Tampa City Council
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
5:00 p.m. Workshop Session
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15:23:20 >> This is the workshop.
17:07:49 We'll begin with a little bit of formality, followed
17:07:58 by the Pledge of Allegiance.
17:08:02 (Pledge of Allegiance)
17:08:29 >> Mr. Clerk, roll call.
17:08:30 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Here.
17:08:32 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Here.
17:08:34 >>MARY MULHERN: Here.
17:08:35 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Here.
17:08:42 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Here.
17:08:46 >> Thank you. Mr. Smith.
17:08:51 >>DAVID SMITH: (Off microphone)
17:08:53 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: So moved.
17:09:02 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Nothing in regard to the Citivest
17:09:04 closed session that you have already scheduled?
17:09:07 There's a motion and second.
17:09:08 Any discussion?
17:09:09 All in favor?
17:09:10 Any opposed?
17:09:11 Motion carried unanimously.
17:09:17 All right.
17:09:18 >>JULIA COLE: Legal department.
17:09:19 I have been requested to present to council and to the
17:09:26 audience the question of the hearing officer process,
17:09:29 and that could be, if it was the will of council,
17:09:34 incorporated into our processes.
17:09:36 I prepared a PowerPoint.
17:09:38 Please forgive me.
17:09:42 I hope I won't screw it up too bad.
17:09:46 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: If I could suggest, as a matter of
17:09:50 course, why don't we go ahead and hear Julia's
17:09:54 If you have any specific questions as she goes along,
17:09:57 clarifications as to what she's talking about, we'll
17:09:59 go ahead and entertain those questions as we go.
17:10:02 Why don't -- then if it's council's preference, I
17:10:06 think there are folks here who would like to speak to
17:10:09 We'll have three minutes from anybody who would like
17:10:12 to speak.
17:10:12 And then we'll have our discussion following all of
17:10:18 >>JULIA COLE: If I can also add, Mr. Sal Territo from
17:10:24 the City Attorney's office is here and he was actually
17:10:25 a hearing officer for Lee County and can present some
17:10:28 And Adam Gormley, who is a managing attorney with
17:10:28 Hillsborough County, who has been in charge of the
17:10:33 process over there, is also prepared to answer any
17:10:36 questions or give his thought how it works with the
17:10:41 county as well.
17:10:49 >>> In talking about the hearing officer process I
17:10:51 think it's very important and part of what I am
17:10:53 presenting to you is put in the context of what we are
17:10:55 talking about which is a quasi-judicial hearing, and
17:10:58 how they could have some import in a quasi-judicial
17:11:03 I will go through this quickly.
17:11:05 I think most people know.
17:11:07 For those of you who wonder what in the world is a
17:11:09 quasi-judicial hearing and quasi-judicial decision
17:11:13 makers do, as to a Variance Review Board, et cetera,
17:11:19 A quasi-judicial decision maker acts as a judge, hears
17:11:23 evidence presented, must provide due process, as we
17:11:26 often talk about at our hearing, apply appropriate
17:11:29 legal standards, and then make a decision based upon
17:11:32 the information that is presented.
17:11:37 When courts are looking at quasi-judicial proceedings,
17:11:40 and it's courts that decide that all rezoning process
17:11:44 is a quasi-judicial process, it's important to
17:11:47 understand how a court will review the quasi-judicial
17:11:50 And they will look at three things, whether or not the
17:11:53 decision of the quasi-judicial decision maker is
17:11:56 supported by competent, substantial evidence, whether
17:12:00 the City Council has afforded due process and whether
17:12:03 City Council afforded procedural due process and
17:12:09 whether essential requirements of the law.
17:12:12 I think quasi-judicial evidence, and what does that
17:12:16 And I have had the opportunity to meet with the
17:12:18 homeowners association, because I think it's
17:12:21 oftentimes lay people don't understand what it means
17:12:26 to have competent, substantial evidence.
17:12:28 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Could I interrupt for just a moment
17:12:30 to follow up on this?
17:12:31 This page is rather important, because when we say
17:12:36 things are reviewed by a CERT standard, that's really
17:12:41 lawyer lingo for certiorari standard, which is more
17:12:45 lawyer lingo. But what that really means is the court
17:12:48 doesn't look at the decision anew, or which sometimes
17:12:51 you heard referred to as de novo, for the first time,
17:12:55 but actually look at the prior screen, those three
17:12:59 different criteria to determine whether or not a body
17:13:04 such as yourself, or the variance review board or any
17:13:08 of the other boards that have to make these decisions,
17:13:12 those are the standards that are looked at, whether or
17:13:14 not to up hold the decision or overturn it because one
17:13:18 of those three decision points were not met legally.
17:13:23 So when you hear things referred to as a CERT standard
17:13:28 or certiorari standard or appeal standard, that's
17:13:30 technically the standard that you look at.
17:13:32 And when this board sometimes, in your experience,
17:13:35 have things come before you, as is presently set up,
17:13:41 you act as a circuit court in a way when you review
17:13:44 these decisions, and this is the decision upon which
17:13:46 you determine whether or not to uphold the decision of
17:13:49 the board below.
17:13:53 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you.
17:13:59 >>JULIA COLE: What this slide represents is what is
17:14:01 competent substantial evidence?
17:14:03 When you hear evidence, what does it men to say the
17:14:07 competent, substantial evidence?
17:14:08 Obviously, staff testimony, competent, substantial
17:14:11 evidence, opinion testimony, from expert witnesses,
17:14:15 meaning petitioners can bring their engineer, bring
17:14:19 their planner, their experts in their field, that is
17:14:22 considered competent, substantial evidence by the
17:14:25 Fact and opinion testimony, professional opinion
17:14:27 testimony from staff, which could include either
17:14:32 internal city staff or external Planning Commission
17:14:36 staff or, say, the FDOT staff or the Hartline staff,
17:14:39 that is considered competent, substantial evidence by
17:14:41 the court.
17:14:45 Documents are absolutely competent, substantial
17:14:48 evidence, maps, diagrams, reports, any kind of
17:14:50 official records.
17:14:51 When those are presented to you as the decision maker,
17:14:54 that's competent, substantial evidence.
17:14:55 And the other thing that you sometimes do hear
17:15:01 petitioners come forward is whether or not citizen or
17:15:03 lay testimony is considered competent, substantial
17:15:06 And testimony is competent substantial evidence upon
17:15:14 which you can base your decision.
17:15:16 But people not giving actual information or evidence,
17:15:25 that's not enough.
17:15:26 It has to be something more than that.
17:15:28 And I think it is important that people understand
17:15:30 that when they are coming forward, and they are
17:15:32 presenting information to City Council, that it has to
17:15:37 be something more.
17:15:39 We as lawyers cannot defend your decision on that
17:15:42 basis but I certainly can and I certainly have in many
17:15:46 cases defended positions, and over at the county on
17:15:50 the basis of fact-based testimony from lay persons,
17:15:53 and what I mean when I say that -- and this is for
17:15:58 persons in the audience as well, so they understand
17:16:00 the point I am trying to make.
17:16:01 What I mean is when you are testifying as to what your
17:16:05 neighborhood looks at, like testifying to, testifying
17:16:12 to an accident in front of your house you are saying
17:16:15 that every other lot in this neighborhood is developed
17:16:17 in a certain way, that's fact-based testimony.
17:16:20 But a citizen getting up and saying, I don't think
17:16:23 it's compatible, that's where you get into -- it's
17:16:26 really important when you are making -- you are
17:16:28 testifying as a citizen, you are testifying on the
17:16:31 basis of actual fact-based information.
17:16:34 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Ms. Cole, if I could follow up with
17:16:37 that briefly.
17:16:38 If this is not acceptable let me know.
17:16:42 But you and I talked about --
17:16:45 >> Chime in, Marty.
17:16:47 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Thank you.
17:16:47 My point is, if somebody in the community gets up at
17:16:51 the lectern and has every seat behind them filled and
17:16:56 says, it's my opinion that we don't want this project,
17:17:00 and how many people out here agree with me, and they
17:17:03 turn around an every hand goes up, courts have said
17:17:07 that is not a legal basis upon which you can base a
17:17:11 >>JULIA COLE: I absolutely agree with that.
17:17:17 I think it is important that people understand what
17:17:19 they contribute due process, that's another thing that
17:17:26 does come up often in hearings, and that's two parts,
17:17:29 providing reasonable notice.
17:17:30 That's why if I get in a frenzy or Marty gets in a
17:17:37 frenzy, all right, let's make sure the notice is
17:17:39 correct, because that's really important.
17:17:40 Then the full and fair opportunity to be heard.
17:17:44 And what does this mean?
17:17:45 Allowing people to actually get up and present their
17:17:49 It also allows, we don't see very often here, but it
17:17:52 does allow cross-examination on a limited basis, and
17:17:55 courts have held that it is an absolute right-of-way
17:17:58 to allow cross-examination.
17:18:00 Allowing the petitioner to rebut the evidence, and
17:18:03 oftentimes that comes up when we say petitioner has
17:18:06 the last word, and somebody gets up and says, can I
17:18:09 talk now?
17:18:10 And we have to tell them, I'm sorry, you can't.
17:18:13 The petitioner has an absolute right to rebut the
17:18:15 evidence presented against the petition.
17:18:18 And it's also the opportunity to allow them to present
17:18:21 legal arguments as part of the presentation.
17:18:27 The third thing courts will look at is whether or not
17:18:29 the essential requirements of the law have been
17:18:31 provided, and what that generally means is when you
17:18:34 are making these decisions, in other words, people are
17:18:37 making decisions, they have to be applying the correct
17:18:40 law, and that includes City of Tampa code, federal,
17:18:45 state statute, Constitutional provisions, and
17:18:47 controlling case law, which is complicated, sometimes
17:18:52 in our process if there is controlling case law, that
17:18:54 we do sometimes opine, Marty and myself, that deals
17:19:00 with that issue and we have to be careful about how we
17:19:03 deal with moving forward.
17:19:09 There are general legal requirements that are unique
17:19:12 to any municipality in approving generally
17:19:17 application, and also quasi-judicial decisions.
17:19:20 Specifically Florida statute 166.041 requires that
17:19:24 rezoning applications are approved by ordinance.
17:19:28 That is different than counties.
17:19:30 Counties do not have this requirement.
17:19:32 They can approve rezoning applications, the
17:19:36 And there are different legal notice requirements and
17:19:41 readings between a resolution and an ordinance, and
17:19:44 City Council is aware of that.
17:19:46 With an ordinance you are required to read it by title
17:19:51 Regardless of whatever kind of ordinance, a presenting
17:19:55 ordinance or any other kind of ordinance there's an
17:19:58 obligation to read that ordinance twice, by title
17:20:00 only, meaning you have to read the actual title of the
17:20:04 There is also a requirement for what we call area
17:20:09 zonings, which are zonings which are driven by
17:20:16 municipalities that you have two public hearings which
17:20:17 has to be after 5:00 in the evening.
17:20:20 For all of the rezonings, there is only a requirement
17:20:23 in Florida statutes that you have one public hearing
17:20:26 prior to the adoption of the ordinance, that is
17:20:31 different than the mailed notification that we
17:20:33 That's a city requirement.
17:20:37 The requirement is one of newspaper notice, ten days
17:20:40 prior to adoption.
17:20:45 >>MARY MULHERN: I had a question.
17:20:46 Can you define area-wide for us?
17:20:49 >>JULIA COLE: What's interesting is the way the city
17:20:53 defines is actually different than Florida statutes.
17:20:55 The way the city defines area wide rezoning, it is
17:20:58 rezonings initiated by the city, rezonings initiated
17:21:02 by a party other than the property owner, and I
17:21:05 believe it also includes rezonings that are over 10
17:21:08 acres in size.
17:21:10 The way we have structured our process is we have a
17:21:13 category called area-wide rezoning, and we have a
17:21:16 category essentially all of the rezonings.
17:21:20 All of our rezonings, regardless of whether or not
17:21:22 they are area wide or whether or not they are just the
17:21:25 regular zoning, we have two public hearings.
17:21:31 That's the only minor difference, is that area wide
17:21:34 rezonings, you are required to set the hearing versus
17:21:37 regular rezonings, where City Council isn't required
17:21:40 to actually set the hearing, and we talked about that
17:21:43 a little bit in our CD process, when we are going to
17:21:46 allow staff, if you approve that, staff will be
17:21:48 actually setting the public hearings for your
17:21:50 ordinances, for your rezonings.
17:21:52 But the major difference is for those types of
17:21:56 rezonings, there is a requirement of two public
17:22:00 hearings versus the one public hearing for all other
17:22:05 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: An example of that, Mary, would be
17:22:08 the one in Palma Ceia where we took a neighborhood
17:22:11 that was basically, you know, eight blocks long and
17:22:14 four blocks wide.
17:22:15 They had requested the city and the Planning
17:22:17 Commission staff do the work and then rezoned the
17:22:20 whole area.
17:22:23 >> We don't have them very often, my recollection,
17:22:30 Seems like a couple of times a year maybe.
17:22:32 >>> And I don't think you see much difference because
17:22:34 they are handled, except -- actually, they are just
17:22:38 handled in the exact same manner as the rezonings.
17:22:41 I can think of -- like I have to give you all a
17:22:44 resolution to set the area wide rezoning versus just
17:22:48 doing it by motion.
17:22:48 But other than that, I think they really aren't that
17:22:52 different than the regular rezonings.
17:22:54 And I think even more when you have the larger pieces
17:22:56 of property where you have petitioners seeking to
17:23:00 rezone property that isn't under their control and
17:23:09 I have also added the process to review other
17:23:11 quasi-judicial matters, and this includes include your
17:23:14 special use permits which you treat in the same manner
17:23:17 as rezonings.
17:23:19 In the law, special use permits vary.
17:23:29 They don't require by statute, not by due process but
17:23:32 by statute, any hearing, they are required under due
17:23:36 process considerations but there's in a statutory
17:23:41 The approval, or no ordinances required for this.
17:23:44 Approval or denial is based upon specific criteria in
17:23:47 the code, and your appeal decision, you are really
17:23:51 looking at whether or not you want to up hold or
17:23:53 overturn a decision.
17:23:54 Again, the public notice is provided by all code, if
17:23:58 there is no statutory requirement.
17:24:01 And City Council's review for those matters is not
17:24:04 legally required, under like rezonings that you must
17:24:06 review them.
17:24:07 Those actually are decisions that can be delegated
17:24:10 such as you delegate your variance approval.
17:24:13 You delegate levels of appeals.
17:24:18 You delegate certain things to keep the air clean,
17:24:23 your certificate of appropriateness.
17:24:24 Those are all judicial matters that actually can be
17:24:33 And we talked a lot about these different things but I
17:24:35 want to make sure everybody understood, in the City of
17:24:38 Tampa for your quasi-judicial reviews.
17:24:41 Some of them are by City Council.
17:24:42 Some of them are not.
17:24:43 Rezoning process, wet zoning, all of our special use
17:24:48 permits, a few special use 1 and 2.
17:24:51 The variance requests which are reviewed by the VRB
17:24:54 and ultimately an appeal to City Council.
17:24:57 The certificate of appropriateness, and variances
17:25:00 within the historic districts are heard either by the
17:25:04 ARC or BLC with ultimate appeal to City Council.
17:25:07 Historic designations are also quasi-judicial
17:25:11 proceedings which you have a recommendation from your
17:25:12 HPC which comes to you and you make that decision.
17:25:15 The appeal of zoning administrator decisions, which go
17:25:19 to the VRB.
17:25:20 Depending on which ones, the VRB or they come to you.
17:25:25 All the appeals of the VRB, ARC and BLC decisions and
17:25:31 tree removals, depending on the type of tree it has
17:25:34 different processes.
17:25:37 And this is a thumbnail sketch of our current rezoning
17:25:40 process in the City of Tampa.
17:25:48 I think it's 30 to 45 days you will have your
17:25:51 development review committee, which the development
17:25:53 review committee, for those of you who don't know, is
17:25:55 a committee of staff who review the zoning
17:25:59 applications and make recommendations, and they
17:26:01 actually have a meeting, sit down and the applicants
17:26:05 come in and they talk about the position, they give
17:26:10 their comments, and hopefully they get a new site plan
17:26:13 which confirms their comments, which we get kind of
17:26:18 caught in some things at City Council.
17:26:20 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: I was reading an article in the
17:26:22 paper the other day, and I don't think I realized, the
17:26:25 development review committee, DRC meeting, is required
17:26:28 to be in the sunshine.
17:26:31 >>JULIA COLE: Well, it depends on how you set up your
17:26:34 I have looked at our DRC process, and the way it is
17:26:37 set up in the City of Tampa, that is not a sunshine
17:26:41 review committee.
17:26:42 I know that there are other jurisdictions that have
17:26:44 been set up, an actual DRC which consists of city
17:26:50 staff sitting on a dais in the same way that you are,
17:26:54 hearing and opining on rezoning applications.
17:26:58 I believe Charlotte County had that same situation and
17:27:01 they had to revamp their development review committee.
17:27:03 The way we have it set up in the City of Tampa is it's
17:27:06 intended to be a streamlined process instead of going
17:27:10 to individual members for your comments, we put them
17:27:14 all in a room.
17:27:15 So it really depends on how you set them up.
17:27:18 >> I think the article that I was reading might have
17:27:20 been Hernandez county, and I think a court had made a
17:27:23 determination, perhaps based upon who participated in
17:27:26 the DRC, that it had to be in the sunshine, and the
17:27:31 whole nine yard.
17:27:32 So then they decided not to do the DRC, but now they
17:27:37 are going back to DRC process but they have to have it
17:27:40 in the sunshine.
17:27:41 It was kind of interesting.
17:27:42 I wasn't sure if that applied to us or not.
17:27:44 But you are saying --
17:27:46 >>JULIA COLE: I looked at it.
17:27:48 I'm comfortable the way we have the DRC process.
17:27:50 It is not a sunshine review committee.
17:27:52 Because it really is more just streamlining the go to
17:27:55 your different staff people versus go to a group of
17:27:59 them in the same room at the same time as things move
17:28:02 along, and that was the intent.
17:28:03 Also the secondary intent is instead of having
17:28:06 different staff reports, and Land Development
17:28:11 Coordination consolidates that into one report.
17:28:17 But it does lead to specific problems depending on how
17:28:22 you set it up and I think it is true, certain
17:28:25 jurisdictions have problems because of the way they
17:28:27 set up their development review committee.
17:28:29 Even though right now, I just would like to see what
17:28:33 they did in Hernando county.
17:28:36 There may be a variation, you never know.
17:28:38 Charlotte County actually had a litigation against
17:28:40 them as well, and it was found that their committee
17:28:44 was a sunshine committee.
17:28:45 When I looked at it, I looked at Charlotte County in
17:28:51 that determination.
17:28:52 But I do think it's important to know there is a group
17:28:55 that actually gets together and talks about these
17:28:57 things, gets a consolidated report to you regarding a
17:29:00 zoning application.
17:29:02 Oftentimes with we see now is a lot of changes from
17:29:05 the time the report comes out to the time they
17:29:07 actually get in front of you but not withstanding, to
17:29:11 encourage that conversation ahead of time.
17:29:13 Like I said, that's not just city staff, that's staff
17:29:16 in the Planning Commission, Tony giving his thoughts
17:29:23 and his opinions and DCA, Hartline, FDOT, the contract
17:29:28 cases that they are concerned about them.
17:29:31 It just depends on the specific issue.
17:29:35 Then after we had the consolidated staff report and we
17:29:38 go through, there's two public hearings in front of
17:29:41 City Council.
17:29:42 They will have it set up where you have two readings
17:29:44 and at the same time we have our two public hearings.
17:29:46 One is in the evening.
17:29:47 One is during the day traditionally.
17:29:50 Just so I can reiterate the plan on genre zoning
17:29:53 decisions, there is no obligation to have these
17:29:55 hearings at night.
17:29:56 But I will also tell you that generally has a public
17:30:02 hearing at night.
17:30:03 So even though that is not legally required I think it
17:30:05 has become something of the norm in quasi-judicial
17:30:09 And City Council will either approve at first reading,
17:30:12 no changes are made, and we have made it clear that
17:30:15 you can't make changes right now between first and
17:30:18 second reading.
17:30:18 Then we come in at second reading and you have a full
17:30:21 public hearing.
17:30:24 Marty has to tell you, sorry, it doesn't matter, we
17:30:27 have to theory whole thing again, and usually you
17:30:29 don't have a whole hearing, nobody comes, but there
17:30:32 are occasions when you do and you absolutely have the
17:30:34 right to have a full public hearing at your second
17:30:36 reading, and another decision that can be made on
17:30:39 whatever evidence and testimony is presented.
17:30:47 And looking at this -- and I should say that I spent
17:30:50 some time actually looking at other jurisdictions.
17:30:54 Both municipal jurisdictions.
17:30:58 A county jurisdiction, we have to consider different
17:31:01 because of their legal requirements and how they
17:31:04 approve rezoning.
17:31:05 We cannot could do this like Hillsborough County or
17:31:08 Lee County or any other county, because we have a
17:31:11 legal obligation to have at least some public hearing
17:31:13 in front of City Council.
17:31:15 But the one thing that I found out that was very
17:31:17 interesting is the City of Tampa is the only
17:31:20 jurisdiction -- and I didn't look at he have -- I
17:31:24 think there are 200 -- but every comparable
17:31:27 jurisdiction, and even some smaller, even some larger,
17:31:30 we are the only jurisdiction that does not have some
17:31:32 form of initial review body, whether it be a hearing
17:31:36 officer, which is our Planning Commission board,
17:31:41 community development board, a planning and zoning
17:31:43 board, and initial public hearing on a rezoning prior
17:31:47 to that coming to City Council.
17:31:49 But I thought that was very interesting.
17:31:51 And you in essence -- and told you this before -- you
17:31:55 act as your own initial review body in rezonings,
17:31:59 which I guess is why somebody some time ago decided to
17:32:02 set this up with two public hearings, and that may
17:32:04 have been one of the reasons.
17:32:05 But as I said, that is really, really unique.
17:32:10 I was surprised to learn.
17:32:13 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Oftentimes when things appear
17:32:16 before us, they are not complete.
17:32:21 Would having this initial hearing by some other entity
17:32:28 flush out the incompleteness so the theory would be by
17:32:31 the time it comes to us it would be complete?
17:32:34 >>JULIA COLE: As I go through the advantages, I think
17:32:36 quite frankly that is one of the biggest advantages.
17:32:38 I mean when could talk about legally why there might
17:32:40 be some advantages.
17:32:41 But I think from a process standpoint, there's a
17:32:45 reason every other jurisdiction in the State of
17:32:47 Florida does it.
17:32:47 But I think one of the reasons is to flush these
17:32:49 issues out oh.
17:32:50 Because if they are not flushed out in front of City
17:32:52 Council and they are flushed out initially, and I
17:32:54 think that is really part of your consideration as to
17:32:57 whether or not this is an appropriate thing to do.
17:32:59 And one of the things that -- part of that is having
17:33:02 that initial review by a professional.
17:33:06 And regardless of whether or not you're a county or
17:33:10 city and regardless of whether you have to have that
17:33:12 public hearing in front of City Council or not, you
17:33:14 still have an opportunity to have everybody sit in a
17:33:19 room have, that initial review, have a petitioner put
17:33:22 their petition out to the public in a public forum
17:33:26 initially so that that is what people can make their
17:33:31 competent, substantial evidence testimony based on,
17:33:34 their comments, give their input, and have that be
17:33:37 something that everybody had an opportunity to review,
17:33:40 so when it does come to City Council, and some of the
17:33:44 other advantages, you will have an opportunity to
17:33:48 I am going to reiterate this a couple times because I
17:33:50 know there's a lot of concern, to cut people off when
17:33:55 they come to you.
17:33:56 Legally we just can't do it.
17:33:58 So no matter what you decide to do, implement or not
17:34:03 it, there is no opportunity to not have a public
17:34:05 hearing in front of City Council.
17:34:06 So you don't necessarily have a complete record but
17:34:10 you should have a complete record.
17:34:12 People can always come just like they would come today
17:34:14 at second reading and provide you information but you
17:34:18 should have a complete record.
17:34:19 You should have an opportunity to actually before you
17:34:22 go to the hearing to review that record, to review the
17:34:25 testimony, to review the evidence which has been
17:34:29 submitted, and a recommendation out of a hearing
17:34:32 officer, and even if it's a planning or zoning board,
17:34:37 community board, they all have a recommendation that
17:34:38 they make to the City Council, and you will have that
17:34:41 information prior to walking into the public hearing.
17:34:44 And I think that's probably the biggest advantage to
17:34:48 having it, as well as really falling in to line with
17:34:53 what every other jurisdiction is doing in the State of
17:34:58 And that may be one of the reasons that every other
17:35:01 jurisdiction that I can find -- just in case I don't
17:35:03 find -- don't quote me -- pretty much every other
17:35:07 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Quick question.
17:35:11 What are their qualifications? What is their bias?
17:35:15 >>JULIA COLE: In terms of qualifications, bias, of all
17:35:18 of these things, you select them.
17:35:20 You set up with what the qualifications are.
17:35:23 You do that as part of your ordinance.
17:35:25 When I looked at other jurisdictions and how they set
17:35:28 up their hearing officer ordinance, the qualifications
17:35:31 within the ordinance, they have to, you know, be a
17:35:35 member of the Florida Bar for five years, they can't
17:35:38 do any work within the City of Tampa.
17:35:39 You know, whatever those qualifications are.
17:35:43 And then ultimately you make the decision and choose
17:35:45 who that person is.
17:35:47 Not dissimilarly to when you set up like a Variance
17:35:50 Review Board, and you need certain people to be on it.
17:35:53 You are the one that is make that decision.
17:35:55 You ultimately do make the decision who that person
17:35:58 is, what their qualifications are, how much work they
17:36:03 do in the city or not in the city.
17:36:05 I think beyond city lines, I don't think you can keep
17:36:09 people from, say, working in the county or in the city
17:36:11 or things like that.
17:36:12 But those are some of the things you can consider
17:36:15 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Okay?
17:36:17 >>JULIA COLE: Let me see if there are any other issues
17:36:19 on here.
17:36:19 The other thing that I think is an advantage, and I
17:36:22 didn't write this down -- and I was thinking about it
17:36:25 but I didn't put it on the slide, but I do actually
17:36:27 think it's probably one of the biggest advantages.
17:36:29 It would also allow you in your public hearing process
17:36:32 to separate out the noncontroversial items from the
17:36:35 controversial items, as part of your agenda.
17:36:39 You could set up a system where you have
17:36:43 recommendations that some things are no objection from
17:36:46 city staff, you have a presentation that has now been
17:36:51 part of the public hearing process that you don't have
17:36:53 Marty saying, no, no, you have to let them talk, they
17:36:57 need a record, you have a recommendation if something
17:36:59 is approvable from a hearing officer.
17:37:05 You can set your agenda up where you have
17:37:08 noncontroversial items.
17:37:09 The caveat being if someone does show up, it would
17:37:12 require you to open up public hearing and let them
17:37:15 If a petitioner wanted to get up and speak you still
17:37:18 have to open that public hearing but unlike today
17:37:21 where you have to provide that public hearing, at
17:37:23 least one, that we have a record that that decision is
17:37:27 based upon, even if nobody cares.
17:37:30 We encourage to you open up that public hearing no
17:37:33 matter what.
17:37:36 I think that's really a big part of how this can work
17:37:40 to your advantage.
17:37:42 Something that you want to do,.
17:37:45 Other advantages -- hearing officer can use in a
17:37:49 variety of other forums within the city depending on
17:37:51 what City Council is interested in doing.
17:37:53 I'm not talking a lot about that.
17:37:55 That is part of some recommended options, if you
17:37:59 choose to go that way.
17:38:00 But I do want to at least make that clear.
17:38:04 And there are disadvantages.
17:38:07 It would absolutely add to the rezoning process.
17:38:11 It's something that we could capture as part of our
17:38:14 permitting fees.
17:38:15 But it would add expense.
17:38:20 I know some have actually gotten to the commission
17:38:22 from the county, and --
17:38:27 >>MARY MULHERN: My question was, if a zoning hearing
17:38:32 master we are talking about, that you were talking
17:38:34 about, how they are like a zoning board, or a body,
17:38:38 how does -- what are our options here if we decided to
17:38:43 go in this direction?
17:38:45 >>JULIA COLE: I was really talking about the hearing
17:38:47 officer option but I found in my research something
17:38:50 that you should be aware of, that it is also something
17:38:53 that you can actually have, like a hearing body, some
17:38:58 kind of planning and zoning board, or some other kind
17:39:01 of community development board.
17:39:03 We have a little bit of unique situation.
17:39:07 We use the Planning Commission, which is a local
17:39:09 planning agency.
17:39:10 But since we have kind of a special op setting up our
17:39:14 Planning Commission, they had actually delegated to
17:39:16 the staff to make that decision, and in fact may even
17:39:19 be a special access.
17:39:21 We have to create a special within the City of Tampa
17:39:25 But that would absolutely be another option for that
17:39:27 initial review board, as well.
17:39:32 Not dissimilar to the variance, that you have a
17:39:35 Variance Review Board to make that decision and
17:39:38 delegate that authority.
17:39:39 >>MARY MULHERN: If you look at municipalities similar
17:39:43 in size to us, what do they tend to do more?
17:39:45 Are they hearing master, or zoning board?
17:39:48 >>> I will tell you, interestingly I have not been
17:39:50 able to find a jurisdiction -- a municipal
17:39:53 jurisdiction that uses a hearing officer for their
17:39:55 initial review body. The city of Clearwater uses
17:39:58 hearing officers for certain other delegated items to
17:40:03 secure their appeals, secure their special use
17:40:05 permits, which that is part of the option.
17:40:09 Whatever you all want to do you have a variety of
17:40:11 options, and I think it really is a policy decision
17:40:14 for you all to make.
17:40:16 What do you think is important for City Council to
17:40:19 keep, what decisions are better served to be in front
17:40:21 of a hearing officer.
17:40:23 As your attorney, I will tell you that the legally
17:40:30 based appeal decisions.
17:40:32 The hazardous tree removal decisions, it would
17:40:35 probably be the legal department's recommendation that
17:40:36 you consider a hearing officer for those because they
17:40:38 are more -- oftentimes they are lawyers, they make a
17:40:43 legal decision.
17:40:44 The advantage of using a hearing officer versus a
17:40:46 board is that we are in an FY with a quasi-judicial
17:40:52 So it is very important regardless of whether or not
17:40:55 there's a hearing officer, or there is a board of
17:40:58 people, that there is a recognition, but there is a
17:41:00 legal portion of the decision-making process that
17:41:03 needs to be upheld.
17:41:05 So as your lawyer, oftentimes having that recommended
17:41:09 order that comes from, say, a lawyer is very valuable
17:41:14 when we are reviewing a record, and asking to make an
17:41:18 important decision.
17:41:18 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Can you answer Ms. Mulhern's
17:41:24 When you looked at municipals, you are finding
17:41:27 planning board bodies as best compared to individual
17:41:30 single hearing officers?
17:41:32 >>> For the initial review, yes.
17:41:35 That is what I found.
17:41:38 Although like I said.
17:41:44 >> I guess the question is not terminology.
17:41:48 What you have is a hearing process.
17:41:52 A board officer.
17:41:56 I think the portion of process that they have to come
17:41:59 before City Council.
17:42:01 >>JULIA COLE: That's the point that I think I found in
17:42:03 looking at other jurisdictions.
17:42:06 You are hearing these things cold at City Council.
17:42:08 And most if not all jurisdictions don't hear their
17:42:13 rezonings cold.
17:42:15 They hear, some initial review body.
17:42:25 That's some of the disadvantages.
17:42:26 And kind of talking about this, the one thing that is
17:42:29 of benefit to the way you handle your rezonings is we
17:42:31 have a very, very, very quick process.
17:42:34 I mean, it's incredibly quick.
17:42:36 I was shocked when I first started with the city.
17:42:38 This would actually add -- I mean, there's no doubt
17:42:42 about it.
17:42:44 It would add to what you need if you have a hearing
17:42:47 officer, you need time for their written decision, you
17:42:50 would need to add time for the initial hearing, and
17:42:52 quite frankly, you would want to add time to allow
17:42:56 adjustments to be made before it came to you because
17:42:57 this process only works, I think, if you have a
17:43:01 complete record that you're reviewing and a final plan
17:43:05 that you're reviewing.
17:43:08 I the continuances wouldn't happen in front of you but
17:43:13 it would absolutely add time to the process.
17:43:15 It would also add additional hearing for the staff and
17:43:17 the legal department to be in attendance on.
17:43:19 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Let's say somebody came to a
17:43:22 hearing board with a plan, and the community wasn't
17:43:27 happy with it.
17:43:28 And the plan was to be revised.
17:43:30 It would then go back to the hearing board or officer
17:43:33 and then come to council?
17:43:35 Or would council be the next step?
17:43:37 >>> Quite frankly, you wouldn't necessarily have to,
17:43:39 but I think it would be our recommendation, because
17:43:41 like I said, in order to have this be valuable to you,
17:43:46 it would probably need to go back.
17:43:48 Well, it depends on where you are in the process.
17:43:51 If you are trying to make changes before you get
17:43:52 there, then, yeah.
17:43:54 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: So it would -- so if it just went
17:43:57 straight through it would probably add like 60 days or
17:44:00 more like 90?
17:44:02 >>> Maybe 60 days would probably be a fair amount of
17:44:05 time that it would add to the process to allow the
17:44:08 completeness to happen.
17:44:11 Because this doesn't work unless --
17:44:15 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes, I think it is a cleaner process
17:44:19 from the standpoint you have a professional review,
17:44:22 staff or board or committee, hearing officer, that
17:44:24 sort of thing, to basically look at the recommendation
17:44:26 coming from the hearing officer, you have a
17:44:28 recommendation coming from the Planning Commission,
17:44:31 recommendation coming from the staff.
17:44:37 So what happens is, one of two things.
17:44:40 One, that record is complete, once the hearing officer
17:44:43 has it and they put together their finding, finding of
17:44:46 fact, right?
17:44:47 And it comes to us.
17:44:48 And in the whole process -- you are involved in that
17:44:58 One, you can flat-out deny, or you can send it back to
17:45:01 the hearing officer, or hearing board, to say, give us
17:45:05 more information on a particular area, or a particular
17:45:11 You can approve it.
17:45:12 You can deny.
17:45:13 You can send it back.
17:45:16 But the way things now, we are spending a lot of time,
17:45:20 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, whatever, trying to do
17:45:22 that as opposed to having a professional review do
17:45:25 that, and then we are the last one to make the final
17:45:29 And even if a hearing officer recommends approval,
17:45:33 actually everybody recommends approval but the county
17:45:36 commission overturns it based on, you know, of course
17:45:39 evidence, substantial evidence and that sort of thing.
17:45:42 So it's not cut and dried, that's not the case at all.
17:45:48 >>JULIA COLE: And that's a very good point.
17:45:50 Because some of the decisions, recommendations,
17:45:54 everybody on approval, and it's if that competent,
17:45:58 substantial evidence is in the record, and you make
17:46:03 your basis upon that, it doesn't matter if that
17:46:06 evidence came in front of the hearing officer, hearing
17:46:08 board, et cetera, or in front of you, as long as it's
17:46:10 in the record.
17:46:12 We can defend that decision.
17:46:14 And allow that opportunity to come to you as a
17:46:19 complete package.
17:46:19 I think like I said, this works only if it comes to
17:46:22 you as a complete package.
17:46:27 And I think maybe this isn't a disadvantage but I
17:46:33 think it's really part of what this process would mean
17:46:35 depending on if we decided to go with this, we would
17:46:40 have to spend some time not just drafting an ordinance
17:46:43 but making sure your codes say what you want them to
17:46:46 say, because we are not going to get caught that the
17:46:49 code says one thing and everybody wants to do another
17:46:52 And that's an advantage or disadvantage.
17:46:56 Actually, give the opportunity for more time to
17:46:58 update, because I think our codes, we talk about this
17:47:01 all the time, they need to be updated.
17:47:12 My finally thought are some suggestions.
17:47:14 They are not complete.
17:47:15 Just some thoughts I had in looking at other
17:47:17 jurisdictions and log at the prospect.
17:47:22 The first public hearing on rezoning applications and
17:47:24 make that recommendation to City Council.
17:47:26 To either hear and decide, especially use applications
17:47:31 or have it in a special use application.
17:47:34 As I told you all, downtown have to actually decide
17:47:38 Those can be legally delegated.
17:47:40 Secure appeals from the -- to hear appeals from the
17:47:43 VRB, ARC and BLC.
17:47:47 Hear tree removal appeals.
17:47:49 A lot of times it has legal Pabst parts and it's
17:47:51 something we usually want to consider.
17:47:54 Same thing if the appeals from the zoning
17:47:56 administrator decision, based upon code provisions and
17:47:59 interpretation of code provisions.
17:48:01 And you don't hear those.
17:48:02 They actually go to the VRB now.
17:48:06 There are still a few that go to your VRB right now.
17:48:10 This isn't something you ever hear but if we did
17:48:12 create this process I would recommend that we have
17:48:15 this process for administrative appeals, if you are
17:48:17 not happy with the decision of someone in the
17:48:18 administration, one of the directors, you can appeal
17:48:23 that internally.
17:48:24 I think for a due process purposes, having that heard
17:48:27 by a hearing officer would be a really good idea.
17:48:30 And it's something to add to that process.
17:48:36 We could, depending on how we use a hearing officer,
17:48:39 actually make them a preferred hearing officer, that
17:48:45 you can expect both the city and property owner,
17:48:48 expect the hearing officer might be able to utilize,
17:48:52 depending on the matter, and then also to take action
17:48:56 on ministerial actions, and there may be some other
17:48:59 matters that you have the legal authority to delegate
17:49:01 that you could consider delegating.
17:49:05 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Well, the very last item, take
17:49:08 action on ministerial matters, if we don't do it
17:49:11 through a hearing officer, I want to do it through
17:49:13 some sort of administrative thing, because frankly, I
17:49:16 think it's ridiculously a waste of everyone's time on
17:49:20 council to consider allowing it.
17:49:27 >>> That's the end of my presentation.
17:49:29 A hearing officer with Lee County may have some
17:49:32 comments to add to give you his perspective.
17:49:36 And I'm going with the hope the county is here.
17:49:40 They agreed to come on over here and just maybe talk a
17:49:43 little bit about the hearing officer process that the
17:49:45 county, if council would like to hear from them.
17:49:49 I appreciate everyone's time.
17:49:55 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: What's council's pleasure?
17:49:57 Mr. Gormley, a couple of minutes?
17:50:03 We appreciate you coming down the street and
17:50:06 enlightening us.
17:50:08 >>> Good evening.
17:50:09 Adam Gormley.
17:50:16 >> Any questions?
17:50:16 Or do you want to say anything?
17:50:18 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: It seems to me if you look at the
17:50:20 nature of what the county does, it tends to be very
17:50:25 large scale rezoning.
17:50:26 Lots of acreage.
17:50:28 Often wild land, out in a more rural context.
17:50:33 My concern is that what the city does is very
17:50:38 It's urban, in-fill, and already developed
17:50:42 neighborhoods, where things have to work pretty nicely
17:50:45 with their neighbors in concern to the environment.
17:50:49 What has been your experience with that kind of thing
17:50:52 in the county?
17:50:53 >>> Well, I think that that changed a little bit in
17:50:55 Hillsborough County it of the used to be that we would
17:50:58 see very large projects come in, fairly undeveloped
17:51:02 That's starting to change a little bit.
17:51:04 We saw that for awhile in south county where large
17:51:06 parcels were coming in.
17:51:07 But those areas are starting to become fewer and
17:51:10 So we are seeing more smaller scale zonings, if you
17:51:14 will, maybe that's a smaller scale, different things
17:51:18 in the county than a city perspective.
17:51:21 We don't see a lot by lot type rezoning but we do see
17:51:24 smaller projects coming in, 5, 10 acres.
17:51:28 >> Let me rephrase it.
17:51:29 I'm talking about an existing neighborhood where one
17:51:32 lot, let's say a block of an existing neighborhood,
17:51:35 one lot is coming into a rezoning, and perhaps they
17:51:39 want to increase the intensity of what's there.
17:51:42 Did you see the hearing master deal with situations
17:51:44 like that?
17:51:45 Because that's what we are dealing with primarily in
17:51:46 the city.
17:51:47 >>> Yeah, we do see those type of scenarios,
17:51:50 particularly Palm River area is one that comes to
17:51:52 mind, right off the bat.
17:51:54 >> I don't think of palm area as urban.
17:52:00 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: So on indication you see that?
17:52:03 All right.
17:52:03 Mr. Scott, did you have a question, too?
17:52:08 >>> I will say that early on there was not a lot of
17:52:15 development in the county but you have a whole lot of
17:52:16 development now so you have a lot of communities, you
17:52:20 can go down the list.
17:52:21 We have had people come in for rezonings and that sort
17:52:25 of thing for the county, that the community was
17:52:30 This room is small compared to county commission.
17:52:36 I have seen the place standing room only with
17:52:38 neighborhoods, and people come in to oppose them or
17:52:41 support then, advice verse A.I think the process is
17:52:48 not whether it's large or small.
17:52:50 I think the issue is process, and whether we will
17:52:53 benefit from that process.
17:53:03 >>> Areas that have become subject to community plans,
17:53:05 which have been included in our comprehensive plan,
17:53:09 and in many cases they have design regulations in our
17:53:13 Land Development Code, that present issues that are
17:53:21 particular to a particular area.
17:53:23 For instance, a development up in keystone, they had
17:53:27 different considerations and elements that need to be
17:53:30 addressed than, say, a development in Gibsonton or an
17:53:34 area that's more -- experiencing more growth rather
17:53:38 than newer growth rather than redevelopment growth.
17:53:42 We certainly do see different types of projects than I
17:53:44 understand the city sees but the hearing officer
17:53:46 process does lend itself to reviewing those type of
17:53:52 issues based on the regulations and concerns that are
17:53:58 particular to that area, and again what's compatible
17:54:00 in one area of the county may be very different than
17:54:02 what's compatible in another area.
17:54:07 >>MARY MULHERN: I have a question.
17:54:08 I don't know if this is for you or Julia.
17:54:11 Actually it's for you.
17:54:12 You could tell me how -- I think the neighborhoods are
17:54:15 interested in how this hearing master -- how is the
17:54:19 county's hearing master selected?
17:54:21 What are the qualifications?
17:54:22 And how do you appoint that person?
17:54:28 >>> They are appointed by the Board of County
17:54:30 There are standards that are proscribed in our Land
17:54:33 Development Code which are minimum thresholds that an
17:54:36 applicant must meet in terms of having experience in
17:54:38 the planning or engineering field, or an attorney with
17:54:43 certain number of years' practice.
17:54:44 And applicants come in and are screened initially
17:54:48 based on meeting those criteria.
17:54:51 They are not eligible to be considered for the
17:54:54 The applicants that do come in are reviewed by a
17:54:58 committee with representatives from the county
17:55:01 attorney's office, Planning Commission, and the
17:55:05 planning staff as to further filter down the
17:55:07 applicants that come in.
17:55:08 And Florida has a recommendation to the county
17:55:14 commissioners that's a sunshine review, there's
17:55:16 minutes of the meeting kept but ultimately the
17:55:19 decision to hire is vested with the county
17:55:24 >>MARY MULHERN: Do you require that it be an attorney,
17:55:27 or is that just one of the --
17:55:29 >>> It's one of the possible, not required to be an
17:55:32 We do have some that are planning professional.
17:55:36 >> So there's not really a public hearing about who is
17:55:42 >>> It's not in terms of -- not a public hearing, it's
17:55:45 a public process to review the applications, also a
17:55:48 public item before the board to approve the contracts.
17:55:52 >> So is it one person, one officer?
17:55:55 Or do you have more than one?
17:55:57 >>> No, we have, I believe, six land use hearing
17:56:02 officers, some of whom here only hear special use
17:56:07 cases, some hear only rezonings, one that hears --
17:56:11 there's a little -- there's opportunity to switch back
17:56:14 and forth.
17:56:15 >> Are those paid positions?
17:56:16 >>> Yes, they are paid positions.
17:56:19 >> I think it's contractual.
17:56:21 >>> Yes. The board approves a contract.
17:56:22 Generally it's for a period of three years.
17:56:28 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: All right.
17:56:29 Thank you, Adam, and Julia.
17:56:32 If there's not anything else, then --
17:56:36 >> Any questions for Mr. Territo?
17:56:38 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: We'll check with Sal.
17:56:40 Would anybody from the public like to speak on this
17:56:43 Feel free to come on up and three minutes each.
17:56:45 And you all know the routine.
17:56:51 >>> Gary Elsworth, president, south Seminole Heights
17:56:54 civic association.
17:56:54 Thank you for allowing to us speak, Mr. Chairman.
17:56:56 And unfortunately -- I come here this evening without
17:57:03 really having my mind made up either way to go on
17:57:05 But listening to Ms. Cole's presentation, I see a lot
17:57:08 of advantages for you.
17:57:11 I'm not sure what the advantages are for me or my
17:57:16 friends behind us.
17:57:17 I understand how this may stream lane the process.
17:57:20 And I understand there are meetings that go till late
17:57:23 at night.
17:57:24 Imagine how we feel sitting out here when we are only
17:57:27 here for one of those items and not all of them.
17:57:30 I'm concerned about extra expenses added to the
17:57:35 I'm concerned about additional time adding to the
17:57:41 I have had the opportunity to attend some of those
17:57:42 staff reports where the different staff departments,
17:57:48 along with Tony from the city-county Planning
17:57:50 Commission, we kind of refer to those as a caning, but
17:57:58 I think they are very appropriate because it gives
17:57:59 everybody a chance to talk and I think that from an
17:58:02 outsider sitting in looks like it works very well.
17:58:04 So I don't know if I am up here to say I support this
17:58:07 or don't support it, but right now I see a great win
17:58:10 for you, and I'm not sure I see the win for the
17:58:13 I'm not sure it would now mean three meetings we might
17:58:19 need to come to, if the hearing officer would even be
17:58:22 in a public arena where the public could speak.
17:58:24 There's just a lot of unknowns that concern me a
17:58:27 little bit.
17:58:27 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Mr. Chairman, just to clarify the
17:58:31 order of business.
17:58:32 Under your rules, the public may be heard on the
17:58:35 matter which is the subject of a workshop, upon motion
17:58:37 of council the chair opens the floor.
17:58:40 I assume just for the record that this was then by
17:58:43 without objection by unanimous consent.
17:58:44 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Yes.
17:58:45 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: That's kind of the way we started
17:58:47 the meeting.
17:58:50 Thank you.
17:58:50 Mr. Else worth, just to clarify.
17:58:56 I think the process that Ms. Cole described, any
17:59:00 hearing master process, or public zoning board
17:59:03 process, always involves the public's opportunity to
17:59:08 participate and give their input as testimony.
17:59:12 They might give a testimony then and come back later
17:59:15 and give testimony in front of us again.
17:59:17 But it clearly anticipates public participation.
17:59:21 Yes, ma'am.
17:59:23 >>> I did a lot of research on this.
17:59:24 >> Name.
17:59:26 >>> Ann Johnson, 2625 Longfellow Avenue.
17:59:29 It's my understanding when you appear before a hearing
17:59:31 master, the petitioner gets 15 minutes, and the
17:59:34 citizens get 15 minutes.
17:59:35 So the 15 people speak for a minute, or do three
17:59:39 people speak for five minutes?
17:59:40 >> JULIA COLE: I only interrupt just to clarify the
17:59:45 Hillsborough County has it set up. They have blocs of
17:59:50 time set up.
17:59:50 We won't have it set up that way in City Council and I
17:59:53 don't know if we anticipate, if you were to set it up,
17:59:54 you would set it up that way.
17:59:57 You could set up that portion of it up any way.
18:00:01 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Not true. Zoning hearing master,
18:00:03 everybody that signs up gets an opportunity to speak.
18:00:05 Am I correct on that?
18:00:07 >>> With the hearing master?
18:00:09 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes.
18:00:09 It's only coming before the Board of County Commission
18:00:12 that the board has a certain blocs of time that
18:00:14 everybody come down but before the zoning hearing
18:00:16 master everybody is permitted to speak.
18:00:22 >>> Council members, there is a time period set up for
18:00:26 the zoning hearing master hearings.
18:00:27 However, everybody who shows up for the hearing is
18:00:29 afforded the opportunity to speak and the hearing
18:00:31 master has the latitude to extend that time which he
18:00:33 or she does based on the public.
18:00:36 >> So then the county commission tries to do the
18:00:40 Is that what they try to do at the county commission
18:00:42 part of it?
18:00:43 >>> Yes.
18:00:43 The county commission has proscribed times, and they
18:00:46 are for people who file to speak.
18:00:54 Anybody who shows up at the zoning hearing master is
18:00:57 afforded the opportunity to speak.
18:01:08 >>> The time frame of the hearing master sitting
18:01:11 there, there is a time period set up in the code.
18:01:14 However, it is also in the code that the hearing
18:01:16 master has the latitude to grant additional time.
18:01:23 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: And just because the county does it
18:01:27 one way doesn't mean we can do it any way.
18:01:29 >>SAL TERRITO: That's something we can establish.
18:01:32 When I was examiner in Lee County there were no time
18:01:37 We had a full day hearing because there were no time
18:01:40 That's something that you can establish.
18:01:42 Generally with the hearing examiner, there are some
18:01:45 with no time limits at all. You can speak as long as
18:01:47 you wish.
18:01:47 It gets limited when you go before the board, though.
18:01:54 >>> We don't know what you want to do so we are
18:01:56 shaking a little.
18:01:57 Also, I got into the budget.
18:02:01 I called, and for the hearing master for the year
18:02:04 2006. $334,464.
18:02:10 Add to that $59,448 for recording services which cost
18:02:15 almost 400,000.
18:02:17 I would much rather give you a raise.
18:02:20 Hearing master, $75,000.
18:02:22 I would rather pay you 80, 100,000.
18:02:26 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: That's because we come cheap and
18:02:28 you know it.
18:02:29 >>> And do you such a great job, you know.
18:02:31 But, you know, this is my concern.
18:02:34 I don't know.
18:02:35 That's about all I have to say.
18:02:38 And I know Reverend Scott, he knows a lot about it and
18:02:42 I appreciate him and respect him.
18:02:48 You have done a great job.
18:02:49 But we just don't understand.
18:02:50 We need to learn a lot more about it.
18:02:53 Thank you.
18:02:55 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you.
18:03:00 >>> Barb Belflower, and I am a zoning hearing master
18:03:02 for Hillsborough County.
18:03:03 And I think I bring a very unique perspective to this.
18:03:07 I was a Hillsborough County zoning administrator for
18:03:09 two years, in the early years of the hearing process.
18:03:13 And I have appeared before the hearing officers and
18:03:17 representing my clients.
18:03:18 I went back to law school after I left the county.
18:03:23 And as a hearing officer, I started in October.
18:03:26 To answer a few of the questions, Ms. Saul-Sena,
18:03:32 matters that we hear can be from several hundred acres
18:03:35 to one lot.
18:03:36 I have a lot of people wanting to turn their houses
18:03:38 into offices, upgrading to multifamily.
18:03:46 I think obviously parts of the county are much more
18:03:48 rule than the city but there are certainly some of the
18:03:50 same issues that you would see in the city.
18:03:52 And I think the process works equally well for
18:03:55 addressing those sorts of things.
18:03:57 You take the input from the people in the
18:03:59 neighborhood, and the professional input from the
18:04:02 staff, and make a recommendation based on that.
18:04:06 As to the answering -- of a Lough the public to speak,
18:04:10 there is as said, and at the beginning of the meeting
18:04:14 we announce there's 15 minutes, but I have never cut
18:04:17 anybody off.
18:04:18 And I have had many long lines of people.
18:04:20 We ask that you don't be repetitious.
18:04:22 I think you all do that, also.
18:04:24 So somebody doesn't come up and each person say the
18:04:26 same thing over and over again.
18:04:28 But I think it's very important to the process to
18:04:30 allow everybody the opportunity to provide their
18:04:34 And I think one of the things that the hearing officer
18:04:36 process does is it allows a thought-out time period,
18:04:43 because we don't make a recommendation immediately.
18:04:46 We make a recommendation.
18:04:47 We have 15 minutes to make a representation you take
18:04:53 all the -- we get an actual transcript of the hearing,
18:04:56 that also goes to the Board of County Commissioners so
18:04:59 that they have the transcript of everything that was
18:05:03 And so that it allows a thought-out decision or
18:05:11 recommendation from the neighbors where the staff
18:05:13 hasn't necessarily had all the input from the
18:05:15 It allows another opinion with the neighbors' input
18:05:19 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Your perspective is particularly
18:05:23 interesting to me because you participated in a
18:05:25 variety of ways.
18:05:28 Let's say you have a public hearing on Wednesday
18:05:32 You have a number of cases that night.
18:05:36 Then you during the day, this is like a part-time job?
18:05:41 >> Yes.
18:05:41 >> And thinking about it and writing a decision based
18:05:45 on the transcript and based on that evening's
18:05:49 >>> Right.
18:05:50 You had 15 business days to turn in the
18:05:54 >> If you make a recommendation of disapproval, does
18:05:59 the process stop there?
18:06:00 >>> No.
18:06:01 >> It goes on whether you recommend approval or
18:06:03 disapproval, it goes to the commission, and then they
18:06:06 review your recommendation and --
18:06:11 >>> That's right.
18:06:12 And they have the record of the hearing, the hearing
18:06:14 officer conducted, to look at and review.
18:06:17 Obviously in the situation that the city would be in,
18:06:19 you would have an opportunity for a full public
18:06:22 hearing, whereas Hillsborough County is not set up
18:06:24 that way.
18:06:24 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: You addressed something that's my
18:06:30 biggest concern.
18:06:30 Most of what we do in the city is very sensitive,
18:06:35 redevelopment projects, surrounded by existing
18:06:38 And oftentimes it's not a suburban setting, it's an
18:06:43 urban setting, pretty dense.
18:06:45 So what somebody does is going to impact the people
18:06:47 around there.
18:06:48 Your background is legal.
18:06:51 >>> And planning.
18:06:52 >> Okay, good.
18:06:53 And you take all of that into consideration?
18:06:57 Does the county have trouble finding people with
18:06:59 appropriate experience or qualifications for the
18:07:01 position, do you know?
18:07:03 >>> I don't think so.
18:07:04 I don't think that has been an issue in the past.
18:07:06 The two zoning hearing masters that were the original
18:07:11 two -- in fact Martin Smith is conducting his last
18:07:14 hearing tonight.
18:07:15 He is retiring.
18:07:17 Since 1984, John Chris and Martin Smith have been the
18:07:21 hearing officers.
18:07:22 There have been others that have come and gone.
18:07:25 Throws a third hearing officer, then in '92, I think
18:07:29 it was, the county added the land use officers to hear
18:07:31 the special uses.
18:07:34 One or two of those were an attorney.
18:07:36 All the rest had a planning background.
18:07:39 And I think the attorneys have a planning and land use
18:07:43 I don't think that it has been difficult to find
18:07:45 qualified people to do this.
18:07:47 When you have a regular practice, it's something that
18:07:51 you do kind of out of love.
18:07:53 For me it was sort of coming home and doing something
18:07:56 that I believe in.
18:07:57 And I think you are going to find people that do it
18:08:02 for that reason too.
18:08:03 In terms of the question of bias that you had earlier,
18:08:06 I think you are going to get people that are not in it
18:08:08 for the money.
18:08:10 It doesn't pay that well.
18:08:11 It's for the good of the community, where they live.
18:08:17 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you, Ms. Belflower.
18:08:32 >>> Vicki Pollyea, member, Bayshore Gardens
18:08:36 Some of the things that have happened already in the
18:08:38 process, you know, that's a very subjective thing.
18:08:43 And when Julia mentioned that, you know, we show
18:08:46 pictures with eight houses, and this doesn't fit.
18:08:52 That's an evidentiary thing that we as lay people have
18:08:56 to deal with.
18:08:57 You have to remember we are volunteers, as
18:08:59 neighborhood presidents.
18:09:00 Special use permits for things like the liquor
18:09:04 license, I can tell you it drives me nutty, the
18:09:10 misnotice this year, I had 18 certified letters I had
18:09:13 to go down to sign for,.
18:09:19 So if you can make that process more stream lind for
18:09:21 yourself and for us, that's great.
18:09:23 But I can tell you that a liquor license, permanent
18:09:27 liquor license or something, that I want to go before
18:09:30 my elected officials on and discuss it with you on the
18:09:33 Things like that.
18:09:34 Yes, I can see that there's a process.
18:09:38 And it might be a good use.
18:09:39 You talk about the design review committee.
18:09:41 I attend many ARC review committees concerning the
18:09:46 Bern's development and we were not allowed to say a
18:09:49 And it was in the sunshine.
18:09:50 But we could not speak.
18:09:52 I think that that could be a tool where a neighborhood
18:09:55 input could be valued, and it's a process that we are
18:10:00 not always allowed to speak.
18:10:02 I like to know what's happening.
18:10:06 But maybe that is the way to start the dialogue before
18:10:09 we get before you.
18:10:10 A lot of petitioners here right now meet with
18:10:15 individuals and neighbors before a PD, coming before
18:10:20 But again we run into problems.
18:10:22 If you meet with two officers in the neighborhood
18:10:25 association, we have the Board of Directors opinion.
18:10:28 If she meets with three neighbors, the whole
18:10:32 If they send you a form, and your special notice that
18:10:37 says if you approve in the 200 letters that they send
18:10:41 out, and then you say, well, 150 people -- they don't
18:10:46 even know what this is about.
18:10:48 For all these issues always come up already in the PD
18:10:53 zoning process.
18:10:54 And my only -- my biggest concern is we come before
18:10:59 you, our elected officials, a one-person board, a
18:11:05 chance of conflict, and, also, I understand we all
18:11:10 have a high standard of ethics.
18:11:12 But, you know, you were elected by us.
18:11:15 I'm also really concerned about not only the cost to
18:11:18 the petitioner but also the extra burden on the
18:11:21 I think that what we are expected to do as volunteers
18:11:25 is quite a bit.
18:11:26 And we try to take it seriously.
18:11:29 We are here on a Monday night, we tear about our
18:11:33 Another whole step in this process, I'm not sure.
18:11:42 >>JOHN GRANDOFF: My business address is suite 3700
18:11:49 Bank of America Plaza.
18:11:50 I live at 4611 Tennyson Avenue in Sunset Park, a
18:11:55 member of the Sunset Park homeowners association.
18:11:57 I think either process is acceptable, in my
18:12:01 professional travels.
18:12:03 I would like to give you some brief background.
18:12:05 Many, many years ago, rezoning could be defeated just
18:12:09 by folks raising their hand and saying we don't want
18:12:11 it and that was legally defensible.
18:12:13 The courts came along and said, you can't do that
18:12:15 unless you have competent, substantial evidence.
18:12:17 Well, that raised the bar for my client to now bring
18:12:20 experts to hearings, traffic experts, architects,
18:12:23 engineers, what have you.
18:12:24 Before we didn't have to have that.
18:12:26 That similarly raised the bar for neighborhood groups
18:12:29 that were opposed to rezoning.
18:12:30 So the professional bar has been raised.
18:12:33 And finally, in a supreme court case the court says
18:12:36 you have to base these decisions on competent,
18:12:38 substantial evidence.
18:12:39 So that puts knew a quandary.
18:12:41 You are used to exercising legislative policy making
18:12:45 power, where a mere pole of the neighborhood is enough
18:12:49 to defend your decision, because you are making
18:12:51 Now you have to put on this judicial hat every once in
18:12:53 a while, usually on Thursday evening, and confronted
18:12:56 with making a defensible decision and now you have to
18:13:00 explain to opponents that you have to bring a traffic
18:13:02 engineer if you have a traffic problem, or a
18:13:06 stormwater engineer if you have an engineer problem,
18:13:09 to counter my client's expert.
18:13:11 So we created this huge debate of experts.
18:13:14 And here's where we are.
18:13:15 And we are trying to make it more streamlined.
18:13:17 I think the zoning hearing master process has its
18:13:21 It takes longer.
18:13:22 It costs more for all parties involved.
18:13:24 So I want everyone to be aware of that.
18:13:26 I am sure that the city attorney's office will assure
18:13:30 that due process is afforded to everybody.
18:13:32 That's absolutely no doubt in my mind that both
18:13:35 processes will continue to be extremely fair, as fair
18:13:38 as they can be.
18:13:43 I will work to make both processes streamlined if you
18:13:46 want to stay with the current process.
18:13:47 I think there's ways we can do that.
18:13:49 If you want to go to the other process there are
18:13:53 plenty ways to do that.
18:13:54 There are plenty of planners and attorneys and some
18:13:56 with both hats that can serve in those roles.
18:13:59 I think on the DRC issue, I think it's important that
18:14:02 remains not in the sunshine.
18:14:07 It is a ministerial meeting.
18:14:11 City staff can only apply the code.
18:14:13 I have been in those meetings many times where a close
18:14:16 call comes in, they say you are asking for a waiver, I
18:14:20 said I understand that, and they say you have to ask
18:14:22 the City Council for that.
18:14:23 I totally understand that.
18:14:24 But measuring issues and tree counts and things of
18:14:27 that sort at the DRC meetings are clearly ministerial.
18:14:31 I think you are going to create a really unwieldy
18:14:33 process if you create a sunshine meeting out of that.
18:14:36 Just to mention the record keeping of those meetings.
18:14:38 So let's keep that process where it is.
18:14:44 I think Ms. Saul-Sena is right.
18:14:46 I think you're frequently right, but I think --
18:14:51 [ Laughter ]
18:14:51 But it is a different issue in city rezonings than
18:14:55 what you are doing in the county.
18:14:56 I worked in both processes.
18:14:57 I worked with planning board process in Pasco County,
18:15:01 You're dealing with a different kettle of fish in the
18:15:03 city and you frequently address the compatibility and
18:15:07 that is a very, very tough issue.
18:15:09 And I think the zoning hearing master process could
18:15:14 still sort that out.
18:15:16 But it would take longer.
18:15:18 And I think you are going to have to be very, very
18:15:21 considered as to what professionals you put in that
18:15:24 So that's all I have.
18:15:29 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Question, Mr. Caetano?
18:15:31 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: What do you feel is the best for
18:15:33 this City Council?
18:15:34 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Without putting him on the spot.
18:15:40 >>> I would take a bird in the hand and stay with the
18:15:42 process you have right now.
18:15:44 And I really would take a bird in the hand.
18:15:46 And I would work on a little bit of fine tuning that
18:15:50 we can get to.
18:15:52 The concern on the process is expense and time.
18:15:58 And I hear that folks like Mrs. Vizzi and Vicki, I
18:16:05 don't know if they are ready for the time and expense
18:16:07 with the process.
18:16:08 That's just my gut.
18:16:10 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: So our process could be sped up a
18:16:12 little bit.
18:16:12 Because as said tonight people get up and they are
18:16:16 repeating the same thing one after another and that
18:16:21 would be up to the chairperson. If something has
18:16:22 already been said, don't repeat it.
18:16:24 >>> Yeah, I think the chair got that discretion.
18:16:28 I think the process is pretty fast as it is.
18:16:30 And I'm a developer's lawyer.
18:16:31 I think it's moving pretty good right now.
18:16:34 And I don't know how much faster could you get it.
18:16:36 But there are some ideas we could share that I think
18:16:40 we could have some conversation on.
18:16:44 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: For clarification, Mr. Caetano,
18:16:46 when they talk about the additional time, it's not so
18:16:48 much the time of that meeting itself, but it's, you
18:16:53 know, you have 15 days, and sometimes it gets remanded
18:16:57 back, it could be additional time.
18:16:59 Because it has to bounce back and go through another
18:17:01 cycle again.
18:17:08 >>MARGARET VIZZI: 213 south charger really.
18:17:11 I'm agreeing with John Grandoff.
18:17:14 [ Laughter ]
18:17:15 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Write it down.
18:17:16 Write it down.
18:17:21 >>MARGARET VIZZI: He's saying, keep it, keep it.
18:17:27 I was going to agree with him, even before he said
18:17:30 But I just want to say that I totally agree with Jerry
18:17:35 who spoke earlier, on the fact that it might be less
18:17:38 for you but it's going to be more on us.
18:17:40 And John just said that.
18:17:42 Because now we will have to prepare for two public
18:17:47 Right now, most of the time, we have one public
18:17:54 Very seldom do we come back at the second reading or
18:17:56 the second hearing, but only to be sure that nothing
18:18:02 is done by the developer at that second reading.
18:18:04 We have at times agreed and we don't agree.
18:18:07 But this will absolutely make us have to spend more of
18:18:14 our time.
18:18:15 And Vicki said it well.
18:18:17 We spend a lot of time doing this for free.
18:18:20 And so I hope that council will listen to some of the
18:18:24 other concerns that I have, the cost.
18:18:30 John brought up the cost.
18:18:31 Granting variances.
18:18:33 I think council as far as I know is the only one that
18:18:35 can grant variances.
18:18:36 And major PDs.
18:18:39 There are variances that most often are granted.
18:18:43 We are going through one right now, with the
18:18:46 developer, and there are many.
18:18:48 So that would not come until it comes before council,
18:18:54 so then what happens?
18:18:56 As far as when we ask people to stand, it's trying to
18:19:02 not get everybody that's sitting out there that agree
18:19:04 was the speaker saying, this is competent evidence,
18:19:08 and we would like to show you how many people out
18:19:10 there agree with the evidence we are giving you.
18:19:13 It's not just saying we don't like this and everybody
18:19:16 else there doesn't like it either.
18:19:19 As far as rebuttal, I think that my concern was that
18:19:23 we would never have the chance that the hearing master
18:19:27 sits at the county.
18:19:30 You can only say what you said before the hearing
18:19:32 master, whereas in this process, from what I
18:19:35 understand, council would have to hear everything
18:19:43 It's interesting that no other city has a hearing
18:19:48 As far as a review committee I would hope if such
18:19:50 exists that it would become an open process, that we
18:19:53 would all have, you know, some input to.
18:20:04 Oh, and council, will you promise to sit and read
18:20:08 every single word that will come to you in these
18:20:13 written recommendations, whatever they may be?
18:20:16 Please remember that you're going to have to read it
18:20:19 every single word.
18:20:21 I don't want you all to do that.
18:20:23 I would rather you listen to it.
18:20:25 Thank you.
18:20:27 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you.
18:20:32 >>> Good evening.
18:20:32 I'm Wolford Johnson, 4625 Longfellow Avenue.
18:20:38 I'm confident that you will have studies done,
18:20:43 whatever, to look at what the cost of this program
18:20:46 would be.
18:20:47 In relationship to the benefits.
18:20:50 I know in this era of tight budgets, $100,000 which is
18:20:58 possible, that it might be something that might be
18:21:01 difficult to achieve.
18:21:03 Without repeating to a great extent what has been
18:21:06 said, on page 3 of the slides that Julia went over --
18:21:14 and I know this competent substantial evidence is
18:21:16 somewhat dictated by law -- but you talk about fact
18:21:20 and opinion testimony from expert witnesses, and yet
18:21:25 the citizens only fact-based testimony is considered.
18:21:29 I would submit that first of all citizens, the average
18:21:33 citizen does not have the resources to go out for
18:21:38 engineers or whatever to support this.
18:21:39 But they do live there.
18:21:42 In my opinion, they probably are as good an expert as
18:21:45 you are going to find.
18:21:46 And perhaps somewhere along the line, that should be
18:21:51 The other is on page 11.
18:21:53 And I think Margaret hit on this and a couple of
18:21:56 But one of the disadvantages of using the use of a
18:22:00 hearing officer is that the additional hearings also
18:22:06 have to be attended by the citizens and whoever else.
18:22:11 So it's not just on the city staff, but it's also on
18:22:14 the citizens.
18:22:17 We would be involved in attending more than one
18:22:19 meeting, in many cases, maybe not all but many cases.
18:22:22 Lastly, on page 12, when we talk in terms of the
18:22:28 appeal processes and so forth, I don't know if it
18:22:31 could be worked at if you go this processor if you
18:22:34 don't go to this process, maybe look at what the
18:22:36 process is, but there needs to be in some way that
18:22:41 when could lighten the requirements on when there's an
18:22:45 appeal, or VRB decisions, et cetera.
18:22:48 Currently, they are expensive to appeal because you
18:22:52 have to have, you know, the transcript, et cetera.
18:22:56 So I would submit that in some way, whether in this
18:23:00 processor through some other process, if you can come
18:23:02 up with a way that would lighten that load, again on
18:23:04 the orphaned citizens out there. I know my own
18:23:09 homeowners association we are involved in an appeal
18:23:12 with the VRB a couple years ago and it cost us over a
18:23:16 thousand dollars to get it accumulated to present to
18:23:18 So it does get expensive and most people, most of the
18:23:21 citizens out there cannot afford that.
18:23:24 So there needs to be a way to lighten that process.
18:23:27 Thank you.
18:23:28 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
18:23:33 >>> My name is Sue Lyon.
18:23:35 I live at 3233 west Fairoaks Avenue.
18:23:38 I think you all are all very aware of my opinion.
18:23:45 I'm not quiet about it.
18:23:46 But one thing that we talk about the extra expense
18:23:52 added to the development review process.
18:23:58 This is going to sound really strange coming from me.
18:24:01 But the developers have a certain amount of money to
18:24:04 built a house.
18:24:06 If you are going to add another layer of money to
18:24:10 them, they are going to start cutting back here or
18:24:12 there or whatever.
18:24:14 But there's only so much money that they can make a
18:24:16 profit with.
18:24:17 This is going to extend the time for them, too.
18:24:21 I have one of the things that shows when they set the
18:24:24 hearings for.
18:24:28 You all are back in September as it is.
18:24:29 If you are going to do add time to the process, nobody
18:24:32 is going to be able to do anything.
18:24:34 But they are not going to be able to build anything.
18:24:38 Right now, before it was really busy.
18:24:40 Everybody was making money and doing all kinds of
18:24:43 Now they are all hurting.
18:24:45 And if you make them wait from now until September, so
18:24:48 they can start something, that makes a difference in
18:24:51 their livelihood.
18:24:53 And we come down here and do our thing.
18:24:56 And we try to slow them down on certain things.
18:25:01 But as a general rule there's in a reason to add
18:25:04 another layer of government.
18:25:06 And I appreciate your attention.
18:25:09 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Thank you, Ms. Lyon.
18:25:13 >>> Jim Porter.
18:25:16 I'm here today speaking as a person interested in the
18:25:19 process and I want to give you my perspective and
18:25:22 write come from with this.
18:25:23 I was with the county attorney's office for many years
18:25:25 and I worked with the hearing master process.
18:25:27 I have been in private practice for over three years
18:25:30 now but had the opportunity -- I know, hard to
18:25:34 believe -- to work in other jurisdictions and I can
18:25:36 verify what Julia has said, never been in a
18:25:39 jurisdiction where there's not some intervention body
18:25:43 or filter between council and commission, and the
18:25:45 person making the application.
18:25:47 This is a big step forth city.
18:25:49 And I think it's quite frankly exciting we are even
18:25:51 discussing it and I understand some of the concerns,
18:25:56 with Ann in the back and offered to talk with her more
18:25:58 if she made some iced tea for me because she makes the
18:26:02 best iced tea in the world.
18:26:04 But I think Mr. Grandoff comments are good.
18:26:07 I think it's something you really need to think about
18:26:09 it but I think there are a lot of benefits to the
18:26:12 system both for the citizens, because I think it gives
18:26:14 the citizens a venue to be heard by a professional,
18:26:18 someone who you touch that has who understand was they
18:26:23 are saying, this is a person that is a land use
18:26:26 planner or architect or engineer or attorney.
18:26:28 They can process the information that the citizens are
18:26:30 getting in.
18:26:31 I have never been in a situation where the citizens
18:26:33 are disenfranchised by a hearing officer system.
18:26:36 Also, other people that have spoken today are not
18:26:39 people who are intimidated by counsel or by a hearing
18:26:43 officer and they are going to be able to put down what
18:26:46 they have.
18:26:46 I think it benefits council by having a written formal
18:26:50 And something you can react to.
18:26:53 It can benefit staff by giving staff an opportunity to
18:26:56 present to an intervening person, who is a
18:27:00 professional that understands what they are doing.
18:27:03 But I would suggest that something that the council
18:27:05 were at all interested in is to spend more time
18:27:07 talking with the neighbors, because unless there is
18:27:10 buy-in from the people who you are serving it's never
18:27:13 going to work and it sound to me like there are a lot
18:27:15 of unanswered questions.
18:27:16 This clearly cannot be the system that the county has.
18:27:19 It won't work because of your special legal
18:27:22 But I do think that there is the potential to really
18:27:25 explore opportunities for using hearing officers and
18:27:28 with some of the things that you do.
18:27:30 And I'm really excited about it.
18:27:31 I think it would be a great opportunity to bring
18:27:34 citizens and developers together with Julia and city
18:27:37 staff, to maybe brainstorm.
18:27:39 If this is intimidating or this particular thing
18:27:41 doesn't work, what would work to make the process
18:27:44 better? I am not arguing for lengthening the time of
18:27:48 the zoning process because I don't think that serves
18:27:52 anyone, citizens or developers.
18:27:53 But I think there is a way to look at your system and
18:27:56 come up with something more innovative.
18:27:58 And I think you can apply it surgically, I really do.
18:28:02 I think you cut up the process to make it work in the
18:28:06 And it's not going to be the same as the
18:28:17 He answered my question.
18:28:18 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Anybody else from the public?
18:28:20 Discussion, council?
18:28:20 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes.
18:28:25 Mr. Chairman and to the council, it is not my intent
18:28:27 to duplicate or replicate the exact system that the
18:28:30 county has.
18:28:31 That's not my intent.
18:28:32 Let me be very clear of that.
18:28:33 My intent is coming in here and observing the process,
18:28:37 I think I bring a sort of expertise in the zoning
18:28:40 hearing master process and now spending some time
18:28:43 here, and my whole intent is to look at us and see how
18:28:48 we can improve it, okay?
18:28:49 That we have here now.
18:28:51 I will tell you, there's you have two hearing
18:28:54 masters -- two hearings.
18:28:56 All you have to do is take one of those hearings and
18:28:58 set up some system where if you want to call it a
18:29:01 zoning hearing master, planning board, whatever, to
18:29:07 hear from the community and, you know, get expert,
18:29:10 professional opinion, and make a recommendation to the
18:29:13 council, is not another lawyer.
18:29:16 Actually, it is streamlining so that what is happening
18:29:19 is that your citizens are not sitting here.
18:29:23 Much of the time what I heard from most people is,
18:29:25 people who come here can't believe how long it takes
18:29:28 to hear an issue on their particular item.
18:29:32 Now I would say you all are accustomed to that but
18:29:38 your average person who comes to this process is blown
18:29:41 away by how long it is, and what happens.
18:29:45 I will also tell you that the people that deal with
18:29:53 the developer and builders, it's taking about six
18:29:55 months even to get a permit.
18:29:57 So in terms of time, you know, I don't think that's
18:30:01 the issue here.
18:30:05 The time periods where they put together their report
18:30:08 to submit to us, pretty much.
18:30:10 I will also tell you that the cost is from the
18:30:14 development community for those who are applying.
18:30:17 So the cost is from them and not from the taxpayers as
18:30:22 well in terms of that.
18:30:24 So whatever the council decides to do, I think it's
18:30:28 very important that when take our time and look at it.
18:30:31 Now I would suggest that maybe a task force to look at
18:30:33 an and examine, someone from development community to
18:30:36 serve on that task force, someone from T.H.A.N.,
18:30:39 another person from the neighborhood, and sit down as
18:30:43 a member of task force and look at it and bring back a
18:30:46 recommendation to council may be the way to go.
18:30:50 Sometimes change is difficult for us.
18:30:52 Sometimes change is important for the benefit of the
18:30:56 community and for our constituency.
18:31:00 And I will be the first one to tell you that I think
18:31:03 we just make a lot -- need a lot of improvement.
18:31:08 Thursday night we spent 1 hour 20 minutes dealing with
18:31:13 That's unheard of and it's my surprise there.
18:31:18 By the time we got to the main issue, it was pretty
18:31:21 much, what, 7:30, something like that.
18:31:24 So I'm just saying, look at our system.
18:31:27 Appoint a task force to review and bring it back for
18:31:30 recommendation with our city attorney, some of the
18:31:34 citizens from the community, some of the developers,
18:31:37 something like that, some structure that can come back
18:31:39 with a recommendation to us.
18:31:40 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Ms. Mulhern?
18:31:43 >>MARY MULHERN: My question coming in here, I don't
18:31:47 feel like we really articulated, of course, a number
18:31:52 of us here, but what our goals, what the problem was
18:31:54 to start with.
18:31:55 And what the goals and objectives of making this
18:31:59 change were.
18:32:01 And I know, you know, hearing all this is great.
18:32:03 But it's interesting to me that we heard different
18:32:07 people say, current process is fast tracked, which
18:32:13 surprised me.
18:32:15 And I think surprised Mr. Scott and other people think
18:32:18 it's, you know.
18:32:20 So we haven't even really identified what problem we
18:32:22 are trying to solve here.
18:32:27 I think you were right from Seminole Heights that
18:32:30 there would be a lot of advantages for City Council to
18:32:34 have in a zoning hearing master as far as our time.
18:32:36 But I also think that just from what we said today, we
18:32:41 can identify some things that we don't need a task
18:32:43 force, although that might be a good idea, to solve
18:32:47 without actually changing the whole process.
18:32:51 For instance, I don't see why we can't -- and I think
18:32:54 we are talking about this -- having staff.
18:32:57 We could delegate some of these tasks to staff at this
18:33:01 point as far as wet zoning or special uses, some of
18:33:07 those things, we don't even need to add another layer
18:33:09 of government as people are putting it.
18:33:12 We can delegate some of this to staff.
18:33:18 And one thing that really strikes me that I think we
18:33:20 could work on is the whole idea, we do have two public
18:33:25 hearings, often.
18:33:28 Officially we do and sometimes we go through the whole
18:33:31 process twice.
18:33:32 And we almost went through it three times the other
18:33:35 And I think I have, as someone new on this council,
18:33:38 had this experience of deja vu all the time.
18:33:41 Didn't we already do this?
18:33:43 And I know everyone, a lot of other people have that,
18:33:46 So I think the one thing we could do is if a
18:33:52 petitioner comes, and is not ready to have the first
18:33:56 hearing, then we don't go through the process of
18:34:00 hearing about the project.
18:34:03 They have to come back.
18:34:05 If they are not ready for the first hearing, we don't
18:34:07 have the first hearing.
18:34:09 That's one thing.
18:34:10 And I don't see why we can't have a limit on the
18:34:12 number of continuances we have.
18:34:14 I think you shouldn't be able to just keep coming back
18:34:18 and asking for a continuance as a petitioner.
18:34:20 You should come here ready to go, and then let's just
18:34:25 do it.
18:34:26 I think there are a number of things we can do.
18:34:29 And I think that there are some great arguments for
18:34:31 the zoning hearing master, too.
18:34:33 But another thing I wanted to mention.
18:34:37 I think we do have a professional level of review
18:34:40 We have staff.
18:34:41 So we don't necessarily have to appoint someone with
18:34:47 that expertise we have.
18:34:49 Zoning, traffic, all of those specialists on our
18:34:52 staff, and we rely on them for their reports.
18:34:55 So I don't think they are necessarily missing that
18:34:57 H.so I think the task force might be a good idea.
18:35:00 But I also feel we need to identify what it is we are
18:35:03 trying to sell here, because I know Mr. Scott and I
18:35:08 share some frustration with a lot of the -- what seems
18:35:12 to be over and over talking about the same thing from
18:35:15 the duplication, and we do need to look into that.
18:35:20 But other than that, I'm not sure, I'm getting the
18:35:23 feeling from people in the audience that don't
18:35:26 necessarily think we have a problem with our system.
18:35:29 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: I think we need to streamline our
18:35:34 As Mr. Scott said, the continuance.
18:35:36 We spent an hour and something on the continuance last
18:35:39 Could this be a function of staff, instead of coming
18:35:44 to the council, and Mr. Chair, would that be a process
18:35:50 that staff could make that determination and not come
18:35:52 to us?
18:35:55 >>> Generally speaking, a hearing -- I think Ms. Cole
18:35:59 might speak to this but because of the public hearing
18:36:02 even the continuances have to be open.
18:36:04 It has to be decided.
18:36:06 Staff can't decide the continuances themselves.
18:36:08 >> It could be better.
18:36:10 >> And I think it's going to have to be up to the
18:36:12 chair, the repetitiousness, if 15 people get up and
18:36:17 talk about the same thing.
18:36:18 And I think it will be up to the chair to say, look,
18:36:22 once that's been said, we can't continue it.
18:36:25 Maybe give those people one minute instead of three
18:36:28 I mean three minutes.
18:36:30 Because the process, I don't particularly like staying
18:36:33 here till 1:00 in the morning.
18:36:35 And this so-called part-time job.
18:36:40 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Anything else?
18:36:43 Ms. Saul-Sena?
18:36:45 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: I think this is a valuable
18:36:47 And I think actually this conversation came initially
18:36:49 from legal, who was will go at having some more
18:36:52 organized process.
18:36:53 We all heard clearly tonight from the people we
18:36:56 represent that they don't want the additional burden
18:36:59 of two full hearings.
18:37:00 I think that everyone agrees we need to make our
18:37:04 existing process more efficient.
18:37:06 And at this particular point in our financial lives as
18:37:11 a city, I think time and cost are really issues.
18:37:14 What I would like to suggest, Mr. Caetano, as the
18:37:18 chair of building and zoning committee, if you wanted
18:37:20 to schedule a special discussion on streamlining, I
18:37:23 have some ideas.
18:37:24 We can get the legal staff to work on it.
18:37:26 We don't necessarily have to do it at a council
18:37:29 meeting, to talk about some ways to make the
18:37:31 scheduling tighter.
18:37:32 And to ensure that when people come to us that they
18:37:35 are ready to rock and roll, and to limit the number of
18:37:39 I think that three strikes is too many strikes.
18:37:42 I think people need to have one continuance, and if
18:37:45 they don't get it, if they don't have it together the
18:37:49 second time, maybe they just need to sit back and
18:37:51 reapply in another year or something like that.
18:37:54 So I thought this was valuable but I don't feel
18:37:56 comfortable at this point moving ahead.
18:38:02 >>THOMAS SCOTT: I think appointing a task force, and
18:38:05 that way you have a neutral body, neutral group, that
18:38:08 can come back with a recommendation and decide at that
18:38:12 I think that's the best way to go.
18:38:14 You have the involve.
18:38:15 You have the staff part of that task force, and guide
18:38:19 that process, and have a task force to look at that
18:38:22 and bring our recommendations.
18:38:23 That way, as opposed to having you involved and that
18:38:32 way we all come to a decision.
18:38:33 >>MARY MULHERN: Think the task force is a good idea.
18:38:37 But I think if we could solve some of these other
18:38:39 issues, you know, in discussion first, and write some
18:38:45 of them in and then revisit it after that, give that a
18:38:48 chance to see if that resolves some of their problems.
18:38:54 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: What I said at the beginning is we
18:38:56 haven't necessarily clearly identified the questions
18:39:00 we need to ask.
18:39:01 And I think that that's true.
18:39:02 I think, Julia, the thing that you gave us is really
18:39:08 great, and it has some things that we can say, okay,
18:39:11 page 5, we want to address this, page 7, that.
18:39:14 And use this as the beginning of the conversation,
18:39:17 special discussion meeting.
18:39:19 And then from that we can say that the task force, we
18:39:22 have already dealt with, you know, this, this and
18:39:24 that, we need you all to look at that and the other.
18:39:30 >>MARTIN SHELBY: There is something very relevant to
18:39:33 this discussion coming before council on June
18:39:35 And maybe Ms. Cole would like to address that.
18:39:37 A lot of process will be the subject of discussion
18:39:42 with regard to chapter 27.
18:39:44 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Good.
18:39:46 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Which council will have before it.
18:39:48 And if nothing else, it will give something that's
18:39:51 already been vetted in the community, and have a basis
18:39:55 for at least to start discussion, if not, the solution
18:39:58 to a lot of the issues.
18:40:00 >>JULIA COLE: Legal department.
18:40:02 Some of the issues that you are raising, really are
18:40:04 something in the amendments to chapter 27.
18:40:07 I can't tell you they are going to completely
18:40:09 streamline but I think they will add some things in it
18:40:15 that will help cases come before you that are actually
18:40:18 ready to go and I think that's probably one of the
18:40:20 biggest complaints.
18:40:23 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Also, it may not have those items
18:40:25 that you have discussed here.
18:40:27 Take, for instance, adding a number of continuances,
18:40:30 the number of continuances at least when you are
18:40:34 looking at it now have a context of looking at it with
18:40:36 the eyes of saying, does this solve our issues?
18:40:41 At least to some degree.
18:40:43 But another area might be having only one public
18:40:46 hearing versus two public hearings.
18:40:49 >>MARY MULHERN: Julia, maybe we could have our
18:40:52 discussion meeting before that.
18:40:53 And we could incorporate if there's some of these
18:40:55 things that we are talking about now, and not
18:41:00 addressed in your chapter 27 changes, that we might be
18:41:03 able to contribute.
18:41:07 >>JULIA COLE: The only thing I would caution you is
18:41:09 the changes that are coming before you are part of the
18:41:11 January cycle.
18:41:13 There's probably not too many tweaks we can make.
18:41:15 There may be, depending on the conversation, then what
18:41:18 we could do is also add if there's other issues that
18:41:21 come up to your July cycle which would then be vetted
18:41:24 through the process that we have, Planning Commission,
18:41:28 et cetera.
18:41:28 It really would depend on what we are talking about.
18:41:30 And I would be happy if we want to do a special
18:41:32 discussion meeting to go through that with everyone
18:41:34 again, and would ask Cathy Coyle also to attend that
18:41:40 because she has done a lot of work.
18:41:41 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Will your recommendations contain one
18:41:43 public meeting?
18:41:47 >>> Amendment to chapter 27 in front of you for the
18:41:49 process does still contain the 2 public hearings.
18:41:51 It is a change that if that is the will of council, we
18:41:55 could do that.
18:41:57 I think we would have to think it through processwise
18:41:59 how it would work.
18:42:00 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Will you state for us again how many
18:42:04 cities have two public hearings?
18:42:06 >>JULIA COLE: As far as I can tell, not any -- no
18:42:10 municipality actually has two public hearings on
18:42:13 They typically have the first public hearing be in
18:42:15 front of an initial review body and the second public
18:42:18 hearing be in front of the City Council.
18:42:23 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: I'm not used to this role as chair
18:42:25 and keeping my mouth shut.
18:42:28 But I will go ahead and chime in now.
18:42:32 Not sure I ever want to be chair.
18:42:34 [ Laughter ]
18:42:35 Anyway, I just want to clarify.
18:42:37 One, zoning versus permit.
18:42:41 All we have really been focusing on, the time it takes
18:42:44 to get your zoning approved.
18:42:46 As we know, then, after you get your zoning approved
18:42:49 the developer has to go in and pull permits but that's
18:42:51 an administrative function, and totally separate from
18:42:54 So the fact that it might take six months and get a
18:42:57 permit, that's a whole different discussion and a
18:42:59 whole different set of problems if that's the case.
18:43:02 So I just wanted to clarify that.
18:43:04 The continuances, we didn't used to have so many of
18:43:08 But then we went and changed the ordinance, and we
18:43:11 said, you can't have any changes from first reading to
18:43:13 second reading, which you all heard that discussion
18:43:16 numerous times now, and as a result we end up with all
18:43:19 these projects that aren't ready, because of that
18:43:22 rule, and so now I believe we are fixing the rule, and
18:43:25 that's what's going to come back to us in June.
18:43:27 I look forward to that tremendously.
18:43:29 And I do believe it will fix a lot of these
18:43:32 continuance problems.
18:43:33 I agree with Mary completely.
18:43:34 I don't think we have really defined.
18:43:42 I think you all have come in at a bad tame because of
18:43:45 these continuances and it does drag it into the night
18:43:48 because if you spend the first hour and a half talking
18:43:50 about what you are going to hear you are pushed into
18:43:52 late evening.
18:43:53 So I'm hoping that we can fix some of that in June.
18:43:57 I like this process.
18:43:59 And I'm familiar with the county process.
18:44:00 I used to be over there in the county.
18:44:02 I was working for Tom.
18:44:05 I like this process just because I think it's
18:44:08 government -- I think it's government very close to
18:44:10 the people.
18:44:11 Even though we might be very unique in the state, I
18:44:14 say, so be it.
18:44:15 I think that it does work.
18:44:17 I think the community on a whole is happy with it.
18:44:20 When John Grandoff and Margie advise I can --
18:44:25 [ Laughter ]
18:44:26 Then I think we are doing okay.
18:44:27 I definitely am very concerned with the development
18:44:30 community's response, if we start adding additional
18:44:34 tame and additional expense.
18:44:35 And especially when we are talking about many of our
18:44:37 PDs are single family houses, if you start adding
18:44:41 additional time and additional expense, that's only
18:44:44 going to be passed through to the consumers and I
18:44:46 don't think that's necessarily fair.
18:44:48 I also like what Gary said.
18:44:50 Although this might create some advantages for
18:44:51 council, I don't really see what the advantage is for
18:44:53 the public.
18:44:56 So I think on the last page, page 12, there are some
18:45:01 processes that we have that could be amenable to a
18:45:06 hearing master.
18:45:08 Some of these appeals, Mr. Smith is here tonight, and
18:45:11 he's been speaking this, to us individually, or
18:45:16 communally for a couple of years now, but some of
18:45:19 these appeals, really since they are very, very much
18:45:21 legal appeals, that they might not be that amenable to
18:45:26 the political process.
18:45:27 And I would probably tend to agree with that,
18:45:29 especially after a couple of years now.
18:45:32 So I think that on some of those types of things, you
18:45:35 know, that might be something that we could look at,
18:45:39 continue to look at.
18:45:39 But I'm definitely -- I have no interest whatsoever on
18:45:42 the basic rezonings and delegating any of that to
18:45:46 But, anyway, I'll put my chair hat back on and you all
18:45:51 do what you want to do.
18:45:54 >>THOMAS SCOTT: We don't take a vote tonight, do we?
18:45:57 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: No.
18:45:58 You can direct staff if you want to, something like
18:46:00 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: I would be interested in setting up
18:46:02 a special discussion meeting let's say Wednesday at
18:46:05 10:30, not -- you know, a week from tomorrow.
18:46:10 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Continue to have --
18:46:14 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Yes.
18:46:15 The issues on page 12 specifically and see what we can
18:46:18 do in terms of speeding things up.
18:46:23 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: What time is that?
18:46:25 >>> We can make it noon.
18:46:27 Do you want to make it noon?
18:46:29 >> I'm better at lunch.
18:46:30 >>> If you're better at lunch.
18:46:32 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Do you want to bring it back up for
18:46:39 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Yes.
18:46:40 Let's look at our calendar.
18:46:43 Take a look at that.
18:46:45 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Mrs. Saul-Sena, we'll leave that in
18:46:47 your hands.
18:46:48 And before I forget -- Ms. Saul-Sena suggested
18:46:55 additional discussion, at a special discussion
18:46:58 meeting, perhaps next week.
18:47:00 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Wednesday June 6th at unanimous
18:47:04 to look at, you know, what things could we do to speed
18:47:09 things up.
18:47:10 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: And how a hearing officer might
18:47:12 plug into some of these projects.
18:47:13 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: I really think the point is, what
18:47:17 are the problems that we need to solve?
18:47:19 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: By the way, I would be remiss if I
18:47:23 didn't do this.
18:47:23 Mr. Al Steenson from the Gandy civic association
18:47:26 couldn't make it tonight and he basically said the
18:47:30 current system is not broken so why try to fix it? He
18:47:33 said other things but that's the bottom line.
18:47:36 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Can I ask Mr. Territo a question?
18:47:39 I want to wish you a happy birthday.
18:47:42 >>SAL TERRITO: Oh, thank you very much.
18:47:43 Thank you.
18:47:47 >>> Great to be 45.
18:47:49 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Is there any other discussion?
18:47:51 And do you want to a motion to receive and file?
18:47:57 Ms. Saul-Sena is going to bring it up Thursday in
18:48:01 terms of having an additional meeting down the road to
18:48:03 discuss possibly implementing this in some form.
18:48:07 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Can we adjourn this meeting until
18:48:11 Thursday so she can bring it up legally?
18:48:14 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Actually you can close the workshop,
18:48:15 receive and file.
18:48:16 My suggestion, though, I don't know whether this ties
18:48:19 into the discussion previous, but maybe that would be
18:48:21 an appropriate time to talk about the chapter 27
18:48:23 changes that's going to be coming the following week
18:48:26 to council.
18:48:27 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: That is a great idea.
18:48:29 >>MARTIN SHELBY: And then tie that into those
18:48:32 discussions where as the chair suggested, what might
18:48:35 be appropriate toward this zoning hearing master
18:48:40 should council decide to do that.
18:48:41 I should also point out, council, that you would
18:48:44 probably want to somehow incorporate this into
18:48:48 discussion of the budget if you decide to so choose to
18:48:51 do that.
18:48:54 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: My goal is more efficiency.
18:48:56 >>THOMAS SCOTT: That's why I brought it up.
18:49:00 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: I would like to entertain a motion
18:49:02 to receive and file.
18:49:03 >> So moved.
18:49:04 >> Second.
18:49:04 (Motion carried).
18:49:04 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Anything else?
18:49:07 We are adjourned.
18:49:07 (City Council meeting adjourned)