Nassau County Board of County Commissioners Workshop Session, Monday, May 23, 2016, 4:00 p.m.

Nassau County Board of County Commissioners
Workshop Session, Monday, May 23, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Commission Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida

Call to Order

Present: Chairman Walter J. Boatright, Commissioners Daniel B. Leeper, George Spicer, and Pat Edwards.
Absent: Commissioner Steve Kelley

Other Official Present: Michael S. Mullin, County Attorney; and Ted Selby, County Manager.

Staff Present: Scott Herring, Public Works Director; Peter King, Planning and Economic Opportunity Director; and representing the Clerk’s office Connie Arthur, Deputy Clerk.

Purpose: To discuss proposed amendments to Ordinance No. 99-18, as amended, known as the Nassau County Development Review Regulations; Ordinance No. 99-17, as amended, known as the Roadway and Drainage Standards; amending Article 28 and Article 32 of the Land Development Code; and Ordinance No. 2003-13, as amended, known as the Uniform Addressing and Street Naming Ordinance. Proposed amendments to these ordinances are set for public hearing tonight at 6:00 p.m.

WS160523 – 04:03:30 Mr. Mullin commented that the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Board has spent the past eight months considering many amendments to these ordinances. He commenced a review of proposed changes to Ordinance 2003-13, as amended, as it relates to uniform addressing and street naming. He explained the significant change relates to once the ordinance is approved, the Public Works Director or his designee will provide the Property Appraiser with documentation that the private road meets county road standards before the initial road naming. Other proposed changes relate to signage and definitions.

Because of the vast amount of changes under consideration, the County Attorney expects more changes will likely be addressed as issues arise.

Next, the group reviewed proposed changes to Article 28, Supplementary Regulations in the Zoning Code, under Section 28.03, lot to have access; as well as amendments to Article 32, definitions of the Land Development Code. Reviewing thirty foot easements, Mr. Mullin explained that if adopted, the lot must front on a public or private roadway meeting the requirements outlined in Ordinance 99-17, as amended. Furthermore, lots or parcels established pursuant to a recorded instrument recorded as of the date of adoption of the ordinance (today or some other significant date such as when the Comprehensive Plan was adopted) or are not classified as a Minor Development or Rural Subdivision, may be accessed by a private thirty foot easement and may be used for the construction, location or erection of any single family structure including a mobile home subject to certain conditions. The group reviewed the conditions and discussed utilizing an affidavit to be signed by each of the property owners to clarify an understanding related to maintenance responsibilities. Public safety for citizens residing on private roads was discussed and it was suggested to add language clarifying that the County may not be able to provide emergency access.

Mr. Mullin mentioned a few issues that came to light after the draft ordinance was created that may also need to be addressed, such as if the board wanted to continue utilizing the thirty foot easement after the adoption date it may require the property owner to apply for a variance through the Conditional Use and Variance (CU&V) Board.

The group considered the effective date of the ordinance and weighed issues that may arise should the board decide to grandfather the date back to the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan in 1999 or as amended in 2010.

Jimmy L. Higginbotham, a member of the P&Z Board, came forward to explain why the P&Z Board chose the effective date to be the date approved by this Board. He questioned the existing sixty foot easements, which the board will discuss next.

Mr. Mullin explained in the current ordinance sixty foot easements allow up to five permits and it states that the new roadway should be paved. New language allows for the lots or parcels established pursuant to a recorded instrument, recorded as of the effective date, that are accessed by a sixty foot private dirt road easement that was named by the property appraiser prior to the effective date may be used for the construction or erection of a single family structure and/or mobile home subject to certain conditions. This too utilizes the affidavit approach. It also includes a condition that a private sixty foot easement has been constructed to meet county standards, including drainage, as set forth in Ordinance 99-17, as amended, specifically Article 11, Roadway Design, or alternate standards, as approved by the Development Review Committee and inspected and approved by the Director of Public Works or his designee. Alternate standards can handle emergency vehicle access. For sixty foot easements created after the effective date of the ordinance, it would require a paved roadway. Responding to a question raised by Mr. Higginbotham, Mr. Mullin explained that existing sixty foot easements that have not yet been named are not addressed in this ordinance and would require application for a waiver.

Commissioner Leeper questioned if there is defined criteria for alternate standards. Mr. Mullin responded that there is no definition at this time; however, Mr. Herring commented that generally he would look for a stabilized surface, two vehicles wide, drainage in place; and the property owner would need to determine sufficient turn around room for emergency vehicles. Responding to Commissioner Leeper’s question, Mr. Herring indicated he would ask the Fire Department for a written statement regarding emergency vehicle turn around.

Former Commissioner Marianne Marshall came forward to urge the board to grandfather the effective date of the ordinance to 1999 when the Comprehensive Plan was originally adopted.

Patsy Quaile, a member of the P&Z Board, came forward to read an excerpt from a letter she recently wrote to the P&Z Board. In March 2016, “Our attorney, Mr. Mullin emphasized that easements cannot be grandfathered in, only lots. He said the date of the Comprehensive Plan is the date the last major changes occurred and the Comprehensive Plan is the date in 2010 that would be understood by the courts.” On March 1, 2016 Mr. King said, “Growth Management advises the board the date he suggests is the date of October 2010 Comprehensive Plan adoption. Any date the board chooses should be linked to an event such as the Comprehensive Plan adoption.” P&Z Chair Ford also suggested this adoption date. It is Ms. Quaile’s opinion that the adoption date should be 1999 when the Comprehensive Plan was implemented.

Returning to discussion of alternate standards, Chair Boatright suggested the standards should meet or exceed county standards. Mr. Herring and Mr. Mullin will bring back language to address alternate standards. He clarified that the group considered two standards for dirt roads: Taylor County for Minor Development (minimum) and Volucia County for Rural Subdivision Development for up to 25 minimum five acre lots.

Next, Mr. Mullin reviewed proposed changes to Ordinance 99-18, as amended, known as the Development Review Regulations. He explained the new definition of a lot, noting the addition of a Minor Development in order to allow some flexibility for dirt road developments with standards. Minor Development does not require a plat. Also defined are private access easements, private roadways, and creating rural subdivisions. Rural subdivisions require filing a plat, noting that all aspects of the plat control the rural subdivision; road standards follow Volucia County standards. The group discussed examples of Minor Development and Rural Subdivision. He further explained how flood plain/FEMA determinations play a role in the determination of a development. Responding to a question raised by Commissioner Edwards, Mr. Mullin indicated that circumventing the phasing rules has been addressed in Section 5.4, Connection. Multiple developments side by side, not connecting, have not been addressed. The group continued reviewing the definition of a subdivision and developments that do not require platting. Responding to a question raised by Commissioner Leeper, Mr. Mullin clarified that although plans must meet certain standards, maintenance of Minor Development is not up to the County. They also discussed whether the public safety aspect could be legally defensible in the courts. The group continued a review of other proposed changes to Ordinance 99-18.

Returning to discussion of multiple side by side development, former Commissioner Marshall returned to the podium to emphasize that if you do not plat you do not address drainage, specifically the downstream effect.

Discussion turned to amending Ordinance 99-17, known as the Roadway and Drainage Standards. Under Section, Commissioner Leeper wanted assurances that wet retention ponds used for treatment of storm water runoff meet public safety requirements of Chapter 62-25.025 Florida Administrate Code. Mr. King reviewed the requirements for fencing and other options. Mr. Mullin reviewed Section 11.1.1, which now includes all new roadways and private access easements, with certain exceptions, shall be paved. He then reviewed other proposed changes to Section 11. Commissioner Leeper questioned changes to Section 11.2.8 that curb and gutter is now recommended versus required in all developments containing lots one acre or less in size. Mr. Herring indicated the change provided flexibility in design; he had no preference as long as the drainage is sufficient.

Mr. Mullin does not anticipate a vote on the ordinance changes tonight noting that alternate standards still need to be addressed by staff. He encouraged the commissioners to let him know any other concerns that may need to be addressed. These draft documents will be available to the public tonight as well.

Responding to a question posed by Jeff Lawrence in the audience related to elevation outlined in Section 11.11.7, Mr. Herring commented that this refers to special flood hazard areas wherein appropriate engineering preparation is needed to deal with storm events. A variance procedure will likely be utilized in such instances.

There being no further business, the workshop session of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners adjourned at 5:28 p.m.

Walter J. Boatright, Chairman


John A. Crawford, Ex-Officio Clerk