A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
April 24, 2012
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 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; Jennifer Hill, Vice Chairman; Sean Parks; Jimmy Conner; and Welton G. Cadwell. Others present were: Darren Gray, County Manager; Sanford A. “Sandy” Minkoff, County Attorney; Wendy Taylor, Executive Office Manager, County Manager’s Office; Barbara F. Lehman, Chief Deputy Clerk, County Finance; and Susan Boyajan, Deputy Clerk.
INVOCATION and pledge
Rabbi Chaim Solomon from the Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora gave the Invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Darren Gray, County Manager, requested that the legislative update on Tab 26 be moved to after Tab 28 under his departmental business and to move Tab 30 to right after the Consent Agenda, since there were people in the audience waiting to hear that issue.
Mr. Sandy Minkoff, County Attorney, requested that Tab 23 under the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda be moved to his reports.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner, and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Minutes of February 28, 2012 (Regular Meeting) as presented.
citizen question and comment period
No one present wished to address the Board.
CLERK OF COURTS’ CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the Clerk of Courts’ Consent Agenda, Items 1 through 7, as follows:
List of Warrants
Request to acknowledge receipt of 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.
Request to acknowledge receipt of a cover letter from Covanta Energy dated March 16, 2012 and Certificate of Authorized Officer stating that Covanta Lake, Inc. has fulfilled its obligation under the Loan Agreement dated November 1, 1988 for the Fiscal Year ended December 31, 2011, which is being provided pursuant to Section 8.04 of said Agreement.
Request to acknowledge receipt of a copy of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the City of Umatilla for the period ended September 30, 2011, along with a cover letter dated March 27, 2012.
Request to acknowledge receipt of Legal Notice of the application for a transfer of the Bentwood Water Facilities from Raintree Utilities, Inc. to Bentwood Homeowners Association, Inc. on April 29, 2012, pursuant to Section 367.071, Florida Statutes.
Request to acknowledge receipt of amended City of Mount Dora Community Redevelopment Agency Redevelopment Plan of 2012.
Request to acknowledge receipt of Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011, in compliance with Sections 373.5071 and 373.536(6), Florida Statutes.
Request to acknowledge receipt of copy of Ordinance No. 2011-03-502 from the City of Mascotte annexing a parcel of land generally located south of Youth Camp Road, west of Honeycut Road, and north of Hanley Road, comprising 162.67 +/- acres into the City of Mascotte’s westernmost boundary, which was passed and adopted on March 5, 2012.
sales surtax oversight committee report
Mr. Keith Mullins, Chairman of the Lake County Citizens’ Sales Tax Oversight Committee, related that as part of the agreement when the one-cent sales tax extension was passed in 2001, a citizens’ oversight committee was appointed to be sure that the sales tax money was being spent exactly as the citizens desired in their vote, including members from the League of Cities, School Board, Lake County Property Appraiser’s Office, and citizens at large. He stated that they meet twice a year and had last met on March 19 to review the way the sales tax money was spent by the cities, the School Board, and the County in the last fiscal year. He reported that although they had several questions this year, the cities clarified or moved the funds in question to a different account to keep with the true guidelines of both the letter and spirit of the law, and they would meet again in September to look at the budgets that are currently being prepared to see how the sales tax money is being planned to be spent next year. He concluded the system seems to be working well, and all of the entities are doing exactly what the citizens voted for back in 2001. He also mentioned that their meetings were open for public comment.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the acceptance of the Sales Surtax Oversight Committee report.
COUNTY MANAGER’S CONSENT AGENDA
Commr. Parks thanked the Cities of Groveland and Clermont in regard to Tabs 10 and 11 for entering into the Interlocal Agreements for annual funding to assist with the operation of the South Lake Business Opportunity Center. He also reported that the Town of Montverde is also committed to enter into a similar agreement, and he commented that they have great support for the Business Opportunity Center in South Lake.
Mr. Gray elaborated that these were three-year financial commitments from those cities.
On a motion by Commr. Hill, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Manager’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 4 through 21 as follows:
Request for approval and signature on the Fifth Amendment between the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and Leesburg Regional Medical Center and approval and signature on the Agreement between the Lake County Sheriff, South Lake Hospital and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for correctional facility inmates and authorization for the Board Chairman to sign the Agreements and any subsequent documents relating to the Agreements. The fiscal impact will vary depending on the nature and prevalence of necessary inmate hospital services.
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners to renew for a one (1) year period the Agreement between Lake County and the Lake County School Board for continued funding to the Lake County Shared Services Network in the amount of $25,000.00, for FY 2011-2012. Funding will be taken from the Crime Prevention Fund established by the County pursuant to F.S. 775.083(2).
Request for approval of the target area changes to reflect new and updated data for Neighborhood Stabilization Plan (NSP) 3 for acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties within Lake County's hardest hit areas for homeownership and affordable rental.
Request for approval and signature on the changes to the original agreement between Lake County, Florida and Florida Hospital Waterman, Inc. d/b/a Community Primary Health Clinic and Florida Hospital Waterman Foundation, Inc. for Annual Grant Funding. The fiscal impact is $5,000.00.
Request for approval and authorization for the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners to sign the 2012-2015 Local Housing Assistance Plan effective July 1, 2012 and Resolution No. 2012-41. There is no fiscal impact.
Request to approve alignment of the County PCard Program to the State of Florida PCard contract, and authorize the procurement office to execute all associated implementing documentation. There is no immediate fiscal impact. The action is intended to increase rebate revenue.
Economic Development and Tourism
Request for approval and signature on the Interlocal Agreement with City of Groveland and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for annual funding to assist with the operation of the South Lake Business Opportunity Center. Approve Resolution No. 2012-42 for Unanticipated Revenue and appropriation of funds. The fiscal impact is $10,911.
Request for approval and signature on the Interlocal Agreement with City of Clermont and the Lake County Board of County Commissioners for annual funding to assist with the operation of the South Lake Business Opportunity Center. Approve Resolution No. 2012-43 for Unanticipated Revenue and appropriation of funds. The fiscal impact is $35,927.
Request for authorization to fill one (1) Employee Services Representative position in the Employee Services Department. The fiscal impact is $42,233.
Request to award the attached contract to Clifton's Tower Service, Orlando, FL for installation of energy efficient lighting on two communication towers in the amount of $54,500 (100% grant funded).
Request for approval of Interconnection Agreement for Customer-Owned Renewable Generation System between Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SECO) and Lake County, Florida.
Request to award contract 12-0423 to Advanced Communication Solutions for a new telephone switch in support of the Judicial Center expansion and authorize the procurement office to execute all related contractual documentation. The fiscal impact is $307,229.
Request for authorization to fill one (1) vacant Park Attendant position in the Public Resources Department, Parks & Trails Division. The fiscal impact is $33,999.
Request for authorization to award CR-565A and #1726 Silver Eagle Road, FM # 430267-1-58-01, Project No. 2012-01, Bid No. 12-0021, to D.A.B. Constructors, Inc., in the amount of $592,000.00, and to encumber and expend funds in the amount of $350,000.00 from the 1300.5056150.860674.50012 - Federal/State Grants-PW Grants-Infrastructure Construction-CR-565A & Silver Eagle Road (Expense) - Infrastructure – Construction Fund and $242,000 from the 1156.5056660.860674 – Road Impact Fee Benefit District 6 (Expense) Infrastructure – Construction Fund. Commission District 1. The fiscal impact is $592,000.00 ($350,000 Grant Funded; $242,000 Road Impact Fee Funded).
Request for approval and signatures of FWC 10-year Aquatic Plant Management contract. Annual allocations will be determined by the yearly work plan submittals. The fiscal impact to be determined.
Request for approval and signature of agreement with the City of Clermont regarding construction, ownership and maintenance of the South Lake Trail within city limits (from Lake Minneola Shores Road south to Lake Minneola Drive). Commission District 2, Project Tracking #SPJ05006; there is no fiscal impact.
Request for authorization to fill one (1) vacant Right of Way/GIS Analyst position within the Public Works Department/Engineering Division. The fiscal impact is $53,224.
Request from Solid Waste Division for approval of a fund transfer for the purchase of a Hazardous Waste Mobile Unit. This is a replacement unit and additional funds are needed due to the increased vehicle equipment costs. This vehicle was approved for the current budget year, FY2012. The fiscal impact is $30,000.00.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S CONSENT AGENDA
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Hill, and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the County Attorney’s Consent Agenda, Tabs 22 through 25, pulling Tab 23 as follows:
Request for approval of Amendment to the Lease Agreement with Grande Commercial Property, LLC for office space for the Sheriff in Lady Lake - Fiscal Impact $56,041 (annually).
Request for approval of Letter of Engagement from David S. Dee of Gardner, Bist, Wiener, Wadsworth, Bowden, Bush, Dee, LaVia & Wright, P.A. for services regarding the preparation of an RFP and associated contracts for the collection and disposal of the solid waste generated in Lake County as well as other environmental and solid waste matters. Approval to waive any conflict due to his prior representation of Waste Services, Inc. or ACMS, Inc. Billing rate for David Dee is $225 per hour.
Request for approval and execution of the Satisfaction and Release of Code Enforcement Lien for the Hearns Family Partnership, LTD. The fiscal impact is $500.00.
COUNTY MANAGER’S DEPARTMENTAL BUSINESS
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that this was a request to bring two roads into the County Maintenance System, which were Teakwood Lane and Paradise Drive, and showed on a map on the overhead monitor the locations of those roads. He went through the history of that subdivision, stating that although the plat of Orange Blossom Gardens, Unit I, was approved by the Board of County Commissioners and platted in 1968, the roads in Unit I were not accepted by the Board to be County-maintained roads until 1981, except for Paradise and Teakwood, although there is no indication that those roads were any different than any other road in the area. He related that he would rate these roads a 5 at this time and that they had stormwater systems in place. He stated that they have had requests in the last few years to bring them into the County Maintenance System and have asked that the Villages Homeowners’ Association work on getting commitments from those property owners. He specified that all they would be currently doing is putting up stop bars and erecting stop signs and street signs, with possible resurfacing sometime in the future when deemed necessary. He recommended bringing those two roads into the County Maintenance System.
Mr. Don Hahnfeldt, President of the Villages Homeowners’ Association, expressed his appreciation for accepting these two small sections of roadway that were important to the residents in that area and for the hard work done by the Public Works staff to resolve a 44-year old item.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request for authorization to execute Resolution No. 2012-45 accepting Teakwood Lane (Co. Road No. 7901G) and Paradise Drive (Co. Road No. 7901H) into the County Road Maintenance System and execute Resolution No. 2012-46 relating to speed limits for these roads located in Unit 1 Orange Blossom Gardens, Plat Book 18, Page 9 (Sections 6 & 7, Township 18S, Range 24E). Commission District 5. No fiscal impact.
public hearings – rezonings
Mr. Gray noted that Tab 28 was the developer’s agreement that was related to Tab 5 in the Rezoning Agenda having to do with the Long and Scott Farms proposed Aviation Growth Center, and although they had to be voted on separately, he asked to discuss them together when the case was being presented.
Mr. Brian Sheahan, Planning and Community Design Manager, Department of Growth Management, noted that all of the rezoning cases have been properly advertised and that appropriate notice has been sent to the adjoining property owners; he also reported that there were no changes to the agenda.
rezoning consent agenda
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the Rezoning Consent Agenda as follows:
Tab 1. Ordinance No. 2012-28
Carroll, Williams, Gibbs, Parker
South Forty Business Center
Request to amend MP Ordinance #1986-56 to add general retail and motorcycle sales use to the existing light industrial uses by creating a new ordinance that will replace it.
Tab 2. Ordinance No. 2012-29
Kenneth E. LaRoe
Green Consulting Group, Inc./Timothy Green
The Shop, LLC
Request to rezone 2.1 acres of 7.19 acres of property (comprising two parcels) from Residential Professional (RP) to Planned Commercial (CP) Zoning District and rezone 5.09 acres from CP to RP to facilitate future lot line adjustment and conforming use of the property.
Tab 3. Ordinance No. 2012-30
B. Potts, P.E./Tannath Design, Inc.
Rubin Groves of Clermont
Racetrac Store at Woodcrest Way
Request to rezone 11.95 acres from Agriculture (A) and Neighborhood Commercial (C-1) to Planned Commercial (CP) for commercial development (convenience retail, general retail, professional office, and medical service). The applicants withdrew their request of a waiver to the pervious parking requirements.
rezoning regular agenda
rezoning case msp#12/1/1-4 – don cordle – professional dirt
service mining site plan
Commr. Campione stated that she would be abstaining from the vote on this case, but will still participate in the discussion of it.
Mr. Sheahan recapped that this request by Professional Dirt Services for a mining site plan CUP for a borrow pit for clean sand and fill as well as continuation of the construction and demolition (C & D) debris landfill authorized under a 2002 Consent Agreement was before the Board in March but was continued. He explained that the size of the site was about 14 acres located in the Rural Future Land Use just off of CR 439 with a current zoning of Agriculture (A). He clarified that the request was to essentially recognize the C & D activity and to add that of a borrow pit, which is a limited use in environmentally-sensitive areas by the County’s Comprehensive Plan, since it was in the Wekiva Study Area. He pointed out that staff has placed conditions to ensure that it is consistent with that policy and the proposed ordinance, that the ordinance would require specific use within the Wekiva Study Area as a recognized environmentally sensitive area, and that the sites would have to be approved by the County Manager or a designee to ensure that they meet that requirement. He added that by approval of this ordinance, the Board would be making a finding of necessity to serve the needs of public works projects within the Wekiva, primarily the Wekiva Parkway, and the current non-conforming C & D facility would be brought into compliance with the Comp Plan and Land Development Regulations (LDR) and would no longer be considered nonconforming. He noted that conditions have been placed in the ordinance to limit the impacts of such a facility, including a prohibition on the acceptance of drywall entirely or CCA-treated wood, a requirement for a noise study to ensure that noise impacts were properly mitigated, buffering, and monitoring; and he mentioned that there is a provision that allows a reduction of the 100-foot setback requirement to 50 feet, which was consistent with the original approval of the 2002 Consent Agreement as well as the approved Department of Environmental Protection permit. He pointed out that the proposed site is very rural with agricultural uses all around the site in a low density area, and staff believed there was adequate level of service on CR 439 to handle the additional truck traffic, although a transportation study will be required for the site plan when it comes in.
Commr. Cadwell expressed concern about the width of CR 439.
Mr. Jimmy Crawford, an attorney representing Professional Dirt Service, commented that they have been working hard trying to find conditions that would make this amenable for everyone and to gain consensus by communicating with neighbors and staff. He explained that they have agreed to drop the outside C & D facility, since there were too many concerns about that, with the main request before the Board being the utilization of this site for a borrow pit, which can only be done for a public project within or near one of the Wekiva River protection areas. However, he could not give certain details about the project, since that was unknown at this time. He reported that he would withdraw his request for the borrow pit and move forward with only the C & D portions with substantial protections in the ordinance that are not in the consent agreement, but he requested to be able to move forward with an amendment with specific conditions when and if they have more information about a project in the future. He requested either a denial without prejudice to bring it back or to be able to go ahead with the C & D portion and apply for the amendment; however, he commented that he would not want to get a denial with prejudice, since that would take a year to resolve.
Commr. Conner commented that he appreciated the way all the parties have tried to work this issue out, and he asked why he does not just withdraw the request.
Mr. Crawford stated that he was fine with that as long as it was the best solution and they could reapply when they have enough information, but he knew that it was withdrawn in 2009, which engendered some bad feelings among the neighbors.
Commr. Cadwell pointed out that currently they were operating as a nonconforming C & D, and he was concerned it would be hard to deny other things in the future if this was approved.
Commr. Campione noted that if this request were approved, there would be additional conditions that were not in place right now.
Commr. Parks stated that although the additional restrictions were good, adding any future C & D waste without it being lined is a problem for him.
Mr. Crawford explained that there were two confined layers that exist between that and the aquifer in this case, and they had six monitoring wells. He assured the Board that the odds of a problem would be astronomically small.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Minkoff when the applicant could reapply if they withdraw.
Mr. Minkoff responded that he did not think there were any prohibitions on reapplication, and it would become a res judicata issue if they make a formal finding after hearing, in which case without prejudice would not add anything.
Commr. Conner opined that this application could be premature until they have all the data together that they need, and he believed the cleanest way would be to withdraw it and resubmit it later when they know exactly every criteria they were asking for.
Mr. Crawford stated that after hearing Mr. Minkoff’s opinion, he wanted to withdraw the application, and he promised that he will not bring it back until he has substantially more information and a real project with real conditions.
Mr. Minkoff opined that since they had already started the public hearing, the Board should approve the withdrawal and give people who wanted to speak regarding the withdrawal an opportunity to be heard.
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 9:45 that there would be a ten-minute recess.
rezoning case msp#12/1/1-4 – don cordle – rezoning tab 4 (cont’d)
Mr. Minkoff informed the Board that he talked to both counsels and staff, and since there has not been a notice of appearance formally filed by the opposition asking for any of the changes to the vesting, the withdrawal now removes the case from the Board jurisdiction, and they should move on to the next case.
Mr. Derek Schroth, an attorney representing Ken LaRoe, voiced an objection regarding that position.
Commr. Campione asked that the record reflect that Mr. Schroth did object, but the Board was advised by their attorney that the Board no longer has jurisdiction over the case, because it has been withdrawn by the applicant, who has to live with any repercussions of the withdrawal.
ph #25-10-3 - long & scott farms/west orange airport authority
Commr. Cadwell and Commr. Parks both disclosed that they met with the applicant in this case.
Commr. Conner and Commr. Hill disclosed that they have received e-mails regarding this case.
Commr. Campione indicated that she had responded to some of the e-mails she had received regarding this case, and she also met with the applicants and their representatives.
Mr. Sheahan mentioned that the ownership of the property changed after the initial application; the case was formerly represented by Cecilia Bonifay, who was not on the case any longer; and the application has been taken over by Roger Anderson and Guy Haggard. He noted that an additional memorandum was placed with the staff report outlining some additional recommendations should the Board approve this ordinance. He explained that the request was simply to remove a condition from paragraph 1 (I) from Ordinance 2004-85 which stated that the ordinance would become null and void if Orange County land use approvals are changed, unless the changes are approved by the Board. He stated that this property is about six acres in size and located in the Lake Jem area completely surrounded by the Long & Scott properties to the county line, with Long & Scott owning the property on the Orange County side as well, and the Planning & Zoning Board recommended approval of the ordinance by a vote of 5-2. He related that the subject property is an extension of Orlando North Airpark in Orange County comprised of 52 hangars for single-engine and twin-engine aircraft, and Orange County approved a land use on its side as a growth center to develop 750,000 square feet of aviation-related uses. He noted that the developer currently has a Planned Development application pending approval by the Orange County Development Review Committee, and additional approvals of the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) will be required if the zoning is approved in Lake and Orange Counties, including an environmental impact study and public participation component by the FAA, and he pointed out that the primary concern of the FAA staff that he spoke with was the North Shore Restoration Area.
Mr. Sheahan gave a history and chronology of the case starting in 2001 when the applicant originally came before the Board, which denied his request to extend what was then a crop dusting airstrip, but approval was given in 2004 for 1455 linear feet of airstrip to meet their regulatory requirements for the approach and safety zones at the airport with limitations including no jets, no flight training, no helicopters, and daylight operation only. He continued to explain that the developer applied to Orange County in 2009 for a Future Land Use Amendment to change the property to Aviation Growth Center, and the Applicant applied to Lake County in 2010 for a zoning amendment to remove the condition from Lake County Ordinance No. 2004-85, which was tabled pending the application in Orange County. He explained that when the FLU amendment was approved in June 2010 by Orange County, it included a provision that any impacts to Lake County’s transportation network be addressed through an agreement between Lake County and the developer, but the FLU amendment was found noncompliant by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which was worked out in 2011. He stated that Lake County approved their remedial amendments and a settlement agreement to allow Long & Scott Farms to have a specific planning policy that allowed a paved airstrip on their property. He pointed out that the developer’s agreement was contained in the backup materials, which set up the requirements whereby the development will be required to mitigate its traffic impacts in Lake County and provides for a pay-as-you-go system for the developer to pay a proportionate share toward road improvements in Lake County, including traffic signals, lane widening, or turn lanes as determined by the transportation study. He pointed out that the change to the ordinance would not approve or disallow anything in Orange County, and the two factors for the Board to decide are whether an airport is appropriate in this location with its impacts on Lake County and whether its scope should be limited through the ordinance or developer agreement. He noted that the applicant has indicated that their intent is to increase the scale and the types of aircraft used at the facility, including jet aircraft and helicopters. He commented that many of the restrictions in the current ordinance are in conflict with their stated intent, and the expansion is partially contingent on negotiation with a land swap with the St. Johns River Water Management District, showing on a map where that land was located. He also pointed out that one issue was the 10,000-foot radius for bird suppression, which would encroach into the North Shore Restoration Area near Lake Apopka.
Commr. Campione stated that she had a question about the terminology of general aviation airport, what that entails, and how it was categorized as far as the size, intensity, and activity.
Mr. Nick Nesta from VHB MillerSellen, a non-affiliated aviation authority, explained that the three categories are general aviation, reliever, and commercial service; and general aviation will cater to small general aviation aircraft typically, which could include jet aircraft as well. He added that a reliever airport is a larger aviation airport that helps offload general aviation traffic from the commercial service airport.
Mr. Bob Loomis, the Applicant who was also an owner and the airport manager of the facility, explained that there were two issues with this rezoning request, one of which was the developer’s agreement which specified that they have to take care of and handle anything they do in Orange County that has an impact on Lake County traffic or transportation. He stated that the other issue they were voting on that day was a zoning issue for language that was put into the ordinance over eight years ago to make sure Lake County was part of this project and to possibly extend that runway into Lake County. He believed, however, that it was time to have that language removed so that they could proceed further. He pointed out that the Long and Scott families have been farming this land for well over 50 years, have been good stewards of the land, and have tried to provide for their families and the families that live in the area; however, farming is slowly being phased out over the years, and they were asking for the opportunity to be able to utilize their property for other purposes and to provide opportunities for other Lake County residents. He noted that the Long and Scott families were one of the first people to start ecotourism in this area, including their corn maze which attracts about 30,000 visitors a year, a produce and farmer’s market, and a café, and he believed they could work hand in hand with the individuals that were doing the restoration project and give another avenue to bring individuals to this area through their airport. He stated that they were trying at this time to secure their airspace and to control it in order to put a 1200-foot minimum on the flight traffic as well as designate airways and pathways for this aircraft that they could maintain and control to keep aircraft away from the Lake Apopka Restoration area. He emphasized that this airport has been in operation there for over 50 years, and Lake Apopka has been used as a training facility, which they would prevent when they gained control of that airspace, and he opined that they could be good partners and help solve some of the problems concerning the restoration project, and he hoped the Board gives them an opportunity to do that. He thanked County staff for their due diligence, professionalism, and time, and he agreed with their recommendation to approve those two requests. He submitted 600 petitions of citizens and businesses in that area that support this request as well as a letter of approval from the Town of Astatula for this project.
Commr. Campione asked to what extent they would be willing to limit the size of the aircraft that would utilize this airport.
Mr. Loomis responded that their runway was currently 3,000 feet long, and size is the biggest determination for aircraft. He opined that the jet aircraft that would be used would be no larger than the piston aircraft that is currently used and would be safer, lighter, quieter, and more reliable.
Commr. Conner asked Mr. Minkoff what the best way was to limit the size of the aircraft. He also asked whether Mr. Loomis would be comfortable agreeing to language that would limit the size of the runway and exclude commercial aircraft.
Mr. Loomis responded that he will have no problem agreeing to restrictions on commercial aircraft in the developer’s agreement, and he related that they did not have any intention of bringing in commercial aircraft.
Mr. Minkoff explained that they do not typically do contract-type zoning and commented that this was an unusual circumstance, because the majority of the airport is in Orange County, so the County’s ordinance does not control what they do on the Orange County side. He added that the existing ordinance attempted to put limits on what they did in Orange County by specifying that the permission to use the Lake County property would no longer be valid if they exceed those limits.
Commr. Conner asked if there were any plans to extend the runway more than 3,000 feet.
Mr. Loomis answered that they did not have any intention to extend the runway and that they have backed away from that, and their intentions currently were to keep the runway at 3,000 feet.
Commr. Cadwell agreed that the length of the runway is the key to everything and what controls what happens at a runway.
Commr. Campione asked what would prevent them from extending the runway if they had enough acreage to do that and when the economy improves.
Mr. Loomis responded that they would have to come before the Board to do that, and he also pointed out that there were a lot of safeguards, since the FAA and FDOT also have to approve that as well as require environmental impact studies.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Mr. Egor Emery, a resident of Eustis, related that he grew up near an airport that was expanded near a landfill that attracted birds, and the landfill was eliminated to mitigate that attraction; however, this particular project is in an area that the taxpayers of Florida have invested millions of dollars trying to attract birds by restoring Lake Apopka, and that substantial investment should weigh heavily in the Board’s decision to expand this airport. He opined that the traffic needs to be commensurate with the habitat, and the best way to control that is with the length of the airport and the facilities. He commented that once approved, it is very difficult to go backwards and limit that development. He concluded that keeping the air traffic to a minimum in this area will be beneficial to the wildlife and the surrounding community.
Mr. Rich Dunkel pointed out that the Lake Apopka loop trail was coming together after ten years’ worth of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent by Orange County for a trailhead to access to the North Shore, with Lake County doing the same on the west side to complete and connect it to the West Orange Trail. He commented that birding is a growing trend, and the ecotourism aspect of those jobs, especially on an international level, should not be forgotten and that this was a great opportunity to do that. He stated that there are other jobs that will be developed in the same area that will not impact their transportation issues and add more competition to the Kelly Park DRI that has already been approved, and he opined that they do not need two large commercial developments in that area.
Ms. Ann Dupee, a committee member on the TDC (Tourist Development Council), related that she had sat on the Airport Authority Board representing Lake County in the past at a time when they were looking at land in west Orange County and trying to raise money for a feasibility study, until the City of Apopka decided to pay for the feasibility study and had a plan that included the airport as a partner with the city. She suggested that Lake County discuss with the City of Apopka and the Airport Authority how they could work this to all of their advantages, and she opined that they would have less traffic disturbing the birds than they currently do if they have an established flight pattern.
Mr. David Hill with Long & Scott Farms stated that he was both a pilot and has been farming for 25 years, and he pointed out that although farms attract birds, they have never had a problem at that airport. He also commented that there were always birds at airports, and the 10,000 foot barrier that he saw on the map which was equal to two miles was a long way from an airstrip.
Ms. Cindy Scott, a resident of the Lake Jem area, stated that this came down to three issues of the economy, property rights, and the environment. She pointed out that the County has been emphasizing the importance of improving economic conditions and creating jobs lately. She commented that their families have worked hard and have been paying their taxes at Long & Scott Farms for over 50 years and deserve the right to do something with their land to be able to hand it down to their children. She also opined that they have been good stewards of this land, and they try to educate and inform the public about the land with events such as the corn maze. She urged the Board to look at all of the facts and issues and decide what is more important.
Ms. Loretta Satterthwaite, a resident of Orange County and Vice President of the Orange Audubon Society, related that they were very supportive of the restoration project that was being done by the St. Johns River Water Management District on behalf of all of the citizens of Florida and that they spent many tax dollars on that project and want to continue that. She emphasized that they are not against projects that create jobs, and they think that the restoration project will create many more jobs than this would. She added that there is rare bird life at the restoration area that people come to see, including whooping cranes and peregrine falcons, and she noted that Lake Apopka has had the highest inland bird count in the United States in 100 years. She commented that ecotourism is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and internationally as well as the fastest-growing non-motorized sport in the country. She opined that the FAA will enforce restrictions on the North Shore Restoration Area if this airstrip is allowed to expand, and the types of engines will be the problem rather than the size of the aircraft. She urged the Board to consider this in their vote regarding this project.
Mr. Hank Scott from Long & Scott Farms stated that they respect the birds, and he believed the birds were smart enough not to get in the way of planes and that it was not a problem. He opined that there was plenty of room for the birds and the airport, and he noted that the airport has been there for 50 years without a problem. He also thought that the airport could be another mode of transportation to bring the birders to the area, and he believed this project was a good idea.
Ms. Constance Harvey wanted to address the fact that residents who were within the 10,000 foot hazard zone also have a right to enjoyment of their property, and she opined that the airport would affect the value of their homes. She also commented that the industrial zone would be opening “Pandora’s box,” and she was also concerned about the safety of the children at Astatula Elementary School, which was four aeronautical miles away.
Mr. Bill Morris, a resident of Apopka, related that he has been a pilot since 1968, has flown in that area many times, and has not had a bird strike yet. He also opined that birds do not pay ad valorem taxes, but businesses did, and he believed that they could work with the people who were concerned about the birds.
Mr. Paul Luckett, a resident of Orange County, asked for clarification regarding the fact that a map shown earlier indicated that the runway is going to be 6200 feet, but he had heard during the meeting that it was only going to be 3,000 feet.
Commr. Campione responded that they will make note of that question and clarify it with the applicant and staff after they hear public comment.
Mr. Luckett asked the status of the Leesburg Airport.
Commr. Campione commented that the Leesburg Airport seems to be more in expansion mode and is adding more hangars.
Commr. Hill added that Leesburg Airport was landlocked, although they expanded their runway a few years ago, added a tower, and are having discussions about how to improve and develop the amenities around the airport.
Mr. Guy Haggard, Chairman of the Airport Authority, stated that he concurred with staff’s recommendations, and this was exactly the type of economic impact they want to incur in both counties. He commented that FDOT classified this as a community airport or SATS (small aircraft transportation system) airport. He suggested that the best way to limit the size of general aviation aircraft is by weight and that most of the aircraft coming into this type of airport are less than 25,000 pounds. He urged the Board to vote in favor of the project and assured them that they would maintain good stewardship of the airport.
Ms. Mary Remer, a resident of Leesburg and a member of the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society, related that the Christmas bird count showed that there were 42,949 birds in 1998 in that area, and the numbers had increased by 2010 to 51,240 birds of 174 different species, including eagles, egrets, and whooping cranes. She asked the Board not to approve the changes made by Orange County government favoring the airport so that they could keep their birds and tourists coming to Lake Apopka. She commented that she did not have problems with propeller planes and that there have not been any bird strikes involving those; however, a bird cannot avoid being sucked into a jet engine. She mentioned that Lake County is planning its inaugural birding festival in late September of this year, and it has been advertised nationwide and was expected to provide a lot of dollars for Lake County. She noted that Lake County is a great place for birding, and people come to this county from all over to see rare birds. She concluded that they want to continue to make this area attractive to those birders.
Mr. Roger Anderson, a resident of Orlando, pointed out that glass windows, trucks, and house cats kill hundreds of millions of birds a year. He stated that the developer’s agreement addressed transportation impacts, and they still had to go before the FAA, FDOT, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and had a long process ahead of them, in which the Board will have input. He hoped the Board would give them the opportunity of proceeding with their plans and pointed out that the airport has been there for over 50 years.
Ms. Linda Bystrak, a resident of Leesburg, wondered if the higher price of jet fuel was considered by the airport group in their planning, and she noted that there was only 11.8 miles between the Leesburg Airport and this proposed jetport. She also commented that there could be added expense to the County to remove the fish and suppress wildlife in the 10,000 foot zone that would be required.
Ms. Lisa Hill from Long & Scott Farms noted that they have been farming this property and that the airport has been part of that operation for over 50 years, and they have been good stewards of that land; however, they were afraid that there may be a time when they have to stop farming because of factors such as environmental regulations, the cost of labor, water use, the cost of farming, and natural disasters, and they needed a backup plan and a choice. She related that they have gone through the process in Orange County to change the land use effective August 14, 2011, which included several community and public meetings to let their neighbors know their intentions, and they believe this change will be an economic engine that will help drive the future economies of northwest Orange County and Lake County and will bring higher paying jobs to an area that has been depressed since the sale of the Zellwood muck farms. She added that the state has deemed this an enterprise zone, which gives incentives to businesses to locate there, and she also believes that this can be an ecotourism destination as well. She pointed out that the only thing being voted on today is the developer’s agreement which states that they will take care of any transportation issues that may arise from the rezoning in Orange County, and she opined that it fits with Lake County’s economic action plan goals. She urged the Board to vote “yes.”
Ms. Carol Johnson related that she was involved with the West Orange Airport Authority ten years ago when they were trying to build in southwest Orange County, and she noted that they had no taxing authority, only about $20,000 in the bank, and have gone through hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few years for a feasibility study for land. She commented that Leesburg Airport is being subsidized by the City of Leesburg and has plenty of room for growth. She also mentioned that there were two different feasibility studies and versions of it regarding this project that went to DOT and FAA, raising some questions as to what is actually happening, and they are supposed to submit two to three sites to be looked at to FAA. She added that FAA would make a decision as to which site they will accept, and she opined that they will not accept one that is already being opposed before the airport is even started. She noted that she has gotten this information through years of research and has talked with FDOT and FAA.
Mr. Richard Smith, a Seminole County resident who has worked in Lake County for 22 years, opined that this project would change the entire complexion of that area and would be in direct competition with Leesburg Airport, which already has the ability to handle jets. He commented that this would not be compatible with the Lake Apopka Restoration Area in any way, which would be drawing thousands of very large birds which could cause catastrophic engine failure.
Mr. Glenn Burns, a member of the Montverde Town Council, read aloud the resolution that they recently passed opposing any expansion of the existing runway located at the proposed Central Florida Business and Aviation Center and requesting the Board to deny approvals that will allow for expansion of the existing runway.
Mr. Jim Thomas, President of the Friends of Lake Apopka, which focuses on restoration of the Apopka basin, related that their position paper was previously given to the Board which gave all of the reasons why they are concerned about this airport. He stated that the biggest issue to them is the inclusion of any kind of jets. He explained that they put together a very large task force of scientists, including the staff at St. Johns River Water Management District, to come up with a vision for that basin that was ecosystem-based on a scale that was unprecedented in terms of restoration work, and he mentioned that they had good studies on the trends on ecotourism and what can come about because of that. He asked the Board to look at the current trend, support the St. Johns staff, and stick with the science with any vote they make.
Ms. Joan Bryant, a resident of Eustis, opined that this project involved a very large commercial zone of businesses and bringing in corporate jets and helicopters rather than about continuing a small airport. She also opined that this was a prime example of “ordinance sprawl,” with consideration given to rewriting this ordinance to allow for that new way of thinking, and they had to stop somewhere. She believed that they currently had good reasons for not approving this, including everything Lake County has been doing to look at ecotourism, and she asked the Board to keep the ordinance the way it is.
Mr. Charles Lee on behalf of Audubon of Florida handed out some drawings for the Board to consider that were prepared by the West Orange Airport Authority showing a 6,500 foot runway that is being proposed by them and which also contained the logo for VHB MillerSellen, which he commented illustrated that Mr. Nester was not an unaffiliated expert but was in fact a consultant to the Airport Authority. He also handed out a newspaper article dated April 11, 2012 from State College and a map he has prepared based on the facts from that article. He commented that the central issue they believe should be the main concern with regard to the question of whether it was appropriate to locate a public jet airport at this site was what the FAA would do. He noted that the reach of the FAA was five miles from the airstrip in the incidence mentioned in the newspaper article, which reported that the FAA ordered the lethal removal of the birds at a university duck pond as a result of $4500 in damage done to a private jet when the jet hit a mallard duck. He pointed out that if an airport was approved at this site, the thresholds that FAA would set would be different than it is currently, and he stated that the $150 million investment by the taxpayers of Florida would be at risk when the FAA forces the St. Johns to stop the restoration project as they have done with other restoration projects in South Florida and other areas. He emphasized that they were not worried about how the noise would affect the birds near the airport or even birds being injured by the airplanes, but the paramount concern was the fact that the FAA has a policy and applies it uniquely to public airports that have jet aircraft operating from them, which is the proposal here if they move into the realm of this airport, which would put the $150 million restoration project and the potential for ecotourism at risk, and he asked the Board to vote “no” to this project.
Commr. Campione asked if there was any information presented when Orange County considered the land use change on the property about the bird situation and the proximity to the North Shore Restoration Area.
Mr. Wayne Bennett, a representative of Orange County, stated that it did not come up in the deliberations of the Board, because the remedial plan amendments dealt with the Long & Scott entitlements, and because of the way those plan amendments were structured, the entitlements were tied to the creation and adoption by the Board of an airport master plan, which has yet to occur. He believes, however, that the issues discussed at this meeting will come forward to the Orange County Board as well at the time that the master plan comes forward.
Commr. Campione asked if there were limitations in the zoning case in Orange County’s ordinance with regard to the length of the runway, size of the planes, type of engines, hours of operation, and flight patterns.
Mr. Bennett responded “no,” clarifying that the PUD plan development that is coming forward simply deals with the entitlements for the Long & Scott properties that consists of two parcels north and south of Jones Avenue, and the issues with regard to the type of airport operation would occur as part of the airport master plan. He added that the remedial plan amendments require that they would need to bring forward a master plan for the Board’s approval and implement its land use recommendations as part of that in order for the Long & Scott entitlements to be utilized.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Sheahan to clarify the issue Mr. Lee brought up regarding the length of the runway.
Mr. Sheahan responded that currently the airstrip in Orange County is about 3,000 feet long, with 1,455 feet in Lake County, although only 50 feet of the Lake County section was paved. He explained that although testimony indicated that the applicant was considering further limiting the length of the runway from what they previously proposed, they had no assurances about that through plans or zoning.
Commr. Conner asked the County Attorney what the appropriate means would be to limit the runway to a specific length of 3,000 feet.
Mr. Minkoff answered that the only way would be to limit the use of the land in Lake County, which was attempted to be done in the ordinance currently before the Board, but they could also look into attaching conditions to a developer’s type agreement with the developer; however, this is a very unusual situation because it spans two county lines.
Commr. Campione asked if they could utilize an interlocal agreement with Orange County.
Mr. Minkoff responded that there could be an interlocal agreement or a local service boundary agreement with Orange County, and they could also have an interlocal agreement with the Airport Authority that would own that airport as well, since it is a government entity.
Commr. Conner indicated that he would be in favor of coming to an agreement with all parties regarding the two issues he believed were most important, which were the length of the runway and the weight of the planes.
Commr. Campione asked whether they asked for a comment from the City of Leesburg regarding the impact of this proposed change on their airport’s operations.
Mr. Sheahan answered that they did not ask for an official comment from the City of Leesburg, but they did discuss that with the Leesburg airport managers, and they indicated that it would not affect their operations.
Commr. Parks commented that as a pilot he knew that the pattern was very important.
Mr. Sheahan stated that this ordinance affects very little of the operation area, and the question would be whether the Board feels if an airport is appropriate in this location; if they did feel it was appropriate, then the venue would be to modify another agreement to take care of those stipulations.
Mr. Loomis stated that they could put in a weight restriction, which he opined would take care of any fears they might have regarding the type of large aircraft and is how the FAA categorizes aircraft. He also indicated that they could agree on a maximum of 4,000 feet for the length of the runway in order to have an overrun in the future, and he stated that Mr. Nesta was not hired by them nor worked for them or the West Orange Aviation Authority. He commented that they were talking about issues that were coming way down the road.
Commr. Campione asked clarification regarding comments indicating that WOAA not being a taxing authority but having reliance on the County for proportionate funding, and she commented that she believed that they could issue bonds.
Mr. Haggard stated that they have no statutory ability to tax, but they can issue municipal bonds dependent on their income flow, and they also get financing from their three member cities, Orange County, the state, and FAA for transportation impacts and improvements to the airport.
Mr. Lee added that the FAA has gotten more aggressive in moving forward with their policies since the noteworthy incident in New York where the airplane was forced to land in the Hudson River and that this is a unique problem to jet aircraft. He opined that the suggestion by Mr. Haggard and others that they limit this by putting a weight limit on the aircraft was irrelevant, since the FAA manual does not relate the bird strike issue and the wildlife hazard issue to the weight of the aircraft, and the thresholds they use are whether it is a public or private and a propeller or jet airport. He pointed out that one of the examples in the materials he gave to the Board regarding lethal removal of ducks as a result of damage from striking a mallard involving a small jet well under 25,000 pounds illustrated that the weight limit issue would not help with the Lake Apopka bird question. He commented that a limitation on runway length would be a good way to limit it, but the best way to assure that they do not have the FAA ordering the District and the Corps of Engineers to stop the restoration project would be to completely prohibit jets, since the problem is the unique propensity of the jet engine to quickly shut down when the bird gets sucked through the turbines. He suggested that the Board read the FAA manual that he provided to them as well as discussing this with the FAA before making this decision.
Mr. Loomis rebutted that automobiles kill 50 to 100 million birds a year and that all of the other issues besides the two issues on the agenda today of the developer’s agreement and the language in the ordinance were things that would come in the future. He also opined that piston aircraft would be phased out in the next 10 to 15 years, since jets were more reliable and safer.
Commr. Campione commented that it appears what Orange County has done so far has been narrowly directed, and they will look at a master plan in the future which would include specific issues including some of the things they were talking about. She opined that if they do not cooperate and let Orange County do everything, they have to live with whatever decisions are made there; however, by getting involved and attempting to have a say in this process, they run the risk that the people who are against any activity in that area that is more intense than it currently is will blame the Board as a party to the negotiations with Orange County and the developer. She stated that she believed it is imperative that they talk to Orange County and that this be handled as an interlocal agreement with the developer, WOAA, Orange County, and Lake County, because all of the impacts would be felt just as much in Lake County; and she suggested that their attorney and planners discuss this with Orange County’s attorney and planners, and then bring this back to the Board.
Mr. Bennett explained that the plan development is separate from the airport master plan, which is a separate process that occurs with FAA and FDOT before they go before the Board in Orange County, and the County would participate in the preparation of that master plan through that process, but he did not believe they have started that part of the process yet.
Commr. Campione emphasized that they were promoting ecotourism in Lake County and were thrilled about all of the activities taking place in regards to bird watching and the trails, which she believed went hand-in -hand with their economic plan. She added that they also wanted to promote jobs and light industrial uses at appropriate locations, and the railroad proximity to this site makes this a good location for the light industrial uses; however, the airport is in conflict with the birding activities, and she was extremely concerned about the power the FAA has to shut down the environmental efforts. She commented that they had to talk to Orange County about how they look after their local concerns before letting a state or federal agency make decisions for them.
Commr. Conner opined that he believed that the airport and the restoration ecotourism effort can coexist, and the only issue of concern is the existence of jets. He stated that he believed it would narrow the conflict if they limit the size of the jet based on weight subject to an interlocal agreement and that he did not support prohibiting jets at that site.
Mr. Minkoff stated that there was some precedent and history regarding an agreement covering issues concerning both counties on a zoning case, which was when Lake County held up the Lake Apopka Sound PUD, which was in Lake County, until Orange County agreed to the conditions on transportation, resulting in an existing interlocal agreement between the two counties which cover that.
Commr. Conner commented that they should first prepare an agreement or something in writing to let Orange County know what the Board wants or will agree to.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that they have an FAA representative come and tell the Board what the parameters would be and the types of things they would look at regarding this project.
Commr. Parks suggested that they add more specific conditions in the ordinance, such as whether jets would be allowed and the weight of the aircraft.
Commr. Hill commented that it was also important to hear from the St. Johns regarding the land swap.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to postpone this case for 30 days and direct staff to ask the FAA specific questions that the Board brought up and attempt to get something in writing from them in addition to having a representative from the FAA come to a BCC meeting to answer questions.
county manager’s department business
developer’s agreement related to proposed aviation center
Commr. Cadwell asked how the approval of this developer’s agreement would affect the other issues that were just previously discussed.
Mr. Minkoff responded that this agreement is transportation related only for the transportation impacts on the Orange County side and not intended to be all-inclusive. He noted that the staff recommendation was for the Board to approve it, even if the zoning was denied.
Commr. Parks made a motion to continue this for 30 days, and the motion died for lack of a second.
Commr. Campione stated that she understood that this was a condition of their zoning, since Orange County’s Comp Plan requires a developer’s agreement with Lake County to take care of any transportation impacts related to the zoning. She opined that they had to keep the two of them together, since they have outstanding issues, and she believed 30 days was a reasonable amount of time to get this done.
Commr. Cadwell commented that he believed the Board was working through this in the right way to make sure that everything is covered.
On a motion by Commr. Parks, seconded by Commr. Cadwell and carried by a vote of 3-2, the Board moved to postpone the approval and signature of the Developer's Agreement for Mitigation of Development Impacts related to Long and Scott Farms' Proposed Aviation Growth Center Planned Development for 30 days.
Commr. Hill and Commr. Conner voted “no.”
recess and reassembly
The Chairman announced at 12:35 p.m. that there would be a ten-minute recess.
adoption of tree and landscaping standards ordinance
Mr. Minkoff placed the proposed ordinance on the floor for its first and final reading by title only as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF LAKE COUNTY, FLORIDA; AMENDING THE LAKE COUNTY CODE APPENDIX E LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS; AMENDING CHAPTER IX, SECTION 9.01.00, ENTITLED “LANDSCAPING STANDARDS”, IN ORDER TO AMEND GENERAL REQUIREMENTS AND EXEMPTIONS, PROVIDE FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE WAIVER OF UP TO TWENTY FIVE PERCENT OF LANDSCAPING AND TREE PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS UNDER SPECIFIC CRITERIA, DELETE IRRIGATION REQUIREMENTS ADDRESSED ELSEWHERE IN THE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, REPLACE HEIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR PLANT MATERIAL IN REQUIRED LANDSCAPING WITH SIZE REQUIREMENTS, AMEND THE LANDSCAPE BUFFER TABLE TO REDUCE THE TYPES OF BUFFERS REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN DEVELOPING LAND USES ADJACENT TO OTHER LAND USES, REDUCE THE NUMBER OF TREES REQUIRED IN BUFFERS AND AMEND BUFFER ILLUSTRATIONS ACCORDINGLY, REMOVE THE REQUIREMENT FOR GROUNDCOVER IN BUFFERS, REQUIRE THAT AT LEAST FIFTY PERCENT OF REQUIRED VEGETATION IN ANY LANDSCAPE BUFFER WHERE A WALL IS REQUIRED BE LOCATED BETWEEN THE WALL AND THE ADJACENT PROPERTY, PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF MINIMUM PLANTING REQUIREMENTS IN BUILDING LANDSCAPES OTHER THAN INDUSTRIAL, ALLOW FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL AND DUPLEX LOTS TO NOTE LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS ON DEVELOPMENT PERMITS AND/OR PLOT PLANS, AND TO INCREASE THE BUILDING FOOTPRINT OFF-SET FOR PRESERVATION OF EXISTING TREES; AMENDING CHAPTER IX, SECTION 9.02.00, ENTITLED “TREE PROTECTION”, IN ORDER TO EXPAND EXEMPTIONS TO TREE REMOVAL PERMIT REQUIREMENTS TO INCLUDE ALL HERITAGE AND SPECIMAN TREES THAT ENDANGER PROPERTY OR THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE, ALLOW CONTRIBUTION OF FUNDS IN LIEU OF PLANTING REPLACEMENT TREES, ELIMINATE APPLICATION PROCEDURES FOR DESIGNATION OF SPECIMEN TREES, AND AMEND THE DEFINITION OF HERITAGE TREES TO INCLUDE HISTORIC TREES; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR FILING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE; AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Mr. Gray recapped that they gave a presentation to the Board about six months ago regarding some of the land development regulations that they were going to update and change due to their Comp Plan and business-friendly initiatives, and this landscape ordinance is one of the first ones that the Board was interested in looking at.
Mr. Sheahan explained that the product before them is a result of several months of work and a lot of community input, and it provided a waiver provision for up to 25 percent that the County Manager or a designee could use to facilitate landscaping in any particular project, which should alleviate about 60 percent of the issues that he has seen. He stated that the ordinance also proposes to reduce the number of trees in the buffer as a water conservation measure and to allow those trees to reach a mature height. He mentioned that several minor modifications are made throughout the ordinance and noted that the Planning and Zoning Board voted 7-0 to approve this ordinance with a few minor changes, including requiring at least two-thirds of any vegetation that was put in after the waiver to be native vegetation.
Commr. Campione asked about the ten-foot wide Type A buffer.
Mr. Sheahan responded that the ten-foot wide Type A buffer was in the previous ordinance and most of the historic landscape ordinances, but the last ordinance removed that as an option and required any new commercial developments coming in to do a 15-foot wide buffer instead of ten.
Commr. Cadwell cautioned Mr. Sheahan not to take the 25 percent waiver lightly.
Commr. Parks commented that the waiver enables the County to be business-friendly.
Commr. Conner stated that he had confidence that staff would handle this appropriately. He added that the reason he asked the Board to consider this change is because he had seen some instances where the landscape ordinance overreached, and they needed authority at the staff level to implement common sense.
The Chairman opened the public hearing.
Ms. Linda Nagle from the Home Builders Association related that she was part of a small committee representing many interests that reviewed this ordinance and commented that staff did a lot of work before the committee meeting, enabling them to go through the ordinance quickly and come to a consensus on almost all of the revisions.
Mr. Greg Beliveau of LPG, who was also a member of the committee that looked at the ordinance, stated that they had looked at some of the issues that have come up during the short life of the ordinance, and he commented that this was a good way to look at the common-sense issues that arose through that process and fine-tune the ordinance.
Commr. Campione commented that that she was very pleased with this and that it took a lot of effort on the part of their staff and input from the community. She also stated that common sense has definitely prevailed as far as making this ordinance much more user-friendly.
On a motion by Commr. Conner, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0 the Board approved Ordinance No. 2012-27 amending the Land Development Regulations regarding Landscaping Standards and Tree Protection, which included the recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Board.
county manager’s departmental business
presentation on 2012 legislative changes
Mr. Minkoff explained that they tried to put the most significant bills that were passed by the legislature in this presentation, describe how they would affect the County, and give the Board any recommended actions by staff. He reported that one of the bills that did pass increased criminal penalties for theft of secondary metals to felonies as well as increased state regulation of dealers, and they recommend that the County Manager work with the Sheriff and County staff to look into repealing the current County ordinance regarding this issue. He stated that in response to the governor’s proposed changes to making the Regional Workforce Boards file financial disclosure, giving latitude to remove them, and to propose additional procurement rules, a bill was passed reflecting those changes; and he opined that in their region the elected officials are working much harder to control what is happening with those boards. He noted that while the general bill to eliminate local business taxes failed, there was an exemption passed stating that real estate associates and brokers no longer have to have separate licenses. He related that the tangible personal property tax bill passed and will be on the ballot in November, which will increase the tangible exemption for businesses from $25,000 to $50,000 if passed, and this would translate to about a $250,000 revenue reduction to the County at current millage. He noted that there will also be on the ballot in November a limit to the increases in assessments of non-homestead property to five percent per year and a creation of a new homestead for first-time homesteaders of a five-year decrease starting at 50 percent of the value and decreasing ten percent each year over that time until it reaches 10 percent.
Commr. Campione expressed concern that that would cause a problem when first-time homebuyers do not plan ahead, become unhappy about their tax bill going up during that time, and perceive that as a tax increase.
Mr. Minkoff commented that it will also cause some inequities for homeowners in similar homes who are paying different rates, and he also mentioned that the Property Appraiser could not give him estimates on the impact of this change. He continued to explain that there were no significant changes to the FRS rates, but the governor signed a bill which reduced some of the contributions in the Defined Contribution Plan. He reported that the Legal Notices Bill to eliminate the requirement that local government use newspaper for legal notices failed; however, a requirement passed beginning next year for newspapers to put the legal notices on their website and the state website and limits the rate that can be charged when there was more than one publication required to 85 percent of the initial rate. He noted that it was mentioned in the complete summary that he had previously sent the Board regarding the North Lake County Hospital District that the County was mentioned in that act as possibly contracting with the District to provide services in reviewing and approving bills, and he updated the Board on the litigation regarding that issue by stating that the suit that challenged the constitutionality of the old district is on appeal and that a new suit has already been filed challenging the new legislation. He related that there were some small changes made in the permitting process, including that Growth Management was no longer allowed to prohibit conditioning their permit on another entity’s permit, such as St. Johns or DEP; however, they are allowed to require the applicant to obtain those approvals before development starts. Also, an additional two-year permit extension was granted, although the total could not exceed four years. He reported that farm signs are now exempt from the Florida Building Code and their other codes, and he recapped that since the County recently passed a farm sign amendment, staff will have to reevaluate the County’s codes and bring them into compliance with the state statute.
Commr. Campione asked if that pertained to any type of sign.
Ms. Erin Hartigan, Assistant County Attorney, clarified that it pertained to any farm sign erected, used, or maintained on a farm which relates solely to farm produce, merchandise, or services sold, produced, manufactured, or furnished on the farm.
Mr. Minkoff reported that there was a DRI (Development of Regional Impact) bill that passed which provided some additional DRI exemptions for economic development activity, but it does not apply in the Green Swamp or Wekiva Study Area, and this bill also gives owners of agricultural properties that are surrounded by other land uses the ability to get the same land use designation as the adjoining properties, but they had a short window to make application for that. He stated that the Septic Tank bill repealed the five-year evaluation and pump-out statewide; however, the County must make a decision to adopt or opt-out of the evaluation program by January 1, 2013, since they have a first-magnitude spring that would qualify them for that program, and staff would be bringing a report back to the Board in the fall about that.
Commr. Cadwell suggested that the County do an economic analysis of whether there are specific areas in the county where they would want to institute that type of program, because that would affect some people with the least economic ability to do that, and he believed that the state should provide some funding source to help the residents with that.
Commr. Campione added that she believed the bill provided them access to a trust fund which could be used for those types of situations for those that could not afford to make the changes; however, it might not be applicable for areas with low density. She asked staff to work with the Health Department to identify areas where there were higher instances of septic tank failures and where there may be some environmental impacts.
Mr. Minkoff commented that as previously discussed at an earlier BCC meeting, the bill that will have a large impact to the County is the Medicaid bill, which revises the methodology for determining who would be an eligible recipient, using the state-wide list to determine who would be eligible, going back to 2001 to create a backlog, and requiring all counties to pay that backlog of anything that they did not pay during that time. He reported that their estimate is about $3.2 million, and the bill authorizes the County to dispute those past-due billings in an administrative hearing; however, they would have to pay 100 percent if they take that option and lose, as opposed to 85 percent if they did not challenge that figure, and the state will reduce the sales tax distribution to the counties automatically for what they claim the bill is. He related that on April 12 the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) voted to file a lawsuit to challenge this bill, with 23 counties joining the suit so far, and the cost for Lake County to join will be $3,500.
Commr. Cadwell mentioned that he voted in favor of filing the lawsuit on April 12 as a board member of the FAC, and he recommends that the Board join the suit with the other 23 counties and be on board.
Commr. Campione commented that she also supports that lawsuit and believes they need to do this, and she noted that the challenge is based on the fact that they did not follow the Florida constitutional requirements to pass a bill of this nature. She opined that they were on firm footing and needed to make a stand so that this does not continue to happen.
Mr. Minkoff added that one of the problems they found was that the record retention schedules were only five years, so no one, including the state, has records of what they paid and did not pay back from 2001.
Commr. Conner commented that there were some substantive arguments that could be made against this bill, and he believed there was good legal basis in which to file this lawsuit.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board moved to add the issue of the FAC lawsuit to the Agenda.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board voted to enter into the FAC lawsuit with the other 23 counties and commit $3,500 to that suit.
Commr. Cadwell asked Mr. Minkoff to notify FAC right away of the Board’s decision.
Mr. Minkoff responded that he will do that. He added that the Governor’s Office and AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) are trying to work to resolve the issues, and Representative Larry Metz indicated that it might take a legislative fix next year as well.
Mr. Gray mentioned that they will submit all of their bond information to the Department of Revenue as well for the sales tax revenue they bonded for the Judicial Center.
Mr. Minkoff mentioned that some bills that failed included the regulation of Internet Cafes, which the County currently has a moratorium on; a bill on animal shelters which would have imposed significant requirements on shelters before they could euthanize animals; the CCNA (Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act) Amendment that would have allowed the County to consider pricing at the first round of the CCNA process; and a portion of a bill that would have transferred the Health Department to the County.
Mr. Gray updated the Board on the legislative priorities that the County submitted to the state this year. He noted that no action was needed regarding the changes to the sector plan, since the County met the 15,000 acres and were allowed to use noncontiguous property for that. He stated that there was no action taken for the request for funding for the Royal Trails flood study improvements. He related that the state maintained their funding at $21.3 million for the libraries operating grant appropriations, and they will find out what their allocation of that is in June. He reported that their funding increased by $26,000 for the transportation disadvantaged program; however, it is not likely that it would be adequate to cover the County’s additional costs. He noted that their Medicaid rates were cut for this year, so their requests for the full funding under Chapter 427.0135 under the transportation disadvantaged program for the Medicaid waiver program did not occur, and there were no amendments brought forward to outsource any of their transportation disadvantaged trips.
Mr. Minkoff pointed out that all of the bills he discussed were not yet signed by the Governor, although he had no indication that the Governor would veto them.
acceptance of environmental education grant
Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, explained that staff had applied for an education grant over the last year or so for $30,000 to educate all elementary school students and residents in Altoona, Paisley, and the north Lake County area for environmental education and good stewardship of the lakes and shoreline vegetation.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request to accept the Environmental Education Grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the amount of $30,868.00, approval of Resolution No. 2012-44 amending the Environmental Recovery Fund and the General Fund to receive unanticipated revenue, and for the Chairman to execute the grant agreement.
agreement with state for project on eagles nest road
Mr. Stivender stated that this was to execute an agreement with FDOT on a change order for $142,000 for the intersection of Eagles Nest Road and SR 500, and he mentioned that this would result in a savings of $100,000 from the price they received from another vendor. He recommended approval of this change order.
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Hill and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the request to execute the Locally Funded Agreement between the State of Florida Department of Transportation and Lake County at a cost of $142,435.00, approval to execute Memorandum of Agreement, and approval to execute supporting Resolution No. 2012-47 all relating to a project on Eagles Nest Road (Co. Road #6611) at the intersection of SR 500 (US 441).
APPOINTMENTS TO PARKS, RECREATION & TRAILS ADVISORY BOARD
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board reappointed Dawn McDonald from the Lake County School Board; Mayor Chris Bell, City of Fruitland Park, for the League of Cities; and Mike Stone as the At-Large Member; and appointment of Patricia Burgos, Environmental Programs Manager, for the Lake County Water Authority to the Parks, Recreation and Trails Advisory Board for a two-year term beginning May 20, 2012.
county attorney’s consent agenda
selection of members to the value adjustment board
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Parks and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved the reappointment of Commr. Parks and Commr. Conner to continue to serve on the Value Adjustment Board, as well as Mr. Will Walker as citizen member for the VAB, and request the School Board to appoint two members.
reports - county manager
Mr. Gray reminded the Board that the Budget Workshop will be on Tuesday, May 1, at 9:00 a.m. in Chambers.
reports - commissioner conner – district 3
lowering of speed limit on stretch of cr 48
Commr. Conner informed the Board that he has had numerous requests for lowering of the speed limit coming east from US Hwy 27 on CR 48 for a small stretch of the road and that Mr. Jim Stivender, Public Works Director, will be looking into that request and reporting back to the Board on that.
reports - commissioner cadwell – district 5
proclamation for occupational safety and health week
On a motion by Commr. Cadwell, seconded by Commr. Conner and carried unanimously by a vote of 5-0, the Board approved Proclamation No. 2012-40 declaring May 6-12, 2012 to be North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week and May 9, 2012 to be Occupational Safety and Health Professional (OSHP) Day.
Utilization of hickory point property
Commr. Cadwell commented that they are trying to bring more sporting events into the county, including getting people from outside the county to help them with their venues and deciding what their needs are. He asked the Board if there was any interest in having the Chairman talk with the Water Authority about better utilizing the piece of property at Hickory Point, such as swapping with them some land that the County has purchased under the protection program or having them donate it. He pointed out that they have already invested County money into Hickory Point, and they were looking at doing some other things there long-range to bring college and large high-school level events there.
Commr. Campione stated that she was in favor of having a conversation with the Water Authority to see if they could work something out so that they could make Hickory Point a focal point for soccer tournaments, lacrosse, rugby, and other sporting events. She commented that she believed they were moving in the right direction as far as trying to bring more events to Lake County; however, the limits of the County’s infrastructure currently make that more difficult. She opined that the Hickory Point facility is at a good location and that a lot of sweat equity has been put into that property.
Commr. Cadwell elaborated that there were a lot of opportunities out there, and he pointed out that there was a lot of land that could be utilized on that property for events.
Commr. Hill added that they need to find out what the cost would be for operation and maintenance of that property.
REPORTS – COMMISsIONER campione – CHAIRMAN & DISTRICT 4
meeting at sorrento elementary school regarding cra
Commr. Campione related that she will be at Sorrento Elementary School at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 3, to answer questions regarding the Mt. Plymouth-Sorrento CRA proposal.
emails regarding cutbacks for transportation disadvantaged
Commr. Campione mentioned that she had received several compelling e-mails regarding the cutbacks in the Transportation for Disadvantaged program from disabled residents under the Americans for Disabilities Act who utilize that service to get to work or school, and she wanted to meet with staff and the provider, MV, to discuss how they can address some of those needs. She indicated that some of the things she wanted to look at are whether they can focus on just the disabled users and whether they can use a copay to offset some of those costs.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 1:50 p.m.
leslie campione, chairman
NEIL KELLY, CLERK