Special Magistrate Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the September 28, 2021 10:30 a.m.
Special Magistrate Meeting
The regular meeting of the Special Magistrate was held in the Town Hall Commission Chambers at 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida. The meeting convened at 10:30 a.m.
Town Staff Present
Lori Crain, Code Enforcement Officer; Denise Williams, Animal Control Officer; and Carol Osborne, Staff Assistant to the Town Clerk
A. Call To Order
Joshua Bills, Special Magistrate, called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.
B. Pledge of Allegience
All present stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
C. Swearing In
The Special Magistrate requested that anyone present who planned to speak at today’s hearing stand and be sworn in.
All individuals who presented information during these proceedings were sworn in. Those cases were heard first regardless of their order on the agenda.
Explanation of Procedure
Special Magistrate Joshua Bills explained to the public that this is a quasi-judicial hearing, which means that he has not seen or heard any evidence or testimony from staff or outside parties, other than cases that have been continued from a public meeting, as this would be in violation of ex-parte rules. He explained that staff will present their case and testimony, and he will ask any questions he deems necessary. At that time, the owner or interested party will be able to present their testimony or evidence, and staff will have an opportunity to rebut. The case will be closed for public comment and he will render his decision on each of the cases.
The Special Magistrate advised that all testimony is to be directed to him only.
Violators shall contact Code Enforcement to confirm compliance. Upon notification by the code inspector that the Order of Enforcement has not been complied with by the time stated in the ruling, the Special Magistrate may execute an Order of Imposing Fine in the amount set forth above. A copy of the Order Imposing Fine shall be mailed to the Violator. A certified copy of the Order Imposing Fine may be recorded as a lien against the property and or business. A hearing is not statutorily required for the issuance of the Order Imposing Fine. The violator has a right to request a hearing on the fine imposition by written request to the Town of Lady Lake within twenty days of the commencement of the fine. The Order Imposing Fine shall advise the Violator of that right. When requested, such a hearing will be heard by the Special Magistrate. In some cases, fines will be recorded as a lien if not paid. The respondent or business owner will receive a copy of this order.
D. Approval of Minutes
1. Minutes of the July 27, 2021 Special Magistrate Meeting
The Special Magistrate accepted and signed the meeting minutes of July 27, 2021 into the record as presented.
The Special Magistrate asked if there were any changes to the agenda.
Code Enforcement Officer Lori Crain replied that the following cases would not be presented: Case 20-7769, Case 21-8237 and Case L21009685.
E. Old Business
2. Case 20-7769— 104 Neil Ct. — Lake County Citrus Sales — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 16-52 — Building permit required; Repeat Offender — Order of Fine (Lori Crain)
Not heard at this meeting
3. Case 21-7972 —316 W Lady Lake Blvd. — Emigdio & Yolanda Jasso — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 9-2(h)(1) — Outside Storage, Unlicensed/Inoperable Motor Vehicle; Order of Fine (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). The Respondent is in violation of LDR Section 9-2(h)(1) Outside Storage and Code of Ordinances Section 20-19(f) Fence Maintenance and Repair. Mr. Jasso was having issues with his brother, who is a tenant on his property, and was unable to force him to comply with the Order of Enforcement. Fines began accruing at $25 per day beginning August 21, 2021. There was partial compliance until September 9, 2021, when full compliance halted the fine from accruing any further.
Property Owner Emigdio Jasso - 316 W. Lady Lake Blvd. (Wendy Then) interpreted for him.
After Ms. Crain’s presentation, Mr. Jasso said he is happy to pay the fine if he can put all this behind him.
Special Magistrate Bills executed the Order of Fine for Case 21-7972 based on the information provided through the evidence and testimony regarding the case. As recommended by staff, the accrued fine was reduced from $537 to $200 to be paid in full by 5:00 PM Thursday, October 14, 2021. If the imposed reduced fine is not paid in full by the date ordered, the original amount of $450 plus $174 in administrative fees shall be imposed.
4. Case 21-8186 — 237 W McClendon St. — Edgar W. Boykin and Alice E. Wagner — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 7-67 — Certain Conditions, Accumulations Deemed Public Nuisance; Order of Fine (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). Ms. Crain explained that the Respondents are in violation of the Town’s Code of Ordinances Section 7-67, Certain conditions, accumulations deemed public nuisance. The Respondents were later in compliance but had already incurred an $87 administrative fee. They were also found to be repeat offenders and were again found to be in non-compliance of the same Code as before.
Nobody was present to speak on this matter.
Special Magistrate Joshua Bills executed the Order of Fine for Case 21-8186 based on the information provided through the evidence and testimony regarding this case. The Respondents were found to be in violation of the Order of Enforcement dated July 27, 2021, by failure to pay the administrative fee of $87. An Order of Fine was entered in this matter for the outstanding administrative fee and an additional $87 fee was imposed for the Order of Fine Hearing. Both fees are to be paid in full for a total of $174 to the Town of Lady Lake by 5:00 pm, October 14, 2021, or the fine and fees will be recorded as a lien against the property.
F. New Business
5. Case 20-7939 — 319 E Primrose Ln. — Russell & Wendy Kott — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 10-5(c)(1) — Tree and Stump Removal; Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). The Kott’s were issued an after-the-fact tree removal permit for removing a large tree, but the stump remained. All permits issued for tree removal require grinding of the stump to a level at or below grade. Staff recommended that an $87 administrative fee be levied and afford the property owner until October 25, 2021, to bring the property into compliance or a $25 per day charge will be assessed for each day thereafter that the violation continues.
Russell Kott – 319 E. Primrose Lane
Mr. Kott asked why eyes are on him when others in his neighborhood have stumps. Why is he here and his neighbor is not?
Special Magistrate Bills stated that we are only dealing with his case then asked if the stump is still there.
Mr. Kott responded that in place of the stump there is mulch with a planter on top.
The Special Magistrate asked Mr. Kott if he has photos of the stump being removed and he answered that he did not.
When the Special Magistrate asked if the Code Enforcement Officer would be allowed on his property to check the stump, Mr. Kott answered that she would not be given permission to go on his property.
When the Special Magistrate asked Ms. Crain if the picture of the mulch and stump was taken that morning, she answered in the affirmative.
Special Magistrate Bills stated that after looking at the evidence, an Order of Enforcement is warranted adding that they may come to an impasse by denying the Code Enforcement Officer access to the property. Respondent shall pay $87 and have until October 25, 2021, to bring the property up to Code after which a $25 per day fine will begin accruing for each day thereafter.
6. Case 21-8134 — 624 Cedar Ln. — Franklin & Kathleen Keller — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 16-52 — Building Permit Required; Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). Ms. Crain received the request from Growth Management staff to inspect the property for installation of an air conditioning unit because permit #21-0572 had not yet been picked up.
Ms. Crain did not see evidence of a new air conditioning unit but did observe that the carport was being enclosed and subsequently verified that there was not a permit on file.
The homeowner resides in Water Oak, and he was uncertain from whom he should get a permit because he was told he did not need one. Two violation notices were sent but they did not come into compliance for two months. When the permit application was submitted, the plans were reviewed then denied and subsequently reviewed and denied again. On the day of the hearing, the permit was granted.
Franklin Keller – 624 Cedar Lane.
Mr. Keller stated that he thought everything had been taken care of a long time ago by his contractor. In January, he asked if he needed a permit or contractor to add a carport and was told he did not, but he was strongly encouraged to get one. He thought everything was OK at this point. He later discovered that he did need a permit and assumed his contractor had applied for it. He was not trying to get away with anything and said he was confused and misunderstood what he was supposed to do. He felt the best thing was to stay out of it and let the contractor handle everything. He is taking responsibility, but he wants to go on record saying that he did not knowingly violate the Code.
Cory Calano – JSC Contracting, Inc.
Ms. Calano was told by Growth Management that engineered drawings were required and that is what held up the process.
Ms. Crain stated that had she known that there was a hold-up on the drawings, she would have worked with them.
Kathleen Keller- 624 Cedar Lane.
Ms. Keller stated that she called the contractor several times over the last couple of months and then called the Engineer who said the drawings would be rushed but they were not.
Special Magistrate Bills asked Ms. Crain what needs to be done.
Ms. Crain answered that work will have to pass inspections during the building process.
Special Magistrate Bills issued an Order of Dismissal since the permit had been issued.
7. Case 21-8230 — 905 April Hills Blvd. — Alan S Burnet Estate — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 7-67 — Certain Conditions, Accumulations Deemed Public Nuisance, and Section 7-46 — Unlawful Storage of Junk, Debris; Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). There was a citizen complaint about junk on a neighboring property and it was an ongoing problem. Owners of the property were in violation of Lady Lake’s Code, Section 7-46, unlawful storage of junk and debris and Section 7-67 accumulations deemed public nuisance. Upon several inspections, there was no compliance nor progress observed.
Nobody was present to speak on this matter.
Special Magistrate Bills entered an order of enforcement stating that the Respondents are in violation of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances and imposed an $87 fine. The case will remain open until compliance is met and maintained.
8. Case 21-8237 — 618 First Ave. — Marquisa Parham — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 16-54(b)(2) — Expired Building Permit Required; Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Not heard at this meeting.
9. Case 21-8254 — 710 Summit St. — Sandra J. Curry — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 7-46 — Unlawful storage of Junk, Debris; Order of Enforcement to Establish Repeat Offender (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). A complaint was received about ongoing junk and debris on the property at 710 Summit Street. There are several areas of junk, inoperable vehicles, and clutter. The property has a history of this category of violations; this is the fourth case in four years. Nobody was present to speak on this matter.
Special Magistrate Bills entered an Order of Enforcement stating that the Respondent shall pay an $87 administrative fee and the Respondent will be given until October 15, 2021 at 5 pm to comply or a $25 per day fine will begin accruing until compliance is met. Respondent will be found as a repeat violator for future violations of this code.
10. Case 21-8264 — 110 Spencers Ln. — Robert Keown — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 17-26(b) —Parking of Commercial Vehicles Prohibited; Hearing Requested by Respondent/Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). Ms. Crain was notified by Growth Management staff of possible construction activity on 110 Spencers Lane for the placement of a mobile home though no development orders, plans or permits had been submitted. Upon initial inspection, there was not enough evidence of land clearing to warrant a violation but there was a commercial dumpster and tow truck on the site which is not permitted in a residential area. Upon meeting with Mr. Keown, Ms. Crain gave him a Courtesy Notice of Violation for the inoperable vehicle and suggested that he check with the Building Department for any permits he may need. Mr. Keown became argumentative and subsequently called Town Manager Lawrence. There was movement off and on the property of the tow truck and a large box truck. The box truck was on the property the day of the hearing.
Nobody was present to speak on this matter.
Special Magistrate Bills said that the parking of commercial vehicles on residential property is prohibited. The Respondent shall pay all costs associated with this matter in the amount of $87 to be paid by October 12, 2021, at 5 pm after which a $25 per day fine will begin to accrue until such time as the property comes into compliance.
11. Case 21-8265 — 105 Maine Ave./204 Massachusetts St. — Theresa Boisvert — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 16-52 — Building Permit Required; Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). The violation on this property was reported by a citizen and was a repeat violation for nuisances, accumulations, and storage of junk. The mobile home on the property that is occupied was found to have no electricity. It was declared as unsafe to occupy. The POA for Ms. Boisvert met the Code Enforcement Officer and a police officer on the property and were able to clear the occupant off the property.
Ms. Crain informed the POA that a permit is required if they demolish the mobile home prior to moving it off the property. The mobile home was demolished prior to moving it so Ms. Crain informed them that they would need an after-the-fact demolition permit from the Town and the debris left on the property needed to be removed. As of the date of the hearing on September 28, 2021, the Respondents had not pulled the permit.
Special Magistrate Bills said the violation began as an occupied mobile home that did not have electricity. The mobile home was later demolished without a permit which is a violation. The Respondent shall pay all costs associated with this matter in the amount of $87 and will be given until October 20, 2021, at 5 pm to come into compliance after which a $25 per day fine will be assessed until the property comes into compliance.
12. Case 21-8292 — 132 S Hwy 27/441 — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations Section 17-5(d)(1)(C) — Temporary Signs and Banners, Permit Required; Order of Enforcement to Establish Repeat Offender (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). A banner was displayed on the building above this unit without a permit. This is the ninth similar offense on this property in the last two years. The property owners of Lady Lake Plaza and the tenants have both been noticed. There is no BTR, sign permits, no change of occupancy or fire inspection information for the business in unit #132 “Sky Vape Smoke Shop”.
The Special Magistrate asked Ms. Crain what the outcome of the previous cases and she responded that they have always complied in the past.
Rosa Coppola - 132 S. Hwy 27/441 (owner from Miami)
Ms. Coppola stated that they have never had a problem with tenants in the past.
Migueal Coppola - 132 S. Hwy 27/441 (owner from Miami)
Mr. Coppola said Ms. Crain was very helpful and that his tenants should have paid for the permits and he hopes they do not have the problem in the future.
Special Magistrate Bills ordered that the Respondent pay all costs associated with the matter in the amount of $87. Any future violations on the property will be cited as repeat violations and the property owner will be cited as a repeat offender.
13. Case 21-8195 — 1296 Lake Ella Rd. — ROIB SFR Lake Ella LLC — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations-Section 13-7(f) — Clearing and Grading Standards; and Section 13-54 — Requirement to Prevent, Control and Reduce Stormwater Pollutants using Best Management Practices; Order of Enforcement to Establish Repeat Offender —Violation Presents Serious Threat to Property (Lori Crain)
Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office). In May, the Project Manager for JMHC, who is the development contractor for the new subdivision Lake Ella Estates, was told to contact Ms. Crain about performing a silt fence installation inspection. Several weeks later, an inspection was scheduled, and Ms. Crain noted three to five areas of silt fencing that needed to be replaced or reinforced. JMHC staff was very helpful, and she suggested that the silt fence be checked everyday due to potential erosion issues.
The following month, Andres Avelar filed a complaint that the impaction and installation of roads at the new development was shaking his foundation. Later that day, the Project Superintendent, Mr. Avelar and Ms. Crain met to view the plans for the wall, retention area and roads. Approximately two weeks later, C.T. Eagle – Public Works Director, received complaints from neighbors of the new development, regarding erosion issues. The Contractor installed more silt fencing at this time. Ms. Crain emphasized the need to check the silt fencing daily. Similar complaints were made by other residents about silt fencing failures at certain areas that were causing erosion, property damage and runoff into Lake Ella. JMHC did repair the damage to Mr. Avelar’s property and replaced sod.
Repairs to the silt fencing became an ongoing issue and the failures continued to cause washouts and property damage.
Another neighbor of the Lake Ella Estates development reported that during work that was performed, three or four panel sections of his newly installed fence had fallen over a deep ledge and there was also damage on Hidden Oaks HOA property.
Ultimately, on September 22, 2021, a Stop Work Order was issued, and the case was scheduled for the September 28, 2021, Special Magistrate meeting.
At the pre-hearing inspection, Ms. Crain found a few areas of silt fencing that did not appear secure and noticed that no hay bales or sod had been laid. Second and third rows of additional silt fencing had been installed where breaches had occurred and the wash-out area at the top of the hill along the dirt road and easement had also been repaired.
Sam Metz – COO for JMHC, Inc. – Contractor for Lake Ella Estates
Mr. Metz agreed that there had been breaches in the silt fencing, but they had followed all the SWPPP guidelines which gives them seven days to comply with any issues. There is no need for civil action; they are working to resolve all reported issues that are mostly due to the excessive amount of rain.
Mr. Metz reported that they are working off a set of plans that were approved by the Town and they are about 75% complete with the earth work at which time final stabilization will begin when sod is laid, roadways will go in that are designed to direct runoff, and stormwater runoff will be fixed. He feels they have honored all requirements of the permit. They have been on the site for 140 days and there have been 69 days of rain. The ponds are in now and the roadways are being cut in. In the next 30-45 days runoff will stop. In conjunction with the end of the rainy season along with stabilization, he is not anticipating any other problems.
Mr. Metz provided the Special Magistrate with the original construction plans showing erosion control, weather reports and rain amounts, stormwater pollution plan, the DEP NPDES plan and the permit.
Special Magistrate Bills asked Mr. Metz when the silt fences need to be inspected. He responded that they must be inspected every seven days. If more than a half inch of rain has fallen, they have 24 hours to respond to any problems and seven days to mitigate.
Mr. Metz added that he is been in the construction business for 25 years and this is the first time he is been called before any Board.
Cary Hartzog - 126 Hidden Oaks Drive
Mr. Hartzog said that Ms. Crain was great about coming out when the residents had issues. The silt fencing is not the problem. The problem is the difference in elevation between the existing land and the land the developer was putting in which was dump trucks full of dirt. On a slope, that dirt is not going to hold, and we have not even had a bad storm.
Mr. Hartzog lives on the lake and there is a slope down to the water; he regularly has erosion problems that they must keep in check. Usually, hardpack is brought in to build a house, Lake Ella Estates is bringing in enough dirt for the entire development. This is really an engineering problem, and the elevations need to be checked. This issue needs to be taken seriously before it becomes a permanent problem.
Andres Avelar - 130 Hidden Oaks Drive
Mr. Avelar agreed with Mr. Hartzog on his description of the problem. He wanted to mention three dates.
5/10/21 - met Ms. Crain on his property that abutted Lake Ella Estates. There was an old oak tree on the property line that he did not want removed. Ms. Crain also pointed out the silt fence that did not look like it had been installed correctly. Also, the monuments that he had placed along the easement of his property, had been destroyed by the builder. He spent several thousand dollars on this endeavor.
7/9/21 – pictures were taken of runoff that deposited soil on his property and caused other property damage. It is cost Mr. Avelar thousands of dollars to mitigate the issues caused by the builder’s silt fencing failures. When he made his first report, the problem was not fixed within seven days. Even after what they did to fix his problems, he is still not whole and soil is still running into Lake Ella.
9/21/21 – another silt fencing failure after a downpour of rain that caused further erosion, wash-out and damage. The next day a Stop Work Order was issued.
Mr. Avelar presented his pictures to the Special Magistrate
Emily Hatek - 1845 Lake Ella Road
Ms. Hatek also agreed with Mr. Hartzog’s assessment of it being an engineering issue. She added that if there are this many problems now, it will be even worse when there is concrete poured. She also had pictures of the erosion caused be the silt fencing failures.
Special Magistrate Bills asked Ms. Crain if the relief the Town is requesting is for the builder to submit a revised erosion control plan. She answered that the Town Planner made that suggestion. She added that Butch Goodman is our engineer, and he reviews plans submitted to the Town.
After reviewing all the information provided to him, the Special Magistrate said the problem does seem to be with engineering. This is not a civil court so his ruling does not have any bearing on what anyone feels the Town should do. He knows there are a lot of strong feelings, but he cannot address those in his ruling. He appreciates the courtesy and respect that was shown. He was given a lot of information such as photos, inspection reports, weather reports and said that the information provided suggested that inspections were not always carried out after it rained. He does not think anyone present was acting in bad faith, but he did not feel the best practices were being implemented.
The Special Magistrate entered an Order of Enforcement. Having heard the testimony, the Respondent was found to be in violation of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations, Section 13-7 Clearing and grading standards and of Section 13-54 Requirement to prevent control, reduce stormwater pollution. Respondent shall pay all costs associated with this matter in the amount of $87 and has until October 13, 2021, at 5:00 pm to provide a Plan of Action to prevent current and future erosion, washouts, etc. including responding in a timely manner even if rain events occur overnight or on weekends. If a Plan of Action is not submitted by October 13, 2021, a $200 per day fine will begin accruing on October 14, 2021 and will continue until such time as the property comes into compliance.
14. Case L21009685 — 365 Carriage Lane — Brandy Steinmetz & Chase Smallwood— Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 4-4 — At Large Animal (Denise Williams)
This case was removed from the agenda.
15. Discussion and Determination of Special Magistrate Meeting Dates for November and December 2021
Special Magistrate Bills and Code Enforcement Officer Crain decided to cancel the November meeting unless a need arises. If rescheduled, the meeting would be held on November 16, 2021 at 10:30 am. The December meeting was rescheduled to take place on December 16, 2021 at 10:30.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:59 p.m..
s/ Joshua E. Bills, Special Magistrate
s/ Nancy Wilson, Deputy Town Clerk
Minutes transcribed by Nancy Wilson, Deputy Town Clerk