Planning and Zoning Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the December 11, 2023
Planning and Zoning Meeting

The Planning and Zoning Board meeting was held in the Town Hall Commission Chambers at 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida. The meeting convened at 5:30 p.m.

Call to Order

Dorilyn Furch

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

Member Present
Brinson No
Saunders Yes
Galloway Yes
Vincent No
Furch Yes

STAFF PRESENT: 

Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; Rebecca Higgins, Senior Planner; Bill Lawrence, Town Manager; Steve Hunt, Police Chief; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk.

Attorney Sasha Garcia was also present.

A. New Business

1. Approval of Minutes

Planning & Zoning meeting minutes – November 13, 2023

Member Galloway made a motion to approve the November 13, 2023, Planning and Zoning Board meeting minutes as presented; Member Saunders seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.

Ordinances 2023-17, 2023-18 and 2023-19 were tabled by the applicant.

2. Ordinance 2023-17 — Annexation — Lady Lake Reserve Phase II — An ordinance voluntarily annexing property being 5.0 acres, owned by William Mason Anderson, located north of Anderson Lane approximately a quarter mile east of Rolling Acres Road, within Lake County Florida.

3. Ordinance 2023-18 — Small Scale Future Land Use Comprehensive Plan Amendment — Lady Lake Reserve Phase II — Change the future land use designation from Lake County Urban Low Density to Lady Lake Single Family Medium Density for property being 5.0 acres, owned by William Mason Anderson, located north of Anderson Lane approximately a quarter mile east of Rolling Acres Road, within Lake County Florida.

4. Ordinance 2023-19 — Rezoning — Lady Lake Reserve Phase II — Change the zoning designation from Lake County Agriculture (A) to Lady Lake Residential Planned Unit Development (PUD) for property owned by William Mason Anderson, Carl A. Smith Trustee, and Burgland Investments, LLC; being approximately 5.0 acres; located north of Anderson Lane approximately a quarter mile east of Rolling Acres Road, within Lake County, Florida as well amending the PUD boundary to include the 24.75 acres previously rezoned to PUD via Ordinance 2022-15 for a total of 29.75 acres, within the Town Limits of the Town of Lady Lake, FL.

5. Resolution No. 2023-114 – Variance – Walmart Neighborhood Market Site - Historic Tree Removal – Pursuant to Chapter 10, Section 10-5). c).3).A., of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) which requires a variance for the removal of historic trees. (Historic trees are classified as a tree with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 36” or greater). The variance request is to allow for the removal of ten viable historic trees located within the property of the proposed Hammock Oaks Commercial Site, owned by SK Hammock Oaks, LLC, within the town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.

Senior Planner Higgins stated that this resolution and the following three are from the same applicant so some information presented will be repeated. The first resolution is a variance request to allow the removal of nine Live Oak historic trees located within the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market Site. The original request was for the removal of eleven trees but our code only requires viable trees to be considered.

The applicant is James Harvey of Kolter Land Partners, LLC on behalf of the property owner, SK Hammock Oaks, LLC. The property is currently vacant commercial and is located on the corner of Cherry Lake Road and 466. This property has a very large Duke Energy power easement which makes it difficult to utilize the property to its best use.

Town staff recommends approval.

On November 13th, a variance application was submitted pursuant to Chapter 10, Section 10-5).c).3).A., of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) which requires a variance for the removal of viable historic trees. (Historic trees are classified as trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 36” or greater.

All historic trees proposed to be removed were evaluated. The 20.43-acre project contains a total of 21 historic trees. Of the eleven Live Oak trees to be removed, two were determined to be in poor health, thus allowing them to be removed outside of the variance process.

In 2021, the property was approved for annexation and in 2022 a zoning classification was amended to the current entitlements. In September 2023, a conceptual presentation was made to the town for the Walmart Neighborhood Market.  On November 6, 2023, a new site plan application was submitted for the Market.

The applicant’s justification statement states that the removal of the historic trees is necessary. They plan on retaining ten historic oak trees and two specimen trees retaining over 767 caliper inches. There are 21 historic trees on the property, and they plan to retain ten of those trees; three of the trees are in poor condition so a variance to remove them is not required. The site plan was designed to save historic trees where possible, but some will need to be removed to develop the site.

David Landers – ISA Certified Arborist - Bradenton

Member Saunders stated that the arborist report was very well done. He then asked what “pruning roots” means.

Mr. Landers said that root pruning is a common practice. They will dig to access roots where necessary. If a footer is needed near a barrier wall, they will dig to access the roots and maybe use a root barrier to keep roots from growing underneath a driveway, for instance. A trench is dug, and roots are cut using recognized standards.

Member Saunders asked out of the trees being preserved about how many will require pruning. Mr. Landers pointed out on the map the two trees that may need root pruning due to their proximity to the proposed wall. There may be further requirements for root pruning depending on the method of construction used. In response to a question posed by Member Saunders, Mr. Landers said root pruning may be required on viable trees, but it is a common practice and trees can withstand it.  Pruning should not be severe enough to cause long-term damage though it can cause instability. He would not recommend pruning larger roots closer to the tree. Member Saunders stated that the retaining wall is going to be along the drip line which could affect those trees as well.

Member Galloway asked about the location of three trees that are in good condition but are slated for removal. He asked if there is any way those trees could be saved. Mr. Landers said he could not speak to that, but the retaining wall is being placed in a position to save some of the trees.

Leo Ayala – Engineer - CPH Consulting, Sanford

Mr. Ayala stated that his company works with the developer to come up with a site plan that will provide the square footage and parking required for the development so the numbers work. The parking lot is maximized, and they are still not providing the parking required by code. He mentioned that the Duke Energy easement is limiting the amount of property they can utilize for their development.

Richard Bryce - 308 Del Mar Drive

Mr. Bryce listed his bona fides in the landscaping and planning fields then asked Mr. Landers if fill is going to be placed over the roots of the trees after root pruning takes place. He stated that if three or four feet of fill is placed over roots, the odds of that tree surviving is questionable. He questioned the practice of root pruning especially on older trees that are more vulnerable. He asked why developers who know what is on the property want to change everything and are granted their requests because they contribute to the tree fund. He is not asking that development be hindered but he would like to see corrective development. He then asked about how the trees will be cared for after development is completed.

In response to Mr. Bryce, Mr. Landers said the commissioner asked if root pruning has an effect on trees and he said yes. If he had been asked if it would kill the tree, he would have answered no. Root pruning and the fill they are using is not such that it is going to kill the trees. Lady Lake code reads that for trees to be preserved, they must have 50% of their drip line retained to protect the tree. Fill on top of roots will kill the roots, but the developer is well below the 50% required for the drip line.

There was further discussion between Mr. Landers and Mr. Bryce regarding tree health and care but agreement between the two was not reached.

Member Saunders made a motion to forward Resolution 2023-114 to the Town Commission with the recommendation of denial; Member Galloway seconded the motion.

Member Present
Saunders Yes
Galloway Yes
Furch Yes

Motion carried 3-0 for denial.

6. Resolution 2023-115 –Variance – Walmart Neighborhood Market – Reduction in Required Loading Areas – Chapter 7, Section 7-5)., of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) which requires one loading space for every 10,000 square feet of retail commercial space and one loading area for convenience stores. The variance request is for the reduction of 5 of the required loading areas for the proposed 60,724-square-foot retail grocery store and to allow no loading area for the proposed 1,618-square-foot convenience store with fuel operations located within the property of the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market site, owned by SK Hammock Oaks, LLC, within the town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.

Senior Planner Becky Higgins stated that the variance was filed to request a reduction in the required number of loading areas. The town code requires one loading space for every 10,000 square feet of retail commercial space and one loading space for convenience stores. The variance request is for the reduction of five of the seven required loading areas for the 60,724 square foot retail grocery store and no loading areas for the 1,618 square foot convenience store with fuel operations.

Staff recommends approval of this resolution.

The applicant’s justification letter states that “the variance is necessary to increase the green space onsite and to create space for trees to be transplanted.” The applicant also includes that the site plan was designed to save as many of the existing trees on site as possible.

Chairwoman Furch asked if they are reducing the amount of loading space, would there not be a backup of trucks waiting to unload? Is there a backup plan for deliveries and where will the trucks park while they await their turn to unload?

Leo Ayala – Engineer - CPH Consulting, Sanford

Mr. Ayala stated that there will be two loading spaces in the back of the building which is the standard for neighborhood Walmart’s. The 18 wheelers will park at the truck loading area, and they manage deliveries such that there are no trucks waiting to unload.

Member Saunders asked if they have a mitigation plan in place when additional parking is necessary; all Walmart’s have parking problems for both cars and trucks. Mr. Ayala is not aware of a situation where there would be a line of trucks waiting to offload. Member Saunders said he is also concerned about deliveries to outparcels, to which Mr. Ayala said that as the outparcels are developed, they will have to comply with the code.

Tom Nash - 3546 Griffin

Mr. Nash said he found the presentation to be painful to watch. There are too many negative variables for the project and the representatives are trying hard to sell the town a bill of goods. This is not the right location for this project. For them to come in with all this time invested in their drawings and not be able to give a proper presentation is scary. The project is not going to work and he added that the board members should not embarrass themselves by approving the project as presented.

Member Saunders made a motion to forward Resolution 2023-115 to the Town Commission with the recommendation of denial; Member Galloway seconded the motion.

Member Present
Saunders Yes
Galloway Yes
Furch Yes

Motion carried 3-0 for denial.

7. Resolution No. 2023-116 – Variance - A Resolution Granting a Variance to Allow Additional Wall Signs on the North Facade of the Proposed 60,724-Square-Foot Retail Grocery Store in Accordance with the Provisions of Chapter 17, Section 17-4. b). 2)., of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations, on Property Owned by SK Hammock Oaks, LLC, on Property Being Approximately 20.4 Acres of Land, Located at the Southeast Corner of the Intersection of Cherry Lake Road and Highway 466, Within the Town Limits of the Town of Lady Lake, FL

Senior Planner Higgins stated that the variance request is to allow additional wall signage on the north façade of the proposed 60,724 square foot retail grocery store; town code only allows one sign per façade. The applicant feels that multiple entrances necessitate multiple signs. All that was displayed in the presentation was the front elevation.

The applicant’s justification statement expresses that because the building is large and has multiple entrances, each entrance will need its own sign for wayfinding purposes. It is also stated that Walmart Neighborhood Markets serve many different purposes such as grocery services, pharmacy services, and liquor sales, with each service requiring a sign to direct customers.

Member Galloway made a motion to forward Resolution 2023-116 to the Town Commission with the recommendation of approval; Member Saunders seconded the motion.

Member Present
Saunders Yes
Galloway Yes
Furch Yes

Motion carried 3-0.

8. Resolution No. 2023-117 – Variance – Walmart Neighborhood Market – Reduction in Required Parking – Chapter 7, Section 7-4). b).4)., of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) which require one parking space for every 200 square feet of retail building area. The variance request is for the reduction of the 49 required parking spaces located within the property of the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market, owned by SK Hammock Oaks, LLC, within the town limits of the Town of Lady Lake, Florida.

Senior Planner Higgins stated the final resolution is requesting a reduction of 49 required parking spaces located within the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market site. The Land Development Regulations (LDR’s) require one parking spot per every 200 square feet of building retail area. Based on the size of the retail grocery store, 304 spaces would be required; the fuel station requires 9 parking spaces, and that requirement will be met. Our code also requires bicycle parking in our site plans. Fifteen golf cart spaces will be added; our LDR’s do not recognize golf cart spaces as parking spaces so they are deducted from the total for the variance.

The proposed site includes a 60,724-square-foot retail grocery store and a 1,618-square-foot fuel kiosk. The required 14 parking spaces for the 1,618 square-foot fuel kiosk will be met. Per the Land Development Regulations, the boat/RV storage stalls will require 304 parking spaces. The applicant is proposing to provide 255 parking spaces.

The subject property is approximately 20.40 acres of land located in Section 19, Township 18 South, and Range 24 East. The property is zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the future land use is Mixed Development District/Traditional Neighborhood District (MDD-TND).

On Monday, November 6, 2023, the site plan application was submitted by CPH, LLC for a 60,724 square foot retail grocery store and 1,618 square-foot fuel kiosk.

The applicant is requesting the variance to reduce the number of required spaces for the grocery retail portion of the proposed development. The parking space requirements for the fuel kiosk will be met.

The applicant’s justification letter states that “the variance is necessary to increase the green space onsite and to preserve existing trees.” The applicant also includes that “the existing Duke easement and historic trees limit the project’s developable area, making additional parking not feasible.”

The applicant proposes the addition of 15 golf cart parking spaces, which are not recognized by Chapter 7 of the Land Development Regulations and are not counted towards the total parking requirements.

Member Saunders said to the engineer, Leo Ayala, that he has a problem with the reduction of the number of parking spaces. He asked if there is an acceptable way to reduce the size of the outparcels so parking can be added? Mr. Ayala responded that the Walmart neighborhood standard for the number of parking spaces is 243 and they are proposing 272 which is more than the Walmart standard. He understands that they are asking for 49 spaces less than what the town requires by code, but they are trying to maximize the area of green space and preserve trees. All the development taking place for this project is to the east of the Duke Energy easement and the clump of trees near that location is being saved. The amount of parking they can have and still function is what they are proposing.

Growth Management Director Carroll said that the recommendation from staff on this request was approval. Considering the comments he heard, he explained why that recommendation was made. He gave an example of the excess number of parking places that are in parking lots and how they are designed to the black Friday scenario. Looking at aerial photos of parking lots, they show that most of them are half empty most of the time but maybe not the day after Thanksgiving. Also, they look at the ability for homeowners to utilize golf carts. Those lots have a 2-1 parking space for golf carts – 2 carts per parking space. They also looked at the uniqueness of the property as a golf cart community and how they do not want to advocate putting down more asphalt. Walmart does not want to build a parking lot that is going to fail.

Richard Bryce - 308 Delmar drive

Mr. Bryce asked Mr. Carroll if they are requesting relief from the width of the parking spot. Mr. Carroll responded that typically spaces are 10’x20’ but Lady Lake’s code does allow for 9’x18’. Mr. Ayala added that they are proposing 9.5’x 18’.

Member Saunders made a motion to forward Resolution 2023-117 to the Town Commission with the recommendation of denial; Member Galloway seconded the motion.

Member Present
Saunders Yes
Galloway Yes
Furch No

Motion denied. 

CHAIRPERSON AND MEMBERS REPORT

No reports

PUBLIC COMMENT

Tom Nash – 3546 Griffin Avenue

Mr. Nash stated that there are several properties that are requesting annexations and rezoning to build large scale communities. Lady Lake is feeling the pinch of being overpopulated. The duty and responsibility of the commission is to act in the best interest of the town and the community. Continuing with annexations and rezonings is leading to a negative impact on the footprint of the area. The small-town atmosphere and way of life are diminishing quickly. Developers only want to enrich themselves.

Richard Chamberlain - 14590 175th Street

Mr. Chamberlain said his concern is with the proposed addition of modular homes in Grand Oaks. The grace and beauty of Grand Oaks would be greatly impacted by the proposed development. He gave an example of how another community was ruined by development. Grand Oaks is unique, and he would be sad to see the character changed.

ADJOURN

The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.

s/ Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

s/ Dorilyn Furch, Chairman