Is this City Council out of touch?

Letter to the editor

Phyllis Frey

Editor’s note: Phyllis Frey is a resident of Vero Beach

Time is passing and the City Council should have already done the major repairs and upgrades at the marina. But instead, they are moving forward with Phase 1 of the plan, which does NOT address the immediate needs of the main marina complex. The plan includes building a massive new boat storage and a parking lot on the South Complex, which is also the only part of the marina that is not protected by the City Charter. 

The current boat building would be replaced by a building triple its size.

Charter protection means that the City cannot sell or lease a listed property without consent of the voters. These properties belong to the citizens.  The South Complex was never placed in the City Charter.  But it is clearly a part of the marina, and the citizens deserve a voice in its use.

Over the past several months, citizens have peacefully petitioned the Council to address the immediate needs.  They have asked for the market studies that would justify the City moving forward. Instead, Council ignored the people’s voice, prioritizing the construction of a boat barn over the refurbishment of dilapidated docks, and demolishing an existing city owned resource (Waddell building).

Florida law protects the right of its citizens to weigh in on important issues at the ballot box. So, in response to recent events, a citizen-led referendum is planned. Petitions have been circulated and a required quota must be met to get the referendum on the ballot in November. Why is this important? Because it will give all citizens a voice in the development of city-owned, Charter-protected property, including ALL of the marina property.

I believe the people’s voice matters. It is concerning that this City Council is out of touch and not listening to the people they serve.  The question is, Why?


  1. Is this council out of touch, YES, they are!
    No matter where you are getting your news, we are in a recession/inflation and major chains are laying off employees.  Food, gas and electric keep going up!
    However, to this council this doesn’t seem to be a concern.

     With the people’s money, the council paid off the marina debt plus giving an additional $2 Million and planning to spend millions for a huge boat barn and massive expansion. Now the council is going to raise the property taxes plus a stormwater tax and giving a $1Million gift away all when we are in uncertain economic times.  Our lagoon, city roadways, lighting downtown plus other city needs should be taken care of first. Why not?

     People are losing trust in this council and city management. 

    Citizens need to put into the Charter, for protection, city owned property and that only by citizens vote it can be either leased, sold or developed.  The council is not listening to the people, yes, they are out of touch!

    Your voice and vote matter!

    Sign the petition!
    Petition Card ( or
    Sunday Aug. 7th today from 1-2pm outside of the 
    Main Library 1600 21st St. Vero or
    pick up or drop off 3826 Rio Vista Blvd. anytime

  2. Thanks Phyliss!
    Words are sometimes misinterpreted. Good job in getting out the clear and concise words of our citizens, Milt.

    How about we start here:
    The Indian River Lagoon features 2,100 different species of plants and 2,200 different species of animals, the lagoon is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America. The Indian River Lagoon became an estuary of national significance in 1990 giving it protection through the National Estuary Program.

    There’s a lot at stake here. Our town borders around 13 miles of the 156 mile Indian River Lagoon.
    This once pristine and thriving waterway is now in big trouble.

    Vero Beach sits18 miles from one inlet and 15 from the other. We’re situated in the narrowest portion of the entire 156 Lagoon. Because of our unique location, this area sees a natural migration of Manatees coming from the North and South of the Lagoon. We need to be implementing real solutions that will have a positive impact on this fragile waterway, and the Manatee is an unfortunate victim, and true Bellwether sign of the conditions within the Lagoon.

    The demise of the Lagoon was accelerated in January of 2010 after an unprecedented fish kill perpetuated by an extreme and extensive temperature drop. This event killed thousands of fish, as well as many acres of precious Seagrass. In March of 2016 we had another massive fish kill followed by a brown algae bloom which killed even more Seagrass, and left the bottom a barren wasteland. In between these events, our population continued to accelerate and increased the amounts of damaging inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Not to mention our broken infrastructure, which in 2017, allowed for millions of gallons of raw sewage to enter into the Bethel Creek area. Thanks to all these influences, 90% of the Seagrass is gone, manatees are starving and the water quality is poor. Fishermen are even now questioning whether the fish in our Lagoon are even safe enough to eat. This is serious stuff!

    We should be focusing on implementing projects that will bring back Seagrass and improve the health of the Lagoon. Instead our City Council approved a massive expansion of the City Marina, which will bring in bigger and “beamier” boats into this fragile estuary. How does more propellers and the potential for more chemical spills, and sewage dumps help save and preserve our LAGOON and its inhabitants?

  3. I agree with the above comments.

    The lagoon is the home of marine and wildlife and we use their waterways for travel, pleasure and food. While the manatees are starving and dying, instead of focusing on repairs/upgrades, cleaning a dying lagoon and planting seagrass this council will use the people’s money to support a massive marina expansion.

      Will a huge boat storage and more boats, benefit the dying lagoon?

     Nonpoint Source: Marinas and Boating | US EPA
     Marinas and recreational boating are very popular uses of coastal waters. The   growth of recreational boating, along with the growth of coastal development in   general, has led to an increased awareness of the need to protect the   environmental quality of our waterways. Because marinas are located right at the   water’s edge, there is a strong potential for marina waters to become   contaminated with pollutants generated from the various activities that occur at   marinas—such as boat cleaning, fueling operations and marine head discharge—   or from the entry of stormwater runoff from parking lots and hull maintenance and   repair areas into marina basins.

        The above article says it all, we need to protect the environment and quality of the waterways and a massive expansion does the opposite!

     Citizens need to protect city owned properties and place them in the Charter.  By signing a petition, you will have a vote whether for or against on issues concerning these properties on a referendum on the ballot in November.



    Petition Card (  download or pick up and drop off
    today Sunday, August 7th 1-2 pm  outside Main Library 21st St. Vero
    or anytime 3628 Rio Vista Blvd. for further information or to volunteer
    please call/text Karen Marcil 772-473-9262

  4. Let’s back up a minute. Let’s assume the south marina was in the Charter or is added to the Charter. Is anyone proposing that the south marina be sold or leased or used for anything but recreational or municipal use (which is what the Charter protection provides)?

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