Everyone likes to determine what's in their own backyard. The same is true for cities.
Expansion allows cities to plan their growth, as well as provide the potential for growing its tax base without increasing the tax burden to its current residents.
Cities expand using an annexation process that brings neighboring, unincorporated county land into their city's borders. Once annexed, the city can plan how that land will be used and developed so the impact is congruous with the city's vision and resources.
The City of Eustis proposed an Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement (ISBA) to Lake County to enable the city to annex unincorporated land, including a significant amount of property that borders Mount Dora to the east.
The scope and reach of this proposal could 'land-lock' Mount Dora and restrict the city's growth and tax base. Mount Dora plans to contest the proposed ISBA within the required sixty days in an attempt to stop the plan. Mount Dora Buzz will provide updates as the process unfolds.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS... - The next city manager hired by the city of Mount Dora will now be required to live within the city after being hired.
- The city held the second public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant application in which the city will pledge $50,000 to assist in receiving an additional $750,000 to be used for water main improvements, storm sewer and drainage projects. If the grant application is successful it can turn the $50,000 into $800,000.
The gated communities of Waterman Village, Loch Leven and Lakes of Mount Dora will be getting city street sweeping service, as a result of former councilman Denny Wood's prior initiative. Residents in those neighborhoods pay taxes that help fund the sweeping machine costs and now they will receive the benefit.
Get more news and events for Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustishere.
Every year cities throughout the state provide residents with a "State of the City". In Mount Dora, the mayor provides that information to the public. The annual State of the City was released in April. Below are some excerpts of Mayor Nick Girone's address and the link to the entire document.
"As Mount Dora continues to grow toward the East and North, we are faced with two challenges: 1. Maintaining the quaintness and charm the founders of Mount Dora envisioned, 2. Initiating a set of goals that will allow controlled growth in response to the potential possibilities coming our way with the Wekiva Parkway being built at our doorstep, now only a few years from completion.
Both challenges can be met. The first is not debatable. Without a flourishing downtown and solid business foundation, our city would become just another place with a major highway running through its boundaries.
Our second challenge is a priority for our council: defining the goals and creating the action plans in 2016 for potential growth toward the North and East.
A decade ago the city council worked with the county to create a job-growth area at the northern and eastern edge of Mount Dora known as the 'Wolf Branch Innovation District.' It is our responsibility as the City Council of 2016-2017 to turn those dreams into reality that will bring new tax revenues into our city operations.
Actions well done will deliver not only jobs in our city outside of our traditional tourist based jobs, but will bring the educational and medical advances to Mount Dora that will continueto define our city as the very best place to live. I am pleased we already have educational facilities, medical campuses, and high tech industries expressing interest in selecting Mount Dora as their future address. I have met with many of these corporations and I will continue to do so this year.
We need to continue to encourage planned, controlled growth by taking action steps to make it happen – we cannot just wait for new businesses to ‘discover’ Mount Dora. Our City Council, our citizen boards, our existing business owners, our citizens, our city organizations and our city staff need to work in unity to make our future happens in the way we plan. I look forward to working with all our citizens, our businesses, our staff, our visitors and the city council in 2016 toward achieving our shared goals and dreams." - Mayor Nick Girone
The year the Mayor Girone asked members of Mount Dora's citizen boards to provide their perspective to include in the State of the City. Here are some of their words:
planning & zoning commission
““This is the year that past city plans will start to become a reality for bringing in new industry along the Wekiva Parkway corridor. At our first meeting this year of the Planning & Zoning Commission, our board decided to use our collective experience and expertise in planning and zoning to contribute concepts and ideas that will help the city move forward in executing the goals set by the city council for this future growth area of Mount Dora.” - Denny Wood, Chairman Planning/Zoning Commission & Former Mount Dora City Councilman
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CRA)
“Fresh ideas help our city stay vibrant. We can be proud that our city is now listed in international tourist guides. With the dedication of businesses, citizens, organizations and our city council, visitors continue to come to our area to keep it thriving. We need to continue to work on how to free up parking spaces for shoppers down-town, and to make room for deliveries of daily supply trucks.” - Phil Bernard, member Community Redevelopment Agency
NORTHEAST COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (necra)
“Grants have improved home health and safety. Commercial property needs regarding safety, storm water and site improvements are being addressed. The Community Relations Officer’s presence has resulted in free preventive health services, charitable assistance to families, and improved relationships between the neighborhood and law enforcement." - Janet Manchon, member
historic preservation board
“Last year ordinances were stream-lined, and software implemented to help assure renovations on historic properties comply with our historic preservation codes. Our volunteer board and others in our city volunteer their time to defend our treasure – the Mount Dora Historic District.” - Michael Moecker, Vice Chairman Historic Preservation Board
Not only do they dish it out, but they cook it up.
This year, 260 students grabbed the opportunity to learn restaurant skills ranging from front-of-house to back-of-house. They tackle everything from baking, stocks, sauces, fermentation, meat fabrication, cooking methods, and garde manger in the culinary arts program at Mount Dora High School.
The program also provides freshmen through seniors hands-on experience with commercial equipment, as well as the opportunity to receive a ServSafe certification by the National Restaurant Association.
Two passionate instructors, Chef Jenn Walloch and Chef Tim Hobbs, guide the program. Both chefs share their wealth of professional experience with eager students in the program's impressive commercial kitchen and two classrooms. The result is an enthusiastic and proud group of students.
Walloch combined her culinary arts degree and executive chef experience with a teaching degree in special education, early childhood and family consumer sciences.
Hobbs, a Colorado native, attended culinary school and earned his degree in food and beverage management and put it to use during his career in private dining, country clubs, and hotels.
Faculty, staff and upper classmen can purchase the student-prepared foods ranging from chicken tenders, sandwiches and salads to a weekly buffet with different ethnic foods for a mere five bucks.
The program had a modest start in the old Roseborough building, now a Montessori school, and evolved in the late 90's into the career technical education course of culinary arts. The program has turned out many local chefs, including Clemente Rodriquez, recent winner of the local 'Chef vs. Chef' battle at Pisces Rising.
Every spring the upper class works on an annual gala, when the culinary program works with the school's drafting class to build restaurant concepts from building design to custom menus. The 9th annual gala will be held May 7th, and include cuisine from different regions of the U.S.
The program serves the public Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, however the schedule can change weekly to accommodate events on campus. It is best for the public to call ahead.
Prom and spring go together like fall and football.
To help ensure a safe prom night, Mount Dora High School students will learn firsthand the consequences of driving under the influence. The Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team has scheduled a mock DUI crash next week at the high school to serve as a sobering reminder for teens to consider the implications of drinking and driving.
CTST will be hosting the realistic scene with high school juniorsandseniors at the school’s football field to show the impact of alcohol-related traffic accidents. “Through a dramatization of a DUI crash, the program provides a real-life glimpse into the serious ramifications of impaired driving,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairperson of the CTST. “Through this event, we hope to help encourage teens never to drink and drive.”
The mock crash is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 14 at the high school.
For more information about Lake County CTST, contact Noble Olasimbo at 352-483-9092. For more local news and events, click here.
Above: Mock DUI crash like one to be conducted for students.
Just in time for Earth Month, Mount Dora has replaced its twoelectric car charging stations with more reliable versions. Drivers of electric cars can recharge their vehicles on 6th Avenue next to the Donnelly Park tennis court or in the parking lot at 3rd and Donnelly.
Meanwhile, Mount Dora's Friends of the Environment have set April 16th for its annual Mount Dora's Earth Day Celebration in Donnelly Park. The family-friendly event will feature exhibits, animals, activities and live music. Read more.
It's without question the most photographed landmark in Mount Dora.
Due to the findings of a state environmental advisory panel last week, the city's lighthouse will undergo further evaluation and eventual relocation in the coming months.
Citing soil studies indicating instability of the fill at Grantham Point Park, a man-made jetty in Simpson Cove, the panel will require the 35-foot tall beaconto be relocated for safety reasons
"Grantham Point Park is man-made and created with fill. Because of this, it's required to be tested for stability. Multiple soil samples indicate the fill has shifted," said Cida Light, public information officer for Florida Commission of Environmental Safety.
The park was built in 1987 to accommodate the lighthouse, which is constructed of brick and stucco. Although it's a landmark, it is also a fully functional lighthouse that assists boaters' navigation to the city's boat ramp.
"After reviewing the submitted alternate locations, the advisory panel and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed the city's downtown Donnelly Park as the new location," said Light.
Due to the steep slope of Donnelly Park, across from City Hall, the project is now under review at the Jacksonville engineering firm of Wier Keeding. The extensive engineering and permitting process will take until April 1, 2017 for completion, according to Light.
Gotcha! Happy April Fools Day! For more local news and events for Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.