Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

September 22, 2009

3:00 pm

 

 

Committee Members Present:      Wayne Simmons; Paul Burchard; Joe Hilliard; Carey Soud; Tom Duda; Don Schrotenboer; Margaret England; Dick Crockett; Melanie A. McGahee; Callie Walker

 

Committee Members Absent: Sherri Denning

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Planning and Zoning Department; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Nicole Ryan and Kate Crosley, Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Pete Quasius, Audubon; Mitch Hutchcraft, Consolidated Citrus; Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association;  Tom Conrecode and Ray March, Collier Enterprises; Phil Flood and Agnes Ramsey, South Florida Water Management District; Maria Musler, Century 21; Mel Karau, West Hendry Community Council

 

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:10 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

A motion to approve the agenda was approved unanimously.  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

a.     September 1, 2009

A motion was made by Callie Walker and seconded by Vice Chair Carey Soud to approve the minutes of September 1, 2009.  The Committee approved the minutes unanimously.  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

                       None.

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

a.     South Florida Water Management District Presentation regarding US Sugar

 Acquisition:

 

 

Agnes Ramsey made a presentation regarding the US Sugar purchase and the impact the purchase will have upon Everglades’s restoration. A copy of the slide show will be made available to the committee members and the public.

 

Ms. McGahee noted that the US Sugar acquisition does not address the water quality problems north of the lake. Ms. Ramsey agreed and stated that every public participation team mentioned the same issue.  She explained that there is a need for 200,000 to 300,000 acre feet of storage needed north of the lake to help with water quality.

 

Also discussed were the C-43 Reservoir project; basin storage reservoir; US Army Corps of Engineers’ approval expected in January 2010; and funding by Congress.

 

 

b.     Future direction of committee presented by Chris Scott of RWA, Inc.:

 

Mr. Scott noted that the recommendations are targeted to be complete by the end of November.  Mr. Scott distributed an outline of some of the major issues that need to be discussed.  Mr. Scott also said that the matrix with the Goals, Objectives and Policies will be emailed to members.

 

Chairman Duda stated he would like the Committee to know the specific items they will be discussing prior to the meetings.

 

Mr. Crocket asked if recommendations could be handled through electronic communication.  Mr. Cautero stated that they would need to comply with Sunshine laws.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked about the status of the population methodology. Mr. Cautero said that the final draft should be in this week but probably won’t be drastically different than the BEBR numbers.

 

 

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

September 1, 2009

3:00 pm

 

 

Committee Members Present:      Wayne Simmons; Paul Burchard; Joe Hilliard; Carey Soud; Tom Duda; Don Schrotenboer; Margaret England; Dick Crockett; Melanie A. McGahee; Sherri Denning;

 

Committee Members Absent: Callie Walker

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Planning and Zoning Department; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Richard Woodruff, WilsonMiller; Andrew McElwaine, Nicole Ryan, Jessica Stubbs, and Kate Crosley, Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Pete Quasius, Audubon; Mitch Hutchcraft, Consolidated Citrus; Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association;  Laura DeJohn, Johnson Engineering

 

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:06 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Mr. Hilliard to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Schrotenboer and approved unanimously.  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

b.     August 18, 2009

The Committee approved the minutes unanimously.  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

c.     Conservancy of Southwest Florida Presentation:

 

Ms. Ryan talked about the need for balance, specifically how the County should view its agricultural lands?  Issues discussed included:

 

 

            Consideration of a neutral category and tax breaks.

           

 

Ms. Stubbs discussed the data layers and need for connectivity with existing managed lands.

 

Mr. Duda questioned the neutral category concept.

 

Ms. Ryan raised the issue of receiving a bonus for a short-term easement and then developing the property and receiving a bonus.  The preference is a temporary agricultural easement with tax break in lieu of a density bonus.

 

Mr.  Duda questioned the type of incentives and whether this would be voluntary.

 

Ms. Ryan recommended that the owners of agricultural property should offer their opinion on the subject.  Issues to discuss could include tax breaks or smaller credits through the transfer of development rights program.

 

Mr. Woodruff raised a question about one of the maps used in the presentation.

 

Ms. Ryan stated the map was a first draft.  There was some concern raised by the Conservancy about hr sending and receiving zones being scattered

 

A question was raised about the size of the buffer.

 

Ms. Stubbs stated that it was 3.3 km.

 

Mr. Hilliard said the map shows five miles.

 

Mr. Hilliard asked if the Conservancy was against burning.

 

Ms. Stubbs said the Conservancy supported controlled burning.

 

                             Ms. Ryan stated the intent is to keep agriculture in the rural areas and not necessarily

                            Convert the land to development.

 

 

Mr. Hutchcraft questioned Conservancy staff if they supported a TDR program that contained incentives

 

Ms. Ryan said that the Conservancy does not object to density bonuses, but that a need should be demonstrated to receive them.

 

Mr. Soud asked if the Rural Land Stewardship Area in Collier County contained layers.

 

Chris Scott stated the RLSA in Collier contains detailed site specific data paid for by the landowners, whereas Hendry is utilizing available data that is shown at the county and region level.

 

Mr. Hutchcraft stated this is an important point.  The layers used in the Hendry study are broad.  Also, the RLSA in Collier didn’t provide agriculture value in initial phase.

 

 

d.     Sustainable Development Presentation by Johnson Engineering:

 

Ms. Laura DeJohn provided an Introduction of the justification for sustainable standards.  She referenced the Hendry County Evaluation and Appraisal Report and that sustainable standards are one of the goals in the Rural Lands Study.   Highlights of the presentation included:

·         Potential for seven development units per acre;

·         LEED ND and FGBC Green Development Standards;

·         Community Organic Farms;

·         Mr. Duda questioned if there are successful examples in Florida.  He stated he didn’t believe it could work due to the heat in Florida.

·         Recommendations for Hendry:

·         Remove impediments (i.e., separation LDR’s, single use zoning, big setbacks, etc.)

Mr. Hutchcraft stated the need for predictability.  He has concerns with LOS Standards and population accommodation.  He recommended a message be sent to DCA that these practices do not allow for effective long term planning.

 

e.     Towns Villages Hamlets (RWA) Presentation by Chris Scott of RWA, Inc.

Items for discussion included: how towns, villages, and hamlets would be developed; commercial requirements; and spatial analysis and build out potential.

 

Ms. Ryan questioned the issue of maximum density.

 

Mr. Hutchcraft stated he believed three development units per acre would be difficult to obtain.

 

Ms. Ryan raised a concern about the separation requirement.

 

Mr. Hutchcraft stated the five miles separation requirement seems arbitrary.

 

Mr. Scott stated the separation was included to help limit the potential for sprawl.  Hamlets are envisioned as a small rural development, not simply as a subdivision.  Hamlets allow for a slight increase in density but the separation requirement ensures that a rural character is maintained.

 

Mr. Woodruff stated he would not be in favor of a TDR Conversion because commercial only works where there are houses.

 

Mr. Scott stated the conversion of TDR units into commercial sq. ft. may be a viable option for the Compact Rural Economic Centers, since these developments are not required to have a residential component.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 5:05 pm.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

August 4, 2009

3:00 pm

 

 

Committee Members Present:      Dick Crockett; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Joe Hilliard; Don Schrotenboer; Carey Soud; Wayne Simmons; Callie Walker

 

Committee Members Absent: Paul Burchard; Sherri Denning; Melanie A. McGahee

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Craig Bartoshuk; Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association; Richard Woodruff, Wilson Miller; Brad Cornell, Audubon; Nicole Ryan, Conservancy of SW Florida

 

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:11 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Ms. Walker to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Schrotenboer and approved unanimously (8-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

c.     June 16, 2009

Motion by Vice Chairman Soud to approve the Minutes.  The motion was seconded by Ms. Walker and approved unanimously (8-0).  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

Chairman Duda mentioned that there wasn’t a quorum for either of the July meetings and asked that Mr. Cautero verify everyone’s schedules for future meetings.  Mr. Cautero stated his office would coordinate with the Committee members by email.  Ms. Walker stated that she has a conflict on the August 18 meeting.

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

f.        RALS Review: Sending and Receiving Lands Analysis and Introduction to Performance Bonus; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Mr. Scott stated that today’s presentation is the same from the July 21 meeting and pertains to Sending and Receiving Lands Valuations and Bonuses.  He stated he is also prepared initiate discussion on the Performance Bonus.  Mr. Scott noted that at the previous meeting, Patrick Vanasse with RWA noted that the Committee should decide how detailed their recommendations will be.  For example, is the Committee prepared to make recommendations on the GIS model and layers that are used to rank sending lands or specify the density bonuses for the Tiered TDR Program, OR is the Committee more comfortable making broad recommendations in support of such a program, while leaving the details for the future?  Mr. Scott noted that the State could provide some of the expertise to help with identifying environmental preservation priorities.

 

Mr. Scott discussed the Natural Resources Valuation Model and the environmental data layers that were included into the GIS program.  Mr. Scott discussed the acreages that were categorized as low, medium, and high sending lands and the bonuses that are proposed for the preservation of these areas.  He noted that the resulting density would be a factor of the acreage that is placed into an easement.

 

Mr. Scott asked some prepared questions to help stimulate discussion.  In regards to the Natural Resource Value Model, is there too much or too little sending land; are there environmental layers that should be added or removed; and are the layers weighted appropriately.

 

Mr. Crocket asked if this (how sending lands were determined) is similar to other programs.  Mr. Scott noted that there are similar models throughout the State, but they all use unique characteristics.  He stated that they intentionally tried to keep the model included in the RALS as simple as possible.  Mr. Woodruff stated that the Hendry example is similar to other programs, but not the exact numbers.  He noted that Secretary Pelham (DCA) had a criticism with Collier County’s program in that it was too complex.  Mr. Crocket asked if this matrix passes a reasonability test.  Mr. Woodruff stated that it does in his opinion, although it may not pass the test in other people’s opinions.  He added that the Committee needs to determine whether it is reasonable. 

 

Mr. Schrotenboer stated that the program is ultimately a business decision, and that if it makes good business sense it will move forward.  He stated that it’s difficult to answer these questions without seeing the whole picture and determining if there is balance between sending and receiving to ensure that bonuses aren’t over or undervalued.

 

Ms. Ryan introduced herself to the Committee and stated that the Conservancy has been reviewing the proposed sending lands.  She stated that they did have some initial concerns with some of the data.  For instance, she felt it didn’t value uplands enough.  Also, she felt the model resulted in dispersed sending areas and would like to add layers to help connect these isolated pockets.  Ms. Ryan passed out a map (attached) showing the areas of concern.  She stated they would like higher weight for primary panther and dispersal zones, as well as Florida Forever projects. She noted that the Conservancy will be prepared to make recommendations for additional data layers to be included in the Environmental Valuation Model.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked whether this would add complexity to the program, which was a complaint the Conservancy had with the RLSA program in Collier County.  Ms Ryan stated she didn’t feel that some additional layers would make the RALS program too complex.

 

Vice Chairman Soud asked what layers they would like added.  Ms. Ryan didn’t have a final determination, but noted layers such as Strategic Habitat may be appropriate.

 

Mr. Scott had concerns with adding Florida Forever lands, since one of the ranking factors is size of property.  He also asked whether Florida Forever lands could be added as he was under the impression that statutes precluded local governments from making land use decisions based on whether property is included as a targeted list.  Ms. Ryan stated that since this is a voluntary program, the statute would not apply. 

 

Vice Chairman Soud asked if we should target two acres of receiving land for every acre of sending land.  Mr. Scott noted that was a recommended ratio presented by Dr. Nichols, who is considered a local expert on TDRs in Florida.  Ms. Ryan stated that receiving should be limited, so as not to encourage a sprawling pattern.  Mr. Woodruff stated that you need a market competing for a commodity, and just because you have 400,000 acres of receiving land doesn’t mean it will all be developed; there would need a market place of competition.  Mr. Woodruff noted that Collier County’s Rural Fringe didn’t have enough receiving land to spur that competition, which is why, in his opinion, it was not successful.  Ms. Walker stated that there is a need to locate development in appropriate areas. 

 

Vice Chairman Soud asked about the number of dwelling units that could be generated.  Mr. Scott stated that it is very difficult to answer the question given all of the variables.  For example, the proposed program requires developments to be a certain size and prohibits new towns or villages from being located within several miles of one another.  Ms. Ryan stated that the Conservancy has calculated the program could generate 811,000 dwelling units.  Mr. Scott stated that he met with Steven Brown of the Conservancy, who developed that projection, to discuss how his methodology had several errors.  He noted that the Conservancy projection included both the highest possible Receiving Bonus and Agricultural Bonus, however, no property could receive both (a specific area could not be developed as a new town or village and be preserved for agriculture).  Mr. Scott acknowledged that the RALS program would result in more dwelling units then currently could be developed, and noted that they are trying to establish build-out potential.  Mr. Woodruff asked that the Committee keep in mind that this program isn’t going to result in the maximum number of units that could be built.  He noted that any proposed development would still be required to get a DRI or other approval and would need to justify why it should be built.  He stated that this Committee should be looking at this study in a holistic way.

 

Mr. Scott discussed the performance standards, stating that this bonus would be a multiplier applied to the number of units for a new town or village.  He then discussed the mandatory and optional standards.  A question was asked about fiscal neutrality.  Mr. Scott stated that fiscal neutrality ensured that development wasn’t occurring at the expense of the county or taxpayer. 

 

Ms England asked about the Dark Skies mandatory element and also whether wildlife crossings should be included.  Mr. Scott stated that the County does not currently have a dark sky provision, and noted that this may be more appropriate as an optional element.  He stated that these standards are for new towns or villages and that wildlife corridors would not be located as part of an urban town or village.  He stated that wildlife crossings are addressed within the transportation policies.

 

Ms. Ryan asked for clarification regarding the language “mandatory” and asked why a bonus is given to developments that meet these mandatory elements.  Mr. Scott stated that the term mandatory, as used in this section, related to the mandatory elements needed to achieve the bonus.  He stated that land development regulations, or zoning provisions, will be developed for New Towns, Villages and Hamlets that will be required to be met and these “mandatory elements” would be above and beyond.  Ms. Ryan stated that she felt “mandatory” was confusing and recommended using the term “baseline.”

 

Mr. Cornell stated that the Sending and Receiving lands seem tough to implement and noted the RALS should incorporate incentives for industrial and commercial centers. 

 

Chairman Duda reminded everyone to review their schedules and that Mr. Cautero would be coordinating the next meeting.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:40 pm.

 

 


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

July 7, 2009

3:00 pm

 

NOTE: DUE TO LACK OF QUORUM, THE 7/7/2009 MEETING WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL MEETING THEREFORE THE FOLLOWING SUMMARY IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED AS OFFICIAL MEETING MINUTES

 

 

Committee Members Present:      Paul Burchard; Wayne Simmons; Callie Walker

 

Committee Members Absent: Dick Crockett; Sherri Denning; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Joe Hilliard; Melanie A. McGahee; Don Schrotenboer; Carey Soud

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Pete Quasius, Audobon; Tom Jones, Barron Collier Companies; Amber Crooks and Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy of SW Florida; Mitch Hutchcraft, Consolidated Citrus

 

 

 

The meeting began at 3:15 pm.  Mr. Scott noted that there is not quorum present, so this is not an official meeting.  Mr. Scott introduced Mr. Andrew McElwaine, CEO of the Conservancy of SW Florida, who was here to present on the Florida Panther Protection Program.

 

Mr. McElwaine thanked the committee members for the opportunity to speak and noted that since this is an informal and intimate setting, that he would not use the PowerPoint presentation; although he would provide copies of the presentation to the Committee members (a copy has been distributed).

 

Mr. McElwaine provided a brief background on the Conservancy of SW Florida, which was founded in 1964 and has four main areas of focus: wildlife hospitals; an educational component; biologists; and a public policy division headed by Nicole Ryan.

 

Mr. McElwaine discussed Market Based Incentive Programs.  He stated his background in this area and provided his general thoughts on market based incentives.  Mr. McElwaine stated that in order for them to work, you need scarcity – there needs to be a cap, and they work well on highly regulated industries.  He noted that the problems with these incentive programs is 1) leakage: a program says it will only allow so much but there will always be extra; 2) additionality: Is the credit being claimed – is it an additional benefit; and 3) balance: are the benefits equal on both sides – is the value of what is being given up equal to what’s provided.

 

Mr. McElwaine talked about his concerns with the Collier RLSA program and mentioned that in his opinion, there are too many credits and no cap.  He noted that the RLSA has never had a third party transaction, which he feels is a sign that there are too many credits.  He also discussed that there is a question of who pays for the resulting infrastructure needs, noting that it is supposed to be the developer.  He noted that this isn’t always true and cited a lack of impact fees from Ava Maria is resulting in the County having to pick up the cost for improvements to Oil Well Road.

 

Mr. McElwaine referenced the Growth Management Act and that Counties and Cities are required to designate the location, distribution and extent of development on all amendments.  He felt the RLSA does not do this and the result would be the potential for development to occur anywhere.  He stated that there needs to be more specificity.

 

Mr. McElwaine stated that a major issue with the RLSA is the Agricultural Credits which are coming from such a large area.  He stated that despite these issues, he does not recommend doing away with the RLSA and go back to a 1 dwelling unit per 5 acre development pattern.

 

Mr. McElwaine discussed the Florida Panther, noting that it is a wide ranging species.  He noted that US Fish and Wildlife’s only leverage is “jeopardy” opinion, i.e., will development jeopardize the species.  He discussed Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) and the Critical Habitat Designation and noted that they do not have to be considered exclusive options.  Mr. McElwaine stated that within a Critical Habitat designation, economic impacts to landowners must be considered.  He stated that the designation would not affect private property only federal projects.  He clarified that this would include any project (even privately initiated) that requires federal permits.  He stated that the designation and HCP would also provide important information to landowners.  He stated that 36% of species have both a HCP and a designated habitat.

 

Mr. McElwaine summarized his thoughts for this Committee.  He stated that the County needs to avoid the complexity found in the Collier RLSA program.  More complexity requires more consultants and ultimately increases the expense of transactions.  Mr. McElwaine noted that the Hendry TDR Program was well on its way to being a simpler tool.  He stated that the County should provide a cap or scarcity.  Mr. McElwaine stated that he likes the TDR Program, but noted that location, distribution and extent of development needs to be specified.  He stated that he favors development along SR 29, SR 80 and the River, and Clewiston – i.e., where infrastructure already exists.  He encourages that development not be located where there is no existing infrastructure.  Mr. McElwaine stated that market based incentives work, but it must be in a structured environment.

 

Mr. Scott asked for clarification regarding Collier County and the lack of a cap, noting that he thought there was a cap on the amount of development that could occur.  Mr. McElwaine stated that there is a concern that the RLSA provides more credits than are necessary to achieve the 45000 acre cap, which could lead Bert Harris claims.

 

Mr. Simmons asked how transactional costs can be reduced.  Mr. McElwaine discussed the idea and benefits of a mitigation bank.  Mr. Simmons noted that costs tend to be higher when government gets involved as opposed to the free market.

 

Ms. Crooks referenced the need to quantify potential buildout in correlation to projected population from BEBR.

 

Mr. Quasius asked how that issue could be addresses,  and asked if there are currencies other than density  or the right to build that could be offered to incentivize appropriate types of development.  Mr. McElwaine stated that he felt increased development rights is the right thing to do, but you need to ensure that development goes to appropriate areas.  Ms. Walker noted that Hendry County has a grossly underdeveloped infrastructure system and referenced issues with the proposed Bonita Bay development.

 

The meeting ended at 4:25.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

June 16, 2009

3:00 pm

 

Committee Members Present:      Dick Crockett; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Melanie A. McGahee; Don Schrotenboer; Carey Soud

 

Committee Members Absent: Paul Burchard; Joe Hilliard; Sherri Denning; Wayne Simmons; Callie Walker

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Pete Quasius, Audobon; Amber Crooks, Conservancy of SW Florida; Steven Brown, Conservancy of SW Florida; Nancy Payton, Florida Wildlife Federation; Elizabeth Fleming, Defenders of Wildlife; Tom Jones, Barron Collier Companies; Brad Cornell, Audobon; Mitch Hutchcraft, Consolidated Citrus

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:20 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Mr. Soud to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Ms. McGahee and approved unanimously (6-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

d.     June 2, 2009

Motion by Mr. Schrotenboer to approve the Minutes.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Crocket and approved unanimously (6-0).  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

a.   Florida Panther Protection Program; Nancy Payton. Florida Wildlife Federation; Elizabeth Fleming, Defenders of Wildlife; and Tom Jones, Barron Collier Companies

 

Mr. Scott introduced Nancy Payton with the Florida Wildlife Federation, who has agreed to come and speak on the Florida Panther Protection Program (FPPP).

 

Ms. Payton introduced Brad Cornell, Collier Audubon, Elizabeth Fleming, Defenders of Wildlife and Tom Jones, Barron Collier Companies, and thanked the Committee for inviting them to speak.  Ms. Payton also acknowledged Mr. Schrotenboer, who has participated in the development of the FPPP.  She noted that the presentation will be divided into three segments.

 

Ms. Payton provided an overview of the FPPP.  She stated that the development of the program includes enhancements to the Collier County RLSA program as well as a Fund, or Endowment for the Florida Panther.  Ms. Payton called the FPPP a Vision or Strategy; she noted that it does not override other regulatory provisions.  The FPPP was a collaborative effort of conservation groups and landowners. 

 

She also stated that the FPPP will be ensured to be scientifically sound.  She noted that a group of biologists and other specialists, including many from Fish and Wildlife, have been reviewing the Program.  Specialists include Darryl Hand, Dan Smith, Chris Beldon, Randy Coots, Tom Logan and Dave Schindel (spelling of names?).  Their completed final draft is scheduled to be ready in July.

 

Mr. Jones stated that the FPPP is the result of a two-year process.  He noted that there has been a lot of discussion between landowners and conservation groups and that he feels the end result is a benefit to both landowners and the panther. 

 

Mr. Jones discussed the proposed Paul Marinelli FPP Fund.  He noted the proposal is for development to pay $75.00 for each Panther Habitat Unit (PHU).  For comparison, he stated that Ava Maria generated approximately 45,000 PHUs.  Mr. Jones also noted there would be an Environmental Transfer Fee tied to the sale of property in the area, which would be approximately $100-200.  In total, the FPPP anticipates the fund to generate $150 Million by 2050, which will be administered by an independent entity and governed by a Board of Directors comprised of all participants.  The money could be used to acquire land, make improvements such as restoration or panther crossings, and could be used for areas outside of Collier County.

 

Mr. Jones noted the FPPP also requires additional panther mitigation (25%) for development impacts to primary habitat in the RLSA area.  Mr. Jones discussed the proposed corridors, North and South, to help link known habitat areas.  To help these corridors become reality, the FPPP ties into the RLSA program to provide incentives to preserve land and create, enhance or restore such corridors. 

 

Mr. Jones discussed the Agricultural Preservation credit which targets 44,000 acres on the eastern edge of the RLSA area.  

 

Ms. Fleming stated that she got involved due to concerns with the effectiveness of Federal regulations, which weren’t protecting habitat.  She discussed the next steps for the FPPP.  She noted that the Panther Review Team (PRT) report will serve as the basis for continued discussion on a balanced economic panther program.  She stated that there the landowners have developed a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and have been in discussions with US Fish and Wildlife and noted that there would be more scientific review.

 

Mr. Jones noted that the 2050 RLSA Concept Plan and stated that the lighter green area is agricultural area and the red is the 45,000 acres of potential development area.  Chairman Duda asked what the incentive is for the areas in light green (agricultural areas).  Mr. Jones stated that there is a proposed credit for agriculture preservation.  He stated that currently, agricultural lands can develop at 0.2 units per acre and that the credit would allow for up to 2.6.  Chairman Duda asked what the value is for the credits or acres.  Mr. Jones stated that there haven’t been any open market transactions to date, so they have viewed the value as the land value.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer clarified that the Collier RLSA program utilizes credits which do not equate to dwelling units, but rather the credits entitle acres that can be developed.  The current RLSA program requires 8 credits to entitle one acre, but that will be increased to 10 credits with these revisions.  Mr. Cornell noted that the type of development is also important, in that the program requires sustainable design practices.  Mr. Jones noted that they were prepared to discuss the FPPP and that they could come back and speak about the RLSA program if desired.  Ms. McGahee said she would like that.  Mr. Scott said that he would coordinate with Ms. Payton for a future presentation.

 

Ms. Crooks stated that she is working with Steven Brown and will be attending future meetings in his place.  She stated that the Conservancy supports incentive based programs.  Ms. Crooks noted that there are other conservation groups that are not supportive of the FPPP and that the Conservancy will be making a presentation regarding their concerns at the July 7 Ad Hoc Committee meeting.

 

Mr. Quasius discussed the width of the panther corridors.   He stated that Tom Hoctor felt that if the corridor is a quarter mile long, then a 100 yard wide corridor would be sufficient; however if the corridor is longer, then the width should be increased to a minimum of 300 yards.

 

Mr. Jones noted that the FPPP has not been adopted yet and the details will need to be hammered out during the Habitat Conservation Plan approval process.

 

Chairman Duda thanked the speakers for presenting on the FPPP.

 

b.   RALS Overview: Proposed Tiered TDR Bonuses; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

Mr. Scott made a presentation the proposed bonuses provided in the Tiered TDR Program.  Mr. Scott noted that the bonuses were previously discussed, but he wanted to provide a quick refresher on them before we begin to look at each bonus individually in the next couple of months.

 

Vice Chairman Soud asked how the agricultural easements affect taxes.  Mr. Scott stated he did not know the answer to that question.  Mr. Quasius noted that recent legislation may allow for reduced taxes.  Ms. Payton stated that the intent of that legislation was for conservation easements and not for agricultural easements.  Mr. Hutchcraft noted that the taxes would be a function of the assessment, so if it were used for agriculture purposes, the taxes would reflect that.  Mr. Schrotenboer stated that if the land were placed into a conservation easement, then the taxes would be lessened.

 

Mr. Cornell asked about the number of units/amount of development that could be generated by the program.  Mr. Scott stated that the total number of units that could be generated would exceed what is available today due to the bonus density incentives, but that a buildout scenario has not been finalized yet.  Mr. Scott did say that on a given project, the density can be increased from approximately 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres to 1 dwelling unit per acre; however, the development footprint would be reduced significantly to achieve that density, going from 100% developed to a ratio of 3:1 to 5:1 conservation land to developed land.   Mr. Hutchcraft noted that this plan is looking long-term, which currently isn’t allowed by DCA.  Mr. Cautero asked what the planning horizon is for the Collier RLSA program.  Mr. Cornell stated he was not sure; however the original RLSA went to 2025 with a buildout of 2050.

 

It was discussed that there should be extensive coordination with adjacent counties, especially on land uses and panther corridors.  Ms. England asked about panther crossings along SR 80.  Mr. Cautero noted that there are not any current plans since the road expansion is a long way out; possibly as late as 2035.  Ms. Fleming noted that DOT typically will provide crossings in Panther Areas.  Ms. Payton stated that in order for a crossing to be provided, it is important to be able to demonstrate that a panther can get to and from it.  She noted that DOT looks to see if there is an existing easement or conservation land on both sides of the proposed crossing location.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

May 5, 2009

3:00 pm

 

Committee Members Present:      Paul Burchard; Dick Crockett; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Joe Hilliard; Wayne Simmons; Don Schrotenboer

 

Committee Members Absent: Sherri Denning; Melanie A. McGahee; Carey Soud; Callie Walker

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Pete Quasius, Audubon; Richard Woodruff, Wilson Miller; Ron Hamel, Florida Gulf Citrus Growers Association; Steven Brown, Conservancy of SW Florida; Mitch Hutchcraft, Consolidated Citrus; Melvin Karau, 5190 Ft. Denaud Road

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:10 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Chairman Duda stated that in addition to the items on the printed agenda that Vince Cautero will be speaking on the Comprehensive Plan update procedures under Old Business. 

 

Motion by Mr. Hilliard to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Schrotenboer and approved unanimously (6-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

e.     April 21, 2009

Motion by Mr. Crocket to approve the Minutes.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Hilliard and approved unanimously (6-0).  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

a.     Relationship of Committee Recommendations with Ongoing Comprehensive Plan Updates; Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director

Mr. Cautero presented on how the Committee’s recommendations on the Rural and Agricultural Lands Study (RALS) will work with the Comprehensive Plan amendments that are ongoing.  Mr. Cautero noted that the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) was the start of the process.  The EAR is a required review and assessment of the local Comprehensive Plan that must be conducted every seven years by the local government.  The County submitted the EAR to the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in early 2008.  The EAR was approved by the BOCC in April 2008 and accepted by DCA in summer of 2008. 

 

The next step is to adopt Comprehensive Plan Amendments based on the EAR (EAR-based amendments).  The EAR reviews all elements of the Comprehensive Plan, i.e., Future Land Use, Transportation, Capital Improvements, etc., and also identifies major areas of concern as identified by the local government.  Hendry County’s major issues included Housing, Economic Development, and Rural and Agricultural Lands. The rural and agricultural lands issue was furthered with a grant for the RALS, which was prepared by RWA. 

 

Mr. Cautero noted that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) acknowledged that the County needed public comment and Committee input on the recommendations included within the RALS, which led to the establishment of this Committee.  This Committee is tasked with reviewing and amending, as needed, the recommended Comprehensive Plan amendments included in the RALS.

 

Mr. Cautero discussed the process for the EAR-based amendments, noting that recommendations will go before the BOCC, and also go before the Local Planning Agency (LPA) since they involve land use.  The LPA will hear the recommendations first and either remand or recommend they move forward with Public Hearings.  One public hearing is mandatory, but there may be several.  Once complete, the recommendations will then go to the BOCC.  The BOCC will have workshops on the EAR-based amendments and then hold one formal public hearing for Transmittal.

 

After Transmittal is approved by the BOCC, the amendments will be forwarded to DCA for State review.  The State will issue an Objections, Recommendations and Comments Report (ORC) back to the BOCC.  The BOCC will then hold a public hearing for adoption of the EAR-based amendments.

 

Chairman Duda asked when the Committee needs to have the recommendations done.  Mr. Cautero stated he would like to have them complete by Thanksgiving, which will allow six-months to get through transmittal.  Mr. Cautero stated that the Committee will provide a report on the recommendations to the LPA and BOCC.  A presentation will also be provided by the Committee since this will not be a Consent Agenda item.

 

Mr. Simmons asked what the BOCC does after they receive the ORC from DCA.  Mr. Cautero answered that the BOCC must address the ORC as part of the Adoption hearing.  Once adopted, the State basically says yes or no.  Mr. Cautero noted that there is also an appeals process.  Mr. Hutchcraft stated that appeals go to an Administrative Law Judge and then to the Cabinet.  Mr. Brown stated the appeals go to the Department of Judicial Hearings.

 

Chairman Duda asked if a Comprehensive Plan Amendment must be entirely in compliance or if it can be approved as individual sections.  Mr. Cautero stated that he was unsure but would likely propose that some go individually and specifically referenced the Water Supply Plan and Density Increases.

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

a.     May 19, 2009 Meeting – Cancel/Reschedule Discussion

Mr. Scott stated that there is a conflict on the May 19 date with all day WRAC meetings and an Inland Port meeting in Clewiston and noted that the Committee may want to reschedule the meeting.  Mr. Scott also stated that Commissioner Turner expressed that some Committee meetings should be held in Clewiston in order to be accessible to eastern residents who have not been able to attend to date.  Mr. Scott stated that the 5/19 meeting was tentatively scheduled to include a presentation on the Florida Panther Protection Plan from Ms. Nancy Payton and others.  Mr. Scott also noted that the Conservancy asked to present on the Panther Protection Plan (likely at a separate meeting from Nancy Payton’s group) and that it was recommended to have a future presentation from Phil Flood or Ed Hamlin of SFWMD to discuss the regulatory aspect of Water Ranching in combination with an environmental advocacy view from John Capece of Riverwatch.  Mr. Hutchcraft stated it would be nice to have a property owner who is involved in a project come and speak.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked if there are any notification issues if the Committee changes the meeting date, time or location.  Mr. Cautero stated that it would be re-advertised; if the Committee decides today, then the ad could be in next Thursday (5/14) paper allowing a one-week notice.

 

Mr. Hilliard proposed having the next meeting here in LaBelle, then having a meeting in Clewiston in June. 

 

Chairman Duda recommended that staff send an email to canvass the Committee members on what days/times work best for the 5/19 meeting date and asked that we coordinate with Nancy Payton to reschedule. 

 

(Based on the email coordination, the May 19 meeting has been moved to May 21, at the regularly scheduled time and location)

 

b.   RALS Overview: Goals, Objectives and Policies Relating to Natural Resource Protection and Sending Lands; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

Mr. Scott made a presentation on the Objectives and Policies pertaining to Natural Resource protection and Sending Lands and stated that the minutes for this meeting will include an attachment that reflects Committee discussion and concerns as well as recommended changes in strikethrough and underline format.  (The specific GOPs are included as an attachment with recommended changes and discussion points.)

 

Mr. Hutchcraft recommended removing Hamlet from Policy 1.3.1.1, since Hamlets cannot be self-sustaining due to their size limitations.  Mr. Schrotenboer asked if the Policy needed to describe Transect, since it is described in another Policy.  Mr. Woodruff suggested including Conservation Subdivisions as another type of permitted development type.  Mr. Hutchcraft recommended including “and other innovative planning techniques” so that more flexibility is provided.  The Committee discusses conservation subdivisions and Mr. Simmons asked what types of agriculture in regards to intensity would be allowed in a conservation subdivision.  Mr. Woodruff answered that very intense agriculture could remain and referenced the Policy on Agriculture having primacy over other uses.

 

In regards to a County Land Acquisition program, as referenced in Policy 1.3.1.2, Mr. Hutchcraft noted that Farm Bill programs cannot make a landowner participate.  Mr. Quasius stated the County should consider a program similar to Lee, Collier or Charlotte County, and that lands acquired for preservation by the County should be able to help satisfy required recreation area.

 

Mr. Woodruff stated that controlled burns should be referenced in Policy 1.3.1.4.  Mr. Hilliard noted that Public Conservation Lands lack funding to manage lands.  Ms. England noted that conservation lands have problems with hogs.  Mr. Hutchcraft stated that Agricultural uses should be allowed in conservation lands where appropriate.  Ms. England stated that hunting should also be allowed, because it helps maintain ecological quality and species diversity.

 

Ms. England noted that many non-County agencies require an education program as referenced in Policy 1.3.1.6, such as IFAS and the Florida Division of Forestry, and that those plans should be allowed to meet this policy.

 

During discussion of Policy 1.3.2.1, Mr. Hutchcraft stated that his concern with preserving Sending Land language, is that Sending Lands only look at existing conditions.  Therefore, it does not specifically encourage or incentivize restoring habitat.  Mr. Scott stated that there is language requiring ground truthing, and that additional language can be included to allow for consideration of restoration plans when calculating density incentives.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer noted that Policy 1.3.2.2 regarding Protection of Existing Property Rights contradicts with Policy 1.4.1.4, which requires residential developments not utilizing the Tiered TDR Program to preserve 50% of gross acreage as open space.  Current regulations only require 5% open space.  Mr. Scott stated that the RALS includes both regulatory and incentive based provisions and this was one of the regulatory provisions that were recommended.  Mr. Scott asked for feedback from the Committee.  Mr. Cautero noted that the EAR recommended changing the existing 5% open space requirement.  Mr. Schrotenboer stated that this is a regulatory requirement and that he is opposed.  Mr. Woodruff recommended that Policy 1.4.1.4 include language that if you choose to use the TDR then you must cluster as described.  Mr. Hutchcraft stated that since this is an overlay, then it shouldn’t regulate but incentivize.

 

Ms. England asked what the buffer requirement to the Caloosahatchee River in reference to Policy 1.3.2.6.  Mr. Woodruff stated there is a Corp of Engineers maintenance easement that is variable width.  Mr. Crocket expressed concern with the language “significant waterways” which could be open for debate.  Mr. Quasius felt that in addition to the Caloosahatchee, other significant waterways in Hendry County are Jack’s Branch and Bee Branch.  Mr. Hutchcraft stated that a Map showing these waterways would be beneficial.  Mr. Woodruff suggested dropping everything after Conservation Lands in the first sentence.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked that the Deeds and Covenants language be added to Policy 1.3.3.4.  Mr. Hutchcraft expressed concern about how this would be enforced and questioned putting a language pertaining to the use of another property in a covenant.

 

Mr. Hutchcraft noted that public access onto a private conservation easement, as encouraged by Policy 1.3.4.1, may not be wanted by the Property Owner.

 

Mr. Hutchcraft stated that Policy 1.3.6.2 should clarify that it pertains to public roads, and is not applicable to private roads or drives used for agriculture or forestry purposes.

 

Ms. England recommended adding conservation subdivisions as a development that would require a Habitat Conservation and Species Management Plan per Policy 1.3.7.2.

 

Mr. Hilliard expressed concern that any “Dark Sky” regulations would affect agricultural endeavors.  Mr. Scott stated that language can be added to limit regulations to non-agricultural development.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked if a TDR Bank reference should be incorporated into Policy 1.5.1.1.  Mr. Scott stated he would check to see if there is a separate policy dealing with the possibility of TDR Bank; however, he noted that the Policies only provide the framework for establishing a TDR program.  The details, including the establishment of an acquisition program and county-run TDR bank, would be addressed through separate ordinances.

 

In response to Policy 1.5.2.1, Mr. Hutchcraft noted that language should be added regarding restoration, which can help connect existing natural lands by being the “missing link.”

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked when could a property owner sell or transfer development rights during review of Policy 1.5.2.2.  Mr. Scott answered that the TDR units, including density bonuses, would need to be reviewed and approved by the County and would be certified, or available to be transferred, once an easement is recorded.  Mr. Schrotenboer noted that Collier County established a “Reverter Clause” that allows for an easement to be removed and density units reestablished on property that does not sell, trade or develop the credits within a specified time period.   Mr. Quasius stated there is a similar policy in regards to Amendment 4.  Mr. Scott stated that would be a good provision to include to this Policy.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:55 pm.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

April 21, 2009

3:00 pm

 

Committee Members Present:      Paul Burchard; Dick Crockett; Sherri Denning; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Melanie McGahee; Wayne Simmons; Carey Soud; Callie Walker

 

Committee Members Absent: Joe Hilliard; Don Schrotenboer

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.; Patrick Vanasse, RWA, Inc

 

Public Present:                            Pete Quasius, Audubon; Richard Woodruff, WilsonMiller, Inc.; Stephanie Dunn, Home and Ranch Real Estate; Dan Rutledge, US Department of Agriculture; Mel Karau

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:10 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Mr. Simmons to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Ms. Walker and approved unanimously (9-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

f.        April 7, 2009

Chairman Duda noted that Mr. Schrotenboer could not attend the meeting but has submitted a request for minor revisions and clarifications to the April 7th Meeting Minutes.

 

Chairman Duda asked a question about who would be responsible for a quarterly report to the County Commission, as referenced in the 4/7 Minutes.  Mr. Cautero stated that typically the Chairman would give the update, but staff would participate in part of the presentation and answer questions.  Mr. Cautero noted that staff and the consultants will be meeting with Commissioners this week to provide an informal update.

 

Motion by Mr. Simmons to approve the Minutes.  The motion was seconded by Ms. Walker and approved unanimously (9-0).  

 

 

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

b.     Meeting Frequency

Chairman Duda stated that he had asked this to be put on the 4/7 agenda to discuss whether the Committee should move to a once per month meeting schedule given the six-month extension granted by DCA.  He stated that it is his personal preference to continue at the current two meeting/month schedule to get through the process.  Mr. Crockett stated that he felt the consensus of the Committee was to continue at two meetings per month, but they decided to revisit the issue this month.  Mr. Soud also agreed with the two meetings per month.  Mr. Simmons noted that it is sometimes difficult to make summer meetings with vacation schedules.  Ms. England asked if a member who could not attend a meeting in person could participate by conference call.  Mr. Cautero stated that doing so is difficult with Sunshine Laws, but is doable.  Ms. Denning noted that Committee members should be able to make at least one of the two meetings each month.  Ms. Walker noted that she would not be able to attend either of the June meetings.  Chairman Duda confirmed that the Committee will continue at the current schedule of two meetings per month.

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

b.     PRESENTATION: Farm Bill 2008; Dan Rutledge, USDA/NRCS

Mr. Scott introduced Dan Rutledge who was invited to speak about the programs available through Farm Bill 2008.  Mr. Scott provided Mr. Rutledge an update on the role of the Committee and the Rural and Agricultural Lands Study.   

 

Mr. Rutledge stated that USDA and his office also wanted to keep agricultural land in agriculture, and noted that there is a lot of money available through Farm Bill and FSA to protect natural resources and produce crops.  Mr. Rutledge explained that their programs look at water quality issues, natural resources, and wildlife habitat, primarily panther and bear habitat.  The most recent Farm Bill was passed in December 2008 and was locally adopted in the past two weeks.  The Bill includes funding for many existing and proposed conservation programs. 

 

Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) received $1.2B.  Mr. Soud asked how much Florida receives.  Mr. Rutledge noted that he will discuss Florida’s share later in the presentation.  The individual payments for EQIP are limited to $300K for the life of the latest bill (five-years), which is down from $450K from the 2002 Farm Bill.

 

Other Farm Bill 2008 programs are intended to assist organic producers, forest management, and to target socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers.  Socially disadvantaged include non-white males.

 

Mr. Rutledge discussed spending in Florida.  There is $150K for Conservation Innovation Grants, which is money for Beginning Farmers.  Mr. Rutledge stated the LaBelle office had 83 signups for the latest EQIP funding.  Last year the LaBelle office had just over $3M in funded projects, out of $12M for the entire state.  Chairman Duda asked if all of the money was distributed.  Mr. Rutledge stated that all money is distributed, noting that he does receive funding until the projects are submitted.  Mr. Rutledge stated that projects within the Panther dispersal area get priority and will be funded, as this improves habitat.

 

Mr. Rutledge discussed the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), which involves a landowner placing a conservation easement on property with wetlands.  The Program pays the landowner $5,800/acre to preserve the wetlands.  The property owner retains ownership of the land which can be used for light grazing, but cannot introduce grass.  The easement is perpetual, and the payment is a one-time payment that is taxed.  Chairman Duda inquired about acreage in Hendry County participating in WRP.  Mr. Rutledge stated that there is currently about 7,000 acres already in an easement and his office has received inquiries from an additional 15,000 acres.

 

Mr. Rutledge briefly referenced the Conservation Innovative Grants and the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) as cost-share programs that could benefit agricultural landowners.

 

Mr. Vanasse asked how USDA ranks applications.  Mr. Rutledge stated they utilize Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) maps and receive input from US Fish and Wildlife. 

 

Mr. Woodruff asked if the easements allow for density to be transferred or sold.  Mr. Rutledge answered that USDA requires the development rights and that nothing could be built on the property.  Mr. Woodruff noted that an easement for 10-acres, which would be equal to two units, would be equal to $58,000.  There was discussion from the Committee as to whether the achievable density from the easements could be transferred or sold to other locations.  It was believed that USDA would acquire the development rights but would not look to sell or transfer them.

 

Mr. Simmons asked what the landowner is required to do, with regard to maintenance.  Mr. Rutledge stated the landowner must control the invasive species on the property and can graze with native vegetation.  USDA would pay the expense of restoring the native wetlands, but the landowner is responsible for obtaining the permit.

 

Mr. Rutledge acknowledged there are benefits and costs associated with these programs.  Typically, the applicants that they see are older farmers who want out of the crop business but want to maintain the property.  Mr. Rutledge stated that a landowner can save some land to build one lot.  Mr. Rutledge summarized that the ERP program is intended to restore and manage lands.

 

Mr. Vanasse asked if maintenance expenses are different for upland or wetland portions of a site.  Mr. Rutledge stated that they prefer sites that have both uplands and wetlands, but did not address the cost of maintenance.

 

Mr. Simmons noted that these programs are similar to some SFWMD projects and asked if USDA outranks the District.   Mr. Rutledge stated that both entities are on equal footing, but USDA cannot override the Water Management District.  Mr. Rutledge stated the situation is different with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Mr. Rutledge noted that Partnership Initiative is another 2008 Farm Bill program, but that he is not familiar with it.  He recommended members visit the USDA website to obtain additional information.

 

Mr. Rutledge discussed where EQIP money is going.  He stated Florida is set to receive $15,482,000 out of the $650M available country-wide.  He discussed the national priorities for EQIP projects: Water Quality and Water Quantity – local office looks at TMDL areas (primarily east of the Caloosahatchee); Wildlife Habitat; and Erosion Control (not typically applicable in Florida).  Mr. Rutledge noted that there is a 50% cost share to implement BMPs, and that property owners cannot qualify if they make over $1M in gross sales (2/3 must be direct agriculture sales).  Mr. Woodruff noted that there is still funding limitations and that the RWA proposal provides an incentive based program to obtain easements that don’t require taxpayer money.

 

Mr. Rutledge reminded the Committee to go to the USDA website for additional information, including the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP).  He noted that the PowerPoint that was handed out was available online.

 

Chairman Duda thanked Mr. Rutledge for presenting on the programs administered through his office.

 

Mr. Quasius provided an update on the development rights associated with the US Sugar Buyout land, stating that SFWMD Assistant Executive Director Tom Olliff had told him that if the property has a funded project associated with it then the development rights would be extinguished.  If the property does not have a funded project and could be sold or swapped in the future, then the property rights would be retained.  Mr. Quasius stated that this is the policy that SFWMD stated they will be pursuing for all future acquisitions but would not be implemented retrospectively.  Mr. Quasius noted that the 40,000 acres of US Sugar Land in Hendry County is all proposed to be utilized for water treatment/storage.  Mr. Cautero asked what steps the District would take to do this.

 

Mr. Woodruff noted that the County could create a new Future Land Use Category, such as a WMD Category, that has no density associated with it (0.00 du/ac), and ask that the density that previously existed before the purchase be placed into a pot that could be used as incentives.  For example, the 40,000 acres can be designated this new Category, and the 8,000 dwelling units (1 du/5 ac) that could have been developed under the Agriculture Future Land Use Category can be retained by the County. 

 

Vice Chairman Soud stated that he thought the District said the density could be transferred.  The Committee discussed the nuances of transferring density versus extinguishing density.  Mr. Cautero stated that “transfer” implies that the District would buy the property and then retain the available density to be transferred or sold to another party to be developed in another area.  By extinguishing the density, this allows the County to claim the achievable 8,000 dwelling units as lost density in support of increasing density at another location, i.e., no net increase in density.

 

Mr. Scott stated that the County could utilize this additional density, in addition to other areas that have extinguished density (such as USDA easement land), to help justify the incentive units provided by the TDR Program.  Mr. Cautero stated that he felt these units should be distinguished separately from the TDR Program because the TDR bonus units involve a financial transaction.  Mr. Woodruff stated that Collier County implemented an early entry bonus for RLSA projects proposed during the first five years.  Mr. Vanasse stated that an early entry bonus still required developments to meet the intent of the program (i.e., preserve substantial environmental areas, flow ways, etc), so it isn’t considered “free density.”

 

Mr. Woodruff noted that there is the need for a new easement program that allows for various agricultural uses, noting that the proposed term of agricultural easements are long in duration.  Mr. Simmons stated that no one is going to stay in agriculture if it is not economically viable.  Ms. Walker asked what happens after 20 years and the easement is up.  Mr. Woodruff stated that the property could go back to full development rights after the easement expires.

 

Mr. Quasius stated that Amendment 4 deals with similar issues relating to taxes.  Currently, the only option allowed on easements is grazing, which does not necessarily meet the landowner or environmental needs.  USDA is primarily concerned with the protection of the wetland.

 

Mr. Simmons asked what happens with density from Florida Forever Lands.  Mr. Quasius stated he did not know.  Mr. Woodruff stated that it goes back to the enabling legislation: If it says they can’t sell the density then it simply disappears.

 

 

 

 

 

b.   RALS Overview: Goals, Objectives and Policies Relating to Natural Resource Protection and Sending Lands; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

Due to time limitations, this presentation was not made.  Chairman Duda noted that this item will be discussed at the next meeting.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 5:10 pm.


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

Emergency Medical Services Station, Training Room

1050 Forestry Division Road

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

 

April 7, 2009

3:00 pm

 

Committee Members Present:      Paul Burchard; Dick Crockett; Margaret England; Joe Hilliard II; Melanie A. McGahee; Don Schrotenboer; Wayne Simmons; Carey Soud

 

Committee Members Absent: Sherri Denning; Thomas Duda; Callie Walker

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Vince Cautero, Hendry County Administrative Services Director; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Public Present:                            Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association; Pete Quasius, Audubon; Steven Brown, Conservancy of SW Florida; Stephanie Dunn, Home & Ranch Real Estate Company

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Soud at 3:06 p.m.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Mr. Schrotenboer to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Hilliard and approved unanimously (7-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

g.     March 17, 2009

Motion by Mr. Schrotenboer to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Simmons and approved unanimously (7-0).  

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

c.     Questions raised by Vice Chair Soud

Vice Chairman Soud stated he has begun compiling a list of questions that can demonstrate some of the due diligence completed by the Committee, which can be forwarded to the County Commissioners.  He stated he had talked to a couple Commissioners regarding the RALS and noted that they did not have a deep understanding of the issues.  Vice Chairman Soud noted that additional questions can be added to the list as they arise, and that this could be a good way to keep the Commission informed of some of the issues being discussed.

 

Mr. Simmons stated it may be a good idea to present a quarterly report to the Commission.  Ms. England asked if the Commission receive copies of the Minutes.  Mr. Cautero stated that the Commission is not currently receiving copies of the minutes.  He stated the intention to provide the Commission with an update midway through the Committee’s review process, which would likely be in May or after the Commission’s summer hiatus in June.

 

Mr. Scott went over the questions presented by Vice-Chairman Soud.  He noted that Pete Quasius had forwarded the questions to Brad Cornell who is on the Collier County RLSA Review Committee.  A copy of the questions and responses are attached to these minutes.  

 

In regards to question 2 relating to lending practices in respect to Sending and Receiving designation, Mr. Schrotenboer noted that lands values would be lessened for sending areas that have voluntarily removed uses.  Mr. Simmons noted that there is a need to identify how easements will work.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer stated that there needs to be a balance between Sending and Receiving values in order for the program to be successful during discussion of question 3.

 

The committee discussed question 4 and how the Study has been vetted.  Mr. Scott noted that there was extensive public participation during the development of the Study, especially with agricultural representatives and large land owners.  Mr. Hamel stated that everyone agrees with the concept, but the details need to be developed.  Mr. Simmons asked if the Collier RLSA has had an impact on the value of land.  Mr. Hamel stated that it has had a positive benefit, primarily for the larger property owners, and that the current review process is trying to ensure it is beneficial to all property owners.  Mr. Schrotenboer noted that all the projects in Collier have come from single owners of large property, so there hasn’t been an open market exchange for RLSA credits between various property owners.  Mr. Simmons expressed that the biggest concern with any program is how it will affect property values.

 

Mr. Scott asked for clarification on question 6, and whether it is asking if a TDR or RLSA program can be effectual if there were other means to increase density.  Vice Chairman Soud confirmed that is what the question is asking.  Mr. Scott stated that in order for any incentive program to be effective, that it takes strong leadership from the local government.  Density should only be increased by utilizing the program and applications for Future Land Use amendments or rezonings should not be approved unless they meet the intent of the program.  Mr. Scott stated that there should not be any granting of “free density,” which elicited a high five between Mr. Quasius and Mr. Brown.

 

Mr. Scott discussed the process that is recommended as part of the Study in response to question 7.  Mr. Scott noted that there would be a future meeting dedicated to this topic, and noted that the Study includes only the Comprehensive Plan policies related to a TDR Program.  The details would be developed as part of changes to the Land Development Code.  Mr. Scott stated that proposals for a New Town or Village would be required to go through a DRI process because the minimum size requirements for those uses exceed the DRI thresholds for Hendry County.

 

b.   RALS Overview: Proposed Sending Lands Criteria and Introduction of the Century Commissions Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP); Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.

 

Mr. Scott noted that they planned on having a speaker today to discuss the Florida Panther Protection Plan, which would lead into this discussion of proposed Sending Lands Criteria; however, the presenter was not able to attend.  Mr. Scott stated that they would try to reschedule those meetings.

 

A question was asked regarding the impact of the proposed Panther habitat area designation.  Mr. Quasius noted that typically when a species is included on the Threatened or Endangered List, that a habitat area is also designated; however, this was not done with the Florida Panther.  The Conservancy has sent a letter to President Obama seeking to have the Panther Zones so designated.  Mr. Scott noted that this would require additional review for any State or Federal application within this area.  Mr. Schrotenboer stated that this would also increase expenses for panther mitigation.

 

Mr. Scott discussed Objective 1.5.2 and Policies 1.5.2.1 and 1.5.2.3, which relate to the Sending Lands and the Natural Resource Valuation Model.  Mr. Scott noted that Policy 1.5.2.1 could add the words “regional and” before countywide in the last sentence of the first paragraph.  Mr. Scott discussed the environmental data layers included in the Study, which include Wetlands, Hydric Soils, Native Vegetation, Public Lands, Panther Zones, Panther Telemetry and other listed species telemetry (non-panther).

 

Mr. Scott stated that Public Lands are included to help identify corridors.  The Committee discussed whether public lands could participate in the TDR Program and asked if there has been a determination of the development rights on SFWMD property.  It was noted that STA5 could sever the development rights, but the District hasn’t decided on most other lands.  Ms. England noted that some public lands, such as Dinner Island, leases areas to cattle operators.  The Committee discussed tax issues associated with Public Lands.  Mr. Quasius stated that the State requires that payment in lieu of taxes for public lands is now required annually, until such time as the County population reaches 150,000 people.  Mr. Quasius stated that they are trying to get the State to show a growing value over time, but that will not be approved as part of this Bill cycle.  Mr. Scott noted that the tax issue is identified as a future meeting topic.

 

Mr. Scott discussed the Century Commission CLIP Project, noting that it is being developed to map important environmental features at a state level.  The Century Commission notes that the CLIP Model should not be as a regulatory tool; however, other organizations are recommending that the State utilize CLIP when making land use decisions.  Mr. Scott discussed the data used in creation of CLIP and some layers add value to the size and use of the property which results in much of Hendry’s large agricultural areas being high priority areas.  The CLIP model was presented to the Committee in order to illustrate another example of mapping multiple environmental features.  The CLIP model can be viewed on the Century Commission’s website at:

 http://www.centurycommission.org/current_projects.asp

 

c.   Meeting Frequency

Mr. Cautero stated that Chairman Duda asked that this be placed on the agenda to determine whether the Committee should move to one meeting per month, as opposed to the two meetings per month frequency.  He stated that due to the extension granted by DCA that the Committee has additional time to complete the review of the Study.  Committee members stated they would rather get moving and be done earlier but would table this discussion until Chairman Duda returned on the April 21 meeting.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:51 pm.


Hendry County Rural Lands Ad Hoc Committee

Rural and Agricultural Lands Study Questions

 

Attachment A: Meeting Minutes - April 7, 2009

 

 

The following questions were identified by Committee members as important issues to consider during the review of the Rural and Agricultural Lands Study (RALS), and to serve as a review tool for the Hendry County Commissioners in the future.  This list will be updated as new questions are added.

 

Responses in black bold were provided by Christopher Scott, AICP of RWA, Inc.

 

Responses in blue bold were provided by Brad Cornell, policy analyst with Collier County Audubon Society and currently member of the Collier RLSA Review Committee

  1. How will RLSA affect the underlying land values-will it be different for receiving and sending areas? Have we had enough time for any studies to show this or this theoretical?

 

In general, a RLSA program or the Tiered TDR Program (as recommended in the Hendry rural lands), will not affect the underlying land values.  This assertion is based on theoretical evidence; no studies have been conducted to verify as part of this Study. 

 

One of the primary tenants of the Study is to not have a negative impact on private property rights.  Therefore, the recommended program, and potential for additional density, relies on voluntary participation.  Properties that do not wish to participate, including those identified as Sending areas, could still develop in accordance with the underlying future land use designation (typically 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres), in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code.  However, being identified as Sending Land would allow a property owner to vacate and sell their development rights, including bonus density, in exchange for placing the property (or portions thereof) into an easement.  Being identified as a receiving area would allow for a property owner to develop at a higher density by acquiring available development rights (either through sending lands or agricultural retention).

 

CCAS: RLSA (as done in Collier) is a voluntary program and keeps the underlying zoning – it would be implemented as an overlay with incentives to participate.  The land values would be affected by the market for use of any credits generated from establishing Stewardship areas (SSAs).  Thus, any RLS program cannot create more credits than it can use in the market.  Also, RLS is only valuable (with corresponding value to entitled lands) if RLS credits are the ONLY way to increase density/entitlements beyond base ag/rural zoning. If you give that away to anyone who asks, RLS credits are worthless.  Same goes for TDR programs.

 

  1. Will it change the credit markets lending practices with respect land collateral overall and in regard to the sending and receiving designation?

 

Unknown, but should not have a negative affect on lending practices.

 

CCAS:  Others are more qualified to answer this, but we understand that loan practices would view enhanced value via RLS credits or entitlements (sending or receiving areas) as positive factors in loan eligibility, unless the RLS program isn’t set up well (too many credits, density give-aways outside RLS, no RLS credit market, etc.)

  1. Does the 1:5 density create a “base” land value? Would a receiving area value be potentially higher and could a sending area designation result in a lower value?

 

The 1:5 density provides a “base” value as it relates to residential development opportunity.  A higher potential value could be realized by a receiving area, provided it is combined with density bonuses accrued from sending lands or through the conservation of agricultural lands.  Being designated would not lessen the base density, as these areas would not lose any development rights currently available.  Sending and Receiving Lands could both result in higher values.

 

CCAS: See the answer to the first question – RLS is an overlay on top of existing zoning, so that is a base value for that land.  If the RLS program balances SSAs and SRAs (sending and receiving), then there should not be a disparity in land values to either category – both should benefit from increased RLS potential.

 

  1. Has the ag/business/govt/private marketplace vetted this-i.e. are sending and receiving designees even aware of their designation and its potential impact?

 

The preparation of the RALS included broad public participation from landowners, environmental activists, and the public.  Many of the large landowners, and their advisors, met regularly during the development of the Study and are aware of the designations.  The draft plan was presented to the Commission on two occasions, although it is unclear the extent of their understanding.  RWA is in the process of meeting individually with Commissioners to keep them informed of the process. 

 

CCAS: Collier’s RLS program is highly vetted both by landowners and government and deemed successful by virtue of 55K acres of SSAs established with easements and 5K acres of SRA (Ave Maria), with additional developments and SSAs waiting in the wings (not a good time for moving right now). 

 

  1. Why have Highlands, St Lucie et al dropped their RLS programs? See the 2008 RLSA annual report to the State legislature-looks to me like St Lucie adopted then dropped, and Highlands and Osceola considered but did not adopt a RLSA?

 

St. Lucie County adopted a RLSA program as part of their Comprehensive Plan in 2006.  The Stewardship Sending Area (SSA) makes up 12,000 acres.  At that time, a large landowner and national home builder intended to have two separate developments (receiving areas) approved in rural locations.  Because of the economic condition, these planned developments were never pursued.  As part of the EAR, St. Lucie County notes:

 

“The RLSA program may change significantly as the trade-offs between preservation of large tracts of land for development {on} large tracts of land well outside the urban service boundary has become better understood. This may include completely removing the current policies from the Comp Plan and Land Development Code and reverting to current policies or replacing them with others in the future. 

 

It is the County’s intent to place the program on hold so as to review and revise all Goals, Objectives and Policies regarding rural lands as part of the larger comprehensive western lands planning effort.”

 

Similarly, Highlands County and Osceola County each submitted a Notification of Intent to designate RLSA areas in response to privately initiated developments.  Those developments have since been tabled by the landowners, and therefore the Counties withdrew their requests.  The decision to not utilize the RLSA program was a result of the economic downturn and the uncertainty regarding changes to the RLSA program, which was undergoing rule changes at the time.  One of the potential developments (Blue Head Ranch in Highlands County) has since submitted a large-scale comprehensive plan amendment, which was transmitted by the County but has not yet been approved by DCA.   The proposed Town of Destiny in Osceola County, being touted as the nation’s first eco-sustainable city, is also pursuing a large-scale amendment process for what the county has called a “new city overlay.”

 

These are primarily a reflection of current economic conditions and uncertainty of the future of the State’s Rural Land Stewardship statutes and rule-making.  Many of the landowners who were spearheading these initiatives have decided not to pursue development at this time, as the economy has slowed and the threat of hometown democracy has receded (for the time being). 

 

CCAS: Highlands did not move forward with their RLS due to DCA objections under new state rules.  Don’t know situation in St. Lucie or Osceola.  I thought Osceola was working on a TDR program and not RLS, but not sure.

 

  1. Do RLSA programs that have a lingering old Comp Plan Amend availability really work?

 

Unsure what is being asked.  A RLSA or TDR program is typically an overlay on existing zoning or future land use map, so there would always be a “lingering old” Comprehensive Plan in place.  In order for a program such as the Tiered TDR program or an RLSA to be effective, it must be the only way for density to be increased above the base density.  If a property owner can achieve higher density by other means (Comp Plan amendments or rezoning) the TDRs lose their value.  This requires strong leadership who are willing to deny application requests for “free density.”

 

CCAS: Don’t understand the question.

  1. How do you opt in-what is the process?

 

The process is discussed under Objective 1.7.1 of the draft Study (page 64) and will be the focus of a future meeting of the Committee.  The Study only includes the recommended Comprehensive Plan language, which can be considered the “framework” to support a TDR program.  Once these are adopted (pending any changes recommended by the Committee), the County will need to establish and adopt the specific zoning/land development regulations, which would codify the requirements and procedures in more detail. 

 

In short, the recommended process is as follows:

 

  1. Any application within the Rural Lands Overlay would be reviewed for compliance with the Goal, Objectives and Policies adopted as part of this study.
  2. TDRs generated from Sending Lands or Agricultural Retention areas can be certified by the County at the request of the landowner.  
  3. TDRs will be certified by the County in documentable form after a review and approval by the County and recordation of required deed restrictions or easements on the sending or agricultural sites.  Easement must be approved by the County Attorney.
  4. Proposed developments utilizing the Tiered TDR Program are required to rezone the property to a Planned Development and include a Master Concept Plan.  This will be reviewed and approved by the County.  A comprehensive plan amendment is not required.

·         The application would need to include determination on the number of TDR units that are being generated/utilized (ground truthing should be conducted). 

·         Must demonstrate project need

·         Should include phasing plan

·         Must demonstrate facilities and services are/will be available for each phase to meet adopted Concurrency Requirements and demonstrate fiscal neutrality.

  1. Proposed Villages and New Towns utilizing the Tiered TDR Program will require Development of Regional Impact (DRI) Review.
  2. TDRs will be traded in the open market, i.e., private transaction between willing sellers and willing buyers.  However, the County could establish an acquisition program to purchase TDRs (either through fee simple land acquisition or easements) and make the TDRs available through a TDR bank.

 

CCAS: RLS SSA or SRA designations are made by applying to county and submitting appropriate credit calculation documentation.  Credit generation methodology determines the details of documentation in the application (natural resource scoring by acre multiplied by acreage and number of land use layers being removed; OR, credits could be generated via pre-established amounts per acre.  Both would entitle development Stewardship Receiving Areas at specified rate.)  SRA and SSA establishment under a legitimate RLS program should not require any comp plan amendments or DCA review and must adhere to LDC criteria within the county.

 

Much More…..

 


Hendry County

Rural Lands Ad-Hoc Committee Meeting Minutes

County Courthouse, 25 Hickpochee Ave.

LaBelle, FL 33935

 

 

March 3, 2009

3:00 pm

 

Committee Members Present:      Paul Burchard; Thomas Duda; Margaret England; Don Schrotenboer; Wayne Simmons; Callie Walker

 

Committee Members Absent: Dick Crockett; Sherri Denning; Joe Hilliard; Melanie A. McGahee; Carey Soud

 

County Staff/Consultants Present: Sarah Catala, Hendry County Planning and Zoning; Chris Scott, RWA, Inc.; Bob Mulhere, RWA, Inc.; Richard Woodruff, Wilson Miller

 

Public Present:                            Craig Bartoshuk; Ron Hamel, Gulf Citrus Growers Association; Marisa Polgas, Conservancy of SW Florida 

 

ITEM 1:      CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Duda at 3:11 p.m.   Chairman Duda noted that he new Mr. Hilliard is in Tallahassee today and that Mr. Crocket could not attend.

 

ITEM 2:      APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion by Ms. Walker to approve the Agenda.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Schrotenboer and approved unanimously (6-0).  

 

ITEM 3:      APPROVAL OF MINUTES

h.      March 3, 2009

Mr. Schrotenboer asked if the approval of the Minutes includes the attachment related to the Goals, Objectives, and Policies that were discussed at the March 3, 2009 meeting.  Chairman Duda stated that the Minutes include the attachment.  Mr. Schrotenboer asked that Policy 1.6.2 on Page 6 of the minutes reflect the discussion regarding the transect at street frontages.  Mr. Scott stated that he will incorporate those comments.  

 

Ms. England asked whether Policy 1.6.4, Scenic Viewsheds, also apply to easements or public lands, in addition to public rights-of-way.  Mr. Scott stated that those could be included, if they allow for public access and that this comment can be noted in the revised table.

 

Motion by Ms. Walker to approve the March 3, 2009 Meeting Minutes.   The motion was seconded by Ms. England and approved unanimously (7-0). 

 

ITEM 4:      OLD BUSINESS

a.     Future Meetings Schedule

Chairman Duda noted that the Future Meeting Schedule identified two sets of proposed speakers for the April 7, 2009 meeting to discuss the Florida Panther Protection Program.  Chairman Duda stated that the Florida Wildlife Federation cannot attend on that date and asked the Committee to consider splitting these groups up over two meetings.  Mr. Scott stated that Nancy Payton of the Florida Wildlife Federation had concerns about presenting at the same time as the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, because those types of meetings typically become argumentative and may not be beneficial to the Committee.  Mr. Scott advised the Committee that they could find an alternative to Ms. Payton in order to keep the proposed schedule, or they could reschedule Ms. Payton to the April 21, 2009 meeting date.  The Committee agreed to split the presentations over two meetings.

 

ITEM 5:      NEW BUSINESS

d.     Workshop on Transfer of Development Rights (TDR’s) - Collier County Case Study: Rural Fringe and Rural Land Stewardship Area - Bob Mulhere, AICP, RWA, Inc., and Richard Woodruff, Ph.D., AICP, Wilson Miller, Inc.

 

Mr. Schrotenboer asked about the potential Jim Nicholas presentation, which was originally planned for this meeting.  Mr. Scott stated that Dr. Nicholas could not attend this meeting, but that they are attempting to have him come and speak at a future meeting.

 

Mr. Mulhere provided an overview of TDR’s and noted they have been found by the Supreme Court as an acceptable method to alleviate potential “takings” claims.  Mr. Mulhere stated there are several important factors to consider in order to make a TDR program work: limit how density can be increased without the use of a TDR; ensure an appropriate ratio of Sending and Receiving Lands (Supply and Demand); ensure that the program is not overly regulated – make it easy; and consider the use of a TDR Bank or brokerage.  Mr. Mulhere discussed the differences between Traditional and Hybrid TDR Programs. 

 

Mr. Mulhere discussed Collier County’s experiences with TDR’s.  Mr. Mulhere noted that Collier County set up two separate TDR programs, the Rural Land Stewardship Area (RLSA) and the Rural Fringe.  The Rural Fringe program area is located closer to the urban areas of Collier County and includes multiple owners with smaller lots, whereas the RLSA program is located in eastern Collier County and includes few large landowners.  

 

Mr. Mulhere stated the Rural Fringe area had an allowable density of one dwelling unit per five acres, or one dwelling unit for each existing lot.  The program applied to 95,000 acres and is a traditional TDR program.  The County established 23,000 acres as Sending Land, 23,000 acres as Receiving Land, and the remaining acreage was identified as Preservation. 

 

As part of the program, the County changed the achievable density from 1:5 to 1:40, and allowed for the creation of rural villages.  Mr. Mulhere stated that although the Rural Fringe program was well designed, there were few transfers and it did not work well.  Several issues limited the effectiveness of the program: the State was actively buying lands which impact the supply and demand for TDR’s; the economy nose dived at the same time that the program was initiated and there was little development occurring; the community was not engaged early in the process; and the Board of County Commissioners established an arbitrary value of $25,000 for TDR’s despite the objection of staff.  Mr. Mulhere stated that the Rural Fringe program was amended three years ago and  that the County has introduced bonuses to encourage participation.  These bonuses will allow up to four dwelling units per five acres and include an Early Entry bonus, a bonus to convert quieted land to a Public Entity and an environmental restoration bonus. 

 

Mr. Simmons asked if the Rural Fringe was developed at the same time as the RLSA program and if the Rural Fringe achieved its objective.  Mr. Mulhere stated the Rural Fringe and the RLSA program were developed at the same time (Rural Fringe by County staff and RLSA through a private effort funded largely by the existing large landowners).  Mr. Mulhere stated that the Rural Fringe ultimately failed at the outset because shortly after it was enacted, the State purchased 75,000 acres, which eliminated about 90% of the identified Sending Lands.  Also, Mr. Mulhere believed the County should have allowed transfers to the urban areas of the County to help stimulate interest.

 

Mr. Mulhere discussed the Collier RLSA program.  The RLSA covers 195,000 acres and includes few landowners.  The RLSA program was very well thought out, is entirely incentive based, and has a five-year mandatory review.  The Sending Lands include Habitat, Flowways, and Water Retention.  Mr. Mulhere stated the RLSA was a result of a finding of non-compliance on how the County protects the environment and that it did not account for agricultural land initially.  The County is now addressing the preservation of agricultural lands as part of the mandatory review.

 

Dr. Woodruff discussed TDR’s and the Collier examples from a developer’s perspective.  Mr. Woodruff noted that property rights and regulations are all directed by the US Constitution.  Property rights are wide ranging and equate to value.  Value can be to the landowner, including the use of the land, what can be made from the land or the pleasure one can derive, but also value to society (food, water, open space, jobs, tax base), nature, and the future.

 

Dr. Woodruff discussed that agricultural lands are considered tax positive property in that they generate more in tax revenue than the cost to provide services to the land.  Chairman Duda stated that tax neutral is typically about $0.30 per dollar.  Mr. Hamel stated that figure is closer to $0.24, but it depends on where the property is located.  Dr. Woodruff stated that mobile homes are tax negative and that 54% of Hendry County’s residential development is mobile homes.  Dr. Woodruff stated that a community will ultimately go broke if it only has low to moderate income residential.  Mr. Mulhere noted that a healthy economy needs diversity, which includes non-residential uses.

 

Dr. Woodruff noted that Hendry County needs an effective TDR program in order to grow effectively.  Dr. Woodruff stated that the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is not allowing ‘free density’ anymore and a TDR system allows for increases in achievable density.

 

Dr. Woodruff discussed the difference between clustering and transferring development.  Clustering results in development being located in a smaller area and implies a single ownership, whereas transferring can involve more than one owner.  Dr. Woodruff stated the local government should not be involved in establishing a value of transferrable development units.

 

Dr. Woodruff stated that you cannot preserve agriculture; you can preserve the land, but you cannot preserve the use of land.  The use of land is ultimately controlled by market forces.

 

Dr. Woodruff stated that a transfer requires compensation.  Dr. Woodruff noted that Babcock Ranch included the State acquisition of 94,000 acres for $390 million.  He noted that there is not enough money to acquire all of the land being targeted for conservation.  The Collier RLSA program covers 195,000 acres and will limit development to 45,000 acres.  The remaining 150,000 will be preserved, without public acquisitions and will be maintained by private property owners.

 

Dr. Woodruff stated that TDRs fail if there is another way for people to get additional density.  He noted that any program requires flexibility, and should allow for a variety of uses, be applicable to many areas, and permit all types of housing.  To be effective, programs should utilize incentives and not mandates.

 

Dr. Woodruff discussed the use of agricultural easements proposed by the Hendry Rural and Agricultural Land Study, noting that it includes 30 and 50 year easements.  He stated that we need to find a way to make this work and that long easements are very difficult for agriculture.  Mr. Mulhere acknowledged that the details will need to be worked out, and this Committee is the first step in that regard. 

 

Dr. Woodruff and Mr. Mulhere asked if there were any questions.

 

Ms. England asked what happens if a landowner sold the development rights from a property, and that land goes into estate, who is responsible for maintaining the land?  Mr. Mulhere stated that if no residual uses are left on the property, then the land could be transferred to a public entity.  Mr. Mulhere also mentioned that Collier County requires a maintenance fee.  Dr. Woodruff stated that it is better to leave enough rights with the land so that it remains privately owned, because these lands are usually better managed than public lands.  He noted that land left as preserve is typically granted to a public agency.

 

Mr. Simmons noted that fifty years is a long time.  He stated that he is a sixth generation Floridian, and his family, unfortunately, did not realize the values of beachfront land, which wasn’t worth anything fifty years ago.

 

Ms. Walker asked how the proposed TDR system would be impacted if the State acquired all of the land included in their ‘wish list.’  Dr. Woodruff noted that you need a balance between Sending and Receiving areas and stated that even if the State acquired an additional 100-150,000 acres of land in Hendry County, that it shouldn’t negatively impact the proposed TDR Program.  Ms. Walker stated she felt it is hard to find receiving land in Hendry County.  She expressed her concern is to ensure that a Hendry County program will be applicable, and benefit, all landowners.

 

Dr. Woodruff stated that success of any program will be measured in small increments.  He felt if 1% of the land utilized the TDR system per year over the next ten years, then that would be a success.  He discussed that any program is dependent on market conditions and discussed how the future population growth will shift from the coastal counties to interior counties such as Hendry.

 

Mr. Bartoshuk noted that Ms. Catala had to leave, but wanted to let the Committee know that Sherri could not attend today because of a death in the family.

 

Chairman Duda summarized some of the big issues facing the proposed TDR program, specifically mentioning demonstration of need, supply and demand, population projections, and the need for periodic reviews.  Mr. Mulhere noted that there needs to be recognition by DCA of the difference between an effective long term plan, which is a vision of how an area wants to develop, versus the 10 to 20 year planning horizon that is more adept on a project scale. 

 

Chairman Duda thanked the presenters.

 

ITEM 6:      ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.