Tuesday, February 25, 2014

OMG! This is WAY beyond irrational.

In a recent email Mayor Jean Robb says she still pushing to eliminate our beach building codes Charter Section.  That is way beyond irrational.

The residents of the Deerfield Beach wanted to make sure that building codes covering beach development could not be changed again to benefit whatever developer was funding whatever commissioners were on the dais’ reelection bank accounts or lining their pockets, so they voted in favor of the referendum putting the codes in the City Charter (which is in effect the City Constitution); the voters were smart folks who knew exactly what they were doing and why. To say otherwise, as Jean Robb has, is insulting to the voters.

In order to change or eliminate a charter provision it must go to the voters.  The City Charter cannot be changed by the commissioners. 

An ordinance, on the other hand, can be changed by a vote of a majority of the commission in two meetings.  (Before the codes were voted into the Charter this was done.  The beach building codes were eliminated by a past commission in favor of a builder, “say it ain’t so”, but it WAS.)

Mayor Robb, who is still attempting to get rid of Charter section 11.01 in spite of the many residents who stood up at the commission meeting to say NO, NO, NO, says there would be a new ordinance enacted.  She says that the 55 foot height limit would not be changed.  Well, maybe this commission wouldn’t change it, but we have had many a commission that would. And I am not willing to trust future politicians. This important a thing just shouldn’t be that easy.

Yes, the Mayor wants an ORDINANCE, not a charter section, and from the lessons of the past, you know what that means.  Quicker than a politician says yes to a campaign donation the developers would come looking for multi-story massive buildings, wall to wall lot coverage and whatever else they could finagle to make as much money as possible.

One such developer who did propose a tall building has since told me that he is glad we have the codes and in fact, he likes our low rise village type beach so much he is planning on moving here.  He admitted he was wrong and was glad he was not allowed to do his project.  One in a million yes, but the truth will out.

So do we want to trade our charter protection for an ordinance?

Ordinance, shmordinance, two meetings and it’s GONE! 

The Mayor says that we have problems at the beach that could be fixed if those pesky building codes were just eliminated.  She has no solution, just a pie-in-the-sky hope, I suppose, that all rehab houses and sober houses will go away if the land owners could build big expensive buildings.  My guess is that we would have some big expensive rehab and sober facilities, and good-by to our family friendly beach.

Tell us in detail what “problems” you see Mayor. What are they, how can what you propose “fix” them.   Let’s hear from the people who want these changes.  Is it more than one person who made a bad investment who is clamoring for change?  I think not.

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see what would happen to the traffic and access to the beach if this proposal goes through. 

From Tom Connick:
There is no valid logic to the Mayor's position to rescind Charter Provision 11.01.  Let me address some of inherent flaws in the Mayor's arguments:

1.  Mayor's claim that 11.01 must be eliminated so a "new ordinance" can be introduced.  My comment: If the Mayor thinks she has better ideas, she should publicly announce them.  With the Mayor's failure to announce specific changes and instead engage in generalities that undisclosed changes will be better than what currently exists, it is reasonable to conclude that the Mayor does not have a better idea than the current 11.01.

2.  Mayor says that rescinding 11.01 would give the Commission the opportunity to address her undisclosed imagined problems concerning the beach that would be remedied if 11.01 were rescinded.  My comment:  the Mayor's fallacious thoughts in this area are closely related to her fallacious thoughts in #1 above - there is nothing stopping the Mayor from addressing whatever the Mayor wants to address.  But, having said that, the fact is that Deerfield Beach citizens want protection of the beach from overdevelopment and the increased congestion and more difficult access that comes with it.

3.  Mayor insults voters by saying that she doesn't think any voters read Charter Amendment - in other words, the voters did not know what they were voting for.  My comment:  the voters knew exactly what they were voting for - a tool to at least assist in the protection of the beach from overdevelopment and the traffic congestion and more difficult access it causes to get to the beach.  It is absurd for the Mayor to insult the voters when the vote now is not the way the Mayor now likes (by the way, my recollection was that the Mayor liked the Charter Amendment in 2002).

4.  Mayor negatively comments on  the ballot language approving 11.01.  My comment:  the City Attorney approved the language on the ballot as being legally appropriate.  And, I will add that my legal opinion is that the language was legally appropriate.  There is no reason for the Mayor to indirectly insult the City Attorney by implying that something was wrong with the ballot language.

5.  Mayor strongly implies that 55 feet height increase in buildings was never a possibility going back to when the Mayor was on Planning and Zoning.  My comment: the Mayor's comments are simply not true.  I was on a Committee that was appointed to review the issues concerning the beach, and developer Mike O'Leary stated at one of the meetings that he had a plan for a 10 story hotel in the old bank building location on the "S" curve.  The illusion created to justify increased heights is allowing increased height and floor area ratio for illusory alleged benefits the developer provides.  Without the provisions of 11.01 being in the City Charter (the City Charter is the City's Constitution), a City Commission could change those minimal protections from overdevelopment with just 2 public readings.  With these minimal protections being in the City Charter, the public has a right to vote before these minimal protections can be changed.

In closing, the Mayor continues to push for undisclosed changes when there is no public support for these mythical undisclosed changes.  11.01 was the result of citizens gathering signatures to put 11.01 on the ballot and the citizens then voting overwhelmingly in favor of 11.01 (75%).  If there is a strong public desire to rescind 11.01, then the Mayor can head the gathering of signatures to put this on the ballot.  But, the public does not want 11.01 rescinded, so the Mayor does not appear interested in leading an unsuccessful effort in gathering signatures.

 The power of the benefit of Charter Amendment 11.01 staying in place is overwhelming versus the desire of the Mayor to rescind it. 

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