BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA
August 11, 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 9:30 a.m., on Tuesday, August 11, 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)
Deputy County Manager Joe Abel
County Attorney Bryant Applegate
Deputy Clerks Kyla Farrell and Chariti Colon
Commissioner Constantine 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.
CARES ACT FUNDING UPDATE
Deputy County Manager Joe Abel presented the CARES Act Funding Update (received and filed). In regard to U.S. Department of Treasury Criteria, Mr. Abel advised one of the biggest challenges has been making sure they have clear definitions of “necessary” and “reasonable” expenditures and clear expectations of what can and can’t be funded. As stated on slide 13 of the presentation, Mr. Abel advised staff is seeking approval to move forward with SCPS’s request for $2,847,250. The ask for action really is to allow the County to move forward with a subrecipient agreement with the School Board that will be reimbursable. If they give approval today, the School Board would be able to take similar action this evening at their meeting for approval of the subrecipient agreement.
Motion by Commissioner Dallari, seconded by Commissioner Dallari, to approve the request from the School Board as well as the request by Mr. Abel.
Under discussion, Commissioner Carey commented that many of the electronic billboards are under agreement; if there is a need to run messaging on them, the County can do that at no charge. She suggested that Mr. Abel should reach out to all of the people who have electronic billboards, especially the ones the County has that messaging ability with. Mr. Abel responded they absolutely will, and Mr. Harris has already utilized the billboards for some of the COVID-19 stuff early on.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she has items that she would like to talk about that were a part of the presentation, but not related to the School District funding, although she is certainly in support of that and happy to do that. Chairman Zembower replied he would like to get the School Board thing done and then they can come back to Commissioner Lockhart’s items.
Chairman Zembower asked the County Attorney if the Board needs to take action on this or just provide direction. County Attorney Bryant Applegate stated they need to take action on this. He explained, in his view, anything related to CARES and CARES funding, due to the timing, is considered to be an emergency and needs Board action. Also, in an abundance of caution, he asked that the meeting be advertised as a work session/meeting so it gives a little more discretion.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Commissioner Lockhart talked about virtual meetings and in-person meetings. She advised the School Board has offered the use of their facility. Their chambers is significantly larger than the County’s, and typically the BCC and School Board meetings don’t overlap. They are happy to work with County staff if there is a need from this organization to utilize their facility. Commissioner Lockhart stated she understands the desire to make sure that all of the things they are doing is fitting into a nice, little, neat box because nobody wants to get their hands slapped. While she certainly doesn’t want staff to do anything that would be an inappropriate use of funds, she is also okay with being minimally compliant. Instead of continuing to compare themselves with other organizations around the state and analyze what other people are doing, the Commissioner thinks they need to be leaders. They know they have good judgement. They know which expenditures are due to COVID-19.
Commissioner Lockhart stated, in regard to the Seminole Cares website, it would be great if they could put a link to that website on the SeminoleCountyFL.gov website. She pointed out when you Google Seminole County Cares, it goes to the SeminoleCountyFL.gov website and SeminoleCares.com doesn’t pop up in Google. Commissioner Lockhart discussed how CARES funding is a huge opportunity for the homeless population and the precariously housed citizens in Seminole County. She asked Mr. Abel to call Martha Are, Executive Director at Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, and hear what her specific suggestions are.
Commissioner Carey stated she thinks for the public’s benefit and clarification, they need to have more than just a link that says “Cares” on their website and discussed why. Mr. Abel replied they will continue to work on that. They try to have it as prominently and in as many different places as they can. He knows staff is working on directly reaching out to their mailing list of businesses and working through the Chambers and other groups to get the word out so that the business folks know where to go from word of mouth as well as trying to search on the website. He assured the Commissioner that staff will continue to work on that and make it a little more prevalent. Commissioner Carey explained staff should be able to get a list from the Tax Office of every business that has a business license in the county, and Mr. Abel replied they do. Commissioner Carey noted she has a business license and hasn’t received anything from anybody. She reiterated they need to make sure they’re getting the message out to businesses and making it easy to find.
Mr. Applegate stated he agrees with Commissioner Lockhart that they want to be as flexible as possible. He noted he’d like to think this County is a leader and discussed the many ways the County is leading the way. Mr. Applegate advised his ultimate responsibility is making sure the County doesn’t spend $82M and then in January, have an auditor say that $15M of that was not appropriate and have to dig into the budget for it.
Chairman Zembower stated they brought Ernst & Young in to facilitate and administer the program. He asked if there is some contractual protection for the County with their review and decision making during the process. He also asked what they are doing to crossmatch individuals in the community, such as individuals who want to apply for the Small Business Grant and Individual Grant; basically, is there any vetting process in any of the other programs to ensure they’re not giving the same entity or person multiple piles of money before they’ve helped as many as they possibly can. Mr. Applegate answered he will provide the Board with copies of the standard indemnification that they have with Ernst & Young, but the ultimate responsibility about the big decisions on where that money goes is going to be on the County. Mr. Abel added the intent is to do exactly what has been suggested in trying to make sure that they’re reaching out as far and wide as possible to be able to get as many businesses and individuals through this process.
Commissioner Lockhart stated when they talk about the business application versus the personal application, something that has been brought to her attention by a couple of property owners who are landlords is that they, as landlords, can really only benefit from this CARES funding if their tenants apply for the rental assistance. She wondered if there’s a possibility where landlords could apply as business owners for assistance as opposed to going through their tenant. Mr. Abel replied he will have to get the answer; but from a point of reasoning, if the landlord has established themselves as a business entity, they should be able to go through the business portal. Chairman Zembower suggested maybe there could be a way to do it by proxy; the landlord on behalf of the tenant with some kind of mutual agreement that the landlord is getting paid but acting as an agent for the tenant if they have a tenant who is otherwise not motivated to do it. He added maybe they should have that discussion between staff and Legal to see how they could do that.
Mr. Applegate stated in addition to the indemnification clause, section 8 of the Ernst & Young contract requires the consultant to be accurate and do what they’re supposed to do. In fact, the County’s review of and approval and acceptance of payment required on the agreement does not operate as a wavier of any rights under the agreement or a cause of action out of the performance of the agreement. He feels very comfortable that they are covered.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in regard to the School Board funding, and public input was closed.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke to the Consent Agenda, and public input was closed.
Motion by Commissioner Lockhart, seconded by Commissioner Carey, to approve the following:
Office of Emergency Management
4. Approve and authorize the Chairman to execute the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The School Board of Seminole County and Seminole County for Emergency Sheltering. (2020-XXXX)
Purchasing and Contracts
5. Approve the Revised Agreement for RFP-603847-20/BJC – Prescription Drug Savings Program (PDSP), to Prescription Care Management (PCM), LLC, Reno, NV; and authorize the Purchasing and Contracts Division to execute the Agreement. (2020-2186)
Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 voted AYE.
Item #1 – 2020-2183
Power Corridor Trail Feasibility Study (Follow-up from 2-11-20)
Jason McCray, P.E., ETM England Thims & Miller
Jason McCray, P.E., ETM England Thims & Miller, addressed the Board and reviewed the Trail Feasibility Study Between SR 434 and Cross Seminole Trail presentation (received and filed). Mr. McCray recommended Alignment 3 (adjacent to US 17/92). The recommendation is based on the results of the qualitative and quantitative evaluation that included the following key factors: stakeholder and public feedback, wetland/floodplain impacts, right-of-way acquisition, pedestrian crossings of roadways, overall cost of project, and drainage impacts/permitting.
Chairman Carey stated, in looking at the alignments, she thinks Alignment 3 is probably a good one and explained why. Commissioner Dallari stated Alignment 5 gets a lower rating because of the wetland/floodplain impact, but that is addressed by the boardwalk so he thinks that is really a cost issue. He wants to understand how that alignment scored a 5 in the wetlands/floodplain category if they’re putting a boardwalk over it. Mr. McCray answered it received a 5 for several reasons. Regardless if they put a boardwalk over the floodplain and the wetlands, it would require an individual permit and not be exempt. Another reason for the ranking is because it requires a bridge to cross it to minimize the impacts, and thus the cost to the wetland and floodplain impacts was greater than all the others. Those were the main two causes for the ranking. Commissioner Dallari asked Mr. McCray to address safety on US 17/92. Mr. McCray stated as shown on the existing typical section, the current section does provide a 7-foot buffered bike lane, so the traveling public will be 7 feet from the edge of the curb. They did look at trail safety by looking at the paved shoulder and where the traveling public would be within the paved area as well as providing an offset to the trail to provide a positive safety offset for the trail users. Commissioner Dallari stated FDOT has been spending a lot of time on that road because of the issues with the wetlands. He asked if all of those issues have been addressed in the typical section, and Mr. McCray answered yes. Upon inquiry by Commissioner Dallari, Mr. McCray discussed trail experience. Commissioner Dallari asked how they would connect the elementary school with Alignment 3, and Mr. McCray answered the elementary school is already connected because there are 5-foot sidewalks on both sides.
With regard to public participation, no one in the audience spoke, and public input was closed.
Jean Jreij, Public Works Director, addressed the Board and stated staff is requesting the Board accept the recommendation of the consultant for Alignment 3 so staff can move forward to the next step, which is design. He noted another project at US 17/92 which would connect with the recommended alignment. Commissioner Carey asked if Mr. Jreij was referring to the pedestrian bridge over US 17/92, and Mr. Jreij answered yes.
Motion by Commissioner Carey to approve staff’s and the consultant’s recommendation for Alignment 3.
Under discussion, in regard to Mr. Jreij’s statement, Commissioner Dallari asked Mr. Jreij what the cost is to connect this trail to the trail bridge with a ramp. Mr. Jreij answered that project has been on the schedule for a while because they were waiting until US 17/92 was completed. In the past, it called for stairs; but when they tried to design the stairs, they found it wouldn’t work so they changed it to a ramp. It is under design now, and the construction cost is under $500,000 and also on the MetroPlan list for funding. Mr. Applegate suggested, since CARES Act is more of an emergency matter with timing, they just get a consensus if this is not time sensitive. Then Mr. Jreij can prepare a consent agenda item for the next meeting for approval of the final plan. There was consensus of the Board to move forward with Alignment 3 and staff’s recommendation. Commissioner Dallari added he would like the cost of the additional ramp added so they understand the full cost of the project. Commissioner Lockhart asked if the stairs, now ramp, were already planned regardless of the trail alignment, and Mr. Jreij answered yes. He explained it is a separate project that is already in design, and final design should be done in a few months. Chairman Zembower asked if Mr. Jreij will identify that other project for Commissioner Dallari so he clearly understands and distribute that for the rest of the Commission, and Mr. Jreij said he would.
Chairman Zembower confirmed they have unanimous consent to accept the recommendation of the consultant.
Item #2 – 2020-2127
Speed Cushion Update
Charles Wetzel, County Traffic Engineer
Charles Wetzel, County Traffic Engineer, and Mark Bevis, Traffic Studies Supervisor, addressed the Board and presented the Seminole County Traffic Speed Cushion Update presentation (received and filed).
Commissioner Lockhart stated she’s mostly looking at this from the perspective from the residents who clearly reached out because they feel like they have a need. What she heard is that staff hasn’t vetted the list yet to determine if any of the requests would meet the criteria that Mr. Wetzel is proposing. She asked how staff is determining the criteria. Mr. Wetzel answered the proposed criteria is based on other agencies’ experiences and programs and typical traffic engineering practices. Commissioner Lockhart referenced the Speed Cushion Requests List (received and filed) and stated several of the requests are associated with the Sheriff’s Office. She would hate to establish criteria before knowing how many of the people that are requesting speed humps in the area meet the criteria that staff is establishing. Discussion ensued. Chairman Zembower stated there has been past complaints, and speed humps were never approved by a previous Commission. This Board has asked staff to study these as a calming device for traffic. If the Board approves it, then it could be a calming device for calming traffic used somewhere. Commissioner Lockhart replied she was thinking they would start with the 99 residents who have already called and asked for them. They don’t want to go around the county and put in speed tables “willy nilly.” Chairman Zembower stated staff isn’t saying they’re going to put them anywhere at this point; they’re simply saying there are engineering aspects of the roadway that can be utilized to do traffic calming, but speed humps are one that are not in their current toolbox that could be deployed if requested. Staff is asking if the Board wants to consider speed humps as a tool in their toolbox to be deployed if such is desired. Mr. Abel confirmed Chairman Zembower’s statement. Commissioner Lockhart reiterated she does not want to put a program in place that doesn’t meet the needs of the people who are currently requesting the program. She wants to do this in response to the citizens who had a perceived or real need. She is interested in having the tool in their toolbox, but she doesn’t see the need of putting it in there if it’s not really going to help anybody.
Commissioner Carey wondered out of the 99 requests, how many were for the same road. She stated she isn’t interested in trying to put any kind of program in place when they have a shortfall of funding in the current budget year and probably looking at a shortfall in funding for next year. She doesn’t even know how they would fund this program. They did the pilot program, and that seemed to be working. If they are going to implement a program, they should look at all options of what works and what’s most cost-effective because it isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all. However, without any funding, she doesn’t know why they are even having a conversation about this.
Commissioner Constantine stated he feels this is a very positive opportunity to have a tool in the toolbox. In talking to HOAs around the county, he would like to give them the option of wanting to do it and do it as staff recommends it; and it could also be an option when new development comes in. Commissioner Carey stated it sounds like Commissioner Constantine is recommending to put it in their toolbox for an MSBU funding opportunity. She pointed out different communities want these for different reasons: speed, cut-through traffic, etc. If they want to add it to the MSBU program, she would be fine with that; but until they have a funding source, she would be reluctant to try to develop this. Commissioner Dallari discussed principal arterial roads, specifically two that he has seen with existing speed tables (Lake Howell Road and Tangerine Avenue.)
Chairman Zembower advised he can support speed bumps or speed humps if done properly in an MSBU program, but he’d like to hear from the County Attorney from a liability standpoint where the County stands on vehicle damage even if it is an MSBU. Mr. Applegate explained they would have to show that the speed bump was either negligently installed or didn’t meet criteria that caused the damage. Normally, if a car is damaged by a speed bump, it’s because it’s going too fast; therefore, the owner of the vehicle would be liable and not the County. Chairman Zembower talked about cars that are so low, they wouldn’t have to be going too fast to incur damage and asked again who would be responsible for that damage. Mr. Applegate repeated they would have to prove they were negligently installed or didn’t meet the criteria.
Commissioner Lockhart asked if it is correct that if you are going the speed limit, you should glide over speed bumps without issues because they are not meant to make you have to come to a complete stop, they’re meant to allow you to continue to travel the speed limit. Mr. Wetzel answered that is the intent. He added they are calling them speed cushions which are different from speed humps in that they have a gap so emergency vehicles and ambulances can move through them without having to go over them; but in a perfect world, if you drive the speed limit, you should be comfortable going over these. Commissioner Lockhart advised she thinks an MSBU is an option for funding, but she wouldn’t want to limit this program only to an MSBU. She thinks there would be some scenarios in the future where the Board may feel compelled to participate in some funding depending on the circumstances. When they have neighborhoods that for years and years have seen people speeding down the road, she doesn’t see how they cannot at least have this as a permissible opportunity for them. She doesn’t want to go through the hassle of creating a program that doesn’t really fulfill the need. She is for putting it in the toolbox and being flexible about what the funding source may be, and she would hate to see staff not go down this path just because they are in a tough budget time right at this moment.
Chairman Zembower said it sounds like they want staff to bring this back to the Board as an agenda item with funding options. Commissioner Constantine replied maybe not funding options as much as a part of a program where an opportunity exists. He believes there may be times where the County would share in the cost or do the whole cost; it’s not something that he wants to say is exclusively an MSBU. They need to have an opportunity in the toolbox to pick and choose if they see something that is necessarily needed.
Commissioner Carey stated the MSBU ordinance has specific things in there that you can use MSBU funding for. If they want to make this program available through MSBU, they need to just add it to the list of things that they could do. She noted having tools available is great, but she thinks there are some things they need to add to the MSBU ordinance and have it presented for the various different types of options whether it’s asphalt, rubber cushions, etc.; and then let the communities decide what they’re willing to pay for.
With regard to public participation, no one in the audience spoke, and public input was closed.
Chairman Zembower asked if staff believes they have the direction that is needed from the Commission to proceed. Mr. Wetzel answered he believes so. He is looking to come back to the Board with an agenda item including an MSBU option for all traffic calming devices. Chairman Zembower clarified they want to see the MSBU as an option if the Board doesn’t decide to fund it.
Chairman Zembower recessed the meeting at 11:42 a.m., reconvening at 12:00 p.m. reconvening at 12:00 p.m., with all Commissioners and all other Officials, with the exception of Deputy Clerk Kyla Farrell who was replaced by Deputy Clerk Chariti Colon, who were present at the Opening Session.
WORK SESSIONS CONT’D
Item #3 – 2020-2128
Land Development Code (Session 2)
Eliza Juliano, Canin Associates, Inc.
Rebecca Hammock, Development Services Director
Eliza Juliano, Canin Associates, Inc., presented and reviewed a PowerPoint entitled Seminole County Land Development Code Update Work Session #2 (received and filed).
Kennels, Missing Uses, Lake Setbacks, Arbor Regulations, and PD Approach
Commissioner Lockhart requested clarification if the arbor regulations are going to be applied equally to existing residences and single-family homes or if it only applies to new development. Ms. Juliano advised Greg Witherspoon, Canin Associates Landscape Architect, was available if needed. She then explained this is really focused on new developments and/or significant renovations. State law does not allow the County to regulate single-family properties. Commissioner Lockhart stated, although she would not want to regulate, she thought she had read that state law now allowed local government to do so with the designation of a certified arborist. Upon request for clarification, Ms. Juliano explained, to her understanding, the County cannot require evidence of a certified arborist sign off before the tree is removed, but they can ask for it after the tree is removed. They cannot require the tree be replaced and they cannot require a permit be filed before removing the tree, but there has to be a certified arborist or landscape architect sign off. Ms. Juliano advised there is a County Attorney opinion on file, but there are some very specific limits on what can be done.
Rebecca Hammock, Development Services Director, clarified the Code currently exempts single-family residential lots that are less than five acres from arbor regulations. Once a subdivision is developed and the lots are sold, the property owner is then exempt from the arbor regulations and are not required to obtain a permit to remove trees from their property. Commissioner Lockhart stated she wanted to make sure that she understood that staff's and the consultant's recommendation was not that they were going to now start requiring a form from the arborist if people wanted to take out a tree on their personal property. Ms. Hammock explained the way that it is written, it would be in a circumstance if somebody, like a neighbor, questioned the fact that a tree was taken down and if the County could then go afterwards and request some documentation from an arborist or landscape architect demonstrating that that tree was diseased or dying and could be removed. If the property is under five acres, they would tell the neighbor the property is exempt from the arbor regulations. But if they were on a lot larger than five acres, then that is where the state law would come into play.
Chairman Zembower illustrated a scenario where years ago a subdivision was approved with a certain amount of barrier between the surrounding properties, a certain caliper-sized tree or X number of trees, and now it has not been maintained or they have decided they don't want that barrier anymore. Then the development next door will call reminding that when the other development was approved years ago it was approved that the barrier had to remain between the two developments. The Chairman inquired if this change will help with that issue. Ms. Juliano responded their recommendation would be to require sign off from a certified arborist or landscape architect for trees of a certain size. The Chairman noted, in some requests from the community to maintain certain types of buffer between an incoming new development versus what exists, in the development order they have put language in there that says the existing must be maintained, and if that existing is damaged, they must replant reasonably what was there.
Commissioner Carey confirmed with Ms. Hammock if someone lives in a subdivision where the lots are an acre and they want to take a tree out of their backyard, they do not have to get a permit according to the state law. The Commissioner inquired if the ones in buffer areas and the setback zones are protected because they are in the HOA documents to be maintained. Ms. Hammock responded normally buffers that are part of new subdivision plans are within a tract, and those usually are under the ownership and maintenance of a homeowners association. In addition, the County requires opacity ratings for those buffers. If trees do die and someone notices that the buffer is no longer a healthy, opaque buffer, they could bring it to the County's attention that the buffer is not meeting the requirements of the approved landscape plan; and the County could then review it and could require new landscaping to be installed. Commissioner Carey confirmed with Ms. Hammock that would be at the expense of the homeowners association. Chairman Zembower stated they have to look at it closely to make sure they are not violating state statute but also for the occasions where there is a subdivision with an HOA that no longer exists for whatever reason. Commissioner Carey added new developments now have mandatory HOAs. With old subdivisions where the HOAs are voluntary, they will fall under a different set of rules than the new ones.
Commissioner Carey stated many pet daycares also offer grooming and boarding. She thinks they need to be careful when addressing kennels that they are not putting pet daycares in a category where they are not convenient or in close proximity to where people work and live. Maybe sound requirements and construction or setbacks from the boundary of the properties and things like that are important because those are convenience type.
Commissioner Carey noted in the example on the PDs, there are tree plantings between the back of the curb and the sidewalk. She commented that planting oak trees or other large root invasive trees between the back of the curb and the sidewalk is not a good idea. They will eventually bust up the sidewalk or the curb, or the tree will begin to die because it was not intended to be in that kind of a space. She wants to make sure that when they are writing codes that they require proper placement of the species as well. Chairman Zembower suggested that's where a staff arborist would be a benefit. Commissioner Carey added a landscape architect should also be able to provide that information.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she read the Florida statute in regards to kennels. When it talks about the noise from animals, whether they be dogs or some other type of animal, it is exempt if it is part of a bona fide farming operation, not just if it exists on a piece of ag property. The issues they seem to be having are not with farms. She inquired if that had been looked at, and Ms. Hammock responded staff has looked at this before. She would have to get direction from the County Attorney's Office because they had been advised previously that as long as it is zoned agricultural that any animal was exempt from the noise ordinance. That is why they were looking for a way around that to regulate large numbers of domestic animals on agricultural property. The intent was not to exempt domesticated animals; it was for livestock animals. However, her understanding was that it was any animals. If that is not correct, they will have to go back and reevaluate that; but if that is the case, that will solve the issue. Mr. Applegate advised A-1 zoning does need clarification because courts look at that as agricultural. There is an enforcement problem with it. They don't get a lot of complaints about barking dogs in agricultural zones. Then it becomes a question of the Sheriff and Code Enforcement deciding whether or not they're going to cite the owner for that.
Mr. Applegate commented in the memo that they pointed out the arbor law, there are several cases right now throughout Florida challenging the law and its applicability in certain circumstances. Before they ever get to the point of adopting comprehensive regulations, they will have guidance from the courts on what they can and cannot do.
With regard to public participation, Allen Sutton, 122 Fair Way Ten Drive, voiced opposition to any proposed changes to required green space for PDs and stated it seems like a lot of the changes are meant to make it easier for developers to come in and build. Chairman Zembower clarified with Ms. Juliano that Canin Associates was not a builder or developer of homes. Grey Wilson, 1125 Broadgate Lane, stated parks and recreation for infills are much needed in the area. Dr. Deborah Bauer, 423 Eagle Circle, voiced her concern and opposition about any reduction of the minimum 25% open space in PD zoning. Katrina Shadix, 1133 Covington Street, also addressed any proposed reduction of open green space and inquired if it is still a proposed recommendation. She is also opposed to removing trees to build solar farms. Gabrielle Milch, 252 Coble Drive, spoke regarding shoreline issues and water quality.
No one else spoke and public input was closed.
Commissioner Lockhart stated while they see PDs ad nauseam and feel they are being overused, she personally doesn't feel they are being used because they are asking for a variety of lot sizes. The Commissioner requested that someone explain why the recommendation of the mixed lot size is a solution to reduce the number of PDs. Ms. Hammock stated she agreed with the Commissioner and explained they have requests for PDs a lot of times because the trend now is to go to 50-foot, 60-foot wide lots. So unless a developer was willing to do the mix of lot sizes as depicted in the presentation, that would not resolve that issue. What the consultant is proposing is that that be an additional option in the Code if a developer would like to develop in that way instead of going through the PD process. Currently the market trend is they all want to have one lot size unless the County makes them do otherwise. Commissioner Lockhart stated if developers have the desire to make lot sizes of varying widths, they could do that currently under PD. She believes developers are bringing in the PD because they can become more creative with their open space requirement.
Upon request of Chairman Zembower to comment on open space requirement, Ms. Hammock explained the minimum open space requirement is 25% currently in PD. Staff is not recommending that be reduced. There are comments in the white paper that that 25% probably isn't utilized the best way it can be because it's put in buffer tracks so it doesn't become common useable open space. The consultant also did make a recommendation, as part of a proposed new zoning category for mixed use, that if a new zoning category were created that they may not require that much open space as the current PD zoning designation; but they are not proposing to reduce that open space requirement in the Planned Development zoning district.
Commissioner Carey stated, historically, staff has encouraged the PD and it does create a nicer development than a straight zoning development. On the mixed-use issue, it is a use that will occur in infill urban areas, so having more open space in high density urban areas doesn't make any sense. It's counterproductive to the high-density discussion. She thinks if they want to look at how to fix some of the things, they look at how the language is written on the PD about the 25% open space. They need to look at how they require things to be used, not necessarily rewrite the code.
Mr. Applegate mentioned different lot sizes is something that is encouraged around the country in affordable housing because you cannot tell the difference between the affordable houses and the expensive houses. They are going to be talking about impact fee waivers and reduced water and sewer connection fees possibly. That was a point they made around the country that approving a development with different lot sizes with the right landscaping is one of the solutions. It's that piece of the puzzle that several pieces come together.
Commissioner Dallari confirmed with Ms. Hammock that staff is not looking at reducing the open space. The Commissioner would like to know what actually constitutes mixed use. Ms. Hammock responded that is something staff would like direction on from the Board. There are Comp Plan policies and there is a Future Land Use designation for mixed use. However, that has not been implemented in the Land Development Code. Part of the recommendations in the white paper is to implement the Comprehensive Plan by also creating a mixed-use designation within the Land Development Code. Staff would like some direction on what type of mixed land uses, whether it is a percentage based on square footage, based on acreage, that type of thing; and that is something that needs to be discussed. Commissioner Dallari stated as they look at these different types of examples, he would like to see pictorial examples. Also, affordable housing always talks about transit, but they don't define what transit is. With transit, he would like to understand what the frequency is and what the distance is from a project to the transit corridor that will allow it to be assumed or agreed to have transit. Ms. Hammock responded they do have some discussion of that in the Attainable Housing Strategic Plan that staff will be bringing forward, and it does outline those type of things. Commissioner Dallari stated he would also like to have some definitions or examples of how solar would be implemented in the Land Development Code.
Chairman Zembower inquired what staff needed in the way of direction. Ms. Hammock responded staff needs clarification from the County Attorney's Office on the kennel issues. If the Florida statute does not apply to the single-family residential, A-1 zoned property, then that issue has been resolved. However, if the County Attorney's Office comes back and says the noise ordinance would not be able to regulate any A-1 zoned property, regardless if it was bona fide agricultural use or farm use, then they would need direction. The workaround they were hoping to do was to revise the kennel definition since a kennel is required to have a special exception in A-1; and if they revise the kennel definition, it could apply to more circumstances. Right now it states it has to be for compensation, but there are instances where people are part of a rescue group and they have a number of animals on their properties and they're being housed outside or on the property line and they're barking. If they're zoned A-1, currently nothing can be done through Code Enforcement. But if they broaden the definition of a kennel, then they might be able to say there is a special exception requirement. Then the noise can be regulated through the special exception through a sound attenuation and buffers and setbacks and things like that. However, staff will probably need clarification from the legal aspect before getting direction on that.
Commissioner Constantine clarified this is an ongoing process and not something that is going to end next week or even next month. He emphasized nothing will be done until they have additional meetings with citizens and are having open public meetings where people can actually respond to these things.
Chairman Zembower suggested as they get to Phase 4 in the process when the Board makes decisions, by then they should have plenty of public input, all the options that each Commissioner has asked for, and legal can vet them to make sure they are legally viable. This is not something that is going to happen overnight. The Chairman inquired if staff had an idea when they we would be in Phase 4. Ms. Hammock responded the original timeline was 18 months to be able to bring forward an ordinance that would amend the Land Development Code. However, that has been pushed back due to COVID. Ms. Juliano added they do not have a date certain at this point. They are probably two to three months behind due to COVID; and depending on the Commission direction on public input, that could change further.
Accessory Dwelling Units
Jeff Hopper, Planning and Development Division, presented and reviewed a PowerPoint entitled Accessory Dwelling Units (received and filed).
Commissioner Lockhart inquired how they arrived at the 35% number for the correlation between the main house and the accessory dwelling unit. Mr. Hopper explained the intent was to emphasize that the accessory is something secondary and incidental. It ensures that there is a proportion between the main structure and the accessory unit so the accessory does not become something bigger than the main house. Commissioner Lockhart expressed her concern that if they are not going to allow a variance to the size but they are saying that 35% is the hard, fast number for whatever reason and they don't have a rationale for it except it seemed like a good number, she's not comfortable with either not having the ability to get a variance or having a better rationale for the 35%. She inquired if the Board picked the 35% or staff picked it. Ms. Hammock responded in the code currently in the rural area under the A-3, A-5, and A-10, the maximum size of an accessory dwelling unit is 35%. They are proposing with the new regulations 35% or a maximum of 1,000 square feet because they are trying to emphasize that this is to be an accessory to the primary structure since they are putting a policy in the Comprehensive Plan that an accessory dwelling unit will have a de minimis impact and won't count towards density and also in terms of looking at impact fees. If they are going to reduce impact fee rates or waive impact fee rates, they want to make sure that the dwelling does not end up being so large that it has equal impacts to the standard single-family residential house. Upon inquiry of Commissioner Lockhart, Ms. Hammock explained if a larger home's 35% came out to over 1,000 square feet, then they would be limited to the 1,000 square feet. Commissioner Lockhart asked if there is any reason why they would not allow for a variance if someone has an exceptionally large home. It makes her nervous whenever they tell citizens that they can't apply for a variance for something, even if it is the ability for staff to look at it. There is always an outlying exception. Chairman Zembower added it needs to be administered under the equal treatment guidelines of the provisions. Ms. Hammock stated that can be looked at to see if there's language that could be put in that could allow some sort of minimal variance in certain circumstances. They are trying to make an argument that accessory dwelling units have a de minimus impact and aren't going to impact level of service, so they are trying to prevent approving another single-family house on a lot.
Commissioner Dallari requested a definition of architecturally compatible, and Ms. Hammock explained it is similar in look to the primary structure. The Commissioner asked who is going to be the judge of that, and Ms. Hammock responded staff. If the Board isn't comfortable with that regulation, it can be taken out. Commissioner Dallari expressed he would like to have it more defined.
Commissioner Dallari inquired if it can be switched to where the existing structure becomes the accessory dwelling unit and the new structure becomes a larger primary residence. Ms. Hammock advised they have allowed that in the rural area as long as they meet setbacks and placement on the lot. The Commissioner stated that needs to be defined so people know what the possibilities are.
With regard to public participation, no one spoke in support or opposition and public input was closed.
Chairman Zembower inquired if staff felt confident they had direction, and Ms. Hammock responded yes. They will look at the variance issue, the architectural compatibility, and then provide clarification on whether an existing primary structure could become the accessory dwelling unit and vice versa. She stated they are also looking for direction on whether the Board would like staff to bring this back at the next available BCC meeting. Right now it is tentatively scheduled for the September Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and then the later meeting for BCC in September. The Chairman inquired of the Board if they believed they need to workshop the accessory dwelling unit item any further or just have staff supply the information the Board has requested and then bring it back at a future meeting. There was consensus of the Board to move forward. Commissioner Lockhart added she is also still looking for information having to do with impact fee reduction or elimination. The Chairman requested staff send their work product to each of the Commission offices for review in advance of an agenda item coming forward and inquired if that was okay with the Board. No objections were voiced.
Ms. Hammock stated on the impact issue, if they do move forward with the ordinances and they get adopted, what is in place right now in terms of impact fees are if somebody decided to apply and permit an accessory dwelling unit immediately following the adoption of the ordinances, they would be subject to the standard single-family residential rates. However, staff is working with the consultants on the mobility fee, the water and sewer connection fee, the fire, and the libraries on separate impact fee rates for accessory dwelling units so those are in process. Chairman Zembower reminded the Board has said they are not necessarily interested in impact fees for accessory dwelling units. However, they probably have to look at something in the reverse if the existing structure becomes the accessory dwelling unit and a larger primary structure is built. To be fair to the rest of the citizens of the county, they should be looking at that and how that would work. Ms. Hammock stated what is being proposed wouldn't allow that scenario. If someone has a 6,000 square foot house and they wanted that to become the accessory dwelling unit and were going to build a new structure that would be the primary structure, that primary structure would now have to be 35% larger than the existing structure. It would not meet the de minimus standard. The Chairman stated as long as that's been covered to be fair to everybody, he's good with it.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Mr. Applegate stated he sent an email out last week. David Leavitt has filed an amended complaint. Lynn Porter-Carlton is following what some other jurisdiction are doing. Mr. Applegate opined the amended complaint that was filed is almost the same as the original one with relying on the new order that came out since the original complaint was filed, and they obviously plan to file a motion to dismiss on that. It is his understanding that the Alachua County decision is the first one to go up to an appellate court and is in the First DCA now. He is expecting the First DCA to affirm the lower court's decision on that.
Mr. Applegate stated he sent several memos and John Stokes' letter to all of the Commissioners in the last few days. One thing he took from the evaluation was to be more responsive and to anticipate questions that come up. They should start seeing more of those and they will be short. Answering questions came up the last time they talked about these issues about water and sewer connection fees and impact fees, so he wanted to get those out to them.
Mr. Applegate advised all the Commissioners have received a letter in their offices. The best way to interpret the letter is it is threatening a federal lawsuit. He will be briefing all of the Commissioners sometime today on the letter and would ask that they not comment on it.
On the ordinance procedure, Mr. Applegate advised he has spoken with Mr. Abel and they are going to tweak the procedure. Before an ordinance ever leaves the County Attorney's Office, he is going to be assured that staff has talked to each Commissioner individually about what the intent of the ordinance is, what they're trying to do, get the Commissioners' comments individually so that the lawyer working on it has some idea of what is wanted. This will also give the Board a heads-up that an ordinance is coming so they aren't at a meeting seeing it and not knowing what it is. A public hearing for an ordinance should be the time for the public to come in and comment and for the Board to make any needed tweaks on it and discuss it in an open forum.
COUNTY MANAGER’S REPORT
Mr. Abel inquired what the pleasure of the Board is for the meeting on the 25th of this month, whether they want it virtual, a combination, or possibly held at the School Board. Chairman Zembower responded he is fine talking to the School Board. He would also like to see the measurements of the BCC chambers and whether that is within the CDC guidelines. He would like to get back to in person sooner rather than later. He inquired what challenges there will be if they move things over to the School Board's facility. The Chairman requested that Mr. Abel let each Commissioner know that as soon as possible. Mr. Abel advised he will try to get all of those ideas vetted out by the end of this week.
ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA
Katrina Shadix, 1133 Covington Street, spoke in regards to the City of Oviedo asking for certain areas to be cut out of the Seminole County bear management area. She strongly advises against cutting out any areas. Just because the council members are not seeing the bears sighting posts on the social media in no way means bears aren't in those areas.
Commissioner Lockhart stated she would like to allow folks who are calling in to make presentations to the Board to be able to have access to the video because they may have a picture or something they want to show as an example. She inquired where they are on that ability. Clint Patterson, ITS manager, advised they brought people in today so people could share video and nobody turned the video on.
Chairman Zembower stated the Board has previously received a copy of the Board policies and procedure that they have been talking about for some time now. He requests that everyone responds to the County Manager and County Attorney on any questions, changes, suggestions, or ideas so they can get consensus on the policies and procedures by the October meeting.
Listing of Speakers and Final Registrants received and filed.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m., this same date.