MINUTES OF MEETING
PINE TREE WATER CONTROL DISTRICT
regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Pine Tree Water Control District
was held on
Present and constituting a quorum were:
David Rosenof President
Margaret Bertolami Vice President
Paul Brewer Secretary
Donna Benckenstein Assistant Secretary
Mark Weissman Supervisor
Also present were:
John Petty Manager
Julie Carr Attorney
DJ Doody Attorney
Warren Craven Engineer
Randy Frederick Field Superintendent
John McKune CH2M Hill
Richard Shaw City of Coral Springs Director of Public Works
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Roll Call
Mr. Rosenof called the meeting to order and Mr. Petty called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the November 2, 2006 Meeting
Rosenof stated each Board member received a copy of the minutes of the
Ms. Bertolami stated on page nine, the words “unmanaged properly” should be “managed improperly”.
Petty stated we have a new appointee to the City of
Benckenstein being a Notary of the State of
Mr. Petty stated we will provide the necessary paperwork to Mr. Weissman after the meeting.
this time I wish to discuss the Stiles contract as we have residents in attendance. We met with the City of
Mr. Rosenof asked on what street?
Mr. Rosenof stated on a private road going east/west.
Petty stated correct. There is a part of
Mr. Rosenof stated it terminates at the western edge at the FP&L easement.
Petty stated we met with staff, Stiles, our engineer and the City of
Mr. Rosenof asked will there be open culverts or pipes?
Mr. McKune responded it can go either way.
Mr. Petty stated Areca Palms will be planted the entire length and the remaining Australian Pines will be removed. When we showed this plan to the city last night, some residents made comments. The residents who made comments from Hidden Hammocks are here and it would be appropriate to take their comments at this time.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the total distance from left to right?
Mr. Petty responded we thought it was 1,000’ when we first measured it but it ended up being over 800’.
Rosenof asked is it in
Petty responded yes. The City of
Rosenof stated the road is in
Petty stated it is newly annexed into
Mr. Rosenof stated I heard the plan of contention was taking down the Australian Pines.
Mr. Petty stated this is where we run into difficulty. The residents of Country Acres want the trees to be cut down as they cause trouble with FP&L from time to time. They were the ones who came out during construction and started this process. They also want something that can be maintained. The residents of Hidden Hammocks discussed the headlight problem, replacement of the vegetative barrier and deferring removal of the existing Australian Pines.
Mr. Rosenof asked is the berm intended to block the headlights now or after the plantings mature?
Mr. Petty responded this is all natural material.
Mr. Rosenof asked is the berm height going to block the headlights?
Mr. Petty responded yes, on both berms. There will also be a visual barrier from the Areca Palms.
Mr. Rosenof asked why did we choose Areca Palms?
Petty responded it was one of the plant species suggested by the City of
Mr. Rosenof asked who is going to maintain it?
Mr. Petty responded Areca Palms are self maintained. We will water them for a period of 90 days, however, because they are on District property, we can do annual or semi-annual cleanup.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am more worried about if they do not get fertilized and start to turn yellow.
Mr. Petty stated we can take care of it from a District perspective without too much difficulty. We are not looking for a maintenance agreement with the city or any homeowners group at this time. We are trying to make this as user friendly as possible.
Mr. Rosenof stated I understand. I did not know if there was any opaque planting taking less maintenance than Areca Palms.
Mr. Petty stated I do not recall any other plant being suggested by Stiles, the landscape contractor or the city. We discussed Areca Palms or something similar with the residents. Everyone likes the fact they grow thick, fast and are fairly hearty.
Ms. Bertolami stated they are inexpensive.
Mr. Petty stated they will not grow into the FP&L lines.
Ms. Bertolami asked do we maintain any other area?
Mr. Petty responded no. This would be an exception.
Ms. Benckenstein asked will this be a problem for us?
Mr. Petty responded we hope not. We know this is covering new ground for us but we are trying to make as many people happy as we can. We have difficulties because in this current scenario, we are not achieving the goal of making everyone happy.
Ms. Bertolami stated Areca Palms do well with high winds.
Mr. Brewer asked how did the drainage become an issue?
Mr. Petty responded in talking with the Country Acres residents, they mentioned how the road tends to pond on them.
Mr. Brewer stated it has for 20 years.
Mr. Petty stated this was their reasoning behind not putting in a berm that would cause further puddling. The maintenance reason and the cost was why we put in sod to make it flat with the water drained by sheet flow. We put these two collectors in at this location.
George Rogetta stated I live at
the meeting held on November 2nd, the Board approved a plan with a
berm. I have 92 pictures of the berm
after it was planted showing where part of the pines were cut and everything
was mowed down. You can see how horrible
it looks. A car driving by on the street
going east/west can look straight into my bedroom. The headlight problems are not just on
I believe there were four plans involved from the investigation conducted and some of the people I spoke with but there are some irregularities. What has been done, has been done already. I got the work to be stopped. Before they continue removing the remaining Australian Pines, I wanted the Board to see these pictures. I cannot begin to tell you what this has done to our property values. You can see the devastation caused by removal of the berm and the Australian Pines. They coincidentally stopped at my property line, maybe because I was screaming the loudest. We reluctantly agreed after meeting with Mr. Petty to allow them to remove the remaining Australian Pines and re-create the existing berm. The berm has been there for the 11 years I lived there. I suggest re-treating the berm to give us the privacy we need and deserve and avoiding the headlight problem. You also have to look at the safety issue. If you plant palms and a car goes through them, they will go right into the canal. There is a huge risk and security issue by not having a berm. If we are going to come to consensus without any litigation, we need to have a berm in the plans.
Mr. Rosenof asked why was the berm removed from the plans?
Mr. Petty responded there are several reasons. It is a seed source and according to our engineer, it is unstable. According to our landscaping contractor and the Forester for Parkland, there is no way we can stop any seed source chemically. Basically, this area will become overgrown if we plant Areca Palms or any other type of vegetative barrier.
Mr. Rosenof stated the concern from the citizens is not about it getting overgrown.
Mr. Rogetta stated this is not our concern.
Mr. Petty stated the residents of Country Acres want the berm removed because of the problems it causes with the FP&L lines and their issues with ponding on the road. We have strong feelings on this matter. The maintenance of a berm in this area greater than a four to one slope will be difficult. We do not think we can conform to the four to one requirement in Parkland in this area.
Mr. Rosenof stated you thought there was an irregularity. If you do not want to discuss this matter now, please tell me privately.
Mr. Rogetta stated this is something I will address in a formal matter. However, I told the Parkland City Commission and the Mayor last night, you can see the devastation by the photographs and what they have done. From what I have seen and who I spoke to, there were some improprieties; not only there as Mr. Petty already admitted but there were also improprieties at Winner’s Circle. I will do everything in my power to stop removal of the remaining trees, including writing a letter in January to the new Attorney General in Tallahassee. I will probably ask the Governor to send down a State Investigator to find out exactly what is going on back there. The information I am getting is the entire property line belongs to the Pine Tree WCD. On September 1st, the city told me their easement runs along the waterline. There was a great deal of orange tape out there after I approached the Broward Sheriff’s Office and to the city. There were people out there doing surveys, title and property searches. I do not know what transpired since then but I know what happened prior to this time.
I am not here to make any threats or demands as the pictures speak for themselves but I believe as homeowners, we deserve better than this. When you look at the expansion of the Sawgrass Expressway between Parkland and Coral Springs, they are getting better treatment. They are getting Pine Trees and better looking scenery than Mr. Petty wants to provide to us after demolishing the berm and removing the Australian Pines. We have not even spoke about the natural habitat. We have a video and pictures of animals and birds living back there.
Mr. Rosenof stated the original intent after Hurricane Wilma was to clean out the canal as quickly as possible because we were concerned about getting hit with another storm and flooding your property. This is a case where the best intentions went bad. Our intent was not to do what you saw. Our intent was to clean the canal to keep you safe from a flood. This is as far as this Board went and as far as we wanted to go. This was a shock to us as it was to you.
Mr. Rogetta stated thank you. This is a dead end canal and does not affect drainage or water levels.
Mr. Rosenof stated if it was filled with debris and we get another bad storm, there would not be enough room to collect the water and keep your house from flooding.
Mr. Rogetta stated the first four pictures show all the Australian Pines are standing straight up. Only two trees went down with Hurricane Wilma. This berm is very solid.
Mr. Rosenof stated the direction to the contractor was to remove a tree in the canal or leaning over the canal. We wanted them to make the area safe.
Ms. Bertolami asked what makes a berm stable with the growth over the years? Removing a berm and replacing with a fresh berm makes an unstable berm.
Mr. Petty responded it is one solid root ball. I am sure it took a formidable force to move 700’ of Australian Pines. The few trees that came down in Hurricane Wilma were a testimony to this. As our contractor started removing trees and pulling them from the root ball, he kept removing other trees. As a Drainage District we do not have much animosity towards Australian Pines per se but to keep the residents as happy as possible as we try to do our due diligence in managing our facility.
Mr. Rosenof asked where do we go from here? We understand the issues from all sides.
Mr. Petty responded the Board may want to hear from staff. Since we have two such conflicting residential entities on each side of the District, I do not know if we are ever going to be able to come up with a solution to satisfy both entities.
Mr. Rosenof stated my personal opinion is we are not in the tree removal business. If we can help the homeowner out while we are doing our core business and mission statement, great as I am in favor of solving FP&L’s problems at the same time.
Mr. Petty stated during the town hall meeting, we discussed the District installing a vegetative barrier as a hedge, probably Areca Palms on the existing berm. We thought we could install the Areca Palms without touching any more root balls. We discussed openly over time it will probably go back wild to the way it was before because the seed source is not going to change.
We also talked about removing the berm from where it is currently but we heard from the residents during the town hall meeting the headlights were going to be an issue, particularly at the turn lane. You should ask your engineer about the right-of-way and the District’s boundaries. You also may want to ask District Counsel about the exposure you may have between these two groups.
Mr. Rosenof asked does it matter who owns the easement? If our contractor did something he should not have done, this is a different issue than having to fix it. Correct?
Mr. Petty responded if it is on District property, it is a District matter and follows District policy. In our water management facility, we have a policy for maintaining water management. If we removed trees within our water management facility from our easements, is this within our policy?
Mr. Rosenof stated responded this is equivalent to Stiles going down Holmberg Road and wiping out all the trees on their way to a job. They went so far outside of the boundaries of their work. I do not know why it matters.
Mr. McKune stated they are getting paid.
Mr. Rosenof stated this is something we did not authorize.
Mr. Petty stated I do not recall the statement. We have a copy of a contract for zero dollars with a private landowner who may or may not had the right to sign a contract for zero dollars.
Mr. Rosenof stated they had the right.
Mr. Brewer asked if a tree on District property falls on a house, is it our tree or their tree?
Mr. Rosenof asked their tree.
Mr. Petty stated an act of God knocked over the tree.
Mr. Rosen stated there was no criminal negligence.
Mr. Doody stated I do not see the District being liable. There are other factors such as if we cut it but I am assuming you are talking about a tree being blown down during a hurricane.
Mr. Brewer stated I do not know if anyone confirmed whether or not these trees are on District property.
Mr. Rosenof asked does it matter?
Mr. Brewer responded I think it does. Were we on our property working or someone else’s property?
Mr. Rosenof responded we had a contractor who was egregiously outside his contract. I do not know why it matters whether this is our property or not. We agreed to indemnify the homeowners as best we can or at least this is our intent. Does the engineer have any comments?
Mr. Petty responded I suggest we ask our engineer about the easement or right-of-way around this area. The description of our contract is to stay in the flowway. There was no work authorized out of the flowway, which is what you heard the resident say. After the fact, even though the contractor did go out of the contract, was he on District or private property? I think our obligation to repair or mitigate may be different if it was on private property versus ours.
Mr. Rosenof responded we have no obligation whatsoever to the contractor. We are just the facilitator of this obligation.
Mr. Petty stated I do not see any argument.
Mr. Craven asked after the fact, did the City of Coral Springs go out and survey the lines?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Craven stated the majority of the trees are in the 35’ dedication from Hidden Hammocks. The south line of the dedication approximates the north bank of the canal.
Mr. Brewer stated so the property owners in Hidden Hammocks own to the canal line.
Mr. Craven stated on the south side.
Mr. Brewer stated the canal is within our property.
Mr. Craven stated the canal is not within our property. The way I saw the survey, our property is north of the canal.
Mr. Rosenof stated but we have an easement for the canal. Correct?
Mr. Craven responded no. The canal is part of Hidden Hammocks.
Mr. Doody stated this is a complicated situation, when you look at the title of the property. The canal should not be there.
Mr. Craven stated it was there when the District was formed.
Mr. Brewer stated I think it was left there for Country Acres. If they closed it off, it would have taken what little drainage they had.
Ms. Benckenstein asked when you say “cannot replace the berm”, are you referring to a 2’ or 4’ high berm? Is there a compromise where you can put in a minimal berm to at least block part of the headlights?
Mr. Petty responded the berm was 5’ tall and did not fit. A smaller berm fits but the issues of drainage are somewhat more complicated. We do this in several other locations. However, the costs will increase. I do not want to give an estimate for a smaller berm. Was the cost for the 5’ berm around $50,000?
Mr. McKune responded between $60,000 and $80,000.
Mr. Petty stated the issues we have are the maintenance costs and drainage. You can address all these issues but it costs money. The core of the issue is whether to remove the remaining Australian Pines, which still may be contested.
Mr. Rosenof stated it depends on what resolution we are talking about.
Mr. McKune stated we need to have an engineer tell us we cannot re-create a 5’ berm. I do not think this is an impossibility.
Mr. Rosenof asked in how wide of an area?
Mr. Craven responded over 35’.
Mr. Rosenof stated lets go back to the 30,000’ berm and figure out what we want to do. Do you agree it is our obligation to indemnify these homeowners to the best we can?
Mr. Doody responded I rather not use the word “indemnify”. You need to engage in a discussion relative to policy. I am not sure how you got here but you better step back and revisit your mission, which is to address drainage within the District. You are now engaging in remediation of a berm, which I am sure, is warranted. There are many problems associated with the ownership but I not sure how it serves a governmental purpose.
Mr. Rosenof stated it is not our obligation to fix it but it may be our obligation to facilitate it being fixed. I see you do not want me to cross this line.
Mr. Doody stated there are obviously other issues associated with the fact our contractor went outside the four corners of the contract and created this issue. We are here this evening because the contractor did not follow the contract, which is a separate issue. What you have before you are residents within the District who are seeking some action from this Board with respect to this property. I suggest you focus on the drainage issue. What you do with this berm will facilitate drainage within this canal and therefore, serve a governmental purpose, for which this District exists. I have reservations engaging in the landscaping of a berm because of FP&L powerlines. This may be the wishes of a resident but I do not think it is consistent with this District’s purpose.
Mr. Rosenof asked how do we as a governmental agency; help facilitate making these residents whole?
Mr. Doody responded I do not know if you need to make them whole. You can maintain the status quo. I suggest restoring the berm as best you can and focus on the clearance of the canal. I assume the canal is now clean and is serving the function for which it is intended. Like any other berm, do we have access? I do not think the District has taken on restoration of berms. You may leave it to its own stability.
Ms. Bertolami stated worst case scenario, the Australian Pines grow up against the powerlines.
Mr. Rosenof stated they do not want to leave it the way it is.
Ms. Bertolami stated we can still install the trees.
Mr. Doody stated I do not think you can re-plant Australian Pines.
Ms. Benckenstein stated put in the Areca Palms.
Mr. Craven asked have the Australian Pine trees been re-sprouted?
Mr. Rogetta responded no. We are willing to sign a release if we come to consensus. I imagine the supervisors need to speak among themselves.
Mr. Rosenof stated we do not speak among ourselves as we abide by the Sunshine Law.
Mr. Rogetta stated if we can come to an agreement, the remaining Australian Pines can stay there. You do not seem to have the funds to remove them and Stiles is not willing to pay for it in a nice and pleasant manner to satisfy to the homeowners of Hidden Hammock Estates. I understand the concerns of the homeowners of Parkland but they are not the ones who have headlights shining in their bedrooms, family rooms and living rooms and have their privacy destroyed. We are naked now with cars driving by looking into our bedrooms. Let’s mitigate to repair the damage, which is 250’ and plant some trees. I do not want to litigate but we want to find a resolution quickly. We have been dealing with this issue since September. If you look at the pictures, you can understand how angry and upset we are.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not think you are any angrier than we are.
A resident stated at the last meeting you were talking about the possibility of using NRCS funds to remove the pines and rebuild the berms. Did this option go through?
Mr. Petty responded no.
Mr. Rosenof asked is it still a possibility?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked what are the recommendations?
Mr. Doody responded whatever policy decision you make should serve the purpose of the District. I am not worried about litigation. It should not come into play because if you follow the intent of this District and provide drainage and address drainage related issues, it becomes a matter of policy. Rather than trying to placate everyone, you need to determine what your policy is and follow it.
Mr. Rosenof asked how do you suggest we move forward?
Mr. Doody responded there are some open issues. I have not had the benefit of reviewing any title work and have not seen any survey. This Board has to determine the ownership or right of exercising control over this berm area. The area of contention is the area between the canal and Godfrey Road. I have not seen any documentation and cannot opine to you as to whether we have the legal right to pursue it. However, you have the opportunity to pursue a course of action and get a plan outlined for you. We are going to have to address this with the contractor to some degree but before we go to the contractor, you have to tell us what you want.
Ms. Benckenstein asked should we get the survey to you for your review?
Mr. Doody responded yes and work with the engineer so the Board can have a clear understanding. This is a complicated issue and there may be varying opinions. I currently do not have one. However, I think one is beginning to formulate based on facts set before you on where you want to go with this issue. It just needs to serve the purpose and intent of the existence of the District.
Ms. Bertolami stated the purpose of this parcel is to provide this District access to the canal to keep it clean.
Mr. Petty stated this is what we believe but we have not verified it legally.
Mr. Rosenof asked how do you gain access?
Mr. Fredericks responded on the east side by the FP&L easement.
Mr. Rosenof asked what do we need to do tonight to move this matter forward?
Mr. Petty responded the contract is complete and the contractor is looking for resolution to extend it further and have his crews stay in the area, which is going to complicate our negotiating abilities. We believe the negotiating has been done in good faith up until this time. If we extend past the holidays, I believe we will be in litigation to resolve the issue. Mr. Doody explained what we have to do as a government agency. We do what our responsibilities make us do. We feel we have negotiated with the contractor in good faith. However, negotiations with Stiles may be more difficult because the dollars will probably go down and he will have to let his crews go.
Mr. Brewer asked why not just negotiate a dollar amount?
Mr. Petty responded I cannot speak for NRCS but I know we kept them committed up to this point. I feel our chances as being slim for continuing without a contract. This contract has ended. We have another issue with Winner’s Circle, which hopefully is not contentious. Once the project is completed, it fulfills the commitment by Stiles. They have some crew and equipment staying locally while we have been discussing this matter for the last several months. The reason it has been a couple of months was because we wanted to do as much as we could with the residents to get their input. The recommendation was to plant the Areca Palms on the 250’ and stabilize it to the best of our ability, whether with sod or other stabilizing material and let it grow back naturally. Correct?
Mr. Rogetta responded yes. We are talking about leaving the remaining Australian Pines as they are and correcting the 250’ and re-creating the berm with Areca Palms. This would satisfy our homeowners.
Mr. Rosenof asked how will you plant the Areca Palms?
Mr. Petty responded we spoke to Stiles and they believe they can plant them. The only issue we have left is with the residents on the other side.
Mr. Rosenof stated from day one, I always said we should not be in the business of removing Australian Pines. I feel for the residents but this is not what we are in the business to do.
Mr. Petty stated this compromise was suggested by the residents and is well within the options we discussed and in our ability to negotiate with the contractor.
Mr. Weissman asked who is paying for it?
Mr. Petty responded there is no cost to the District.
Mr. Weissman asked what are we changing in the contract?
Mr. Rosenof responded we are adding a scope to the contract.
Mr. Petty stated the dollar amount does not change.
Mr. Rosenof stated we want to keep this work within the Stiles contract.
Mr. Petty stated Stiles will stabilize the existing material next to the water so it does not enter our system.
Mr. Weissman stated you are not going to add fill to the berm. Correct?
Mr. Petty responded no, we are only patching.
Mr. Rogetta stated there is a great deal of patching to be done.
Mr. Petty stated we walked the berm and understand the patching to be done. We are not increasing the size of the berm or the sound barrier capability. We are only putting back the soil conditions from the pulled root balls.
Mr. Weissman stated you said this was substantially less than you thought the contractor was willing to settle for.
Mr. Petty stated the scope of the work is less than what was shown in the County Acres option but there will be no additional funds available to him from the NRCS proposal. The contractor offered to remove the remaining Australian Pines if he gets NRCS money for it. We checked with NRCS to see if this qualifies. The removal of the Australian Pines will qualify under their hurricane preparedness as well as repair of the bank. It is not like the contractor is going to pocket more money. We will have to do a change order in order for him to be entitled to any NRCS money we receive.
Mr. Weissman asked are any of these funds being provided by his insurance carrier?
Mr. Petty responded we have not asked the question as the scope has not been defined.
Mr. Weissman stated I assume he has some liability coverage.
Mr. Rosenof asked for doing something beyond his work?
Mr. Weissman responded he damaged private property.
Mr. Rosenof stated most contractors will only cover them for the property they are working on. He is working outside of the property he was supposed to work on.
Mr. Weissman stated if he was riding down Holmberg Road and his truck knocks down all the trees on Holmberg Road, he is liable. I am reluctant to let him off the hook for additional monies we will be able to get from him for future maintenance of the property he damaged.
Mr. Benckenstein stated I want to make sure this represents the consensus of all the involved property owners. This is a short term solution to a long term problem as Australian Pines do not live forever. This was a Category 1 storm. We will be back here digging the trees out of the same canal if a stronger storm comes through.
Mr. Petty stated this can be substantiated with NRCS who will put in Federal dollars for the removal of those trees. From my research, Australian Pines are not subject to falling over any more than any other trees. The issue is these trees are planted next to a water body and the roots cannot go into the water. Therefore, the ones closest to the water are going to have an unbalanced root ball. As the water rises and saturates the ground, this makes an unstable condition. The fact all these roots are intertwined may help but this is why they are covered under NRCS and why it will not be the responsibility of the District to remove those trees. We still have the issue of the residents.
Mr. Brewer stated not only are we sitting on a right-of-way, we are also sitting on a boundary line of two cities. Is this becoming an issue where we are caught in the middle? Is this going back to the City of Coral Springs and they will have a say in what we are going to do? I do not know the answer. We are communicating with both cities. Correct?
Mr. Petty responded I do not want to speak for the City of Coral Springs but what they said last night was they do not have an official position.
Mr. Shaw stated from the first time Mr. Rogetta approached the commission; they were concerned about the damage. I am sure if you were to ask the commissioners, they will tell you they want the residents to be brought whole and have the area look like it did before this unfortunate incident happened.
Mr. Weissman stated I think the City of Parkland feels the same way, although I did hear during a presentation by the City Manager last night some residents in Parkland side want the Australian Pines to be removed.
Ms. Bertolami asked do the residents want the Australian Pines to be removed?
Mr. Rosenof responded it may be irrelevant. I hear what Mr. Weissman is saying about getting as much out of these people as we can but I do not want to go outside of our mission statement, which is to provide drainage.
Ms. Bertolami asked do you want to create the problem or maintain the problem going forward and five years from now a larger storm comes through?
Mr. Rosenof responded I am not suggesting we replant them.
Mr. Brewer stated if NRCS is willing to give us the money to remove them, then I say remove them. As a District we need to come back and say, “The other districts in the city spent a fortune removing them from every right-of-way they own.”
Mr. Rosenof stated there is a difference between a city getting rid of exotics and a WCD resolving every little problem.
Mr. Brewer stated if we have an opportunity to get rid of them at the expense of the government, we should consider getting them out of here before we end up with some laying in our canals and we are spending another $250,000 to get them removed.
Mr. Rosenof stated I agree with you in principle but I also take Mr. Doody’s advice to heart that this is not what we are in business to do.
Mr. Brewer stated we are in the business of keeping our right-of-way clean. Those trees are in our right-of-way and are going to fall in our canals some day. Then we will have to pay to remove them. This is only my opinion.
Mr. Rosenof stated I am not arguing with you.
Mr. Brewer stated we have the opportunity for someone to give us the money to do it.
Ms. Bertolami stated I do not want to go in there and remove all the trees and then have the residents back in here in a few months asking us to remove the remaining trees.
Mr. Rosenof stated how about if we replace them with Mahogany and Live Oak.
Mr. Petty stated staff has not asked this body to consider a pre-emptive tree removal policy for hurricane preparedness. Sister districts have done so but they are different in nature and we have not adopted such a policy. As a matter of fact, this District considered it and adopted a tree removal program of trees only over the waterways. I cannot tell you what the future holds, what will happen with the next storm or the continued work of the Pine Tree WCD. We may look at it in years to come but staff is not asking you to look at a tree removal program outside of the flowways as a policy. Pine Tree WCD is different from the other districts because of the issues of bank ownership and the amount of trees in our District. If we establish such a policy we may be opening up a bigger issue because we have to go in everyone’s backyard and removing the Australian Pines.
Mr. Rosenof stated good point.
Mr. Petty stated I also want to take advantage of the NRCS money if it helps in this situation but if it aggravates the situation, then it does not do as much good right now.
Mr. Brewer stated I am looking at both sides. We have to make some decision but I do not know what is going to happen. We need to get Mr. Doody to look at some of these legal issues so he can advise us.
Mr. Doody stated I am worried about the time crunch.
Mr. Petty stated we can go into the contract and do monetary exchange to cover such a work program.
Mr. Doody stated I think you want to get more from a contract in labor than in cash.
Mr. Petty stated definitely. If you want trees along the entire length of the berm, we need 300 Areca Palms. The half a dozen cabbage palms will be removed as well as the sod and replaced with a retaining plant.
Mr. McKune stated such as Wedelia.
Mr. Petty stated Wedelia is probably the best as you do not have to mow it and it is a ground cover with a flower. The watering in period will still be 90 days. We have enough work to determine a scope if you want to do the work now.
Mr. Rosenof asked can we have them do some of the work and if we feel like it is not enough, have them do more?
Ms. Bertolami responded it is an open ended contract. I am sure they are not going to agree to it.
Mr. Rosenof stated this resolves this issue but not the Winner’s Circle issue.
Mr. Petty stated the Winner’s Circle issue is resolved as we have not asked for any changes other than what we presented to this Board. The Board approved the change order and submitted to the City of Parkland who approved it last night.
Mr. Rosenof asked is it moving forward?
Mr. Petty responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof stated this means they are in the area for a longer period of time.
Ms. Bertolami stated I do not see any problem starting with the palms.
Mr. Petty stated those change orders will be contingent upon legal sufficiency, meaning Mr. Doody has to review this to make sure the work was being done in an area we have the right to do work in. Certainly the scope has to be within the District’s ability to address the work.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you recommending moving forward with the scope of work; which is to leave the berm where it is, patch the holes and plant the Areca and Cabbage Palms?
Mr. Petty responded yes and stabilizing the material.
Mr. Rosenof asked why are we not removing any of the existing Australian Pines?
Mr. Petty responded this is the suggestion by the residents and one staff can get behind as well. The only impact may be from the residents of Country Acres who may have an issue.
Mr. Rosenof stated I still think this is outside of our scope of work.
Ms. Bertolami stated I do not see it as being a policy or outside of the scope of work. I think we are mediators between Stiles and the homeowners.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you advocating taking those out?
Ms. Bertolami stated I advocate getting a consensus from all homeowners.
Mr. Rosenof stated it sounds like they have opposite views.
Ms. Bertolami stated there are two homeowners on the Parkland side.
Mr. Rosenof stated I do not know about the number of people on the Parkland side who want the Australian Pines taken down and the residents who want them to remain.
Mr. Weissman stated I am surprised FP&L has not gone in there themselves to get the top of the trees out of the powerlines. I will be more than happy to contact the account representative for our area to see if we can get someone to get the trees out of the powerline.
Mr. Rosenof asked do they need to remove them if they are on private property?
Mr. Weissman responded we have not tested it. It does not pertain to the exotics and evasives.
Mr. Rosenof stated even though it is within 50’ of the powerlines they are not required to remove them. Can we agree to the first part and re-evaluate removing the Australian Pines at a later date?
Mr. Petty responded the tree issue within the District’s facilities is an issue we are going to be discussing over the next several years. I think we should caution the residents now as we go forward relative to its affect on water management facilities. I cannot guarantee the trees will be left on the property forever, even if we adopt this compromise tonight.
Mr. Rosenof stated in a few years the Areca Palms are going to provide a fairly decent buffer.
Mr. Rogetta stated he is speaking about removing the remaining 100’ of Australian Pines, not the work being done now. If this is the case, we have no consensus here tonight. We agreed on a plan presented at the last meeting different than what Mr. Petty is presenting tonight, which is removing the remaining Australian Pines with federal money and then Stiles picking up the cost of the berm and the palms on top of the berm. This solution is not only for the Parkland residents but the Coral Springs residents as well. We are gingerly walking around Stiles when they are the ones with the most liability and what they do not want to come out of pocket. Basically what we are talking about is out of pocket. I can get an independent engineering firm to go in there and evaluate whether you can recreate a 5’ berm in this area. The basic problem we have is Stiles not wanting to come up with the funds to repair the damage they caused.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is wrong with removing 700’ of Australian Pines and installing the Areca Palm buffer.
Mr. Petty responded the negotiations have been putting all the costs on the contractor for a reasonable response to going outside the contract. If there were additional NRCS monies on the outside to be considered, we will be glad to use them. Our first option was to repair the 200’.
Mr. Rogetta stated this was not an option.
Mr. Petty stated it was the first option we brought up at the town hall meeting. At that time the residents suggested removing the entire berm because our contractor offered this. We expanded it to this program. The dollar values for this have gone up considerably over what we originally anticipated. We feel we negotiated with Stiles to the best of our ability. We are down to a couple of hundred dollars either way or someone is going to walk. The berm can be 4’ or 5’ high or whatever you can get the pitch to because it has to be permitted. We want it to be safe and maintainable. The cost is the only matter to consider. If it cannot be negotiated, then you are talking about going after it through litigation or in the District funding it. If the District funds it, you are into the issue of whether it serves a District purpose as we are limited. We can consider those matters under those conditions. When you look at the drainage in this specific area, this is one of the reasons why we re-sodded. Certainly you can put in catch basins and pipes but the costs will increase. The maintainability is probably a side issue and one you want to consider because you have a long term effect.
Mr. Rosenof stated the residents want to leave the berm where it is, remove all the Australian Pines and replant with Areca Palms.
Mr. Petty stated they want to keep the berm. I thought you were talking about the other side.
Mr. Rosenof asked does the other side want to make it flat?
Mr. Petty responded they do not want the berm, they want it flat.
Ms. Bertolami stated because they will have to maintain it.
Mr. Petty stated they want the drainage to go through sheet flow.
Mr. Rosenof stated now Stiles is saying they only damaged 200’ and this is all they are going to fix.
Mr. Petty stated this was the first option. We negotiated with them to expand upon it. They asked if there was any extra money from NRCS. We checked and received a commitment from NRCS. This is where the other 500’ of Australian Pines was considered.
Mr. Weissman stated Stiles is not expanding their original position. They are only going to agree to repair what they damaged and all additional work will be coming from a governmental agency. Correct?
Mr. Petty responded no, I do not believe so.
Mr. Weissman stated that is what you said. Is Stiles going to pick up the rest?
Mr. Petty responded Stiles was willing to repair with Areca Palms, stabilize the material and fill the 250’, which they damaged. They offered as an option to remove the remaining Australian Pines if someone else came up with the cost of vegetation. If this option was considered, this was at someone else’s cost. There was an expansion on their part to some degree.
Mr. Weissman stated only in terms of taking it down. They are not prepared to put any money into restoring the other area.
Mr. Petty stated correct.
Mr. Weissman stated I just want to see from a legal standpoint what they agreed to. I think I understand their position.
Mr. Doody stated in other words, if they remove the remaining Australian Pines, they are getting federal funds but they are not willing to do anything other than removing the Australian Pines.
Mr. Petty stated they get compensated to a certain degree for the removal of materials according to the NRCS contract and the dirt but putting all the dirt back and putting all the Areca Palms on top for another 500’ is an additional cost. We do not believe in our negotiations we gave them a profit.
Mr. Weissman asked who is bearing the cost of installing the plant material?
Mr. Petty responded Stiles. They are also responsible for the cost of the dirt, the soil for the plantings, chemicals and sod.
Mr. Weissman asked are they willing to put in 500’ feet of sod to bring it up to a 4’ berm?
Mr. Petty responded no. They are willing to grade it out, put down sod and plant the Areca Palms for another 500’ and put in the soil underneath the Areca Palms but not to create a berm. The berm has been estimated at $60,000 to $80,000.
Mr. Weissman stated they are not willing to put it back in the condition acceptable to anyone because it is not going to be similar to what is there today.
Ms. Benckenstein stated the residents think it is fine.
Mr. Petty stated Country Acres accepted this.
Mr. Weissman stated the buffer on the other side disappears.
Mr. Petty stated most of it.
Mr. Weissman stated we are not putting things back the way they were.
Mr. Petty stated absolutely not.
Mr. Rosenof asked are you saying not to address the remaining Australian Pines along the berm?
Mr. Weissman responded yes, but also not giving Stiles a release on this matter.
Mr. Rosenof stated at least this gets them started.
Mr. Petty stated I will be glad to take this to the contractor.
Mr. Rosenof stated they are going to want a release.
Mr. Petty stated we may be back here in January discussing this matter again.
Mr. Rosenof stated you have your direction.
Mr. Petty stated thank you. We appreciate the residents from Country Acres coming tonight. The second part of the change order is to do a three tier planting in Winner’s Circle. This proposal was discussed by the Board at the last meeting and the Board authorized staff to proceed as long as it met with legal review and approval. The change order has been written, which Mr. McKune saw a draft of. We will forward to District Counsel for review and process and submit to the contractor for consideration.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Manager’s Report – Discussion of Procedure for Determining District Purview
Mr. Petty stated the Board asked for a workshop at every meeting. Staff suggests we meet at the 6:00 P.M. and have the workshop from 6:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. to discuss the issues of priority to the District. The first item to be discussed is the discussion of District facilities in Pine Tree, which will come from the engineer and staff in regards to the description, location, ownership, easements and access rights. If this meets with the Board’s approval, we will schedule the workshop at the January meeting and start the process. If this appears to be too long of a session, an alternative is to have two meetings a month; a workshop and regular meeting. I request the Board discuss with counsel, the difference between a workshop and standard meeting.
Mr. Doody stated a workshop is a public meeting where the Board does not take any action.
Mr. Rosenof asked will we have to adjourn the workshop and start the regular meeting in order to take action?
Mr. Doody responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked what is the Board’s pleasure?
Ms. Bertolami responded I agree with having a workshop meeting.
Mr. Brewer stated I agree with having a workshop meeting.
Mr. Petty stated with consensus from the Board, our January meeting will have a one hour workshop and our regularly scheduled meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M. This is all I have to bring to your attention at this time.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Attorney’s Report – Discussion of Expiring Supervisor Terms
Mr. Doody stated I have a matter involving the election of Board supervisors. From a historical standpoint, the District was created by a special act in 1961. However, through the years, there have been a series of acts and a codification in 2001. The Board of Supervisors consists of five members, three of whom are elected and two who are appointed, one by the City of Coral Springs and one by the City of Parkland. For many years, the election process of the Board was handled by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office. Through whatever situation developed, we have not had any of the elected officers qualify for office. In December of 2006, the Secretary of State’s office notified us there was going to be an election in 2006 for two seats in this District. However, they did not accept any qualifications. Elected officials serve until they are replaced. Therefore, we need to have an election.
I prepared a memorandum, which I provided to the Board. It is clear under the Florida Statutes you can conduct your own election as opposed to going through the Supervisor of Elections. It is probably more cost effective for this District to conduct its own election as opposed to entering into an arrangement with the Supervisor of Elections office. What I am proposing is for the Board to authorize the publication of a qualifying period twice in a newspaper of general circulation before the next meeting, in accordance with the Florida Statutes. The newspaper we will most likely publish in is the Sun Sentinel or a paper otherwise directed by the Board. The advertisement will run on December 22nd and January 5th. Two seats will be open, Mr. Brewer and Mr. Rosenof’s seats. The qualifying period will be between January 22nd at noon until January 26th at noon. They can either seek re-election or there will be other candidates seeking election to the seats. A loyalty oath and candidate’s oath are required as stated in the Florida election code. If no individuals qualify, there would be no need for an election. This will coincide with the March election of some municipalities in Broward County and will be held on March 13th.
Mr. Weissman asked where will the polling place be?
Mr. Doody responded either at the District office or at Parkland City Hall. The Board will decide the location. My office has been diligently attempting to coordinate this with the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office, which we have not had much success with. The individual who would be most helpful is on vacation until Monday. I placed a call to General Counsel on two separate occasions but she is in trial. We contacted the Division of Elections in Tallahassee who have been helpful in this regard. They agreed with my analysis to run the election in our own way, provided we follow the Florida Statutes. All you need is a simple ballot. You can have poll workers and be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. At the end of the election, you have to provide the results to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office. You can do this any way you wish but there has to be a process in place for an election to address the open seats.
Mr. Rosenof asked do we have to do this every four years?
Mr. Doody responded the next election is in two years.
Mr. Weissman asked what is the procedure to change the election dates to coincide with the November elections, which is what many municipalities are now doing?
Mr. Doody responded you can do this fairly easily. You get to decide how big the ballot is and where your polling place is. Tallahassee wanted to know if the District was in two cities and I said yes. They may want one election in each city.
Mr. Weissman asked if it coincided with the November General Election, would the supervisor be able to select the issue for the ballot?
Mr. Doody responded from a historical standpoint, there has not been an election since 1984.
Mr. Rosenof stated just because you have an address in the city, does not mean you are a landowner.
Mr. Doody stated you probably have to get something from the Property Appraiser’s office. There will be work to do in January and February to prepare for the March election.
Mr. Weissman stated a third of the voters did early voting and did not go to their precinct and vote on Election Day. You have to identify the eligible voters.
Mr. Petty stated the eligible voter is a landowner. Our firm is involved with over 100 Special Districts in the State of Florida and landowner elections are fairly common. The Supervisor of Elections in almost every county we have been involved with will not get involved in this process because this is not what they do. The officials from Tallahassee will assist but the local supervisors typically shun this if they can. If it is converted over to an election by registered voters, then we do not have any trouble at all with those Special Districts. This is a special case.
Mr. Doody stated this District was created in 1961 and is an independent Special District. Some of the issues you are focusing on may not even come up if two people qualify. After the qualifying period is closed, if there are candidates, certainly this Board will have to meet and give some direction to us. My initial thought is to have an election at the District office.
Mr. Rosenof stated unless I can find someone to run against me, I will become re-elected.
Mr. Doody stated it is important through a due process standpoint to advertise this.
Ms. Bertolami asked do you need a motion from the Board to publish the advertisement?
Mr. Doody responded yes. I will work with Mr. Petty to prepare the advertisement. Before the next meeting, the advertisement will run.
Mr. Rosenof stated we do not have any money in the budget for these advertisements.
Mr. Petty stated we have funds available to us. We have not discussed the current contract we have with Stiles. Our engineer, CH2M-Hill has been able to stay on top of NRCS and District Counsel has been able to provide them with the necessary confidence so we are in the program. We expect to receive 40% to 50% of the contract amount for this work. We believe our Reserve Fund is capable of handling the expenses of this election, however, there are costs involved and this is why we are seeking approval.
Mr. Rosenof asked do you need a not to exceed amount?
Mr. Doody responded yes.
Mr. Rosenof asked are we talking less than $1,000?
Mr. Petty responded no, we are talking about the entire program.
Mr. Rosenof stated do the advertisement for now. If only two people qualify, we do not need to have an election. What is the cost of the advertisement?
Mr. Petty responded under $2,000.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Engineer’s Report
Mr. Craven stated at last month’s meeting, I asked for a few minutes to go over some right-of-way matters, but since we scheduled a workshop meeting, it can wait until then.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor’s Requests
There not being any, the next item followed.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Audience Comments
There not being any, the next item followed.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Financials and Invoices
Mr. Brewer stated there was an invoice from the engineer for the canal restoration in the amount of $24,000.
Mr. Rosenof stated this amount is reimbursable from the NRCS.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business,
Paul Brewer David Rosenof