Commission Meeting Agenda Item
Resolution 2021–107 (First and Final Reading) — (Continued from the September 8, 2021 Commission Meeting) — Lynk Investments, LLC — Variance Request for the Removal of 13 Historic Trees in Accordance with the Provisions of Chapter 10, Section 10-5. C). 3). A)., of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations, on Property Located at 41101 and 41109 County Road 25; Referenced by Alternate Key Numbers 1237718 and 1237734, within Lake County, Florida
Staff Recommended Motion
Staff recommends approval of the first and final reading of Resolution 2021-107.
The variance application is in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 10, Section 10-5). c).3)., of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations which requires the submittal of a Historic Tree Removal variance application for any property owner who desires to remove a healthy historic tree in a commercial property. The variance request is to allow the removal of one historic oak tree within the CR 25 right-of-way and 13 historic oak trees located within property owned by Lynk Investments, LLC, addressed as 41101 and 41109 County Road 25, and referenced by Alternate Key Numbers 1237718 and 1237734, within the town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.
On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, applicant Steve Valentine filed a Historic Tree Removal variance application on behalf of property owner LYNK Investments, LLC for the proposed Lighthouse Storage development at 41101 and 41109 County Road 25, within the town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.
As part of the review process for the Lighthouse Storage new major site plan, it was identified that a total of 13 historic oak trees (tree number 5, located in the right-of-way, and trees numbered 6, 9, 14, 19, 23, 29, 39, 42, 54, 58, 66, 83, and 90) needed to be removed to accommodate the site plan layout, including outlined drive aisles. The applicant is removing an additional seven historic oak trees (trees numbered 31, 38, 46, 53, 59, 60, 65, and 91). However, based on the condition of these trees, certified by the enclosed arborist reports (diseased and decaying), only the viable healthy 13 historic oak trees are required to be included in the Historic Tree Removal variance application. A historic Chinaberry tree will be removed as well since this tree is considered an invasive plant and nuisance tree in Florida.
In reviewing the arborist reports, trees were documented via photographs with a short description of the trees’ decaying conditions. Due to their substantial declining condition, even if the applicant tries to do their best to preserve them, the trees will pose a threat to people, and property and the stress of a developing site will likely accelerate the trees’ deterioration and weakening. In short, the trees would be considered a liability if kept. On another note, the applicant is proposing to preserve over 28 historic oak trees at the site.
Within the Justification Statement, the applicant stated that the site includes extensive tree cover, with 177 trees total, of which 49 are historic trees. The front, most commercially valuable portion of the site is covered by 53 percent historic tree critical protection zone. Further, the applicant indicated that the developer has made a reasonable effort to incorporate existing trees into the project layout and minimize the number of trees removed. Attempting to preserve additional historic trees in close proximity to the site improvements would require severe root and canopy pruning, measures which have proven to be too stressful on mature trees and lead to slow decline and eventual death.
As part of the site plan process, the applicant will be required to install Class “C” landscaping material in a 20-foot buffer width along the perimeter of the property boundaries. The entire west area of the site will be preserved at this time. Lastly, the applicant will be required to mitigate by donating funds to the Town’s Tree Bank.
When reviewing an application for a variance, the Planning and Zoning Board and the Town Commission shall consider the following requirements and criteria according to Chapter 3, Section 14 f) – Review criteria for variances in the Land Development Regulations:
- No diminution in value of surrounding properties would be suffered.
- Granting the permit would be of benefit to the public interest.
- Denial of the permit would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner seeking it.
- The use must not be contrary to the spirit of this Code.
Financial disadvantages and/or inconveniences to the applicant shall not of themselves constitute conclusive evidence of unnecessary and undue hardship and be grounds to justify granting of a variance.
Physical hardships such as disabilities of any applicant may be considered grounds to justify granting of a variance at the discretion of the Town Commission.
The subject property is in Section 05, Township 18 South, Range 24 East, in Lake County, Florida. Appropriate legal descriptions, a location map, and a sketch of the property have been included with the submitted application. The variance application has been reviewed and determined to be complete. The application meets the requirements of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs), as well as the adopted Comprehensive Plan, and is ready for consideration by the Town Commission.
Staff mailed notices to inform the surrounding 28 property owners within 150 feet of the property proposed by the variance request on Monday, July 26, 2021. The property was also posted on Monday, July 26, 2021.
At the Monday, August 9, 2021 Planning and Zoning Board meeting, there were concerns from adjacent residents regarding some of the trees to be removed (meeting minutes attached). No other objections or support has been received by Town staff either by phone, mail or in person regarding this variance request.
Source of Funding
The Technical Review Committee individually reviewed the variance application and found that Resolution 2021-107 was ready for transmittal to the Planning and Zoning Board.
At the Monday, August 9, 2021 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Board voted 3 to 1 to forward Resolution 2021-107 to the Town Commission with the recommendation of approval.
At the September 8, 2021 meeting, the Town Commission recommended that the developer try to come back with a plan which saves more trees.
Draft Resolution 2021-107
A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LADY LAKE, FLORIDA, GRANTING A VARIANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE REMOVAL OF 17 HISTORIC TREES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER 10, SECTION 10-5. c). 3). A)., OF THE TOWN OF LADY LAKE LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, ON PROPERTY OWNED BY LYNK INVESTMENTS, LLC, LOCATED AT 41101 AND 41109 COUNTY ROAD 25 (ALTERNATE KEYS 1237718 AND 1237734), WITHIN THE TOWN LIMITS OF THE TOWN OF LADY LAKE, FLORIDA.
WHEREAS, Lynk Investments LLC, the property owner of certain real property located in the Town of Lady Lake, Florida, more particularly described in Exhibit “A,” has petitioned for a variance from the provisions of Chapter 10, Section 10-5, c).3).A).; and
WHEREAS, the applicant is requesting to be allowed to remove 17 historic trees having a diameter at breast height (DBH) of at least 36 inches each; one in the right-of-way and 16 on property located at 41101 and 41109 County Road 25, referenced by Alternate Key Numbers 1237718 and 1237734; and
WHEREAS, the Town Commission of the Town of Lady Lake held a public hearing to consider the variance request, and having heard evidence and testimony on said request, found it to be consistent with the Lady Lake Comprehensive Plan and requirements for variances set forth in the Land Development Regulations of the Town of Lady Lake.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Town Commission of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida, hereby grants a variance from the provisions Chapter 10, Section 10-5, c).3).A)., of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations which requires a variance for the removal of historic trees, and to allow for the removal of 17 historic trees; one in the right-of-way and 17 on property located at 41101 and 41109 County Road 25, referenced by Alternate Key umbers 1237718 and 1237734, within the Town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.
This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon its adoption by the Town Commission of the Town of Lady Lake.
RESOLVED this ___ day of ______, 2021, in Lady Lake, Florida, by the Lady Lake Town Commission.
Town of Lady Lake, Florida
Ruth Kussard, Mayor
Nancy Slaton, Town Clerk
Approved as to form:
Derek Schroth, Town Attorney
EXHIBIT A — Legal Description and Map
PARCEL 1: The north ½ of the south ¼ of government lot 6, west of highway, and the southeast ¼ of the south ½ of government lot 5; in Section 5, Township 18 South, Range 24 East, Lake County, Florida, less and except the following described property:
All that the tract or parcel of land laying in a portion of the north ½ of the south ¼ of government lot 6, section 5, township 18 south, range 24 east, Lake County, Florida; being a portion of that property described in O.R. Book 1050, Page 734, of the public records of Lake County, Florida, and being more particularly described as follows: Commencing at a concrete monument located at the intersection of the south line of said section 5 with the existing westerly right-of-way line of State Road 25 – Alternate U.S. 441 & 27A, having a right-of-way width of 66.0 feet; thence n. 00°30’47” w. along said existing westerly right-of-way line a distance of 331.53 feet to the south line of the north ½ of the south ¼ of said government lot 6 and the point of beginning; thence n. 89°54’32” w. along the south line of the north 1/2 of the south ¼ of said government lot 6 a distance of 17.00 feet to the required westerly right-of-way line of said state road 25, thence n. 00°30’47” w. along said required right-of-way a distance of 331.52 feet to the north line of the north ½ of the south ¼ of said government lot 6; thence s. 89°56’24” e. along said north line a distance of 17.00 feet to said existing westerly right-of-way line; thence s. 00°30’47” e. along said existing westerly right-of-way line a distance of 331.53 feet to the point of beginning.
PARCEL 2: The south ½ of the south ¼ of government lot 6, west of easterly right-of-way of railroad, in Section 5, Township 18 South, Range 24 East, Lake County, Florida.