Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the December 05, 2022, 6 p.m. Commission Meeting

The regular meeting of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida, with Mayor Rietz presiding. The meeting convened at 6:00 p.m.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.


Moment of Silence

Pledge of Allegiance

Led by Mayor Rietz

Roll Call

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Hannan (Four) YES
Kussard (One) YES
Gourlie (Two) YES
Freeman (Three) YES
Rietz (Five) YES


Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Mike Burske, Parks & Recreation Director; Aly Herman, Library Director; Rob Tempesta, Police Chief; Pam Winegardner, Finance Director; Tamika Delee, Human Resources Director; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Derek Schroth, Town Attorney was also in attendance.


Christina Lloyd, coach for the Lady Lake Soccer Team, presented trophies to the 15 players of the team for their outstanding performance during the past season. The team is open to players whose ages range from 12 years old to 15 years old. Each child who was presented with a trophy had his or her picture taken with Mayor Rietz.


1.November 21, 2022 — Special Conceptual Meeting Minutes

2. November 21, 2022 – Town Commission Meeting Minutes

Town Clerk Wilson was informed by Commissioner Kussard that she found an error in the minutes. The Clerk assured her that the change had been made and approval will be for the updated version

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda as presented; Commissioner Hannan seconded. Motion carried 5-0.


3. (Tabled from 11-21-2022) Discussion of allowing the Villages Elementary School Advisory Council to place sponsorship signs on the fence adjacent to Rolling Acres Road to raise funds for the elementary school’s programs.

Growth Management Director Carroll said that in November he received an application from Luis Hernandez on behalf of the Villages Elementary School Advisory Council requesting permission to place signs on the fence along Rolling Acres Road in an effort to raise funds for school programs. There are some funding shortfalls at the school and the revenue from the sponsorship signs would fill those gaps. This has been done at other school facilities. The size of the signs would be 3 feet x 6 feet and they would be placed on the outside of the fence along Rolling Acres Road. There are currently Land Development Regulations (LDR’s) that pertain to sponsorship signs on town property but those are limited to inward facing placement on the fences at ball parks. Staff recommends disallowing banners on Rolling Acres Road but the promotional signs would be firmly affixed to the fence and a minimum spacing of two feet between signs would be required. This matter would be discussed with the Building Official in more detail. Mr. Carroll said the LDR’s would likely be modified to indicate where the signs can go, how long they can remain in place, maximum size, and any other requirements. This would be brought back to the Town Commission for their input in the form of an ordinance.

Luis Hernandez – Villages Elementary School Advisory Council

Mr. Hernandez reiterated what Mr. Carroll had said adding that the funds raised would be used for student programs, the principal’s fund (which is used to recognize outstanding staff performance) and other projects that the Council approves. He added that it would be a good partnership between the Lady Lake Commission and the school. The signs would be of high quality and would be affixed to the fence with grommets; they are open to suggestions. Placement of the signs does not affect the safety of the school, or the roadway and he is aware that there may be restrictions on size and/or distance between signs. No funding is being requested of the town.

Mr. Carroll indicated that the fence is 400 linear feet which would allow for more than ten signs, but he recommended that the town put a limit on the number. There needs to be a balance between the number of signs that would be effective and aesthetics.

Commissioner Hannan said he is not concerned about the number of signs, but he does want a permit to be applied for each year. This would allow for any problems or issues to be rectified. Mr. Carroll added that the permit would be subject to an annual renewal and inspection so any problems could be addressed.

Commissioner Kussard asked what they are charging for sponsorships. Mr. Hernandez estimated the amount to be $250 or less. She commented that it is a shame that schools must raise money by erecting signs especially since there are other avenues of funding that are supposed to be dedicated to schools. Villages Elementary School is the only school in Lady Lake; she is in favor of Mr. Hernandez’s proposition.

Commissioner Gourlie agreed that sponsorships are a good way to raise funds for the school though he feels $250 per sign, per school year is too low. He would be in favor of raising that fee.

Commissioner Freeman said he also thinks $250 is too low. He is in favor of the sponsorship signs, but sight lines and safety must be considered.

Mayor Rietz is also in favor of the proposal but is worried about safety and he also feels that $250 is too low a fee to charge.

The Commission agreed by consensus to allow staff to draft an ordinance to incorporate necessary changes into our Land Development Regulations for consideration.

4. Sun Communities Finance, LP - Update of the status of obtaining adequate fire flow for the Water Oak Administration Building and Sales Center.

Growth Management Director Carroll said that in April 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed with Lady Lake for a period of 18 months to allow Sun Communities time to drill wells to obtain adequate commercial fire flow. The terms of the agreement were not met within the initial term so a representative from Sun Communities was asked to update the Commission on the project.

Brad Pinover – Senior Vice President – Sun Communities

Mr. Pinover said that the MOU was a reprieve on fire flow for the administration building based on the fact that when the second water plant is brought online, there should be more than sufficient water flow. Once the plant is completed, it will be tested and approved by the Fire Marshal.

The water plant is 70% completed. The wells, pumps and generator are in place. The pad is being poured for the building. Also, the piping is in. The only two things they are waiting on are for SECO to bring in power (they are running behind because of the hurricanes) and the large hydro tanks – the tanks that pressurize the water system. They have been on order since April 2021.

Once the plant is online it will be connected to the remainder of Water Oak, and they will then be able to determine exactly where the fire flows are landing. The engineers feel that the new plant will service the entire community and meet all fire flow requirements. He is hoping for completion in 30-45 days with an additional two or three weeks to get it certified. Mr. Pinover said he appreciates the Commission’s patience.

Commissioner Kussard asked about the timeline for receiving the hydro tanks. Mr. Pinover responded that the tanks are being built and should arrive by Christmas. He added that SECO should be mobilizing at Water Oak this week.

Commissioner Freeman asked if the water pressure being increased is causing the recent water main breaks in Water Oak. Mr. Pinover said the water pressure is not being increased, however, the flow is. He is not anticipating any problems

Sun Communities will report back to the Commission upon completion of the project which includes testing and approval by the Fire Marshal.

5. Discussion regarding exemption of fees for the Lion’s Club when using the Community Building or Library meeting rooms.

Town Manager Lawrence said the town has been approached by the Lions Club who wants exempt status when using our Community Building. We have an ordinance that outlines who is exempt and who is partially exempt from being charged when using town facilities such as the Community Building and the library meeting rooms; the Lions Club is not included. The discussion is whether the ordinance should be changed to give the Club exempt status.

Commissioner Kussard said there are a lot of worthwhile organizations in Lady Lake, some of which we have not given exempt status. The town has a very reasonable policy and charges reasonable rates. The Community Building was renovated with the goal of adding revenue from rentals which has not happened; we are not breaking even on the cost of upkeep. The children’s library will be moving to the second floor to make room for the Growth Management Department. Library meeting room 100 will be eliminated and space will be more limited as we expand. If an individual or organization wants to rent the Community Building or library meeting rooms, they will have to pay. Commissioner Kussard is in favor of removing exempt status and partial exempt status from all organizations except for Kiwanis Club and the Lions Club because they are town service organizations. She also suggested that storage on town property of anything that does not belong to the town should be prohibited. In conclusion, the ordinance should be modified and brought up to date.

Commissioner Gourlie agreed with Commissioner Kussard adding that the Lions Club is a worthy organization. He also agreed that more discussion on the subject is needed.

Commissioner Freeman said he does not think the rental rate is hard to manage in anybody’s budget. The Kiwanis and Lions Club do a lot for the Town, but he is on the fence about granting exempt status to them. The Supervisor of Elections should pay a special rate; they charge us, we should charge them. He does not know if there is a statute that requires the Town to provide a location free of charge for elections. He feels that everybody can afford the $20 per hour rental rate including Kiwanis and the Lions Club.

Lori Blum – President of Orange Blossom Lions Club

Ms. Blum said the Orange Blossom Lions Club has been part of the fabric of Lady Lake for 35 years. She outlined the many activities that they have run and the many contributions they have made over the years. One of their recent contributions was $10,000 to be used for the July 4th fireworks in 2023. They do not overlook the opportunities that the Town has provided them. The Club is ever-present and visible at all the Towns’ signature events. Club entities receive significant donations including the elementary school, a food pantry and animal control. The have also provided scholarships for essential workers and the list goes on - they know how to give. Ms. Blum said she appreciated the Town having a discussion regarding this matter.

Commissioner Kussard said the Lions Club should get the exemption because they have given so much to the town.

Ms. Blum said that meeting at the Community Building will allow them to expand membership which will give them the opportunity to do more.

Mayor Rietz said he would like exemptions from rental fees for the Kiwanis and Lions Club. Other groups need to come before the Commission and explain why they should be granted exemptions.

In response to a question asked by Commissioner Freeman, Ms. Blum said they would need to use the facility for five hours per month.

Town Manager Lawrence said staff will draft an ordinance with what was discussed at this meeting and give 30 days’ notice to those who will no longer be exempt from the hourly fees.

Parks & Recreation Director Burske said 30 days’ notice is adequate; we are subsidizing a lot of groups.

Commissioner Gourlie asked about the shortfall on covering expenses to which Mr. Burske replied that about 75% of expenses are being covered. We are losing approximately $300+ per month on Sundays by subsidizing three groups. Weekends are very busy.

The Town Manager said that the Town collected around $12,000 in rental fees but the budgeted amount for expenses was around $22,000. We want to bring in enough revenue to cover maintenance and other expenses.

Mayor Rietz asked if we should review the current rates. Commissioner Gourlie added that our rates are very low and that we should charge fees based on what revenue we need to cover expenses.

Mayor Reitz is OK with $20 per hour for Lady Lake residents but those who do not reside in Lady Lake should pay more than $30 per hour.

There was Commission consensus to keep rates the same at this time and to have staff draft an ordinance to bring back to the Commission that includes their suggested changes.

Town Attorney Schroth will look into whether or not the Town can charge the Supervisor of Elections for early and general election voting when they use the Community Building


6. Ordinance 2022-20 — First Reading - An Ordinance imposing a moratorium upon the receipt and processing of annexation applications to provide staff the opportunity to perform a comprehensive inventory of land use entitlements and the projected demand on public infrastructure.

Growth Management Director Carroll said that the Commission discussed imposing a moratorium on annexation applications several weeks ago due to concerns about the resources required to support proposed growth. The idea is to take a break and perform a comprehensive analysis of the entitlements of the annexed properties in Lady Lake. This will show how many lots are platted but not yet developed.  Staff will also determine the composition of land uses within the town in terms of both acreage and percentages of what is yet to be developed. The moratorium would be effective January 1, 2023 – June 30, 2023. Any annexations in process will continue. Not affected by the moratorium are zoning entitlements that are on properties now.

Mayor Rietz asked if the moratorium applies to both commercial and residential property. Mr. Carroll answered in the affirmative adding that exemptions from the moratorium include the school board, the town and individual lots that are already developed.  Mayor Rietz commented that he does not want to stop commercial development. Mr. Carroll said that Lady Lake has a lot of commercially zoned land on the 27/441 corridor so there are many parcels available for commercial development.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve Ordinance 2022-20 on first reading as presented; Commissioner Gourlie seconded.

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Hannan (Four) YES
Kussard (One) YES
Gourlie (Two) YES
Freeman (Three) YES
Rietz (Five) YES

Motion carried by a 5-0 vote.

7. Ordinance 2022-21 — First Reading - An Ordinance Adopting Corrections, Updates, and Modifications to the Capital Improvements Schedule of the Town of Lady Lake Comprehensive Plan.

Growth Management Director Carroll said the town must annually update the Five-Year Schedule of Capital Improvements per Florida Statute. The purpose of the annual update is to identify the capital improvements that are needed to implement the Comprehensive Plan and ensure that adopted Level of Service standards are achieved and maintained for concurrency. He summarized the capital improvements and improvement schedules.

Commissioner Gourlie made a motion to approve Ordinance 2022-21 on first reading as presented; Commissioner Freeman seconded.

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Hannan (Four) YES
Kussard (One) YES
Gourlie (Two) YES
Freeman (Three) YES
Rietz (Five) YES

Motion carried by a 5-0 vote.


Town Manager Lawrence gave shout outs to Chief Tempesta, Mike Burske and C.T. Eagle for all their work to make the parade a success. Without their help the parade would not have happened.

The Town Manager asked if the library could close on December 23rd for Christmas.

The Commission consented to closing the library on December 23rd.


Town Manager Lawrence asked the Commission to close Town Hall and the Library for the Town’s Christmas Party on Thursday, December 15th, 2022, from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

There was consensus to allow Town Hall to be closed for the annual Christmas party.

Mr. Lawrence listed upcoming holiday events.


Commissioner Kussard went to Town Hall to watch the children decorate the tree in the lobby. She commented on the large turnout at the parade and what a successful event it was. She also thanked staff for making the event so successful.

Commissioner Gourlie said he has heard complaints about speeding on Griffin View Road and Lady Lake Boulevard. He said that Fruitland Park has radar speed signs that flash red and blue when the speed limit is exceeded, and he finds them to be very effective deterrents. He asked if Lady Lake has similar signs and if it is something we could do. Chief Tempesta responded that they have three such signs to monitor traffic that are moved around town as necessary and because there is concern about speeding on Griffin View Road, one of the speed signs will be placed at that location.

Mayor Rietz and Commissioner Freeman both commented that the parade was fantastic but there was not enough candy.


Dan Vincent – 806 Nelson Drive

Mr. Vincent mentioned the recent interest in allowing golf carts to use the roads all over Lady Lake. He said they should be required to have liability insurance, proper lighting and turn signals. He has no objection to golf cart use but thinks the matter should be considered carefully before making any decisions.

Town Attorney Schroth said he is not sure that liability insurance can be required but he will look into it.

Discussion ensued about golf cart safety, liability and where they can be driven. Mayor Rietz suggested that a workshop be held to discuss the matter further.

Commissioner Freeman talked to FLDOT and requested that they extend the left turn lanes at Fennell Blvd southbound, Rolling Acres north and southbound, and Avenida Central northbound. The FLDOT representative was amenable to the request.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.

Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Jim Rietz, Mayor