The conceptual drawing above for Fort Pierce waterfront is an example of what can happen if we allow City Council to win approval from voters to take the Three Corners properties out of City Charter protection and allow them to come up with their own plans for development of those properties. This is why you must attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting at 5:00 p.m.
This is how City Council would go about it, according to Larry Reisman of the Press Journal in his column today (Sunday): “Get City Council at its 5 p.m. Tuesday meeting to have the interim city attorney draft a referendum asking voters in the November election to give up their right to final approval of a lease or sale of the waterfront power and sewer plant sites.”
He goes on to forecast what will happen next: “Between now and November, lobby city voters that allowing council alone the power to lease or sell would not only yield a better plan for the three corners, but expedite quality redevelopment.”
That pretty much sums it up. If the strategy changes between now and Tuesday’s City Council meeting, it will only be because of Larry Reisman’s column (and some supporting commentary on this site).
Let’s face it, we have a mayor in Val Zudans who espouses an inappropriate (in this case) limited government philosophy and has followed through with it in his numerous attempts to sell or lease out publicly owned land assets (River House, Post Office, Marina, Dodgertown, etc.).
You, the public, have been outraged by these attempts and voted in February to take away his three-person majority, replacing Lange Sykes with Robbie Brackett. So far the jury is still out on whether that change will alter Zudans’ plans to eliminate public assets in favor of commercial developers. We will know more after Tuesday’s meeting.
What happened to the charrette?
At the first meeting of this City Council on March 5, they discussed the plan for Three Corners. First, a public charrette would be held for citizen input on the future of these properties, which would then result in a path to proceed. Based on that information, an RFP would be issued for companies to bid on a final development plan. Once that plan was reviewed by Council with public input, a referendum would be held for voters to approve the plan and agree to whatever changes, if any, need to be made regarding City Charter protection.
So a design firm was approved to conduct the charrette, with only the details of a contract to be worked out. Mayor Zudans wanted to “move the process along,” and apparently he has. We have heard nothing further about the charrette, yet Zudans has already leap-frogged his way to holding the public referendum in November. Will he have the three City Council votes he needs to pull this off?
Three Corners or Centennial Place?
Mayor Zudans continues referring to these properties collectively as “Centennial Place,” a designation chosen by the publisher of the Indian River Shores weekly after a poll of his neighbors. However, until the citizens of Vero Beach decide on their own name for this publicly-owned land, it will only be known as Three Corners. Sorry Mr. Mayor, you already have this baby married and she hasn’t even been conceived.