September 16, 2020 Minutes 6:00pm

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) of the City of Titusville, Florida met in regular session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, located at 555 South Washington Avenue on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

 

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Chairman Severs called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Vice Chairman Richardson, Secretary Speidel, Member Grant, Member Murray, Member Porter, and Member Parrish. Also, in attendance were Senior Planner Gabriel Quintas, Planner Navael Fontus, Assistant City Attorney Chelsea Farrell, and Recording Secretary Laurie Dargie.

 

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Vice Chairman Richardson wanted to clarify that the American Disabilities Act has been in place since 1990. 

 

 

Vice Chairman Richardson made a motion to approve the minutes from the September 2, 2020 meeting with a correction. Secretary Speidel seconded. 

 

Roll call was as follows:

 

Member Murray                      Yes

Member Grant                        Yes

Member Porter                        Yes

Member Parrish                       Yes

Secretary Speidel                    Yes

Vice Chairman Richardson     Yes

Chairman Severs                     Yes

 

Motion passed.

 

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Chairman Severs said agenda item 9B: SSA# 2-2020 Cottages has been withdrawn by the applicant and will not be heard tonight.

 

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Quasi-Judicial Confirmation Procedures

 

Chairman Severs said the rezoning on tonight’s agenda is quasi-judicial and read the procedures.

 

Chairman Severs and Member Murray said they did visit the site regarding SSA#3-2020.

 

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Consent Agenda Item

 

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Old Business

None

 

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New Business

SSA#3-2020 (Video start time 00:10:00)

Chairman Severs said before Staff gives the presentation on SSA#3-2020 he wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that the applicant held a community meeting on November 12, 2019, however that application was withdrawn. Chairman Severs asked if any of the Commission members have any objections regarding the applicant not holding a more recent community meeting. Vice Chairman Richardson asked where the community meeting was held. 

 

Rodney Honeycutt of 3700 S. Washington Avenue Titusville, Florida came to speak in favor of this item. Mr. Honeycutt said that the community meeting was held in his office. Mr. Honeycutt said he did call Titusville Centroplex and Grissom Centroplex and they are in favor of the project and did not need to meet. Mr. Honeycutt said he did not call Florida Railroad, Orlando Utilities or Florida Power & Light. Mr. Honeycutt said he did call the airport even though they are not in the radius and they are in favor of the project also.  

 

Chairman Severs asked if the Commission members are okay with the meeting being held a year ago on a different application. There were no objections from any of the Commission members to move forward with hearing the item. 

 

Mr. Quintas gave an overview of this item.

 

Member Murray asked for clarification of the City Council meeting date. Chairman Severs said it was June 9, 2020.

 

Member Murray asked for clarification as to how the Conservation Land Use is being allowed to be changed since the Comprehensive Plan says it cannot be changed. Mr. Quintas said if the wetlands survey shows that the wetlands have been mitigated and are no longer there or if there are no wetlands that correspond to the National Wetlands Inventory map, which is what was used to assign the land use, then it is permitted. Member Murray asked if the wetlands have been mitigated at this site. Mr. Quintas said yes, according to the applicant.

 

Mr. Honeycutt said when they were doing the platting of the project there was some Open Space and Recreation (OR) zoning in the area and they were not allowed to develop the OR areas as residential lots. They were allowed to develop them as a park or open area. They mitigated these areas with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and filled in the OR areas. They are now requesting to rezone these OR areas and turn them into residential lots.  Mr. Honeycutt said they worked with city staff on this a year ago and the procedures were spelled out on the approved plans. Mr. Honeycutt said he is requesting that the OR zone be changed to R1-C so the plat can be revised to make these areas lots.

 

Member Murray asked if the open space requirement is being met. Mr. Quintas said yes. Member Murray asked if this was considered conservation land. Mr. Quintas said according to the applicant this area was mitigated. Mr. Honeycutt said there are no longer any wetlands in the OR zone. Chairman Severs said because the wetlands have been filled. Mr. Honeycutt said yes, because they have been filled.

 

Chairman Severs asked Mr. Honeycutt how he got a permit from the City of Titusville to fill wetlands and destroy the trees and vegetation when he did not have the land use and the zoning. 

Chairman Severs asked Mr. Honeycutt if he received a permit to fill in the wetlands before changing the land use and rezoning. Mr. Honeycutt said they received a permit from St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and the Army Corps of Engineers.  Chairman Severs said he does not care about the SJRWMD because they do not control land use and zoning. Chairman Severs asked how Mr. Honeycutt secured a permit from the City of Titusville to fill the wetlands and destroy it when the land use and zoning does not allow it. Mr. Honeycutt said he disagrees that the land use does not allow it. The OR zone does not have anything to do with clearing and filling in the wetlands. The City of Titusville does not have a wetlands ordinance that says you can or cannot fill in wetlands. Chairman Severs said they were filled, so theoretically they could remain as community parks. Chairman Severs said he received a copy of the plat and these areas have been dedicated as community parks as of June 9, 2020. Chairman Severs said there was no disclosure to City Council that the wetlands were filled. Chairman Severs said he has no idea how a permit was secured to do this without the correct land use and zoning. Mr. Honeycutt said there is no other place in the county that you have to go through this procedure, other places have their own wetlands ordinances to follow or you follow SJRWMD. Mr. Honeycutt said the procedures they were following were spelled out on the plans. Chairman Severs asked why was the application withdrawn in November 2019. Mr. Honeycutt said he believes it was withdrawn because the wetlands were not filled or they did not receive the okay from SJRWMD that they met the permit requirements. 

 

Chairman Severs asked staff if the City of Titusville has jurisdiction over land use and zoning. Mr. Quintas said yes. Mr. Quintas said that the Conservation Land Use does not control the filling in of wetlands. If someone has a permit from SJRWMD the city cannot stop that. Mr. Quintas said that one of the objections that has been raised in the past is a land use cannot be changed in conservation areas until the wetlands are filled. This is one of the reasons staff recommended this be done prior to the changing of the land use. If it was wetlands the argument would be why are we changing the land use. Chairman Severs said the rationale seems to be fill in the wetlands so the land use and zoning can be changed. Chairman Severs said he has never seen this done this way. Typically, you would apply for the land use and zoning you would like on the property before you get any permits. Mr. Honeycutt said he agrees that he has never seen this done this way before, it is always done upfront. Mr. Honeycutt said that this is why it was spelled out on the plans because it is always done upfront before development is started.

 

Chairman Severs asked if what Mr. Honeycutt was saying is that city staff told him to do this process. Mr. Honeycutt said that city staff told him they could not approve changing the OR zoning with the existing wetlands on the property. Chairman Severs said he needs an explanation from staff regarding why this was done. Mr. Quintas said the position of staff is, if there are wetlands on a site, how could staff recommend approval on a site that has wetlands to remove the Conservation Land Use. Chairman Severs said that it looks like the City of Titusville allowed permitting for the18 lots with wetlands to be filled. Mr. Quintas said the lots that were allowed to be platted were lots that only had a portion of Conservation Land Use. The others that contained all Conservation Land Use could not be subdivided. The common areas in the plat were not allowed to be platted. Mr. Honeycutt said the way it was explained to him was this was a technicality and the way the OR zone is defined, they could not apply for a land use or rezoning with wetlands on the site. Chairman Severs said he apologizes for coming at Mr. Honeycutt because it seems he was forced to proceed this way. Mr. Honeycutt said he could not have received approval any other way. 

 

Chairman Severs said he does not understand how the permits were issued without the correct land use and zoning. Chairman Severs said as he understands it, the City of Titusville still controls land use and zoning. He said if the City of Titusville thinks that an area should remain wetlands and conservation because it meets the criteria of the Comprehensive Plan, then the City has a right to say that regardless of what SJRWMD says. Mr. Honeycutt said that the City of Titusville does not have a permitting process for wetlands. So, he followed the SJRWMD and Army Corp of Engineers processes. The City of Titusville said that as long as there were wetlands it could not be rezoned to residential. Chairman Severs said the Comprehensive Plan says on conservation OR zoning district the permitted use is one unit per five acres. Therefore, one residence could be built on the areas with wetlands.    Chairman Severs said that the plat will have to be amended to include the 18 lots. Mr. Honeycutt said yes.

 

Member Parrish asked for clarification that this project went to City Council, City Council reviewed a plat for 61 lots, City Council supported that, some of the property were wetlands, the applicant went to get permits regarding wetlands and before rezoning the wetlands were filled in. Chairman Severs said the wetlands were more than likely filled in before the June 9, 2020 City Council meeting. Member Parrish asked how was that allowed. Chairman Severs said that from what he understands the City of Titusville doesn’t have a wetlands process and defers to SJRWMD and SJRWMD permitted it. Member Parrish asked when the permit from SJRWMD was received. Mr. Honeycutt thought it was about a year or more ago. Member Parrish asked why City Council wasn’t told upfront about filling in the wetlands. Mr. Honeycutt said that the procedures that they were following were spelled out on the plans and it did not say to inform City Council. Chairman Severs pointed out that the permit from SJRWMD authorizes 61 lots not 79 lots.   Chairman Severs asked if this was an issue. Mr. Honeycutt said that SJRWMD is concerned with how stormwater, flooding, and wetlands are dealt with as proposed not the number of lots. Chairman Severs asked if this could be easily amended. Mr. Honeycutt said yes.

 

 

Chairman Severs went over the sequence of events:

 

  • April 2016 - the property was rezoned from R2 to R1C
  • June 12, 2018 -City Council approved sketch plat with 61 lots and areas as community parks 
  • October 2, 2019 - Permit issued by the city. 
  • October 2, 2019 - Preliminary plat approved 
  • June 9, 2020 – Plat was approved for 61 lots

 

Secretary Speidel asked if this is approved would there be no recreation and conservation within this development. Mr. Honeycutt said this is Phase 1 and there is no specific recreation in Phase 1 but in the overall development of Verona there will be recreation space. Secretary Speidel asked if the zoning is changed does the Comprehensive Plan allow for recreation and open space within this plat. Chairman Severs said that the land use and zoning does allow for open space recreational on the community park areas. Secretary Speidel asked if he should have within this area recreation and conservation land allocated. Mr. Quintas asked if Secretary Speidel is referring to the 35% open space on Planned Development, she said yes. Mr. Quintas said no. 

 

Chairman Severs asked Mr. Honeycutt if the requested number of acres to be changed is 4.53. Mr. Honeycutt said yes.  Chairman Severs asked if Mr. Honeycutt’s client would consider creating 4.53 acres of wetlands out of existing uplands on this site. Mr. Honeycutt said his client is not here to ask but he doubts that they will because his client is already saving over 200 acres of existing wetlands on this site. Mr. Honeycutt said he feels this is sufficient. Mr. Honeycutt said that development started on this site many years ago but the great recession stopped it. There was mitigation for the wetlands done years ago and they still have credits from the onsite and offsite mitigation. Mr. Honeycutt said their Environmentalist is taking care of the credits.  This site is over 600 acres and they are doing their best to development this site with minimal impacts. Member Murray said she wanted to point out that they have already paid out 10 credits to the Farmington Mitigation Bank. 

 

Member Murray said she feels that the Commission is put in a corner because of how the process was done. Member Murray said that she feels the city needs to take a look at how to better handle this process so it does not happen like this again in the future. Mr. Honeycutt said he feels like they have been backed into a corner also because they had to follow the procedures to fill in the wetlands to move forward with requesting the land use and zoning change.  The balance of the property is in the PUD and the process will be different than this process because it is the 35% open space requirement. Mr. Honeycutt said KB Homes is interested in moving forward with the next phases so the Planning and Zoning Commission will be seeing a sketch plat in the future for this phase. Member Murray stated that all involved feel disjointed by this process. She appreciates Mr. Honeycutt’s input as to the other city’s processes for this so the City of Titusville can look at fixing this process. 

 

Chairman Severs said he does remember the history of this site. Chairman Severs said he does understand that many people in the city are anxious for this property to get started. 

 

Mr. Quintas said he feels that there has been a lot of misrepresentation being said. Mr. Quintas said Staff did not tell anyone to fill in wetlands and does not advocate filling in wetlands. Staff said it would be difficult to support a request to change Conservation Land Use if wetlands were still present on the site. Chairman Severs said that is a green light for filling in wetlands. Mr. Quintas said that the city has no control over the filling in process. Chairman Severs said it sounds like what is being said is that the City of Titusville has no process in place regarding the filling in of wetlands.  Mr. Quintas said the City of Titusville follows the SJRWMD and accepts what their determination is, the City of Titusville does not have their own internal process. Chairman Severs said what he feels is being said is, go get a permit from SJRWMD and destroy the wetlands so there is no longer conservation and wetlands and the city will support a land use and zoning change to something else. Mr. Quintas said that is not what is being done. Mr. Quintas said that the way the Comprehensive Plan is written, it is very difficult to support a request when there are wetlands present. Chairman Severs asked why the city just doesn’t simply say no it can not be done. Chairman Severs said the Comprehensive Plan says when you have wetlands of five acres or more, “it shall be conservation land use”. You don’t have a choice. Mr. Quintas said that a property owner can fill in wetlands on their property without the city’s knowledge and bring in information regarding the property showing no wetlands and the city would have to review what is given to them by the applicant. Chairman Severs said that in the case that wetlands are filled-in illegally without a permit, they should restore it. Legal action should be taken to require the wetlands to be restored. Mr. Quintas stated he agreed, without issuance of a land disturbance permit. Chairman Severs said in regards to this agenda item, was the Legal Staff consulted by the Planning Department on this process and procedure to allow this to occur. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said at the stage of permitting, no. At the stage as being presented tonight the Legal Department was involved in the review. Chairman Severs said he is baffled by the process.  

 

Secretary Speidel agrees with Member Murray that this process needs to be reviewed. 

 

Stan Johnston of 860 Poinsettia Avenue came to speak neither for nor against this item.

 

Member Murray said this is a broken process. She wants to be careful moving forward with communicating to City Council that this process needs to be fixed so this doesn’t happen again. Member Murray said she does not want to penalize this applicant because they followed the process they were given. Member Murray asked if the city did not require the applicant to go to SJRWMD would this situation have occurred? If the city had its own wetlands process, the city could have controlled this situation. Mr. Quintas said he is unsure if the applicant would have had to go to SJRWMD regardless. Member Murray asked whether the situation could have been prevented where they come in for a rezoning and they have already filled in the wetlands. Mr. Quintas responded that the zoning does not control the filling, the zoning controls the uses. Mr. Quintas said that the city would issue a land disturbance permit based upon what the SJRWMD says can be done. Member Murray asked if a land disturbance permit was issued for this project. Mr. Quintas said yes, a site development permit.  Mr. Quintas said that one of the problems that Staff foresaw was that some members of the Planning and Zoning Commission had concerns about changing zoning and land use on lands that were still wetlands. The argument was made at one or more meetings by members of this Commission as to how this could be done.  Staff took this into consideration when they advised the applicant. 

 

Member Murray said this is a broken process and it needs to be made clear on the process when moving forward. Member Murray would like to know how to make this a recommendation to City Council that this process needs to be fixed moving forward. Member Murray asked for Staff and Legal to help with crafting this recommendation so City Council knows the concerns.

 

Chairman Severs said there are two items before the Commission tonight. Item 1. A Comprehensive Plan Amendment to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) by replacing the Conservation land use designation with the Medium Density Residential. Item 2. Rezoning request to replace the Open Space Recreation (OR) zoning district with the Single-Family High Density (R-1C) zoning district.

 

 

(Video start time 01:11:22)

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Member Murray made a motion to approve SSA#3-2020 to amend the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) by replacing the Conservation land use designation with the Medium Density Residential. Member Porter seconded. 

 

 

Roll call was as follows:

 

Secretary Speidel                    Yes

Member Porter                        Yes

Member Murray                      Yes

Member Parrish                       No

Member Grant                        Yes

Vice Chairman Richardson     Yes

Chairman Severs                     No

 

Motion passed with a 5 yes, 2 no vote.

 

Member Severs said he voted know because he does not believe this is compliant with the following: Policy 1.14.5, 1.14.8, 1.16.2, Strategy 1.16.2.1, Policy 1.16.3 and Policy 1.16.4. These were found on pages 6,7,and 8 of the staff report included in the agenda packet. 

 

Chairman Severs said another provision of the Comprehensive Plan that controls this is Strategy 1.6.3.2 which says a minimum wetland of 5 acres or more in size shall be designated as Conservation Land Use. 

 

Chairman Severs said he would be willing to modify that if the applicant would agree to take existing uplands of 4.53 acres and convert into wetlands. 

 

Member Parrish said she voted no because in the words of her mother “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

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Member Murray made a motion to approve the request to replace the Open Space and Recreation (OR) zoning district with the Single-Family High Density (R-1C) zoning district. Vice Chairman Richardson seconded.

 

 

Roll call was as follows:

 

Member Grant                        Yes

Secretary Speidel                    Yes

Member Murray                      Yes

Vice Chairman Richardson     Yes

Member Porter                        Yes

Member Parrish                       No

Chairman Severs                     No

 

Motion passed with a 5 yes, 2 no vote.

 

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Chairman Severs voted no because he does not believe the Comprehensive Plan should have been amended as such. 

 

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Member Murray made a motion to recommend that Staff review the subdivision development process to prevent the filling of wetlands prior to change to Open Space & Recreation (OR) zoning and Conservation Land Use. Vice Chairman Richardson seconded.

 

Roll call was as follows:

 

Member Speidel                      Yes

Member Porter                        Yes

Member Parrish                       Yes

Member Murray                      Yes

Vice Chairman Richardson     Yes

Member Grant                        Yes

Chairman Severs                     Yes

 

Motion passed.

 

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Petitions and Requests from Public Present and Press

 

Stan Johnston of 860 Poinsettia Avenue Titusville, Florida came to speak. Mr. Johnston spoke about a document that was done in June 2019.  

 

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(Video Start time 01:27:18)

Chairman Severs shared that the Planning and Zoning Commission received notice of an e-mail received from Guin Johnston on Tuesday September 15, 2020 at 9:56pm. Chairman Severs shared some information from the e-mail. Chairman Severs asked Assistant City Attorney Farrell if the Planning and Zoning Commission has any jurisdiction over the four requests made in the email from Ms. Johnston. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said no. 

 

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(Video Start time 01:32:01)

 

Reports 

 

City Council Summary of Action August 25, 2020 

Chairman Severs asked that the City Council Summary of Action from the August 25, 2020 meeting be changed regarding item 6C: Planning and Zoning Commission to reflect that he said that Alternate Member Jan Cary missed three (3) consecutive meetings. He did not say missed more than three. 

 

City Council Summary of Action September 8, 2020 

No comments

 

Mr. Quintas had an informational handout for each of the Commission members regarding webinars and events that the Commission members might be interested in. 

 

Assistant City Attorney Farrell advised the Planning and Zoning Commission that the City has received a resignation letter from School Board Member Gibson Boyer. Therefore, this position is now open to be filled.

 

Assistant City Attorney Farrell wanted to discuss the city issued e-mail addresses and to make sure that communication is being done effectively through e-mails. Assistant City Attorney Farrell requested that each of the Planning and Zoning Commission members let her know if they would prefer to use the city issued e-mail or their personal e-mail addresses so that Staff is only having to send communication to one e-mail address per individual. She asked that they let her know sometime after the meeting what their e-mail of choice would be. Assistant City Attorney Farrell also stressed the importance of communicating to the Recording Secretary whether or not a Commission member will be able to attend a meeting. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that a response is needed for each and every meeting so that Staff can prepare and know who is attending the meeting or not. The city cannot assume that a Commission member will attend a meeting without a response. Assistant City Attorney Farrell suggested that discussion take place by the Commission to determine what is the best way to handle this communication back to the Recording Secretary. Member Porter asked if the response should be given by a certain time. Assistant City Attorney Farrell said that she did suggest to Staff that a deadline be set so that the Commission members know when they need to respond by and we can have a consistent approach. Vice Chairman Richardson said that the agendas are typically received on the Friday before the meeting, and he suggested the deadline be the Monday before the meeting by end of business. The Commission agreed to have the response deadline be the Monday before the meeting by 5:00pm. 

 

Chairman Severs said that the Recording Secretary confirmed that all notices are sent to all Commission members, regular and alternate, at the same time. Chairman Severs said that proper notice is given to everyone at the same time. Chairman Severs said that an alternate member has chosen to serve on the Commission and should want to stay abreast of what is going on. The By-Laws are clear that alternate members should be at all meetings. Chairman Severs read from the By-Laws. Chairman Severs said that the By-Laws are written to state that all members should be present. Chairman Severs said to tell an alternate member that they do not have to show up because there is not a seat available is not what is contemplated by the By-Laws. Chairman Severs said if this needs to be changed then fine, but as of right now that is how the By-Laws are written. Chairman Severs said that the alternates need to be told by Staff and be made aware that this is what the By-Laws state so that they clearly understand. 

 

Chairman Severs thanked Staff for providing the guidelines for protecting yourself from the virus. However, it was guidelines for employees of the City and doesn’t really cover Commission members. Chairman Severs said he will be providing information to the City Attorney regarding what churches and volunteers use.

 

Chairman Severs thanked Staff for providing the Basin Management Action Plan. 

 

Chairman Severs said that he did receive communication about a webinar from FDEP which speaks about the Indian River Lagoon. Chairman Severs said that Florida Today had an article regarding the Indian River Lagoon.

 

Chairman Severs said that the Commission received an e-mail from Kay St. Onge requesting a tree ordinance workshop. Chairman Severs asked when that would be scheduled. Mr. Quintas asked if the Chairman was referring to a workshop between Staff and the Commission. Chairman Severs responded that the item was tabled so that various groups can meet, but they never took action. Mr. Quintas responded that Staff is working on this and would probably need another three or four weeks.

 

Chairman Severs said the Commission received an e-mail with comments from Mr. Klein. 

 

Chairman Severs said he was going to talk about attendance but this was covered by Assistant City Attorney Farrell. 

 

Chairman Severs said he feels at the last City Council meeting one of the Planning and Zoning Commission members was attacked because of his comments allegedly made at the September 2, 2020 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. Chairman Severs said he is concerned because there seems to be a misunderstanding about alternate members getting notice. Chairman Severs read from page 9 of the September 2, 2020 Planning and Zoning minutes. Chairman Severs said he reviewed the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting video. Chairman Severs said at the September 8, 2020 City Council meeting a citizen spoke and said that at the last Planning and Zoning Commission meeting there was discussion about an alternate. The citizen said that Vice Chairman Richardson spoke angrily about the alternate missing three meetings. Chairman Severs said that Vice Chairman Richardson did not speak angrily and anyone can view the meeting for themselves. Chairman Severs said that notice was given and he wanted to clear this up. Chairman Severs said that he was simply following the By-Laws. 

 

Member Parrish said she wanted to apologize to everyone because it was her seeking appointment as a regular member that caused this mess. She was arguing that she was more qualified than the alternate for the position rather than just having an alternate member elevated to the regular position. Member Parrish apologized and asked if the Commission could press on. Chairman Severs agreed.

 

Vice Chairman Richardson said he received an e-mail from Stan Johnston, the Thursday after the September 2, 2020 meeting. Vice Chairman Richardson provided a copy of the e-mail to all Planning and Zoning Commission members. Vice Chairman Richardson said he gave Mr. Johnston additional speaking time at the September 2, 2020 meeting. He said he received an e-mail from Mr.  Johnston and he did not respond to the e-mail. He also received a phone call from Mr. Johnston. Vice Chairman Richardson played a voicemail from Mr. Johnston. Vice Chairman Richardson said what Mr. Johnston said was malicious slander and he will not stand for that. Vice Chairman Richardson said Mr. Johnston feels he has the right to speak and Vice Chairman Richardson said he has a right to his reputation.  

 

Member Murray said she attended the Florida APA virtual conference. She attended 11 sessions and it was very good with a lot of information. They will be providing materials from the conference at a later date. 

 

Member Murray said she has been researching mitigation dollars and there is not a mitigation dollar option for Brevard County. 

 

Adjournment 8:05pm