BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
June 23, 2020
The following is a non-verbatim transcript of the BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING OF SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, held virtually, made permissible pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders, at 1:30 p.m., on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, via Communications Media Technology (CMT) through the SEMINOLE COUNTY SERVICES BUILDING at SANFORD, FLORIDA, the usual place of meeting of said Board.
Chairman Jay Zembower (District 2)
Vice Chairman Lee Constantine (District 3)
Commissioner Robert Dallari (District 1)
Commissioner Amy Lockhart (District 4)
Commissioner Brenda Carey (District 5)
County Manager Nicole Guillet
County Attorney Bryant Applegate
Deputy Clerk Kyla Farrell
Commissioner Carey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC UPDATE
Alan Harris, Office of Emergency Management, addressed the Board to report on the emergency management response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARES ACT UPDATE
Agenda Item #3 – 2020-2109
Nicole Guillet, County Manager, presented and reviewed a PowerPoint presentation entitled CARES Act Briefing (copy received and filed).
Chairman Zembower confirmed with Ms. Guillet that she is asking the Board to ratify her signature upon an agreement from the U.S. Treasury through the State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management. Ms. Guillet added Item #3 has two parts. The first part is the ratification of the execution of the funding agreement; and the second part is approval of a Budget Amendment Request to establish a line for the funding so that as soon as the money comes in, they will be able to start out of that line other than waiting until the next opportunity they have for a Budget Amendment.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition to this item, and public input was closed.
Commissioner Carey stated one of the items under Requested Feedback in Ms. Guillet’s presentation is consensus on engaging a consultant for administration. She knows that they probably do a better job than most in tracking time and expenses out of the EOC. The Commissioner asked what would be the purpose of the consultant if staff is having to track all of that information already. Ms. Guillet responded it is a lot of financial assistance to track in a short amount of time and they really have to get it spent. They will also be coordinating with other local governments because the funding for the cities and the constitutionals goes to the County, so they need somebody to be able to work with them. Additionally, if they’re going to be putting more financial assistance into the community, they’re going to need help with that because under the $1.2 million they are spending on the small business grants, they’ve had to pull people out of other departments to provide assistance to Economic Development because of the volume of calls and inquires in addition to having to review the 1,200 applications that came in for that little bit of money; it’s just more than staff can handle. Discussion ensued regarding engaging a consultant.
Commissioner Dallari advised he wants to make sure that whatever they do, they move quickly and it is very easily administrated and easy to understand. He doesn’t want any long and complicated applications because everyone needs to be able to understand and get their money quickly. The Commissioner asked whether or not the school system is involved; and Ms. Guillet answered the school systems have a different stream of assistance under the CARES Act, but she did talk with the Association of Counties about whether or not the school system needed to be included. Chairman Zembower stated he understands they have separate funding, but the County absolutely should be collaborating with the School Board. In regard to Duval County, the Chairman advised they have found some way to assist their zoo. He asked staff to engage Duval County how they have helped their zoo. As he understands it, it’s because the property that the zoo resides on is county property. He expressed his concern for the Central Florida Zoo, and Ms. Guillet noted they will have the ability to assist non-profits and the zoo would fall in that category.
Commissioner Lockhart stated as far as funding for the schools, there’s a formula that relates to the Title 1 federal funding designation. She loves the idea of coordinating with the school district, but she is glad that there is a funding mechanism that they’ve thought about. The Commissioner also loves the idea of getting the dollars into the hands of the people who need it most in a very simple way. She thinks complicated applications prohibit some people who probably need the money most from being able to access it, so she agrees that they need to try to make the application process very smooth and uncomplicated.
In regard to consensus on engaging a consultant for administration, Commissioner Lockhart asked about the companies available that the County would potentially utilize for this type of thing. She asked if there are several different companies or just one major company. She understands they do not have to go through the same procurement process but wonders if there are a lot of choices in this matter. Ms. Guillet responded there are not a lot of choices. They are a limited number of folks that are doing this. They’ve talked with one already and are trying to get some information on others. She does not want to pick a firm that is not going to have capacity to provide the County the attention it needs because they are doing all the other counties, but she also doesn’t want a firm that doesn’t have the capacity to do it because they are a small firm and it’s really not something that they do. She advised they are going to try to learn from the counties that have already received their funding and get some ideas from them. She discussed how other counties are handling it. Commissioner Lockhart discussed workforce training in Hillsborough County noted in Ms. Guillet’s presentation and advised she would like to see that in Seminole County.
Commissioner Constantine advised he supports getting outside counsel because he understands this is much more complex than getting normal money back from FEMA. He is pleased that the County Manager is looking back at what the other counties who already received funding have done, and he likes the idea of workforce training. The Commissioner added there is so much in the presentation that would be to the benefit of the community, so looking at all of them he believes they have a blueprint for moving forward.
Commissioner Carey discussed small businesses who fell through the cracks. She wants to make sure whatever the County does is meaningful to the small businesses and helps get them over the hump and not just through the next rent payment or payroll period. The Commissioner talked about the application process and provided suggestions to help people through the process. Ms. Guillet stated her intention is to have an application that no one has to hire anyone to help them with. Bringing on outside help will give staff the capacity to spend more time with applicants. Commissioner Lockhart advised a great opportunity would be to include the local area Chambers of Commerce. They have a wonderful network and she’s seen where they are offering opportunities to help walk small businesses through the process.
Ms. Guillet pointed out a section in the PowerPoint that shows the allocation is about $175 per capita. And she thinks there were some initial reactions from some of the cities thinking they would get $175 per person in the city, and that really isn’t staff’s intent to allocate on a per capita. They want the cities to be whole and have the resources they need to deal with the impact but there are a lot of expenses that are countywide. Staff expects to put a lot of money back into the community through economic and individual assistance. She thinks each city doing their own economic assistance and individual assistance program is probably not the best thing for the community. Staff’s intention is to have a countywide program for economic assistance and individual assistance that anyone, regardless of what jurisdiction they’re in, can take advantage of. Staff will work with the cities to identify their needs, but their intent is to have a program that is consistent across the county. She discussed working and meeting with the cities and how they will proceed.
In regard to the Constitutional Officers, Ms. Guillet advised because their funding primarily comes from the BCC, they would be mostly on a reimbursement basis rather than having everybody try to guess what an eligible expense is. It’s better to keep it consolidated and to coordinate and work closely together.
Chairman Zembower suggested staff look at the models around the state where it’s already being done. Commissioner Carey stated she wants to make sure that Ms. Guillet feels like she has everything she needs on her requests based on this conversation to get everything started. Ms. Guillet responded she feels comfortable that staff can hit the ground running. She knows that the Board has similar priorities and they all want to help the community and keep the economy healthy. She feels comfortable understanding that. She wants to be able to do that, and they will bring back a more structured plan on July 14 so everybody understands where the funds are going to be directed. Chairman Zembower asked for a motion on Consent Agenda Item #3 that the County Manager has asked the Board to approve including ratifying the signature of the Funding Agreement.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to approve and authorize the Chairman to execute appropriate Resolution #2020-R-71 implementing Budget Amendment Request (BAR) #20-067 through the newly established CARES Act Fund in the amount of $20,582,500 to appropriate funding; and authorize the County Manager to approve any future budget transfers within this allocation; and ratify the associated agreement from the U.S. Treasury through the State of Florida, Division of Emergency Management, which has been executed by the County Manager. (2020-2109)
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
COUNTY INVESTMENT ADVISOR REPORT
Scott McIntyre, Managing Director of Hilltop Securities, addressed the Board to present the Investment Advisor’s Report (received and filed).
Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to adopt the recommendations of the Board’s Financial Advisor based on the report submitted, and direct the Clerk to implement said Board-adopted recommendations.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Item #1 – 2020-2105
Hylant Insurance Renewal
Andrea Herr, Hylant
Andrea Herr, Hylant, addressed the Board and provided a PowerPoint presentation (copy received and filed.)
After Ms. Herr’s presentation, Chairman Zembower advised there was a reference made to an RFP that would impact this program, and he wants to remind the Commission that they are not to discuss that RFP as the RFP is currently active. Commissioner Carey stated as someone who is pretty skeptical of all of the technology stuff, she thinks the Teladoc process is very easy to use and very helpful. She discussed her experience using Teladoc and added she recommends everyone try it.
Motion by Commissioner Carey, seconded by Commissioner Lockhart, to move forward with Hylant’s recommendations within the presentation.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Chairman Zembower recessed the meeting at 3:15 p.m., reconvening at 3:30 p.m.
Agenda Item #2 – 2020-2104
Land Development Code Work Session
Brian Canin, Canin Associates
Rebecca Hammock, Development Services Director, and Brian Canin, Canin Associates, presented a PowerPoint presentation entitled New Approaches to the Seminole County Land Development Code; and Chairman Zembower requested the Commissioners save their questions for after the presentation.
Chairman Carey asked about hedge height between two lake-front properties, and Ms. Hammock explained it would be between two neighbors that are both on lake-front property living adjacent to each other. If one of the properties were to grow a tall hedge, it could block the neighbor’s view of the lake. Commissioner Carey asked if this was a big problem in the community, and Ms. Hammock answered it’s a handful of people but can become somewhat time consuming because they have to get Code Enforcement involved and it creates fighting between neighbors who pull staff into it. She added they require lakefront setbacks for different structures but they don’t for fences, so it’s something she thinks they need to look at if the Board would like staff to. Discussion ensued. Commissioner Carey stated she would like to better understand what the problem is. If the problem is truly just a handful of people, maybe it becomes a civil issue; and the County doesn’t try to legislate to try to solve an issue between two neighbors.
Chairman Zembower stated he wants to make sure they analyze “How Did We Grow?” as part of the equation. He would also recommend that as this gets developed, they have an introduction portion so that the average citizen understands what the LDC is and what it is not, as well as some frequently asked questions and a glossary of terms. As far as a statement about clustering and open space not being utilized for the best benefit, he doesn’t necessarily disagree; but one should understand that sometimes open spaces are a benefit for water conservation, wildlife, and people’s quality of life. The Chairman thinks they need to look at that in a very close analysis and where that happens and takes place.
Commissioner Lockhart discussed being a good neighbor and how most of what they deal with is because people don’t make good choices with their neighbors in mind. She agrees there should be some sort of parameter in place because people just don’t think about it. In regard to open space, she would like to work towards getting away from the clever and creative open spaces where the developer has planned a five-foot-wide perimeter around the border of their walled-in development that no one really has access to but technically it’s considered open space because that really doesn’t benefit the new community as a whole, so she would like to have more conversation about that.
Commissioner Dallari stated he wants to make sure they are somehow addressing pop-up usage and commercial residential areas. He wants to make sure they are encouraging better, or a reduction of, TMDLs. He discussed stormwater, solar parking lots, appropriate walkable and sustainable commercial areas, digital wayfinding, and appropriate transit and location for affordable housing. He advised he continues to ask what is the appropriate transit definition for affordable housing, and he has yet to receive that definition. The Commissioner is glad they are talking about protecting the rural area and historical, significant areas. He agreed with Commissioner Lockhart’s comment regarding open space.
Commissioner Dallari talked about a subdivision that was mixed-use because there was one lot that was designated for commercial and everything else around it was residential. There really wasn’t any definition of what mixed-use is. He voiced those are some of his concerns that he would like to have some additional conversations about. Regarding open space, Chairman Zembower stated it does not always necessarily mean it’s something that the property owners can walk upon or use, it’s used for a number of reasons; drainage, planting of trees or shrubs, et cetera. There has to be X amount of open space, and there may need to be a look at how that’s calculated; but just because you can’t walk upon it or the kids can’t play on it doesn’t mean it’s not open space.
Commissioner Carey stated in regard to the recommendation on the updated fence standards, they need to look at considering a more permanent structure requirement for subdivision boundaries. She discussed arbor regulations and noted she hopes they look at Florida-native, drought-tolerant plantings as a standard. In the modernization recommendation for the parking, there’s a lot of great best practices out there and you still have people that have all kinds of vehicles that they drive. She thinks they have to have the ability and flexibility for people to design the best parking lot that suits their use. If you’re building a Tractor Supply, you probably want some larger parking spots. The Commissioner recommended some flexibility so that the Code isn’t written so hard as to X number of parking spots for every so many spaces.
In regard to Goals and Create Performance Standards, Commissioner Carey stated she wants to make sure that what they’re doing on the performance standards are general and they look at best practices. She discussed Consideration of I-4 Facing Signage and elevation of property adjacent to the interstate. She hopes that whatever they do regarding Compatibility Recommendations they don’t end up making some rule that would cause people who have owned homes for a long time not to be able to park their work truck in their neighborhood because that has been a huge issue for a lot of cities that have passed that type of regulation. Commissioner Carey discussed religious use in residential areas, accessory dwelling units, “How Shall We Grow?”, “How Did We Grow?”, water conservation, and flexibility in the Code for both the consumer and the land owner.
Commissioner Carey’s last comment was that it seems like they can’t come up with one buzzword that works for affordable housing and workforce housing. What they need is attainable housing. They have a lot of professionals who don’t need to be on a bus line but they can’t afford to live in the county just because the land cost is so high, which makes development cost high. You can go across the river and buy a lot more house for a lot less money. The larger they require the lot to be and the more infrastructure that is required to put in, all goes to the bottom line of the consumer cost of the house. Sometimes it sounds good but the devil is always in the details, and rewriting Land Development Codes can really be a hand-wringing experience. Commissioner Carey asked staff to look at going from four units per acre to one unit per five acres because there are no transition zones around the rural boundary. The rural boundary is not straight. For many of those areas, the development has gone right up to the rural boundary with four units per acre on one side of the road and one per five or one per ten on the other side. She stressed they have to look at transitions.
Commissioner Constantine stated the citizens feel like there’s too much density. Flexibility cannot mean just increased density, and that’s unfortunately what flexibility in this county means. He encourages infill, but they need to encourage infill where the infrastructure is and it’s not going to cause taxpayers money to build that infrastructure. The Commissioner thinks they all agree that they need to make the Land Code more energy efficient and give a lot of opportunities for alternative energy. Commissioner Constantine discussed opportunities for attainable housing, maximum use of SunRail, parking and open space, Florida friendly plantings, protecting water resources, and Planned Development zoning. He advised those are just his general comments; but when they deal with specifics, he believes everyone will have a lot more to say.
Chairman Zembower stated he wants to make sure they are meeting ADA needs and they meet all of the ADA criteria. He asked staff to make every effort to distinguish and explain the difference between the FLU map, Comp Plan, and LDC. Discussion ensued regarding the FLU map and property rights. Commissioner Dallari suggested they could explain the differences on the County’s website.
Ms. Hammock advised the next work session is tentatively scheduled for August 11, and staff will be bringing back more detailed information at that time.
In regard to public participation, Cindy Haller and her husband, 1731 Beacon Drive, expressed concerns regarding zoning; Nancy Harmon, 752 Pioneer Way, discussed the August 11 work session; Wafa Esposito, 5040 Hawks Hammock Way, talked about shaping the future of the community; and Gabrielle Milch, 252 Coble Drive, discussed water quality.
Listing of Speakers and Final Registrants received and filed.
Commissioner Lockhart suggested short video clips on the County’s website regarding the topics identified as important for people to have as a base of knowledge.
Commissioner Carey asked what the schedule looks like for public information meetings. Chairman Zembower asked staff to put together a schedule and circulate it to the Commission for comment. He would like to schedule the public-interaction meetings at least one in every district so the district commissioner could attend. He feels there may be more public input in a Zoom meeting that they would otherwise have in person.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 5:01 p.m., this same date.