GADSDEN COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSHOP
May 11, 2023
Present: Rev. Dr. Joe Parramore, Chair, District 5
Lori Bouie, Vice-Chair, District 5
Eugene Sherman III, District 1
William Chukes, District 1, Not Present
Tracey Stallworth, District 2
John Youmans, District 2
Mark Moore, District 3
Wayne Williams, District 3
Charles Roberts, District 4
Karema Dudley, School Board Representative, Not present
Staff Present: Justin Stiell, Planning and Zoning Director
Ellen Andrews, Senior Planner
Clayton Knowles, County Attorney
Adriana Quijada, Deputy Clerk
CALL TO ORDER, INVOCATION, AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Chair called the workshop to order at 6:01 pm. Roberts led the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag and Sherman provided invocation.
INTRODUCTION OF MEMBERS – ROLL CALL
No roll call was done.
AMENDMENT AND APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
CITIZENS REQUESTING TO BE HEARD ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
The Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners welcomes and encourages public participation at all meetings of the Board. Citizens are free to speak for up to three (3) minutes on non-agenda items. Public comments and participation are also encouraged for items on the agenda. Additionally, if you are unable to attend a meeting in person, comments from the Public can also be submitted via email to CitizensToBeHeard@gadsdencountyfl.gov until noon on the date of the meeting. Comments submitted after the deadline, but prior to the meeting, will be added to the official record, but the County cannot guarantee that Commissioners and staff will have adequate time to review comments prior to the meeting. Citizens are further encouraged to participate via Zoom using the credentials on the County’s website. The Board’s meetings are also broadcast live on the Board’s Facebook page.
Parramore read aloud the above statement.
Bouie stepped in at 6:02 pm.
Presentation- Gadsden County Planning: Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code
Mr. Stiell came before the Board to discuss the above item. Stated the purpose of this workshop was to familiarize the Planning Commission with the Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map, and planning functions. Detail the relationship between the Comprehensive plan and Land Development Code, present the types of development applications, and identify county specific land use issues and challenges.
Development types and approval processes
Administrative – Staff level
Legislative Actions -PC and BOCC
Quasi-Judicial – PC and BOCC
Chair asked regarding Class 1 Commercial if there were specific sizes. He used hotels/motels as an example. Stiell stated yes, he was going to get more into that later. If there was a grocery store greater than 10,000 sq ft, then it would have to come before the planning commission.
Roberts went back to the Land Development Code. He read aloud from page 6: “Within 1 year after submission of its new or revised comprehensive plan, each county shall adopt or amend and enforce land development regulations…” He asked what happens after that? Do they have to wait another 6 years? Or was there a process to interject before.
Stiell stated no sir, the Land Development Code was like a mechanism which they enforce the regulations in the Comprehensive Plan, so if they have the Comprehensive Plan, they have that requirement into their Code. Would need to adopt amendment into their Land Development Code, but no penalty if they do not.
Chair stated he knows there has been talk about revisiting the Land Development Use Map and updating it. He asked where were they at in this process
Stiell stated last year they started with kickoff meetings and getting some public input regarding what they want to see in the future and how to go about amending the Comprehensive Plan. Next step would be to start contacting land owners and making general announcements regarding any future Comprehensive Plan amendments.
Stallworth asked how the conversations have been regarding citizen buy in.
Stiell stated has not had any negative comments.
Chair asked if they have an anticipated time frame for when it might be complete.
Stiell stated goal was by 2025.
Sherman asked for clarity if that was the data gathering or the revision.
Stiell stated it would be the revision.
Stiell continued with page 13.
Sherman stated they have had recent discussion about parks and mobile home parks. Were they in compliance with the requirements as far as Quasi-Judicial.
Stiell stated yes, he believed Sherman was referring to the previous meeting about the RV park.
Sherman asked if they were in compliance in the discussion with a project he could not remember the name of.
Chair stated that was the project off Reynolds Rd and McCall Bridge Rd.
Stiell stated that project required several different things. First thing was a Land Use Map Amendment. It was completed and got approved for the Land Use Amendment. Next step was to come in for the special exception use and then after that they move on to the site plan process.
Stiell continued with page 16.
Roberts asked if there was a possibility that someone would have to do separate ends or RV park as a whole.
Stiell stated generally in RV parks they are allowed one residential caretakers cottage. There’s a sq ft maximum that they could not go above. That was all included in the review for the site plan.
Chair stated there was also language presented that this would be more than a caretaker’s cottage and more than a laundromat that they would actually be some sort of retail sales or re-sales like a convenient store that those using the RV park could take advantage of.
Stiell stated if he remembered correctly, that was only a laundromat connected to the caretaker’s cottage. He wanted to double check with Ms. Ellen.
Ms. Ellen stated at one point she believed they were considering a camp store. Not currently seeing what they are proposing.
Stiell stated as long as it was associated with the RV park, then it would be ok. As long as they stayed underneath that sq footage.
Sherman stated he wanted to verify that they were in compliance with what they were tasked with doing; given the number of things that were still yet to be defined. He asked if there were other actions that this Commission should take to make sure that they were in alignment with what their tasks were.
Stiell asked for clarification on which project. Chair stated they were still on the Reynolds Rd project.
Roberts stated the issue the neighbors had was the bolt slips.
Chair stated there was a number of issues brought up at the time regarding wetland preservation regarding the setbacks from the neighboring trailer park that the property backs up to. He stated they did their due diligence on voting on what they were required to vote on and then it went to the county commission. In the second phase of that process to see what they bring back to them as a site plan/site use.
Stiell stated they had not received anything officially regarding the project. He stated it would come back before them again as a special exception use, depending on what they choose to do. It could also come back to them as a Class II or Class I.
Chair stated for clarity purposes, it will not be to re-discuss and re-litigate what was already taken place. Stiell stated correct.
Bouie asked in the event that a person comes before the county commission and all requirements met, if they have a room full of residents in that community and they do not want the project, are they allowed to vote with the citizens.
Stiell stated the requirement for Quasi-Judicial was to take into consideration of what evidence was provided and the consistency with Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan.
Attorney stated when dealing with Quasi-Judicial, need to make sure the commission looks at all the evidence and makes a decision based on the evidence.
Bouie asked if all the neighbors were present and they signed saying they did not want the project in their community, was that considered evidence?
Attorney stated that would be one piece of evidence, but would not make the decision based solely upon that.
Chair asked Attorney if it was safe to say that in the Quasi-Judicial hearings, this commission could bet safely on if they made judgements based within the confines of statute and the Land Development Code and County Ordinances, it would be their safe space.
Attorney stated correct. The neighbors could not like it, but it could be reasonable.
Chair asked if in a case where he was drawn in by public sympathy and empathy, outside of what the Land Development Code and County Ordinances are, and he did not feel like he could vote appropriately, is it appropriate to recuse himself from that vote.
Attorney stated no because recusal was more of a conflict.
Chair stated if he was correct, when they vote on a Quasi-Judicial issue, they have to state specifically what that decision is and what supports that decision.
Attorney stated yes. Expanding on why they make a decision. Encouraged for them to have more participation than less.
Sherman stated if there was an overwhelming objection from the neighborhood, but the law written does not present a method to further that objection, it sounds like their hands were tied. But, reaching out to the citizens, what mechanisms would they have?
Attorney stated in a Quasi-Judicial it was not required but advised to let it be known on the record that they had a conversation with the applicant for instance. He stated they were able to have conversations with the citizens.
Stiell continued with presentation on page 17.
Roberts asked regarding page 16 under Institutional, it stated nursing home and under Commercial, it stated adult daycare or living facilities. He asked if they had a written definition of what each one of those are.
Stiell stated yes it should be in the Land Development Code under the definition chapter.
Moore asked to go back to Quasi-Judicial. He stated it was mentioned that they need to make a public statement that they had talked to citizens. If people call him and it was something that they knew would come up to the Board, should they ignore those convos or if they should have them and when it comes time for the hearing, they said they had those convos with citizens.
Attorney stated in Quasi-Judicial, if they had a convo with the applicant then they would announce that. Neighbors are not the issue in Quasi-Judicial, just the folks applying for whatever they were trying to do.
Bouie stated when she received phone calls, she would announce that she received them. Would listen to every citizen. She asked in the lack of a good application, were they required to vote in favor of a bad application or applicant.
Stiell stated what the staff presents to them are the facts from the case. It was up to the commissioners to make the decision.
Bouie stated in the past, county commissioners had tried to protect citizens by granting temporary permit. She asked how do they offer protection for their citizens.
Stiell stated that went back to the conversation with their neighborhood compatibility. They were granting them an opportunity to change to whatever they want to change it to once they change the Land Use. As long as they meet all the other requirements, then they would have to look at the site plan and make a decision based on the evidence.
Chair stated he would like to thank Mr. Stiell and staff for this presentation. He stated he was the one who requested this workshop from the last meeting. He stated it was good to have a refresher.
PLANNING DIRECTOR’S COMMENTS
PLANNING COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS
Sherman stated the more training and refreshers they had the better they are as far as their role to the citizens.
Stallworth asked Mr. Stiell if there were any monies allocated for them to go to a workshop in another area.
Mr. Stiell stated currently there was no funding for planning commissioners to travel. They were looking to bring some people in for training.
Stallworth asked in order for them to get funding to travel, who did they need to talk to.
Stiell stated they were working on that and they had a convo on this a couple meetings ago. They have talked to their Budget Director and are looking at what they could do as an alternative.
Stallworth stated he had spoken to a commissioner and they indicated that there was some funding. He would love for the commissioners to be able to travel to get some training.
Bouie stated if they could, she could make them aware of where the conferences are and the proposal of the costs and present it to the county commission to ask them to make it available for them to travel. She stated the same funding they would use to bring a professional in, they could use it for travel.
Bouie also asked about FLUM. She stated she heard comments about the county to remain agricultural, there are only 3 major farmers in Gadsden County. She stated it would be a disservice to the County since there are only 3. She hoped that they would be open to other uses of FLUM other than farming.
Roberts stated he agreed with Bouie about there only being 3 major farmers, but the residential portion and rural areas want to keep it that way. Instead of having pop up business in their communities.
Chair stated obviously they have to respect those land owners. There was no authority for the County to just go in and start yanking property and change the land use. He did not know if there was a solution to what Roberts brought up.
Stiell stated that was why it was not a quick turnaround.
Bouie stated in the past, the Planning Director hired the only organization that opposed the State of FL to create their land and zone policies. There were policies that restricted local land owners. She stated the restrictions that were in place should not come from a Miami based firm that has no idea what Gadsden County looks like.
Stiell stated the majority of the policies that he has seen in the Comprehensive plan are supported by state statute. Was not sure what policies Bouie was referring to.
Bouie stated not being able to subdivide a property and needing a certain size of property. Issues with giving kids equal portions of land. Those were just some examples.
Chair and the Commissioners thanked Mr. Stiell for his time. Chair stated next meeting will be June 15th at 6 pm.
MOTION TO ADJOURN
Adjourned at 7:10 pm