Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

“Essentially those against the Comp Plan are infringing on our property rights.”

Editor’s note: Former City Councilman and current member of the Planning and Zoning Board, Ken Daige, and his wife, Deborah, wrote the following summary of this past Wednesday’s special call meeting of the Council at which proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan were debated.


Summary – 9-20-2017 special call meeting of the City of Vero Beach Comp Plan:

Brief Translation – Comprehensive and Land Use Plan – The city’s blueprint and outline of land use, city provided levels of service, interlocal agreements for state and county infrastructure within the city, and funding for any and such projects.

1) The beginning commentary was from the majority of city council who lean toward not adopting the Comp Plan preferring to ‘stand alone’.

A motion was made by councilmember Sykes to prolong the process with a cooling off period while Mayor Moss rewrites the Comp Plan with the city manager and city planner. Councilmember Howle second the motion, which passed 3 to 1 (Moss, Howle and Sykes yes – Young no), at the culmination of the meeting. Winger left earlier in the meeting and was not there for the vote.

The P&Z Board was criticized in an insulting manner and accused of designing a Trojan Horse, the implication was that the P&Z Board and ‘outside influences’ such as the Regional Planning Council were the invading Trojans out to destroy the city.

2) Then the scheduled speakers:

*Barbara Hoffman of the Indian River Cultural Art Council was first speaking on behalf of the Arts Village in the Edgewood Neighborhood. She represented them well.

*Honey Minuse, Chairman of the P&Z, spoke of the process to produce the Comp Plan. A through outline with factual clarifications was presented.

*Carter Taylor spoke on behalf of the IRNA and a Downtown Business Group in favor of the calming of the Twin Pairs. He spoke against the extreme misrepresentations of the Comp Plan.

*Suzy Feeny read Michael Rector’s letter, to the council in favor of traffic calming, into the record. Rector is a local developer who specializes in renovation of existing business structures and strip centers including the American Icon Brewery in the old Diesel Power Plant.

*Phyllis Frey spoke on her philosophical beliefs that the Comp Plan (in very colorful and strong language) is removing our freedom, home rule and rights. Frey displayed a rendering of a very tall housing unit on top of a proposed train station in South Florida. (Which cannot be built in Vero Beach according to our City Charter height and density restrictions.)

*Linda Hillman was added to the list of speakers, for that day, by Councilmember Young. She spoke of the negative tone the current city council has been promoting at the beginning of their meetings. She also stated Moss and Frey live in a (pre current city charter) high rise condo on the river, on the beachside; a building location and density type that is prohibited in our current City Charter and Code. This is the same type of ‘development clustering’ Moss and Frey state they are against.

3) There were various other speakers for and against the Comp Plan.

Ken and I sent you what we tried to say in our 3 minutes, but deliberate interruptions interfere with the goal of making a point.

People for the Comp Plan were constantly interrupted by various means that throw the speakers off their train of thought.

People against the Comp Plan were treated in a gentler fashion and allowed to finish their thought process.

It felt much orchestrated in the favor of those against the Comp Plan.

It was very apparent to those of us who have been working on this plan, along with the Vision Plan since 2003, that many of the speakers either did not know about or misunderstood both plans. It may well be by design that their intentions are to create more confusion. They do not seem to speak about what is actually in the Comp Plan.

4) Mayor Moss does not have the right to change the Comp Plan in her or Phyllis Frey’s image. Councilmember Young understands this and is on the side of moving the Comp Plan forward.

There is the US Constitution, Florida State Statutes, Local Ordinances and our City Charter that are required to be followed. There are property rights that have to be honored.

Essentially those against the Comp Plan are infringing on our property rights. Those of us who are in favor of the amendments to the current Comp Plan also want positive change in our neighborhoods, safe streets, and other rights offered to us.

Most who spoke against the Comp Plan do not live in the city limits. The majority of those who spoke against the Comp Plan were leadership from the various local Republican parties who also wear the name of Christian as a badge of honor fighting oppression (lately the Comp Plan).

(Ken and I are Christians. I grew up in the Southern Baptist and Presbyterian faith; Ken was raised as a Catholic in the Irish tradition. In a world full of many different views about how to reach heaven, we do not testify about our faith unless asked. Our faith has been a bond and source of strength for us.)

We are embarrassed by those using a Christian badge of honor as a sword to fight against our community!

5) This discussion is not over. There are legal and moral obligations within the Comp Plan that protect property rights, safeguard our community and promote prosperity.

We will be diligent and do everything in our power and knowledge base to promote actions that encourage our collective rights of health, safety and general welfare.

If you have the time we encourage you to watch the 9-20-2017 special call city council meeting.

If you have concerns or questions please do not hesitate to ask by contacting the city clerk’s office tbursick@covb.org and directing the question to the P&Z Planning Director and the P&Z Board and it will then get answered at a board meeting which is open to the public.”

Thank you for your interest, your compassion, determination and hard work to continue to enable our community to be a great place to live!

Respectfully, Deborah and Ken Daige


  1. It angers me that selected Mayor (she wasn’t elected as such by VB voters) has taken it upon herself to mastermind a revision of something that experienced individuals have carefully put together. Ironic the ‘Three’ would want to take more time on this plan when they are pushing hard to get the power sale through without delay. Morality goes beyond the pew in which one sits on Sundays. Separation of church and state means anyone with compassion, a sense of what is right and wrong and just plain horse sense has as much right to be heard. Arrogance does not belong in Council Chamber or anywhere else in City Hall. Perhaps a protest or two is in order.

  2. It is disturbing to learn that many outside the city try to influence city issues. It is also disturbing to learn that those who spoke in favor of the Vision Plan were interrupted when speaking. Furthermore ,I suggest that the citizens of the city solve their own problems without the “outside help.”

  3. Susan Mehiel: “They do not seem to speak about what is actually in the Comp Plan.” I’ll tell you. The Comp Plan states:
    “The City shall (will by law) rely primarily on the utilization of development incentives through its Land Development Regulations…including: Density Bonuses; Flexibility in complying with setback, bulk, open space, parking and other standards; Floor area bonuses; Transfer of development rights (TDR’s).”

    Do the Diage’s want to explain how the P&Z Board plans to decide who will receive financial incentives, how the setback and open space standards will be changed developer by developer and what TDR’s are? Does anyone care?

    How about this from an unelected and unaccountable board: “The City shall (will by law) support the lane reduction of east- and west-bound lanes of SR 60…” What if there are a number of residents in parallel communities who don’t want traffic and congestion on their streets reducing their property values as people avoid slowed city streets? Their opinion doesn’t matter – P&Z has decided.

    These are just two of the more egregious parts of a plan that is loaded with directives that the city and the P&Z board will pick winners and losers in businesses and organizations throughout the city.

    Private property rights? Do you understand that every time a city changes its zoning regs and building codes it can impinge on a land owner’s property rights? What yesterday you could do on your property, you can’t tomorrow once the codes are changed.

    Private property also consists of a person’s hard earned paycheck – a portion of which they pay to the city. Do they have any say in how their tax dollars will be spent or is it now up to an unelected and unaccountable board to dictate expending to City Council?

    Not one person on the “pro side” discussed specifics in the plan. Fortunately, someone decided that all of the mandates and directives in this plan needed to be shown in the light of day and for that they are pilloried. That is sad.

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