Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Residents Win One!

Thanks to Commissioner Bill Ganz initiating the process, the industrial zone off of Powerline which used to be in unincorporated Broward County but which was annexed onto Deerfield Beach over 10 years ago was finally rezoned and brought into compliance with the city’s building process.
WHAT AN ORDEAL.  The owners of the industrial property wanted no changes, the residents wanted safeguards and neither wanted a middle ground.  (See post below).

At last night’s (Tuesday, 2/7) meeting City Attorney Andy Maurodis spelled out the changes the city staff recommended after many meetings with the industrial land owners and input from the residential residents.  These talks went on and on and on and, well you get the idea. The city held a public workshop, and this was the second public hearing.

This presentation restored having crematoriums and medical waste sterilization facilities which the previous proposal had deleted due to resident concern.

My guess is that the city was intimidated into replacing them by threats of being sued by Mancini and other land owners.  Florida has something called the Bert Harris Act, part of which reads:
“When a specific action of a governmental entity has inordinately burdened an existing use of real property or a vested right to a specific use of real property, the property owner of that real property is entitled to relief, which may include compensation for the actual loss to the fair market value of the real property caused by the action of government, as provided in this section.”

Whether the few changes (see post below) to the zoning constitute being “inordinately burdened” would be for the courts to decide, however my guess is that the court would lean toward the government in this case and given the minor changes to the zoning, and the vast number of allowed industrial uses kept in the code would decide in favor of the residents and the city.  I don’t think Mancini et. al. will bother to take it to court, but the possibility is there and that was enough for the city to recommend bowing to the wishes of the land owners.

What happened last night?  The residents of Waterways and Independence Bay again pleaded for the city to at least ban the medical waste facility, and Bill Ganz gave a reasoned and passionate rational for doing just that.  Many residents also were concerned about crematoria.

Commissioner Marty Popelsky, was amazing, he said we shouldn’t have either facility and if needs be, it may be time to take on Bert Harris and find out.  The applause from the residents was deafening.  That proposal,  zoning changes WITHOUT medical waste and crematoria, was made and seconded and squeaked through by a vote of 3 to 2;   Commissioners Miller and Preston voted no, presumably because of the fear of a law suit and the possible financial hit to the city coffers.

Again loud applause and cheering. 

This was a good thing for the residents who very likely will show their approval at the ballot box.   

As Bill Ganz said, there are no bad guys here.  Both the residents and the land owners worked hard for a compromise and are to be praised.  Through no fault of either party a bad situation arose and a good solution came about.   High five to both sides.

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