February 13, 2024

The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 9:00 a.m., in the County Commission Chambers, Lake County Administration Building, Tavares, Florida.  Commissioners present at the meeting were: Kirby Smith, Chairman; Douglas B. Shields, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Leslie Campione; and Josh Blake. Others present were: Jennifer Barker, 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; Kristy Mullane, Chief Financial Officer; and Josh Pearson, Deputy Clerk.

INVOCATION and pledge

Commr. Smith welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that it was being streamed on the County website; furthermore, they were also broadcasting the meeting via Zoom.

Pastor Sandy Gamble, Vice-Mayor of the City of Tavares and with Church of God of Prophecy in the City of Tavares, gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

virtual meeting instructions

Mr. Levar Cooper, Director for the Office of Communications, explained that the current meeting was being livestreamed on the County website and was also being made available through Zoom Webinar for members of the public who wished to provide comments during the Citizen Question and Comment Period later in the agenda.  He elaborated that anyone watching through the livestream who wished to participate could follow the directions currently being broadcast through the stream; furthermore, he relayed that during the Citizen Question and Comment Period, anyone who had joined the webinar via their phone could press *9 to virtually raise their hand, and anyone participating online could click the raise hand button to identify that they wished to speak.  He said that when it was time for public comment, he would read the person’s name or phone number, unmute the appropriate line, and the speaker would be asked to provide comments.  He added that everyone would have three minutes to speak, and after three minutes an alarm would sound to let them know that their time was up.  He added that they previously notified the public that comments could be emailed through 5:00 p.m. on the previous day, and those comments were shared with the Board prior to the meeting.  He stated that anyone wishing to provide written comments during the meeting could visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/commissionmeeting, noting that comments sent during this meeting would be shared with the Commission after the meeting was concluded.

Agenda update

Ms. Jennifer Barker, County Manager, said that for Tab 11, staff included a partially executed agreement which was uploaded to the agenda item after the first publishing.  She also requested to move Tab 15 to follow the citizen question and comment period, noting that this was the agenda item related to the Lake County Sheriff’s request.

Minutes approval

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the minutes for the BCC meetings of December 5, 2023 (Regular Meeting) and December 19, 2023 (Regular Meeting) as presented.

citizen question and comment period

Mr. Banks Helfrich, an independent farmer, a former Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District Chairperson, and current candidate for the State House of Representatives District 25, spoke about what farmers did in the State of Florida and what the community could do for them.  He opined that farmers were an economic driver for the communities throughout the state, and that they could advocate for legal foreign workers to be respected and to live on farms and cattle ranches.  He also opined that they could advocate for eco-agrarian and better management practices for farmers so farmers could utilize their own organic matter and compost; additionally, he opined that they could advocate for the right for farmers to fix their own equipment.  He commented that once per month he opened his farm to a complimentary tour for the public, and that he did other events on the farm to bring awareness to farming; furthermore, these events could be found on Eventbrite under “Here on the Farm” in the City of Clermont.  He also mentioned Florida Native Plant Month, Water Conservation Month and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Mr. Vincent Niemiec, a resident of Regency Hills in the City of Clermont, displayed a picture of the intersection of Hartwood Marsh Road and Hancock Road, relaying that each corner had a community involved.  He said that the traffic light had a signal eastbound and westbound which let all the traffic on Hartwood Marsh Road make a left hand turn without interfering with traffic; however, since Hancock Road grew, the northbound and southbound lanes had no signal.  He commented that the Dream Finders Homes community had a side exit similar to his community, and he expressed concerns for the safety of crossing Hartwood Marsh Road.  He opined that most of the communities used the side exits, and he indicated concerns for accidents with cars going straight without a traffic signal.  He asked the Board to expedite this, and relayed his understanding that Hartwood Marsh Road was not being expanded until 2027.

Commr. Smith asked how the signal was coming along and if the traffic study had been done.

Mr. Jeff Earhart, Engineering Manager for the Public Works Department, replied that the signal would be redone when the County addressed Hartwood Marsh Road, and that they were looking at doing dedicated left turns soon.

Commr. Parks indicated interest in expediting this.

Mr. Earhart specified that they just needed to change the two heads on the two sides to add the arrows, and that this was currently being worked on. 

Commr. Smith asked if Mr. Earhart could coordinate with Mr. Niemiec and Commissioner Parks.

Lake County sheriff’s office access to traffic cameras

Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell recalled that at the previous Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, the Board had discussed what he believed was a great collaborative effort to increase safety in Lake County.  He said that his fundamental duty was to provide safety to their citizens, and that he would not rely on the Federal Government to do this.  He commented that there were sleeper cells across the United States and the State of Florida based on intelligence sources that he talked to, and that he wanted to make sure that he was doing everything he could to ensure that they had everything possible in place to keep citizens safe.  He commented that there were currently 52 or 53 Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) cameras that anyone could log into and see traffic flow through intersections in real time.  He added that there were also County cameras that his office had the capability to integrate through a software platform so that his sworn detectives could view those cameras in real time for a law enforcement purpose.  He indicated that he could provide numerous instances of how these cameras would be beneficial in a law enforcement function; however, he was also cognizant that as Republican Commissioners, the Board had a concern for Constitutional rights and privacy.  He said that he also shared these privacy concerns, though clarified that he was talking about public roadways only in times of need for an official law enforcement purpose.  He mentioned that he had toured the County’s facility, and he believed that the employee was working in austere conditions; furthermore, he opined that the technology they had was outdated.  He indicated that he wanted to make this better, and that he was willing to have a collaborative effort to bring those people into the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) real time crime center.  He also added that he had grants that he could utilize to purchase equipment to make this better than it was currently.  He relayed that his office received daily briefings from the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX) Fusion Center, and that the LCSO received several bulletins daily asking them to be on the lookout.  He said that he wanted every lawful level that he could have to ensure that they were doing everything they could to keep citizens safe in Lake County, and that through technology, they would be adding a law enforcement officer at each of those intersections in the event that they needed to do this.  He stated that he was under the impression that these cameras were not recorded and that it was only a live feed, and that this was for law enforcement purposes; therefore, he would not tolerate any other reason for it.

The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.

Mr. Greg Raffel, a resident of the Cagan Crossings East community, displayed a map of the area.  He opined that the increased number of residents had put a strain on the current traffic pattern at three different intersections within the county, and said that he would appreciate any consideration for a traffic study and any appropriate requirements to lessen the burden.  He commented that the intersections included Cagan Crossings Boulevard and Cagan View, Cagan Crossings Boulevard and United States (U.S.) Highway 27, and Town Center Boulevard and U.S. Highway 192.  He opined that the intersection of Cagan Crossings Boulevard and U.S. Highway 27 backed up significantly because it was a single lane road, and that the concern at Town Center Boulevard and U.S. Highway 192 was that it backed up parallel to the Publix at Summer Bay; furthermore, he opined that there were cars which made illegal left turns from the right hand lane onto eastbound U.S. Highway 192.  He elaborated that there was no left hand turn signal at that light, and that he would appreciate any coordination with other Counties or FDOT.

Ms. CJ Blancett, a resident of the City of Leesburg area, said that she was a Constitutional conservative and that she believed in the rule of law; furthermore, she had almost two decades of experience as a Chief Defense Investigator and was a candidate for Florida Senate, District 13.  She felt that Sheriff Grinnell had addressed most of her concerns, and she recalled that in January 2024 the BCC had discussed granting the Sheriff the ability to view the traffic cameras in real time, opining that in essence, this amounted to constantly spying on thousands of citizens prior to any crimes being committed.  She also expressed concerns for the ease in which the Board voted for an act usually found in communist countries without the input of citizens.  She opined that although the current Sheriff may be constitutional, the next one may not be, and that their system thrived when public servants prioritized the needs and concerns of the people over personal or political interests.  She urged the Board to reflect on the essence of their role and to be a voice of the people and a champion for the common good. 

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the floor for public comment.

Commr. Smith relayed his understanding that there were 53 cameras that anyone in the world could currently access.  He also asked for an example of this to be displayed.

Ms. Melanie Marsh, County Attorney, clarified that these were FDOT cameras rather than County cameras.

Commr. Smith inquired if this was basically what the Sheriff would be looking at.

Sheriff Grinnell confirmed this.  He then mentioned Ms. Blancett’s comment regarding whoever would replace him at a later time, noting that the Board could rectify this issue and pull it back should that occur.  He stated that these cameras were already being looked at by traffic operations staff who were not sworn law enforcement officers, and that the LCSO had a code of ethics.  He added that if they violated any privacy act under the Criminal Justice Information Systems Guidelines, which was under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), then there were punitive damages for this.  He reiterated that this would be for law enforcement purposes only, and that under Chapter 39.15, Florida Statutes, he had the authority to command this if something was to happen.  He mentioned that he was trying to save a step and that if they were watching these cameras, which he believed were there for a public safety purpose, then they could also get an ambulance on the way instead of traffic operations having to call 911 if there was a traffic crash.

Commr. Blake stated that he had discussed this with the Sheriff in previous situations, and that he had faith in the Sheriff’s commitment to the Bill of Rights.  He relayed that he had hesitation for warrantless surveillance, and that he was not comfortable with the FDOT cameras aside from them being used for traffic management purposes.  He opined that it could potentially be abused, and that he was concerned about 20 years in the future.  He mentioned that the Board wanted to make sure that their job as oversight was being appropriately wielded, and he asked if the Sheriff previously had to utilize the Florida Statute to access any of the cameras when an incident had come up.

Sheriff Grinnell denied this, but said that they were going to send someone to traffic operations when there had been an abduction; however, through leads that had developed, they had realized that person had already fled substantially earlier than they had thought and they no longer needed that avenue. 

Commr. Blake inquired what kind of information could be gleaned from this and if it could get tag numbers.

Sheriff Grinnell said that he was not able to see tag numbers when he took the tour.  He mentioned that they also had license plate readers throughout the county, and that this would be one more tool they would have to deal with this national security issue. 

Commr. Blake agreed and said that he supported what the State of Texas and other states were doing to make up for the lack of federal enforcement, and he asked if this was anticipated to be daily access.

Sheriff Grinnell replied that he was unsure, but that they needed this tool when the request came.  He added that when CFIX bulletins came out which often had vehicle descriptions, then the LCSO would have this available to use in a law enforcement sensitive function to hopefully solve or prevent crime.

Commr. Blake inquired if it would just be live access and would not be run through any third party software or be connected to another database for analysis.

Sheriff Grinnell confirmed this, and he thought that this could be a collaborative effort.  He indicated that he had no issue with bringing in traffic operations personnel into the real time crime center and setting them up with a workspace.  He added that they would want to ensure that staff passed the background check to be in that room, and he noted that the cameras were being watched currently to see if there was an impediment to traffic flow, if a light was not cycling correctly, or if there was a traffic crash; additionally, he opined that if the LCSO was there, then this would increase the response time significantly, which would lessen the burden to citizens on the roadway.

Commr. Blake asked if he would be comfortable with a weekly email to the County Manager’s Office which showed what instances it was being used for.

Sheriff Grinnell indicated that staff could send an email and that the LCSO had nothing to hide.  He mentioned that LCSO staff could sit next to them, and that they would know if the LCSO staff came over to look at a camera and what the reason was.  He was unsure if they needed to get into reports, especially if staff was already in the room with them, noting that they were already doing this.  He added that it would just be a LCSO detective asking a staff member to pull up a camera due to a call in progress.

Commr. Blake inquired if he would be able to provide some general conditions or parameters.

Sheriff Grinnell responded that it would be for law enforcement purposes and that this was a myriad of reasons.

Commr. Smith believed that the original request included conditions.

Commr. Blake recalled that he had felt that it was possibly vague.

Commr. Parks relayed his understanding that there were 53 existing cameras for FDOT, and that there were hundreds of cameras in the state on FDOT roads.  He relayed that he had visited the region wide FDOT center and that his experience there was that they did not zoom in on license plates.  He supposed that this could be done on a still object if there was an accident and if it was possibly positioned in the right way, but he relayed his understanding that they were not used for this purpose unless this had been changed.  He indicated his understanding that the Sheriff was proposing to bring this under him for utilization, and then to upgrade it and make sure it was being used constitutionally.

Commr. Campione said that the Sheriff had indicated that if he had a situation where he had to do this unilaterally without the County’s authorization, then this could be done under the Florida Statute.

Sheriff Grinnell confirmed that Chapter 39.15, Florida Statutes stated that he could command assistance and whatever relief he needed to address an emergency at that particular time.

Commr. Campione stated that they were discussing law enforcement activities and nothing beyond that, and she felt that they had some safeguards in place.  She mentioned that the Sheriff would not need to go through the process of going over the County, and that they would have an agreement in place to access that information.  She added that if the Board felt that this was not being done property and was being abused in any way, then they could revoke this agreement.  She opined that the type of details that one could get from these cameras was relatively limited, and said that there were many cameras around the state on the highway system.  She felt that the purposes were limited enough, that the safeguards were in place, and if the Sheriff had to do this without the Board’s authorization, he could do this regardless.  She opined that there were mechanisms in place for this to be reined in if it became out of control.  She said that she was grateful that they had a professional law enforcement agency which was working hard to protect them, and that she would like to be part of this effort and work together.  She also thought that the citizens of Lake County could feel comfortable that they had appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that this was not abused.

Sheriff Grinnell mentioned that he worked for the citizens, and that there was a balance between ensuring that citizens were safe and not impeding on any type of constitutional right.  He added that he made this commitment to citizens who elected him into office.

Commr. Smith opined that they had probably the finest Sheriff and law enforcement department in the State of Florida, and said that this was just an extra tool for the Sheriff to have in case he needed it.  He also thought that it was for the betterment and safety of all the citizens of Lake County.

Commr. Blake indicated that he had full faith in the LCSO, and that this was a future concern for him.  He also expressed concerns for what had occurred with cameras in London, England, and for mission creep when it came to this kind of technology and surveillance.  He mentioned that without any regular audits or reports coming back to the Board, or any specific conditions, then he would vote no on this item. 

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved to provide the Sheriff's Office access to traffic camera video feeds during active incidents.

Commr. Blake voted no.

CLERK OF the Circuit COURT and comptroller’s CONSENT AGENDA

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 3, as follows:

List of Warrants

Notice is hereby provided of warrants paid prior to this meeting, pursuant to Chapter 136.06 (1) of the Florida Statutes, which shall be incorporated into the Minutes as attached Exhibit A and filed in the Board Support Division of the Clerk's Office.

City of Fruitland Pak Ordinance 2024-015

Notice is hereby provided of having received Boundary Amendment Ordinance 2024-015 from the City of Fruitland Park.

City of Minneola Ordinance 2023-25

Notice is hereby provided of having received Comprehensive Plan Amendment Ordinance 2023-25 from the City of Minneola.


The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.

There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the floor for public comment.

Commr. Smith asked to pull Tab 11 to the regular agenda.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Consent Agenda, Tabs 3 through 14, pulling Tab 11 to the regular agenda, as follows:


Request approval of the following proclamations: Constitution Week (Proclamation 2024-10); Florida Native Plant Month (Proclamation 2024-11); Law Enforcement Month (Proclamation 2024-12); Water Conservation Month (Proclamation 2024-13); White Cane Safety Day (Proclamation 2024-14); Florida Surveyors and Mappers Week (Proclamation 2024-21); Transit Driver Appreciation Day (Proclamation 2024-25); and Lake County Human Trafficking Prevention Month (Proclamation 2024-26).


Building Services

Recommend approval:

1. To assign Perconti Data Systems, Inc. Contract to Bluewater Systems, Inc. d/b/a Perconti Data Systems (St. Petersburg, FL); and

2. Of Contract 23-413 with Bluewater Systems, Inc. d/b/a Perconti Data Systems, with retroactive approval of upgrade to the platinum plan; and

3. To authorize the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation.

The estimated annual fiscal impact is $87,500 (expenditure) and is within, and will not exceed, available funding in the Fiscal Year Budget.

Elevate Lake

Recommend approval for the Chairman to execute the Release of Liability Form for Northland Lake County Church, doing business as Grace City Church, for the purpose of using the Community Building on church property for the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee Meetings.

The fiscal impact is $225 (expenditure) and is within and will not exceed the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.

community services

Housing and Community Services

Recommend approval to Second Amendments to Agreements for Section 8 Project Based Voucher Programs for continued rental assistance with the City of Leesburg from July 31, 2023, through July 31, 2025, and LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc., from April 30, 2023, through April 30, 2025, respectively, and authorization for the Director of Housing and Community Services to execute Exhibit C on behalf of Lake County as the Director of the Public Housing Agency. The estimated annual fiscal impact is $27,709 - City of Leesburg $10,800, LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc. $16,909 (revenue/expenditure - 100 percent grant funded).

Recommend approval of a Sub-Recipient Agreement with the Okahumpka Community Club, Inc., for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 for the Historic Rosenwald School Project. The fiscal impact shall not exceed $287,310 (expenditure - 100 percent CDBG funded) and is within and will not exceed the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission District 5.

Solid Waste

Recommend adoption of Unanticipated Revenue Resolution (URR) 2024-27, adding $3,380 in donations for the Keep Lake Beautiful Program. The fiscal impact is $3,380 (revenue/expenditure).

Recommend approval:

1. Of Contract 24-917 for the Disposal Services for Class 3 Waste Materials to Hubbard Construction Company (Winter Park, FL); and

2. To authorize the Office of Procurement Services to execute all supporting documentation.

The estimated annual fiscal impact is $160,000 (expenditure). Annual expenditures will not exceed available funding in future Fiscal Year Budgets. Commission District 3.

infrastructure and transportation services

Public Works

Recommend adoption of Resolution 2024-28 to install stop signs and all way plaques on Woodcrest Way at Cagan View Road in the Clermont area.

The fiscal impact is estimated at $200 (expenditure) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission District 1.

Recommend approval to accept the final plat for Johns Lake North and all areas dedicated to the public as shown on Johns Lake North final plat.

The fiscal impact is $1,551 (revenue - final plat application fee) and there is no annual maintenance cost as the roads within the subdivision are private. Commission District 2.

Recommend approval:

1. Of a Local Agency Program Supplemental agreement; and

2. To adopt supporting Resolution 2024-29 with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) regarding funding the construction and construction engineering and inspection services for County Road 452 from County Road 44 to the Lake/Marion County line in the Eustis area.

The estimated fiscal impact is $409,660 (expenditure – 100 percent grant funded) and is within, and will not exceed, the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. Commission Districts 4 and 5.

parks and water resources

Parks and Trails

Recommend approval of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Lake County for wetland and aquatic habitat enhancement at Pine Meadows Conservation area, and authorization for the Chairman to execute the agreement. There is no fiscal impact. Commission District 4.

regular agenda

Development agreement for roundabout in mount dora area

Commr. Smith relayed his understanding that this item was a request from the City of Mount Dora for a roundabout to be constructed for $700,000 on Limit Avenue, and he asked if the City was participating in some of the funding.

Commr. Campione explained that this regarded the planned unit development (PUD) that the Board had approved north of Limit Avenue that also extended across U.S. Highway 441 between the Publix and the Country Club of Mount Dora.  She added that the PUD involved what would eventually be an installation of a traffic signal on U.S. Highway 441 that would provide relief for traffic coming out of the Publix shopping center toward the Country Club of Mount Dora area, and that this was all part of a transportation network.  She elaborated that part of that road would extend to Limit Avenue and would bring a significant amount of traffic there, and that Limit Avenue was a county road.  She mentioned that the County had discussions with the City of Mount Dora for years about the City taking over maintenance of Limit Avenue, and that this could possibly be the case one day; however, it was currently a county transportation issue.  She said that development impact fees would be used to help offset the cost of this roundabout, and she relayed her understanding that those fees could be used from both the north part of this project on the other side of U.S. Highway 441, and the part north of Limit Avenue.  She thought that there was going to be adequate impact fees and that her goal was to work toward an arrangement with the City to ultimately take over Limit Avenue and be responsible for ongoing maintenance in that area.  She commented that the County was trying to get ahead of a transportation issue there, and that they felt that a two way stop was not going to accommodate the level of traffic that would be using that intersection.

Commr. Smith inquired if this was in the proposed community redevelopment area (CRA).

Commr. Campione thought that this was an issue which could be addressed in the next couple of months, and said that it was not technically in the CRA yet.  She opined that to the extent that the City of Mount Dora moved in that direction, this was the discussion which had to occur next; furthermore, this would be discussed with the City about sharing funds from the CRA for this purpose or for reimbursing the County.  She commented that currently the developer needed to get this improvement in place as they were doing the development of the property.  She indicated that she was in support of moving forward with discussions as the City discussed extending its CRA into this area, and to see if the County could receive a contribution from them to help with this item and other improvements on Limit Avenue.

Commr. Parks asked if this was being funded with impact fees.

Commr. Campione confirmed this and added that if there were not enough impact fees, it would come out of other transportation funding.   

Commr. Smith said that he would feel more comfortable if there was some type of agreement that if the City of Mount Dora CRA included Limit Avenue, then they would have to provide some funding.

Commr. Campione thought that in light of the current situation, she did not think that this was something that the County could have in place currently; however, she thought that this was possibly something that the County could accomplish in the future.

Commr. Parks inquired that if the Board moved forward with this on the current day, would the County have some time to see if the City would contribute through the CRA.

Commr. Campione opined that the County had to be prepared to pay for it with the understanding that they could potentially recoup funds in the future, receive other funding through the CRA for Limit Avenue, or transfer maintenance and responsibilities of that transportation network to the City.  She relayed that if the County put the two way stop in, then they would have to tear that intersection out and install a roundabout in the future, noting that they would spend more funding at a later time if they did not address it at the current time and have it built at the time of development.  She assured the Board that she would be working hard to receive assistance from the City and help with reimbursement of this.

Commr. Parks asked if there was a way for it to be built by the developer and then reimbursed back.

Commr. Campione replied that the County had exhausted everything possible.

Commr. Shields said that with the 2024 impact fee rates, 350 homes could possibly cover this.

Commr. Campione added that there were also commercial uses, and that this was why she felt that it would be covered by impact fees.

The Chairman opened the floor for public comment.

Mr. Vance Jochim, a concerned citizen, displayed an image of the intersection of Limit Avenue and North Grandview Street, and he questioned why county taxpayers should be subsidizing the City of Mount Dora.  He opined that the City annexed both sides of a county road but refused to pay for the roads, and he expressed concerns for this.  He also indicated concerns for Cities not accepting responsibility for maintaining and building roads, and he relayed his understanding that the item did not say that it was paid for just by impact fees, noting that it said “and/or the General Fund.”  He questioned why county taxpayers should be paying for this when he opined that the City of Mount Dora or the developer should be funding it.

Commr. Campione indicated that it was worded this way so that it could be constructed on the frontend, opining that there would be plenty of impact fees from this project.  She added that with 350 homes times the impact fee per home, there would be around $875,000, which was not counting the commercial or the actual number of units.  She opined that this item was the County getting ahead of transportation needs related to existing and future traffic that would use this transportation network, and she commented that the developer was paying their share; furthermore, the County was trying to pay for the existing traffic and future transportation needs in that area so that they did not end up spending more funding at a later time to improve an intersection.  She opined that it made sense and that it was not a scenario where the taxpayers were funding something that the developers should be funding, commenting that the developer was paying their share of impact fees and their share of what would have been a two way stop, which was all that they would have been required to do; additionally, the County was trying to deal with the rest of the traffic issues and make this transportation network function well into the future.

Mr. Jochim opined that the City of Mount Dora should fund the full cost for this.

Commr. Campione said that county and city roads blended together and were all part of the transportation network.

Commr. Parks relayed his understanding that if the County moved forward with this, then it would get the design and construction of this roundabout underway, which he opined was needed.  He asked if it would come from the General Fund.

Commr. Campione replied that it would only be if the impact fees were not there, noting that impact fees were received incrementally.

Commr. Parks asked if it was the understanding that the County would be paid back with impact fees as they were received, and Commissioner Campione said that this was her understanding.

Ms. Barker indicated that it was worded this way because the impact fees were not present currently, and that it was a way to ensure that the County had funding available on the current day before the Board approved it; however, it was every expectation that the impact fees would be sufficient to cover the cost of the construction.

Ms. Tara Tedrow, an attorney representing the developer, explained that this agreement was the County’s vision for forward thinking on transportation planning and was not warranted by the developer’s project specifically.  She added that her client designed the plans for the roundabout because they wanted to ensure that it would be done, and that her client was providing $300,000 toward the overall improvements; furthermore, the additional funding above this was what was being approved at the current meeting.  She thought that it would be better for the area to have the roundabout in the future, and that if it was not done at the current time, then her client would do what the traffic study said and install a two way stop; furthermore, she opined that someone would have to change this later and that it would be significantly more expensive than what was currently being contemplated.  She opined that this was the more efficient way to prevent a future transportation issue, and that this was likely the most cost effective way to have the developer do it while they were building their other improvements on North Grandview Street for the project.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the floor for public comment.

Commr. Smith said that he had issues with the City of Mount Dora not contributing to what could possibly be in the CRA, and that there was no guarantee that they would contribute to this roundabout once they had the CRA.

On a motion by Commr. Shields, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved a Development Agreement to design, permit and construct a roundabout at the intersection of Limit Avenue and North Grandview Street in the City of Mount Dora area.

Commr. Smith voted no.

reappointment ballot form for medical examiner’s commission

Commr. Blake said that this item was something that was required as a member of the District 5 Medical Examiner’s Commission, and that Dr. Barbara C. Wolf, M.D. was currently the Medical Examiner.  He added that the County had to fill out this reappointment ballot form, and he recommended filling it out for the incumbent, Dr. Wolf, and naming her as their pick for Lake County in the vote.  He also opined that she had done a fine job.

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to fill out the form for the incumbent, Dr. Barbara C. Wolf, M.D.

public hearings: REZONING

rezoning regular agenda

Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2024-6

FL-7080 Crescent Lake – I Source Towers II, LLC

1. Conditional use permit (CUP) to allow a 160-foot monopine communications tower on Agriculture (A) zoned property.

2. Waiver from Land Development Regulations (LDR) 3.13.09(B)(1) to allow the proposed monopine communications tower to be constructed off-center.

3. Waiver from LDR Section 15.02.04(J) to allow the proposed monopine to exceed the required 140-feet height limitation.


Approval of this conditional use permit request is contingent upon the BCC approving the waiver to the telecommunications location and height requirements.


fl-7080 crescent lake – i source towers ii, llc

Mr. Mike Fitzgerald, Director for the Office of Planning and Zoning, displayed the advertisements for that day’s rezoning cases on the overhead monitor in accordance with the Florida Statutes.  He stated that there was one agenda item which was a conditional use permit (CUP) to allow a 160 foot monopine communications tower on Agriculture zoned property, and that it included a waiver from the Land Development Regulations (LDR) to allow the proposed tower to be constructed off center on the parcel; additionally, the CUP also included a waiver for the tower to exceed the required 140 foot maximum limit.  He stated that the property was located at 11643 Hull Road in the City of Clermont area, and that it was also located in the Green Swamp.  He mentioned that this proposal had been sent to the City of Clermont for comment, and that staff had not received any comments from the City; additionally, the proposal had also been sent to the Florida Department of Commerce, which had no comments as well.  He indicated that included in the site plan was compliance with setbacks from a residential use of 100 feet, separation between existing towers, fencing around the site plan, and a landscaping buffer in compliance with code.

Commr. Smith asked the Board to disclose any ex parte communications.

Commr. Shields said that he had spoken to the applicant and many residents.

Commr. Parks relayed that he did not have any discussions with the applicant, but that he had received some emails about this case.

Commr. Campione commented that she had no disclosures to make.

Commr. Smith indicated that he had some discussions with surrounding property owners.

Ms. Mattaniah Jahn, an attorney representing the applicant, believed that she had a phone conversation with Commissioner Smith.  She then commented that there were staff and Planning and Zoning Board recommendations of approval for a CUP with two waivers to construct a 160 foot tall monopine communication tower at 11643 Hull Road in the City of Clermont area.  She recalled that at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting, there was a thought from neighbors that the subject parcel previously had a gas station application; however, this was the parcel to the east at the corner of Hull Road and Lakeshore Drive.  She added that the subject parcel was zoned Agriculture with a future land use (FLU) designation of Green Swamp, and that one of the waivers was to relocate the tower from the geometric center of the parcel, noting that the eastern half of the parcel was wetlands; therefore, in order to avoid filling those wetlands, they moved the tower about 109 feet to the west-northwest.  She remarked that a monopine tower was allowable on this parcel subject to conditional use review, and that staff had indicated that they met all required separations and aspects of the tower code except for two waivers.  She said that the second waiver regarded the City of Clermont JPA 140 foot tall height cap, which was a section of County code separate from their tower code and allowed the City of Clermont to cap towers’ height at 140 feet.  She elaborated that to go above this, it had to be requested as a waiver, and then it was sent to the City for their review; furthermore, the City had reviewed it and did not have any objection.  She displayed an image of a monopine communication tower, explaining that it was a tower with a single support pole with all cabling routed inside it; additionally, the towers and the foliated canopy on them were engineered to the current State of Florida building code and wind loading.  She relayed that this monopine would be completely dark at night and that they had a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determination that there would be no hazard to air navigation to this extent.  She showed aerial images of the area and explained that T-Mobile, the carrier who requested this tower, would have ideally had it centered up the road on Lakeshore Drive where the Circle K was.  She showed an image from the plans which indicated that they met the required setbacks, and she pointed out the fenced equipment compound which included traffic light cabinets and a backup generator.  She displayed a map of topography in the area and commented that the tower would be located in a lower area, which was why she was requesting 20 feet of additional height.  She showed a graphic showing the impact that geography had on tower heights, and she relayed that the antenna center line for T-Mobile would be at 140 feet; furthermore, this monopine would be co-located by Verizon Wireless from the start, and their co-location would be at 80 feet.  She showed an image with their residential separations, and she mentioned that around the equipment compound would be their required landscape buffer.  She specified that the equipment compound had four spaces for co-locators, and that the base of the monopine would be enclosed with a six foot tall opaque fence behind the landscape buffer.  She displayed photo simulations of the tower from different locations, along with T-Mobile’s maps in the area which included T-Mobile’s search ring.  She explained that one source was not able to locate within the initial search ring because of the development pattern in the area; therefore, they went outside of T-Mobile’s ideal search ring to get as close as they could while still meeting the code requirements.  She showed an image of T-Mobile’s sites that were currently running, along with T-Mobile’s ideal location near the Circle K.  She displayed an image of T-Mobile’s current 4G coverage without the monopine, commenting that west and north of Lakeshore Drive, there was a drop off of reliable in-building 4G coverage into unreliable in-building and reliable in-vehicle coverage.  She said that 5G coverage was smaller than this, and that the nearest tower to the northeast was 2.07 miles away and that the nearest tower to the southeast was 3.89 miles away.  She added that the nearest tower to the southwest was 4.81 miles away, and that the nearest tower to the northwest was 5.31 miles away.  She commented that the proposed monopine covered the entirety of the area around there, though did not quite get north of Lakeshore Drive.  She showed an image of Verizon’s radio frequency coverage propagation, noting that Verizon was co-located to the northwest and the southwest; furthermore, coverage was established along the Lakeshore Drive corridor, and Verizon did not cover as well as T-Mobile because they were 10 feet lower on the southwest tower.  She indicated that in 2018, 86 percent of all 911 calls received by Orange County came by wireless service, and that there was also a National Environmental Policy Act report on file showing no impacts to endangered species or native habitats. 

Commr. Parks asked to display the image of what the tower would look like, and he inquired about what was proposed for landscaping.

Ms. Jahn indicated that there were two species of evergreen trees proposed, and that they still had to go through site plan review where the individual species would be specified. 

Commr. Parks said that he wanted to ensure that it was screened adequately.

Ms. Jahn displayed a diagram and explained that the buffer was designed to consist of canopy trees, understory trees and a continuous hedge row which would be able to reach 36 inches within 12 months.  She added that it would all be xeriscape tolerant so that they were not spending drinking water or usable water on watering shrubs that could otherwise survive in the Florida climate.

Commr. Parks inquired if an image of what it would look like could be displayed.

Ms. Jahn showed an image of an example monopine in Pinnelas County, noting that the canopy was designed to start at the surrounding canopy height.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Commr. Shields opined that people tried not to have cellular towers near them, and that Federal law essentially precluded the Board from denying them, noting that the Board had previously denied one or two towers and was overruled.  He added that the Board could not discuss items such as radio frequency medical effects, and he thought that the relocation made sense to protect the swamp and save some trees; however, he expressed support for a height of 140 feet instead of 160 feet to help with the sightlines. 

Commr. Campione asked if they were already pushing the limit for being able to have the range, having made this compromise to have the tower in a better location.  She said that it seemed like the extra height helped them cover what they needed to.

Commr. Smith agreed that the extra 20 feet was probably to get over the ridges around the subject parcel, and he also agreed with 160 feet.

Commr. Parks opined that no one wanted a cellular tower near them and that the applicant did a good job disguising it; additionally, he opined that they wanted good cellular coverage and that every foot helped.  He noted that there were hills in the area and that this made the towers have to go higher, relaying his support for 160 feet.

Commr. Campione opined that the aesthetics had come a long way on the camouflaged poles and that it was not as obvious.

On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried by a vote of 4-1, the Board approved Tab 1, FL-7080 Crescent Lake – I Source Towers II, LLC.

Commr. Shields voted no.


Ms. Marsh placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:


The Chairman opened the public hearing.

Mr. Jochim relayed his understanding that this was a State of Florida law that basically preempted Lake County’s local control over what was being done.  He commented that some Cities had articles on their website, though he opined that there was nothing on the Lake County website explaining this.  He opined that there could be aggravation when someone built a maximum high density apartment building in a commercial or industrial area, and he indicated his understanding that it allowed them to bypass many of the normal planning and zoning processes.  He thought that there needed to be clarification from the County to the residents about what this was and what could happen.  He relayed his understanding that it allowed the maximum density that the County code allowed for their development, and he opined that the County could reduce their allowable density.  He also expressed concerns for traffic, and opined that the County should have a plan for this.

There being no one else who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

Commr. Shields thought that residents had not seen much from the County because it looked like it would largely impact the Cities, noting that the Cities had water and sewer and could do high density.

Commr. Parks indicated his understanding that there were also legislative changes coming to clean this item up.

Commr. Smith relayed that he and Ms. Barker had visited the City of Tallahassee and that they were discussing the Live Local Act, noting that there were some changes which were being disseminated throughout the legislation.

On a motion by Commr. Shields, seconded by Commr. Blake and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance 2024-4 amending Sections 3.01.02 and 3.01.03, Lake County Code, Appendix E, Land Development Regulations, to allow multifamily and mixed-use residential in commercial and industrial zoning districts.  This Ordinance is required under Chapter 2023-17, Laws of Florida, known as the "Live Local Act."

public hearing: ordinance 2024-5 impact fees

Ms. Marsh placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for reading by title only as follows:


Ms. Marsh clarified that this item was correcting a scrivener’s error changing the assisted living facility (ALF) unit from “per dwelling” to “per bed.”  She added that it did not change any of the actual dollar amount rates.

The Chairman opened the public hearing.

There being no one who wished to address the Board regarding this matter, the Chairman closed the public hearing.

On a motion by Commr. Campione, seconded by Commr. Shields and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Ordinance 2024-5 amending Section 22-37, Lake County Code, regarding Transportation Impact Fees and Section 22-47, Lake County Code, regarding Fire Rescue Impact Fees. This Ordinance corrects an error in the fee tables.

appointments to the library advisory board

On a motion by Commr. Blake, seconded by Commr. Campione and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved to reappoint Mr. Robert Glockler as the primary and Ms. Debra Wanza Dabney as the alternate to the Library Advisory Board as members representing the City of Leesburg.  Both appointments will be reappointed for a term ending February 28, 2028.


county manager

presidents’ day office closure

Ms. Barker commented that County Offices would be closed on February 19, 2024 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

commissioners reports

commissioner shields – vice chairman and district 1

four corners meeting

Commr. Shields mentioned that he met with the other three Counties and staff for a quarterly Four Corners meeting.  He added that they brought in their chambers of commerce to receive their input.

lead board meeting

Commr. Shields relayed that he had a Lake Economic Area Development (LEAD) Board meeting.

early learning coalition meeting

Commr. Shields said that he had his first Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Lake County meeting.

central florida mpo regional alliance meeting

Commr. Shields stated that he had a Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Regional Alliance meeting and that he was now the chair.  He relayed that they received a report indicating that they would have to start including their carbon dioxide (CO2) tailpipe emissions into their annual plans by October 2024 due to a federal law.  He elaborated that they were discussing possibly doing this as a region.

city of groveland joint planning agreement

Commr. Shields wondered if there was any way to get the City of Groveland joint planning agreement (JPA) done, relaying his understanding that the transportation piece had caused a delay.  He opined that they could possibly remove the transportation piece to have it finalized.

Ms. Barker said that this item was in final review with the County Attorney’s Office, and that staff could place it on the agenda once it was completed and sent to the City of Groveland.

Ms. Marsh clarified that there had been issues other than the roads item, and that staff would provide this information to the Board.

Commr. Shields noted that it was the first of 14 Cities and that if there were lessons learned, then it would be nice to have that information.

commissioner parks – district 2

joint planning agreements

Commr. Parks relayed that the City of Clermont and the Town of Montverde were soon to follow for JPAs, and that it had been almost two years since elected officials had originally met to discuss this countywide.  He mentioned that Cities had asked him why there had not been an update with elected officials in a roundtable setting, and he asked if there could possibly be an update by May 2024.

Commr. Smith remarked that he could meet with Ms. Barker and look into this.

south lake citizen of the year

Commr. Parks congratulated Mr. Lance Sewell, with South Lake Hospital, who was the Citizen of the Year in South Lake.

county cemeteries

Commr. Parks stated that the County was responsible for seven cemeteries throughout the county, and that several people had let him know about an issue regarding the high cost for a burial.  He asked if the County could look to see if there was the possibility to open up the cemeteries that they were already taking care of for burial for Lake County residents, and he indicated his understanding that it would possibly be a lower cost than outside of the county.

Ms. Barker relayed her understanding that some of these cemeteries were historical in nature and had not been open for many years; therefore, the County was just providing maintenance and did not necessarily have the rights to open them.

Ms. Marsh added that out of the seven cemeteries that the County maintained, they did not own five of them, noting that they were historic properties owned by private individuals and that the County’s maintenance was limited.  She said that the two cemeteries owned by the County included Evergreen in the City of Tavares, which was only one acre, and the Woods-Boyd family plot, which was a half-acre.

Mr. Bobby Bonilla, Executive Director for Parks and Water Resources, explained that for the past 20 years the County had been maintaining at least seven cemeteries which were not active.  He specified that maintenance included mowing, trash pickup, fence repairs and signage; additionally, these were cemeteries that were abandoned or that did not have dedicated ownership.  He also indicated that the County was doing the required necessary duties to comply with the State until they found adequate ownership.

Commr. Parks opined that this was an issue in Lake County and that he was surprised at the cost for burial, noting that some people chose burial for religious reasons.


former state representative marlene o’toole

Commr. Blake commented on the passing of former State Representative Marlene O’Toole, and said that she was a close friend and mentor to him.  He mentioned that she had been the Chair for their legislative delegation, and was Education Chair for the Florida House of Representatives for four years.  He added that she had started the Take Stock in Children Program for Lake and Sumter Counties and had sent hundreds of children to college who would not otherwise have been able to afford it.  He added that these were all things that she did in her retirement, and that she also had a career across the country as an International Business Machines (IBM) Executive.  He said that she was a wonderful asset to Lake County.

discussions about certain technologies

Commr. Blake mentioned that during the Planning and Zoning agenda, Commissioner Shields had brought up that the Board could not really have discussions about the possible health effects of some of these technologies.  He said that it could possibly be wise to ask their federal lobbyists to look into pursuing amending that law to at least allow that discussion, opining that it should be able to be discussed if the science was there.

commissioner smith – chairman and district 3

visit to city of tallahassee

Commr. Smith commented that he and Ms. Jennifer Barker, County Manager, had visited the City of Tallahassee in the previous week to promote their legislative priorities.  He mentioned that some of it was positive, and that the County could possibly receive more than what was initially said.

meeting with st. johns river water management district

Commr. Smith stated that he met with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) about reopening Emeralda Marsh Area Four, noting that many citizens in the area did birding.  He opined that it was a beautiful property, and that the SJRWMD was positive with their comments.  He said that it looked like this might come to fruition, and that he was a proponent for citizens of Lake County being able to use the land that they provided funding for.

meeting with florida department of transportation

Commr. Smith remarked that he would have a meeting with FDOT regarding the traffic situation on U.S. Highway 27 in front of Legacy of Leesburg, as well as a flashing beacon for a warning sign for the red light at Plantation at Leesburg.

pasta perfection and cheesy delights day

Commr. Smith said that it was Pasta Perfection and Cheesy Delights Day.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:46 a.m.








kirby smith, chairman