BAKER COUNTY

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

 

MINUTES                                                                                                                    April 21, 2003

 

The Baker County Board of Commissioners met in regular session with the following members present:

Chairman Alex Robinson

Commissioner Julie Combs

Commissioner Mark Hartley

Commissioner Fred Raulerson

 

Also, present were:                               County Manager Josie Davis

Clerk of Courts Al Fraser

Attorney Terry Brown

 

 

Chairman Robinson called the meeting to order and led in the flag ceremonies.  Commissioner Hartley led in prayer.

 

Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-11 (Parcel ‘A’), a land use request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG Zone B to Residential Zone D.  Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request. 

 

Mr. John Kennedy, representative for Longbranch Farms, advised the request is to change the land use and zoning for three 10-acre plots, located on Odis Yarborough Road, in order to allow one unit per acre for homes only.   (Ordinance #’s 11 and 12 are in Parcel ‘A’; Ordinance #’s 13 and 14 are in Parcel ‘B’; Ordinance #’s 15 and 16 are in Parcel ‘C’)

 

With no additional comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Combs, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-11.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-12 (Parcel ‘A’), a rezoning request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG 7.5 to RC 1. Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request.  With no comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Hartley made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-12.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-13 (Parcel ‘B’), a land use request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG Zone B to Residential Zone D.  Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request.  With no additional comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Barton, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-13.  The motion carried unanimously.


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Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-14 (Parcel ‘B’), a rezoning request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG 7.5 to RC 1. Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request.  With no comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Raulerson made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Combs, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-14.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-15 (Parcel ‘C’), a land use request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG Zone B to Residential Zone D.  Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request.  With no additional comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Hartley, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-15.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Robinson asked Attorney Brown  to read the Title to Ordinance No. 2003-16 (Parcel ‘C’), a rezoning request submitted by Longbranch Farms, LLP,  who wishes to change 10 acres from AG 7.5 to RC 1. Chairman Robinson closed the regular session and opened a public hearing to hear public comments regarding this request.  With no comments, Chairman Robinson closed the public hearing and called the regular session back to order.  Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to adopt Ordinance No. 2003-16.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Ms. Rebecca Lauramore, S.H.I.P. Administrator, advised the award for the Pearl Paige project was awarded to Brent Whitney for $ 41,500 on April 1, 2003.  However, when Mr. Whitney was advised regarding the award, Mr. Whitney reported he confused his bids and asked that the Board rescind the bid since he would be unable to complete the project at the price provided.  When the project was rebid as a new construction project, the results were as follows:

 

 

Contractor

 

Paige Project

 

A & R Construction

 

$ 46,500

 

R. W. Tobias, Inc.

 

$ 49,866

 

Brent Whitney

 

$ 47,500

 

Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to rescind the original bid to Brent Whitney.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Barton, to award the Paige project to the lowest bidder, A & R Construction, for $46,500, which includes demolition.  The motion carried by a majority.  Commissioner Raulerson abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest. 


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Ms. Casey Karnes, representative for Camp S.T.Y.L.E. (Specialized Training in Youth Leadership through Education), introduced a young man who requested a donation for the Camp S.T.Y.L.E. program.  Team building equipment and workshop supplies were some of the needs presented.  Additional funding is being sought through grants, registration fees, fund-raisers, business sponsorships and individual donations.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Hartley, to donate $500 to the program, taking the funds from the Commissioners’ Travel Expense Fund.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Ms. Anita Gerson, President of the Council on Aging, presented a single yellow rose to each Commissioner to show love and appreciation to the Board for its support of the Council on Aging.

 

Ms. Pansy Ruise, Director of the Council on Aging, asked permission of the Board to route the B-Line Express bus transportation to Baldwin, advising that the route will also include Olustee.  With  Board approval, the new routes will begin at the same time.  Fees will be collected to offset some of the expense and there will be no additional expense to the Commission.  Ms. Ruise advised she and Ms. Gerson have spoken with  the Mayor of Baldwin and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) regarding a bus connection allowing passengers to ride the B-Line Express into Baldwin  and transferring to JTA for the balance of the ride into Jacksonville.  Ms. Vonda Francis, Transportation Coordinator, has a route schedule designed for buses routed five times daily to Olustee and Baldwin.

 

Ms. Gerson advised JTA has informed her regarding grant funds available to the Council on Aging for the first year.  Therefore, no additional funding will be necessary.  JTA spoke about having a substation in Baldwin for the connection into Jacksonville.  Ms. Francis advised Macclenny will be rerouted into two routes, North and South, accommodating the State Hospital to the South and CR 23C to the North.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Combs, to approve the B-Line Express serving the Baldwin and Olustee areas.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Gerald Herndon, Finance Director for the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, introduced Ms. Jennifer Mobley, his assistant since May 2002, in the Finance office.  Mr. Herndon presented the 2003-2004 Edward Byrne Grant Application for approval and advised the breakdown was as follows:

 

Federal Dollars             $  91,276.00                75%

County Match                          $  30,425.00                25%

Total Grant Funds                  $121,701.00                100%

 

Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to approve the request.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Steve Clouse, representative for the Baker County Health Department, presented extensive information to the Board regarding ‘Operation Vaccinate Florida’, a free program designed by the Department of Health to provide smallpox vaccinations to those at high risk, such as employees of law enforcement, fire, and EMS  The vaccinations will begin May 1, 2003. There is enough vaccine


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available to vaccinate all the people in the United States should this become necessary.  The vaccinations will be given on a voluntary basis to those at high risk.  Mr. Davis advised Workman’s Compensation will cover injury/illness due to the smallpox vaccinations.  In conclusion, Mr. Briant advised the Department of Health is prepared to offer this to first responders and wanted to make sure the Board was aware and up-to-date on the program and what it has to offer Baker County, prior to talking to County employees.

 

Mr. Steve Briant, Program Coordinator for Temporary Loan Closet (T.L.C.), and Mr. Dan O’Connor presented extensive information regarding the Independent Living Resource Center of Northeast Florida (ILRC) and how it can benefit Baker County residents. 

 

Mr. O’Connor advised ILRC is one of fourteen Centers for Independent Living in the state of Florida. The program assists disabled persons in achieving their maximum potential for living independently.  Some of the services provided are: Employment, Housing Accessibility/Modifications and Sign Language/Interpreting Service.

 

Mr. Briant advised the program assists the disabled with equipment, such as wheelchairs.  Neither income nor insurance is a factor, however, it is necessary to have a prescription for the equipment, which is loaned for ninety days.  A small donation is requested for the use of the equipment. In addition, Mr. Briant reported ILRC works off grants and donations and makes money available to purchase equipment for ramps.  ILRC does ask for a partnership with the community to aid the program by providing volunteers to actually handle the construction of the ramps.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Combs, to exempt the fees for handicap ramps on residential buildings.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Chuck Bothwell, one of the owners of Osceola Pines (a First Coast Land and Timber Development), advised the company owns 229 acres in the community of Sanderson and the property is located near the intersection of US 90 and I-10.  Mr. Bothwell advised he was proposing that the 229 acres be used for residential purposes.  Twenty-five percent of the property will be roads and drainage. The balance of the property will be broken down into:  25% -  ½ acre + lots;  25% - 3/4 acre + lots, and  25%  - 1 acre lots.  Osceola Pines plans to house 220-250 families and the price of the houses will begin at approximately $90,000.

 

Commissioner Combs advised she and Robert Fletcher, Road Superintendent, met with Mr. Bothwell recently and spoke at length regarding the plan for the Sanderson property.  Commissioner Combs feels the proposed plan will be good for the community and it has her support. 

 

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding several issues such as, (1) Having one septic tank and water system for each lot,  (2) Having a central water system.  Members of the Board expressed they would like to have time to review the information prior to making a decision and several expressed they were not in favor of lots smaller than one acre.  No decision was made.

 

 

 


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Mr. Eldon Landers presented Title XI, County Organization and Intergovernmental Relations - Chapter 124 - regarding Commissioner’s districts.  Mr. Landers would like to see the residents within a district vote for a Commissioner for that one district.  This would also allow a Commissioner to run for  one district rather than for the entire County.  Chairman Robinson advised Mr. Landers that many counties still hold county-wide elections and that 3-a of Title XI states: The Board of County Commissioners may adopt a formal resolution directing an election to be held to place the proposition on the ballot.’  No decision was made.

 

Mr. Fredric L. Pirkle, Project Hydrogeologist for Gannett Fleming, Inc., introduced Mr. French, Program Director and Regional Manager of the Tallahassee office, who would provide a presentation on a possible source of non-tax revenue for the County. 

 

Mr. French advised the full-service engineering company has been in business for eighty-seven years and has aligned itself with an organization called ‘The Center for Municipal Solutions,’ which has prepared a model ordinance that grants control of the Telecommunications Wireless Facilities now merging across the United States.  Mr. French reported there is no charge to the general revenue of the County and the cost burden is placed on the industry through the ordinance structure.   If the ordinance is adopted, the County would engage the services of Gannett Fleming, Inc. for three years, and would become the County’s engineering company that actually implements the intent of the ordinance.   An escrow account would be set up with the County Clerk, which the engineering company would use to charge the hourly rates against and would invoice the County monthly.  The remaining funds in the escrow account, at the end of the permitting process, are returned to the applicant.  Following a lengthy presentation, Mr. French advised the Board to have the County attorney review the documents and recommended that the Board adopt the interim-application process Ordinance at the next meeting. The Board agreed to allow Attorney Brown to review the documents and make a recommendation to the Board.   Attorney Brown agreed.

 

Mr. Davis presented Resolution No. 2003-05 for possible adoption.  This Resolution, to be sent to the Governor and Legislature, is in opposition to the privatization of the Northeast Florida State Hospital.  Attorney Brown read the Resolution by Title.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to adopt Resolution No. 2003-05.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

 Mr. Davis requested a public hearing be set for May 19, 2003, to consider a zoning change on a forty-acre parcel owned by Landco Group.  The property is located 2.5 miles west of Glen St. Mary and south of US 90.  Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to set the public hearing.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Davis requested a public hearing be set for June 3, 2003, to consider an ordinance amending the land use and zoning of a one-acre parcel owned by Joan M. Lyons.  The property is located on Rufus Powers Road.  Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Hartley, to set the public hearing.  The motion carried unanimously.

 


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Mr. Davis presented a ‘Law Day Proclamation, Law Day 2003, for approval.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to approve the proclamation.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Davis advised Bob Lambright has requested the status regarding the Bayley Acres subdivision.  Previously, the Board expressed concerns regarding the easement/entrance into the subdivision, noting that this portion is unpaved.  Mr. Lambright does not own the easement between his property and Bob Kirkland Road and emergency vehicles would have to cross a private easement to enter the subdivision.  Following a lengthy discussion, Mr. Davis advised he will call Mr. Lambright and ask that he be present at the May 1, 2003 meeting to discuss these issues  further.  The Board agreed.

 

Mr. Landers read a letter from Debra Gonzales regarding the poor condition of Buck Starling Road and presented several pages of signatures from residents in the area who would like to see improvements made.  Chairman Robinson advised Mr. Landers that he discussed the condition of Buck Starling Road with Mr. Fletcher and some Limerock was placed on the south end.  In addition, Chairman Robinson reported easements would need to be donated to the County by property owners in order to widen the road.  Also discussed, were accidents occurring at the curve in the road.  The curve was necessary due to property owners refusing to provide easements which would allow the grading of a straight road.  Mr. Landers agreed to talk to the Starling family regarding the donation of easements in order to widen the road.  Chairman Robinson advised Mr. Landers negotiations are being made with FDOT regarding a traffic light at George Hodges Road and SR121.

 

Mr. Davis advised David Eisenhower called and asked that he relate to the Board that the volume of dump trucks going to the pit off St. Mary’s Cove Road, at the end of Steelbridge Road, is making it impossible for others to get into this area.  The person in charge would not make a prediction of how long it would be necessary for the dump trucks to be on the road.  Commissioner Barton advised this is his district and he will ask Mr. Fletcher to check into the situation.

 

Chairman Robinson reported the Board came to an agreement at the workshop earlier today, to advertise for a County Manager and asked for this to be put in the form of a motion by the Board.  Commissioner Barton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to advertise for the position.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Commissioner Combs made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Raulerson, to approve the Minutes of April 1, 2003.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

Chairman Robinson advised the sites for Landscape Service was discussed in the Workshop today and the Sheriff’s Department has agreed to take care of the following: Baker County Agriculture Center,  Emergency Operations Center, Sanderson Community Center, Sanderson Fire and Rescue Station, and  the New Office Complex on Sixth Street.  Donald Combs, Recreation Director, has agreed to take care of the Courthouse Complex, Emily Taber Public Library and the Baker County Health Department.


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Chairman Robinson advised he had a meeting with the Historical Society regarding Heritage Park and a meeting is forthcoming regarding a lease.

 

Attorney Brown presented a draft of a proposed amendment to the Land Development Regulations,  maintaining the exclusion of mining activities, except in Industrial Zones, but permitting people to have Fish Ponds.  The Board will review the draft.

 

Attorney Brown presented a proposed draft amending Ordinance No. 2002-21, an amendment to the Land Development Regulations definition of ‘Subdivision.’  The Board will review the draft and advise.

 

Attorney Brown advised residents in Bradford County have come before the Commission regarding private roads becoming impassable.  The Commission can’t assist on a private road issue and the residents have asked Attorney Brown to assist them in their cause.  Putnum County has created Municipal Service Benefit Units created for individual dirt roads.  This allows the Commission to impose a special assessment on the property owners of that particular road who benefit from its maintenance and the assessment would fund the maintenance of the dirt road.  In this event, the County would accept dedication of the dirt road to the County since there would be a funding source to maintain the road.  Attorney Brown thought the Baker County Commission may also be interested in this method for eliminating certain private road problems  within the County.  Should the property owners not pay the special assessment, a tax lien would be placed against the property.

 

Mr. James Crosby, who has a contract to purchase property in Baker County, asked when the moratorium would be lifted from certain property within the County.  Commissioner Combs advised Mr. Crosby that some of the developers have to make improvements to the already existing County grades, increasing the width of the easements.  Until these improvements are made to the roads in those particular neighborhoods, the developers cannot sale the property and the buyers cannot purchase  permits.

 

Mr. Davis advised Mr. Crosby that the Ordinance regarding this will be presented to the Board on May 6, 2003 and, if it is passed, the moratorium will be lifted.

 

Commissioner Combs made a motion to adjourn.

 

Meeting adjourned.

 

                                                                                                                                                           

AL FRASER, Clerk to the Board                             ALEX ROBINSON, Chairman of the Board