A Special Call Meeting of the Vero Beach City Council is scheduled for this Thursday, August 25, at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the Election Ballot question set forth by the Vero Beach Preservation Alliance.
The Vero Beach Preservation Alliance did not exist until many voters were outraged that City Council planned to rebuild the City Marina boat storage building into a structure they felt was detrimental to the surrounding area as well as the image of Vero Beach as the beautiful little city by the sea.
Whatever the motivation was to prioritize this project over updating the crumbling Marina infrastructure, we may never know. But the proposed plan struck a nerve, enough to result in creation of the Vero Beach Preservation Alliance. The VBPA then put out a petition to prevent this decision and others like it. How? By recommending City Charter protection – adding the South City Marina/dry storage property to the list of public properties that cannot be altered without a voter referendum. (The City Marina itself is already protected.)
For the petition to be successful, it had to be signed by at least ten percent of eligible City of Vero Beach voters. That number was achieved and the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections certified it.
On this coming Thursday morning at 9:30, City Council will conduct a “Public Forum to Discuss the Election Ballot question set forth by the Vero Beach Preservation Alliance.” Public comments will be followed by a Council discussion of the ballot question.
The wording of that referendum question is as follows:
Shall the City Charter be amended by adding to Section 5.05 the land north of Alex MacWilliam Boat Basin Park/Bob Summers Park designated as South Marina Dry Storage; and adding to listed properties a further restriction on any future structures being added thereto of anything greater than 500 total square feet, or existing structures increased by 20% total size (footprint and volume), without a referendum approval by City voters in favor of same?
What does this have to do with the Three Corners referendum?
Publicist Irina Woelfle, who has worked with DPZ CoDesign founder Andres Duany in developing his firm’s Three Corners Master Plan concept, has a dog in the race regarding Thursday’s meeting. In a recent email, she describes the Vero Beach Preservation Alliance referendum as a “competing and somewhat confusing citizen-led referendum” that if passed, could stop progress on Three Corners and other projects. She goes on to characterize the Marina referendum as part of “a trend nationwide where special interest groups come in at the 11th hour to torpedo what citizens have worked very hard to advance.”
Is it good PR to throw shade on those 1,154 citizens who will also be voting on the Three Corners referendum November 8?