BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
February 9, 2021
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the Board of County Commissioners Meeting of Seminole County, Florida, held at 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, in Room 1028 of the Seminole County Services Building at Sanford, Florida, the usual place of meeting of said Board.
Chairman Lee Constantine (District 3)
Vice Chairman Amy Lockhart (District 4)
Commissioner Robert Dallari (District 1)
Commissioner Jay Zembower (District 2)
Commissioner Andria Herr (District 5)
County Manager Nicole Guillet
County Attorney Bryant Applegate
Deputy Clerk Kyla Farrell
Hope Hyde, Constituent, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT UPDATE
Alan Harris, Office of Emergency Management, addressed the Board to report on the emergency management response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID RELIEF UPDATE
County Manager Nicole Guillet gave the COVID Relief Update.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE CONSENT AGENDA
County Attorney Bryant Applegate announced staff is pulling Agenda Item #1 – 2021-2527, making of binding written offers to the owners of each of the subject parcels to be acquired for the Oxford Road Improvement Project, and will bring it back for Board approval at a later date.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition to the County Attorney’s Office Consent Agenda, and public input was closed.
Agenda Item #3 – 2021-2533
21-02-04 CFWI Common Interest Agreement
Motion by Commissioner Zembower, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to approve and execute a Common Interest Agreement related to Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) proposed amendments to Rules 62-41.300 through 62-41.305, Florida Administrative Code and materials adopted and incorporated by reference therein, relating to the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI). (Common Interest Agreement entered into, by, and among the following entities: Orlando Utilities Commission, Seminole County, Polk County, City of Lakeland, City of Winter Haven, City of Bartow, City of Mulberry, City of Eagle Lake, City of Fort Meade, Orange County, Tohopekaliga Water Authority, City of St. Cloud, and City of Polk.)
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
COUNTY MANAGER – Rescue Outreach Mission
County Manager Nicole Guillet stated Rescue Outreach Mission has the opportunity to pursue a grant for $120,000. It is a Victims of Crime grant, and they have asked for a letter of support from the Board. Staff has not had the opportunity to fully vet the application, but the deadline to submit the grant is this week. She is asking for authorization to review the grant and, if appropriate, provide a letter of support.
Motion by Commissioner Zembower, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to authorize staff to review the grant and, if appropriate, provide a letter of support to Rescue Outreach Mission for the Victims of Crime grant.
Under discussion, Commissioner Herr advised the Victims of Crime grant is being done in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office who is very familiar with these grants.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Ms. Guillet confirmed the letter will be circulated to the Commission.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the BCC meeting adjourned at 9:51 a.m., this same date and convened the Work Session meeting.
Item #2 – 2020-2533
2020 Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facility Planning and School Concurrency
Rebecca Hammock, Development Services Director, and Joseph Ranaldi, Executive Director of Operations, Seminole County Public Schools, began their presentation (received and filed). Discussion regarding the presentation, including a question-and-answer discussion with staff and SCPS staff, ensued.
Agreement Amendment One
Mr. Ranaldi reviewed each revision in Amendment One to the 2020 Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facility Planning and School Concurrency followed by discussion and a question-and-answer period.
Agreement Amendment Two
Mr. Ranaldi reviewed each revision in Amendment Two to the 2020 Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facility Planning and School Concurrency followed by discussion and a question-and-answer period.
Chairman Constantine recessed the work session at 3:18 p.m., reconvening at 3:28 p.m.
Mr. Ranaldi continued reviewing revisions to the 2020 Interlocal Agreement.
Commissioner Zembower asked for clarification on how PTAC and PSFPC members are chosen, and Mr. Ranaldi advised. Upon inquiry of Commissioner Zembower, Mr. Ranaldi discussed a series of topics regarding stakeholders, provisions for revisions of the ILA, whether or not there is a deadline for the agreement, vesting with SCALD versus vesting without SCALD, and project entitlements. In regard to a question posed by Commissioner Herr, Ms. Hammock advised they may need to clarify in the ILA what will occur with anyone that has an existing SCALD because right now, as it’s written, they would be subject to a deadline clock so they need to address anybody that has a current SCALD and how that’s going to impact them moving forward. Ms. Guillet added they need to get with Legal for the answer because it is a pretty significant legal answer.
Board Proposed Changes
Ms. Guillet asked if the Board has any proposed changes to the agreement other than what is shown in Amendment One and Amendment Two. The next step would be to bring back a finalized agreement for the Board’s consideration. She explained they did talk at Mayors and Managers, and she will share whatever happens today with the Cities so they don’t have a bunch of other amendments rolling around. She would like to be clear when they adjourn the meeting whether or not the Board is ready for staff to bring back a final agreement if they are okay with the two amendments.
Chairman Constantine stated the one change they have all agreed with is the formal review after the impact fees every three years. Commissioner Zembower stated he is okay moving forward but would like to see a final draft to make sure it is as memorialized as discussed today. He also asked that staff reach out to the development community to make sure they understand what’s happening with SCALD entitlements and what that really means so they’re aware and have an opportunity to provide input. Also, he has some trouble with the PTAC and PSFPC. It troubles him that some of the stuff isn’t done in the sunshine. This agreement, at the end of the day, does affect the public. He would like to find some method for this to be done in more of an open forum before it goes before the Board. The Commissioner said his other concern is that they are about to enter into a multi-party contract and he’s heard a previous commission cannot bind a future commission to a decision-making process notwithstanding some financial obligation. He wants to know Mr. Applegate’s take on whether or not there is a risk if the Board takes the time to get this process done that a future Board could make an argument that they didn’t agree to it.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke, and public input was closed.
Commissioner Dallari stated he would echo a lot of the comments that he has heard today that it is important that they get this right. He asked Ms. Hammock to elaborate on the affected parties on the private side that were involved and the stakeholders that weren’t involved. Ms. Hammock advised before the last work session, she sent a copy of the proposed revisions to the Development Advisory Board (DAB) and the attorney for both GOBA and AAGO. They spoke about the ILA revisions at a DAB meeting in January. Upon Commissioner Dallari’s inquiry, Ms. Hammock stated she has not received any written comments from those boards but she did answer questions at the DAB meeting. She also sent an email to them prior to this work session so that they saw the proposed amendments. Ms. Guillet stated she heard from a representative from the Home Builders Association who asked if there would be stakeholder meetings, and she replied that she didn’t anticipate that. Her assumption was that they would hear this matter today, get feedback, and then bring a final agreement forward. She let them know they had the opportunity to come today and give the Board and staff feedback. Commissioner Dallari asked how they learn what their concerns may be. Chairman Constantine said they can come to the meetings. Discussion ensued. Ms. Guillet noted the representative said he doesn’t have anything specific in terms of the concerns per se, and he just wanted to see if there would be meetings planned to discuss and they look forward to seeing the final document. Commissioner Lockhart stated she had a conversation late yesterday afternoon with a representative of the DAB who said that after reviewing the first and second amendments, they had no further concerns.
Commissioner Herr stated with regard to the document, she doesn’t have any further changes other than the one already agreed to. She would say that there’s follow-up on the side of this organization, not the other eight, with regard to the onus is on them and how they execute and partnership with the other eight. She doesn’t want to walk away thinking they’ve nailed it down and put every item that they possibly could in the agreement and then not walk away with the ownership on their side of the equation to make what they think needs to happen, happen at their hand in conjunction with the other eight. They are a partner at the table, and they need to own that. Commissioner Zembower concurred. He added he would be an advocate of ensuring they cover all the bases and make sure all of those that may be impacted be considered so they don’t have to come back and re-do things.
Chairman Constantine stated his intent was to ask staff to put together one document, working with the School Board, to make sure everything they agreed to today is put in there together and bring that document back to the Board but also take it back to the School Board, the Cities, PTAC, and any other group that may have an interest. Then present it to the Board at the March meeting.
Commissioner Herr stated she wants to be clear that she doesn’t think that they have to have this thing completely nailed down before they move forward. She thinks the document is pretty good and she would put it in the A category, and she thinks shooting for an A+ keeps their kids on buses longer. The Board needs to move forward with the notion that they have the opportunity to bring back, through their representatives to the organizations and groups that are working on this regularly, any clean-up that has to happen after the fact. She thinks if they want to move forward, they cannot let perfection get in the way of progress; that would be a challenge from her perspective. With regard to transparency, this is multiple entities they are working with and staff has work to do with multiple entities; staff meetings aren’t open to the public, but the documents are all open to the public. The working committee is equal to staff meetings, which are not subject to the sunshine law. Their recommendations are brought back to a sunshine committee, so it is transparent. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Lockhart stated communication is critical, and she thinks they can all do a better job of improving communication, but she would hate to put out there that they think in some way they have not been transparent with the community because she feels like they have.
Commissioner Dallari reiterated he wants to make sure they are aware if any stakeholders have comments and what those comments are, and if there are any issues from the Cities. In regard to transparency, that is obviously critical. Whatever they do, they need to follow the sunshine law requirements. Again, as they move forward, he would like to hear from the stakeholders prior to the Board seeing it on the agenda.
County Manager Direction
Ms. Guillet summarized her direction from the Board is that staff will bring this back at the March meeting. The document that they are working with now is the base document and the two amendments that were presented today, with the one additional discussion regarding the SCALD that they are going to work with Mr. Ranaldi on. She noted that is just an informational item, and she doesn’t know that it will necessarily result in a change to the agreement; it is probably just a clarification. She asked if they could talk internally about the best way to actually adopt it; but for the Board’s review purposes, staff will put it all in one document. They will also send it out to the stakeholders this week and give everybody time to reach out to staff. She doesn’t intend on holding stakeholder meetings. Staff will also make sure the Cities understand what happened today so they understand what it appears the Board is moving forward with.
Chairman Constantine confirmed with Ms. Guillet that it will be a Regular Agenda item and not on the Consent Agenda.
COUNTY ATTORNEY BRIEFING
Mr. Applegate advised he has made a recommendation for the Board in regard to January 26’s BCC Item #42, request to approve the ranking list and authorize staff to negotiate rates in accordance with Section 287.055, Florida Statutes, the Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act; and authorize the Purchasing and Contracts Division to execute one (1) Agreement for RFQ-3320-20/DRR - Seminole County Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Plan Development and Implementation Services. (Estimated usage for the Sustainability Plan portion is $200,000.00) (2021-2520). He stated the Board is entitled and allowed to have presentations by all who submitted proposals; however, he cautioned whoever they decide on being awarded, the decision has to be based on facts and cannot be arbitrary. They certainly have the right to acquire presentations, and he prefers they allow all seven companies to present to avoid any argument.
Chairman Constantine confirmed with Ms. Guillet that they could do the presentations at the first work session meeting in March. Discussion ensued regarding whether or not they could vote on the item at that meeting. It was determined they could vote on the item, if they felt prepared to do so. The item would be a BCC agenda item and not a work session. Ms. Guillet noted they could hear the presentations at the first March meeting, and then vote on it at the next meeting if needed. Mr. Applegate advised they need to have consensus of the Board whether or not they would allow the presentations to be done through Zoom, and no objections were voiced. He stated he will have staff get with Procurement to do what’s necessary for the presentations. There was discussion of how long each presenter would be allotted and it was determined they would receive 20 minutes for their presentation, followed by questions from the Board; and the Board may or may not be inclined to make a decision/approval at that meeting. Mr. Applegate noted there is good reason to proceed the way the Board is choosing.
District 1 Request
Commissioner Dallari discussed a resident in the Oviedo area, Frank Garcia, 2129 Laurelwood Way, who applied for a variance for his fence. He is not going to talk about the variance; but in talking to staff, he truly has a financial hardship. If he wanted to, and he does want to, apply for an appeal, he doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to apply for the appeal because it’s $1,000. He wants to appeal because he doesn’t feel his variance request was not heard correctly over Zoom. He asked the Board to waive the $1,000 for the appeal process. Staff has already researched it and found there is a financial hardship.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she doesn’t object but she has a question. She asked if staff agrees that the process through the BOA was unclear. Commissioner Dallari noted he spoke with Kathy Hammel and Angi Kealhofer of the Planning and Development Department. Ms. Hammock answered she doesn’t have all of the details of the case because she wasn’t at the meeting. She will have to get more information.
There were no objections to Commissioner Dallari’s request. Ms. Guillet stated the Board can ratify their decision at the next Board meeting.
Commissioner Lockhart asked if staff could look at how other communities handle situations like this through special magistrates because she feels they are spending a lot of staff time, volunteer time, and money to keep the BOA moving. Ms. Hammock replied the issue they seem to be having is that most recently, a lot of the appeals are having to do with fences on corner lots. Staff is discussing looking at the Code to see if it’s something that needs to be changed with the Code. She explained in a lot of jurisdictions, the variance application process is more restrictive; a lot of times they are very expensive and variances are often discouraged because it’s an exception to the Code and should only be allowed in very narrow circumstances which are listed in the variance criteria. In Seminole County, they have a pretty low fee which has been raised recently, but it hasn’t really deterred anybody from applying for variances. They are looking at that particular Code provision for the fences because that does seem to be an issue and a lot of people are requesting variances on corner lots. Discussion ensued.
Wildlife Conservation Lands
Chairman Constantine advised he has received a lot of different emails lately about the possibility of doing some additional protection for conservation and wildlife protection lands. He asked if they are looking at those emails and recommendations. Commissioner Zembower stated at the last BCC meeting, he made a motion for staff to do exactly that and have staff come back to the Board with the recommendations on how to preserve in perpetuity those sensitive lands as soon as they could. Mr. Applegate informed the Board that staff is looking at that and he received some suggestions from other jurisdictions and they are all basically Charter-type amendments that require the government to preserve the land. Staff is looking into the legal issue about “perpetuity” because that does obviously impact property rights for generations to come. He has already started his research around the country and will have an opinion shortly. There is some concern, but it is certainly something that can be put on the ballot.
County Manager Announcement
Ms. Guillet advised she just sent a copy of an email from Mr. Harris to the Commissioners regarding the Governor’s COVID-19 speech. The Governor announced that beginning on Friday, the public (in the 1A group, 65 and older) will be able to receive a COVID vaccine at Publix and Walmart within Seminole County. Appointments will open tomorrow.
District 4 Comment
Commissioner Lockhart stated she has noticed when citizens and staff speak at the podium, it is very distracting and hard to hear. Since there is already a partition at the Clerk’s area, she asked if they could consider removing the partition at the podium. Ms. Guillet replied they will figure out an alternative safety measure.
In regard to their calendar, Commissioner Lockhart stated they talked about having another Retreat. Ms. Guillet has been trying to get meetings with each Commissioner prior to scheduling it, but the longer she waits to have those individual meetings, the more time it will take to actually get the Retreat on the calendar. She asked if there is a reason they can’t get it on the calendar. Discussion ensued. It was determined they would have staff meetings with each commissioner soon, and they will try to get the Retreat scheduled.