Local Vero Beach, FL Politics, Money and Social Engineering.

let-cities-work-slider

Let Cities Work to Determine Their Own Destiny.

FROM OUR EARLY EDUCATION WE ARE CONDITIONED TO BELIEVE THAT OUR LOCALLY ELECTED OFFICIALS REPRESENT US IN MATTERS THAT REFLECT OUR LOCAL LIVING PREFERENCES. CURRENTLY, LOCAL LAND USE AND ZONING LAWS LARGELY CONTROL WHERE WE LIVE, THE VALUE OF OUR HOME AND WHAT IT WILL COST TO KEEP IT.

This axiom over a lifetime appears on the surface to represent Home Rule of Law. But what happens when politics and bureaucracy shift positions and upset the paradigm?

Can’t happen here?

It is happening here, right here in Vero Beach.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the newly re-written Vero Beach Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan. In a radical departure from local representation and our traditional preferences for low density neighborhoods and small-town quality of life, this 400+ page document replaces low density zoning restrictions with mandates for mixed use, high density development adding pressure to increase building heights and commits us to its mandates for the next 18 years.

Mixed use development is defined by the American Planning Association as the designation for medium to large scale urban development and intensities, combining residential, commercial retail, restaurants, entertainment institutional, cultural and industrial development on the ground floor with compact, compressed and clustered high density population housing built above existing structures.

Broward

Broward County. Is this what we want?

In the new Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan, a set of 568 POLICIES which are laws call for mixed use, high density and intensity development for the next 18 years in all nine key areas of our city. Deviation from any one of the 568 laws is a quasi-judicial, prosecutable offense.

Imagine high density housing added to floors above all existing structures as mandated for Old Downtown, Royal Palm Point, Miracle Mile, U.S. 1, Beachland Boulevard, Ocean Drive, Cardinal Drive, our City marina and airport. Imagine easing building height limitations under our City Charter, a document that unelected bureaucrats control.

 

WestPalm_blvd

Rendering of a Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council master plan in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Will this be Vero Beach?

If this is sounding a bit Draconian, perhaps it is because “we the people” have been excluded from this process.

Authorship of the document is owned by unelected bureaucrats, advisory boards and regional planners from outside our area. Implementation and support of the plan is furthered by the same, including our city manager and developers.

Follow the money.

In words of the Treasure Coast Regional Council’s urban planner, Dana Little’s own words, “It is all about changing local land uses to mandate mixed use zoning policies with increases in population density and intensity for the benefit of developers.” End quote.

As our head of P & D stated, “I’ve got people lined up at my door, chomping at the bit to do just that.” End quote.

Dana Little was hired to redevelop old downtown Vero.

Not one person from the public participated in the re-writing of the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan document. Public participation has been non-existent except for one meeting on August 10th, 2017.

The results?

A knee-jerk reaction by City Council voting to rush, rush. Don’t think. Just act. Just pass it. They decided to dole out one more meeting on September 20 at 9:30 a.m. to give the public a whopping 3 minutes at the podium to comment on the Comp Plan.

I STRONGLY URGE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO ATTEND THE MEETING. This is the one opportunity you will have to let the Council know that the plan needs further vetting by the public through joint workshops with our publicly elected officials, to give the public a whopping 3 minutes each at the podium to fill a square, a minutely small one.

I think they should reconsider and delay the approval in lieu of further research and evaluation.

The fact is that we are under no time constraints to hurry this extremely important matter ahead. Why the rush to whitewash it and pass it at warp speed? Why isn’t Council taking the time to properly vet this document along with the public and give it the proper consideration it deserves?

Is it important for some to clean this off their plates before November elections, or is it an easier path of least resistance to put less energy and work into a boilerplate document and pass it before we know what is in it?

If you think decisions made by former city councils inflicted pain and financial woe upon the public under poorly considered utility contracts, you’ve seen nothing yet.

Just wait until the POLICIES of the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan are implemented.

The link for the public to access the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan is:
http://www.cityofverobeach.org Select: Departments, then Planning & Development. In the left-hand column you will find the Comp Plan 2035. Since this is a 400+ page document, I suggest that the reader focus on Chapter 2 as it contains the new rezoning changes for all land use. This is the most critically important chapter.

AAF TOWERS

This is a rendering for an All Aboard Florida /Brightline stop in Ft. Lauderdale. Again, is this what we want in Vero Beach? By the way, the towers are 80′ tall.

When we turn around in the future and ask, “How did this happen?” We will, with the perfect clarity of hindsight be able to cite the exact date, time, place and recall the names of the bureaucrats, politicians and developers who were responsible for destroying what we once held as “the Jewel in the Crown of the Treasure Coast.”

Beraucrat

The author of this article, Phyllis Frey, an advocate for local home rule, was a FAA Safety Check Airman and line Captain for Comair, the largest Regional Airline in the U.S. in the 1980’s, the Delta connection.

Since originally publishing this article, we received one public comment:

“This entry is VERY important. The plan looks like the cookie cutter plans that are being influenced by major developers all along the East Coast. They are homogenous in nature and architecture and erase any local character or identification.

One thing they do is raise revenue from property tax. Officials of counties and cities often use their tax revenue as “bragging” rights at meetings.

I have seen planners move from metropolitan are to metropolitan area based on their formula and zoning regulations for density and revenue.

This is a document that begs for analysis and open discussion. The rush to passage when land holders are in transition and occupied with the change in seasons is a tactic for rapid passage with minimal examination. Stop, Look and Listen before you allow the County or City to adopt such an over arching plan.”

 

 

2 thoughts on “Local Vero Beach, FL Politics, Money and Social Engineering.

  1. In your document you state: “Dana Little was hired to re-develop old downtown Vero.
    This statement is UNTRUE.
    Dana Little was asked by the Cultural Arts Village to facilitate a design charette only. Dana and his staff came to Vero to help. His team stayed one week and provided ‘rough’ ideas as to how the Arts Village could be created. There was never any mention or discussion that Mr. Little would be “in charge” of any plans moving forward. And yet, Ms Frey has assumed his contribution to our project means he is in charge. Nothing is farther from the
    truth. Ms Frey has propagated falsehood after falsehood trying to destroy the hard work of many civic minded citizens of this community, as their only hope is to improve a drug riddled community with a chance to rise above the deplorable living conditions in parts of the proposed Arts Village. It’s tragicl how Ms Frey is working to destroy our hard work. Her agenda is not fact-based. If she would simply talk with us rather than treat us like the enemy, maybe we could come to a mutual understanding. But she has no interest is seeking the truth. Her only goal is to destroy the Arts Village. Her culturally racist views are nothing more than propaganda to push her agenda. None of us on the Arts Village team want to see Vero change and become another Del Ray. Why would we want to do that? We live here and we like it just the way it is, like Phyllis. We too want to Keep Vero, Vero. Let’s work together and make Vero better for all. For God’s sakes believe us when we tell you these things.
    But no matter what we say or do, Phyllis has decided we are the enemy and must be destroyed. This is tragic that we cannot discuss our differences and find solutions together. What a sad day it is when fellows citizens build walls against one another. There is nothing christian nor patriotic about that.

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  2. Mr. Ryan,

    Just so you’ll know, my public record shows that I only report the facts and I can source every one.

    As for Dana Little’s mission, the facts are available for the public to see on his “Arts in Depth” video on You Tube.

    Regarding his particpation in the Arts Village project in Vero Beach, he states in his own words, (not mine), “My focus was on MIXED USE rezoning changes for DEVELOPMENT. Our planning effort has been to guide the future DEVELOPMENT of neighborhoods where you can achieve MAXIMUM DENSITY in a smaller footprint. We’re suggesting intervention. We’re doing an OVERALL MASTER PLAN showing you where intervention and DEVELOPMENT will occur. What it really amounts to is MODIFYING LOCAL CODES to move POLICY forward. Applied as a BLUEPRINT OVERLAY, this document is the POLICY PLAN FOR REDEVELOPMENT of the city. Local land uses and codes have been modified with INCREASES IN DENSITY AND INTENSITY for the BENEFIT OF DEVELOPERS.”

    For those of you who are unaware, Dana Little is a city urban designer. As an employee of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, that is his job. He works for them, NOT you or the City of Vero Beach.

    For those interested in the facts, there are currently 10 Regional Planning Councils in the state of Florida. They have powerful lobbyists with political connections in Tallahassee who, as unelected bureaucrats join collectively as NGO’s to procure taxpayer money for projects. It is the job description of employees such as Dana Little, urban designer to ferret out those projects. The TCRPC returns to fund those projects with CDBG, HUD, DOT, EPA and other grants. Last year after holding design charrettes in Gifford (9 people from the public attended), they procured $500K for a park project (buried under a “Landfill” title on the agenda). Ask the IRC County Commissioners. This is the function of the TCRPC—to find and fund such projects.

    For those of you interested in fact-gathering, perhaps you should attend every TCRPC meeting at Indian River State College in Stuart as I did for two consecutive years. Perhaps you should also spend another year following the TCRPC from city to city throughout southeast Florida from Brevard to Dade counties, attending their design charrettes, public forums and summits in every town as I did. I did my homework.
    Have you done yours?

    For those of you who think your design charrette was special, I’m sorry to break the news—it wasn’t. The design charrettes are all the same cookie presentations touting “New Urbanism, Smart Growth, walkable, bike-able, planet-saving, work-play Transit Villages, Art Villages— whether they are delivered in Titusville or Miami they are ALL the same. And they come at a price. How do you think Del Ray got that way?

    The last time the TCRPC came to Vero Beach (in 2012), they slid under the radar on the Consent Agenda offering $4.2 million (in taxpayer monies) to cities who were willing to relinquish their planning & zoning rights and redevelop according to the TCRPC’s plan. Back then they hyped it as “New Urbanism & HUD’s Livability Principles. When the public became educated, three counties and their cities voted a resounding “NO THANK YOU.” If you cannot accept these facts from me, contact former Mayor Pilar Turner, Dick Winger or Craig Fletcher, the city council members at that time.

    Just so you’ll know, the TCRPC’s latest taxpayer scam is their 2017 South Florida Transit Oriented Development GRANT Program. Google it. See page 4. The TCRPC is offering $860K in “free” taxpayer monies in exchange for (p. 3) controlling all planning and zoning rights including Comprehensive Land Uses. This is their function.

    As Dana Little said, “What it really amounts to is moidfying local codes to move POLICY forward. The Blueprint Overlay is the POLICY Plan for redevelopment of the City.” You will find his POLICY Plan in our Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan 400-page document.

    When I asked our City manager why the TCRPC was invited in to REDEVELOP our city he answered, “Because they can get the grants.” The reason the Art Village is included in the Comp Plan is because the Plan manadates by POLICY LAW Chapter 2, Part 4.6, p. 2-15 that the City SHALL (by law) pursue taxpayer subsidies, grants, special assessments, special taxing districts and public-private partnerships (corporate welfare). Thank you, Dana Little. It’s easy to gin up a portion of the community when free distribution of wealth is offered.

    By they way, when Mr. Little said, “Our focus was on MIXED USE for the benefit of DEVELOPERS,” he wasn’t kidding. The definition of MIXED USE is “the designation for medium to LARGE scale development and intensities COMBINING commercial, retail, restaurants, entertainment, institutional, cultural and industrial development on the ground floor with compact, compressed and clustered high density population housing built above existing structures.”

    Even a fifth-rate developer knows that squeezing more development (as Dana Little supports, ‘into a smaller footprint’) into a smaller space, increases his bottom line. More density = more $ for the developer. Mr. Little works with the TCRPC’s own pet developers who share office space in the building with Victor Dover with Victor-Dover-Kohl and their architect Andre’ Duany, to implement their development plans throughout southeast Florida.

    Vero Beach has what they have run out of in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach—developable land.
    When they can’t build out they build UP. Current building heights in Old Downtown are 65′. Through rezoning POLICIES they are pre-positioning themselves to make MILLIONS by using the pawns who buy into the TCRPC’s plans for redevelopment. If you think Vero Beach is not going to become another Del Ray despite your best intentions, think again. This is real world.

    But don’t take my word for it. Gather the facts. There’s nothing un-Christian about doing your own homework. Instead of sending pointless hate mail, read the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 POLICY Plan and learn what is really going to happen to your city. All you have to do is follow the money and grab the crumbs they might leave behind for you.

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