P&Z Board and City staff to Council: Do not proceed with 3 Corners plan or referendum

COMMENTARY

MILT THOMAS

At last Thursday’s special call meeting of the Planning & Zoning Board, City Planning Director Jason Jeffries presented the latest Three Corners conceptual plan by Andreas Duany for their consideration, but then recommended withdrawing the request to move forward with Duany’s plan.

City staff had decided just that morning to postpone any decisions on the post-pandemic plan until the public had enough time to consider it. He apologized for requesting the special call meeting. P&Z Board members agreed to postpone any action on the plan, but wanted to know the reasons for this sudden change of heart.

Jeffries reported that staff now had three different versions of the conceptual plan to consider and not enough time to thoroughly study them. He also mentioned staff was influenced by a letter from City resident, Rosemary White that was read to the P&Z Board. Here are some highlights from that letter:

After watching the YouTube online presentation of Larry Reisman and Duany there are questions in my mind and perhaps yours as well as to what, why and who is trying to push through a plan (that residents) have not had time to review and make public comments. It would seem that the most important voice is the voice of the city taxpayers and residents.

That letter said it all – after taking months to thoroughly investigate and then recommend a course of action, the Three Corners Steering Committee decided after one meeting to go with Duany’s post-pandemic plan and City staff agreed to hold a special call meeting of the Planning & Zoning Board to consider recommending that plan to City Council for a vote.

But it seems P&Z would not have recommended adopting the plan even without Rosemary White’s letter. Chairman Steve Lauer said, “I’m not prepared to vote on anything.”

So now the recommendation of that Board and City staff go to City Council, which meets this coming Tuesday, August 18, at 8:30 a.m. The agenda for that meeting still indicates Council will vote to approve the plan and go ahead with a voter referendum for the November 3 election.

As Rosemary White asked, “…what, why and who is trying to push through a plan (that residents) have not had time to review…” Is this a repeat of the attempt last year to put the Three Corners referendum issue on the November 2019 ballot?

What’s the rush? There are several theories surrounding this effort that are much more logical than the theories circulating about face masks and hydroxychloroquine. But the bottom line is, as P&Z and City staff recommended, we need three to six months of citizen input and research before we can make a decision that affects the future of our beloved city by the sea.

Planning & Zoning did the right thing, postponing a decision without sufficient public input. We are hopeful City Council agrees.

8 comments

  1. I agree with P&Z Board and our City VB Staff , To NOT ask for a VOTE on the Nov 18, 2020 Election Ballot.
    In my opinion, there are Several valid reasons NOT to Rush a Final
    Decision on The Three Corner Projects, until our area becomes once again back to “Our Norm”!!
    Marjorie PERRITT Jackson

    our City Staff

  2. Hi Milt.

    I like to highlight when we, as a community, pull together to make good decisions. That’s the case here.

    The only dissenting view seems to be that of our City Manager, Monty Falls. He’s a great guy, so I want to hear him out completely.

    The only psychological reason for us to rush into anything at 3C Park would be to make back the many tens of millions we lost on the FPL giveaway.

    Any investor will tell you that remorse over a past mistake is no good reason to make a new investment.

    Thanks. Nick.

  3. It is time to hunker down on such big decisions, our outlook on the world may be totally different after this C-19 period.
    The location won’t melt and while it rest we have time to seek a user for the large space and a better possibility of an exceptional hotelier.

  4. Nick, The only way we lost millions on the FPL sale was due to the delays caused by the IRNA (Winger) and the Civic Assn (if they exist?)

  5. Hi Mark.

    Look at the stock of Next Era Energy (NÉE) following the December 2018 closing of the Vero Beach giveaway.

    The market value of NEE has gone up $50 Billion.

    We walked away with what? — $21 million and a big hole in our budget.

    Thanks. Nick.

  6. Nick, Nick, Nick… Even you must admit that Vero Electric to FPL (let alone NextEra) was like a pimple on an elephant’s butt. Vero had 35,000 customers and FPL had 5 MILLION (0.7%), so I doubt that we contributed to a $50 billion market gain with our $100 million (inflated) billings..

    Also, there may have been a $5 million hole in y\the City’s budget, but the Vero customers saved an estimated $20+ million a year on their rates – the $15+ million went to Orlando, split between FMPA and OUC. In addition, our costs of maintaining an electric utility went to almost zero.

    I understand that you and your pals don’t believe these numbers, but Glenn Heran and/or City Finance Director Cindy Lawson would be happy to prove them to you…

  7. I have approved your comments and Nick’s about the electric sale, but this is about Three Corners.

  8. Hi Milt.

    This is about the 3C Park.

    My point is that Vero Beach, in its early handling of the 3C Park, is exhibiting the same destructive behaviors that lead to the FPL giveaway.

    Specifically, we’ve been addressing the question of whether we should rush a referendum onto the November ballot.

    It appears that most everyone agrees that it’s too soon for a referendum.

    That’s a wise lesson learned by our past mistakes.

    And Mark, regarding the FPL deal, I will debate you or anyone you like, in writing or in person.

    Milt, will you host the the discussion?

    Thanks. Nick.

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