- Planning and Zoning Commission
- Planning & Zoning Workshop December 16, 2020
Planning & Zoning Workshop December 16, 2020
CITY OF TITUSVILLE
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION/LOCAL PLANNING AGENCY
NOTICE OF SPECIAL WORKSHOP
December 16, 2020
City Hall in Council Chambers
555 S. Washington Avenue Titusville, Florida 32796
The Titusville Environmental Commission members have been invited to attend this meeting and participate in the discussion regarding the tree preservation ordinance.
In order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and to comply with all local, state, and federal laws and guidelines regarding social distancing rules, designated seating shall be provided for the public at Planning and Zoning Commission and other City Boards meetings. Individual speakers shall, when directed to do so, be given the opportunity to speak on agenda items during the meetings in accordance with City of Titusville policies and Resolution No. 36-2020. No tripods, easels, props, or other demonstrative aids shall be brought into public meetings of Planning and Zoning Commission and City Boards. Speakers are permitted to have a sign with them during their designated speaking time provided that the sign is held by the speaker and is to be removed at the conclusion of their speaking time. Speakers who appear in person will be subject to screening for symptoms of COVID-19 and any persons exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter City Hall or public meetings of Planning and Zoning Commission and City Boards. As an additional method for public participation, the public may submit written comments, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to Planning and Zoning Commission's attention at City Hall, 555 South Washington Avenue, Titusville, FL 32796. Written comments must be received by noon (12:00 p.m.) prior to the start of the meeting and include the senders name, address and the subject line must specify the agenda item being addressed. All comments will be disseminated to the Planning and Zoning Commission members and made a part of the public record prior to any action being taken.
All persons who anticipate speaking on any Public Hearing item must fill out an Oath Card to be heard on that agenda item and sign the oath contained thereon. These cards are located on the table near the entrance to the Council Chamber or may be obtained from the Recording Secretary. This meeting will be conducted in accordance to the procedures adopted in Resolution #24-1997
Those speaking in favor of a request will be heard first, those opposed will be heard second, and those who wish to make a public comment on the item will speak third. The applicant may make a brief rebuttal if necessary. A representative from either side, for or against, may cross-examine a witness.
Anyone who speaks is considered a witness. If you have photographs, sketches, or documents that you desire for the Commission to consider, they must be submitted into evidence and will be retained by the City. Please submit such exhibits to the Recording Secretary.
1. CALL TO ORDER
2. ROLL CALL
3. DETERMINATION OF A QUORUM
4. BUSINESS WHICH IS THE SUBJECT OF THE SPECIAL OR CALLED MEETING
A. Tree Protection Workshop
Review the materials provided and make a recommendation.
5. PETITIONS AND REQUESTS FROM PUBLIC PRESENT
Any person who decides to appeal any decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission with respect to any matter considered at this meeting will need a record of the proceedings, and for such purpose, may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based.
The City desires to accommodate persons with disabilities. Accordingly, any physically handicapped person, pursuant to Chapter 286.26 Florida Statutes, should at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, submit a written request to the chairperson of the meeting that the physically handicapped person desires to attend.
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) of the City of Titusville, Florida met in special session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, located at 555 South Washington Avenue on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.
Chairman Severs called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. Present were Vice Chairman Richardson, Secretary Speidel, Member Porter, Member Grant, Member Murray and Member Parrish. Alternate Member Noel Copeland and Alternate Member Riley were absent. Also in attendance were Senior Planner Gabriel Quintas, Assistant City Attorney Chelsea Farrell, and Recording Secretary Laurie Dargie.
Chairman Severs gave a brief introduction.
Member Murray provided a handout to the Planning and Zoning Commission members and city staff titled P&Z Tree Ordinance Meeting Guideline. Member Murray read from the handout.
Chairman Severs said he would use some of the suggested guidelines.
Bryan Bobbitt, Chairman of the Titusville Environmental Commission (TEC), 4355 Blue Jay Place Titusville, Florida came to speak in regards to this item. Mr. Bobbitt said he firmly supports the TEC version. Mr. Bobbitt said that the Titusville Environmental Commission has not had the opportunity to review all three versions and he asked that before the Planning and Zoning Commission makes any recommendations to City Council, that they would allow the Titusville Environmental Commission to be able to review the three ordinance versions and make a recommendation.
Vice Chairman Richardson said that he does not feel that this workshop should take place since the Titusville Environmental Commission has not had time to review the ordinances and give their input.
Secretary Speidel said she is shocked that the Titusville Environmental Commission was left out of the review process and feels that they should have an opportunity to review the ordinances and give their feedback and input.
Mr. Quintas explained that the various ordinances before the Commission were provided by the public. Mr. Quintas said he was not sure if this would go back before the Titusville Environmental Commission again before staff drafts the tree ordinance. Mr. Quintas suggested that staff would take the input provided by the Commission and would develop and ordinance which would then be sent for a recommendation by the TEC and Planning and Zoning Commission and a decision by City Council.
Vice Chairman Richardson said he still feels this should go back before the Titusville Environmental Commission for review before the Planning and Zoning Commission makes any kind of recommendation.
Member Murray said that at the time of Vice Chairman Richardson’s motion in July, a commission was created to look at this tree ordinance. Member Murray said she has reviewed all three tree ordinances and there is a lot of information to go over and compare. Member Murray said it is confusing and there needs to be time for the Titusville Environmental Commission to review all versions.
Mr. Quintas said that there was no committee formed by Vice Chairman Richardson’s motion.
Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that Member Murray made a statement that the motion created a committee and Assistant City Attorney Farrell disagrees with that. There was not a commission or committee created from the Planning and Zoning Commission. Assist City Attorney Farrell said what was discussed in the motion was staff being involved in several different parties, and that was not done because staff believes that only City Council has the ability to create that type of a committee. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that there were subcommittees developed, however none of these committees were developed by city staff. Staff did try and facilitate providing all of the communications from the groups to the Commission members but it did become very confusing and therefore resulted in the three ordinance versions.
Vice Chairman Richardson agreed that the intent of the motion was not to provide a standing committee, but an idea session with everyone involved. Vice Chairman Richardson said he wanted city staff’s involvement to help facilitate the conversations and it would have taken maybe two meetings to reach an agreement.
Vice Chairman Richardson asked whose idea was it to come up with the compromise ordinance.
Rick Kern said he reached out to Mary Sphar from the Tree Team to see if she would consider working together to come up with a compromise.
Chairman Severs read the motion made at the July 8, 2020 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Chairman Severs said he was aware that the Tree Team met with the Titusville Environmental Commission during their meeting. Chairman Severs said he approached Ms. Busacca or Mr. Parrish and suggested that the tree ordinance should come before the Planning and Zoning Commission before it was finalized so that the Planning and Zoning Commission could also have input into the process. Chairman Severs asked what the Planning and Zoning Commission would like to do at tonight’s workshop.
Vice Chairman Richardson said he does not want to make any recommendations tonight.
Member Porter said he agrees with Vice Chairman Richardson and he would like for the Titusville Environmental Commission to have opportunity to review the three ordinance versions and make their recommendations.
Chairman Severs asked Member Porter whether he had understood that to be a motion, and Member Porter said it was only his opinion.
Mr. Quintas said that this meeting was not intended to have a recommendation from the Commission. Staff is simply soliciting input from the Planning and Zoning Commission members. Mr. Quintas stated that it was always the intention of staff to send the tree ordinance back to the TEC, Planning and Zoning Commission, and then to City Council. Mr. Quintas clarified that no official recommendation could be made on the ordinances tonight.
Chairman Severs said he hears that there are four Planning and Zoning Commission members that would like this to go back to the Titusville Environmental Commission before the Planning and Zoning Commission makes any recommendations. Chairman Severs asked if there is a motion.
Vice Chairman Richardson made a motion to not make any recommendations at tonight’s workshop, but to spend the next hour and twenty-minutes discussing what the Commission likes and dislikes about the three ordinances. Secretary Speidel seconded.
Roll call was as follows:
Secretary Speidel Yes
Member Porter Yes
Member Murray No
Member Parrish No
Member Grant No
Vice Chairman Richardson Yes
Chairman Severs No
Motion failed with a 3 yes, 4 no vote.
Member Murray made a motion that a representative from each of the ordinances be given five minutes to speak, then the Planning and Zoning Commission members each be given five minutes to speak, then any public present be given two-minutes to speak and then the meeting ends. Member Porter seconded.
Secretary Speidel said she does not want to move forward without first having the Titusville Environmental Commission’s recommendations.
Mr. Quintas said that staff values the Commissions’ input, but if the Commission decides not to give input tonight, then staff cannot guarantee that the Planning and Zoning Commission would be given another opportunity to give their input if the Commission decides to send the ordinances drafted by the public to TEC.
Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that tonight’s workshop is to allow for input and discussion from the Titusville Environmental Commission members who are present and for the Titusville Environmental Commission members to hear the input from the Planning and Zoning Commission members. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that the Titusville Environmental Commission will have opportunity to review the draft copy of the tree ordinance when complete.
Vice Chairman Richardson wanted to clarify whether or not Member Murray’s motion is including that a recommendation be made from the Planning and Zoning Commission at tonight’s workshop. Member Murray said she does not want any recommendations made at tonight’s workshop.
Roll call was as follows:
Member Grant Yes
Secretary Speidel No
Member Murray Yes
Vice Chairman Richardson Yes
Member Porter Yes
Member Parrish Yes
Chairman Severs Yes
Motion Passed with a 6 yes, 1 no vote.
Kay St. Onge, representative from the Tree Team came to speak. Ms. St. Onge said that the Tree Team took city staff’s version and amended it. Ms. St. Onge said she presented the Tree Team’s priorities and hi-lights to Ms. Busacca. Ms. St. Onge read from her priority list.
Mary Sphar, representative from the compromise ordinance came to speak. Member Grant asked Ms. Sphar about the area of the compromise ordinance which relates to lower mitigation requirements being a calculated risk. Member Grant said this is a lot of uncertainty. Ms. Sphar said she did not want to argue about points that they could not agree upon. Ms. Sphar said they would leave it up to the Commissions/Boards to decide.
Secretary Speidel asked what Ms. Sphar thinks of the TEC version. Ms. Sphar said that the TEC version recommends a higher tree canopy percentage and if there were no other considerations this ordinance would be the way to go.
Secretary Speidel asked how the compromise ordinance protects the Indian River Lagoon. Ms. Sphar said the compromise ordinance pushes Low Impact Development (LID) strategies.
Member Murray read from a handout that she had prepared and provided this handout to the recording secretary to be a part of the public record. The handout stated the following:
I want to start by saying I appreciate the effort that has been put into the three Ordinances that are in front of us tonight. It has been challenging to not only review all the materials sent but also balance the needs of all parties involved.
As an Environmentalist that is also pro-business I have struggled with the Ordinances. As I have stated before, I am pro Low Impact Development (LID). I even made the Motion that City Council “Require” LID as our Development Standard. My decision process tonight has to include the City Managers Report of November 24th that addressed the City Council Direction on Low Impact Development and the Staff-led Incentive Options that included Tree Credit.
As a Business professional I am aware of the tangible costs such as Roads, Sewers, Tree Preservation, Tree Mitigation, and the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) to name a few. As an Environmentalist I am aware of the intangible costs such as the loss of vegetation that provides habitat for animals, our water quality and quantity, the heat island affect, the impact of run off on the Lagoon, which directly affects quality of life and tourism and the desirability of our City to name a few. Then there is the grey area of mitigation of our actions by things like code enforcement and how that is calculated and who ultimately pays for it.
The Environmental concerns versus Business growth do not need to be an all or nothing approach. I believe we need to have an environmentally sensitive Ordinance that allows for negotiations with the Business that truly encourages LID.
I am also concerned that this only addresses new Development. I think we need to relook at the Public Landscape Trust Fund and align it to meet the needs of our Tree Canopy and conservation efforts. The Public Landscape Trust Fund can be used more effectively to address the tree exposure we have on private homeowner’s property along with proactively adding trees to public land. The following are a few considerations:
- Trees planted in Right of Ways that are owned by the City, County or Federal Government, but exclusive of County Parks and CRA efforts
- Homeowner outreach
- Communication and marketing plans surrounding benefits of trees and the success stories moving forward
- Education programs on proper tree planting and care along with what is the right tree for your circumstances
- Clearly defined tree definitions aligned with use (e.g. utility lines)
- Grants or subsidizes trees to make them cost effective
- Jobs program
At the end of the day our world is heating up. We can disagree why, but it does not negate the need to be proactive. If things were perfect we would all be looking to improve our environmental standing, minimizing turf grass and the need for fertilizing, limiting our watering, incorporating permeable surfaces, limiting powering washing of our walks and driveways, figuring out how to wash our cars without toxic soap, planting gardens for sustenance and bee habitat and all this without regulation.
Based on this I support the Compromise Ordinance with Canopy Growth. This will provide us with an opportunity to protect our environment while negotiating (encourage per City Council direction) with the Development community to utilize LID. It also includes Heritage Trees and Waivers under the guidance of the City Council while the grand trees are under the responsibility of the Administrator.
Secretary Speidel said she favors the Tree Team ordinance. She has concerns about enforcement of the compromise ordinance and the requirement for City Council approval of the grand trees. She said there needs to be stronger protection requirements of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). She is concerned with the waivers in the compromise ordinance. She likes the 40% vegetation requirement along the perimeters of the Tree Team ordinance.
Vice Chairman Richardson said he agrees with Secretary Speidel on many of her points. He has concerns with how the tree canopy is being calculated and would like to know what the actual tree canopy percentage in Titusville really is. He would like the language regarding the Administrator approve the removal process of grand trees be removed from the ordinance and that this process should go before the Titusville Environmental Commission and City Council, not an Administrator.
Member Grant said he does not believe that the compromise ordinance is a compromise because the TEC was not involved. He prefers the TEC ordinance because it preserves the most trees and would help the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). He likes Low Impact Development to help protect the IRL. He likes the idea of including heritage trees in developments, development should work around them. He disagrees with the point about not allowing the Administrator to be used. The Administrator should be used because Council is too busy with other things. He feels that the city should save as many trees as we can and not just plant trees that may not survive.
Member Porter said he appreciates all three groups that came up with ordinances, and feels that the differences in each ordinance is the extent of each ordinance. He said the Commission’s job is to come up with an ordinance with the maximum extent but also be fair. He said that the Titusville Environmental Commission needs to have an opportunity to review the ordinances and give their input. He does not feel that City Council should have to be involved with the heritage tree process and that the Administrator should be the one making decisions to remove grand trees. He believes there should be mitigation and incentives.
Member Parrish said she appreciates that everyone has done their homework. She said she does not think like everyone else. She said she has watched the air quality and water quality rules be abandoned and weakened and the few rules that are in place are not enforced. She said she cares about the IRL and anything that disrupts the rehabilitation of the water quality. She cares about the potable water supply. She is concerned about the sand dune recharge areas and wetlands being developed and filled. She said Titusville should require funds from developers who destroy canopy to buy properties for canopy areas and water recharge areas and natural preserves within the City. She does not think that limiting tree canopy to any percentage will accomplish anything without more effort from the City of Titusville.
Chairman Severs said he has reviewed adjacent communities’ ordinances, the TEC ordinance, and the compromise ordinance. Chairman Severs provided a handout to the Planning and Zoning Commission and staff with this feedback. A copy of this handout is provided as part of the public record and is available as a public record by request.
Bill Young, Titusville Environmental Commission member, came to speak in regards to this item. Mr. Young said nothing is ever done by Code Enforcement when trees are taken down. Mr. Young said that business may have the goal of population control by polluting the world enough to kill people.
Ms. St. Onge said that the goal of the Tree Team is to preserve trees for the IRL, St. Johns River, new aquifer and new residents.
Chairman Severs said he participated in a webinar provided by the St. Johns River and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding the status of the IRL. He said the status is that it is failing. Chairman Severs said something more needs to be done by State agencies; the current system is not working.
Laurilee Thompson said there were spawning horseshow crabs in the IRL and they were all under an enormous amount of suds. Ms. Thompson said that Indialantic is 100% compliant with the BMAP because of the use of swales. Titusville is only 37% compliant.
Vice Chairman Richardson asked that an agenda item be on the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting agenda to discuss how their recommendations are being presented to City Council. Chairman Severs said he saw a consensus from the Commission members.
Petitions and Requests from Public Present
Adjournment 6:54 p.m.