An Interview with Vero Beach, FL Mayor, Laura Moss, About The Vero Beach “Vision Plan.”

Laura Moss 1

Vero Beach Mayor, Laura Moss

ACCORDING TO MAYOR LAURA MOSS,”AT OUR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS, WE TALK AND THE CITIZENS LISTEN.  AT OUR VERO BEACH VISION PLAN MEETINGS, THE CITIZENS TALK AND THE COUNCILORS LISTEN.”

On 2.24.2005 the Vero Beach City Council adopted a Vision Plan for Vero Beach, where citizen involvement provided a solid base for ensuring that the values and priorities identified by them were the foundation for the future.

The 2005 Vision Plan can be accessed using this link:

http://www.covb.org/vertical/sites/%7B898790A2-F88A-48AE-A9B3-666AAE67AD40%7D/uploads/Vision_Plan.pdf

In part, on the occasion of the upcoming Centennial of Vero Beach in 2020, an updated Vision Plan is being prepared, where the agenda will be driven by the residents in Vero Beach’s various communities.

Additionally, according to Mayor Moss, “the recent issue of whether or not the City should sell the Dodgertown golf course to a developer, which was subsequently voted down, was a wake-up call that we needed to update the 2005 Plan.”

Dodgertown

“We have a unique opportunity here to let our residents help us shape a plan for the next decade and beyond to ensure Vero Beach remains Vero Beach,” said Mayor Moss.

Mayor Moss cited the success of the 2005 Vision Plan, inasmuch as 80 recommended strategies were part of the Plan and as of 2.10.2016, 58 of those were implemented or partially implemented.

Additionally, with regard to its success, she pointed out how in January 2004, a “vision team” was established to work with City Councilors, city staff , consultants and the community to accomplish project tasks contributing to the development of a vision plan.

For the 15 person team, 85 applications were received.

During the week of 2.9.2004, six public hearings were held across the city.  Over 500 people were involved in that week’s events.

During February and March, 2004, a community survey was distributed at public meetings, the project website, and newspaper circulation.  Almost 1,600 responses were submitted to the City Planning Department.

A series of personal interviews with individuals and groups supplemented the broader communication.  Approximately 75 people were involved in the groups, which  included high school students, business and community groups.

That is a total of roughly 2,260 residents who participated in the 2004 Vero Beach visioning process.

“The agenda for shaping our updated Plan will again be driven by the residents in our community.  At our workshops and public meetings, we will outline areas for discussion but all our residents are encouraged to bring up anything that’s on their mind.

At our next Vision Plan meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 17, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in the City Council, Council Chambers, areas for discussion include:”

Commercial Districts:

  1. Historic Downtown
  2. Royal Palm Pointe
  3. Miracle Mile / US 1
  4. Ocean Drive / Cardinal Drive
  5. Beachland Boulevard

Neighborhoods:

  1. Osceola Park
  2. Original Town of Vero Beach

Areas that were not included in the 2005 Vision Plan:

  1. Dodgertown Golf Course
  2. Cultural Arts Village
  3. Power Plant and Postal Annex – (17th Street Bridge).
  4. Indian River Lagoon

If you are unable to attend a meeting during the day please respond when you would like to see the meetings scheduled and we will forward this information to Mayor Moss.

Asked if the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) would be hired to assist with the Vision Plan, the answer was an emphatic “no.”  In a reply to an email to from City Manager Jim O’Connor, the answer was also a quick “no.”

Ms. Phyllis Frey, a Vero Beach protectionist recently spoke before the Vero Beach City Council and indicated that if the TCRPC was involved in the Vero Beach Vision Project there would be “inescapable consequences of dealing with the region’s largest non-elected bureaucracy.”

TCRPC

TCRPC assists in carrying out Florida’s growth management programs.

To highlight the impact of regional planning councils, we found this simple example of what a  regional planning council’s involvement in planning a city’s future would potentially mean to Vero Beach.

According to article posted on http://www.terrain.org, The Journal of the Built and Natural Environmentalist by Albert A. Bartlett, “We must recognize that the main point of (regional) planning is to “solve” problems that arise from crowding. Thus planning is designed to help accommodate larger populations. To see how this works, let’s imagine that the problem is traffic congestion and that regional planning calls for, and ultimately produces, a large expansion of the regional highway system. This will encourage and facilitate further population growth so that soon the added new population will overwhelm and clog the expanded regional highway system. (Bartlett, 1969, 1973.) The taxpayers will have paid for the planning, they will have paid for the expanded highways, and in return they will get traffic congestion on an enlarged regional scale.”

One concern about how the updated Vision Plan will be impacted is Florida House Bill 17, now in consideration in the Florida Legislature, which would prohibit “local governments from adopting or imposing new regulations on a business, profession, or occupancy unless the regulation is expressly authorized by commercial law.”

How ironic the Republican majority in the Florida Legislature and a Republican governor, who’s party wants to loosen regulations, bring home rule to municipalities, city’s and county’s, wants to impose these state-wide regulations.

On March 29, 2017, we received an email from Mayor Moss that the Council unanimously opposed House Bill 17.

In closing, at the March 13, 2017, special City Council meeting Mayor Moss asked her fellow councilors if they agreed with the 2005 mission of the Vero Vision Plan for 2016.

They agreed unanimously.

“Vero Beach… the crown jewel of the Treasure Coast.

This vision statement reflects the broad values and desires of the community to be the best place to live along Florida’s Treasure Coast. It recognizes that there are other jewels along the coast, but that Vero Beach does and should continue to stand out among those jewels by retaining and enhancing its unique qualities and values.

Vero Beach will still change with time. It will continue to mature as a community and be influenced by outside actions, thus bringing new challenges. But its inherent qualities and values will continue to be prominent as long as citizens work diligently in a proactive manner. Vero Beach needs to be cared for like a precious jewel . Its brilliance will stand out not because of boastful pride, but because of dili­ gent care, respect, and responsible action.”

arial-view-of-the-vero-beach-inlet-000051312450

Vero Beach, Florida.  Fortunately, Vero Beach was not included in an Internet post of the 10 most desirable places to retire in Florida.

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