A regular MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
May 21, 2019
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 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: Leslie Campione, Chairman; Wendy Breeden, Vice Chairman; Timothy I. Sullivan; Sean Parks; and Josh Blake. Others present were: Jeff Cole, County Manager; Melanie Marsh, County Attorney; Niki Booth, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Kristy Mullane, Chief Financial Officer; and Josh Pearson, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Ms. Patricia Haynie from Bahá’ís of Lake County gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Jeff Cole, County Manager, relayed that staff had added additional background in the previous week to Tab 7 on the consent agenda.
Commr. Campione recommended having Tab 22 follow Tab 18.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. Frank Wood, a resident of Lake County, opposed bringing a statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith to the county. He opined that the statue was irrelevant to the county’s history and that the proposed location of the statue in the Lake County Historical Museum was inappropriate. He relayed his understanding that the statue had been denied by other locations and felt that bringing it to the county would divide citizens and harm the county’s reputation.
Mr. Vance Jochim, a concerned citizen, opined that there were issues with government efficiency and the performance metrics used by the County. He also indicated concerns about Lake County leaving the Florida Benchmarking Consortium.
CLERK OF the Circuit COURT and comptroller’s CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 5, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of the list of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.
City of Groveland Notification of Annexation Proposal
Request to acknowledge receipt of a letter from the City of Groveland, notifying of a current proposal to annex the following parcels into the City’s incorporated limits:
· Edward Meixsell Properties
§ Alt Key 3612116; Parcel 20-21-25-1200-000-01000; 15 +/- acres
§ Alt Key 3834622; Parcel 20-21-25-1200-000-00203; 5.28 +/- acres
§ Alt Key 1098157; Parcel 20-21-25-0001-000-00500; 23.16 +/- acres
· Marion Manning Trust & Mark Manning Properties
§ Alt Key 1404681; Parcel 29-21-25-0004-000-00600; 8.62 +/- acres
§ Alt Key 1024919; Parcel 29-21-25-0004-000-00500; 13.94 +/- acres
· Raney Holdings LLC Property
§ Alt Key 3832859; Parcel 20-21-25-1205-000-02602; 5.66 +/- acres
The annexation is tentatively scheduled for the May 20, 2019 City Council meeting.
Annual Report for Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento CRA
Request to acknowledge receipt of a copy of the CRA Annual Report for the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento CRA reporting requirement.
FY 2020 Country Greens Community Development District Proposed Operating Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 for Country Greens Community Development District in accordance with Chapter 190.008(2)(b) of the Florida Statutes for purposes of disclosure and information only. The District’s public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 24, 2019, at Sorrento Christian Center, 32441 County Road 437, Sorrento, Florida.
City of Groveland Evaluation and Appraisal Report and Ordinance 2018-10-34
Request to acknowledge receipt from the City of Groveland for the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) to the City of Groveland Comprehensive Plan, pursuant to 163.3191, Florida Statutes, as well as Ordinance 2018-10-34.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 2 through 15, as follows:
Request approval of Proclamation 2019-63 designating May 18 - 24, 2019, as National Safe Boating Week, per Commissioner Campione. There is no fiscal impact.
MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Management and Budget
Request approval to reimburse Hooks Street Investments for insurance and property taxes paid pursuant to the lease for the Tax Collector's South Lake Regional Service Center. The fiscal impact is $32,348.26 (expenditure). Commission District 2.
public safety and development services
Request approval to award Contract 19-0913 to Advanced Planning Consultants, LLC (Longwood, FL) and Emergency Response Educators and Consultants, Inc. (Ocala, FL) for on-call emergency management consulting services. The annual fiscal impact is not to exceed $25,000.00 (expenditure).
Request approval of a Real Estate Purchase and Sales Agreement for Property with Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc., authorization for the Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents, and approval for the County Manager and County Attorney to execute an amendment extending the purchase agreement or to terminate it should the parties be unable to resolve the easements that encumber the property. The estimated fiscal impact is $114,500.00 (expenditure). Commission District 3.
Request approval to award Contract 19-0917 to Rodriguez Contract Services Corp. d/b/a Brodway Contracting (Kissimmee, FL) for renovations at Fire Station No. 21 (Black Bear), and authorization for the County Manager to execute all implementing documentation and related budget transfer(s). The fiscal impact is $47,500.00 (expenditure). Commission District 4.
Planning and Zoning
Request approval to advertise an ordinance amending Appendix E, Land Development Regulations, Section 6.06.01, regarding Mining, and Section 3.09.00, entitled Lighting Standards. The fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time.
PUBLIC SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Request approval to cancel current agreements under Contract 16-0404 for painting services, and approval to award Contract 19-0430 to Lester Painting, Inc. (Weirsdale, FL) and McDines Painting of Brevard, Inc. (Satellite Beach, FL) as new vendors for the painting services vendor pool. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $30,000.00 (expenditure).
Request approval of an Interlocal Agreement with the City of Minneola for the relocation of utilities associated with the construction of Citrus Grove Road Phase III. The fiscal impact is $247,526.00 (expenditure). Commission District 2.
Request approval to accept a performance bond of $63,234.33 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization Permit #8810 issued to construct a water main and sidewalk on Hancock Road for the Clermont Commerce Center in Clermont. The fiscal impact is $100.00 (revenue – permit application fees). Commission District 2.
Request approval of Resolution 2019-64 to designate the roads and streets as appropriate for the operation of golf carts within the neighborhood of Springs Bath and Yacht Club, located in Yalaha. The fiscal impact is $250.00 (expenditure - sign materials). Commission District 3.
Request approval of Resolution 2019-65 to reduce the speed limit from 35 MPH to 30 MPH on Lakeshore Drive, from Hammock Ridge Road to Brogden Drive, in Clermont. The fiscal impact is $200.00 (expenditure - sign materials). Commission District 2.
Request approval of Resolution 2019-66 for the installation of “No Trucks Over 10 Tons, Local Delivery Only” signs on North Thrill Hill Road, Bill Collins Road, Calhoun Road, West Eldorado Drive and East Eldorado Lake Drive, in the Eustis area. The fiscal impact is $200.00 (expenditure - sign materials). Commission Districts 4 and 5.
Request approval of Resolution 2019-67 for the installation of "Stop" signs and "All Way" plaques on Vermont Avenue at the intersection of Owen Drive, in Lady Lake. The fiscal impact is $200.00 (expenditure - sign materials). Commission District 5.
Request approval to award Contract 19-0431 to JDMF, LLC (Gotha, FL) for guardrail weed trimming and trash removal, and authorization for the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $52,500.00 (expenditure).
public hearing – ordinance 2019-28 adjusting boundaries of country greens community development district
Mr. Tim McClendon, Director for the Office of Planning and Zoning, recalled that this public hearing had been continued from the previous month and said that it pertained to the Country Greens Community Development District (CDD). He explained that a CDD is a mechanism for financing and managing new communities to help fund the cost of infrastructure and other public facilities that are controlled by the CDD. He said that the Country Greens CDD was established in 1991 and contained roughly 678 acres at that time. He displayed a map and pointed out that the CDD was located at the corner of County Road (CR) 437 and CR 44 and was also known as Sorrento Springs. He elaborated that the boundary of the CDD was expanded by about 161 acres in 2008 and that those acres were still undeveloped; furthermore, the applicant was requesting to remove those 161 acres from the CDD. He read the requested action to approve the ordinance which would contract the boundary of the existing CDD by 161 acres.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance 2019-28 adjusting the boundaries of the Country Greens Community Development District, located near Sorrento.
public hearing – library impact fee awards
Mr. George Taylor, Director for the Office of Library Services, gave a presentation for library impact fee awards. He explained that library impact fees are used for growth-related capital improvements throughout the county, are collected in all municipalities and unincorporated areas in the county, and are collected on residential construction in the amounts of $191 per single family unit, $146 per multi-family unit, and $152 per mobile home unit. He stated that library impact fees are awarded based on these items: policy LCC-63, which outlines the application and review process; the March 1 annual application deadline; the public hearing for awards; and eligibility for county and municipal libraries within the Lake County Library System. He said that for the current year, there was $1,063,684.89 available for impact fee awards, that the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills and the City of Tavares both requested $500,000 for new construction, and that the City of Umatilla requested $41,764.94 for furniture for their meeting room expansion. He commented that the County Attorney’s Office and the Member Library Directors reviewed the applications and that County staff made recommendations to the Library Advisory Board, who then made recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). He remarked that the Library Advisory Board had recommended to fund the three applications and to extend an agreement with the City of Tavares for two years.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Tara Hall, Library Director for the Marianne Beck Memorial Library in the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills, said that the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills Council permitted her to present the Board with a letter and a resolution in support of their application.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Campione expressed appreciation for the work of the Library Advisory Board and Commissioner Blake, who was their liaison.
Commr. Blake felt that the requests were well vetted and that the Library Advisory Board had good discussions about them.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the following requests: to award and execute an agreement with the City of Tavares for $500,000.00 and a two-year extension of the 2017 Interlocal Agreement; to award and execute an agreement with the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills for $500,000.00; to award and execute an agreement with the City of Umatilla for $41,764.94; and to authorize the Chairman to execute the agreements.
public hearing – TEFRA Hearing for IMAGINE SOUTH LAKE CHARTER SCHOOl PROJECT
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, said that this would be a tax exempt bonding process and that the County would not be pledging or repaying the bonds; rather, the facility would have to make those payments.
Commr. Campione stated that the County’s approval of this item would not obligate the County in any way and that they would not be responsible for any issues of default; however, the County must sponsor these items for the bonds to be issued.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Sullivan and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Resolution 2019-68 for the issuance of the Bonds in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $24,000,000.00 solely for the purposes of Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.
approval of tdc recommendations for funding
Mr. Brandon Matulka, Executive Director for the Agency for Economic Prosperity, presented applications for the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) Capital Projects Funding Program submitted for the 2019 spring cycle. He explained that capital projects were defined as new construction, expansion, renovation, or a replacement project for an existing facility or facilities, and he added that the project must have a total cost of at least $25,000 over its life with a useful life of 10 years or more. He said that a capital project could also be a purchase of major equipment, or a major maintenance or rehabilitation project for existing facilities with a cost of at least $25,000 and with a useful life of at least 10 years. He noted that to be eligible for funding, a project must meet the following criteria: located in Lake County; publicly owned; operated by a public or not-for-profit organization; open to the public for recreational activities, cultural events or performances; and must bring substantial numbers of tourists/visitors to Lake County and thereby promote overnight hotel stays. He outlined these steps for the capital projects funding process: the Office of Visit Lake hosts a learning session for interested applicants about five weeks prior to applications needing to be submitted; the applicant submits their completed application package; staff reviews and provides sufficiency questions to the applicant; the applicant submits a final application package with sufficiency responses; staff reviews the entire application package and provides a recommendation to the Tourist Development Council (TDC); the first TDC Meeting for the cycle where the applicant has an opportunity to present their project to the TDC and the TDC discusses the project with them; the second TDC Meeting where the applicant can address follow up questions and responses and where the TDC makes a recommendation to the BCC; and the BCC votes on project funding. He also listed the following project details which impacted the recommended funding level: net increase or net preserved hotel room nights in Lake County directly related to the project; net increase or net preserved tourist visitation to Lake County directly related to the project; the applicant’s percentage of total capital investment; the frequency of use for the project; annual operational spending in Lake County; and the projected useful life of the project. He elaborated that these metrics were considered by the capital project impact model methodology which produced a base award determined by taking the present value of the future stream of annual TDT revenues generated by the project, utilizing a conservative discount rate, and assuming a useful life of 15 years. He remarked that these bonuses are then awarded: an economic impact bonus of up to 50 percent; an applicant contribution percentage of up to 10 percent; and a frequency of use bonus of up to 10 percent. He also outlined these other factors that could impact the award: the feasibility of the project; stability and management capacity; quality and uniqueness of the project; local competing facilities; the benefit to Lake County tourism; the commitment of the applicant to the expansion of Lake County tourism; and the proposed marketing plan.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Matulka to confirm that the discussed funding was generated from hotel tax dollars and were not from property or sales taxes.
Mr. Matulka said this was correct and noted that the funding was governed by state statute. He explained that when an individual visits Lake County, they paid a four percent tourism tax which came to the Office of Visit Lake to be used only for promoting tourism in the county.
Commr. Parks asked to clarify that the tax was only paid by individuals staying in hotel rooms, and Mr. Matulka confirmed this.
Mr. Matulka presented the City of Leesburg’s application and stated that they had requested $600,000 for their Venetian Gardens Boardwalk and Docks Project. He said that this was a new construction project which would include approximately 545 linear feet of eight foot wide floating pier public walkway, 22 finger docks extending into Venetian Cove, and six foot wide public access fixed piers with gangways connecting the boardwalk to the shoreline. He relayed that the project would assist the growing number of fishing tournaments hosted in the City of Leesburg as well as additional events including weddings, boat shows and more. He added that sidewalks would connect the Lakefront Centre to the boardwalk, enhancing its attractiveness as a wedding, anniversary and reunion event location. He said that the project justification was that it was designed to enhance events currently hosted by the City of Leesburg and Lake County, and attract new events looking to utilize the expanded facilities; additionally, the project would assist and enhance the operations of the hosted fishing tournaments and attract targeted events such as boat shows, weddings, and more. He displayed the estimated room night generation for the project for the next five years and noted that there was an inconsistent number of room nights each year due to the city projecting large fishing tournaments which only occurred every other year. He commented that the estimated total project cost was $1.2 million, and he then showed the total impact numbers which were factored into the capital projects impact model. He explained that the model had a base award of $146,000 and that the applicant qualified for a 20 percent economic impact bonus, a two percent applicant contribution bonus, and an eight percent frequency of use bonus, which brought the total model award to $190,000. He remarked that staff analysis of the project found that the applicant had a proven track record of successfully hosting fishing tournaments as well as other various events that were significant economic impact drivers and produced substantial overnight stays; furthermore, the project, in combination with the enhancements to Ski Beach and the new Lakefront Centre, would provide an outstanding venue for a variety of tourism-related activities and events. He relayed that staff recommended approval of the proposed capital projects funding request by the City of Leesburg for the Venetian Gardens Boardwalk and Docks Project in the amount of $190,000 based on the results of the capital projects impact model, and he recalled that the TDC unanimously voted to recommend an award of $190,000 based on staff’s recommendation.
Mr. Matulka then presented the City of Clermont’s application and said that they were requesting $750,000 for their Clermont Waterfront Park Amenities Project. He explained that the City was seeking funding for an expansion project that would expand the Clermont Waterfront Park amenities further east along the shoreline while relocating the Lake Minneola boat ramp, which was currently located near the Clermont Boat House and Victory Pointe Park. He mentioned that the new boat ramp was projected to include four lanes, parking, restrooms and event support features. He commented that the justification for the project was that it would increase the accessibility to the Clermont Chain of Lakes for recreational boaters and anglers while providing an enhanced facility to host and attract fishing and other watersport events. He added that according to the applicant, removing the boat ramp from its current location would increase the amount of event space available to organizers that utilized the Victory Pointe Park and Clermont Boat House locations for venues, thus providing the opportunity to increase their event potential. He displayed the estimated total room night generation of 5,400 which included new room nights associated with the project along with retained room nights that the applicant submitted in their original application with the expansion of the Victory Pointe events. He said that the estimated total project cost was $1.9 million, and he displayed the total impact inputs and capital projects impact model. He stated that the model’s base award for this project was $240,000 and that the City qualified for a 40 percent economic impact bonus, a two percent applicant contribution bonus, and an eight percent frequency of use bonus which brought the total model award to $360,000. He then outlined these staff analysis findings: the project provided a valuable asset for hosting and attracting sports events, including fishing and niche watersports, which had been identified by Lake County and the City of Clermont as target tourism markets in South Lake; the project furthered the adopted master plan of the City of Clermont, adding to their waterfront amenities and attractiveness for events, tourists and residents; and staff was concerned about the projected room night generation presented in the original application as it showed an aggressive estimate, though the projected room nights were revised after coordination with the City of Clermont. He remarked that staff recommended approval of this project to the TDC in the amount of $360,000 based on the results of the capital projects impact model, and the TDC unanimously voted to recommend an award of $248,000; furthermore, this funding amount was based off a reduced room night count associated with the project only to include new room nights generated. He then stated that the TDC also proposed that the capital projects funding program agreement with the City of Leesburg and the City of Clermont should include performance measures to ensure the fulfillment of objectives outlined in their respective applications. He specified that the proposed addition to the agreement would read that the agency would guarantee that the aggregate number of room nights created at the end of the project reporting period would be within stated percentage thresholds and that failure to meet these thresholds would result in the agency repaying all or a portion of the TDC funds to the County. He showed the percentages and said that if the applicant generated 80 percent of the room nights over the five year reporting period, then they would not have to pay back any of the awarded funds; however, if they generated none of their stated room nights, they would have to pay back 75 percent of the awarded amount. He concluded by reading the requested actions for approval of the following items: the TDC recommendation to provide $190,000 in funding to the City of Leesburg for the Venetian Gardens Boardwalk and Docks Project; the TDC recommendation to provide $248,000 in funding to the City of Clermont for the Waterfront Park Amenities Project; to include a performance requirements provision in the TDT capital projects funding agreement; to authorize the Chairman to execute both agreements consistent with Board approval; and to process a budget transfer moving the required funds out of “Special Reserve – Capital Fund.”
Commr. Sullivan opined that this was the most thorough vetting process undergone by applicants and that the TDC was closely monitoring these funds to ensure consistency with state statutes. He said that part of the payback provision was to ensure that the funds were not seen to be easily obtainable, and he believed that the applicants would meet or exceed the program requirements.
Mr. Al Minner, Leesburg City Manager, said that the City was appreciative of any TDC funding received; however, he noted the discrepancy between the request of $600,000 and the recommended funding of $190,000. He related that the City would abide by the payback provision, though he felt that it was arbitrary and could create future issues over whether thresholds were met; additionally, he opined that the provision should be applied to all applicants moving forward. He thought that the TDC was conservative and had focused on the project’s wedding reception area, which reduced their funding from the formula. He felt that their project was larger than ancillary support for the new community center which would host weddings, and he relayed that the Leesburg City Commission’s goal was to redevelop Venetian Gardens and make it a destination point for the city which could then have an impact on northwest Lake County. He said that the City had done this in multiple steps and that this project would be phase 3B. He stated that phase one was the renovation of Rogers Park with a new splash pad and pavilions for a cost of about $1.2 million, while phase two improved the recreational passive park of Ski Beach with walkways, new pavilions, street lighting, and other items for a cost of approximately $2.5 million. He remarked that phase 3 was for the community center and had a cost of about $9.2 million, and he commented that the City had funded each of these phases with cash and without debt. He said that the next step of the project was to create a boardwalk around the northern circumference of the basin to link the facilities together. He said that in addition to having an ancillary impact to the community center, the boardwalk would enhance and improve Leesburg BikeFest, which he believed was the largest event in Lake County for generating hotel room nights. He elaborated that this project would create new synergies for BikeFest and would bring another destination for an event area with the redeveloped Dozier Circle. He thought that this could increase the draw for BikeFest and bring in more people, and he opined that this should be calculated in the formula. He relayed that the City believed that the boat ramps would bring in multi-modal traffic including boaters and fisherman, and he encouraged the Board to increase the City of Leesburg’s funding.
Mr. Darren Gray, Clermont City Manager, said that he appreciated the process and that the City of Clermont was requesting the full $750,000 to support the surrounding areas and region. He recalled that when the City was considering the master plan of their downtown, one project was to relocate the mentioned boat ramp, though a previously proposed location at Lake Hiawatha Preserve was unfavorable for residents. He said that the City then considered six acres which they had on the waterfront and that the City and the County could work together to create a regional facility with four boat ramps and doubled space for parking. He felt that constructing a boat ramp could pose a considerable cost to the County and that the City and County could pool their resources to accomplish this. He noted that the project’s projected cost had increased due to adding additional boat ramps, and he said that the project had already been fully designed and that the City Council would award the bid at their next meeting. He remarked that the project cost was approximately $2.5 million and remarked that the City was committed to contributing $1.5 million, that they were requesting $750,000 from the County, and that they would be making a request to the Lake County Water Authority (LCWA) for $250,000. He opined that this project would benefit the region by allowing the city to increase its number of tournaments and events, along with increasing the capacity of the boat ramps and parking. He also felt that it would save taxpayer dollars by installing a single regional facility rather than multiple facilities to enable access to the Clermont Chain of Lakes.
Commr. Campione inquired if the City of Clermont would be responsible for maintaining the facility.
Mr. Gray confirmed this and clarified that the City already owned the property and would fully fund its maintenance.
Commr. Campione thought that working jointly with the City was a positive solution, and she thought that both requests could have been recommended to be fully funded due to fitting with the county’s “Real Florida, Real Close” branding and their efforts to attract bass fishing tournaments and other water related activities.
Commr. Parks supported full funding for both the City of Leesburg and the City of Clermont. He felt that both projects could improve accessibility to the Clermont Chain of Lakes and that it would be expensive for the County to find a site where additional boat ramps could be placed.
Commr. Breeden indicated support for fully funding both projects, though she expressed a concern for imposing performance measures which had not been tested. She felt that they could be reported on to determine their validity before being required for a payback provision.
Commr. Sullivan stated that there was a length of time for the cities to meet those requirements and that they would be monitored on a yearly basis. He said that falling short one year could be offset by exceeding the requirement in the following year and that because it was a capital project, monitoring would not begin until after the funding was utilized. He opined that the TDC was conservative and preferred to use a considerable amount of funding for marketing. He said that there were other funding considerations and that the County could use TDC funding to address the hydrilla issue in the county.
Commr. Breeden inquired if all counties could use TDT funding for this purpose or if it was only for counties which generated over a certain amount of funding.
Commr. Sullivan replied that it was for all counties and that it tied into bass tournaments. He said that the TDC was holding back funding for this purpose and he opined that the City of Leesburg should have been awarded more funding. He also expressed his understanding that there had been a history of the BCC exceeding the TDC’s recommendations for funding.
Commr. Parks opined that there may have been other factors which were not considered by the TDC for the regional issue of more boat access in north and south Lake County. He felt that this was a partnership issue to address accessibility.
Commr. Breeden noted that Leesburg BikeFest generated more room nights than any other event in the County and that the City of Leesburg had invested millions of dollars in their improvements to Venetian Gardens; additionally, this had been their first request for County funding for this project.
Commr. Campione confirmed that this had been the first request from the City of Leesburg to undergo the full funding process. She stated that a hotel was also planned to be built near Venetian Gardens and could assist with room nights.
Commr. Sullivan clarified that the TDC had to consider the effect on room nights due to the generation of TDTs. He was unsure if the TDC would accept full funding based on the formula, though he opined that their recommended numbers were low.
Commr. Parks relayed that other extenuating factors encouraged him to support full funding. He relayed his understanding that the only other way for the County to construct a boat ramp on the Clermont Chain of Lakes would be to use the penny sales tax or the General Fund.
Commr. Campione recalled that residents had previously voiced concerns about a lack of opportunities to get their boats onto the Clermont Chain of Lakes.
Ms. Marsh reminded the Board that TDC funds had to be utilized primarily to promote tourism rather than benefitting local residents.
Commr. Campione opined that this benefit would only be a byproduct of using TDC funds for capital improvements even though it was not factored into the formula for hotel nights.
Mr. Cole reported that there was adequate funding in the TDT capital funds account with a current balance of about $3 million, and the two requests combined were a total of $1,350,000.
Commr. Breeden inquired about the budget for marketing.
Mr. Matulka replied that most of the funding in the tourism budget included both a general marketing contract with Akers Media and the co-op marketing program to pay for about 50 percent of marketing through the County’s partners outside of Lake County.
Commr. Breeden asked about the budget outside of the $3 million which was available. She also inquired if he saw a downside to the BCC recommending the full amount for the projects.
Mr. Matulka responded that the $3 million was a capital reserve budget and was replenished by TDT funds; furthermore, over $3 million was collected in each of the past two years. He also commented that the model was set up to determine the return on investment to Lake County for a given capital project by considering many factors. He felt that the algorithm was effective at objectively informing staff of the investment’s value in generating hotel room nights. He expressed that he did not see an issue with approving the full funding and that it was the BCC’s decision.
Commr. Parks asked to confirm that some other counties had $10 million or more in their capital reserve budgets.
Mr. Matulka confirmed this and relayed that Orange County’s annual TDT collection was greater than $200 million and Osceola County generated about half of this; however, he felt that Lake County was being effective and had seen an increase in TDT collection over time. He said that Lake County focused on niche segments and “Real Florida, Real Close” which fit the county because they did not have a theme park or similar entity.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Jochim asked if the Board had the authority to spend more money than had been requested. He also asked if any portion of the capital fund balance was reserved for other entities, and Commissioner Sullivan denied this.
Commr. Campione stated that the basis for decisions would be the applications presented by the cities for room night generation.
Councilman Ray Goodgame, with the City of Clermont, relayed his understanding that Orange County had a six percent tax rate for TDTs and that Lake County was at four percent, and he thought that more money could be raised in the county. He felt that the City of Clermont had a track record of spending TDT funding and that this had influenced the County. He asked the BCC to continue working with the city, and he relayed that a new hotel had been built there which had received ample business. He commented that the City was trying to bring another hotel there and opined that fully funding the request would allow them to fund other activities which would increase the TDT revenue. He remarked that the City wanted to work with the County to be more effective and to help bring more people there.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Blake expressed that he appreciated the comments from the City of Leesburg and the City of Clermont, though he urged caution for exceeding the TDC’s recommendation for funding.
Commr. Breeden relayed her understanding that there had only been one instance of the BCC exceeding the TDC’s recommendation, and she expressed an interest in making it clear that it would not be exceeded each time.
Commr. Campione stated that the Board had discussed extenuating circumstances and she noted that these requests were for the county’s two largest cities. She remarked that it was not a given for the funding to go beyond the recommendation of the TDC.
Mr. Cole informed the Board that if there was concern about the third requested action, the Board could change it to include a performance reporting provision as opposed to a requirement.
Commr. Sullivan indicated his opposition to the request due to being the Chairman of the TDC and bringing forth their recommendation.
Commr. Parks expressed an interest to include a condition that both the City of Clermont and the City of Leesburg include the text “In partnership with Lake County” and the County’s logo on any signage at the entryways for the funded locations.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved the following items: to provide $600,000.00 in funding to the City of Leesburg for the Venetian Gardens Boardwalk and Docks Project; to provide $750,000.00 in funding to the City of Clermont for the Waterfront Park Amenities Project; to include a performance reporting provision in the Tourism Development Tax Capital Project Funding Agreement; to require the City of Clermont and the City of Leesburg to include the text “In partnership with Lake County” and the County’s logo on any signage at the entryways for the funded locations; to authorize the Chairman to execute both agreements consistent with Board approval; and to process a budget transfer moving the required funds out of the "Special Reserve - Capital fund."
Commr. Sullivan voted no.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 10:21 a.m. for 10 minutes.
public hearings: REZONING
rezoning consent agenda
Mr. McClendon displayed the advertisements for that day’s rezoning cases on the overhead monitor in accordance with the Florida Statutes. He requested approval of Tabs 1 through 4 on the consent agenda as presented and added that they had all been unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Board on May 1, 2019.
Commr. Parks expressed a desire to discuss Tab 2 and asked to pull it from the consent agenda.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding any cases on the Rezoning Consent Agenda, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda, Tabs 1, 3 and 4, as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2019-29
Rezoning Case # RZ-19-03-2
John's Lake Landing PUD Amendment
Amend the John’s Lake Landing Planned Unit Development (PUD) by amending PUD Ordinance 2015-46 to increase the Assisted Living Facility rooms from seventy-one (71) rooms to seventy-three (73) rooms under the permitted uses on the subject parcel.
Tab 3. Ordinance No. 2019-31
Rezoning Case # CUP-18-10-5
Vertex Development/Grantham CUP
Conditional use permit (CUP) to allow a 175-foot monopole communications tower on Agriculture (A) zoned property.
Tab 4. Ordinance No. 2019-32
Rezoning Case # CUP-19-03-4
Moss Estates CUP
Conditional use permit on approximately 20 +/- acres to allow for use of an existing barn as a wedding venue within the Agriculture zoning district.
rezoning regular agenda
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2019-30
Rezoning Case # RZ-18-17-4
Festival of Speed Rezoning
Replace Planned Commercial Ordinance #2015-12 with an amended ordinance that includes vehicular sales as an additional allowed use.
Rezoning Case # FLU-18-15-2
Evergreen Estates FLU Amendment – Transmittal
Amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) to change the Future Land Use Category on approximately 50.53 acres from Wellness Way 1 to Planned Unit Development (PUD) to facilitate the development of a 104 lot residential subdivision.
Tab 6. Ordinance No. 2019-33
Rezoning Case # CUP-19-02-4
Liner Source CUP
Conditional use permit on approximately 5.0 +/- acres within the Agriculture zoning district for agricultural farmworker housing/lodge building on an existing ornamental horticulture nursery.
FESTIVAL OF SPEED REZONING
Commr. Parks requested that this ordinance require dark sky criteria for lighting and he asked if the ordinance addressed hours of operation. He said that hours of operations in similar ordinances were typically limited to 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and he expressed concerns for residents near the subject property.
Mr. McClendon responded that hours of operation were not identified in the ordinance, though they could be added.
Commr. Parks requested that the condition to limit the hours of operation from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. be added to the ordinance.
Commr. Campione asked if these hours would apply for each day of operation.
Commr. Parks remarked that automotive dealerships could be open almost every day. He clarified that the subject property was a smaller site but he felt that these concerns were important.
Commr. Campione expressed support for the dark sky lighting suggestion and felt that this should be standard for all ordinances which had conditions for lighting.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 2, Rezoning Case # RZ-18-17-4, Festival of Speed Rezoning, with the modification to add dark sky criteria for lighting and to limit the hours of operation to 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
EVERGREEN ESTATES FLU AMENDMENT – TRANSMITTAL
Mr. McClendon presented Tab 5, Rezoning Case #FLU-18-15-2, Evergreen Estates FLU Amendment – Transmittal. He explained that the subject property was located on the north side of Hartwood Marsh Road and was east of the City of Clermont in Commission District 2. He said that the tract size was 50 acres and the request was to amend the future land use (FLU) from Wellness Way 1 to Planned Unit Development (PUD) to develop a residential subdivision. He noted that the property’s current zoning was Agriculture and that this request was first heard by the BCC in February 2019, though it was continued to the current date. He said that the applicant had since submitted a revised concept plan that designated two separate five acre tracts with access to Flynn Court, while clustering the remaining 102 lots which would only have access through an existing subdivision in the City of Clermont. He remarked that the traffic analysis submitted by the applicant was reviewed by the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) who found that the proposed land use change had a potential reduction in traffic impacts. He commented that during the initial review in late 2018, the City of Clermont had stated that they could serve the project with water and sewer utilities; however, on April 23, 2019, the Clermont City Council recommended to deny the proposed development due to concerns for the condition of Hartwood Marsh Road. He related that developing this parcel as Wellness Way 1 would include up to a 93 residential lot subdivision, along with a mandatory seven acre non-residential set aside to fulfill the jobs to housing ratio with a minimum of 74,000 square feet of commercial space. He displayed the revised concept plan, and he read the requested action to either uphold the Planning and Zoning Board recommendation to deny the FLU amendment or to find the request consistent with the Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) and transmit the proposed FLU change from Wellness Way 1 to PUD. He emphasized that this was the transmittal portion of the project and that if the Board recommended transmittal to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the rezoning case and the adoption of the FLU map amendment would occur in three to six months; furthermore, the Board could add conditions to the project.
Commr. Campione asked that although the property was designated with the allotment of commercial space, would the Board have to approve a site plan if the access was problematic.
Mr. McClendon responded that this would occur during the master PUD process and that ideally, to develop as a Wellness Way project, a minimum of a 1,000 acre master PUD must be joined with and then access and development programs would be considered.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify that this parcel would bring 74,000 square feet of commercial space and where it would be it placed within a larger tract.
Mr. McClendon clarified that it would be a portion of the parcel and that the development program or the entire PUD could place all of the density in this 50 acre site or as part of an open space tract.
Commr. Campione inquired if the site could only be developed as part of a larger master PUD if it was not changed to another land use, and Mr. McClendon said this was correct.
Mr. Dan O’Keefe, Co-Managing Partner with Shutts & Bowen and representing the applicant, displayed the outline of Wellness Way and the location of the subject property. He noted that the Lakeview Estates project, which his client was currently involved with, was located to the west; additionally, it had been approved by the City of Clermont in January 2018 and was under construction. He said that the City of Winter Garden and Orange County were located to the east with densities of four units per acre, that Wellness Way 1 was to the south, and that the Avalon Estates property, which was excluded from the Wellness Way area plan, was to the southwest. He commented that the Wellness Way 1 FLU allowed 1.85 units per acre and that this PUD would have to have a minimum of three units per acre. He added there was an opportunity under the Wellness Way area plan with the permission of the County to have less than 1,000 acres or to partner with other properties going through the process. He stated that the current request was to change the property’s Comp Plan designation from Wellness Way 1 to the County’s new PUD FLU with a proposed maximum of 2.31 units per acre, and he specified that the units would only be single family homes. He remarked that the Wellness Way plan required a percentage of nonresidential use, and he showed an image of the site if it fulfilled this condition; however, the applicant did not believe that this would benefit the property or the area and proposed single family use of the property. He displayed a site plan from 2016 before the Wellness Way area plan was approved which proposed nonresidential uses and access on Flynn Court, which raised concerns from the surrounding neighborhood. He stated that in March 2016, the project was known as Extreme Groves, was under a different developer, and the City of Clermont had recommended approval to the County despite the Eddy property, which was now the Lakeview Estates property, still being in the county and not yet applying to the City for development approvals. He relayed that his client had since closed on most of the property, but had chosen not to acquire the 15 acres to the east due to its incorporation into the project necessitating access to Flynn Court. He commented that the applicant heard concerns about the project and developed the current proposal to address them. He related that the original site plan included 131 lots of 60 feet each, while the current proposal was for 102 lots of 60 feet each, plus two five acre tracts with one home each. He elaborated that this plan included enhanced buffers, open space, and excluded any access onto Flynn Court with the exception of the driveways to the two five acre tracts. He displayed an image of the plan’s progression since 2016 and he felt that it was a responsible development for the subject property. He listed the following community highlights for the proposed development: private gated community; community park and amenities; City of Clermont water and sewer services with no wells or septic systems; no access to Flynn Court, Sadler Court or Champagne Drive; no commercial development; and natural vegetation in buffer areas. He showed another image of the Lakeview property and indicated that phase one would be complete in summer 2019, with Evergreen Estates, if approved, being a subsequent phase with traffic flowing to the roundabout that the City and County required for Lakeview Preserve. He also relayed his understanding that the City of Clermont’s utilities had provided a will serve letter for the Evergreen Estates project. He commented that CR 455 was proposed to be increased to four lanes, and relayed his understanding that the extension of this road to Hartwood Marsh Road was expected to be completed by 2023. He added that the County was cooperating with land owners from Western Way to fund a road network to alleviate traffic in this area, and he displayed an excerpt from the Lake County Public Works Department five year capital improvement project showing the completion of the CR 455 improvements. He then showed a comparison of the development timelines for the Eddy property and the Lakeview Estates property and observed that there would be 36 homes completed in the Evergreen Estates property by October 2022. He also felt that the timing of the Evergreen Estates property would be consistent with the County’s plan for growth. He stated a request for transmittal and said that the final adoption hearing would occur at a later date along with the PUD request. He elaborated that the applicant would provide proposed architectural standards for the community at that time.
Commr. Breeden asked about an egress on a nearby LCWA right of way.
Mr. O’Keefe clarified that the property was served by an easement on the LCWA tract and that there were no current plans to improve it to be a paved road, though emergency access would be available there. He indicated that the traffic would primarily move to the west through the Lakeview Preserve project.
Commr. Campione inquired if his client would be agreeable to limiting the use of the LCWA easement for access except for emergency purposes.
Mr. Chuck Piper, the applicant, said that this question could be addressed when they came back with a PUD request to determine if this was necessary. He stated that they currently had access rights to the road and have had discussions with the LCWA; furthermore, the LCWA did not want to improve the road and that an agreement was in place which would defer road improvement and maintenance costs to the applicant. He indicated that the road had been dedicated to Lake County and that County staff did not want to maintain the road, which was why his group had suggested that they would pay for maintaining it.
Commr. Campione asked if the public regularly used the nearby LCWA property.
Mr. Piper denied this, though noted that the park to the north was a proposed passive park and that there had been improvements adjacent to that property for parking.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify that they had full rights to go through the Eddy property.
Mr. Piper said that they had full legal rights for this with roads and utilities and that they were working on an agreement with the LCWA. He added that there was a strip of land to the east of the LCWA road which he owned that would be given to the LCWA and that there were some encroachment issues further south on the Eddy property.
Commr. Parks inquired if the applicant would agree to use design standards and if they would be proposed during the site plan process for items such as different numbers of models, facades, and garage dominated homes.
Mr. O’Keefe confirmed that these items would be addressed in the PUD rezoning. He noted that the FLU amendment and the PUD rezoning could be considered simultaneously and addressed at that time.
Commr. Campione proposed that the PUD transmittal could include a condition for design standards to be addressed in a future PUD.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. John Jebailey, a land owner on Champagne Drive, indicated a concern for the lack of infrastructure in the area. He opined that Hartwood Marsh Road was a poor road and that it could be impacted by additional homes.
Ms. Stacie Welch, a resident on Champagne Drive, opined that the project did not fit the area. She relayed her understanding that Hartwood Marsh Road was rated as an F and indicated concerns for danger at the intersection of Flynn Court and Hartwood Marsh Road. She felt that the development would increase the number of cars on Hartwood Marsh Road and she expressed concerns for school overcrowding in the area. She advocated for the developer funding road improvements before the development is constructed, and she urged the Board to deny the request.
Mr. Wiley Cauthen, a resident of Lake County, felt that the proposed development was too dense when considering the surrounding area. He gave a brief history of the subject property and relayed his understanding that other developers had attempted to develop the site. He urged the Board not to undo previous approvals for the property due to the site changing owners.
Mr. Brandt Myers, a resident on Sadler Court, expressed concerns about road deterioration and for future exits on Flynn Court being created if the development was approved. He also expressed concerns for obstructed views, sand trucks, potential road accidents, and preserving the existing density of one home per five acres.
Mr. David Whitaker, a resident on Champagne Drive, echoed concerns about the condition of Hartwood Marsh Road and claimed that the egress from Flynn Court was less than 100 yards before reaching a blind hill. He relayed that trucks were already on the road and believed that the proposed homes could double the number of cars there. He also did not feel that the density fit with the rest of the community.
Mr. Linas Statkus, a concerned citizen, relayed his understanding that the developer had removed his lot from the application, that he would now be located in the middle of the proposed development, and that he would be abutted by many homes. He felt that the developer should work with him to develop buffers and other items. He relayed his understanding that many properties in the area had different development criteria and opined that due to this development, the architectural standards would be lowered to the north and south of his property.
Mr. Frank Fernandez, a resident of Lake County, relayed his understanding that in 2005, the subject property began coming before the BCC and that there was never an agreement between government and residents for developing it at a higher density. He expressed interest in a partnership between the City of Clermont, the County, and residents to ensure that urban sprawl was not created in the area. He claimed that approximately 320 houses had been approved to the west in the City of Clermont and that approving the current request would create an additional 1,500 vehicle trips in the area.
Mr. Raymond Flynn, a resident on Flynn Court, indicated an understanding that the subject property was subdivided into nine parcels of five acres in size, in addition to a few larger outparcels. He felt that there was currently an orderly and logical development pattern which did not impact the existing infrastructure. He showed an image of the area and felt that it was unique due to its location and its large parcels. He expressed a desire for the area to remain this way, and he indicated concerns for the condition of Hartwood Marsh Road and for transportation improvements being unlikely to occur in the near future.
Ms. Yanette Moyano, a resident on Flynn Court, opined that the area had been an established rural community for over 25 years and that urban density was coming to the area. She expressed concerns for Hartwood Marsh Road’s ability to accommodate traffic and said that it was the only way for residents to enter and leave the area. She also felt that there could be issues with residents of the proposed development having to access the community through Lakeview Preserve.
Mr. Gray relayed that the Clermont City Council was not in favor of this project due to concerns such as Hartwood Marsh Road. He further stated that the road was over capacity and was at a service level of F. He indicated that the City of Clermont would require the subdivision to have two entrances if it was brought into the city, and he expressed an issue for the access being through another subdivision located within the city. He opined that the development was premature, though he agreed that the property should be removed from Wellness Way, and he thought that the Wellness Way road network should first be developed to relieve traffic on Hartwood Marsh Road.
Commr. Parks mentioned the City’s letter about supplying utilities to the development and asked to clarify that the Clermont City Council would propose significant modifications to the plan which would be required at the hearing to provide utilities.
Mr. Gray clarified that the City of Clermont did not approve the application in 2016 as Extreme Groves due to not having jurisdiction over the property. He said that the letter indicated that the property was part of the Wellness Way plan and that the City agreed with the plan and the density. He added that the applicant had not applied for utilities and that while the City would be the provider and had capacity, this would have to be a separate submission to the City, and would require a public hearing and development standards.
Commr. Parks explained that the Wellness Way area was previously larger because there was a 16,000 acre requirement for sector plans. He felt that an area which was part of Wellness Way in 2011 may not necessarily fit with the area now.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Mr. O’Keefe felt that concerns had been addressed and would continue to be addressed as the process continued for items such as school concurrency. He felt that the vision of the Wellness Way area plan and the Comp Plan did not include the subject property remaining as open space. He relayed that for the five acre tracts, his client was in favor of a deed restriction which would run with the County and surrounding land owners so that the approvals could not be changed. He also thought that the roundabout which was currently being constructed, along with the CR 455 improvements and future transportation network, would have a calming effect on Hartwood Marsh Road. He clarified that there would be emergency access through the LCWA easement and that the current request was for a transmittal to the state and to return later for final consideration with a PUD zoning application. He felt that the request was consistent with the County’s long-term vision for the area based on the Comp Plan and that it was less dense when considering mixed uses. He requested approval of the application.
Commr. Parks expressed that he valued the County’s partnership with the City of Clermont and residents and that he could not currently support the transmittal request, though he commended the applicant for improvements made to the proposal. He expressed that he had frequently heard concerns about Lakeshore Drive and Hartwood Marsh Road, and he relayed that his policy with Lakeshore Drive had been to minimize further development along that corridor until the transportation issue could be addressed. He indicated that he had a similar policy for Hartwood Marsh Road, though he suggested that the item could be considered again in the following year.
Commr. Sullivan felt that the applicant had made ample concessions, but he noted a countywide issue with infrastructure. He indicated that there were issues with Hartwood Marsh Road and that he had received many complaints about it. He also expressed concerns for school concurrency due to schools around the subject property nearing capacity. He opined that this was not the correct time to approve the request when considering the road network and other infrastructure needs.
Commr. Breeden thought that the developer had attempted to work with the community and asked if a traffic study should be conducted to determine if a traffic light was warranted at Flynn Court.
Mr. Fred Schneider, Public Works Director, relayed that staff had not conducted a traffic study there because it did not have the required volume of traffic; however, he mentioned a concern for the sight distance from west to east and said that there were warning signs on Hartwood Marsh Road.
Commr. Breeden felt that since Lakeview Preserve was approved, the current request was also appropriate. She opined that growth was coming to the area and said that other developments had been approved on roads which were not adequate. She indicated support for the transmittal.
Commr. Campione mentioned that the development would have the five acre lots which would access Flynn Court, though she felt that there had been concerns about previous commitments made for the property. She advocated for a transition between high and low densities along the lake there and for this property to be treated differently and as a buffer between them. She urged the City to consider this as well, and she believed that there was a previous comment from the developer about paying impact fees upfront. She elaborated that the City could work with the developer to accomplish this for transportation impact fees to address road issues. She also indicated a concern for the County being asked to approve a project which would receive utilities from the City of Clermont. She said that she would not support the request and opined that it needed to be in the city.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board denied Tab 5, Rezoning Case # FLU-18-15-2, Evergreen Estates FLU Amendment – Transmittal.
Commr. Blake and Commr. Breeden voted no.
LINER SOURCE CUP
Mr. McClendon presented Tab 6, Rezoning Case #CUP-19-02-4, Liner Source CUP. He explained that the subject property was located south of CR 44A and east of Thrill Hill Road. He relayed that the Lake County Property Appraiser identified the property’s address as being on Ashmore Drive in the City of Eustis with a zip code of 32736, located in Commission District 4. He said that the tract size where the conditional use permit (CUP) would apply was about five acres and that the parent parcel was over 80 acres in size; furthermore, the request was for a CUP on approximately five acres within the Agriculture zoning district for agricultural farmworker housing on an existing nursery. He also related that the property had an FLU designation of Rural and was zoned Agriculture. He remarked that CUPs were defined in the land development regulations (LDRs) as uses that are generally compatible with the zoning designation but require further review due to their intensity and scale, and conditions may be applied to enhance compatibility. He said that within Chapter 3 of the LDRs, under the classification of uses, agricultural housing camps were specifically identified as an agricultural use rather than a residential use. He elaborated that agricultural housing camps were defined as housing for farmworkers where occupants for such housing perform work either on or off the premises where the housing camps are located. He said the Comp Plan indicated that agricultural uses shall be recognized as a suitable use for property within all FLU categories and that the applicant was requesting to construct a rural style farmworker housing building no taller than 40 feet in height on a five acre portion of their greater than 80 acre nursery. He relayed that staff found the request to be consistent with the Comp Plan and the LDRs but that on May 1, 2019, the Planning and Zoning Board recommended to deny the project with a vote of 3-1. He commented that since that meeting, the applicant had offered more conditions to address compatibility including the following: limiting the building size to 46,200 square feet; the building would only be utilized by adults; design standards would include a height of 40 feet, rural style design, and construction in a single phase with an interior buildout of three phases; a shuttle service would be used to transport workers to and from the farm; the vegetative hedge would be required to be installed at or simultaneously with the first certificate of occupancy for the building; and a septic system condition to require an aeration or equivalent system which would be compliant with state and local laws. He displayed the site plan and noted that the farmworker housing would be located in the middle of the approximately 85 acre tract. He read the requested action to either uphold the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation to deny the CUP, or to approve the CUP with conditions as modified.
Commr. Campione asked if the allowable single family density on the approximately 80 acre property was one unit per five acres. She also asked if the applicant could choose to develop the property at the maximum of 17 single family homes while maintaining it as a nursery.
Mr. McClendon confirmed both of these items but noted that to develop the property, the applicant would have to undergo the process of platting those lots.
Commr. Campione inquired if the County would have any influence over who could rent those houses, and Mr. McClendon denied this.
Commr. Breeden asked if the houses would have to be on five acres each or if they could be clustered.
Mr. McClendon responded that clustering the development would require a PUD rezoning, though five acre lots with simple infrastructure upgrades would only require administrative platting.
Commr. Campione asked that if the remainder of the site was used for production, would there be any limitations under Agriculture zoning for the number of agricultural buildings which could be placed there or the number of trucks allowed to enter and leave the property.
Mr. McClendon replied that there would be no limitation and that the site was agriculture exempt so that any farm style building associated with the farm use would not require a building permit.
Commr. Campione then inquired if there would be a requirement for the farm to pave their private road which accessed the property from CR 44A. She also asked if the County could prevent the annexation of the property by the City of Mount Dora or the City of Eustis if the property was contiguous to them.
Mr. McClendon denied these inquiries and said that the County could not prevent annexation if the owner agreed to it.
Commr. Campione asked that if the owner was given permission to construct the farmworker housing, could they convert it to a non-agricultural use without obtaining a zoning change. She also inquired if the building could be used for a multi-family purpose.
Mr. McClendon stated that if the Board approved the CUP specifically for the housing complex, the owner would have to modify the CUP to use the structure for another purpose; additionally, the building could not be used for a multi-family purpose.
Commr. Campione inquired if the building could be used as a warehouse if it ceased being used for housing, and Mr. McClendon replied that the CUP would need to be modified to allow for those uses to occur.
Commr. Parks noted that he had received a 2019 rental market study for housing needs for farmworkers and commercial fishing workers and asked if staff had any comments on it. He indicated that the study suggested that about 1,500 beds were needed for Lake County.
Mr. McClendon responded that staff had no specific comments on the study and that it was supplemental material provided by the applicant.
Commr. Campione relayed that a notice of appearance had been filed by Mr. Jimmy Crawford.
Mr. Brent Spain, an attorney representing the applicant, introduced into the record copies of resumes for himself, Mr. Greg Beliveau, a land use planner representing the applicant, and Mr. Bill Ray, an environmental consultant for the project. He said that under state law, the applicant had the burden of demonstrating that they met the County’s requirements for a conditional use based upon competent substantial evidence and that once they satisfy that initial burden, it shifts to opponents to demonstrate through competent substantial evidence that the project does not meet the County’s published criteria. He opined that items constituting competent substantial evidence included the staff report and testimony from professional experts. He commented that general statements made by neighbors in opposition to a project did not represent competent substantial evidence under state law, including those based upon fear, speculation or surmise. He relayed that where technical expertise is required, state courts had held that lay opinion testimony did not constitute valid evidence upon which to base a decision; additionally, lay witness speculation about potential traffic problems, light and noise pollution, or general unfavorable impacts of a proposed land use are not considered to be competent substantial evidence, along with concerns about property values. He mentioned Florida Statutes, Section 381.00896, in which the Florida Legislature recognized that it is the policy of the state that each county must permit and encourage the development and use of a sufficient number and sufficient types of farmworker housing facilities to meet local needs. He elaborated that a county may not enact or administer local land use ordinances to prohibit or discriminate against the development and use of farmworker housing facilities because of the occupation, national origin or income of the intended residents. He opined that the study referenced by Commissioner Parks demonstrated that there was a need for farmworker housing in Lake County
Ms. Raquel Martin, Vice President of Liner Source Inc. and the applicant, said that her company was a second generation family farm and had been involved in agriculture, container plants, and the propagation of plants for over 38 years. She said that the starter plants and finished container plants included shrubs, ground covers, grasses, trees, edibles, perennials, tropicals, and more. She indicated that their mission was to also help their community and nation by donating plants and sponsoring non-profit organizations such as the Make a Wish Foundation and local schools. She related that Liner Source was one of the top five largest employers in northeast Lake County with over 175 employees and continued growth. She felt that their employees were valued and treated as family, though Liner Source’s continued growth required them to explore labor options. She indicated an understanding that the H-2A program had proven successful throughout the country and that the State of Florida was the second largest state to utilize the program for agricultural use only. She said that it was a legal, non-immigrant guest worker program, and also explained that Liner Source’s operations included over 200 acres of production. She remarked that there were three sites and one main headquarters office. She specified that site one had 12 acres of production, site two had 84 acres of production, and site three had 105 acres of production. She elaborated that the proposed housing would be located on site two and that each site had site managers and supervisors, along with general and operations managers. She stated that the other positions were in growing and production including potting, weeding, pulling plants, lifting heavy objects, and more. She relayed that Liner Source’s goal was to be self-sustainable through recycling programs and helping the environment. She indicated that Liner Source helped supply supermarkets, mass merchant box stores, theme parks, and commercial landscapers, among others. She commented that they had over 7,000 active customers globally and that her organization produced over 12 million plants per year. She added that Liner Source worked with many departments to ensure that their practices were the best for an agricultural farm. She said that economic impacts at Liner Source included spending over $2 million at local businesses in the county per year and over $4 million in local payroll yearly. She displayed a document from the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) which indicated that agriculture in the State of Florida was a $120 billion industry with 232,000 jobs and $21 billion in total output sales. She relayed that in Lake County, there was approximately $500 million in sales from the nursery and landscape business and 6,367 jobs provided from the industry. She also claimed that out of thousands of employees in 38 years, including H-2A workers, law enforcement had never claimed that a Liner Source employee committed a crime. She felt that the process for employers to use the H-2A program was rigorous and expressed that only agricultural farms and nurseries could apply to this program. She commented that they would be applying only for adult guest worker employees with H-2A visas. She said that to qualify for H-2A non-immigrant classification, the company must apply for a domestic job order with the local state workforce agency and that this was the recruiting period where the company must offer a job that was of a temporary or seasonal nature. She added that they must demonstrate that there were insufficient US workers who were able, willing, qualified and available to perform the work, along with showing that employing H-2A workers would not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers; additionally, they would be starting all workers at a minimum of $11.24 per hour. She remarked that Liner Source would then have to apply for a temporary labor certification with the US Department of Labor (DOL), which would provide the farmer with its final determination. She said that the farmer would complete an H-2A visa petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and workers could then apply for an H-2A visa with the Department of State and complete interviews with the US Consulate to qualify for the H-2A visa program. She said that the employees would be legal, non-immigrant guest workers who would be employed temporarily. She stated that the guest would have to schedule a visa appointment at the US Consulate and that at the time of the interview, the applicant would have to demonstrate to a consular officer that they were qualified for the job, had sufficient ties to their home country, and that they would not overstay their visa. She relayed her understanding that the consular officer would likely inquire about the applicant’s family remaining in their home country, their employment history, property and business ownership, and financial resources; furthermore, the applicant must conduct the interview alone and without the assistance of others. She elaborated that after this interview, the applicant would be vetted by the US Department of Homeland Security, the DOL, and the USCIS. She explained that Liner Source would provide facilities at no charge to the employee for the following standards and above: transportation, washers and dryers, recreation, televisions, kitchens, a computer room, internet and more. She confirmed that there would be a facilities manager on the premises at all times to mitigate risk, along with cameras recorded with up to three weeks of data. She added that the facilities manager could run a report to view who was onsite at all times. She relayed that the buildings would be inspected monthly by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and Lake County, and that Liner Source would provide scheduled transportation to employees to and from their place of origin, shopping, church, work and more, at no cost to the employee. She indicated that currently in Lake County, the Cities of Mascotte, Groveland, Leesburg and Clermont had active H-2A housing, and there were seven active housing locations in the county to date. She said that Liner Source had toured two of them and opined that they were safe, secure, in good condition, and passed monthly inspections. She relayed an understanding that the State of Florida used more H-2A housing than other states except for the State of North Carolina and that 150,000 to 200,000 seasonal farm workers travelled annually to work in the State of Florida. She presented two letters of support for the request from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Flowerwood Nursery and Mr. Tony Magon, an individual who worked in the nursery industry. She asked the Board to support this project and she opined that agriculture was the foundation of the country. She felt that without these programs, plants and food supplies would be outsourced to other countries. She remarked that self-sustainability enabled by the government and state should be supported, and she referenced the more than 30 years of use for the H-2A program in the country. She thought that this would continue to support the local economy and community.
Mr. Spain recalled a concern from the Planning and Zoning Board meeting for the penalties for violating the H-2A program, and he relayed his understanding that Section 501.19 of the Code of Federal Regulations set forth violations for violating the program. He elaborated that an entity could be debarred from participating in the program for a number of years, that the government could revoke their certificate for the program, and that there were monetary penalties; for example, if an H-2A contractor were to violate the work contract or a US code requirement, they could be penalized up to $1,735 per violation. He added that for each willful violation of a work contract, the company could be cited for up to $5,839, and there could be a fine up to $57,813 per worker for a violation of the housing or transportation safety and health provision of the work contract in the obligations under the US code. He also said that for failing to cooperate with the DOL in an investigation, the company could be cited for $5,839 per investigation and that for improperly laying off or displacing any US worker employed in the worker activities, they could be cited for up to $17,344 per violation, per worker. He mentioned that there was also a civil penalty if the company improperly rejected a qualified US worker. He then said that there had been recent press releases from the DOL indicating fines for violations.
Mr. Greg Beliveau, a land use planner representing the applicant, said that they had modified their plan based on feedback at the Planning and Zoning Board hearing which included a landscape buffer along the entire property line, and he showed the new concept plan. He noted that the building and the parking lot had switched locations to move the building further from the north property line; additionally, they removed notations for a recreation area and left it as open space. He pointed out that the structure would be a farm style building and reiterated that a condition was added for the building’s style, size and maximum height. He remarked that the building would be centrally located and abutted the nursery operation. He displayed a map with distances from the building to the nearest single family neighbors and highlighted that there would be a future warehouse building constructed as an additional buffer to the northern property owners. He elaborated that the warehouse would be larger than the proposed building and would act as a visual and noise buffer. He also said that the building was located over 1,000 feet from the adjacent houses. He relayed his understanding that the Rural FLU category allowed agricultural uses and that the property was in the Rural FLU and was zoned Agriculture. He stated that the County’s FLU Policy I-7.7.1 read that “The County shall encourage the continuation of agriculture within the Rural Future Land Use Series, Wekiva River Protection Area, and Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern. Agricultural uses on lands that have an agricultural exemption from the Lake County Property Appraiser shall have primacy. For the purpose of this policy, primacy shall mean that conflicts between such agricultural lands and other non-agricultural uses, all other factors being equal, will be resolved in favor of the agricultural interests...” He added that Policy I-7.7.2 included that the County shall support agriculture as part of its economic base, and Housing Objective V-1.3 indicated that the County shall adopt and implement policies, programs and regulations that will result in development of decent, safe and sanitary housing for rural and farmworker households. He said that according to Chapter 3 of the LDRs, “The purpose of the Agriculture zoning district is to provide a method whereby parcels of land which are most suited to agricultural usage may be classified and preserved for this purpose...” He also remarked that under Chapter 3.01.02.B.4 in the LDRs, agricultural uses included agricultural housing/camps, with a definition of “housing for farmworkers where the occupants of such housing perform work either on or off the premises where such camp is located.” He added that Section 3.01.03 of the LDRs listed agriculture housing/camps as an allowable use in the Agriculture zoning district with a conditional use approval. He felt that the request would have no adverse impact on property values due to examinations of other farmworker housing sites, which he entered into the record, where there were no negative valuations for nearby housing. He also submitted information for crime statistics into the record and opined that there would be no adverse crime impacts due to finding negligible impacts when examining crime statistics for various locations. He added that they had also contacted Hillsborough County, which had the highest nearby incidence of farmworker housing and H-2A workers, and concluded there had been no calls for law enforcement offices to be dispatched to those locations. He said that a study showed that there were currently 511 H-2A workers in Lake County; however, there was a need for 718 more and the applicant was requesting 198 H-2A workers.
Mr. Bill Ray, an environmental consultant for the project, clarified that a reference to the use of a septic tank would be a misidentification. He stated that the site would employ an updated performance based system in accordance with Florida Statutes and the DOH to target the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus. He elaborated that the facility would be operated according to the DOH standards based on the building’s intended occupancy. He explained that currently, performance based systems were mainstream and that the property would be in compliance with the Wekiva Study Area and the Wekiva aquifer vulnerability assessment criteria for nitrogen and phosphorus removal. He stated that the manufacturer had not yet been selected, though they would meet the guidelines. He commented that the onsite performance based system would be designed specifically for the site by an engineer, would be monitored, would not be a strict gravity feed system, and would have different zones of aeration.
Mr. Spain displayed photographs of the property’s vegetative buffer and surrounding property uses including dirt mounds, outside storage and a shed. He also noted that the buffer was to be maintained.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify if the buffer would encompass only the five acre tract which the CUP would apply to or the entire 85 acre site.
Mr. Spain confirmed that it would be on the entire perimeter buffer of the 85 acre site.
Commr. Breeden asked to confirm that the buffer was not currently around the entire perimeter.
Mr. Spain said that this was correct. He then showed additional images of outside storage of heavy equipment, vehicles and materials from surrounding property uses, and Ms. Martin indicated that several of the pictures were taken near CR 44A.
Mr. Tim Sallin, with Cherry Lake Tree Farm, said that his organization was a family farm in Lake County for 40 years and produced ornamental and citrus trees. He explained that they employed about 520 people with around 80 H-2A guest workers who stayed with them each year for 10 months. He added that they had used the program for seven years and that they had a good experience. He explained that they had been housing their guest workers in a local motel but that in the past year, they worked with the City of Groveland to approve zoning to build housing on their farm. He felt that the workers were motivated and thankful for the opportunity to legally work in the country, and he shared examples of some workers at his farm. He opined that the workers were good people that the county would be pleased to have in the community.
Mr. Spain requested that the Board approve the CUP. He said with regards to the request’s consistency with the Comp Plan and the LDRs, staff had testified about this, there was a written staff report, and expert testimony had been provided by Mr. Beliveau. He reiterated that he had introduced statistics into the record from existing H-2A housing projects in the County which demonstrated that there had been no adverse impact on property values. He also reiterated that they had contacted the Lake County and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Departments and that while Hillsborough County had more H-2A housing in the state than any other county, there were no reported calls for law enforcement officers to be dispatched there within the past year. He opined that the proposed conditional use was compatible with the existing or planned character of the neighborhood in which it would be located, and he pointed out that it was an agricultural area and that this request was for an agricultural use. He relayed his understanding that the surrounding properties were zoned Agriculture rather than being a residential neighborhood. He mentioned a provision for all reasonable steps being taken to minimize adverse effects on the immediate vicinity through design, landscaping and screening; furthermore, he opined that they had taken steps to address this by designing a farm style building and by implementing a buffer around the approximately 85 acre site. He also thought that the provided study demonstrated a need for this request in Lake County and that the request would allow an established, family owned and operated agriculture business in the county to continue to thrive.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford, an attorney representing seven neighbors of the subject property, displayed an aerial image of the Liner Source property and asked to clarify if an adjacent structure was residential, and Mr. Beliveau clarified that it was a shed. Mr. Crawford claimed that it was located on a lot that the property record card listed as a residential property.
Mr. Beliveau indicated his understanding that it was a vacant tract and that the shed was an accessory building with no primary structure.
Mr. Crawford believed that the location of the proposed structure was higher than the edges of the property.
Mr. Beliveau denied this and clarified that the building would be located in a depression. He felt that residents to the north would have difficulty seeing the structure when considering the future warehouse building and the buffer.
Mr. Crawford relayed his understanding that the five acre subject property was classified as Rural Residential.
Mr. Beliveau said that the parcel had an agricultural classification and that an agricultural exemption was still in effect in 2018.
Mr. Crawford asked Mr. Sallin to clarify that Cherry Lake Tree Farm had received an approval to construct farmworker housing on its property in the previous year.
Mr. Sallin confirmed this and said that they had obtained a PUD zoning.
Mr. Crawford inquired how many rooms this consisted of and how many acres the farm had at this location.
Mr. Sallin responded that it had 24 rooms and that the farm was about 1,100 acres.
Mr. Crawford asked if there were concerns from neighbors when he applied for this housing and if he relocated the development toward the center of the property.
Mr. Sallin confirmed that there were concerns from neighbors and that the building was relocated toward the center of the property. He added that they had originally proposed 20 single family cottage homes on a five acre plot and that they moved the development onto the farm with a farm style building.
Mr. Spain relayed his understanding that the single family style housing project was proposed on a standalone five acre parcel. He inquired about the size of the approved farmworker housing project and if the farmworker housing building was in the middle of his approximately 1,000 acres.
Mr. Sallin confirmed that the project was proposed on a standalone five acre parcel. He also said that it was on just under 2.3 acres. He denied that the building was in the middle of his property and clarified that it was closer to Cherry Lake Road.
Mr. Crawford felt that 24 units on approximately 1,100 acres was not comparable to the current request. He did not believe that the request met the CUP criteria and expressed a concern for if a roughly 200 person dormitory was an appropriate use in the neighborhood. He referenced the legal criteria in the LDRs and expressed his understanding that the BCC shall consider consistency with the Comp Plan and the code; furthermore, there must be consistency with all requirements and the general goals, objectives and standards of the Comp Plan and the code. He added that there shall not be an undue adverse effect on nearby property and must be compatible with the existing or planned character of the neighborhood in which it would be located; additionally, all reasonable steps must be taken to minimize any adverse impacts. He opined that all reasonable steps had not been taken and that this was the incorrect location for the property. He noted that one CUP requirement was consistency with all elements, goals and objectives of the Comp Plan and that the staff report offered a conclusory statement but no analysis to determine why the application was consistent with these items. He remarked that the Rural FLU series identified areas where rural character shall be preserved and enhanced and that environmental quality shall be protected by limiting density and intensity; furthermore, except for vested development, urban land uses shall not be permitted within this series. He believed that the requested density was 10 units per acre for 50 units on five acres, which was not allowed in any rural land use category. He did not feel that farmworker housing was appropriate at every location just because it was allowed in the Agriculture zoning with a CUP. He explained that uses which were allowed included individual parcels generally equal to or larger than five acres, and he recalled that platting would be required to place 17 lots on the property. He displayed an exhibit from the submittal noting the ingress and egress width, and he pointed out a width of 15 feet with two separate easements that were granted for agricultural uses. He alleged that placing about 200 people on this parcel would increase the burden on this easement in an impermissible way and that it could not be used for this purpose. He also did not think that a road could be paved to county standards to access the property and that 17 lots were unable to be platted; rather, there would be a limit to what could be allowed by a lot split process. He referenced the LDRs and thought that the allowed uses were commercial and civic, limited in distribution scale and scope to serve the basis needs of the rural area and ensure compatibility with the character of rural areas; furthermore, the scale of development in rural areas was a key factor in efforts to preserve character and ensure compatibility. He recalled that the Planning and Zoning Board had recommended denial for this case and added that his clients did not believe that the required labor market test for the H-2A program had been adequately performed to show that there were insufficient local laborers to perform the work. He relayed his understanding that the H-2A program was for seasonal or temporary use and that this had been found to include both the workers and the work. He disagreed that a permanent job, with positions which would be permanently filled by workers with H-2A visas, would be compliant with the statutory requirements for the visas. He believed that at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, the applicant had indicated that they would be exempt from impact fees. He felt that this may be applicable for education impact fees if a Lake County School Board declaration of covenants and restrictions was used, though he opined that fees should be paid due to impacts to transportation, libraries, and emergency medical services (EMS). He presented the case of Metropolitan Dade County v. Blumenthal and said that under the correct legal standards, citizen testimony in a zoning matter was perfectly permissible and constitutes competent substantial evidence so long as it is fact based. He believed that the proposed building may be appropriate at Liner Source’s CR 44 location where they owned about 105 acres. He displayed a map of this location and noted that the closest home would be 1,334 feet from the building. He felt that this property would be more centrally located to minimize impacts on neighbors, and he did not think that a specific location for the building was required due to Liner Source’s commitment to transporting the workers. He felt that if the BCC developed conditions so that the request was consistent with the Comp Plan, there would still be issues with the proposed ordinance. He relayed his understanding that the ordinance indicated there would be 50 rooms, though did not specify a maximum number of persons per room. He added that the applicant had expressed that there would be rules for the residents such as a prohibition of alcohol, quiet hours, and rules of conduct which could expel workers. He opined that each of these rules should be included in the CUP so that they would be enforceable. He then introduced several of his clients who wished to speak.
Ms. Jenny Rennard, a resident who lived about one mile from the subject property, said that her family chose to live at their residence due to its zoning of one dwelling unit per five acres, and she relayed her understanding that there were concerns for the noise emanating from a Medmen medical marijuana facility in the county. She claimed that Ms. Martin and another individual were title managers for a medical marijuana company which had the same address as Liner Source, and she indicated concerns for the activity on the site. She questioned if this company was linked to the current request and she indicated her understanding that there was no noise ordinance for agricultural use. She mentioned that the H-2A program was federally funded and that marijuana had not been federally legalized; furthermore, she believed that H-2A workers would be unable to participate in its production. She opposed the CUP and opined that it was not compatible with the community. She also alleged that the property class description and land use for the five acre subject parcel were “non-agricultural acreage.”
Ms. Lisa Walker, a neighbor of the subject property, opposed the request and opined that the size of the structure and the density of the housing did not belong in the community. She mentioned that the density would be greater than the farmworker housing at Cherry Lake Tree Farm and asked about the distance of the furthest houses affected by that project. She opined that the proposed conditional use was dissimilar from the low density surrounding properties, and she felt that the housing was located in close priority to surrounding homes and that there would be adverse effects. She played an audio clip with music which she claimed came from Liner Source and she thought that there would be noise issues. She claimed that the USCIS website said that an H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may seek H-4 admission and non-immigrant classification; additionally, she believed that families were not eligible for employment in the US while in H-4 status. She questioned what would happen if families were granted admission, where the children would go to school, where they would seek medical attention, and if they would have insurance. She claimed that Mr. Beliveau had indicated that the work at Liner Source was not temporary or seasonal and she felt that this conflicted with the USCIS website. She opined that the Chairman had lobbied for the project and had visited the property on the previous day. She asked that Commissioner Campione be recused from the vote due to bias. She also alleged that the buffer was only maintained on Liner Source’s side of the property.
Commr. Campione stated that she cared about the community and drove the perimeter of the property. She said that she had seen the surrounding properties and that she had met with Ms. Stephanie Luke, a resident on CR 44A.
Ms. Luke felt that the CUP was in opposition to the Comp Plan. She relayed her understanding that Liner Source had three sites in the City of Eustis, that their main site was located off CR 44, and that this site was significantly farther from residential homes when compared to the current proposed site. She elaborated that it had a paved driveway and she felt that the driveway at the currently proposed location could not accommodate additional traffic. She also opined that the CUP was contradictory with regards to parking and shuttling employees. She thought that the proposed parking lot would provide one space per two rooming units, though the H-2A workers would probably not be driving and would instead be shuttled. She relayed her understanding that CR 439 did not connect to Estes Road and said she was unsure of how the traffic there would increase or decrease as suggested in the staff report. She recalled residents’ concerns about noise levels associated with other agricultural projects in the county and opined that including a provision for noise levels in the CUP would be ineffective due to state statutes exempting the agricultural industry from this. She questioned other provisions in the statute which would not allow the County to revoke or correct other ordinance violations. She felt that the monetary penalties for violations represented a small percentage when compared to the company’s revenue, and she questioned the provisions which would constitute revocation of the CUP. She relayed her understanding that the surrounding properties had paid more in property taxes in amounts which were ten times greater than the property taxes paid by Liner Source. She believed that 48 percent of Lake County’s budget was generated by property taxes and felt that it would be responsible to preserve those providers. She expressed concerns over reductions in property values and recalled that Mr. Beliveau’s presentation indicated that the cited property values did not decrease, though they also did not increase. She noted the valuation of an H-2A church development included in Mr. Beliveau’s study had been purchased for $1.4 million in 1995 and was now valued $1.6 million, which she compared to her current residence which had increased in value 46 percent in a six year period. She opined that no records of other H-2A housing in Lake County could be found except for Cherry Lake Tree Farm, which placed its facility a half mile from a residential home. She supported placing the housing on a larger piece of land with less surrounding residents, and she opined that the building would be located on a higher section of land than that which was originally proposed. She also indicated a concern for the building’s septic system running into the front of her property in the event of a power outage. She requested that the BCC deny the CUP due to the inconsistent use of the property when considering surrounding residences and its misalignment with the Rural FLU section of the Comp Plan.
Mr. Crawford pointed out that the property was also in the Wekiva-Ocala Rural Protection Area which was intended to preserve rural density, character and lifestyles, and to protect the ecological integrity of public and private lands within the national forests, the greenway, and the St. Johns River. He felt that the images shown by Mr. Spain demonstrated that the proposed use was incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 1:52 p.m. for 20 minutes.
liner source cup continued
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Nick Murabito, a neighbor of the subject property, opposed the proposal and relayed his understanding that Liner Source has previously destroyed a nearby forest, displaced wildlife, and removed palm trees on his property. He also expressed concerns about views from his property, and questioned the outcome if a pregnant woman came to the site.
Commr. Campione clarified that a stipulation provided by Liner Source was that the program would for be for single individuals who were not allowed to become pregnant and that they would have to return to their home country if this occurred.
Mr. Don Levonius, a resident of Lake County, indicated a concern for his quality of life and property value. He questioned if the proposed location was appropriate to house 196 individuals and asked the Board to deny the request. He did not feel that denying the request would represent an act against agriculture or growth, and he entered into the record a petition opposing the request. He also questioned if Liner Source was a family farm or a for profit corporation. He relayed his understanding that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated that family farms excluded farms organized as non-family corporations or cooperatives, along with farms with hired managers. He opined that the Langford family, who owned Liner Source, planned to hire non-family property managers to live with and supervise its 196 H-2A workers rather than living on the farm themselves. He also opined that Liner Source was seeking to fill full time jobs rather than them being temporary or seasonal and he questioned if Liner Source had fulfilled the federal obligation to recruit US workers.
Mr. John Brautcheck, a concerned citizen, opined that Liner Source had been a dissatisfactory neighbor and questioned their ability to manage the proposed facility. He recalled Liner Source’s previous construction of a clay road and alleged that they had pushed dirt over an existing livestock fence and onto another property boundary. He opined that truck traffic had caused fence damage in the area and that it was not properly regulated by Liner Source. He relayed that trash and litter from the company had been found on his property and that pesticide had also been sprayed there; furthermore, he thought that it was challenging to contact Liner Source. He opposed the request.
Ms. Sharon Kaye, a resident of Lake County, opined that the vegetative buffer would be ineffective at containing noise and individuals. She also expressed a concern for only having one guard for 196 workers.
Ms. Amber Antonio, a resident of Mount Dora, felt that some residents’ fears were unwarranted and that the applicant was legally taking the correct action to obtain workers.
Ms. Vesna Allison, a farmer from Marion County, supported the request due to it fulfilling a need in the county. She felt that it was a primary way to secure workers to perform jobs that other residents would not perform. She opined that safety would not be an issue and that the H-2A workers were well controlled; furthermore, farmers were managed by the federal government to ensure proper management of the workers.
Mr. Edward Meyers, a resident of Eustis and a former New York policeman, expressed his understanding that there had been an increase in crime toward the end of the season for apple orchards in the State of New York. He felt that these crimes were committed because the workers would soon leave the state, and he did not think that only having two guards at the subject property would be sufficient.
Ms. Janet Depaz, a resident of Eustis, cited an article from FarmworkerJustice.org in which it was opined that guest worker programs decrease wages and working conditions for US workers, and deprive foreign workers of economic bargaining power and an opportunity to gain political representation. She elaborated that once an employer enters the H-2A program, the law creates incentives to prefer guest workers over US workers. She relayed an understanding that the workers would not have to pay for health insurance, and she related a finding from CDC.gov indicating that migrant workers had been found to have more complex health problems such as tuberculosis, parasitic diseases and diabetes. She questioned who would be screening for these issues prior to entry and felt that the high density living conditions would worsen this problem. She indicated an understanding that hospitalization was provided to the worker at no charge and expressed a concern for taxpayers having to pay these costs. She felt that there was a discrepancy in the average age of H-2A workers reported by Liner Source when compared to migrant workers used by a local farm that she had observed. She also thought that nearby property values would decrease.
Ms. Allison Thomas, a resident of Lake County, expressed a concern for the location of the proposed facility, and felt that it was inappropriate and could be harmful for the neighborhood. She requested that the Board uphold the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board and deny the request.
Ms. Gail Ling, a resident of Eustis, asked the Board to deny the request and opined that there were issues with housing individuals who had no ties to the community and who would send money to another country. She expressed a concern for the request affecting residents’ ways of life, safety and property values. She thought that Liner Source needed H-2A workers due to long working hours, and she suggested that the workers would not stay at Liner Source and would become illegal workers. She opined that most H-2A workers were 19 to 21 year old males and indicated a concern for containing them on the property.
Mr. Tim Wilson, a resident of Lake County, felt that the CUP would only benefit the applicant and that it should not be approved. He relayed his understanding that the Comp Plan designated one single family dwelling per five acres in this community and opined that the CUP was requesting a multi-family structure. He opined that approval of the CUP would conflict with the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act and the Lake County Water Supply Plan, and he indicated his understanding that the subject property was designated by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to be in a priority water resource caution area. He suggested that there were two sand mines near the property and opined that they had been cited by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for groundwater contamination. He expressed a concern about a septic field impacting potable water. He felt that the property taxes paid by the neighbors outweighed those paid by Liner Source, and he questioned why Liner Source could not locate the proposed building in another area.
Mr. C.E. Norris, a resident of Lake County, felt that agriculture required a labor force to remain in business and that a subdivision could be placed on the Liner Source property if the business was closed. He supported working with Liner Source to find a place to house the workers.
Ms. Sheila Chandler, a resident on Calhoun Road, expressed concerns about worker pregnancies and opined that migrant farmworker housing had created community blight. She cited a retired Housing Assistance Council executive director who felt that enforcement for these facilities was nonexistent, and she urged the Board to deny the request.
Mr. Herb Seegers, a resident on CR 44A, questioned if a specification for the buffer and a requirement for guards would be included in the CUP. He also expressed concerns about an increase in crime and for potential groundwater contamination due to the septic system. He then questioned if the applicant had considered an alternative location.
Mr. Thomas Harrison, a resident of Lake County, felt that requirements for farming were inadequate and expressed concerns for damage to the aquifer. He expressed further concern for the property’s stormwater running off into Lake Seneca and thought that it could damage the lake. He also opined that the existing density in the area should be adhered to and that construction had harmed the wildlife.
Mr. Michael Hurley, a resident of Lake County, called for unity in the community and opined that the building should be located on commercial property.
Ms. Chloe Gentry, Director of Organizational Development and Human Resources at Cherry Lake Tree Farm, said that her organization used the H-2A program due to having a peak load in their work which required additional workers. She supported the H-2A program and explained that it was designed by the federal government to help farms remain in the country. She believed that farms belonged in the country and said that her organization wanted to contribute to safety and national security. She relayed that they were under significant regulations when using the program and opined that housing farmworkers on the property was an ideal location and constituted a large investment. She related that the workers were offered health insurance as required by law, that they paid taxes, and that they were integrated within the company and community; furthermore, she felt they brought jobs to the local economy by allowing the company to hire other domestic workers. She relayed an understanding that agriculture was the second largest industry in the state and opined that it should be ensured that farms in the county could sustainably practice in a legal manner.
Ms. Nancy Lopez, a resident of Lake County, asked the Board to consider the health, welfare and safety of Lake County residents. She indicated concerns for the water system in the Wekiva River Basin, the health of the workers, and the welfare of the neighbors. She suggested finding another location for the facility and she expressed concerns for traffic created from transporting the workers.
Mr. Tim Bailey, a resident of Mt. Plymouth, opined that the company could obtain housing in the community to disperse the employees throughout the county; however, he felt that there was no control over the environment, the wells and the septic tanks for low income housing. He opined that accepting the CUP would be the only way to address these items.
Mr. Nick Martin, a resident near the subject property, said that he worked for a family construction business and opined that there was insufficient labor. He expressed a concern for there not being a similar program for his business and for approval of the current request setting a precedent in the county.
Mr. Ramon Chamy, a resident of Eustis, felt that this project was contrary to the County’s missions, goals and objectives. He relayed his understanding that two goals were to facilitate a strong and diversified economy and to adopt policies and support programs which target manufacturing and high wage job creation opportunities for Lake County residents, such as technical fields and healthcare. He did not feel that approving this project would meet these goals and urged the Board to deny it.
Mr. Spain denied that the ingress and egress of the property was only for agricultural uses and relayed his understanding that the property had an easement for ingress and egress. He then opined that a violation of the easement would be a private civil matter and was not a review criteria before the Board. He clarified that the applicant had not suggested that they would be exempt from all impact fees, though there was a question of whether school impact fees would apply to the project. He recalled a remark about how the workers would only be shuttled and he clarified that the applicant had not committed that the workers would be unable to drive. He also recalled a question from the Planning and Zoning Board meeting regarding whether the workers could use a ride sharing service and he stated that the workers would be in the country legally under a federally regulated program; furthermore, they would not be prevented from using one of these services. He added that under the H-2A program, the workers could also qualify for driver’s licenses. He said that the provided exhibits indicated that property values near farmworker housing had increased and that the slow appreciation of the church property mentioned by Ms. Luke could have been driven by other factors. He felt that the Planning and Zoning Board did not indicate why they voted to deny the request, and he relayed that items such as the room size in the building were federally regulated such that a stated amount of square footage must be provided per person; additionally, there would be monthly inspections of the property. He believed that Liner Source was willing to respond to residents and that complaints of the company damaging a resident’s fence were not relevant to the current CUP determination. He noted resident’s comments about the request being inconsistent with the neighborhood and he disagreed that the area was a residential neighborhood; furthermore, while there were residential homes, the community was zoned Agriculture with a Rural FLU. He added that his client had an agricultural operation and planned to continue this, and he stated that farmworker housing was defined as an agricultural use in the County’s published criteria. He opined that the use was inherently consistent with the area and stated that it would be located a distance greater than three football fields from the nearest residential structure. He felt that the evidence did not support fears for safety and declining property values, and he relayed that the Hillsborough County Sheriff had confirmed to the applicant that they had not experienced an issue with crime from H-2A workers. He displayed the concept plan and pointed out that there would be a water retention area and that they would be required to retain their stormwater onsite.
Mr. Beliveau noted a resident’s request to move the requested building to a different Liner Source property and relayed that this would be unlikely due to that location being within the City of Mount Dora joint planning area (JPA) and in proximity of the Lakes of Mount Dora and Country Club of Mount Dora PUDs. He also felt that water and sewer service from the City of Mount Dora would be in close proximity, and the city did not have an agriculture designation. He clarified that the property values had increased for the examined properties, and he relayed an understanding that property owners on the western side of the subject property also abutted an active sand operation; additionally, the proposed facility would be located farther from these homes than the existing truck traffic.
Commr. Blake asked about healthcare expenses for the workers and who would pay for a worker being transported by ambulance to an emergency room.
Mr. Beliveau responded that the costs would be paid by the employer.
Commr. Campione inquired if the property would be required to pay the ambulance municipal service taxing unit (MSTU) and the fire assessment, and Mr. Beliveau confirmed this.
Commr. Breeden asked if the applicant would be willing to have a cap on the number of workers in a room.
Mr. Beliveau clarified that he had not seen the interior design and that the DOH would determine how many workers could be in a room. He said that the building code would dictate how the structure would be built when considering factors such as hurricane requirements and County fire codes. He explained that they would provide kitchens, laundry rooms, recreation rooms, television, WiFi and air conditioning. He added that there would be a men’s side and a women’s side.
Commr. Breeden asked to clarify that the applicant was not intending to exceed 196 workers, and Mr. Beliveau said this was correct.
Mr. Crawford asked if the employer would pay for medical costs if a worker was injured. He indicated his understanding that at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, it was stated that only incidents which occurred while the individual was working would be paid for.
Mr. Beliveau confirmed that Liner Source would pay for medical costs related to injuries. He also clarified that the employer would pay for medical costs incurred as a result of non-work related injuries.
Commr. Parks inquired if any outdoor speakers on the building were being proposed and if concerns for noise and music could be addressed.
Mr. Spain said that there was no plan to have a mounted sound system on the housing structure, though he felt that it would be unreasonable to prohibit a worker from using a portable radio outside. He stated that he would be amiable to precluding an external broadcast or speaker system as long as it did not encompass a personal radio and music player and if it would exempt fire and safety systems.
Commr. Parks inquired if there would be an issue with including a provision within the ordinance that the Lake County Office of Code Enforcement could inspect the site without notice.
Mr. Spain replied that he would have to discuss this with his client.
Commr. Breeden asked who would inspect the facility monthly.
Mr. Spain commented that the Lake County DOH would inspect it monthly and that the DOL would also monitor the site and could levy fines, revoke access to the program, or debar the company.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify that the fines which were mentioned previously could originate from the DOL and the DOH.
Mr. Spain confirmed this and recalled that the DOL had imposed a fine on another farm in the state for about $1.3 million. He also added that the H-2A workers would have 24 hour workers’ compensation coverage because they were housed onsite.
Commr. Campione asked Mr. Sallin if the inspections from regulatory agencies could be random. She also asked if any of his H-2A workers had been responsible for a crime.
Mr. Sallin relayed his understanding that all inspections were random and he believed that the departments were looking to find violations and enforce the program. He also said that in seven years, his farm had only had an issue with an individual who was driving with an expired license. He commented that since the employer is providing housing, there must be workers’ compensation at all times whether the individual is injured during work or after hours and regardless of if they are on or off the property.
Commr. Breeden asked to clarify that the workers were not charged rent, and Mr. Spain said this was correct.
Commr. Campione inquired if the shuttle service had a cost to employees.
Mr. Spain remarked that the shuttle service would be provided according to the H-2A program, though the employer was not responsible for food expenses due to kitchen facilities being provided. He presented a May 10, 2019 letter of support from the FNGLA and read their conclusion that without sufficient American workers and without housing for H-2A guest workers, Liner Source would be facing issues; furthermore, if American workers were unavailable, uninterested or unwilling to work in agriculture, then entrepreneurial operations such as Liner Source, who wished to hire American workers but were unable to, must turn to H-2A which was the only legal, non-immigrant, foreign worker visa program available. He continued by stating that without housing required by H-2A law, no H-2A employees could be hired, and this may cause an undesired effect where Liner Source may be unable to meet its current employment or market needs. He said that the letter also indicated that Liner Source may be unable to invest and make capital expenditures with local businesses and may be unable to continue operating its nursery in Lake County. He then noted that the FNGLA had urged the Board to approve the request. He said that his applicant was requesting a CUP and that there was criteria for the Board to consider the consistency with the Comp Plan and LDRs, which he felt had been demonstrated. He also opined that the request would not have an undue adverse effect on nearby property. He felt that concerns for crime, property values and safety were not supported by facts, and he relayed his understanding that the area was rural agriculture with the proposed use being for agriculture. He thought that the applicant had demonstrated their commitment to taking all reasonable steps to minimize any adverse effect through design, landscaping and screening by proposing a screening hedge around the parent parcel, the building design, and landscaping. He relayed his understanding that the City of Groveland had approved this type of facility in the previous year, that this was a federally sanctioned program, and that H-2A housing was forward thinking. He requested the Board’s support to allow Liner Source to continue to thrive and contribute to the county.
Commr. Campione mentioned the noise issue at the Medmen medical marijuana facility and felt that it was unusual due to equipment being installed external to the site. She said that this organization had indicated that they would be constructing a new facility at that site to bring the equipment indoors, and she remarked that agricultural and industrial noise were treated differently by the County’s noise ordinance. She clarified that this CUP was for housing with an agricultural use and she asked to confirm that any conditions in the CUP would be enforceable for purposes of the housing.
Ms. Marsh confirmed that any conditions placed in the CUP would be enforceable, including noise. She added that the Right to Farm Act would not apply to this residential structure and would only apply to equipment related to an agricultural operation.
Commr. Campione supported prohibiting outdoor electronic amplification except for fire and safety devices and during special events sponsored by the owner. She clarified that personal devices would be allowed. She also thought that it could be preferable to construct the building in phases if the total square footage was not exceeded. She pointed that the ordinance mentioned constructing the exterior at one time and constructing the interior in phases, and she felt that constructing both the exterior and interior in phases would give flexibility and could result in a smaller building.
Commr. Breeden opined that it would be less disruptive to the neighbors if the exterior was constructed at one time.
Commr. Campione expressed an interest in giving the applicant an option to construct a smaller building. She also proposed language about substantial violations of the CUP to be grounds for the County to initiate proceedings to modify or revoke the permit, and suggested making clear that there would be a hearing process for this, as well as including language which had been included in other CUPs. She then proposed a requirement for the applicant to report any violations with federal agencies to the County within 72 hours.
Commr. Sullivan asked to confirm that this would be a provision to require the applicant to report any DOH or DOL violations.
Commr. Campione confirmed this and added that it would also include violations with the DOL, USCIS, the US Department of State, the Florida DOH and the Lake County Health Department. She added that the applicant would have to notify the County Attorney’s Office within 72 hours of a violation. She also proposed that if the company had an H-2A worker who was arrested for a felony crime, the County would have to be notified of this within 72 hours.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 4:06 p.m. for five minutes.
liner source cup continued
Mr. Spain relayed that the provision for Office of Code Enforcement workers inspecting the facility with or without notice was amicable. He also indicated that they would be amenable to the following items: language such that substantial violations of the CUP terms may be grounds for the County to initiate proceedings to modify or revoke the permit with due notice and a hearing for the applicant: phased construction of the building; prohibiting outdoor electronic amplification devices with the exceptions for an owner-sponsored special event, for fire safety and security systems, and for personal radios or handheld music players; and notifying the County within 72 hours for violations or if an H-2A worker was arrested for a felony, though he requested that this requirement sunset after an 18 month period. He believed that after 18 months, the company would have demonstrated that the issues were not arising, and he relayed that these items were public record and could be addressed by the DOL.
Commr. Breeden asked to clarify that the 18 months would occur after the certificate of occupancy was granted, and Mr. Spain said that it would be the Board’s purview.
Commr. Campione requested that the applicant pave 25 feet into the dirt road used to access the property to address impacts to CR 44A, and Mr. Spain indicated that this was amicable. Commissioner Campione then disclosed that she had talked to the applicant, Mr. Ray, Mr. Beliveau, Ms. Luke and Mr. Crawford, and that she had visited the site.
Commr. Parks disclosed that he had met with Ms. Luke and the applicant.
Commr. Blake said that he had met with Mr. Beliveau and the applicant, and that he had spoken to Mr. Crawford.
Commr. Breeden related that she had met with the applicant and Mr. Beliveau, and had spoken to Ms. Luke’s husband.
Commr. Sullivan disclosed that he had met with the applicant and Mr. Beliveau, and that he had visited the site on public roads.
Commr. Campione stated that she had spent time on the perimeter of the property and the roads that surrounded it to determine if this use could be maintained to be compatible and not have an undue adverse effect on adjoining properties. She expressed a concern for ongoing pressure for new residential development in the county and she relayed that annexation from cities was not under the BCC’s purview. She felt that protecting agricultural uses could help protect from encroachment of residential uses into rural areas and that Liner Source had a positive record in business. She opined that the company was responsible and would have significant liability if issues arose. She thought that farmworker housing had occurred in the county for many years, but was not at the level of quality of the requested facility. She said she believed that with the stated conditions and proposals from the applicant, there could be a coexistence between the property and the neighborhood and that this would protect the property from being developed as a subdivision. She expressed her support for these discussed conditions: reporting infractions with regulatory agencies and felonies among the H-2A workers; paving 25 feet into their access road; a prohibition of amplification devices, excluding personal radios and handheld music players, except for sponsored events; the ordinance would require the buffer to encompass the entire property of about 85 acres; Office of Code Enforcement inspections may occur with or without notice; and any substantial violations of the terms of the CUP may be grounds for the County to initiate proceedings to modify or revoke the permit. She indicated that her assumption when supporting this request would be that the housing facility would be part of the entire 85 acre property, though the CUP would only apply to approximately five acres.
Commr. Breeden believed that agriculture was one of the most important industries in the county and that supporting agricultural businesses helped protect against urban sprawl and maintain open space. She thought that keeping the agricultural community healthy would contribute to the health of the county and that the H-2A program providing legal temporary jobs would discourage illegal immigrants seeking jobs in the county. She expressed that she did not feel that there would be a negative impact on property values due to the facility’s distance from homes and she said that she would be supporting the request with the conditions mentioned by Commissioner Campione.
Commr. Sullivan noted that the retention of agricultural lands was an objective under the Comp Plan, which said that Lake County shall become proactive in developing partnerships with the agricultural industry for a better understanding of how local government can ensure the continued viability of agriculture as a key component of local economy. He added that in the County’s economic plan, one of the most important elements was the retention and growth of current businesses. He expressed support for the additional restrictions in the proposed ordinance and said he believed that the County was attempting to be amenable to the neighbors while also growing the county’s economy.
Commr. Parks acknowledged the study regarding the need for farmworker housing and he felt that the study suggesting that property values would not be negatively affected was substantial evidence. He thought that the applicant had attempted to buffer the property as much as possible and he said that he found the request consistent with Comp Plan Policy I-7.7 for supporting agriculture in the county. He said that he also found adding the revocation clause and the other conditions to be significant, and he opined that the H-2A program was one of the best tools to discourage illegal immigration. He relayed his understanding that federal agencies could inspect the site at any time and would be looking for any violation. He expressed support for the CUP with the added conditions.
Commr. Blake felt that failing to ensure the viability of agriculture in the county could cause issues. He noted that historically, the county had agricultural labor come in to perform these jobs and that the H-2A program would lead to the employees being highly vetted. He indicated support for the request.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Tab 6, Rezoning Case # CUP-19-02-4, Liner Source CUP, with the following modifications: the County must be notified within 72 hours of any infractions with regulating agencies or if a worker was involved with a criminal felony, though this requirement will sunset in 18 months after the certificate of occupancy is granted; the company must pave 25 feet into their access road for the site to address impacts to County Road (CR) 44A; a prohibition of audio amplification devices on the subject property, except during events sponsored by the company, and excluding fire safety systems, security systems, personal radios, and handheld music players; a 24 foot tall hedge buffer must encompass the entire property of about 85 acres; the Lake County Office of Code Enforcement may inspect the property with or without notice; the parent parcel identified as Alternate Key Numbers 2690330, 1126789, 03644921, 1070163, and 3890405 shall continue to be used for agricultural production or other agricultural purposes; and any substantial violation of the terms of the conditional use permit (CUP) may be grounds for the County to initiate proceedings to modify or revoke the permit.
presentation – operational analysis of lake county transit
Mr. Cole recalled that in October 2018, the Board approved contracting with Neel-Schaffer to conduct an operational analysis of Lake County transit. He added that they had provided an update to the Board in February 2019 and would be providing a report today as part of completing their analysis. He then stated that they would be submitting a final report in June 2019. He indicated that this would be an opportunity for the Board to shape the final portion of the report and to obtain additional information.
Ms. Rosemary Aldridge, Principal-in-Charge with Neel-Schaffer, stated that her team and the Lake County Office of Transit Services had been working together to develop options for the Board to consider. She then introduced the following members of her team with Neel-Schaffer: Ms. Ginger Hoke, Project Manager; Ms. Lisa Koch, Deputy Project Manager; and Mr. Taylor Marcantel, Senior Planner. She indicated that since February 2019, they had completed data collection and their system analysis and were now evaluating options.
Ms. Hoke explained that they were evaluating system efficiency for both fixed route and paratransit, developing a route by route analysis, reviewing the budget and financing, and evaluating and recommending options and phasing for both fixed route and paratransit. She indicated that LakeXpress had seven fixed routes for the bus system, along with paratransit which was a countywide demand response. She listed these strengths for the county’s transit system: good coverage and access to transit; recent technology upgrades; good on-time performance; good vehicle maintenance; high affordability; and high customer satisfaction. She then listed the following areas for improvement: low productivity routes, a complicated system; inefficient stop spacing; rising paratransit costs; low local revenues; a lack of late night or weekend service; and few service contracts. She explained that they were using the resources of previous studies to assist with this study.
Mr. Marcantel provided an overview of fixed routes. He stated that fixed routes remained the same each day and noted that there were seven fixed routes in the county with five being in the north, and the other two in the south. He commented that each route, except for Route 4, operated each hour, and that each route started at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. and ended around 7:00 p.m. He related that these routes came together at certain transfer areas so that individuals could easily transfer to another route without waiting for the next bus. He relayed that ridership in the county had continued to grow since the system was created and that this was unique due to a recent national stagnation or decline in ridership. He mentioned that the county’s cost per rider had remained about the same and felt that fixed route was a cost effective way of providing transit. He pointed out that Lake County had two major urban areas in the north and south, with many lakes around and within them, which created unique geographic challenges for providing cost effective transit. He said that the county also had rapid suburban growth and that transit may have to deviate from a main route to reach a neighborhood; furthermore, the county also had an aging population with an increased demand for both fixed route and paratransit. He stated that his organization performed a peer comparison by examining four similar counties and he displayed a scorecard from the perspective of a rider with Lake County’s performance compared to the average in the categories of affordability, reliability and availability. He felt that Lake County was effective at affordability with an average fare of under $0.50, and many riders were either discounted or were students, who could ride for free. He indicated that Lake County was also effective in its on-time performance of 94 percent, though was average in its bus frequency of one hour. He stated that for availability, the County provided good coverage with about 28 percent of residents and over 50 percent of jobs being within a quarter mile of a bus stop. He noted areas for improvement including weekday hours of operations that were not as late as in other counties, along with weekend service for fixed route. He also showed measurements for cost efficiency, productivity and maintenance, and noted maintenance of vehicles as an area where Lake County excelled. He said that while the County were average in the number of riders picked up per service hour, they had above average deadhead, which was the time that a bus was not picking up passengers, due to the county’s geography. He said that the operating cost per hour was high when compared to the average, but was improving which was likely due to a new contract with the County’s operator.
Ms. Koch provided an overview of paratransit. She said that paratransit had two program types including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Program which was federally required for all transit agencies which had a fixed route in order to provide transit to individuals with an origin and destination within three quarters of a mile from the fixed route who are unable to ride the fixed route due to a disability or having limited mobility. She added that the County also received funds from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the transportation disadvantaged program, which provided services throughout the county. She commented that until the previous year, ridership trends for paratransit were decreasing and the cost per rider was continuing to rise. She elaborated that costs were increased because a few years prior, Lake County lost a contract to be the Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation provider and was no longer receiving that revenue, though was still providing considerable ridership and paratransit trips. She noted that they also created a scorecard with similar counties for their paratransit systems. She relayed that the paratransit system was affordable to the county’s riders and that the average rider paid about $1 per paratransit trip, though many riders did not pay due to being low income or having a contract for this. She indicated that the county provided a reliable system with most trips being met, though the county’s availability was lower than their peers and could be improved with trips later in the evening or on the weekend. She remarked that the County did a great job of maintaining its system through its contractor, though the County’s productivity for cost and the number of boardings was below average due to the urban centers and rural areas creating longer trips; additionally, this was also a negative impact on fare box recovery. She displayed a matrix indicating different revenue sources from paratransit trips and noted that there were about 1,100 complimentary paratransit trips per month in the county with an average trip length of around four miles. She related that medical waivers and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs were service contracts where LakeXpress contracted with a social service agency with many individuals who required paratransit and could request a group rate for their services. She commented that medical waivers, which took developmentally delayed individuals to worksites, had 644 trips in November 2018, and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, which provided transportation to meal sites, had over 1,000 trips. She added that the average trip length for these categories was about 14 and 18 miles, respectively, and the cost that the County was receiving from the contracts had not been recently renegotiated; additionally, the County had been subsidizing a portion of these trips. She pointed out the number of trips funded by the FDOT Section 5311 grant for transportation in rural areas, and for transportation disadvantaged trips throughout the county for individuals who were elderly, disabled, or low income. She specified that transportation disadvantaged and Section 5311 were the majority of trips provided, that they were longer trips due to being provided outside of the urban areas, and that the full cost of these trips was subsidized. She then displayed a breakdown of trip grant categories and the grant amounts received for each, along with the required county matches.
Mr. Marcantel presented findings and improvement options. He displayed the areas for improvement and some possible solutions, such as addressing low productivity routes with either route modifications or partnerships with new mobility options. He then listed these other potential solutions: for the County’s complicated system, his organization was considering route modifications or renaming the routes to be less confusing; for inefficient stop spacing, they considered consolidating stops or skipping stops at certain times; for rising paratransit costs, options included reducing demand, increasing service contracts, and testing new mobility options; for low local revenues, he suggested increasing advertisement revenue and sharing the costs with local municipalities; and for a lack of late night or weekend service, he said that they were examining the implementation of those services. He began discussing findings and improvement options for fixed route transit and displayed maps of each route with the transfer points highlighted. He said that Route 1, Leesburg-Eustis, was the county’s highest ridership route with about 400 riders per day, had good on-time performance and average productivity when considering its number of boardings per hour. He relayed that the major findings for Route 1 were that it was a long and complicated route and that it also had some unproductive segments. He indicated that Route 1A, The Villages-Leesburg, had around 250 riders per day, good on-time performance, and was slightly below average for its productivity. He noted that Route 1A had extra running time in its schedule and that there was an ability to extend the route without incurring additional operating costs, though there were some unproductive areas along the route. He stated that Route 2, the Leesburg Circulator, was the most productive route, had about 250 boardings per day, and had good on-time performance. He added that much of the ridership along this route was composed of high school students. He remarked that Route 3, the Mount Dora Circulator, had average productivity, approximately 124 boardings per day, and good on-time performance. He said that this route had some unproductive segments and some on-time performance issues in the afternoon due to buses traveling in the afternoon rush hour period. He related that Route 4, Altoona-Zellwood, was a long and complicated route with many unproductive segments and was the only route that came every two hours; furthermore, this route had low ridership and was not significantly productive. He commented that Route 50 West, Mascotte-Clermont, had about 150 boardings per day, good on-time performance, and average productivity. He commented that this route ran along a main thoroughfare and missed some residential areas that could have potential riders, and it had some issues with late buses in the afternoon rush hour. He said that Route 50 East, Clermont-Winter Garden, which was paired with Route 50 West, had low ridership and productivity. He elaborated that this route provided a connection into Orange County through a connection with LYNX, and it was peak oriented so that most activity was in the morning or afternoon during commutes. He added that because the route operated in Orange County, much of the route was not spent picking up passengers. He then presented options for how to improve the routes and said that they would be grouped into the scenarios of cost saving, cost neutral, and expansion. He said that for cost saving, the first option would be removing the lowest ridership trips at the end or middle of the day, depending on the route. He explained that this would improve efficiency, though there would be a five percent ridership decline. He opined that the cost savings would not be significant because fixed transit was less than half of the County’s transit budget. He relayed that a more drastic option would be to reduce frequencies from every hour to every 90 minutes on certain routes to save more costs, but this would also make the system unreliable for some individuals and cause ridership losses of up to 20 percent. He said that for cost neutral options, the County could focus on minor route changes to increase efficiency and on-time performance by removing unused bus stops and getting back on main roads where deviations occurred. He also said that there could be major route changes to include the minor route changes with the addition of redesigning the low productivity routes to maximize efficiency and improve on-time performance. He stated that the expansion options centered around adding service and times, such as extending service to 9:00 p.m. and adding service on the weekends. He said that his organization also considered vehicle size options and that historically, agencies have tried to use smaller vehicles. He felt that Lake County had some routes that had potential for using smaller vehicles, and he suggested improving data collection and studying this further due to there being tradeoffs when using smaller vehicles. He specified that they would be able to operate on smaller streets, but had a shorter lifespan.
Ms. Koch presented findings and improvement options for paratransit. She detailed the following findings: rising costs and longer trip lengths; costs vary by trip type and funding source; not leveraging all funding sources; only two service contracts, though the County could contract with social service agencies whose clients may have a greater tendency to utilize public transit to allow the County to use the contracts as a local match; paratransit operating costs were 4.5 times more than fixed-route operating costs; and ADA trips were federally protected and cannot be reprioritized. She noted that paratransit was the majority of the County’s transit budget and she listed these paratransit recommendations: renegotiate existing service contracts due to the existing trip rate having been in effect for a considerable amount of time and failing to rise as costs had risen; reduce demand for paratransit by working with other providers of transportation such as Medicaid; transition high cost trips for paratransit to fixed route by allowing individuals eligible for ADA transportation disadvantaged service to ride the fixed route for free; and continue to monitor new options for mobility. She said that trip reduction was allowed for the transportation disadvantaged program by trip purpose, and she displayed a chart with the number of trips in fiscal year (FY) 2018 by type. She noted that most trips were medical trips, followed by employment, education, nutritional and other, with slightly under 100,000 trips. She stated that over 50 percent of trips were for medical purposes and that this should be considered when prioritizing trips. She showed a prioritization framework with categories in this order: medical, nutritional, employment, education and training, and life-sustaining and other. She explained that if the County needed to reduce its budget and begin placing capacity restrictions on its paratransit program, they could do so by prioritizing trips such as the first four categories and removing the life-sustaining/other category; furthermore, this would have eliminated 1,037 trips in the previous fiscal year. She added that training and education could have also been removed to eliminate another 12,463 trips in the last fiscal year, though an individual requesting a trip that is denied due to reaching capacity issues could create a challenge.
Ms. Hoke presented new findings and improvement options for services such as ride sharing and felt that technology was constantly improving. She said that there had been mixed results for studies and pilot programs and that ideally, using ride sharing to extend or replace parts of transit would work best for low performing routes, underserved areas, late night service, paratransit and regional connections. She relayed that ride sharing services added to traffic and congestion, that lightly used transit was more cost effective than heavily used ride sharing services, and that most people did not use ride sharing for regular commuting due to cost. She relayed that the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority had been conducting a transit case study where they extended their late shifts and used direct connect, and she also commented that the Cities of Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Maitland, and Sanford cooperated to give Uber discounts. She elaborated that these cities had contributed about $330,000 and that the subsidy was about 20 percent with an increased subsidy of 25 percent if SunRail was used; furthermore, after the study ended in July 2018, the Municipal Mobility Working Group was formed between the cities to find regional transportation solutions. She then said that the University of Florida (UF) conducted the Safe Rides case study and that Alachua County had performed the Freedom in Motion study. She showed a slide with the pros and cons for ride sharing services and she felt that Uber was growing and attempting to provide paratransit trips. She noted that Lake County was not as urban as other counties and that this service may not be appropriate yet, though they could be included in the future. She also noted that flexible contracts could be used with ride sharing services, though the services were overwhelmed due to the number of service contracts. She relayed that these services were expensive and less available in rural areas, though they were evolving and worked best in urban areas. She added that it required a public subsidy due to the cost of these services and she explained that currently, Uber drivers did not have a uniform background check, consistent driver training, or ADA compliance. She stated that new mobility options could include exploring pilot partnerships for on-demand regional connections such as LakeXpress transfer stations, continuing to monitor emerging options, and working regionally.
Ms. Koch said that her organization was currently developing the FY 2020 budget and explained that the County’s current administration costs were about $491,000, with paratransit and fixed route each being about half of the budget; additionally, she commented that County funds were generally paying for paratransit costs. She showed the County’s operating assistance by funding source and noted that in the last fiscal year, the County was only paying about 15 percent of its transit budget due to leveraging several funding sources; however, she felt that the County could still bring in more service contracts and advertisement revenue. She listed these recommendations to increase revenue: maximizing available grants such as the Section 5310 federal grant which was being leveraged to purchase vehicles but could also be used for operating assistance and reducing the County’s subsidies for service contracts; internal and external advertising on the buses, which staff would be putting out a request for proposal (RFP) for on the following day, along with partnering with local businesses; service contracts, possibly with municipalities, for local match cost sharing including for events; attract fixed route ridership, though this could only be done if service remained at the current level; and eliminating free bus transfers, which could be offset by providing day passes and transfer passes. She then detailed these recommendations to decrease expenses: shifting Medicaid users to the Medicaid provider; shifting paratransit trips to fixed route when possible; using printless ticketing and using the app for ticketing; reducing bus stops at stops that are not used in order to reduce maintenance there; prioritizing transportation disadvantaged trips; and reevaluating the County’s contracts with LYNX to determine a more cost effective process. She noted that each federal grant was a reimbursement grant and that it was important to have a budget reserve so that costs could be paid up front without a budget deficit. She said that gas prices were an unknown and that they were the County’s second largest cost in transit, with the largest cost being human operators. She remarked that for urbanized funding through the Federal Transit Administration, the County would be identifying the capital cost of contracting (CCoC) to leverage more federal funds. She elaborated that this used to be a 50 percent federal and 50 percent local grant and that her organization would suggest for the FY 2020 budget that it be 80 percent federal and 20 percent local, with the 20 percent being a toll revenue credit in place of local funding.
Ms. Hoke discussed findings and improvement options for other strategies and said that during the time of their study, the County has been using automatic passenger counter (APCs) data. She said that they had been receiving new data that would show the County where the bus stops were and whether on-time performance was being achieved over time. She noted that the County had an existing online presence with RouteShout, a transit website which was easy to use and was available in both English and Spanish, and Google Transit, which allowed passengers to view their locations in real time. She said that for increasing riders and making transit easier, improvement options included social media linked with partners such as cities and school websites, along with making it easier to find bus stops. She suggested to consider bus stop wayfinding such as sidewalk or street printing, increasing bus stop sign visibility, and adding a numbering or color-coded system to signs, along with a schedule. She said that the County could also rename the routes, advertise on the bus, allow individuals to pay by phone, and provide purchasing options for individuals without a smartphone. She related that for administrative considerations, the County could consider these options: continue enhancing financial management and coordination; coordinate with the LDRs to have consistent policies; coordinate with County and city trails and sidewalk planning staff to ensure that bus stop locations are accessible; have transit staff update and report to the Board with greater frequency; continue to add technology updates; and increase information technology (IT) training and staff to set up APC data in a more usable way. She then displayed a slide with these top recommendations: adjust route alignments, stops and schedules; implement later evening and Saturday service; explore pilot programs such as ride sharing; rename routes and reconsider branding and social media; applying CCoC; growing reserve funds for unforeseen events; developing new service contracts and renegotiating existing contracts; developing partnerships for funding and maintenance; and developing a service policy that corresponds with the budget or identifying cost savings through the prioritization of transportation disadvantaged service.
Commr. Sullivan asked if removing some unproductive bus stops would increase the frequency between stops.
Ms. Hoke did not think that it would affect the operational efficiency, though the County would no longer be responsible for maintaining the sign and sidewalk at the removed stops.
Mr. Marcantel added that it could also assist with on-time performance.
Commr. Campione asked if the County currently provided free fixed route service to ADA certified riders, and Ms. Koch denied this. Commissioner Campione then expressed support for this due to paratransit being more costly than fixed route.
Commr. Parks asked if there would be a budget presentation for transit later in the year.
Mr. Cole confirmed this and said that once Neel-Schaffer presented their final report in June 2019, the County would have a period of time to prioritize and implement certain components of the study. He indicated that the Board would be able to vote on the FY 2020 budget and that staff could report on how they were responding to Neel-Schaffer’s final report.
Commr. Parks noted the FDOT Section 5311 funding of $24 to $47 per trip and asked if the cost for ride sharing would be lower. He also asked if it was recommended that the County rebid for their paratransit provider for this.
Ms. Koch clarified that $26 to $47 per trip was a trip rate which had been identified for Lake County through a modeling software developed for the transportation disadvantaged program. She said that staff was working on an update of this for the next fiscal year with the inputs of the County’s budget, such as an ambulatory trip at $26 and a trip for an individual in a wheelchair at $47. She noted that there were some federal requirements that a company would need to meet to receive funding and that there had been a taxi cab voucher program funded by the Federal Transit Administration, Section 5311, and the urbanized program. She elaborated that instead of providing a public transit bus, they provided taxi cab vouchers to individuals to subsidize trips. She commented that the subsidizing agent, which would be Lake County, must ensure that the taxi cab meets all federal requirements such as drug and alcohol testing, along with ADA compliance.
Commr. Parks inquired if there was any incentive to the County for finding a more efficient provider who could offer more trips, or if the federal funding was a set amount.
Ms. Koch did not believe that there was a competitive funding program for innovative transportation. She thought that there may be some FDOT pilot programs which could be applied for. She remarked that due to the challenge for demand in the County causing issues with ride sharing services, the County could use an RFP that the current operator could respond to. She said that this could help ensure a certain level of service with a ride sharing or taxi service.
Commr. Parks felt that there had been challenges with ridership in South Lake and expressed a concern for vehicle size. He thought that partnerships with cities would be important and indicated a concern for the sustainability of transit in Lake County under the status quo due to rising costs. He suggested the possibility of utilizing smaller vehicles on direct routes.
Ms. Koch recommended having negotiations with the communities on the two circulator routes.
Ms. Hoke said that the City of Groveland had offered to help perform maintenance and that there could also be partnerships with hospitals or private companies.
Commr. Parks felt that this discussion could be linked to affordable housing and that cities would need to find both affordable housing and transportation for workers. He thought that the County could work with the cities to decide upon better transit routes.
Ms. Hoke added that public transportation could be efficient and economically sound due to money that an individual could spend on a vehicle could also be spent on shopping or improving their dwelling. She relayed that individuals her organization met with that were using the county transit system were pleased with it and many required it to reach work.
Commr. Breeden said that she had ridden the Leesburg Circulator route and opined that it had good ridership. She noted that she had passed out free tickets to residents who were very appreciative of this. She also expressed a concern for removing education and training trips as part of paratransit, though she supported encouraging individuals to use the fixed route.
Ms. Hoke remarked that there was an aging population in the county that would continue to grow and that the County would have to determine which trips it would fund. She thought that the County could further promote the fixed route and she recommended using events to help accomplish this.
Commr. Campione asked about the likelihood of the renegotiation of the County’s current service contracts and expressed support for doing this.
Ms. Jill Brown, Interim Director for the Office of Transit Services, said that the County had not renegotiated its contracts in the previous five years. She said that previously, her office had successfully negotiated with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for medical waiver trips.
Commr. Blake noted that the County recently changed Route 4 to add a segment which left US 19 and travelled down Church Street. He inquired if this segment had been successful.
Mr. Marcantel replied that there was some ridership on this segment.
Mr. Cole recognized Ms. Brown and said that she began serving as the Interim Director for the Office of Transit Services a few months prior and had been doing a great job. He commented that she had worked well with the consultants and himself, and he added that Mr. Ron Russo, Deputy County Manager, had also worked on these issues. He indicated that staff had no intent to recommend eliminating ridership and that there were options which could be provided by the consultants for cost effectiveness and to grow the service.
presentation – fire assessment study
Ms. Jennifer Barker, Director for the Office of Management and Budget, stated that the fire assessment is used to fund fire protection services and first response medical services; the assessment cannot fund advanced life support (ALS) services; the annual fire assessment study considers the utilization of fire services in seven land use categories; the assessment rates are calculated annually based on the allocation of resources and the proposed budget; and Tindale Oliver had been tasked with providing the updated study, updated property unit data, and a reflection of the most current proposed budget.
Ms. Nilgün Camp, with Tindale Oliver, said that each update provided 10 year increments of incident data as well as the current budget, and the current study included data from 2009 to 2018. She relayed that when compared to the previous year, the distribution of ALS versus non-ALS incidents remained stable and that shifts were observed for land uses for non-residential categories. She added that the budget would increase by about eight percent, property units remained relatively stable with a decrease in vacant parcels, and the assessment rates ranged from seven to fifteen percent for residential, seven percent for vacant, and there were various changes for non-residential. She highlighted that 77.3 percent of total resources were used for non-ALS incidents and that this was stable. She commented that residential remained the largest category for total resources by land use, though this was stable, and that the largest increase was about thirteen percent for institutional, which had been an existing trend. She noted the largest decrease as being for industrial/warehouse, though these numbers were small and resulted in a large percent change when moving from one percent of resources to 0.8 percent. She said that for fire protection cost allocation, residential increased by about seven percent due to the budget increase of roughly eight percent, and the largest increase was for institutional which combined the increase in resources about thirteen percent plus the eight percent increase in budget. She noted that the units by land use were stable and that the largest change was in vacant land. She specified that this was a decrease as vacant properties were built, and she then listed the following information about rates: a rate of $206 for residential homes with an approximate seven percent increase over the previous year; the hotel/motel/recreational vehicle (RV) park land use increased from $53 to $61 per room; there was a decrease for industrial; the largest increase was for institutional; and there was an increase of about seven percent for institutional. She explained that any change around eight percent was due to the budget changes and that all other fluctuations were caused by the resource distribution.
Ms. Barker said that Board’s approval of the fire assessment study was currently being sought, that she would be coming back on July 16, 2019 with the initial fire assessment resolution and the Board would be determining the maximum rate to be provided on the truth in millage (TRIM) notice, and that on September 10, 2019 there would be a public hearing to adopt the final rates included on the tax bill in November 2019. She read the requested action for approval to accept the fire assessment study by Tindale Oliver.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify that the Board was not adopting the rates today.
Ms. Barker replied that they would only be accepting the study; furthermore, the Board would be adopting a maximum rate in July 2019 which could be lowered before the public hearing in September 2019.
Commr. Campione said that this was a function of the amount of resources the County had, how the resources were deployed, and how many calls were received during the year for different types of land uses. She said that the cost would be distributed over the land uses to determine the rate that each land use would have to pay to fund the service.
Ms. Barker confirmed this and stated that it would start with the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. She then indicated that the history would be examined for the allocation over the 10 year period as identified by Ms. Camp, and this is how the cost of the assessable budget would be split.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved acceptance of the Fire Assessment Study by Tindale Oliver.
Mr. Cole felt that there would be time to address Tabs 23 and 24 at the June 11, 2019 BCC meeting, and Commissioner Campione was amicable to this.
appointments to the women’s hall of fame selection committee
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointments of the following individuals to the Women’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee: Ms. Phyllis Smith as the District 1 representative; Ms. Mary Butts Kelly as the District 2 representative; Ms. Debbie Stivender as the District 3 representative; Ms. Tracy Belton as the District 4 representative; and Ms. Jean M. Martin as the District 5 representative.
commissioner sullivan – district 1
Commr. Sullivan reminded everyone about the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and said that it was important to recognize the individuals who had given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He encouraged everyone to participate in activities to support this holiday.
commissioner parks – district 2
funding for canal dredging
Commr. Parks relayed that he had attended a recent meeting with the LCWA and County staff, and he suggested placing the issue of addressing funding for canal dredging on a future Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting agenda. He recalled that citizens had recently voiced their concerns to the BCC about canals near the Shirley Shores area, and he felt that the Board should consider potential funding mechanisms to dredge private canals throughout the county. He expressed an interest in inviting the LCWA to discuss this item and he stated that Ms. Marsh could address the legality of setting up special assessments or a municipal service taxing unit or benefit unit (MSTU or MSBU). He opined that the BCC had an opportunity to develop a mechanism to fund this activity in a fair way.
Commr. Campione asked to clarify that this would provide a way for residents who live on canals to cooperate and address this issue, similar to residents pooling money to resurface a neighborhood road with a public match or contribution.
Commr. Parks confirmed this and said that the County could work with citizens who desired to have this done. He relayed his understanding that the General Fund could not be used for this due to being collected from all taxpayers in the county who may not have connections to canals, nor did he feel that the penny sales tax could be used to fund canal projects. He also did not think that the State Legislature would be able to help solve this issue.
Commr. Breeden suggested that staff could consider how other counties addressed these issues.
Mr. Cole said that staff could present some options for the Board to consider.
Commr. Campione recalled a recent discussion about the possibility of a pilot program for encouraging the pumping of septic tanks, and she suggested that this could possibly be tied into this item due to many residents with septic tanks living close to water in the unincorporated area.
homeless coalition summit
Commr. Parks mentioned that a homeless coalition would be holding a summit on September 12, 2019 and that they had requested the County to provide an update at that time on discussions regarding a crisis center.
Mr. Cole said that since the last BCC meeting, the County had been in contact with the Salvation Army as requested by the Board and that there could be an opportunity to work with them. He added that staff could meet with them soon and then the Salvation Army and possibly other stakeholders could provide a presentation to the Board.
honoring mr. glenn burns
Commr. Parks stated that Mr. Glenn Burns, a former Town of Montverde Councilmember who was involved with the Green Mountain Scenic Byway and Overlook, had recently passed away. He expressed an interest in honoring Mr. Burns at Ferndale Preserve or at the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook.
Commr. Breeden felt that the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook would be a great location.
thanking ms. jennifer barker
Commr. Parks thanked Ms. Barker for assisting with a recent budget simulation activity at Leadership Lake County.
Commr. Parks wished everyone a thoughtful Memorial Day.
commissioner breeden – vice chairman and district 3
Commr. Breeden said she hoped that everyone would have a good Memorial Day and expressed that she would be attending a ceremony at the Florida National Cemetery in the City of Bushnell.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 6:17 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
GARY J COONEY, CLERK