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MINUTES
VOLUSIA FOREVER ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
3:30p.m. - 5:30p.m.
THOMAS C. KELLY BLDG., TRAINING ROOMS 1 & 2
123 W. INDIANA AVENUE, DELAND, FL 32720
 

Board Members in Attendance

Phil Maroney, Chair

Dennis Bayer

Anne Hallum Alan Long
Kenneth Russell  

Also in Attendance
 
Douglas M. Weaver
Rob Walsh
Randall Sleister
Bill Gardner
Stacey J. Manning
Jeanette Munson
Lou Tulp
Herb Hiller
Kent Donahue

Meeting Called to Order
As a Quorum could not be established, Phil Maroney, Chair, called a “workshop” to order at 3:31p.m.

River of Lakes Heritage Corridor Presentation
Herb Hiller, representative for the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, was present to provide a brief overview of the program. He stated that this program is a creature of tourism, which has been the chief instrument in the development of Florida. However, the residents see the need to preserve green space so they have elected to tax themselves in an effort to preserve the much needed green space. The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor coincides with the Volusia Forever Program as both entities are interested in preserving green space for the enjoyment of this and future generations, but more importantly, for the resource (i.e., water and natural habitats).

Adjournment
Workshop adjourned at 3:53p.m.

Meeting Called to Order
Phil Maroney, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:53p.m.

Roll Call
Phil Maroney, Chair, instructed the Recording Secretary to record the roll of the Members in attendance, in which five (5) Members were present. Members Reid Hughes, Alan Alshouse and JoAnn O’Bannon were recorded as an Excused Absence.

Phil Maroney, Chair, welcomed all those in attendance (i.e., Committee Members, County staff and the Public).

Continued Discussion and Determination of Eligibility for Submitted Applications
Rob Walsh explained that the Committee would be reviewing the last three (3) properties that have been submitted for the 2nd Cycle of 2006, and determining whether these properties are eligible for further consideration under the Volusia Forever Program. All properties that are determined eligible for the 2nd Cycle of 2006 will be ranked on April 18, 2007. He reminded the Committee that Resolution 2004-80 states that a property should meet at least four (4) of the Primary Criteria, and is required to have an affirmative vote of at least five (5) Members in order for it to be determined as eligible.

  1. Marvin Fore Property – Rob Walsh provided the following information about this property:
    1. it is approximately 156 acres in size located to the west of the LeFils Property, which was a conservation easement acquisition by the County and the St. Johns River Water Management District (District);
    2. this proposal is for a conservation easement;
    3. it is contiguous to the Volusia/Flagler Conservation Corridor, but not within its boundaries;
    4. it consists of flatwoods with forested uplands and cypress wetlands; and
    5. it meets 7 of the 13 Primary Ranking Criteria.\Member Dennis Bayer asked what type of habitat exists on the property.

Randall Sleister stated that County staff had not visited the site. However, based on aerial interpretations, the habitat type appears to be flatwoods and cypress.

Member Dennis Bayer asked if the District would be a funding partner for the proposed conservation easement acquisition.

Rob Walsh responded that County staff has not contacted District staff to determine their interest in being a funding partner. However, the District was a funding partner with the County on the LeFils and Fore conservation easement acquisitions, which are in the immediate area or adjacent to this property.

Lou Tulp, representative for the property owner, was present to provide additional information and answer any questions. He stated that the Fore family enjoys hunting, which is why this property is being offered as a conservation easement acquisition and not fee simple. He added that the property has been managed with prescribed burns and timbering to regenerate the pines, and preserve the flatwoods habitat.

Discussion ensued regarding conservation easements after Member Anne Hallum asked if hunting would be the only permitted use.

Douglas Weaver explained the each conservation easement is different. The permitted uses, which could include timber harvesting, hunting, cattle operations, and a home, are part of the negotiations.

Lou Tulp added that this property is part of the Ashby Cove Estates and is permitted for 11 single family dwellings.

Member Alan Long made a motion to accept the Marvin Fore Property Application as an eligible project. Member Kenneth Russell seconded the motion that carried by unanimous voice vote.

  1. Dawnview Square Property – Rob Walsh provided the following information about this property:
    1. this is the third time the City of Port Orange has submitted an application to resolve flooding issues within the project area;
    2. it is approximately 3.6 acres in size consisting of twelve (12) parcels with single family dwellings;
    3. it is adjacent to the All Children’s Park, which is an active and passive park;

Rob Walsh added that the City intends on acquiring the single family dwellings by using funds received from FEMA, and requesting that Volusia Forever fund the acquisition of the land. The single family dwellings would be demolished to restore the area to a more natural state for flood control.

Kent Donahue, representative with the City of Port Orange, was present to provide additional information and answer any questions.

Member Kenneth Russell asked if there had been any changes in the proposal from the last submittal to Volusia Forever.

Rob Walsh responded that there were no changes in the proposal since the last submittal. However, there is a minor change from the first submittal. The City now has the monies from FEMA, where they did not in the first submittal.

Member Dennis Bayer asked if there were other funding sources, other than FEMA, that would be contributing funds for this project.

Kent Donahue responded that City staff had contacted District staff to determine their interest in being a funding partner for this project. District staff indicated that they are interested in being a funding partner for the acquisition of this project. However, their level of participation has not been determined. The City submitted an application to Florida Communities Trust (FCT), but did not score enough points to qualify for funding.

Douglas Weaver asked if the City intends on resubmitting an application to FCT.

Kent Donahue stated that the City intends on resubmitting an application to FCT.

Member Kenneth Russell asked the City what the projected timeline would be for this proposal, if Volusia Forever funding was obtained.

Kent Donahue responded that the City had already begun the acquisition process of single family dwellings in the adjoining area. Once the sites have been acquired and an asbestos inspection has been completed, then the demolition process would begin. The City has submitted other applications for funding through other state and federal agencies under the Competitive Flood Program. The City intends on moving forward with the acquisition of the flooded homes that were identified in the Dawnview and Merrimac area.

Member Kenneth Russell again asked for the projected timeline of this project.

Kent Donahue explained that it would take approximately 160 days to go from acquisition to demolish. After that time, the restoration process would begin. He added that the funds received from FEMA have time constraints attached to them.

Chair Phil Maroney asked what improvements would be made once the single family dwellings have been demolished.

Kent Donahue explained that the City would expand All Children’s Park to include this area, which would include recreational trails.

Chair Phil Maroney asked if there would be any construction of retention or detention ponds for drainage.

Kent Donahue responded that the City intends on making improvements based on the funding partner’s requirements. For example, FCT may require active recreational opportunities where Volusia Forever would require passive recreational opportunities. He added that the City could not guarantee whether or not there would be retention ponds constructed on these properties.

Douglas Weaver asked if it was the City’s intention to own these properties fee simple.

Kent Donahue stated that it was the City’s intention to own these properties fee simple.

Douglas Weaver reminded the City that most funding partner(s) would want title interest in these properties.

Discussion ensued regarding Volusia Forever funds being needed to make this project move forward.

Kent Donahue explained that Volusia Forever funds are needed to move this project forward even though the City is seeking funding from other sources.

Discussion ensued regarding Volusia ECHO funding after Member Anne Hallum asked if a Volusia ECHO grant application had been submitted to assist with the funding of this project.

Member Dennis Bayer asked if the City would use condemnation powers to acquire a parcel if all owners aren’t willing to participate in this project as a willing seller.

Kent Donahue stated that the City doesn’t use condemnation powers to acquire property. If a property owner is not a willing seller, the City hopes that at some time in the future the owner would change their mind and become a willing seller.

Member Dennis Bayer expressed a concern regarding the use of Volusia Forever funds to resolve flooding issues. He asked if the appraisals would reflect the fact that these properties are subject to frequent flooding.

Kent Donahue explained that he could not confirm that the appraisals would reflect the fact that these properties are subject to frequent flooding. However, he could confirm that the prices of these properties have increased since the flooding.

Member Kenneth Russell also stated that this project proposal does not meet Volusia Forever’s criteria and suggested seeking assistance from Volusia ECHO.

Member Dennis Bayer asked if County staff had a recommendation.

Douglas Weaver stated that County staff would defer to the Committee’s judgment.

Member Anne Hallum made a motion to accept the Dawnview Square Property Application as an eligible project. Member Dennis Bayer seconded the motion failed by a unanimous roll call vote, as Resolution 2004 80 requires an affirmative vote of at least five (5) Members to pass.

  1. TTT Ranch, LLC Property – Rob Walsh provided the following information about this property:
    1. it is approximately 500 acres in size located off Pell Road in the Osteen area;
    2. it is contiguous to public owned property, Wiregrass Prairie Preserve;
    3. it is part of a platted subdivision with multiple lots;
    4. it consists of pasture, scrub, planted pine, flatwoods and hardwood swamps;
    5. this proposal is for a conservation easement; and
    6. it meets 4 of the 13 Primary Ranking Criteria.

Randall Sleister added that this property had previously been submitted to Volusia Forever by another owner, but with fewer parcels that did not have contiguity.

Rob Walsh added that the property owner has compiled enough parcels to resolve the issue of contiguity, and would continue to acquire additional parcels.

Lou Tulp, property owner, was present to provide additional information and to answer any questions. He stated that his intent is to acquire additional in-holdings to create one contiguous large area for preservation. He added that these parcels range in size from approximately 1.25 to 2.50 acres. The subdivision is an unrecorded plat and the property owners can’t obtain building permits.

Member Dennis Bayer asked what the zoning was on these parcels.

Lou Tulp responded that these parcels are zoned agriculture with a land use designation of Forestry and Resource Corridor.

Douglas Weaver asked the property owner if he was interested in a fee simple acquisition for any part of this project.

Lou Tulp stated that he would entertain a fee simple acquisition for a portion of the project.

Discussion ensued regarding the need for the presence of law enforcement on conservation lands to prevent issues such as poaching.

Discussion ensued regarding the lands that surround this property and Wiregrass Prairie Preserve.

Member Anne Hallum asked if there was development pressure in this area.

Lou Tulp stated that he does not intend on developing this property and development pressure could come from the north of this property.

Member Kenneth Russell made a motion to accept the TTT Ranch, LLC Property Application as an eligible project. Member Dennis Bayer seconded the motion that carried by unanimous voice vote.

Staff Updates

  1. Reappointment of Members - Rob Walsh reminded the Committee that the current two year term would be ending on March 31, 2007. He suggested that each Member contact their appointing County Council Member, if they wished to serve another two year term. He reminded the Committee that the maximum term, per Resolution 2001-69, for a Member is three (3) consecutive two-year terms.

    Douglas Weaver stated that County staff raised a question regarding a Member’s term if they replace another Member during a two-year term. This question was discussed with the Legal Department for determination, and to date this question has not been answered.

    Stacey Manning explained that the Legal Department would be discussing this question with the County Manager and Council to provide a determination as to how the partial term would be treated. He added that the determination would be consistent for all Boards.

    Member Kenneth Russell requested that County staff raise the question regarding the term limit for Members who are in good standing and willing to serve beyond the maximum time without sitting out a year.

    Stacey Manning stated that County staff shared the same concerns as the Committee regarding term limits, and partial terms.

    Discussion ensued regarding successor appointees after Member Anne Hallum expressed a concern regarding the upcoming ranking meeting and the potential appointment of new Committee members who may not be up to speed with the process.

    Douglas Weaver provided the following updates:
     
  2. Volusia 44 Partners Property (aka Festival Property) – this 2,251 acre tract, which is located within the Volusia/Flagler Conservation Corridor on SR 44, has a contract in the amount of $10,750,000.00. The District is a funding partner and will be contributing $4.3 million with Volusia Forever contributing $6.4 million. The survey and environmental audit are underway.
  3. Stanaki Property - this property is within the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. The Department of Environmental Protection was the lead agency for this acquisition. However, negotiations are no longer proceeding with the State. The County has taken the lead and negotiations are on-going for all or part of the 450 acres located on the east side of I-95 in Port Orange.
  4. Ocklawaha Property– this property is within the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. At this time, there isn’t any progress in the acquisition process.
  5. Double B Ranch Property– Staff has been negotiating with the property owners of this 3,700 acre tract that is adjacent to the District’s Hawk Creek Preserve without success.
  6. David Strawn Property – staff is currently negotiating with the property owner for this 1,200 acre tract located in the DeLeon Springs area off Lake Winona Road and U.S. Hwy. 17. This proposed acquisition will be for a conservation easement. The property owner has indicated that they may be willing to offer an additional 200 acres to Volusia Forever. The St. Johns River Water Management District has indicated that they would be a 50% funding partner for this acquisition.
  7. Krol Property – this 667 acre tract located on S.R. 415 has been appraised and an offer will be forthcoming.
  8. Lake Colby Properties – County staff has made an offer to the property owners on this 21 acre tract located off East Kicklighter Road near the City of Lake Helen. It is adjacent to the Lake Colby Park.
  9. Amy Brooks Property– this 10 acre in-holding of Wiregrass Prairie Preserve located in the Osteen area is currently being appraised.
  10. Hamlin-Dann Property – this 1,172 acre tract is located in the southeast section of the County near Lake Harney. At this time, there isn’t any progress in the acquisition process as there are title issues that remain unresolved.
  11. Ford Property – County staff is currently negotiating with the property owner for this 50-60 acre tract located in the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve.

Adjournment
Meeting adjourned at 5:00p.m.

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