RICHARD WINGER/VERO BEACH CITY COUNCILMAN
The conspiracy theorists are at it again, and this time they were joined by Vero Beach’s Mayor Moss. The occasion was a special call City Council meeting to address the updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Comp Plan). If you were to believe these individuals, the Plan is really a hidden plot to destroy all that we hold special in our City.
All local governments in Florida are required to have Comprehensive Land Use Plans. And they must be updated, and sent to the State for review. This update is what Staff and the Planning and Zoning Board have worked on intensively for over a year, A draft is ready for Council to modify or approve and transmit to the State for their review. The transmittal to the State is years overdue, yet a 3 vote majority voted to postpone it even further.
The conspiracy theorists maintain that outside influences have written the Plan, and there will be increased heights and densities. Wrong. There are no changes in heights or densities.
The accusations became so absurd, that at a recent Council meeting the City Manager had to assure Council there was no conspiracy in the updated Comp Plan and the City “would not become part of Georgia.”
The facts here are very clear. These Land Use Plans represent Home Rule in action. And this update was guided by the 2005 Vision Plan for our City’s future, which preserves the quality of life we value.
Last winter, a Council majority wished to re-visit the Vision Plan. Three taxpayer funded meetings were held and nothing came about as a result of those meetings. A lot of talking the talk.
Our Comprehensive Land Use Plan goes back to 1992. This will be the first update since that time. It is about goals to preserve our quality of life, and the policies and objectives to achieve those goals. There are no mandates or laws or regulations. Transmitting it to the State for their review is only the first step in the process which culminates when Council formally adopts the update. There are many opportunities to make changes before the adoption.
Meanwhile, we have problems awaiting solution, and since they involve land uses we cannot act until the plan is formally adopted: the Parking issue on Ocean, The Lagoon pollution, What to do with the Power Plant Land, How to Handle the Twin Pairs, How to Support our main land Neighborhoods.
Council, by defaulting on its responsibility to send a first draft of the Comprehensive Plan to the State, is now blocking itself in use of Home Rule for your benefit. The State won’t let us use the land that is annexed, won’t let us move forward on the Cultural Arts Village, and on and on. Simply put, we are breaking the state law. We are not walking the walk. But there certainly is a lot of talking the talk.
What needs to happen on September 20th is what councilman Tony Young demanded, and that is this City Council needs to make whatever amendments to the draft Comprehensive Plan, have a majority vote on Council, and stop just talking, which is something during extra long meetings this Council is expert at. This Council should start effectively governing. What this Council needs to do is pass this first draft of the Comprehensive Plan on to the State and walk the walk. That is what you pay us for.
It is time to walk the talk.