Commission Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the February 17, 2022, 2 p.m. Commission Workshop
The Workshop 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 Jim Rietz presiding. The meeting convened at 6:00 p.m.
A. Call to Order
A. Call to Order
Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; C.T. Eagle, Public Works Director; Chief Robert Tempesta, Chief of Police; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk
C. New Business
Discussion regarding future development in Lady Lake
Commissioner Kussard introduced the topic of the speeding problem on Chula Vista. Since 2016, she has had meetings with residents in the area, fielded phone calls and held workshops. Further, she has had meetings with the Fire Chief, the Police Chief, the Public Works Director, and others, in order to find a solution(s) to the problem. A few solutions that were discussed in the past included:
- Privatizing Chula Vista Avenue
- Controlling truck access
- Adding speed bumps
- Removing the red pedestrian button
- Adding stop signs
- Adding pedestrian crosswalks with ground warning signage
- Placing flag boxes for pedestrians
- Adding a traffic light at Hwy. 466 and Chula Vista
- Increasing police presence
Though good ideas, for one reason or another, the options above were not adequate to address the traffic issues on Chula Vista.
Town Manager Lawrence said he wasn’t aware there was a problem on Chula Vista. He read from an article he was given that said nothing was being done about a speeding situation in that area. The Town Manager talked to the Police Chief who said he had organized a selective enforcement unit that targets problem areas with enforcement activities appropriate for the situation. He said that the police department is very busy so they need to decide first if there is a problem, identify it, then come up with a solution.
Growth Management Director Carroll projected some graphics that showed crash data history from 2017-2021. From the map, it is easy to see why the police department cannot direct all their resources to one area since there are many areas in town that are considered problems. Zooming in on the map, it shows that since 2017, there have been eight incidents in the area near Chula Vista and Rio Grande.
Chief Tempesta said that the data for the last quarter of 2021 indicated that on Chula Vista, there had been one crash and two citations issued. On Rio Vista, there were two crashes and seven citations issued. Comparing these roads with Griffin Avenue between CR25 and Hwy. 441, Griffin had five crashes and fifteen citations issued. For January, the statistics town-wide are: 148 citations issued, 241 written warnings issued and 80 crashes. There is special enforcement in the area and in other areas. It comes down to personnel; the department is spread thin.
Public Works Director Eagle said that the section of Chula Vista they are discussing has always been an issue and has been on the radar for possible improvements for a long time. Chula Vista was designed to be a collector road and crash data has never supported doing anything at the intersection of Rio Grande though some enhancements have been implemented such as, additional signage, widening pedestrian lanes and markings indicating intended use.
Commissioner Kussard said a lot of people don’t realize how much is being done throughout the town to mitigate some of the issues on Chula Vista.
Victoria Grace - 116 Chula Vista
Ms. Grace stated that she appreciates everything Commissioner Kussard has done. She moved from Baltimore three years ago where she lived on a busy corridor. She was warned about Chula Vista but felt it could not be worse than Baltimore. However, Chula Vista is a problem because nothing is in place to protect pedestrians.
Ms. Grace suggested installing speed bumps to control traffic speed but realized they are not permitted in town and when engineers were consulted, they said that EMS objected and that speed bumps are never recommended where golf carts are driven. She added that she appreciates the enforcement, but everyone now knows where the police cars hide. She added that it is very difficult to turn left onto Hwy 466 because the left lane is so backed up. Her final comment was that selective enforcement is limited.
In response to a question asked by Commissioner Freeman, Chief Tempesta replied that pedestrian walkways can be used by golf carts but they must yield to those on foot. Commissioner Kussard added that Chula Vista and Rio Grande have golf cart lanes but connecting roads do not.
Pete Chiasson - 136 Palermo Place
Mr. Chiasson stated that he will only address traffic on Chula Vista and Rio Grande. He said that he traverses Chula Vista about 20-30 times a week and not once in 15 years has he encountered more than three cars at the road’s southern end. Further he has not noticed any changes since the new apartments were completed. He has noticed that some people speed while driving over the hill but that is a police issue. No changes need to be made to Chula Vista; he would have complained if he had witnessed problems.
Sheila Edwards - 112 Chula Vista
Ms. Edwards lives close to Hwy. 466 and at lunchtime, over the course of six minutes, 50 cars drove by on Chula Vista. She has to back out of her driveway, and it is difficult because of people cutting through the area and service vehicles. She would like to have another traffic count performed.
Commissioner Kussard asked what the cost of traffic studies would be for Rio Grande and Chula Vista.
Public Works Director Eagle said Lake County has performed counts on those roads. The town does not have the necessary equipment to perform them so he will ask Lake County and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) about the cost of using their traffic counting device. Because of the construction on 441, however, the data would likely be skewed.
Town Manager Lawrence said we should not commit to spending a lot of money if traffic data does not support any changes.
Commissioners Hannan, Holden and Freeman were not in favor of a traffic study adding that they cannot legislate human behavior. A problem exists but there is no solution so why spend money to be told that. Commissioner Freeman added that he frequently tells residents in his community to slow down but nothing changes.
Victoria Grace - 116 Chula Vista
Ms. Grace understands that the current data does not support performing a traffic count but until we know what the volume of traffic is on Chula Vista, how can we make any determination.
Sharron Armstrong - 112 Palermo Place
Ms. Armstrong said that if the town does decide to perform a traffic study, it should be done between April and September when the seasonal people have gone home. They are less likely to be familiar with speed limits, pedestrian walkways, etc., so any results would not be accurate during the winter season.
Commission Kussard thanked town staff and everybody in the audience for attending the meeting.
J. Public Comment
Dan Vincent – 806 Nelson
Mr. Vincent began a discussion about what the Commission would like him to talk about at the MPO meetings in his role as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:06 p.m.
s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk
s/ Jim Rietz, Mayor