Daiges respond to commenter’s assertions about Comp Plan

GUEST COMMENTARY

Related Story: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

DEBORAH & KEN DAIGE

Ken Daige

If one takes the time to read the Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Development Regulations Amendment Draft, one will notice the current plan with strike outs and the amended phrases. Most of the amendments add clarity, further explanation, and add statutes and building codes not in the current code. The amendments add further property right protections to older neighborhoods who have asked, repeatedly, for help with many serious conditions within their neighborhoods. The amendments to the Comprehensive Plan actually strengthen our local home rule character.

The following italicized are our responses to Ms. Susan Mehiel’s comment under: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

smehiel says: September 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

(1)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).”

(2)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?

*Response to your paragraphs (1)&(2): Your statement ‘The Comp Plan states…’ is inaccurate in that your whole phrase is piecemeal and taken out of context.

‘The City shall…’ is in the current Comp Plan. There is no change; this is a carry-over phrase signifying the City’s commitment to its policies for those who wish to live in, develop, and do business within her boundaries. The amended Comp Plan follows the stable policies that home builders, renovators, investors, and developers have relied on.

The Planning & Zoning Board does not ‘decide who will receive financial incentives’; they do not have that discretion. Developers will have to follow the Comp Plan just like everyone else. The State does not encourage stand-alone site developments; the Local Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Development Regulations (Amended) Plan is the guideline to be followed.

TDR’s: Are one part of a whole. The incentives are intended to be less regulatory and more in tune with the needs and requirements of the local community. This is very well defined and explained in the Comp Plan.

(3)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.

* Repeat Response to your paragraph (2) and now for your paragraph (3): ‘The City shall…’ is in the current Comp Plan. There is no change; this is a carry-over phrase signifying the City’s commitment to its policies to those who wish to live in, develop and do business within her boundaries.

*Response to your paragraph (3): The Planning & Zoning Board is a (state) statutory board appointed by the elected City Council. Each City Council Member appoints one Planning & Zoning Board Member. Two Planning & Zoning Board Members are selected at large by City Council as a whole. All members of the Planning & Zoning Board take an oath of office and are required to file an Annual Financial Disclosure Form. Developers and/or their representatives bring proposed projects to the Planning Director. The Planning & Zoning Board works on information brought to them by the Planning Director. There are property rights laws that are reviewed by the City Attorney. All proposed projects must meet requirements in our city charter, current code, zoning, land use, building standards, and health-safety-general welfare requirements. An appeal may be presented to the City Council if there is any question or dispute.

Route 60 is a state road governed by state law and local agreements. Infrastructure, roads, sidewalks, bridges, etc. are all part of the outline the state provides for the city to draft its local blueprint.

As to the congestion and diverted traffic into nearby neighborhoods, that is already a problem that we are looking for the city council to solve.

Everyone’s opinion matters in this discussion; but planning professionals are required to address those who are immediately affected and according to the law, and elected officials have a duty and obligation to follow the law.

(4)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.

*Response to your paragraph (4): The City of Vero Beach, her elected officials and her city boards and commissions have various laws and requirements they must follow –the US Constitution, Federal and State Law, and Local Ordinance. – reasons the word ‘shall’ is used.

The City of Vero Beach DID NOT set up the requirements for the Comprehensive and Land Use Plan. The State set up the requirements along with an outline to follow, including federal law and state statues, regulations and processes.

Local Home Rule comes into effect when the City of Vero Beach strengthens or adds to state statutes and county regulations; to tailor them to her needs and situation. The City may increase but not decrease regulations.

It is not within the purview of the City, her elected officials, departments, boards or commissions to ‘pick winners and losers in businesses and organizations throughout the city’.

The City of Vero Beach is unique as is every city or any local government body. That is where the amendments to the Comp Plan are important.

(5)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.

*Response to your paragraph (5): We know that when those from outside of our neighborhood by interference tell us what we can and cannot do, tread on our private property rights. Our neighborhood has varied land use/zoning designations.

The State of Florida regularly, if not yearly with each legislation, changes, deletes, removes, adds to, etc., the Florida Building Code and other legislation.

The City of Vero Beach has not changed its zoning regulations. Building codes should be updated according to state law.

According to the current code some city zoning districts may be up-zoned to the next level but with restrictions based on the location of that district; considered a private property right.

(6)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?

*Response to your paragraph (6): After discussions with all city departments, the city manager and the finance director bring a proposed yearly budget before the city council. Voters, and interested parties, in the City of Vero Beach, have the right to participate at Budget Workshops and Budget Hearings. Voters elect officials, who within their elected duty and obligation adopt the yearly budget and 5 year capital outlay budget according to the Comprehensive Plan.

If your inference is that you believe the Planning & Zoning Board set a budget, you are mistaken.

If your inference is that the Planning & Zoning Board operates at will and without guidelines, you are mistaken.

*Repeat Response to your paragraph (3) and now for your paragraph (6): The Planning & Zoning Board is a (state) statutory board appointed by the elected City Council. Each City Council Member appoints one Planning & Zoning Board Member. Two Planning & Zoning Board Members are selected at large by City Council as a whole. All members of the Planning & Zoning Board take an oath of office and are required to file an Annual Financial Disclosure Form. Developers and their representatives bring proposed projects to the Planning Director. The Planning & Zoning Board works on information brought to them by the Planning Director. There are property rights laws that are reviewed by the City Attorney. All proposed projects must meet requirements in our city charter, current code, zoning, land use, building standards, and health-safety-general welfare requirements. An appeal may be presented to the City Council if there is any question or dispute.

(7)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.

*Response to your paragraph (7): The Planning Director, Mr. McGarry, has not been afforded time at public hearing to do his department’s job of presenting their overview of the scope of work they were required to do by city council vote. Therefore specifics were not presented at the special call city council public workshops. The Planning Department has been publicly silenced at city council meetings.

The Vision Plan is suggested by the State as a prerequisite to amendments to the Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Development Regulations. Various workshops and meetings for the past 14 years, since 2003, have afforded discussions and therefore specifics to be addressed, at length, and legally at public meetings.

Nothing involved with the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan have been done in secret outside of ‘the light of day’.

Previous City Councils approved the discussions, meetings and costs involving the Vision Plan and the implementation of the Vision Plan. The Planning Department was charged with researching the necessary laws, statutes, property rights, local ordinance to implement the Vision Plan. This involved numerous public meetings, discussions, Planning & Zoning Board meetings, City Council meetings, discussions and approvals of various plans put forth to them including: The Beachside Master Plan, Ocean Drive-Cardinal Drive Overlay District, Original Town Neighborhood Plan, Osceola Park Neighborhood Plan, the Downtown Business Taxing District and the Downtown Business Taxing District Board.

*Response to your paragraph (2): You spelled our last name incorrectly. Respectfully – Ken & Deborah Daige

4 comments

  1. The “incentives” are financial- cash to developers, flexibility with set back regulations and TDRs to name 2. I asked how and who would these cash payments and “flexibility” be granted. Did you do that? Don’t you have concerns about these nebulous details? I do.

    The city attorney said the plan is law. These are laws that have to be followed. Maybe you can talk with him and explain what in the plan is a policy that can be ignored.

  2. BTW, I never said anything about “the light of day.” I would, however, mention that you said people for the plan were treated differently than people against the plan. I watched the entire proceedings on the TV channel and saw no difference in treatment. When their 3 minutes were up, they were told. Where they were in their comments was not considered. Again, we should stick with the facts of what is in the plan.

    Previous city councils do not hold sway over these proceedings and what that has to do with anything, I don’t know.

  3. There are no ‘incentives’ (as) ‘cash to developers’.

    TDR’s are in the 1992 current Comp Plan. The Planning Department passed through those uses to the amended Comp Plan and simplifies the language. (Example: line-drawn-through-version: Chapter 2 pages 17 & 40).

    We both respect the oath and service when serving on a board, commission or in office. We took much care, in a professional, respectful, and informational manner while responding your previous comments.

    My experience on the Planning and Zoning Board has been interesting and educational. As Alternate #2, I, (Ken) am one of seven members of the P&Z. Unless one of the core members is absent, I cannot vote but am allowed to voice my concerns or approval. There are/were two core members who have had numerous unexcused and excused absences; then is when I have had the opportunity to vote. These two absentee members have been in favor of the Amended Comp Plan and vocal with their concerns for commercial property owners to receive no interference from the Planning Department or the P&Z.

    I, (Ken) have not been for development regulations that may have adverse effects on neighborhoods and am probably the most conservative voice on that board. I ask many questions and challenge whether a project should be considered for a small town feel and use. The City’s neighborhoods are unique within their own districts; having differing needs, concerns and expectations for themselves and we respect and recognize this. We also look for balance between the residential and commercial uses, while keeping property rights in mind.

    Please re-read our previous response to your September 25, 2017 comments in the above article.

    Respectfully, Ken and Deborah Daige

  4. https://insidevero.com/2017/09/23/discussion-on-comp-plan-revisions-is-far-from-over/
    susan mehiel says:
    September 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Your paragraph (7), Second sentence: “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.”

    You were not at the meeting and the camera does not show everything; everyone was not treated equally.

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