Regular City Council Presentations - February 28, 2023 at 530 PM

City Council

Regular Meeting

February 28, 2023


The City Council of the City of Titusville, Florida met in regular session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 555 South Washington Avenue, on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. 


Mayor Diesel called the City Council meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Present were Mayor Daniel E. Diesel, Vice Mayor Joe C. Robinson, and City Council Members Herman A. Cole, Jr., Col USAF Retired, Jo Lynn Nelson, and Dr. Sarah Stoeckel. Also present were City Manager Scott Larese, City Attorney Richard Broome, and City Clerk Wanda Wells. Assistant City Clerk Jolynn Donhoff completed the minutes of the meeting. 


Mayor Diesel requested a moment of silence. He then led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. City Clerk Wells read the procedures for public comment and participation..






Employee of the Month for February 2023 - No action was requested. Electronic Services Department Supervisor Ron Swank recognized Electronics Technician II Charles (Bobby) Warford as the Employee of the Month for February 2023. Mr. Swank highlighted Mr. Warford’s nomination and presented him with a plaque and a gift. Additionally, Mr. Swank distributed a “before and after” photo of a Programmable Logic Controller (a control box with numerous and varying wires and cables) that was made tidy and orderly by Mr. Warford. 




Titusville Fire Department Spotlight - No action was requested. Titusville Fire and Emergency Services Chief John Hustoles provided an overview of the Fire Department. 




Urban Tree Canopy Assessment - No action was requested. Sustainability Planner Rachel Muller gave a presentation on the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Assessment Report. The presentation began with an overview on how the UTC Report was funded via a grant, how the consultant that assisted with drafting the report was selected through the competitive bid process, and the consultant’s professional credentials and experience with tree canopy assessments. 


The presentation reviewed the following information: methodologies, Citywide landcover analysis, urban tree canopy potential, assessment scales, study area zones, stormwater basins, census block groups, ecosystem benefits, planting prioritization by census block groups, overall prioritization, key findings, recommendations, etc.  



Council discussion ensued with staff on setting goals, desires to pursue additional grants for a tree inventory, collecting data, future goal to schedule tree plantings, the importance of trees and shade, community initiatives and feedback, estimates of current tree canopy coverage, whether individual citizens could obtain saplings, stormwater boxes in the downtown, etc. 






Stan Johnston expressed his dissatisfaction with City officials concerning a prior sewer spill, City officials not returning his phone calls, etc. 


Kay St. Onge read from a prepared statement that reviewed information on Florida’s Urban Forrest Program, the purpose of an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, a reduction in tree canopy coverage since 2021 was due to rapid development, the importance of preserving tree canopy, the Titusville Environmental Commission’s (TEC) recommendations (January 2023) on establishing tree canopy goals, the TEC’s recommendation that the City Council adopt a resolution endorsing the TEC’s tree canopy goals at the next regular City Council meeting, meeting Code requirements, the importance of shade to offset extreme heat events, etc. 


Michael Myjak, Vice-Chairperson of the Titusville Environmental Commission (TEC), expressed dissatisfaction and indicated the TEC’s recommendations on the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment were not presented at this meeting Mr. Myjak requested Council to direct staff to video and record TEC meetings. He advised the TEC had identified six bullet points that were not adequately addressed in the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Assessment, which he indicated affected some of the following concepts:  a 42% tree canopy was not current, the current Assessment used data that was 2-years old, etc. Mr. Myjak also felt the City should complete assessments more regularly, look at wetlands more thoroughly, and strongly consider including and planting mangrove trees in wet areas, etc.


Bill Klein commented on the importance of evaluating and planting more trees. He studied old pictures of the Max A. Brewer Causeway when there was more shoreline or land and few trees. He advised that hurricanes and storms had reduced the land area size of the shoreline along the causeway over the years, but mangrove roots and sabal palm tree roots would prevent the wash-out of land. For this reason, Mr. Klein requested planting these trees along the shoreline.  


Mayor Diesel commented on prior tree planting events and the enthusiasm to get trees planted. 


Member Nelson and Mr. Klein discussed identifying and contacting the agency or agencies with jurisdiction on the land east and west of the causeway and elsewhere to discuss planting trees. 


Laurilee Thompson praised Sustainability Planner Rachel Muller for obtaining grant funding for the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment. Ms. Thompson then shifted her comments to the Titusville Environmental Commission’s meeting in January 2023 and the Commission’s actions and recommendations. Ms. Thompson desired current tree surveys, tree mapping, soil surveys, ground truthing, stormwater uptake data, future sea level rise considerations, forested wetlands near Interstate 95 needed to be saved, etc.  Additionally, she requested Council to approve the related plan at their next regular City Council meeting. 


Tom Perez advised the Titusville Garden Tree Farm has been growing mangroves for several years and they provided them to an agency down south. The agency was also seeking a grant to keep some of the funding for mangrove trees in north Brevard. On another topic and as a member of the Titusville Environmental Commission (TEC), he requested the City Council direct the videoing and audio recording of TEC meetings. 


Kristin Lortie supported the comments and requests made by Ms. St Onge, Mr. Myjak, Ms. Thompson, and Mr. Perez. She supported the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment. She requested the Council to bundle the TEC’s recommendations with the actions Council might consider at their next regular City Council meeting. She also requested the Council direct the videoing and audio recording of TEC meetings. 


Toni Shifalo supported the tree equity component of the Urban Tree Forrest Program and TEC’s recommendations. She also felt that the 2021 tree canopy assessment numbers changed, since she felt more development had occurred. 




With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.