By Marc Crail District 4 Council Rep. and Vice Mayor The April 5 Mount Dora City Council Meeting had a rather light agenda. Please remember the what follows comes from me and not on behalf of City Council as a whole.
Emma Sears Marsh (1871-1960) was a Mount Dora artist who painted well over 200 detailed watercolors of Florida wildlife nearly a century ago. The Hills and Dales Garden Club owns 245 of them. Until recently the GFWC Mount Dora Woman's Club owned 24. Recently, the Woman's Club donated their 24 paintings to the City. They are now located in the W. T. Bland Library. They will be professionally scanned and then printed and displayed for everyone to enjoy. What a wonderful gift to our city, thanks to GFWC Mount Dora Woman's Club.
April is when we celebrate Earth Day. Mount Dora's Earth Day will be this coming Saturday April 9th from 9:00-3:00 in Donnelly Park. I hope you will be able to stop by. On a related note, The Mount Dora Friends of the Environment group has been partnering with the City for 28 years. They held a recognition ceremony to honor their benefactors and volunteers who water newly planted trees and many other things to help keep Mount Dora green.
The most anticipated item on our action agenda was the report and recommendations from our Building Height Advisory Committee. This committee was made up of 13 citizens appointed by city council members and the City Manager. They have been working for the past several months to take a deep dive into the contentious building height issue in the "Building Height Impact District" which is made up of the downtown historic district and the Lake Dora shoreline. Their work has been very important but also complex and difficult. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their willingness to serve and the many hours they have spent on this project while taking fire from all sides.
In their report presented by Chairperson Lynn Tipton and Tom Pauls, they provided a map of the area involved. They also provided a "Purpose and Intent" statement. They explained their recommendations for building heights set at 35' and 25' within 100' of the lake. They came up with a series of 9 stringent tests which would need to be met in order for a property owner to get a maximum of a 5' variance. All 9 tests would need to be met in order to qualify for a variance. Getting any variance would require a "super majority" of city council votes and there are also other criteria that must be met.
The committee recommended that City Council should come up with the specific language to draft an ordinance for a Charter Amendment that would to be voted on in November.
There is also a recommendation to conduct a poll to ask merchants and residents their opinions.
Our goal is to have that work done by early June. I think that everyone in the room and probably everybody in town has her/his own opinions on this issue. The Committee worked hard to compromise in order to meet the wishes of a majority of our citizens while staying within the laws that apply to land development issues. Once the final language is worked out you can read it and decide for yourself.
If you are a customer of Mount Dora Electric utility expect a fuel cost increase. The average resident will face a $5.81 increase due to skyrocketing fuel costs. By the way, those of us who are served by Duke Energy or SECO still pay substantially more for their electricity.
Today's quote comes from Soren Kierkegard. "There are two ways to be fooled: one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe what is true."
Thanks for your interest in our great city! Marc Crail District 4 Council Rep. and Vice Mayor
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