Commissioners Have Whirlwind Agenda Tonight

Lake Sheriff's Captain Todd English has served as Interim Police Chief since April.

Lake Sheriff’s Captain Todd English has served as Interim Police Chief since April.

Fruitland Park’s City Commission meets tonight starting with a workshop at 6 p.m., a regular meeting at 7 p.m., a Local Planning Agency (LPA) meeting around 7:15 p.m., then back to the regular commission meeting after the LPA meeting adjourns.

The roller-coaster agenda means:

At the 6 p.m. Workshop Meeting commissioners will air their views on ISBA, or Intra-Service Boundary Agreement. According to City Manager Gary La Venia, tonight’s discussion will focus on fire department services in “Old” Fruitland Park.

The 7 p.m. regular meeting will start with a swearing-in ceremony for the new police chief, Michael Fewless. Mayor Bell will conduct the solemn rite.

Afterward, commissioners plan a Special Recognition. The topic is secret, of course, but the city owes a big debt of gratitude to Todd English, the Lake County Sheriff’s Captain who took over as Interim Police Chief when Terry Isaacs resigned the post in March. English reorganized the department while enduring a month-long Floridas Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation that began well before English took over. English terminated one officer as a result of the probe and a second officer resigned. It’s likely the Special Recognition will include a big round of applause for English and a memento he can hang on his wall. He deserves a statue.

Once the accolades subside, commissioners will suspend the regular meeting to convene the LPA meeting

The LPA (our five commissioners) will consider:

1. First Reading of an ordinance to rezone the southwest corner of Rose Ave. and C.R. 466A from R-2 Residential to Commercial C-1 status, it’s about 0.83 acres. A Second Reading is necessary before the ordinance is enacted, that will probably come at the commission’s August 13 meeting.

2. A Quasi-Judicial hearing on an ordinance to amend the city’s Growth Management Plan/Future Land Use Map (“Comp” plan “FLU” map”) from Single-Family to “Mixed Community” designation. This is necessary to rezone the property.

3. An ordinance to rezone the Dwight Estate at 202 Rose Avenue from R-2 Residential to C-1 Commercial to permit development of an upscale restaurant. A Second Reading is necessary before the ordinance is enacted, that will probably come at the commission’s August 13 meeting.

4. A Quasi-Judicial hearing on the ordinance to amend the city’s “Comp” plan and FLU map from Single-Family to “Mixed Community” designation. This is necessary to rezone the property.

The LPA meeting will then adjourn (although there is an “Other Business” line on the agenda).

Commissioners will reopen the Commission meeting to discuss:

1. Inter-Local Agreement for Library Impact Fees. Commissioners will vote on the agreement, which means the $1.4 million+ in grants Library Director Jo-Ann Glendinning has secured for the city can be used to build a new library next to City Hall on the City Center block.

2. FRDAP project—two grants for $50,000 each the city wants to apply for from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) to improve recreational facilities at Gardenia Park. One grant ($50,000) would pay for a sun shade over the Gardenia Park playground. Kids don’t use the playground during the heat of the summer, this makes the playground more useful—and safer for the kids.

A second FDRAP grant would pay for construction of tennis courts at Gardenia Park. The courts at Veterans Park are in sad shape.

3. Millage Rate Resolution—a proposed agreement to set next year’s property tax millage rate at the “Roll Back” rate of 4.6185 mills, which is the rate the city should charge to collect the same percentage from each home owner next year as it did this year. If property values and the county’s appraisal/assessment go up, the tax amount will increase, but commissioners hope to pledge there will be no increase in the rate or percentage.

4. First reading of an ordinance to require restaurants, cafes and other businesses to install code grease traps to prevent toxic substances from entering the city’s sewer system, which will eventually get piped to Lady Lake, which doesn’t want to deal with toxic effluent. While expensive for restaurant owners, this ordinance is ultimately good for the environment, and required by Lady Lake.

5. Lastly, the commission will consider the same set of First Reading/FLU Map change ordinances as the LPA for the southwest corner of Rose Ave. and CR466A and also for the Dwight estate property/proposed steak house restaurant.

Other stuff includes City Attorney Report, City Manager Report, Commissioner Comments and Important Dates to Remember.

Promises to be a long meeting. Public is invited, Public Comments are welcome and residents are encouraged to attend.

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