A regular MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
June 11, 2019
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, June 11, 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; Gary J. Cooney, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller; and Kathleen Bregel, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Pastor Billy Day from the First Baptist Church of Tavares gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Jeff Cole, County Manager, honored Mr. Ron Moore who was the Director of the Paisley County Library and had recently passed away. He remarked that Mr. Moore was a positive, committed and hard-working employee who would be missed, and he expressed his appreciation for all that Mr. Moore had accomplished for the county. He then relayed that since the agenda was first published, the resolution for Tab 17 had been updated; however, he requested that Tab 17 be removed from the agenda and brought back at a later date, noting that the City of Eustis had waived the sixty day response requirement. He also stated that Tab 37 under Commissioner Parks’ report had been added; furthermore, he requested that Tab 32, the Office of Fleet Management budget presentation, be postponed until the June 25, 2019 Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting.
Commr. Campione commented that in regards to Tab 17, the City of Eustis had indicated that they were looking for the opportunity to have discussions prior to the County’s resolution being approved.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the County Manager’s recommendations for changes to the agenda.
sales surtax oversight committee
Mr. Michael Rankin, Leesburg Deputy City Manager and a member of the Sales Surtax Oversight Committee, remarked that the Florida Statutes, Section 212.055, authorizes the levy of local government infrastructure surtax and specifies its use. He explained that the Sales Surtax Oversight Committee included two appointed members from the BCC, the Lake County School Board, and the Lake County League of Cities, as well as representation of two Lake County Constitutional Officers. He elaborated that the committee meets periodically, that sixteen government entities submit expenditures of payments to the committee, that the committee may request additional information if needed, and that the committee then presents this report to the BCC. He indicated that their most recent meeting was held on April 15, 2019 and that a copy of their report was in the Board’s meeting packet. He concluded that the next committee meeting would be held on Monday, September 23, 2019.
Commr. Sullivan commented that this committee worked closely with the municipalities to ensure that all taxes being spent were meeting the rules and regulations set forth by the Lake County ordinance as well as the Florida Statutes.
Ms. Jeannine Nelson, Human Resources and Risk Management Manager, announced that they would be recognizing employees who had reached service milestones in their careers with Lake County as follows:
Jim Dickerson, Fire Chief
Office of Fire Rescue
Scott Auker, Trades Crew Leader
Office of Facilities Management
Anthony Cuellar, Battalion Fire Chief (not present)
Office of Fire Rescue
Randy Love, Traffic Signal Technician (not present)
Public Works Department, Traffic Operations
Cheri Greer, Library Technician (not present)
Office of Library Services
Linda Lorentz, Office Associate V (not present)
Office of Management & Budget
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the minutes for the BCC meetings of March 26, 2019 (Regular Meeting) and April 9, 2019 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
Mr. Nathan Focht thanked the BCC for resurfacing Sugarloaf Mountain Road and shared how this had helped improve issues in the area.
Commr. Sullivan commended the Lake County Public Works Department for their assistance with this resurfacing.
Commr. Parks added that public works finished the repaving well ahead of schedule.
presentation of proclamation 2019-69
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Parks, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved Proclamation 2019-69 supporting the 2020 U.S. Census.
Commr. Campione then read and presented Proclamation 2019-69 to Ms. Ana Curras, Partnership Specialist with the Atlanta Regional Census Center.
Ms. Curras relayed the importance of the 2020 Census and said it would take place on April 1, 2020. She shared that responding to the census would be easier than in years past as the main form would be online as well as available upon request. She reported that the total count in the 2010 census was 74 percent; furthermore, her office was excited to be able to partner with Lake County in an effort to obtain a complete count for the year 2020.
Commr. Campione commented that the census data would be utilized for redistricting the County Commission seats to ensure that each district had an equal population amount.
CLERK OF the Circuit COURT and comptroller’s CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Breeden 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.
State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Request to acknowledge receipt of the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s final order DEO-19-011 pursuant to Section 380.05(6), Florida Statutes, approving land development regulations adopted by Lake County, Florida, Ordinance No. 2019-27. The Ordinance amends Section 9.02.04 of the County’s Land Development Regulations, entitled Exemptions to Tree Removal Permit Requirements, to remove municipal public works’ projects as an exempted activity to the permitting and mitigation requirements of removing protected trees and palms.
Bella Collina Community Development District proposed FY 2020 Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Bella Collina Community Development District proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020 in accordance with Section 190.008(2)(b), Florida Statutes.
Founders Ridge Community Development District proposed FY 2020 Budget
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Founders Ridge Community Development District’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020 in accordance with Section 190.008 (2)(b), Florida Statutes.
Cascades at Groveland Community Development District Annual Financial Audit Report
Request to acknowledge receipt of the Cascades at Groveland Community Development District Annual Financial Audit Report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, pursuant to Section 11.45, Florida Statutes, and Section 189.418, Florida Statutes.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Breeden, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 5 through 23, pulling Tab 17, as follows:
Request approval of Proclamation 2019-70 designating July 2019 as Parks and Recreation Month. There is no fiscal impact.
Request approval of a Lease Agreement with the Lake Agriculture and Youth Fair Association for use of the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center and buildings for Fiscal Year 2020. The fiscal impact is $1.00 (revenue). Commission District 4.
Request approval for the County Attorney, or designee, to execute the Stipulated Order of Taking and Final Judgment in Court Case No. 2018-CA-1982, Lake County vs. Estate of Nicholas Marquez, et al. (Parcel Number: CG-19) for the needed right of way on the Citrus Grove Road Project. The fiscal impact is $12,000.00 (expenditure). Commission District 2.
Request approval of an agreement with The Grove at Harbor Hills Homeowner’s Association, Inc. for traffic law enforcement on private roads. The fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time. Commission District 5.
Request approval to hold a Closed Session of the Board of County Commissioners at 11 a.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, on June 25, 2019, to discuss pending litigation. There is no fiscal impact from this action.
Request approval for the County Attorney's Office Property Manager to execute the South Lake Medical Arts Center Association's Limited Proxy, including approval to execute other versions related to the same amendments should the Limited Proxy be modified or corrected. There is no fiscal impact.
Request approval and execution of Resolution 2019-71 authorizing the County Attorney, or designee, to pursue legal action, including collections, related to a default or failure to fulfill obligations of an educational loan or an agreement between Lake County and an employee (current or former) who received financial assistance for education, certification, course completion, tuition, training, or related purposes. The fiscal impact cannot be determined at this time.
Request approval to accept an Offer to Purchase on Alternate Key 2580984 and authorization for the Chairman to execute any necessary closing documents. The net fiscal impact is $1,800.00 (revenue). Commission District 5.
AGENCY FOR ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Request approval of agreements with the Kroger Company (Cincinnati, OH) and Ocado Solutions USA Inc., a/k/a Project Infinity (Newark, DE), for the Economic Development Grant Incentive Program, and for the Chairman to execute the agreements upon approval by the Board. The fiscal impact is projected to be approximately $2 million in ad valorem incentive grant funding over 10 years if all requirements are met. The grant would be funded from an estimated $4 million in ad valorem revenue to be collected from Project Infinity over the 10-year period. Commission District 1.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
Request approval to award Contract 19-0920 to Barracuda Building Corporation (Apopka, FL) for the Fire Station 77 (Astatula) Drainage Project. The fiscal impact is $23,900.00 (expenditure). Commission District 3.
Request approval to award Invitation to Bid 19-0710 to Duval Ford (Jacksonville, FL) for the purchase for two Ford F-250 crew cab pickup trucks for the Lake County Office of Fire Rescue, and authorization for the County Manager to execute all supporting documents. The estimated fiscal impact is $60,514.00 (expenditure).
Request approval of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 through FY 2021 Professional Fire Fighters of Lake County, IAFF, Local 3990, Collective Bargaining Agreement, approval of the associated FY 2019 budget transfer, and authorization for the Chairman to execute the agreement. The estimated FY 2019 fiscal impact is $540,000.00 (expenditure).
PUBLIC SERVICES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Request approval to terminate without cause Contract 17-0414 with OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC (Dublin, OH), for cataloging and metadata services for the Lake County Library System, pursuant to Section 9 "Term and Termination," effective August 1, 2019. The fiscal impact is an estimated annual savings of $39,430.00.
Request approval to accept a performance bond of $255,934.36 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization Permit #8884 and Commercial Driveway Connection Permit #53198 issued to construct turn lanes on Wilson Lake Parkway in Groveland. The fiscal impact is $420.00 (revenue – permit application fees). Commission District 1.
Request approval to accept a performance bond of $174,974.84 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization Permit #7899 and Commercial Driveway Connection Permit #53169 issued to construct a force main along Wilson Lake Parkway for the Wilson Estates subdivision in Groveland. The fiscal impact is $490.00 (revenue – permit application fees). Commission District 1.
Request approval to accept a performance bond of $100,000.00 from SECEF Island Investments, LLC (Deltona, FL) related to stockpile, removal and hauling from a property located on Lester Way in Eustis. There is no fiscal impact. Commission Districts 4 and 5.
Request approval to release a performance bond of $1,087,420.51 associated with Right-of-Way Utilization Permit #7529 issued to construct drainage improvements, sidewalks, and a bike trail for The Reserve at Minneola subdivision. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
Request approval to release a performance bond of $44,198.00 that was provided for the construction of sidewalks in the Victoria Estates subdivision, located east of Clermont. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 2.
county road 455 pd&e presentation
Mr. Fred Schneider, Public Works Director, remarked that the purpose of the presentation was simply to provide an update on the status of the County Road (CR) 455 project development and environment (PD&E) study and that no Board action would be required. He recalled that the need for improvements was identified by the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in their 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan which also determined the need for an additional north-south corridor. He relayed that the Board had adopted the Wellness Way Area Plan which recognized that area as one with significant economic development opportunities and a mix of residential, commercial and other employment areas; furthermore, the area plan supported the need for a north-south extension of CR 455 which was the reason for the PD&E study.
Mr. Dwayne Darbonne, with Metro Consulting Group, LLC, commented that a PD&E study is an environmental and engineering process used to document social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with a proposed transportation improvement project. He then showed a map of the study area which he said was located in southeast Lake County between U.S. 27 to the west and the county line to the east, began in the north where the previously approved CR 455 PD&E study and Hartwood Marsh Road intersected, and then extended southward towards Schofield Road. He said that the traffic analysis was conducted for the existing conditions for all roadways within the study area and evaluated the roadway level of service (LOS), noting that the LOS ranged from an “A” which is free flowing traffic to an “F” which would be traffic gridlock. He implied that Lake County had adopted a “D” LOS for all their county roads while the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had adopted a “C” LOS for U.S. 27 since it was a strategic, intermodal facility and also a hurricane evacuation route. He reported that the study results showed that all the study roadway segments were currently operating within the adopted LOS for both Lake County and FDOT except for a short piece of Hartwood Marsh Road between Hancock Road and U.S. 27 which was shown on the displayed map. He then displayed a table depicting the existing daily traffic volumes for the study roadway segments which were used for the LOS analysis, noting that the traffic numbers were expressed in vehicles per day (VPD). He conveyed that the process of performing the traffic analysis for the design year of 2045 required the use of the latest adopted Central Florida Regional Planning Model; however, since the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) had already started the process of updating the model as part of an ongoing CFX connector roadway PD&E study, he said that his company was asked to wait until CFX had finalized their model update which was then utilized for the CR 455 extension analysis in order to have a common base for traffic studies. He then displayed a map of the resulting roadway analysis using the CFX model for the design year 2045, and indicated that without the addition of the CR 455 extension, Hancock Road north of Hartwood Marsh Road as well as Hartwood Marsh Road from U.S. 27 to CR 455 would operate at an “F” LOS; additionally, U.S. 27 would operate at a “D” LOS. He concluded that these results validated the findings of the Lake-Sumter MPO and the Wellness Way Area Plan for the need for an additional north-south corridor. He then showed a table summarizing the 2045 daily traffic volumes for all roadway segments with their percentage of increase in traffic if the CR 455 extension was not built, noting that U.S. 27 would increase 143 percent, Hartwood Marsh Road would increase 70 percent, and Hancock Road could increase up to 110 percent. He explained that the purpose and need for the corridor was as follows: to sustain projected future growth while providing additional multimodal options; to provide a long-term north-south corridor for southeast Lake County; to provide a regional link between areas of the county; because it was identified in the Lake-Sumter MPO 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan and Lake County’s Wellness Way Area Plan; and because it would provide a direct connection to other proposed roads such as the CFX connector, which connects U.S. 27 to State Road (SR) 429. He remarked that as part of any PD&E study, public input was important to the process and involved reaching out to the public and industry stakeholders. He shared that from this outreach, the public expressed concerns for the impact to the rural character, divided communities, environmental impacts, and if an alternative corridor could be identified. He added that additional stakeholder input was sought from major property owners, Water Conserv II, and CFX. He displayed a graphical depiction of a typical section of the proposed roadway which included two lanes in each direction, a 22 foot grass median, a bike lane, a sidewalk, a trail and a privacy wall. He then showed several maps depicting three alternative corridors that were examined as part of the PD&E study which included the CR 455 extension, Colt Lane and Hancock Road. He also shared an evaluation matrix comparing the various impacts for each of these alternative corridors, noting that the Colt Lane alternative was a less attractive north-south corridor due to impacts and therefore was dismissed as a possible option. He relayed that the CR 455 extension and the Hancock Road alternative corridors were further evaluated as well as an additional option called the Hancock Road alternative corridor plus which included improvements to the existing Hancock Road; however, he said that based on the various impacts for each of these options, the Hancock Road and Hancock Road plus alternatives were eliminated from consideration. He then displayed several slides showing the five potential CR 455 alignment options and explained each of the various alignment paths; additionally, he displayed a table comparing these five potential CR 455 alignments and the various impacts for each, noting that this information would be presented at the public workshop the following Thursday, June 20, 2019 in order to obtain public comment. He pointed out that the number of residential impacts for each option varied from five to fifteen, and that the construction costs varied from about $47 million to $67 million. He shared a list of the project benefits including the fact that the CR 455 extension did support the Wellness Way Area Plan and the Lake-Sumter MPO findings, that the trail would connect to other trails and provide an interconnected trail network for the county, and that it would develop an improvement which was consistent with projected growth. He concluded his presentation with these upcoming project schedule dates: an alternatives public workshop on June 20, 2019; a second BCC meeting presentation in October 2019; a preferred alternative public meeting also in October 2019; a public hearing in December 2019; and document closeout in January 2020. He added that the alternative concepts public meetings were held at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center.
Commr. Parks mentioned that he had attended the public meetings and thanked the residents in attendance who were concerned about the proposed road. He inquired if the Hancock Road alternative corridor plus option, which projected 93 residential parcels impacted at a construction cost of approximately $67 million, had been extensively analyzed as he felt that Hancock Road would eventually need to be widened anyway. He gave the example of SR 535 through West Orange which was widened and although it was challenging, they were able to accomplish it without having to impact as many residents.
Mr. Darbonne responded that the traffic analysis for the year 2045 revealed that the existing two-lane Hancock Road, north of Harwood Marsh Road, would fail. He added that the challenges for Hancock Road included having an 80 to 90 foot right-of-way (ROW) and the need for stormwater to be contained within the ROW. He stated that if the road was widened to be four-lane, then the houses would be impacted for needed stormwater retention ponds which would need to be adjacent to the roadway and that was why the number of residential impacts was high.
Commr. Parks asked if the Greater Groves neighborhood would be impacted and if the number of residential parcels impacted was a full taking.
Mr. Darbonne confirmed that was one of the neighborhoods that would be affected, and that 93 residential parcels would be impacted with 13 requiring a relocation. He added that this higher number of relocation from people’s homes was what eliminated this as a viable option.
Commr. Breeden clarified that the total construction costs did not include ROW costs and Mr. Darbonne confirmed that was correct.
Commr. Campione said that relocating residents would add to the ROW costs.
Mr. Darbonne commented that from an engineering perspective, some of the other options increased traffic on an already congested roadway which was why the CR 455 extension corridor was a better option since it was a new road and would not add additional traffic to a road that was already at capacity. He added that there were several east-west roads but very few north-south corridors; additionally, he reiterated that U.S. 27 was a strategic intermodal roadway for FDOT.
The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.
Mr. Ray Flannery, a resident who would potentially be impacted, relayed that the community had been meeting to discuss options and that he planned to attend the public meeting the following week. He asked when this information would be posted for public view.
Commr. Parks suggested it could be emailed to them and Commissioner Campione remarked that it was on the website.
Mr. Cole asked for Mr. Schneider to coordinate with the residents to obtain their emails.
public hearing: ordinance 2019-34
Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING SECTION 6.06.01, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, ENTITLED “GENERAL PROVISIONS”; PROVIDING THAT MATERIAL EXCAVATED FROM AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS MUST REMAIN ONSITE; AMENDING SECTION 3.09.00, LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, ENTITLED “LIGHTING STANDARDS”; CLARIFYING THAT DARK SKY LIGHTING IS REQUIRED FOR NONRESIDENTIAL AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Ted Wicks, with Wicks Engineering Services, remarked that his company had been following the process for this ordinance and had discussed it with the Office of Planning and Zoning staff. He relayed his desire for more clarification regarding what the ordinance was intending to accomplish. He felt that it was about agriculture and the creation of farm ponds, noting that he represented several clients who operated permitted borrow pits under the mining site plan approval process as well as some agricultural operations for which his company prepared best management plans to make sure they were consistent with the Right to Farm Act. He asked if this ordinance intended to regulate land leveling operations where mass grading might be needed in order to establish crops.
Commr. Campione asked if the ponds he was referring to were holding ponds for cattle.
Mr. Wicks replied that none of his current projects would be creating agricultural ponds either for aesthetics or for watering of livestock. He said they just needed to land level and mass grade consistent with soil conservation service activities and approved engineering practices. He relayed that there were situations in which there could be a large amount of excess soil that could not be disposed of on site.
Commr. Campione responded that the purpose of this ordinance was to capture the type of activities where the material was actually taken off the property and essentially mined because it was being sold. She indicated that in northeast Lake County they had witnessed some operations that did not seem like they were truly farming activities, and it was questionable if they were attempting to avoid the regulations that governed proper mining and its impacts to the roadway system.
Mr. Wicks stated the need to understand how this ordinance would apply under the Right to Farm Act. He thought that within that act, it prohibited local government from regulating those true farming operations.
Commr. Campione stated that this ordinance was not attempting to regulate true farming or agricultural activities but rather to address those who had attempted to avoid the regulations.
Mr. Wicks opined that this could penalize those in legitimate operations who would need to land level, that there could be impacts to some farming operations, and that the application of this ordinance could create problems and should be more clearly defined.
Commr. Blake commented that he understood Mr. Wicks’ concerns and suggested possibly placing a cap on the amount of material that could be removed in order to differentiate between farming and mining activity. He asked Mr. Wicks if there was a certain amount of cubic yards of material that would be acceptable for an agricultural operation.
Mr. Wicks mentioned that within chapter six of the County’s mining site plan ordinance, a bona-fide agricultural operation was allowed to remove 200 percent of the dirt that was required to establish stormwater. He said that in these cases, they were not establishing a stormwater facility; furthermore, he relayed that surrounding counties had addressed this issue within their haul permits. He opined that some of the ordinances were conflicting and should be reviewed. He reiterated that bona-fide operations did need to land level.
Commr. Campione asked if a hole was dug for land leveling and reiterated that there was a certain situation where a company dug a hole as if for agricultural purposes and sold the dirt for profit but then never planted anything.
Mr. Wicks replied they did not dig a hole but rather balanced the site elevations in order to have flat land for irrigation purposes. He felt that the BCC supported the Wekiva Protection Act as well as projects such as the Wekiva Parkway which needed a large amount of clean dirt for fill. He opined that some operations that could have assisted with this were penalized because they were not able to move the dirt without a mining site plan permit.
Commr. Campione opined that there was one operation in that situation that negatively impacted SR 437. She was concerned that placing a certain limit on the amount of material being excavated could still possibly allow some operations to not abide by the regulation.
Commr. Breeden suggested limiting how far down an operation could dig.
Mr. Wicks responded that there was already criteria for the size of ponds.
Commr. Campione reiterated that the Board was pro-agriculture and that there was not an intention to impede the rights of bona-fide agricultural operations; however, she felt that there were operations abusing the process.
Commr. Parks commented that in discussions he had with staff and certain agricultural operations, it seemed that when moving dirt for the process of leveling elevations, the dirt did remain on site; therefore, this would not affect agricultural operations since the dirt was not being removed from the site as it is for mining.
Commr. Breeden mentioned that if sites were leveled then there was the possibility that other properties could be impacted with stormwater runoff if they were lower in elevation. She suggested holding on this part in order to review other alternatives but wanted to move forward on the dark sky lighting part of the ordinance.
Mr. Wicks relayed that the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) had jurisdiction over farms and required a mass grading permit in order to dig a pond, noting that it was regulated so that stormwater did not runoff into a neighboring property.
Ms. Marsh clarified that what was being amended today was the mining ordinance. She recalled that at some point in the County’s history, an exemption to the mining ordinance for agricultural ponds, one acre in size or less, was made so that material could be removed but not considered mining. She explained that this ordinance did not affect the Right to Farm Act since it was a mining ordinance. She elaborated that this ordinance being considered today would take the very limited exception to the mining ordinance and state that rather than it being defined as one acre or less, operations can excavate whatever amount they want but all fill has to remain on site, otherwise it would be considered mining. She said that if an operation falls under the Right to Farm Act and meets the criteria of this act, meaning that it is a bona-fide agricultural activity being monitored by the state with best management practices that are approved by the state, then it would not be mining and would not be affected by this ordinance. She reiterated that this request would be amending the mining ordinance and the exemption to the mining ordinance for agricultural ponds that was instituted previously. She opined that this ordinance was actually broadening it since the one acre limitation would be taken away, and that anyone on an agricultural property could excavate whatever they needed as long as it was not taken off site. She also stated that this exemption already included a provision that a property cannot affect offsite drainage; therefore, she said that if an operation was leveling and impacting neighboring properties, that would be an issue that this exemption would not protect the property from. She added that if farmers wanted the protection of the Right to Farm Act they would need to comply with those regulations, file with the State, have their best practices approved and then follow those best management practices.
Commr. Campione implied that this would actually help farmers because it would give them the opportunity to excavate as needed as long as they kept the material on site. She suggested that staff also explore what the SJRWMD does in regards to agriculture and farming and determine if this issue should be considered at a state level to make sure there is uniformity. She opined that the dark sky lighting section of this ordinance was a win for the county since it promoted the enjoyment of natural resources.
Mr. Jimmy Nussbaumer, a resident of the City of Groveland, mentioned that he owned approximately 100 acres which was separated into different parcels but all within the same location; additionally, he said that most of his property was wetlands or agriculture. He inquired if he moved some material from one of his parcels to another one of his parcels would he then become a mining operation. He opined that mining should involve selling the material for profit and suggested adding to the ordinance that any material moved could not be sold as a way to address the Board’s concerns.
Commr. Campione asked the County Attorney how this situation where adjoining property is owned by the same person would be addressed.
Ms. Marsh replied that this situation had not occurred before and suggested that the Board could address it in the future if there were complaints or if it was reoccurring on a consistent basis.
Commr. Parks reiterated that in these types of situations, it would not be sand mining which was the reason for the ordinance.
Ms. Marsh added that if the amount of material being moved in this situation was under the threshold to trigger the haul permit, then Mr. Nussbaumer would not need a hauling permit.
Commr. Breeden recapped that if someone had a mining operation it would have to be kept on the same property; however, if someone had a plan for a farm that needed to remove dirt then it would be under agriculture.
Commr. Campione added that it would then fall under the SJRWMD, and if they were hauling off the site they would have to comply with the Lake County haul permit requirements, which she noted was administrative and would not come before the BCC.
Ms. Marsh specified that 10,000 cubic yards was the trigger for the haul permit to come before the BCC.
Commr. Campione clarified that at that point, the applicant would present before the BCC and it could be determined if it was a legitimate agriculture use; furthermore, the Board could then address any road impact concerns.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.
Commr. Breeden wondered if the lighting standards could be addressed separately from the mining changes in order to allow time to discuss and understand the mining section better.
Commr. Parks said he would support both elements of the ordinance.
Commr. Sullivan opined that the Board should move forward with the ordinance due to issues they have had; furthermore, he expressed his desire to make sure the Board did not impede the Right to Farm Act. He supported connecting with the SJRWMD, especially in the area of soil conservation, to make sure the Board was not overregulating where another entity was governing.
Commr. Campione reiterated that if a property was a legitimate, bona-fide farming operation adhering to best management practices and coordinating with the SJRWMD, then there should not be any concerns with this ordinance negatively affecting it.
Commr. Breeden asked for staff to report back to the Board regarding the implementation of the ordinance and Mr. Cole responded that they would report back.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved Ordinance 2019-34 amending Appendix E, Land Development Regulations, Section 6.06.01, regarding Mining, and Section 3.09.00, entitled Lighting Standards.
Commr. Blake voted no.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 10:20 a.m. for 20 minutes.
2019 hurricane season outlook presentation
Mr. Tommy Carpenter, Director for the Office of Emergency Management, provided an overview of previous hurricane seasons, the outlook for the 2019 season which began on June 1, 2019, and information on how to prepare for hurricane season. He reviewed that Lake County’s Emergency Operations Center last responded to Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and that the county had not been impacted by a tropical system in 2018; additionally, he noted that Hurricane Donna in 1960 was the last significant hurricane to impact Lake County. He shared some weather terminology information regarding tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes as well as the Saffir-Simpson Scale for hurricane ratings. He then displayed the list of 2018 storms, noting that most were in September and October which was consistent with the peak season; additionally, he showed that the actual outcome for the season fell within the 2018 forecast. He reported these impacts to Lake County from Hurricane Irma: sustained tropical storm winds between 50 to 65 miles per hour (mph); an EF-1 tornado in the City of Umatilla with a track of 3.84 miles long and a maximum width of 500 yards; power outage at its highest was 77 percent of customers; total damage for Lake County was estimated at over $41 million; and 3,222 structures were damaged. He relayed that the County services provided during this hurricane included 13,975 calls answered by the Citizens’ Information Line, 45,000 sandbags provided to residents, 14 emergency shelters opened which sheltered almost 5,000 people and pets, 40 people received host sheltering after the storm, public transportation provided 452 rides before and after the storm, and 65,000 bottles of water were distributed to residents. He remarked that the Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) continued to provide long-term recovery services to Lake County residents after Hurricane Irma with 401 total cases, 44 open cases remaining, 7,130 volunteer hours, 100 homes provided for long-term recovery needs, and $745,000 in total grant funding brought in to assist residents. He also reported impacts to the Florida Panhandle from Hurricane Michael which he said was the most powerful hurricane to ever impact that area. He commented that for the 2019 hurricane season, the Colorado State University was predicting fourteen named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes; additionally, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was forecasting nine to fifteen named storms, four to eight hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes. He indicated that the County had not yet received Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for Hurricane Irma, that the cost of sheltering had increased due to fewer volunteers and an increase in the number of primary shelters, and that FEMA had communicated to states and counties to be prepared to be more self-reliant in future disasters. He concluded his presentation with tips on how to prepare for the hurricane season, noting that the County prepared year round, coordinated with community partners and special needs clients, performed public presentations to communities and civic organizations, and worked with public agencies and non-governmental organizations. He relayed the importance of making a plan prior to any hurricane which should include a plan for pets, determining where to shelter during a hurricane, creating a disaster supply kit, and staying informed. He then showed a map of the 15 Lake County primary shelter locations. He stressed that during a hurricane, residents should have a “safe room” in their home, stay away from doors and windows, open the refrigerator only when necessary, and stay informed to local news and weather. He elaborated that AlertLake.com, the Citizens’ Information Line (352-253-9999), and local media outlets were all ways to receive information during a storm and encouraged all residents to have a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with battery back-up. He explained that after the hurricane residents should follow these guidelines: be careful; stay informed to the latest information; stay away from downed, loose or dangling power lines; ensure food safety; use proper safety equipment and clothing when cleaning up debris; take photos of damage to their house, furnishings and surroundings for insurance; drive only when necessary, treating traffic lights that are out as a four-way stop; and contact family, friends and neighbors as soon as possible.
Commr. Sullivan reiterated the need for the public to be prepared with a minimum of five days’ worth of food, water, and supplies.
Commr. Campione mentioned that some of the immediate concerns after Hurricane Irma were the downed trees and blocked roads. She asked if the Office of Emergency Management had the equipment needed to address this once it was safe to after a storm.
Mr. Carpenter responded that that they did, and noted that his staff had attended a seminar the previous week regarding power restoration, although he implied it was utility restoration since it required staff to know how and when to clear the trees, trim the trees, cut the power cable, etc. He indicated that his staff was working to improve the overall process so that it could be done as quickly as possible.
Mr. Cole reported that a variety of staff from various areas were helping after Hurricane Irma.
Commr. Sullivan commended the coordination between numerous agencies as well as the many volunteers who reacted to what the public needed in order to provide services as soon as possible.
Commr. Campione inquired how the phone line was coordinated and if a schedule was already established for potential emergencies.
Mr. Carpenter replied that everyone knows their role and responsibilities and that once a storm is forecasted, there is a schedule that is followed. He added that staff goes through training annually.
Commr. Parks asked if the coordination with the cities was continuing to improve.
Mr. Carpenter responded that the training was going well in terms of receiving help from the cities for emergency sheltering. He explained that the shelter managers were all law enforcement who received training; additionally, he said that municipal law enforcement were also assisting with staffing.
Commr. Blake asked if residents were taking more precautions as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Michael.
Mr. Carpenter replied that those who have lived here for a while tend to prepare better, and that staff was working to educate those who are new to the state. He felt that preparedness education was getting better.
Commr. Campione thanked him for the information.
Mr. Cole recalled that he had provided information at the BCC meetings on April 23 and May 7, 2019 regarding the $7.8 million in FEMA approved funding for Lake County for expenses related to Hurricane Irma in 2017, noting that the County had about $10 million in expenses. He relayed that the funding still required some final agency sign-offs and also congressional approval. He stated that his office had been working closely with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, FEMA, the Offices of Congressmen Spano and Webster, and state and federal lobbyists in order to expedite the process. He said they did not have a timeframe for receiving the funding but would keep the Board informed of the process.
work sessions – fy 2020 proposed budget presentations
public works department
Mr. Fred Schneider, Public Works Director, mentioned that the Public Works Department was divided into the three divisions of Road Operations, Environmental Services, and Engineering. He relayed that this department included the following: engineering, construction and maintenance of roads and stormwater systems; solid waste collection, recycling and disposal; and mosquito and aquatic plant control.
Ms. Lori Koontz, Road Operations Division Manager, stated that the Road Operations Division was responsible for the construction and maintenance of the roadways, right-of-ways, and drainage systems contained in the County maintained road network. She displayed an organizational chart and noted that there were 73 full time employees (FTEs) in the areas of road operations, maintenance area 1, maintenance area 2, maintenance area 3, special projects, and construction. She shared these accomplishments for the road operations and maintenance area: maintained 1,388 miles of County road inventory; repaired pot holes daily with a 72 hour goal once notified; graded clay roads every two weeks; mowed right-of-ways from April to November with 1,053 roadway miles and 481,000 square yards of sidewalks, vacant lots, bridge approaches and water retention areas (WRAs); removed litter and debris throughout the year from the right-of-ways which equaled 852 tons of vegetative debris, 177 tons of miscellaneous debris, and 48 tons of tires; received over 3,200 maintenance calls which resulted in over 2,600 work orders; completed 12 stormwater/drainage projects; removed 70 hazardous trees; cleaned and video recorded 21 stormwater pipes; reestablished 6.15 roadway swales; and assisted with non-county maintenance road repairs in order to allow passage for emergency vehicles. She reported that for the construction section of road operations they recorded 14 subdivision final plats, reviewed and approved nine subdivision construction plans, performed 118 commercial site inspections, resurfaced 8.69 miles of roadway, and processed many development permits including 828 ROW utilization, 517 residential driveway, and 33 commercial driveway; additionally, they bid, inspected and constructed two road projects and two stormwater projects. She then listed these efficiencies for road operations: outsourced 48 percent of services to consultants, vendors and contractors; estimated and evaluated projects for best value and response time; coordinated with 47 Adopt-A-Roadway volunteer groups for litter removal efforts on 118 miles; deleted two vacant positions which resulted in a savings of $159,234 in fiscal years (FYs) 2019 and 2020; and leased rather than purchased heavy equipment. She then displayed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to the surrounding counties of Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia in the areas of paved road miles maintained, unpaved road miles maintained, estimated fuel tax revenue for FY 2019, and estimated fuel tax revenue for FY 2019 per total road miles maintained, noting that Lake County’s 1,273 paved miles was in the middle range when compared to the other counties. She indicated that Marion, Osceola, Polk and Volusia Counties had adopted the additional five cents fuel tax, and that Orange County had the highest estimated fuel tax revenue at $49 million, with Lake County’s revenue at $13 million. She concluded with the Road Operations Division proposed FY 2020 budget with total expenditures at $9,356,448, noting that it represented a 3.7 percent reduction from FY 2019 and was fully funded by the gas tax. She highlighted that personal services had a reduction due to personnel efficiencies, that operating expenses had a reduction due to a decrease in the carry forward balance, and that the capital outlay included equipment replacements as well as the Challenger Drive and Lenze Drive Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) special assessment which had not yet been bid.
Ms. Mary Hamilton, Environmental Services Division Manager, explained that the Environmental Services Division provided for the planning, design, and construction of water quality related improvements, protected public health through their mosquito and aquatic program, and included solid waste collection and disposal. She displayed an organizational chart for the division and shared that they had 56 FTEs with 12 part-time employees in the mosquito and aquatic area who performed nighttime spraying. She listed these accomplishments for the various areas within her division: mosquito management received over 3,000 mosquito service requests, had over 2,000 trap collections, identified over 82,000 species, adulticided or larvicided over 914,000 acres, and released over 26,000 mosquito fish to aid in mosquito control; aquatic plant management had 334 resident requests, treated over 8,000 acres of invasive aquatic plants, treated 7,438 acres of hydrilla in connection with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and were in their seventh of a ten year contract with FWC to manage plant growth in the major lakes with reimbursements for materials and training totaling over $150,000; the stormwater area completed the Sunset Drive Water Quality Retrofit with an estimated phosphorous removal of 2.42 pounds per year, exceeded the Lake Harris five year total maximum daily load (TMDL) pollutant load target, and conducted outreach efforts in order to educate regarding the fertilizer ordinance; Keep Lake Beautiful (KLB) participated in 10 events during FY 2018 which resulted in the collection of over 43 tons of garbage, and eight events to date in FY 2019 which resulted in the collection of 61.9 tons of garbage; the Water Lab/Adopt-a-Lake subset section of stormwater increased their sample analyses by 11 percent, had a successful third party audit and passed with no deficiencies, and Adopt-a-Lake volunteers collected 1,600 pounds of trash from lakes and waterways with 150 samples sent for analysis to the County laboratory; and solid waste provided collection and disposal services to 70,376 unincorporated residential units, disposed of 60,634 tons of trash, processed 16,332 tons of recyclable materials, and mulched 31,456 tons of yard waste in FY 2018. She also noted these additional accomplishments: Lake County received their third grant of $25,000 from FWC with a County match of $28,720 to purchase 214 additional bear resistant carts which were delivered in March 2019; the oyster shell program, which is a partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association, received over 57 tons of shells from various restaurants with over 17 tons placed back in reef restoration; and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) assisted with a $25,000 grant to assist with tire disposal during tire amnesty events. She then relayed these division efficiencies for each of these same areas: mosquito management had a $45,617 savings due to position reclassifications; aquatic plant management used sonar mapping to identify specific areas in order to provide the correct amount and placement of treatment material; stormwater leveraged grant funds and underwent a reorganization which resulted in $34,047 in savings; the Water Lab/Adopt-a-Lake began using iPads to log samples in the field which saved time in the office, and had a reorganization which resulted in savings of $4,204; and solid waste continued evaluation of their contracts for the most efficient and lowest cost and also had changes to staffing positions which saved $88,163. She then displayed several benchmark graphs for mosquito expenditures per capita, mosquito expenditures per acre treated, aquatic expenditures per capita, aquatic expenditures per acre maintained, stormwater expenditures per capita, solid waste assessment, and trash and recycling tonnages. She ended her presentation with the Environmental Services Division proposed FY 2020 budgets with the first budget having a total in expenditures of $4,223,526 without solid waste, and the second proposed budget was for the solid waste 4200 and 4220 funds with a total in expenditures of $20,489,491.
Mr. Cole remarked that by building up the reserves fund the County was able to avoid year to year increases in the solid waste assessment; additionally, he recapped that in April of this year, staff presented options for collection and disposal of solid waste in the future and noted that they would be presenting at the June 25, 2019 BCC meeting to provide an update on discussions with the haulers.
Mr. Schneider stated that the Engineering Division was responsible for the planning and design of new and improved roadways in Lake County, which he noted provide economic development opportunity, transportation network mobility, and include features such as traffic signals, multi-use trails and sidewalks. He said that the division also coordinates with state and local agencies, holds public meetings, and studies and implements needed traffic safety improvements for county roadways. He indicated that the division was divided into the five areas of design/permitting, development/sidewalk, right-of-way, survey, and traffic engineering and operations. He shared these accomplishments for this division: in-house project design for six projects; maintenance of geographic information system (GIS) for public and private use; right-of-way donation by developers for county roads totaled $5,894,576 in FY 2018/2019; completed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Safe Access to School projects; maintained all traffic signals and devices in the county including the 14 towns and cities; maintained all signage and striping on the county road network as well as signage for the Cities of Clermont, Tavares, and Minneola; coordinated with the FDOT for funding of traffic signal maintenance, parts and equipment; restriped 69 miles of roadway; monitored 86 intersections with telecommunication; supported the Community Traffic Safety Team and educational events; and had one staff member attend the National Association of County Engineers as part of a pilot program to develop a local road safety plan. He reported that this division identified almost $315,000 in efficiencies in FYs 2019 and 2020 by the elimination of one FTE through reclassification, updated sign maintenance agreements with the cities to reflect the increase in material costs, utilized engineering staff for minor projects, and contracted for traffic signal services for reconstruction and rebuilds. He then showed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to surrounding counties in the areas of traffic signal and sign inspection programs, total number and number per technician for traffic signals and flashing beacons, number of traffic signs, and signs per technician, noting that there were 241 flashing beacons, 248 traffics signals, 74 signals and beacons per technician, over 35,000 traffic signs, and about 8,800 signs per technician. He concluded with the Engineering Division proposed FY 2020 budget of $5,648,518 in total expenditures. He then showed the overall Public Works Department proposed FY 2020 budget of $39,296,451 in total expenditures, noting that the total efficiency savings was $646,228 in annual cost savings.
Mr. Cole shared that since Mr. Schneider became the Public Works Director and Mr. Ron Russo became the Deputy County Manager, both of them had diligently worked to identify efficiencies throughout public works and realized the $646,228 in savings. He added that while the County’s expenditures were reduced for other areas of the organization that identified savings, efficiencies identified within this division would be placed back into public works’ projects in order to put more money towards road repaving, for example. He commended Mr. Schneider, Mr. Russo and the public works staff.
Commr. Parks also thanked the public works staff for their hard work and for their responsiveness to road concerns. He shared that he had recently shadowed the road striping team and recognized the following public works employees for allowing him to work with them: Mr. Larry Gobel, Mr. Ricky Miller, Mr. Hector Rivera, Mr. Chad Steen, and Mr. George Gadiel.
road resurfacing program
Mr. Schneider presented information on the County paved road resurfacing program, noting that the Lake County Public Works Department was responsible for the maintenance of County road infrastructure with road resurfacing and preservation being one element of the maintenance program. He indicated that the county had 1,252 centerline miles of paved roadways with the value of the county paved road infrastructure being $377 million which he opined made it a valuable asset. He specified that road elements that needed to be maintained included the pavement, shoulders, curb, stormwater system, sidewalks, guardrail, bridges, mowing and tree trimming. He mentioned these benefits of road resurfacing: preserves the County maintained road network; improves road safety by reducing hazards which result from a rutted surface; reduces maintenance required and lowers costs by eliminating the repair services; minimizes complaints; and when combined with resurfacing, a pavement preservation program would reduce long-term costs. He shared the life cycle of a road including the various ratings and road images within each rating, noting that a ten rating was good, a four rating meant the road needed repair, and a one rating was a failed road that needed a total rebuild. He showed a pavement life and cost of maintenance graph, and stated that the average road life was fifteen to twenty years, noting that preservation treatments would increase the life of the pavement and reduce repair costs. He indicated that 49 percent of the current inventory of county roads were within the area of critical concern, which meant that it would cost more to repair. He then displayed several graphs regarding the number of road miles per rating from 2012 to 2018, transportation revenue sources from 2013 to 2019, road resurfacing expenditures from 2012 to 2019, and the percentage of asphalt road inventory resurfaced from 2012 to 2019. He reported that historical funding for transportation revenue included the transportation trust fund or gas tax, road impact fees, renewal sales tax and grants and aids. He explained that the renewal sales tax funding amount was higher prior to 2018 due to carryover funds from the first sales tax, which he indicated was mostly expended with just the second renewal sales tax currently; furthermore, he said that grants and aids funding was larger this year due to the $10 million which was part of the Citrus Grove project phase three. He relayed that the current process of maintenance of the paved roadways was that roads in the worst condition were repaired first, noting that the County did not really have a preservation program. He opined that a designated funding source for resurfacing and preservation would save money over time with the goal to preserve and resurface roadways before they enter the area of critical concern. He reported that a fully funded program would cost $5.3 million annually. He then presented these four possible funding options for such a program: option one was to remain status quo and continue with the current allocation of sales tax going to resurfacing and increase the allocation if sales tax revenues were to increase; option two was a bank loan where the County would borrow a fixed amount and pay it back over 14 years while utilizing all or part of the current annual sales tax allocation for road resurfacing; option three would be implementing an additional five cent local option gas tax; and option four would be through the General Fund. He then shared the pros and cons for each option. He said that the pro for option one was that funding would work to keep roads from falling into areas where complete rehabilitation was needed while the cons were that it would not keep up with the continued deterioration of the roadway and roads rated a five or less would increase from 348 miles currently to 800 miles in 14 years. He explained that the pros for option two were that if the County took out a $10 million loan, it would immediately allow the resurfacing of 91 miles of roads rated a four or five, after the initial loan expenditure it would still allow about 10 miles of resurfacing annually for the remaining life of the loan, and it would allow for strategic planning for a designated funding program for road maintenance. He said that the cons for option two would be that 257 miles of existing five rated roads would not be resurfaced, additional funding would still be needed over the life of the loan as other roads fell into the area of critical concern, and roads rated a five or less would increase from 255 to 725 centerline miles by the end of the last loan payment. He indicated that for option three, the proceeds would be shared with municipalities, the estimated total annual revenue would be $6 million, and the County would receive approximately $4 million of that amount based on the current formula. He relayed that the pros for option three would be that it would provide a consistent designated funding source, and that funding would provide for a preservation program as well as resurfacing; furthermore, he said the cons for this option would be the increase in the gas tax was limited to five cents and would not account for inflation over time, and was subject to downturns in the economy. He stated that the pros for option four were a decrease in the backlog of roads needing resurfacing, as property values increased the funding levels could possibly increase, and all property owners would be contributing to the road resurfacing program. He said the cons for option four were that it was not a guaranteed funding source as there were many competing interests for ad valorem revenue, it would reduce the ability to increase reserves, and reducing ad valorem taxes could then be challenging. He concluded that the Board could consider any combination of these four options or other potential options, and that staff could bring back additional information regarding any of the options the Board desired.
Mr. Cole remarked that in regards to the General Fund, staff was preparing two potential scenarios for the Board’s consideration which would be presented at the June 25, 2019 BCC meeting. He explained that if the County did not receive the $7.8 million reimbursement for Hurricane Irma expenses, then the proposed budget would be tighter and would not allow for road resurfacing funding; however, he said that when hurricane reimbursement funding was received, staff was planning to propose to the Board to utilize approximately $1.5 to $2 million in next year’s budget for road resurfacing which would cover about 13 to 18 miles of roadway.
Commr. Breeden asked if the Board could consider funding at mid-year if the hurricane reimbursement did not come in prior to the budget being passed.
Mr. Cole replied that the Board could do that at any time once the funding was received.
Commr. Parks inquired which surrounding counties had the gas tax, and Ms. Koontz responded that Marion, Osceola, Polk and Volusia Counties had the gas tax.
Commr. Breeden implied that she was considering the bank loan option, although she realized that this would put a large amount of roads on the same life span to be addressed in ten to fifteen years; however, since the approach was to be paid back over the term of the current sales tax levy, she felt it would be a way to get a large number of roads fixed in a short amount of time. She wondered what the scenario would look like if the County borrowed $20 million.
Mr. Cole agreed that the number of roads addressed now with this option would need to be addressed again in the ten to fifteen year span. He said that if the Board kept the funding allocation consistent with what currently went towards road resurfacing from the sales tax, then there would be the capacity to borrow about $20 million to be repaid during the life of the infrastructure sales tax, although he noted that staff had not actually calculated what it would look like to borrow $20 million. He reiterated that what Mr. Schneider was suggesting was to borrow $10 million and then to hold back some of the funding since the County would not have as large of a debt service payment and would have extra funding each year to go towards ongoing projects.
Commr. Breeden suggested using a combination of options two and four to assist with stabilizing the situation.
Commr. Parks thought that option one was not a viable option, and agreed that a combination of options two and four would be a good business decision especially since the cost of materials and construction were rising. He added that the gas tax would require a separate conversation but might help if there were specific road projects that it would support.
Commr. Campione recalled that when the gas tax was previously considered, some people had the impression that the gas tax would fix all the road issues but it would not; furthermore, she felt that it would have to be done in combination with some of the other options. She opined that the most prudent approach would be to have options two, three and four working together. She mentioned that there were also many questions that arose the last time the gas tax was presented as a possible option, and she encouraged addressing some of those concerns as well as relaying what could be accomplished with a combination of these options.
Commr. Breeden felt that the gas tax option would take time to explore; therefore, she was supporting options two and four.
Commr. Campione believed that by taking action on options two and four, it might assist with getting public support for the gas tax. She also thought that as the economy changed, having three different funding options would help with staying up to date on the needs.
Commr. Blake suggested a fifth option which would focus some of the infrastructure sales tax funding for one year in order to get caught up on roads. He gave the example that if they currently allocated $2 million from that to road resurfacing, then possibly increase it to $7 million so that in one year all four rated roads could be addressed. He thought that fifth option in combination with option four for a few years would help the County address road needs. He realized that it might delay some other projects slated to be done with infrastructure sales tax funding; however, he opined that roads should take priority and would add to the quality of life for residents.
Commr. Parks commented that since the County was conservative in their revenue projections, then any infrastructure sales tax funding above the projected revenues could go towards only road projects.
Commr. Sullivan remarked that along that same thought process, if the County took option two and did not use 100 percent of the sales tax funding on the loan, if the revenues went down then the larger capital projects that cost $1 million could be delayed to a future date. He stated this would not tie up all of the money but would dedicate it to those projects if the funding sources were to decrease; however, if the economy remained robust and the sales tax stayed high, then there would be more funding available. He opined that something should be done and thought that options two and four were the best and most flexible options; additionally, he said that infrastructure across the nation was behind and he did not believe that federal funding would be an option. He reiterated his support of working through option two and using the sales tax as efficiently as possible, but not dedicating 100 percent to bonding or loans so that the County could then figure out what projects they wanted to spend money on. He added that if the money did not materialize or the County had to spend it in another area, then there would be flexibility and options if the economy went down. He believed the County had an immediate need and should do something now because the farther behind they get, the more it would cost the taxpayers. He supported doing something now and looking at options each year as the County moved forward.
Commr. Campione suggested that when the sales tax project list is reviewed in August of this year, that they consider the possibility of shifting priorities or allocating whatever comes in over projections to go towards transportation. She questioned how much might be allocated to the cities from the gas tax and how much support they might receive from the municipalities and the city residents to pursue the gas tax.
Commr. Parks felt that if there was a sunset time for the gas tax, such as five years, and the funding was going to a specific city project, that city residents would support it.
Commr. Breeden recalled that there was citizen resistance to the gas tax previously although she felt it was important to do what was needed for the county.
Commr. Campione encouraged transparency regarding where funding currently came from and how it was used, showing that it was being utilized as effectively and efficiently as possible, and then presenting the needs that could not be addressed. She added that it would be important to show what could be accomplished if there were additional funding sources, how that would impact the county’s future, and how much more it would cost if they were not fixed now.
Mr. Cole said the plan would be to report on option four at the next BCC meeting as well as the July 16, 2019 meeting, reiterating that there would be two scenarios from the General Fund depending on Hurricane Irma reimbursement. He added that staff would need to engage their financial consultants regarding a possible loan and repayment options, noting that this option would be repaid with sales tax moving forward.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 12:15 p.m. for an hour.
The Vice Chairman reconvened the meeting as Commissioner Campione, Ms. Marsh, and Mr. Gary J. Cooney, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, were not present immediately after the lunch recess due to attending a bond closing event.
work sessions – fy 2020 proposed budget presentations continued
office of emergency management
Mr. Carpenter stated that the Office of Emergency Management had four FTEs who managed the special needs registry, processed and approved Lake County special events, managed the Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), maintained and updated Lake County preparedness plans, managed Lake County’s emergency notification system AlertLake, reviewed and approved healthcare emergency management plans, and managed and coordinated the County’s disaster and preparedness training and exercise program. He reported the following accomplishments for the year: added a fifth special needs shelter with generator power for medical patients for emergency sheltering during hurricanes; automated the special needs registry from paper forms to online registrations; automated the healthcare emergency management plan review from paper to online submissions; coordinated with local churches and non-profit agencies to provide cold weather sheltering from November 2018 through March 2019; began use of the WebEOC Information and Resource Management system for disaster management; and continued ongoing management of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program where Lake County was awarded $6.9 million for 18 countywide projects submitted to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. He remarked that this office provided training to countywide agencies for emergency shelter manager training for law enforcement officers, EOC leadership positions, and federal and local training for disaster management. He relayed that some of their efficiencies for the year included an executed agreement with the City of Groveland at no charge to use the Everbridge Emergency Notification System which powers AlertLake, and secured continued use of the Florida’s Natural Growers facility in the City of Umatilla as the County’s logistical staging area during disasters. He then displayed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to surrounding counties in the areas of special needs population, healthcare facility emergency plan annual reviews, and funding composition, noting that their funding composition was comprised of General Fund and grants and had remained consistent for the last several years. He explained that the budget had changed some with the reallocation from capital outlay to operating expenses. He indicated that was due to a vehicle replacement and purchase of computers that had been accomplished this year within capital outlay; furthermore, operating expense funding increased due to the need to utilize an emergency management consultant in order to update state required preparedness plans. He concluded with the Office of Emergency Management proposed FY 2020 budget of $412,459 in total expenditures, which he noted represented a 2.9 percent decrease.
Office of emergency medical services
Mr. Jerry Smith, Director for the Office of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), commented that the Office of EMS was the only transport agency licensed in the county and had staffing for 22 advanced life support (ALS) ambulances at peak operation, with 15 providing twenty-four hour coverage and seven running during various 13 hour shifts each day. He explained that his role had the dual responsibility of leading the Office of Emergency Medical Services and also managing Lake County’s EMS system which coordinates the fire services that operate under the County’s ALS license, noting that there was one medical director for both the Office of EMS and 12 of the 13 fire departments within the county. He relayed that the Office of EMS also provided clinical assurance, education and regulatory compliance, as well as special detail and community event medical coverage. He displayed an organizational chart and pointed out the Lake EMS logo, noting that while this office now worked for the Lake County BCC, the Lake EMS brand had a great reputation within the community so they kept their logo in order for residents to know that it was the same organization making calls within the county. He shared that their accomplishments included the transition from Lake EMS to the County Office of EMS, established an operational reserve, assisted fire rescue with the implementation of their rural transport program, implemented quarterly cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes, passed the first state ALS inspection as the Office of EMS, and initiated a new patient care report system. He then reported these efficiencies for the office: due to the transition into the County operations, they eliminated duplicate contracts and expenses, streamlined operational processes, and outsourced billing, noting that they had recently received their Medicare number and had started to see increased revenue; improved the new employee hiring process; provided training for 13 agencies which totaled 20,778 courses; and coordinated uniform procurement with fire rescue and dispatch. He then displayed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to Collier, Escambia, Lee, Leon, Manatee, and Volusia Counties in the areas of population served by agency, percentage of total population transported, incidents/transports ratio, and average annual transports per ambulance. He mentioned that they were not able to utilize the standard benchmark counties because they had to compare to counties which had a single EMS county agency. He ended with the Office of Emergency Medical Services proposed FY 2020 budget of $16,802,225 in total expenditures.
Commr. Sullivan asked if they were tracking the numbers for collection percentages since they had outsourced billing and now had their Medicare number.
Mr. Smith replied that they were but had not caught up yet; however, he felt confident that they would meet their target projections on revenue since they had projected a four percent growth on transports and were currently at 5.2 percent. He added that with the new patient care report writing system, they would be able to receive better analytics and improve any weaknesses in order to enhance revenue collections.
Office of fire rescue
Mr. Jim Dickerson, Fire Chief for the Office of Fire Rescue, commented that the Office of Fire Rescue’s mission was to protect lives and property, provide pre-hospital medical treatment, and a multitude of other services including countywide special operations response teams which provide hazardous materials spill response, rural search and rescue, wildland fire suppression, and recently added venom response. He added that they had several members on the Central Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team, known as Florida Taskforce 4, and that they operated under the Local Emergency Planning Council (LEPC) and the Florida State Emergency Response Commission. He shared that they also had community outreach programs such as Smoke Detector Blitz, Fired-Up Reading, and fire extinguisher training. He indicated that this office had just under 220 FTEs and that they provided emergency services out of 25 stations on three 24-hour shifts. He listed these accomplishments for the year: upgraded Station 59 to ALS with Station 77 set to upgrade in October 2019; implemented their first rural rescue unit; renovated two fire stations; conducted two Smoke Detector Blitz events in partnership with the American Red Cross; participated in three KLB clean up events; and completed over 2,000 hours of school outreach programs. He mentioned that some of their efficiencies included an automatic aid agreement with the City of Eustis, two hazard mitigation grant awards for about $1.2 million, combined logistic support with Lake County Office of EMS, reached 100 percent compliance with Insurance Service Organization (ISO) training, and applied for 15 additional positions through a new Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. He then displayed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County in the areas of number of calls for service, number of fire stations, funding per fire station, and cost per capita, noting that Lake County averaged about one fire station per 60 square miles which was the largest coverage area per fire station compared to other counties, and that they had the lowest operating cost per station and cost per capita when compared to the surrounding counties. He concluded with the Office of Fire Rescue proposed FY 2020 budget in regards to revenues and expenditures with $28,583,231 both in total revenues and expenditures. He relayed that 70 percent of their revenue came from fire assessment, 18 percent from the Fire MSTU, and 12 percent from other revenue sources, noting that projections for next year were slightly higher than the current year, and that the current SAFER grant ended in quarter one of FY 2019. He stated that expenditures had a 7.6 percent increase in personal services due to bargain increases, six additional firefighter positions, and three firefighters being reclassified to lieutenant; additionally, capital outlay increased due to having very little capital last year with a replacement brush truck, gear extractor, and some thermal imaging cameras budgeted for this year.
Office of public safety support
Mr. Greg Holcomb, Director for the Office of Public Safety Support, relayed that the Office of Public Safety Support provided the following services: fire and medical dispatching services countywide for all county and municipal public safety agencies; oversight and management of the countywide radio system including tower sites, user repairs, radio programming, and installation and maintenance; oversight and management of countywide 9-1-1 services for the six public safety answering points which included the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, fire/medical dispatch, and the Cities of Eustis, Groveland, Leesburg, and Mount Dora; review 9-1-1 site plans and proposed development; facilitate standard 9-1-1 street naming, addressing and inspections; manage logistical support for participating public safety agencies; and provide fleet services for the Office of EMS. He remarked that this office had 59.5 FTEs within the four integrated divisions of countywide radio, emergency 9-1-1 (E9-1-1), emergency dispatch, and logistics/fleet. He stated that for accomplishments under the countywide radio and emergency 9-1-1 division they implemented countywide radio subscriber replacement and training for law enforcement, fire, medical, and general government operations; additionally, they reorganized and integrated the Public Safety Communications, Logistics and Technical Team in order to support the Lake EMS transition as well as the finalization of relocation of addressing from Information Technology (IT) to E9-1-1. He mentioned that the Office of Public Safety Support deployed a team to the Florida Panhandle to assist with communications after Hurricane Michael. He continued with accomplishments for the emergency dispatch division which included procurement and configuration of the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, implementation of the Next Generation 9-1-1 network, implementation of text-to-9-1-1 services, and integrated countywide addressing into the 9-1-1 process which included agreements with the Cities of Clermont, Fruitland Park, Groveland, and Mascotte. He also reported that the logistics/fleet division completed 646 work orders, performed 287 preventive maintenance services, and provided 24/7 on-call support that responded to 169 road calls for service, noting that all of these accomplishments were performed by two technicians and one working supervisor. He shared that some of their efficiencies for the year included restructuring staffing to enhance services and increase productivity, creating new capabilities through technology refresh and replacement, consolidating logistic services for the Offices of EMS and Fire Rescue as well as integrating supplies and ordering processes under one program for both of those offices, and managing $1.2 million in grants for the Next Generation 9-1-1 network upgrade, text-to-9-1-1 services, 9-1-1 addressing and GIS data support, and the text-to-9-1-1 circuit funding state reimbursement program. He then showed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to surrounding counties in the areas of radio users in service, 9-1-1 calls for service, 9-1-1 address points maintained for emergency response, and wireless versus non-wireless calls, noting that the total number of 9-1-1 calls for service as well as wireless calls continued to rise in the county, and that the county contained 202,696 physical buildings within the county that had an actual emergency response address assigned to them. He ended his presentation with the Office of Public Safety Support proposed FY 2020 budget at $9,953,489 in total expenditures, noting that the changes were associated with realigning allocation of funding based on responsibility with the Office of EMS transition.
Commr. Sullivan asked that since the County had recently purchased and implemented the new radios but technology was drastically changing, was the County on a good path for the next ten years.
Mr. Holcomb replied that they were; additionally, he relayed that the various agencies had given feedback that the method utilized in implementing the new system was a very standard way to budget and every agency would be budgeting the same way. He said this meant that if technology did change in the next ten years, each agency would continue to use the same model and fund their own radios.
office of housing and human services
Ms. Allison Thall, Director for the Office of Housing and Human Services, remarked that the Office of Housing and Human Services was comprised of 18 FTEs divided into the two sections of Housing Services and Human Services. She indicated that Housing Services operated the three separate programs of the State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP), the Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 Rental Program (Section 8), and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). She shared that the Office of Housing and Human Services served as the link between government and the community and worked with numerous partners to improve the quality of life for Lake County residents in need of assistance. She commented that Housing Services strove to provide affordable housing and to assist urban county partners with neighborhood improvements while Human Services helped residents in need of assistance through the programs of Children and Elder Services, the Community Health Worker Program, and Veterans Services. She added that this office also managed the state mandated programs related to Medicaid, inmate medical, and public health. She then showed a list of the three housing programs mentioned above and the assistance they provide to individuals and public entities. She explained that the Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 program was funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was for rental assistance, and provided housing vouchers to qualified low income families in order to pay their rent each month, noting that her office also worked directly with the City of Leesburg and LifeStream Behavioral Center with their project based voucher programs. She stated that the CDBG program supported community development activities using HUD funding as well, noting that typical partners were the cities, private not-for-profit organizations and the County. She added that CDBG funds were specifically designated for large, capital costs associated with street paving, sidewalk construction, water and sewer, utility projects, neighborhood centers, and the preservation of historic properties. She described that SHIP was state funded, promoted home ownership, and assisted with the rehabilitation of substandard homes with the majority of SHIP funds being used to assist qualified individuals and families with items such as down payment assistance, rehabilitation of an existing home, or even the demolition and replacement of a home; additionally, she said that SHIP supported the development of rental and multi-family properties with funding for infrastructure costs, impact fees, and land acquisition. She then listed these accomplishments for the Office of Housing and Human Services: maximized the number of families served under the Section 8 program; completed the Umatilla Community Center in partnership with the Lake County Office of Facilities Management utilizing CDBG funds; assisted 10 first time homebuyers with down payment assistance through SHIP funds; contracted with 22 private not-for-profit agencies to serve at-risk children, families and elders in crisis; and met with and provided direct services to 1,700 veterans and responded to over 6,000 phone calls from veterans seeking assistance. She relayed that some of their efficiencies included maintaining the Section 8 housing voucher utilization at 99 percent, upgrading to an automated program management and fiscal tracking module for CDBG and SHIP projects, and combined Children Services Council and Elder Affairs Council meetings for the purpose of collaborating on inter-generational strategies along with providers in order to better serve the low income seniors and families. She then displayed several benchmark graphs comparing Lake County to surrounding counties in the areas of number of households in Lake County for 2018, CDBG funding per household, SHIP funding per household, required County Medicaid costs, required Medicaid County cost per capita, veteran benefits distribution by the Veterans Administration, and per capita benefit per veteran, noting that CDBG funding per household had remained consistent and was comparable to surrounding counties, and that SHIP funding had reduced throughout the state due to funds being sent to the Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael. She stated that Florida was one of the lowest funded states from all funding sources for mental health and substance abuse services; therefore, she relayed that LifeStream Behavioral Center was seeking additional funding for two separate functions. She indicated that they were requesting an additional $150,000 for the purpose of providing direct mental health and substance abuse services to Lake County residents, noting that the County currently funded LifeStream annually at $1,073,987; additionally, they were also seeking assistance with a capital funding request of $500,000 for the construction of a South Lake Services complex due to population growth and the community need for more mental health services. She concluded with the Office of Housing and Human Services proposed FY 2020 budget at a total expenditures of $17,076,645, with Housing Services at $9,420,171 in total expenditures and funded 100 percent with state and federal funds, and Human Services at $7,656,474 in total expenditures and funded by the County General Fund.
Commr. Breeden asked about the estimated budget for SHIP funding for next year compared to this year especially with the possible decreased amounts from the state.
Ms. Thall replied that it would likely be similar as last year’s allocation was $544,000 and that based on preliminary information regarding this year, it would probably be about $550,000.
Commr. Parks inquired when the BCC would decide how the SHIP funding was allocated.
Ms. Thall responded that the general guidelines for SHIP was that they were required to spend 65 percent of the SHIP allocation on homeownership and 25 percent could be spent on rental and multi-family, noting that was what was in place through their Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP). She said that in regards to the rental assistance, they were allowing developers and non-profit organizations to apply for the SHIP funds; furthermore, she stated that it would come before the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee for a recommendation and then based on available funding, it could be determined at what level the office would be able to assist.
Commr. Sullivan remarked that the funding amounts had to be reviewed periodically in regards to how the $550,000 would be divided, noting that some amounts were set amounts; furthermore, he thought that the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee would probably not recommend any changes since the allocated amount would not be that high. He recalled that many were hoping for the state legislation to fund housing more but that did not happen.
Ms. Thall indicated that 80 percent of the Housing Trust Fund money that was allocated for affordable housing went to the Florida Panhandle which left 20 percent to be disbursed to the rest of the state. She added that it was similar to last year’s amount which was also reduced since a large portion of the Housing Trust Fund went to address public safety after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
office of transit services
Mr. Cole recalled that there was a change in the Office of Transit Services leadership in April of this year and noted that Ms. Jill Brown assumed the role as Interim Director of the office at that time, noting that she focused on both FY 2019 and FY 2020 budgets, partnership funding, and the services the County provides. He indicated that Ms. Brown, along with Deputy County Manager Russo, had identified a number of leadership and process issues that preceded Ms. Brown and required an evaluation of the entire operation. He relayed that evaluation along with the operational analysis currently being finalized, meant that staff was reviewing transit in order to ensure that all appropriate processes were in place and followed, that the office was in sync with its partners, and that the County was providing an efficiently run service that met the needs of its customers. He stated that Ms. Brown would be presenting the FY 2020 proposed budget; furthermore, he said that staff would return to the Board within the next few months to discuss further the FY 2019 transit operations.
Ms. Brown shared that the mission of the Office of Transit Services was to provide safe, accessible, efficient and cost effective public transportation that meets the transportation needs of residents and visitors in Lake County. She reported that the office contracted with RATP Dev to provide the actual provision of the transit and paratransit programs, called LakeXpress and Lake County Connection, and provide maintenance for all the fixed route buses and paratransit vehicles. She showed a chart of the seven fixed routes and the areas they serviced. She relayed that they operated Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m., that fares cost $1.00, that students rode for free, and that seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities had half price fares. She reported that fixed route ridership continued to grow and was around 340,000 for FY 2017/2018. She explained that the paratransit service was door-to-door service for mobility-impaired, developmentally disabled and senior citizens who met ADA or Transportation Disadvantaged eligibility requirements; additionally, she stated that this service operated Monday through Friday, 5:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m., that fees were $2.00 within Lake County, and that it serviced the Cities of Orlando and Gainesville on certain days for a higher fee. She added that paratransit ridership decreased in FY 2016/2017 when their contract to provide Medicaid transportation ended.
Commr. Sullivan asked if this was a result of the change of Medicaid going to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) with that particular contracted service being detailed to them and not to governmental agencies, and Ms. Brown confirmed that was correct.
Commissioner Campione and Ms. Marsh returned to the meeting at 2:45 p.m.
Ms. Brown continued her presentation and reported these accomplishments and efficiencies for the Office of Transit Services: installed radio systems in fixed route buses; provided service to shelters during cold weather days; completed their major Transit Development Plan (TDP); were nearing completion of the ADA Bus Stop Transition Plan which would be coming to the Board for review; completed the Transit Asset Management Plan and submitted it to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); moved their transfer station from Lake Tech to Ardice Avenue; extended Route 4 into a City of Umatilla neighborhood; replaced and repaired automated voice annunciators (AVA) systems which automatically announce bus stops and are a federal ADA requirement; were nearing completion of the comprehensive operational analysis; and started using the Token Transit Smartphone Application which allows passengers to purchase their bus pass. She then displayed several benchmark graphs in the areas of fixed route buses operated at maximum service, paratransit buses operated at maximum service, and number of fixed route and paratransit trips, noting that the number of fixed route trips was projected to be 374,571 this year with paratransit growing and projected to be 97,821. She concluded with the Office of Transit Services FY 2020 proposed budget at $9,849,527 in total expenditures, noting that operating expenses were increasing due to an increased number and length of paratransit trips, and that capital outlay was decreasing due to the $6 million in this year’s budget which was being spent for various expenses such as the purchase of vehicles.
Commr. Parks inquired when the update on the analysis study would be reported and Mr. Cole replied that the report was not yet completed and would be brought before the Board within the next few months along with other transit issues to be discussed.
Ms. Brown added that the report would be finished by June 22, 2019.
Mr. Cole noted that the final report would be shared with the Board once it was received; however, he said staff would need time to analyze ways to implement certain components of it.
office of county probation
Mr. Tony Deaton, Chief Probation Officer with the Office of County Probation, stated that the Office of County Probation had 14 FTEs, noting that twelve were assigned to probation and funded by the General Fund with two assigned to teen court which were funded by local restricted funds collected by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s court costs. He shared that this office provided supervision to offenders placed on probation and pretrial intervention for criminal traffic and misdemeanor offenses and ensured their compliance with court ordered sanctions; additionally, probation staff promoted a crime free lifestyle by requiring offenders to be employed, perform community service, make restitution, attend counseling and remain substance free as appropriate. He indicated the following accomplishments for the office: monitored over 4,800 court ordered cases by performing 12,900 personal supervision contacts with adult offenders; assumed supervision of an average of 300 new cases each month while ensuring that 71 percent of offenders exited probation successfully, noting that was about 2,627 out of 3,680 cases; enforced the collection of $60,000 in restitution from offenders which was returned directly to crime victims for their losses; coordinated the completion of 13,500 hours of community service performed by 480 adult offenders; partnered with Goodwill Industries to hold a job fair in the City of Leesburg; and supervised probationers at the Clermont Job Center to improve outcomes with those who lacked transportation or employment. He relayed that for efficiencies they had worked with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) to coordinate the seamless arrest of over 100 probation violators before their release from jail on new crimes, assisted with mental health jail diversion by diverting mentally ill persons to LifeStream’s Forensic Community Service Team, and assisted the Veteran’s Treatment Court by diverting veterans on probation supervision to community alternatives to incarceration. He then displayed several benchmark graphs for the areas of offender monthly supervision fees, number of active cases as of March 1, 2019, number of probation officers, and cases per officer as of March 1, 2019, noting that they charged $55 per month per offender for probation, and that there were 1,366 active cases being managed by six probation officers. He concluded with the Office of County Probation FY 2020 proposed budget of $739,386 in total expenditures.
Commr. Campione inquired about the number of active cases as Orange County had 1,489 and Lake County had 1,366.
Mr. Deaton responded that Orange County was using civil citations for marijuana charges for first offenders which would divert it out of probation and make the number of cases be lower. He added that Lake County’s Teen Court Program had also experienced a decrease in number of probation cases because of the use of juvenile civil citations which utilized pure diversion and referred directly to work in lieu of an arrest program which would not require filing with the Clerk’s Office.
Commr. Campione asked if anyone was tracking those who go the diversion route and if they subsequently reoffend.
Mr. Deaton replied that from their office’s experience, they had about a 10 to 11 percent recidivism rate per year following probation; additionally, he noted that typically they had individuals who were both on teen court and adult misdemeanor probation for a short period of time.
Commr. Sullivan inquired about the 300 new cases per month and the 71 percent of offenders who exited probation successfully, and asked if that correlated to the number of officers working the number of cases.
Mr. Deaton responded that the Lake County office might be different than other county offices, and gave the example that if someone was ordered to perform a substance abuse evaluation and recommended treatment, then in Lake County the person must fully complete that requirement otherwise they would return to court. He added that some counties do not have that requirement which might give them a higher completion rate, noting that as long as the person was enrolled in counseling at the conclusion of probation then the county would count that as successful. He implied that the responsiveness and success rate for Lake County might decline due to the increased number of cases; furthermore, he said that his officers were stretched fairly thin due to 228 cases per officer and the volume of cases coming in per month.
Commr. Sullivan commented that he agreed and suggested that the BCC consider adding another probation officer. He felt that if the County could assist these individuals, it would be a benefit to the community and a good use of taxpayers’ dollars.
Commr. Breeden asked if this office was down in their number of staff from previous years.
Mr. Deaton replied that they were down, noting that they experienced a spike in cases in 2013 to 2014 and added an additional position; however, he relayed that since then, they had eliminated one limited term position and were now seeing an upward trend in numbers. He relayed that he desired to be proactive if possible.
Commr. Breeden asked if he thought a limited term position would be sufficient for their needs, and Mr. Deaton implied it would be.
Commr. Campione inquired who made the decision regarding diversion programs.
Mr. Deaton responded that historically it was the prosecutor’s office who made that determination based on first time offenders; however, he said that there was a change in the Florida Statute which would allow it to be initiated by the defendant or by the defense attorney particularly with marijuana cases, noting that they could come to the state with a pretrial diversion contract in lieu of probation.
Mr. Cole stated that the County’s budget did fund when those additions were made to diversion programs, noting that he had just recently authorized one that the courts had asked for. He relayed that whenever he received a request, he would work with the Chief Judge; additionally, he said that they were currently discussing the level the judge desired for court diversions.
Commr. Blake asked if it was better to spend funding adding probation officers or promoting diversion programs.
Mr. Deaton opined that his office was fiscally conservative and noted that when there were potential jail medical costs, they would make every effort to utilize community resources in lieu of incarcerating individuals. He added that they also performed a risk assessment and issued a notice to appear instead of issuing warrants for program violations; furthermore, he stated that they offered alternatives to incarceration such as a weekend work program, mental health assistance, or substance abuse program. He remarked that one limited term position would drop the cases per officer to under 200 which he indicated was the suggested level. He indicated that they had been utilizing limited term positions since 2014. He shared that a limited term was for one year at which point they would come before the Board to evaluate retention of the officer based on caseloads.
appointment to the parks, recreation & trails advisory board
Commr. Breeden recalled that the Board had postponed the decision regarding the appointment for District 1 until Commissioner Sullivan was present to make a recommendation.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of Mr. Sean Johnson as the District 1 representative to the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board.
appointments to the library advisory board
On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the City of Mount Dora’s reappointment of Mr. Steven Berger as the municipal representative, and the appointment of Mr. Robert Turner as the alternate municipal representative to the Library Advisory Board.
appointments to the value adjustment board
Commr. Sullivan commented that he had been the Chairman for the Value Adjustment Board and volunteered to remain as Chairman. He said that he also supported Mr. Brian Feeney to remain as the citizen member to that Board.
Commr. Blake remarked that he was willing to remain on the Board as well.
Mr. Cole clarified that Mr. Calvin Henshaw was also applying for the citizen member position.
Ms. Marsh specified that an alternate citizen member was not required; however, she relayed that the Value Adjustment Board attorney suggested that the Board may want to have an alternate although it was the BCC’s decision.
Commr. Campione felt that since there was a second person offering to serve that it might be helpful to have an alternate.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointments of Commissioner Sullivan, Commissioner Blake, Mr. Brian Feeney as the citizen member, and Mr. Calvin Henshaw as the alternate citizen member to the Value Adjustment Board.
careersource central florida board of directors appointment
Commr. Campione stated that Lake County needed a representative from the private sector for the CareerSource Central Florida Board of Directors to serve a three-year term. She said that the South Lake Chamber of Commerce recommended Mr. Brian Orr, with Kalos Services, Inc.
On a motion by Commr. Sullivan, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Bryan Orr to represent Lake County on the CareerSource Central Florida Board of Directors as the private sector representative to serve a three-year term starting on July 1, 2019 and ending on June 30, 2022.
national prescription opiate multi-district litigation
Ms. Marsh mentioned she had been in discussions with attorney James Vickaryous who was heavily involved in the National Prescription Opiate Multi-District Litigation, and she inquired if the County would want to become involved in this litigation. She relayed that the federal courts ordered that all federal lawsuits on this issue be consolidated into one lawsuit which was currently being heard by the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. She said that it appeared that there might be settlement opportunities coming soon, and that the judge in this case had issued an opinion that anyone who was a party in a federal lawsuit filed by this coming Friday, June 14, 2019, would be considered first parties in the action. She explained that this meant that if there was a settlement that might be bifurcated, then more relief would be given to first parties versus those who joined after this Friday. She shared that she had met with this attorney, noting that he was also representing a variety of counties and cities across the state such as Dixie, Manatee, Hamilton, Gilchrist, Marion, Seminole, Suwanee, Taylor, St. Johns, and St. Lucie Counties as well as the Cities of Sanford, Oviedo, Daytona Beach Shores, St. Augustine, and a variety of others. She reported that there would be no cost to the County as it was on a contingency fee basis. She asked the Board for consensus to retain Mr. Vickaryous to file on the County’s behalf by this Friday; furthermore, she indicated that she would then place an agenda item on the next BCC meeting for Mr. Vickaryous to present information regarding these cases at which point the Board could then approve the contingency fee agreement if desired. She added that if the Board decided not to approve the agreement, there would still be no cost for the County for the initial filing and that Mr. Vickaryous could withdraw their case if the Board chose not to move forward. She encouraged the Board to consider meeting this deadline especially since there was no cost to the County, noting that even if it did not settle and went to trial, it would all be contingency fee based with no cost to the County. She mentioned that if the Board did not have any objections to this, then she would work with the attorney to get this accomplished by Friday’s deadline and then bring it back before the Board at their next meeting. She added that these federal lawsuits were not limited type lawsuits and were going back over 20 years for reimbursements and costs; furthermore, she implied that it might end up being more of a per capita type payment minus fees and costs. She explained that currently no settlements had been approved by the courts and this was just speculation at this point.
The Board relayed consensus to move forward with this request.
workshop on homelessness and affordable housing
Mr. Cole commented that the Homelessness Workshop requested by the Board was scheduled for June 25, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.; additionally, he stated that stakeholder groups would be presenting and that municipality partners had been invited to attend.
commissioner sullivan – district 1
central florida mpo alliance meeting
Commr. Sullivan relayed that he had recently attended a Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization Alliance (CFMPOA) meeting in which issues regarding trip funding arose. He asked to receive information from staff regarding this topic in order to discuss it at the Lake-Sumter MPO meetings.
commissioner parks – district 2
lake apopka loop trail
Commr. Parks said that he had met with Mr. Joe Dunn, with Friends of Lake Apopka, and asked that Mr. Dunn be invited to speak at an upcoming BCC meeting in regards to requesting legislative funds and the County’s commitment to the expansion of the Lake Apopka Loop Trail.
affordable housing advisory committee
Commr. Parks requested that Mr. Nathaniel “Joe” Jamieson be appointed to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee to fill a position that had been vacated. He remarked that Mr. Jamieson had attended the most recent Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meeting and seemed enthusiastic about participating and volunteering.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Breeden and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the appointment of Mr. Nathaniel “Joe” Jamieson to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee under the category of a Resident Who is Actively Engaged in the Banking or Mortgage Banking Industry in Connection with Affordable Housing to complete an unexpired term ending on November 30, 2020.
commissioner breeden – vice chairman and district 3
leesburg partnership recognized
Commr. Breeden commented that the Leesburg Partnership was just named as the Florida Main Street program of the month by the Florida Secretary of State due to raising $157,000 for local charities through the Leesburg Bikefest event.
red apples media tally awards
Commr. Breeden shared that Red Apples Media in the City of Leesburg recently received five Tally Awards to honor their excellence in video and television.
commissioner blake – district 5
northwest lake community park ribbon cutting
Commr. Blake thanked all those who attended the ribbon cutting the previous week for the Northwest Lake Community Park, which he noted was a partnership between the City of Fruitland Park and Lake County.
commissioner campione – CHAIRMAN AND district 4
career technical education event
Commr. Campione mentioned that she had attended the Career Technical Education event the previous week which was hosted in coordination with the Office of Elevate Lake. She explained that the event involved teachers in career and technical education who visited some of the businesses in the county that provide internship opportunities for students in their programs. She commended the Office of Elevate Lake for setting up such a great event which assisted teachers in their connection to employers within the county.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman called a recess at 3:23 p.m. until the 5:30 p.m. Green Swamp Land Use Workshop.
5:30 p.m. green swamp land use workshop
Mr. Tim McClendon, Director for the Office of Planning and Zoning, presented an overview of the Green Swamp including topics mentioned by the BCC as areas they wanted to focus on such as open space allowed uses, transfer of development rights (TDR), septic tank provisions, and low impact development guidelines. He showed a map outlining the location of the Green Swamp, noting that it was to the west side of U.S. 27, south of SR 50, and all the way down past the county line. He reported that the entire Green Swamp was roughly 330,000 acres with approximately 111,000 acres located within Lake County. He recalled that this requested workshop was a result of proposed moratorium of development in the Green Swamp from the April 9, 2019 BCC meeting at which point staff was directed to develop possible solutions to ongoing development within the Green Swamp. He explained that the Green Swamp was first established as an Area of Critical State Concern back in 1974, that it serves as a primary recharge source for the Floridan Aquifer, and that the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) was the primary state agency responsible for the Green Swamp, noting that some DEO representatives were present for the workshop. He stated that there were current Lake County Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan) policies in place to preserve and protect the Green Swamp as a resource of critical state and regional importance. He showed a list of the various future land use categories that existed within the Green Swamp boundary along with their associated density allotments, noting that the Green Swamp Ridge land use category allowed up to four dwelling units per net acre. He mentioned that in regards to development patterns allowed within the Green Swamp, there were multiple conservation techniques that were required should land owners decide to move forward with any development. He relayed that the major ones that staff identified for this workshop were low impact development (LID) criteria which included the requirements to capture and retain the first three inches of runoff on site, maintain and enhance wildlife corridors, provide conservation easements as part of open space, minimize the alteration of the terrain, and enhanced landscape criteria. He indicated that one of the contentious issues over the last few years was the requirement to cluster development, and he then displayed an illustration of a piece of land with two different development options with both containing the exact same amount of open space and density. He explained that the picture on the left was the conventional subdivision with open space spread out through the entire project which would mean the entire site would have to be altered or graded. He said that the picture on the right was an example of a conservation subdivision where the large open space would have a conservation easement on top of it to make sure it was not altered, there would be minimum amounts of infrastructure, and the site would be minimally developed. He explained that the Green Swamp Rural, Green Swamp Rural Conservation, and Green Swamp Core Conservation future land use categories all had strict platting and building permit caps or limits as follows: Green Swamp Rural allowed up to 120 platted lots per year; Green Swamp Rural Conservation allowed up to 60 platted lots per year; and Green Swamp Core Conservation had a maximum of 35 lots per year. He reported that since the Comp Plan adoption in 2011, there had been 154 single family homes permitted, 65 mobile homes permitted, two residential future land use map amendments, and two new subdivisions. He mentioned that as a comparison for this same time period, there had been 6,500 single family homes permitted in Lake County that were outside the Green Swamp area. He remarked that open space was defined within the Comp Plan and excluded water bodies, wetlands, residential lots, street right of ways, parking lots, impervious surfaces, and active recreation areas. He said that within the Green Swamp, all developments were required to protect the common open space areas, wetlands, and other natural features in perpetuity, noting that was accomplished through conservation easements or some similarly recorded legally binding document. He shared that allowed uses for open space listed in the Comp Plan included areas that were required to be undisturbed or minimally developed, natural trails and boardwalks, and passive recreation areas; furthermore, any uses outside of this list would require a Comp Plan amendment. He recalled that there was a question during the Hilochee Partners’ rezoning case regarding adding uses within open space, and he stated that agriculture uses did not meet the current definition within the Comp Plan. He described that the transfer of development rights was defined as the conveyance of development rights from a sending area by deed, easement, or other legal instrument to a designated receiving area. He relayed that the County currently had a TDR program in place in the Wekiva Study Area, that there were specific categories for sending and receiving areas, and that since the inception of that program, the TDR process had been utilized seven times with each case requiring the sending area to download their property and place easements over that property while the receiving area was then rezoned to accept that density transfer. He said that the last time the TDR program was used in Lake County was in 2013, which meant it had been about six years since the last transfer occurred; additionally, he stated that the excess density had yet to be assigned to a receiving area so there was still existing density available. He opined that there might not be a market for those type of transfers currently. He shared that during their research, staff discovered that Polk County had a TDR program within the Green Swamp at one time but it was no longer available; however, while it was in place, it was utilized about 12 times, required that receiving areas had to be located within one mile of the sending site, that receiving areas had to be within the same jurisdiction, and the receiving site could not exceed the density of the existing future land use destination. He said that in order to move forward with TDR within the Green Swamp area of Lake County, it would require coordination with DEO to work through policies as well as to identify sending and receiving areas within the Green Swamp. He shared that he had preliminary discussions with DEO regarding this, and that they sent him some policies from surrounding jurisdictions that do utilize TDR; however, he said that all of those policies identified by the state pertained to affordable housing density credits. He remarked that another item to consider when discussing TDR was that currently wetlands may be transferred at a credit of one dwelling unit per 20 acres; however, those credits had to stay on site within the proposed development. He added that TDR may allow those wetlands to be transferred outside of the actual project vicinity. He also mentioned that there had been some misinterpretation about the existing wetland credits in the totality of the Green Swamp, and he relayed that the theoretical maximum of density that could be accumulated through wetland credits in the Green Swamp equated to about 1,500 extra dwelling units. He opined that with the existing platting limits that exist within the Green Swamp, that even if every landowner in the Green Swamp decided to develop their land at the same time, it would take almost 45 years at maximum buildout each year to construct those additional 1,500 units, noting that each of those developments would require a Planned Unit Development (PUD) public hearing. He felt that with TDR, it might actually result in the unintended consequence of spurring development applications in order to pass along those density credits. He concluded his TDR discussion by noting that TDR led to clustered type developments as shown earlier which would mean greater densities, smaller lot sizes, and less infrastructure requirements.
Mr. McClendon continued his presentation by addressing septic tank provisions. He stated that current Green Swamp Comp Plan policies required that all septic tank and drain fields be a minimum of 100 feet from any wetland or waterbody, and that they were required to be cleaned and inspected once every five years in accordance with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Administrative Code (FAC). He relayed that from previous discussions the BCC considered requiring new septic tanks within the Green Swamp to have alternative systems approved by the FAC under certain circumstances such as new development, transfer of home ownership if the existing septic system was more than ten years old, and when an existing septic system failed operationally or upon inspection. He indicated that staff reached out to several septic tank installers around the county in regards to the cost for the advanced septic systems and discovered that a typical septic system ranged from $3,000 to $8,000 while the alternative systems could range from $6,000 to $20,000. He asked the Board to consider that when giving staff direction regarding this possible policy. He commented that the last topic was low income development which was an engineering design approach to manage stormwater runoff as part of green infrastructure. He stated that the Green Swamp had very specific policies as it pertained to LID which were far more intensive than any other location within the county. He relayed that these policies required the following: use of water conservation; clustered development; retaining all stormwater in the same recharge area; all stormwater management systems were required to use LID principles; projects had to capture the first three inches of runoff on site; development could not alter the quantity or quality of surface water runoff from the project area; and stormwater was required to be treated at the level of service established within the Stormwater Comp Plan Sub-Element. He concluded his presentation and said that staff was seeking direction regarding the items presented such as platting caps or building limits, the TDR program, septic tank issues, etc. He reiterated that any changes that would require a Comp Plan amendment would have to be directly coordinated with DEO since it would be affecting the Critical Area of State Concern.
Commr. Campione asked if enhanced septic systems were currently required for new development.
Mr. McClendon replied that the Board required an alternative system with the last PUD that they approved. He added that it was not currently within the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) or Comp Plan and that staff was seeking Board direction if they wanted to amend the LDRs or Comp Plan to require or encourage it.
Commr. Parks said that he thought it was just a 100 foot setback and not the performance criteria for the Hilochee Partners PUD.
Commr. Sullivan commented that he thought the Board required both for that PUD. He recalled that the requirement extended from 100 to 150 feet and put in the alternative system authorized by the FAC, such as woodchips with a 90 percent retention even if the septic tank failed.
Commr. Campione remarked that staff could confirm; however, she thought they had discussed the woodchip system approved by DEP and that there was a requirement for the developer to come back with their proposed system.
Commr. Breeden asked if the woodchips were part of the drain field or the septic system.
Mr. McClendon responded that they would be part of the bottom layer of the drain field.
Commr. Breeden asked if that could then be required as something separate from whatever might be required for the septic system.
Commr. Campione relayed her understanding that the Board had formulated that as an alternative to the more expensive septic system since the developer was looking for an option that was economically feasible but that would perform well.
Commr. Parks asked for confirmation on how often owners had to get their septic tanks inspected and if there was an inspection program.
Mr. McClendon replied that DOH did operate an inspection program and that septic tanks were inspected once every five years for everyone within the Green Swamp.
Commr. Campione inquired if the DOH kept track of that and Mr. McClendon replied they were supposed to keep track. She opined that adding performance criteria for septic tanks for new developments into the code might be a good starting place; furthermore, she thought that if they were going to consider requiring it for a subdivision then maybe it should be required for every new permit.
Commr. Parks agreed with it being required for new permits within the Green Swamp.
Commr. Sullivan agreed as well and added that the County would have to interface with the DOH to make that a requirement.
Commr. Campione said she wanted to explore and understand how the DOH monitored existing septic tanks; additionally, she thought maybe the County Commission could coordinate with DOH to remind individuals of the requirements for inspection as well as inform them of the higher standards if they were planning to replace their system.
Mr. McClendon remarked that staff could coordinate with DOH regarding that.
Commr. Parks thanked everyone for attending as the Green Swamp was an area that he was passionate about and he hoped that this workshop was the beginning of putting in place changes for the Green Swamp. He remarked that the Green Swamp was very well protected but he still thought there was more they could do. He said that just as he was passionate about areas such as Wellness Way, the Wolf Branch Innovation District, and good economic development happening with job centers, he was equally as passionate about making sure that the Green Swamp and green infrastructure was protected, which he considered just as important as roads. He opined that green infrastructure and conservation values were a foundation of the nation and went across party lines; furthermore, he felt that the county could come together in an effort to try and improve and protect the Green Swamp to make sure the next generation would have open spaces to enjoy. He thought that the county would need these places with U.S. 27 becoming more developed and urbanized in the next 20 to 30 years. He shared that a friend had recently showed him a satellite image of Florida at night and he described how there were so many lights at night from developed areas; however, he made note of the dark patches throughout the state that were not developed. He relayed that image was impactful to him and he desired to do all that he could to keep Florida that way. He felt that this workshop was a start to putting more policies in place in order to make sure that development within the Green Swamp would be done correctly; additionally, he wanted to look at acquiring land, noting that the County was limited in their budget and would need to rely on the legislature and lobby for it with it possibly being done through a TDR program. He explained that many TDR programs being discussed happened prerecession and most of them did not work. He agreed that it would be difficult to find a TDR program that did work because if there were not partners within a TDR program that were holding to the rules of the structure of the program, then extra density would be handed out and there would be no incentive for a developer to use a TDR program. He felt that if the County did do a TDR program, then it would be using basic free market principles; furthermore, he thought the County could work with the Central Florida Regional Planning Council and the DEO to create a TDR program. He believed that density could be transferred outside of the Green Swamp, noting that he was not encouraging density and development within the Green Swamp but rather moving density along the U.S. 27 and SR 50 corridor. He realized that some individuals may not prefer that option, but he felt the tradeoff would be to hopefully have even more rural, more public lands, and more lands that were protected in a way that protects property rights within the Green Swamp which would help ensure that space stayed open. He opined that this was something everyone in Lake County could support no matter how long they had lived in the county. He shared that about a year ago he was out in a rural area with some very conservative individuals and they were all wondering if this property would be around in the future, noting that was concerning to him. He relayed that he supported TDR, revising septic tank guidelines, and considering what could be done to promote the Green Swamp as an asset for the county such as marketing it for tourism.
Commr. Campione pondered how there could be tourism in the Green Swamp if no one wanted open space to be used for recreational purposes, as well as the debate whether a portion of a homeowner’s lot could be designated as open space.
Commr. Parks mentioned that his thoughts were not in regards to having open space on someone’s property, but rather if there was a way to have more lands that were within the public domain, possibly through a TDR program, in order to add to what the county already had. He agreed that open space needed to be more defined.
Commr. Campione suggested looking at the overall map and some of the work performed in the past. She said that if the Board was considering making this broader by looking at habitat corridors and protecting wildlife corridors, and not just water protection which was where the Green Swamp rules originated from, then she felt that the Board needed to expand their view to determine if there were certain areas within the Green Swamp that would make sense to put into public ownership and public management as opposed to allowing them to remain in a conservation state since they were wetlands and could not be developed. She asked if reviewing the inventory and analysis had been done in the past.
Commr. Parks thought that some had been done in the past and suggested that there were agencies that could assist with that. He noted that within the development code for the Green Swamp it stated to maintain, enhance and protect corridors for wildlife movement; furthermore, he did not think that had been included in an analysis of where the wildlife corridors were.
Commr. Campione relayed that had been a focus within the Wekiva Basin and the Ocala National Forest area in regards to what parcels might need to be acquired in order to naturally create a corridor so there would not be development encroachments. She suggested adding it to the list of items to consider and for staff to report if there were already any designated corridors included in the Comp Plan.
Mr. McClendon remarked that there were not any currently mapped out; however, he thought they could consider requiring applicants to provide those types of studies either through the planned development regulations or the Comp Plan. He said that would be a simple solution.
Commr. Parks specified that some of the development questions that arose during the Hilochee Partners rezoning was the vagueness when it came to low impact development, noting that he realized it was much more strict in the Green Swamp than anywhere else in the county. He thought the Green Swamp was an area where it should be more specific.
Commr. Breeden commented that since there was the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area in Lake Louisa State Park, maybe they could consider adding or getting the state to add properties that were adjacent to those areas in order to create a larger wildlife corridor.
Commr. Parks agreed that could be a simple option related to what had already been done.
Commr. Campione thought that the process would be to look at what was already in existence, to review privately owned property patterns, and then to create spots around that.
Commr. Sullivan felt that the key was knowing what was out there currently and then determining if Lake County’s portion of the Green Swamp could participate in that. He relayed that there was a study in the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area which would flow into parts of the Green Swamp, noting that the study even included how animals were crossing Interstate 4 to get to the area. He believed that part of what the Board needed to do was to educate the public on what the rules and regulations were currently as he thought they were the most stringent rules and regulations that the county had and even more than what was in the Wekiva area. He reiterated Mr. McClendon’s comment that if the current rules and regulations were followed and if every landowner attempted to build to the maximum within their area, it would take 45 years. He said that in the meantime, he thought septic tank systems was something to review, noting that the County did not control that but could work with the DOH to make sure new septic tank systems were an alternative or were mandated. He supported educating the Board and staff through this process to make sure they were managing and protecting the Green Swamp properly since it was an area of critical concern to everyone in Florida. He felt that the rules that were currently in place were effective but that septic tanks was an area that maybe the County had not kept up with new technologies. He also thought that the previous TDR program did not necessarily work, but maybe there was a new and innovative approach that could be used. He supported focusing on what was simple to change while reviewing other alternatives. He encouraged hearing from the experts.
Commr. Campione thought the Wekiva area was not a good example for the TDR. She said that if the Board was to consider that route as a way to move density out of the Green Swamp, then the public would need to embrace the idea in order to make it work and for it not to be a taking of someone’s property rights, it would have to have value and someone else would have to want that TDR. She reiterated that the public would have to support that it would add density to other areas such as the more visible ones along U.S. 27 and south of SR 50. She thought that with the state’s blessing they could look at the possibility that some of the county’s densities were not high enough, noting that they would probably have to also work with the cities since they had the higher densities, water and sewer systems.
Commr. Parks agreed and said that the key partners would be the Cities of Mascotte, Groveland, and Clermont, noting that he had discussions with all three and that they were interested. He reiterated that it was an incentive and not mandatory. He felt that if the three Cities and the County worked together, it would be a good incentive; furthermore, he implied there were some developers who had expressed to him that they would participate. He remarked that many previous TDR programs did not work because they did not use the incentive properly and gave out the density anyway.
Mr. McClendon explained that the presentation was not intended to disparage TDR programs but rather to relate that there might be some unforeseen consequences with the wetland density transfers that exist in the Green Swamp; additionally, he said staff’s intent was to not spur development applications.
Commr. Campione stated that when someone used the density transfer off their wetland then that wetland had to go into conservation with an easement. She said that currently it would be a wetland that could not be developed but would also not have a conservation easement on it so this would add protection by having that one unit per twenty acres transferred over to an upland.
Commr. Breeden relayed that one of the handouts from a member of the Oklawaha Valley Audobon Society (OVAS) mentioned that one limited liability company (LLC) had purchased about 96 properties that were vacant, residential, unbuildable with value and inaccessible parcels which might not have been contiguous. She opined that if those were used for a developer to transfer rights and if they were scattered throughout the Green Swamp, then would they even be serving a purpose for the protection of the Green Swamp if they were not providing a corridor.
Commr. Parks said that was a good point; however, he stated there could be areas that would be designated as the ones that would be prioritized for the transfer. He agreed that properties that were in the middle of protected land would not be ones targeted for the program.
Commr. Breeden requested to obtain more information on how the program would work; additionally, she felt that what was in place currently where a developer would have to utilize their credits within their property would provide more open space.
Commr. Campione asked if Commissioner Parks was indicating that the TDR would be more concentrated, for example, if the corridor was defined.
Commr. Parks agreed and indicated that it could be the land around The Pasture Reserve which was owned by Lake County. He also remarked that regarding the development requirements for low impact development, according to section 8.01.02 of the LDRs, it said “the use of water conservation devices and practices required in the code and other chapters of land development regulations.” He thought that was some of the vagueness within the code and was an example of the need for more specifics for the Green Swamp. He added that he believed these were good regulations and tougher than other areas in the county, but still felt that more specificity would assist with future development applications.
Mr. McClendon clarified that the Florida DOH did actually send out a certified letter once every five years to the current home owner regarding their septic tank.
Commr. Parks asked if there was follow up for that or just a letter, and Mr. McClendon replied that department oversaw the process of inspection, dumping of the septic tank, and maintained the records.
Commr. Campione inquired if the County was permitted to go beyond what was required by the DOH and add additional restrictions.
Ms. Marsh responded that she would want to review the statute although she thought that the County would probably not be preempted from giving additional notification. She indicated that the County could work with DOH and possibly do an interlocal agreement to make sure everyone was in agreement of what was being done and who was doing it.
Commr. Breeden recalled that previously the Board had discussed the fact that the administrative code had been updated and one item discussed was to include that language in it.
Commr. Parks thought the Board should consider that since it would allow them to add strong performance criteria since no current standard septic tank had nutrient removal capabilities.
Commr. Campione asked how many residential properties were already in the Green Swamp as she thought it would be interesting to clarify as a starting point if it would take 45 years to absorb 1,500 units that could potentially be transferred off of wetlands.
Mr. McClendon replied staff would report back on that number. He reiterated that the 1,500 units for 45 years would be just wetland credits alone; therefore, it would need to be combined with the development applications which meant it would take even longer at a maximum buildout, noting it could possibly take 80 years in total.
Commr. Campione inquired about the building permits allowed per year in the Green Swamp, and then reviewed the slide depicting the limits for each category.
Mr. McClendon indicated that the County had never reached those limits.
Commr. Blake relayed that the net density since 2011 was one unit to 720 acres increase over that decade.
Commr. Parks opined that growth in the state of Florida was not going to slow down and even if it was controlled currently, he wondered what would happen in 10 to 15 years. He believed that the best way to get more land protected in perspective of property rights was in acquisition, a TDR, or an arrangement with a landowner. He opined that the more that was protected long term was good for Florida and Lake County.
Commr. Breeden asked if the Board felt that the 100 permits per year limit was the correct number of if they should consider lowering it to 75.
Commr. Parks said that 100 permits was fine with him but it was more about changing some of the low impact development standards to be more specific as well as the other items discussed.
Commr. Sullivan remarked that based on past history, those numbers worked fine. He agreed that septic tanks should be considered since there was new technology available. He thanked Mr. McClendon for the overview presentation which showed that there were rules and regulations in place to protect the Green Swamp; however, he thought there might be other items that could be done for better protection.
Commr. Breeden asked for the LID slide to be displayed for review again.
Commr. Campione commented that while the LID requirement to cluster development away from environmentally sensitive lands was an established mechanism for runoff, it was the item that they received the most opposition to as many felt the Green Swamp was an area that should be one unit per 20 to 40 acres and should not have cluster development.
Commr. Breeden added that this also left more area for recharge and movement of wildlife corridors.
Mr. McClendon reiterated that density and lot sizes were two different items.
Commr. Campione suggested asking the legislature to fund a pilot project to help facilitate the enhanced septic tank systems in the Green Swamp in order to assist residents with retrofitting what they already had.
The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.
Ms. Sheryan Epperly Chester, representing the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society (OVAS), shared that she was encouraged by the Board’s discussion regarding the importance of the Green Swamp. She relayed that to better meet the protection objectives for the Green Swamp identified in the Comp Plan, OVAS believed that wetland credits in the Green Swamp and other environmentally sensitive areas of Lake County needed to be eliminated immediately and potentially transferred to less environmentally sensitive areas. She stated that OVAS understood that incentives might be useful to lock down permanent preservation commitments on wetlands; however, their objection was for the credits to be granted to increase the density of development within environmentally important and fragile ecosystems like the Green Swamp. She indicated that within the three position papers sent to the Board by OVAS, they had provided suggested criteria for accepting credits. She added that OVAS did not think that a phase-in period for the repeal was necessary because they did not believe the repeal of wetland credits constituted a taking. She concluded by opining that this was a very important issue for the Board to address because OVAS anticipated further attempts to utilize the wetland credits in the future for increased density PUD development in the Green Swamp.
Mr. Clyde Stephens, a fifth generation Floridian and resident of the City of Tavares, expressed his concern for continued growth along U.S. 27 in south Lake County, and opined that the only way to protect the Green Swamp in that area was to put some protections in place that would block encroaching developments in the future. He encouraged the County to utilize the original plans and regulations within the Comp Plan.
Ms. Lavon Silvernell, a resident from the Town of Astatula, asked if the concept plans for the Hilochee Partners PUD had changed or if there was still a secondary lot that was open space and would be deeded to a homeowner.
Commr. Campione responded that the plan was the same as when it was presented and approved by the Board and that nothing had been changed; furthermore, she recalled that it was only a portion and that there was a significant amount of contiguous open space that was dedicated in a conservation easement. She added that it was the upland areas that were the part of the lot which were designated.
Ms. Silvernell thought that a third of the open space requirement for this development was in deeded property and she expressed concerns for that. She opined that was not part of the legal definition of open space according to the Comp Plan and the LDRs and she asked the Board to place parameters on that open space that was part of the residents’ deeded lot.
Ms. Karina Veandry, a member of the Florida Native Plant Society, felt that the Board’s conversations were headed in the right direction. She opined that the critical areas of conservation as well as wildlife corridors should be determined by the County and not by developers. She encouraged the Board to consider the entire region in regards to conservation. She relayed that the Florida Native Plant Society was currently working on a model land development code from the standpoint of conservation and climate change. She said they were looking for a county to model the language after and thought that Lake County’s land development code for the Green Swamp might be a good match. She suggested requiring a minimum percentage of native plants to be placed back into developments and offered help in determining the list of native plants that could be used.
Ms. Peg Lindsay, a Lake County resident, thanked the Board for their work to protect the Green Swamp as she wanted clean water for the future.
Ms. Melanie Duvall, a City of Clermont citizen, shared her concerns regarding the availability of fresh water. She mentioned the issue with salt water intrusion in south Florida and how it was requiring citizens to move their wells since salt water had intruded the aquifer. She was worried that might happen in this area if development continued and protective practices were not utilized.
Mr. Chester Bradshaw, a Sumter County resident, relayed that he was a lifelong environmentalist who lived within the Green Swamp. He mentioned that back in 1992, he served on a citizen’s advisory committee with Sumter County which reviewed issues with the wetland system in Florida. He opined that the Green Swamp was only operating at 65 percent of its total value because the entire system was drained years ago by the mining and railroad industries. He implied that additional water was not being added to increase recharge to the aquifer system and opined that the aquifer was a leaky tank with a slow recharge. He encouraged the Board to manage the present system and suggested implementing a citizen’s advisory committee.
Ms. Susan Knapp, a Lake County citizen, shared that her property had a septic tank, that she received a letter every five years requesting it to be pumped, and that after she did pump the system, the company would write on the form that she had complied and then she could mail that in for verification. She implied that the septic company told her every year that she did not have to pump because her system was large and operating efficiently. She also relayed that she had to build another well at an additional 75 feet and that she felt that the borders of the Green Swamp were shifting and should be better defined.
Mr. Rick Ault, a City of Clermont resident, said he was encouraged by the Board’s discussion and that he appreciated what they were trying to accomplish. He opined that the demand for development would cause the County to reach the 100 permit limit quickly. He expressed concerns regarding the Hilochee Partners PUD and nitrogen from those septic tanks draining into the aquifer; additionally, he suggested having concentrated density with shared infrastructure as well as requiring that community to maintain one community well which could be better regulated. He challenged the Board to make the hard decisions that were needed.
Mr. Nussbaumer relayed that he lived and owned property within the Green Swamp and he thanked the Board and staff for the great job they were doing. He explained that he was a Florida licensed water well contractor and understood the need for water. He shared that he had a septic tank, that he received the letter regarding inspection, and that he felt that process was fairly regulated and that the Green Swamp was well protected. He shared his concerns with the ability for a developer to buy wetlands that were unbuildable and yet receive credit for that land in order to be able to build more houses. He stated that he appreciated the rules and regulations already in place and felt that the Green Swamp would be in good shape if the County made sure those regulations were followed.
Mr. John Ryan, a Polk County citizen, recommended that the Board talk with Dr. Tom Hoctor from the University of Florida, or Dr. Reed Noss from the University of Central Florida, regarding a methodology for identifying wildlife corridors. He opined that for a TDR program, a market area analysis should be performed prior to defining the receiving sites in order to confirm there would be individuals interested in buying the land; furthermore, he thought that the jurisdiction over an area often gave away density without requiring a TDR.
Ms. Marian Ryan, a Polk County resident, expressed her appreciation for the level of commitment the Lake County BCC had for Green Swamp protection, noting that she had been working on Green Swamp protection issues for about 30 years as part of Polk County’s Green Swamp Task Force and as part of the Green Swamp Land Authority which she was appointed to by two Florida Governors. She shared her concerns that historically within Lake County, there was very little participation in the Land Protection Agreement Program; additionally, she encouraged the BCC to engage their legislators to fund the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program in the future. She said that she supported TDR programs with density transferred outside the Green Swamp, especially to transit oriented development, noting that she believed the historic problem was over allocation of densities. She also agreed with keeping lighting levels as low as possible in the Green Swamp for the benefit of wildlife animals. She thought required open spaces needed to be protected by descriptive conservation easements to retain their resource values whether conserving wetlands, rare uplands, buffering public land, or protecting and enhancing wildlife corridors. She shared that she was currently the President of the Green Horizon Land Trust which held a conservation easement in Lake County, and she mentioned that if the land trust could be of any assistance in this effort to please contact her.
Ms. Susan Fetter, a City of Leesburg resident and representing OVAS, mentioned that she had submitted to the Board information regarding septic tanks. She opined that the traditional septic tanks were not removing the nutrients and that Florida waters were suffering from excess nitrogen and phosphorous leaking from aging septic systems. She felt that Lake County could assist with the solution and noted that the SJRWMD had tested the Individual Distributed Water Treatment System (IDWTS) which was found to remove 98 percent of nitrogen. She relayed that OVAS was recommending that the County require one of the available nitrogen reducing septic systems for any new development within the Green Swamp; additionally, they were requesting that the County investigate some of the programs available in the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) with cost matching to help citizens replace their aging systems.
Ms. Libby Hanna, a City of Clermont resident and the Treasurer for the Clermont Chain of Lakes Foundation, expressed her appreciation for the comments regarding the importance of the Green Swamp as an aquifer and natural resource as well as the Board’s desire to be sensitive to property owners’ rights. She shared some numbers that she felt were reflective of the economic interest of people who lived downstream from the Green Swamp and would be affected by what happened in this area. She remarked that the City of Clermont was investing in its waterfront area with the hope that the lakes would remain clean and attractive for residents and visitors. She opined that clean water can raise property values while unclean water could potentially decrease property values. She concluded by saying that there was always something that could be done in regards to development even if it meant sometimes saying no to it.
Mr. Doug Bryant, a City of Mount Dora citizen, thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak and asked them to seriously consider amending out the 20 acre wetlands transfer credit provision. He agreed with Mr. Nussbaumer’s concerns regarding giving credits for land that was undevelopable. He opined that restricting development on the wetlands would not remove all economic value since there were uplands that could be developed and there were still economic pursuits that could happen on the wetlands, such as hunting and fishing. He believed that the Green Swamp was the main area in Central Florida for headwaters and recharge and that from a health and safety issue, it would be justifiable that there would be no takings in this area.
Mr. Peter Tuite, a resident from the Town of Howey-in-the-Hills, remarked that he performed water testing in both the Clermont and Harris Chain of Lakes, noting that he thought the Harris Chain of Lakes was fairly impaired due to Lake Apopka. He opined that once a lake got polluted, it was difficult to get it clean. He added that he also dealt with algae and hydrilla issues because of the nutrient levels in the Lake County lakes and believed that pollution in the Green Swamp was leading to these lake issues. He asked the Board to take care of the county’s resources and think about the future. He commented that while the IDWTS tested by the SJRWMD which was mentioned earlier did reduce nitrogen by 98 percent, the removal of phosphorous was still an issue. He also mentioned that DEP had systems that reduced nitrogen. He thanked the Board for having the workshop.
Mr. T.J. Fish, from the City of Groveland, relayed that the City of Groveland desired to be a partner with the County Commission regarding the Green Swamp. He opined that the Green Swamp was an asset for the entire state of Florida and was worth protecting. He believed that central water and sewer were even better than a nitrogen treating septic tank and stated that the Cities of Groveland, Mascotte, and Clermont all had those utilities. He relayed the City of Groveland’s interest in being a receiving area for the transfer of development rights from sending areas. He opined that a TDR program done correctly would assist with development concerns in the Green Swamp and that having cities who could be receiving areas would help protect the state’s asset.
Commr. Campione suggested that Mr. Fish talk to the State regarding what they would allow the City of Groveland to do with their densities if the TDR program was something the City wanted to explore with the County, and Mr. Fish relayed that they would.
Mr. Paul Owens, President of 1000 Friends of Florida, mentioned that his organization was statewide and was active in growth and development issues throughout the state. He implied that 1000 Friends of Florida had been Florida’s leading non-profit advocate for sustainable development to protect the environment, economy, and quality of life since 1986. He opined that preserving environmentally valuable land was one of the most effective and efficient ways to protect the water quality in Florida as well as preserve wildlife and other environmental assets which attract millions of visitors to the state and also place billions of dollars into the state’s economy. He commented that his organization encouraged the Board to embrace forward thinking policies that would enhance protections for the Green Swamp while balancing the environment and the economy. He thanked the BCC for holding the workshop and offered his organization as a resource and partner for the County.
Commr. Parks mentioned that 1000 Friends of Florida had an awesome webinar program that individuals could listen to free of charge regarding a variety of issues.
Ms. Cynthia Brown, a resident of the Green Swamp, expressed her concerns for her home and thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak. She echoed the views of the Audubon Society regarding eliminating the wetland credits. She implied that after hearing the Board’s views, she felt that they were more concerned with limiting major developers who wanted to come into the Green Swamp. She relayed that she lived on 30 acres and was in an area where properties were at least 10 acres. She shared her opposition to large housing developments such as the Hilochee Partners PUD, and asked the Board to be more stringent with their regulations. She supported individual home ownership for the Green Swamp and encouraged protection of the Green Swamp since it was the heart of the Floridan aquifer.
Ms. Deborah Solanick, a third generation Floridian, thanked the Board for holding the workshop and mentioned that in the 1990s, she was involved in the Lake Conservation Council which assisted with the Comp Plan. She implied that the Florida law required that there be a two foot space between the bottom of the drain field and the top of the water table for septic tanks. She felt that these developments with septic tanks were an issue due to contamination and encouraged connection to a main water system instead.
Ms. Karen West, a resident of Waterwood on Lake Harris, recalled that this neighborhood was built in the early 1980s and was the first PUD in Lake County, noting that she had lived there for 20 years. She mentioned that the neighborhood had a high water table with springs under some of the units; furthermore, it had its own waste water treatment plant which she indicated was the right choice when a neighborhood has a high water table and clustered development. She said that the neighborhood also had its own well.
Ms. Lori Patterson, President of OVAS, thanked her conservation team for their research and comments. She stated that she moved to Lake County for the open space, environment, less traffic, and for the ability to drink well water without a filter. She asked why new homes were being built on septic instead of sewer and if there was a minimum number of houses that determined this.
Commr. Campione responded that for the Green Swamp, there was a rule in the Comp Plan and the LDRs that did not allow central systems as that might encourage development. She indicated it would require a massive change to go to central waste water systems in the conservation and core part of the Green Swamp. She said that for outside the Green Swamp, it was based on density and the location might dictate what was used.
There being no one else who wished to address the Board, the Chairman brought it back to the Board for discussion.
Commr. Campione thanked the audience for participating in the public comment process. She addressed a few comments from the audience regarding the Hilochee Partners PUD which the Board had recently approved. She mentioned that the Green Swamp rules required that a subdivision over six lots must be a PUD in order to be reviewed by the BCC. She stated that the individual lot sizes for the Hilochee project were around three to four acres and she reiterated that they were not clustered town homes.
Commr. Breeden said that she thought they were two to three acres.
Commr. Campione said that in that particular land use there was a requirement on the uplands that only a certain amount could be used since part of the uplands had to be set aside as open space and could not be platted. She addressed the public comment regarding moving the density off the wetlands, and said that it would still have to be transferred to an upland that could actually receive it, noting that there were only so many units that could be moved over to an upland and the wetland would have to be contiguous. She added that even though there was concern that it might have been in different ownership since there were adjoining owners, she explained that the wetlands were owned by someone else and then they sold them to the developer who owned the uplands. She restated that they were adjacent and not in a separate area. She remarked that regarding those who thought this was a taking, she felt that it was not fair to change the rules for the landowners who had certain expectations when these rules were put into place. She gave the example that maybe they owned 20 acres of uplands and 20 acres of wetlands but they thought at that time when they went from having one unit to five acres to one unit to twenty acres, they knew at that point that as part of their negotiation with the State of Florida in setting these rules into motion, that they would get at least one unit to twenty acres for their wetlands. She asked that people keep that in mind, especially since it was 20 to 30 years in the future, as she did not think it was fair to move the goalposts for those individuals. She opined that was a big part of the equation that needed to be considered. She recalled the conversation regarding the number of units or permits that could be issued per year, and she suggested that instead of changing that number, to maybe change the number of density transfers that could be utilized per year as a way to limit development. She said another suggestion might be to regulate that a particular subdivision could not have more than a certain percentage of the total number of units being the result of a density transfer. She indicated that after listening to Mr. Fish and his comments regarding the City of Groveland and their interest in being a partner with the County, she thought that the TDR discussion was a possibility to be explored because it might be a way to actually shift the density out of the Green Swamp and into an urbanized area that did have central water and sewer. She also commented on the septic tank concerns and said that she thought they should put within the Lake County code that it would be mandated for all new development to use one of the approved enhanced systems by DEP and the Department of Health; additionally, she expressed interest in exploring a pilot project and asking the legislature for help with funding. She suggested starting with an awareness campaign with information being sent out about the new available systems and then asking for feedback from property owners regarding their interest to participate if some of the funding was covered by the County or the State.
Commr. Breeden added that it seemed like the SJRWMD might have some funding for pilot projects.
Commr. Campione relayed that there was one in place in regards to the spring sheds and wondered if staff could explore if it could be expanded. She felt there was money available but it required for individuals to be within the correct zones. She reiterated that by reaching out to the residents it would help to know if there were owners who would want to participate on a voluntary basis and therefore allow the Board to have a better understanding of the funding needed. She mentioned that she liked the ideas presented by the public regarding open space, such as having parameters like no chemical application if it was an upland open space, utilizing native plants, and not having fencing if using part of the open space that was adjacent to a lot so as not to impede wildlife movement.
Commr. Breeden added there was the suggestion to not have sod in those areas so they could be true natural habitat.
Commr. Campione remarked that in regards to the open space issue of whether it had to be in an entity or if it could be part of a private lot, she opined that she would not desire for all of the open space to be attributed to a private ownership since the purpose was for common use; however, she did want to consider allowing private property owners to be good stewards of the open space as long as there were parameters to govern and a limitation on how much of the total open space could be adjacent to a lot and included in that lot. She mentioned that there were subdivisions that had conservation easements that were on platted lots and were not allowed to be modified.
Commr. Breeden noted that there was a large parcel of open space on the Hilochee PUD that was in conservation.
Commr. Campione added that it was a common open space area.
Commr. Parks mentioned that Dr. Mark Hostetler, professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Florida, addressed the issue of privately owned open space and the rules that regulate that as well as possible degradation that could happen to an open space in the future.
Commr. Campione opined that when the Board approved to allow some lots to have open space within their actual lot ownership, it increased the value of the property and therefore the taxes collected on that property. She implied that when land is taken off the tax roll, then it no longer contributes to the funding for the County and was something the Board should consider.
Commr. Parks said that private ownership of open space could be a tool to help protect the Green Swamp, noting that public ownership was a part of that as well.
Commr. Breeden shared that addressing septic tanks was a big issue for her as well as possibly considering open space requirements in the Green Swamp as they might be different than other areas.
Commr. Parks relayed that he wanted open space and septic tanks to be addressed. He encouraged the performance criteria for septic tanks as he felt the current conventional septic tank did not treat for nutrients and thought that should be required for the Green Swamp. He referenced the public comment regarding the Clermont Chain of Lakes and believed that what happens in the Green Swamp would affect this chain. He agreed that the performance criteria for septic tanks could get more costly, and he felt that it needed to be simpler for the average homeowner. He suggested possibly having a septic tank utility to be set up by the County so that the County would manage the septic tanks. He stated that there was more to regulating septic tanks then just getting them pumped out, but that it should also include maintenance on them. He suggested that the County might need to consider a tool to make sure that was done properly.
Commr. Campione mentioned that for an older septic tank system with old technology, there would be more nitrogen and phosphorous release through the drain field and pumping alone would not address that.
Commr. Parks thought there was an opportunity to partner with state agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the SJRWMD, and the state parks system to really promote and market the Green Swamp in order to increase visitor spending in the area. He realized that this would bring more people into the Green Swamp but felt it was a way for people to enjoy the natural areas and also help those that live in the area. He relayed that he had previous discussions with FWC regarding connecting trails between Hilochee and the state park as well as promoting more of the trailheads along U.S. 27. He opined that since people living in Florida were paying taxes that go towards public lands, then they should utilize them; furthermore, he felt that promoting public lands and utilizing them more was good for everyone. He reiterated his desire for the Board to start those conversations with other agencies such as FWC, SJRWMD, the state parks system, the DEP, and the Department of Agriculture.
Commr. Sullivan thought that there were short-term and long-term goals, and he thanked the audience for their input on the issues. He suggested making sure the conservation areas were in concert in areas where Lake County had connections with other counties. He also supported reviewing wildlife corridors as he thought that could help setup the conservation zones and protect the Green Swamp moving forward. He thanked the many organizations that spoke at the meeting and encouraged staff to explore the various programs that they offered.
Commr. Breeden recalled that one of the Florida Native Plant Society members had mentioned that they were working on a model ordinance.
Commr. Sullivan added that they were looking to the County to help provide that model ordinance.
Commr. Parks agreed with Commissioner Sullivan and believed that there was already a lot of data available on these issues that staff could utilize. He stressed the importance of follow up to these discussions possibly through a working group of experts or a series of workshops, with staff compiling the information from this meeting and presenting it back to the Board with their recommendations.
Commr. Breeden encouraged the Board to move forward with some type of direction on at least a few of the topics discussed, such as septic tank requirements for example, noting that there were many items that would still need to be studied.
Commr. Campione agreed that there were some short-term items that could be addressed immediately such as the septic tank mandate of high performance systems for new developments, and said that these could possibly be placed in an ordinance to be advertised in the near future.
Commr. Parks suggested possibly addressing septic tanks immediately, then in the interim to start to consider specific guidelines for the Green Swamp, and then longer term to consider TDR as they would take more time to develop and consider their feasibility. He thanked the City of Groveland for attending and mentioned that the Cities of Mascotte and Clermont were also interested in the TDR program, noting that if there was not enough participation, the program might not work.
Commr. Campione opined that even if only one city was interested in participating and they were able to increase their density in some targeted areas, then the market for the program might be able to be created.
Commr. Breeden felt that would be easier for County staff since they would be the ones to keep the database and responsible for tracking all of the transfers, which she noted could become cumbersome if they were not used for decades.
Commr. Campione said that staff could also start to look at corridor mapping and the resources available to assist with this.
Commr. Breeden asked if the BCC wanted to have any legislative actions.
Commr. Sullivan felt that there was time to consider that but thought it should be included in the County’s legislative priorities moving forward.
Commr. Campione reiterated that it would be helpful to receive feedback from residents if they would even take advantage of it if the funding was able to be provided rather than work to get the pilot program in place and discover no one was interested. She asked if staff should work on regulations for open space.
Commr. Parks encouraged continued discussions to bring clarity.
Commr. Breeden relayed it would be helpful if staff could come back with a recommendation as a starting point for discussions.
Commr. Campione asked if staff had enough direction from the Board.
Mr. Cole responded that they would transcribe this meeting, especially the Board’s ending discussion, and then extract the directions given, develop a plan and report back to the Board.
Commr. Campione suggested creating a place on the County website where information could be posted as items were addressed. She said for example, if there was going to be a hearing on an ordinance to add the septic tank mandate, then it could be posted so that those interested in the topic could periodically view the website to get details and track progress.
Mr. Cole replied that could be done.
Commr. Parks reiterated the importance of reaching out to the experts, including some of those in attendance, and incorporating their thoughts into staff’s recommendations.
Commr. Sullivan suggested setting another workshop in three to six months to discuss progress.
Commr. Parks agreed a follow up workshop was needed.
Commr. Campione thanked everyone in attendance for their participation and encouraged them to continue sending their suggestions to the County.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
GARY J COONEY, CLERK