.

Commr. Cadwell noted that they should see what the committee looked like first before deciding to expand it.

Commr. Hill commented that some of those people who were experts in those areas may want to sit in and offer their expertise but not actually join the committee.

Commr. Campione stated that not all property owners were aware that they could apply for vested rights within 12 months of the date of adoption of the zoning districts so it would be helpful to notify all property owners of that right.

Mr. Minkoff suggested that they advertise that information in the TRIM notice to ensure all property owners were notified since not all property owners actually lived in Lake County.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the pending amendments and LDR work schedules, the two cycle Comprehensive Plan Amendment schedule and to maintain the Zoning Board as the Local Planning Agency Board and rename it to the Planning and Zoning Board.  The Board also instructed staff to review the list of items that Commr. Parks would like to be tweaked with regards to the LDR’s and the sign and noise ordinances.

east lake county library update

Ms. Wendy Breeden, Public Resources Director, stated that she would give an update on options for a permanent location for the East Lake County Library.  She explained that the library was housed in a 5,000 square foot pre-fabricated steel building in Sorrento on property owned by the East Lake Chamber of Commerce and noted that it was the only branch library facility in lease space and that the lease remained in effect through September 2013 for $40,000 per year.  She related that the 2005-2020 Facilities Plan recommended that the current building be replaced with a permanent 8,000 square foot structure and that the library remain at the current site.  She added that staff received direction in August 2011 to negotiate a longer term lease if possible and to have the property appraised and look for alternative sites.  She pointed out that an outside appraisal of the property was obtained and that staff was unable to locate any acceptable alternatives.  She added that staff conducted a financial analysis and identified Library Impact Fees as a possible funding source and explained that current County policy provided for an application process for Library Impact Fees and that the due date for application submissions was March 1, 2012.  She stated that they were requesting that the Board authorize approval to proceed with purchase negotiations with the East Lake Chamber of Commerce and to allow staff to bring back a contract for approval.

Commr. Cadwell clarified that the partner libraries had the opportunity to apply for some of the Library Impact Fee dollars.  He suggested that they move the application deadline from March 1, 2012 to February 1, 2012 if the County wanted to utilize those funds for purchase of the library in order to protect that process.

Mr. Gray mentioned that they were also looking at other funding sources as well and they would bring those back when they had the contract.

Commr. Campione related that they could possibly enter into an agreement with the East Lake Chamber of Commerce to lease back space since there were no sites large enough to hold meetings in the Sorrento area.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved for staff to proceed with purchase negotiations with the East Lake Chamber of Commerce and for staff to bring back a contract for BCC approval.  The Board also included that the Library Impact Fee application process deadline be moved from March 1, 2012 to February 1, 2012.

public works organizational realignment

Mr. Gray stated that they were continuously looking at all of the departments in the organization to determine how they could operate as efficiently as possible to serve the citizens and they felt a slight reorganization of the Public Works Department would benefit their operations.

Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that change was inevitable when it came to department reorganizations so they were always looking at ways to tweak things.  He discussed the primary performance indictors for the resurfacing of road miles, the landfill and the road projects and noted that they closely tracked the miles of roads they resurfaced and that number had decreased because their only funding source was now County dollars.  He related that they had a major downtime in 2010 for solid waste so they had been trying to increase efficiency as much as possible since the landfill operation brought in revenue for the electric services.  He mentioned that the road program was still keeping active even though the projects were not multi-million dollar projects.  He stated that they had met with every city regarding road transfers and the Solid Waste Task Force and the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee had finished.  He reported that they outsourced about 95 percent of construction, 63 percent of maintenance and 59 percent of design.  He then showed slides illustrating the proposed reorganization and added that they moved construction from the Funding and Production Division into the Road Operations Division and moved the engineering services tied to stormwater into the Funding and Production Division, but renamed the division to the Environmental Services Division.  He related that they merged the signal maintenance with the Engineering Division so all of the traffic and safety designs were jointly merged between the field operations and the engineering operations.  He mentioned that their future activities included continuing to work with the cities on the transfer of roads and they planned to bring an update to the Board in January on the status of that.  He stated that they also would be brining a presentation to the Board on the recommendations from the Solid Waste Task Force for a new solid waste program and they would be identifying new revenue sources for transportation expenditures.

On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the proposed organizational realignment of Public Works effective November 8, 2011.

reports – county attorney

lakeshore drive bridge project

Mr. Minkoff stated that the County had entered into a contract with Emerald Utilities and Site Development back in January for the Lakeshore Drive Bridge project in south Lake County and it was about $2.8 million.  He added that the contract was about a quarter of the way along and because the contractor was in default by leaving the site, a new contractor had started to finish the project.  He noted that they had an agreement which would allow the original contract to be assigned from Emerald Utilities to United Infrastructure Group and he was recommending approval so that the project could continue.  He related that the bonding company had recommended that contractor and the bonds would stay in force.  He added that any monies that were owed to Emerald Utilities would be paid to United Infrastructure Group and they would be responsible for paying the subcontractors.

Commr. Conner asked if the project was still bonded.

Mr. Minkoff explained that the bonding company had agreed to issue riders for both the performance and payment bond to keep them in force.

On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the reassignment of the contract from Emerald Utilities and Site Development to United Infrastructure Group for the Lakeshore Drive Bridge project.

reports – county manager

economic development summit

Mr. Gray reminded the Board of the Economic Development Summit on Monday, November 14, 2011 at Mission Inn.

north lake hospital taxing district public hearing

Mr. Gray informed the Board that the Lake County State Delegation would be holding a public hearing on the North Lake Hospital Taxing District at 5:30 p.m. on November 9, 2011 in the Administration Building.

reports – commissioner parks – district 2

celebration event for that! company

Commr. Parks reported that he attended the celebration event for THAT! Company at Mission Inn on November 7, 2011 and that the company was very thankful for how business-friendly the County had been.

montverde day

Commr. Parks informed the Board that Montverde Day was going to be held on November 12, 2011 and encouraged everyone to attend.

school board’s budget

Commr. Parks commented that he liked how the Board had been trying to schedule regular meetings with the School Board to improve the communication between them and mentioned that he spoke with School Board member Tod Howard about proposing that the School Board make a presentation of their budget at the next joint meeting so that the Board was aware of the constraints and issues they were posed with.

Commr. Campione cautioned him in doing that because they would not want to the School Board to feel like the Board was trying to oversee them or their decisions.

Commr. Conner added that it was usually the Chairs of each board to facilitate those types of meetings, so School Board member Tod Howard could request his Chair to contact the Board’s Chair.

Commr. Parks stated that his only intent was to work with them and understand the issues they were faced with.

reports – commissioner conner – district 3

celebration event for that! company

Commr. Conner also reported that he attended the celebration event for THAT! Company and noted that Mr. Ken Knorr, CEO, repeatedly gave credit to the Board.

occupational license fees

Commr. Conner discussed the concern of whether the occupational license fees were actually being invested to help businesses.  He added that there was proposed legislation to eliminate those fees and suggested that the Board consider eliminating those fees before the legislation passed.


occupational license fees

Commr. Campione expressed concern about the occupational license fees as well stating that the County collected those fees but there was not an actual service granted.  She added that a business itself was required to pay the fee and every agent in that business also had to pay that same fee and that was disconcerting to her because she felt that only the business should have to pay the fee.  She noted that Senator Hays mentioned that the legislature would be addressing that issue along with the elimination of the fees all together and related that eliminating them could hurt the County since they were in a shortfall already.  She recommended that they get input from the business community to see whether they wanted to continue the fee if they knew that the County would provide a service in return.

Commr. Hill asked how much of the fee stayed local.

Mr. Minkoff stated that it all stayed local except for the small commission that the Tax Collector took out.

Commr. Cadwell commented that the business community should know up front the exact items the money was being spent on.

expressway authority discussions

Commr. Campione noted that there had been discussions between the Orange County Expressway Authority and FDOT regarding the proposed legislation that would create a new entity to oversee the Expressway Authority.  She suggested that they create a resolution to let the legislative delegation know that the Board wanted to be included in those discussions and to also discuss it with the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization to see if they could get support from them.

Commr. Hill mentioned that it looked as if they were trying to merge two groups and then form a regional transportation authority and if that was the case, the Board definitely needed a seat on that authority.

ceremony for the villages rehabilitation and nursing center

Commr. Campione mentioned attending a ground breaking ceremony for the Villages Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Lady Lake and added that the Center was appreciative that the impact fees were currently suspended since that made a huge impact on the selection of the site and their ability to start the project.  She stated that they should be looking at ways to be a magnet for good projects like that one and thought they should negotiate on the front end because the amount of revenue those businesses brought in from a tax base standpoint was significant.  She pointed out that the Center may have chosen a site in another county if those impact fees had been in place.

Commr. Conner related that the Economic Development Department had data to show that following the first twelve months of waiving the commercial transportation impact fee, 630 jobs were created and the increase in the taxable value of properties was around $10 million.

Commr. Campione mentioned that once the company was up and running, they were planning to have between 175 and 200 new jobs that were primarily skilled jobs in the nursing area.  She added that the company fit in with their targeted industries as health care was one of the major employers.

lobbyist ordinance

Commr. Campione expressed her concerns about the lobbyist ordinance and the poster located in the Board Office stating “Lobbyists Beware.”  She added that those lobbyists could be coming in to meet with the Economic Development Department to explore the potential of bringing a business to Lake County and thought they should reconsider the way they handle lobbyists.  She noted that they were doing a disservice to themselves by treating those individuals as lobbyists since it was a really broad category and suggested they create a sign-in sheet because they have to disclose when they meet with someone and that sheet would be public record.

Commr. Conner commented that there did not seem to be a lot of lobbying going on and that the ordinance was put in place when there was a lot of lobbying.

Commr. Campione added that it was put in place to deal with land use issues at that time.

Commr. Cadwell mentioned that lobbying was basically an ethics issue and they should not give the appearance to the public that they were loosening up their ethics rules.

Commr. Campione stated that they should look at the process of other communities and although they did not want to give the perception that they were lightening up on ethics, they should make sure that new business prospects were not being scared away.

Mr. Minkoff related that the County’s ordinance was modeled after Orange County and that it was less stringent than Orange’s.  He added that the County’s ordinance only required lobbyists to sign in and that the poster was made so that people were aware of the requirements.  He noted that they could remove the poster and have everyone that came to the Board Office sign in and that would eliminate any issues and would still be compliant.  He pointed out that the ordinance also applied to department directors and to the Procurement Department and that there really had not been a lot of lobbying going on.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.



JENNIFER hill, chairman