The city commission withdrew its application
for an RAC on the beach. That
was the little sleeper that would have made it possible to have commercial
development in the residential areas east of the intracoastal. It took
an almost completely new commission to rescind it in response to the
item placed on the agenda by our new District 1 commissioner, Pam Militello.
Pam was instrumental in the County
banning the RACs on barrier islands.
are encouraged by the positive change that is occurring as a result
of the new Commission. Early indications show that the citizens
are being listened to and respected, and that the developers are being
told that they must comply with the Land Development Code. This
situation is not the way it has been in Deerfield Beach for the
past 4 years, and is still not the way it is in many coastal cities.
is a result of voters bringing about change.
You have the power to effect change.
be of interest to the readers to be given the facts concerning the lawsuit
in which a few people have sued our City and Original Save Our Beach
As many of
you know, the voters voted by 75% of the vote in favor of two Referenda
in November, 2002. One Referendum was to try to protect the beach
area from over-development that has been going on. It mandates
that certain development requirements, such as height and floor area
ratio, be at least as strict as are in the referendum now a part of
the Charter. The reason that they are part of the Charter is so
that the Commission cannot allow over-development without voter approval.
This Referendum was partially a consequence of the previous Commission's
changing the Land Development Code by eliminating floor area ratio and
there being a desire by some developers to increase the height of buildings.
Referendum was to put restrictions on the Main Beach
parking area, so that it would not be developed as a massive structure
to benefit commercial development. It
protects this city owned property for the public's safe and convenient
access to the beach.
A very small
group of pro over-development people sued both our City and OSOB to
have these two Referenda declared a nullity, to have our vote declared
as invalid. This litigation has progressed so that the final hearing
is tentatively scheduled for this August.
You may have
read about the City Manager secretly communicating with the attorney
suing the City. OSOB considers this behavior on the part of the
City Manager to be inexcusable. This communication, both written
and oral, with the attorney suing the City was without the knowledge
of our City Attorney. The letters reflect the City Manager's efforts
to assist the attorney suing the City to have your vote nullified.
the will of the voters. OSOB's core principle is the empowerment of the people to
have the public's voices heard by government. We happen to believe
that the majority of the people agree that there has been over-development
in the beach area and threatened in other areas of the City, and that
this over-development in the beach area has made safe and convenient
access to the beach more difficult, and that the over-development in
the beach area has created unacceptable traffic congestion. It
was because the City Commission was ignoring the wishes of the public
that the OSOB sponsored the two Referenda in November 2002. 75%
of the voters in November 2002 agreed with those Referenda.
that when the two Referenda became the law, that the City Manager was
obligated to protect the will of the voters, instead of what he did,
which was to try to collaborate with the opposing attorney to have your
vote declared as meaningless.
regular citizens who care about what is best for our City. We
are not rich developers who contribute a lot of money to campaigns and
who hire large out-of-town law firms to lobby the City Commission.
We are like you. We do not have a financial interest in development
projects coming before the City Commission. But, we, like you,
have an interest in preserving our quality of life from over-development.
The next time that you hear someone criticize OSOB, ask what is the
financial interest that OSOB has in the outcome (we have zero financial
interest), and ask what financial interest those on the other side has
in the outcome. When those questions are asked and answered, you
will find that OSOB is acting from its belief that what the OSOB does
is supported by the public and is for the public good.
All Across Florida are Calling For Better Communities and a Greater
Voice In Decision-Making
Beach's Original Save Our Beach committee (OSOB) is continuously contacted
by citizens and citizen groups in many of Florida's communities who
are angry about the impact over-development is having on their cities
and are angry that their elected officials and city staff ignore the
citizens in favor of the developers. They want some direction on how
to halt over-development.
Florida's fast rate of growth
has affected many communities throughout Florida and growing numbers of
citizens are voicing discontent. Traffic concerns, higher taxes,
pollution, less green space, and other growth effects have left many
furious with such changes to their quality of life. Discontent
with government decision-making on growth and development has caused
many to band together to put greater control into the hands of the people
and initiate challenges to proposed new developments in their local areas.
have an important role to play in shaping the destinies of local communities
and the quality of life for Floridians.
Hometown Democracy Inc.'s Ross Burnaman of
Tallahassee and Lesley Blackner of Palm Beach, attorneys who specialize
in growth management and the environment, came up with an intelligent
plan. They want to put an amendment on the ballot to require local
governments to seek permission from voters before amending their comprehensive
original Florida Hometown Democracy Petition was first proposed two
years ago, and over 50,000 verified petitions were accepted by the state.
However, on March 17, 2005, a sharply-divided Florida Supreme Court
narrowly ruled (4-3) that the first sentence in the required "ballot
summary" was an "editorial comment", (although it was
a direct quote from the Florida Constitution!),
and struck the proposal. Notably, all of the Justices found that,
other than the first sentence of the ballot summary, the rest of the
original Petition met all legal requirements.
collection has to start all over again. There is now a NEW Petition
identical to the original Petition except that it strikes the first
sentence of the ballot summary that was disapproved by the four Justices.
of the best protections to the public in stopping the destruction
of Florida's future is to put the
voters in charge of their hometown land use plans. Florida's Hometown Democracy Amendment
puts the decision concerning changing comprehensive plans in the hands
of the citizens rather than the county or city commission.
The referendum election will be held at the same time as the general
election, so that no special elections will be necessary. Florida's Hometown Democracy Amendment
gives greater stability and certainty to comprehensive plans by locking
in existing land use categories and giving the keys to the voters.
THIS AMENDMENT TO THE FLORIDA CONSTITUTION
MEANS THAT THE VOTERS WILL DECIDE IF A PROPOSED CHANGE WILL MAKE THEIR
COMMUNITY A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE. IF THE MAJORITY VOTES
YES, THE CHANGE HAPPENS. IF THE MAJORITY VOTES NO, THE CHANGE DOESN'T
to the www.floridahometowndemocracy.com site for more information
about this issue and a copy of the petition.
Original Save Our Beach Committee exists to help preserve the quality
of life in Deerfield Beach; one way that is done is through education.
Recently members of the Committee attended a meeting
of the Nature Club in Century Village and presented a program on preserving
our reefs. Marti McGeary was the speaker and stressed the importance
of the coral reefs.
She told how Florida's reef tract is composed
of outer barrier reefs and patch reefs and is the only living barrier
reef system in North America. Our coral reef ecosystem is complex, consisting
of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. Each of these communities
plays an important role in the life and health of the reef, from providing
nurseries for young reef creatures to filtering water and trapping sediments.
The delicate marine environment of the reef itself
relies upon the interaction of many different forms of life: hard and
soft corals, algae, fish, sponges, crustaceans, worms, turtles, dolphins
and other sea life. Corals typically grow only one-half inch per year.
Soft corals such as sea whips and sea fans lack the rigid exoskeleton
of the hard corals and they sway in the ocean currents, but are comprised
of living animals as well.
Coral, for all its sturdy appearance, is extremely
fragile. The lightest touch with fins, hands or equipment can crush
or destroy the living coral polyps, leaving the coral vulnerable to
disease and bleaching. Coral bleaching occurs when stressful conditions
occur and the zooxanthellae leave the host coral and the coral then
appears white, or colorless. Coral reefs need clear, clean, nutrient
free waters to thrive.
Florida's delicate coral reefs are literally being
destroyed by cumulative impacts-from declining water quality from agricultural
runoff and inadequate sewage and storm water treatment, to physical
impacts from accidental boat groundings, anchors, marine debris, fishing
gear and even the careless touch of a diver or snorkeler. Add to that
the global impact of sea temperature change and global warming and you
can understand why it's said "We are loving our reefs to death."
also showed a video which depicted the different stages of the reefs.
Another way the OSOB committee champions Deerfield
Beach is by supporting its youth. Recently committee members attended
the Deerfield Beach High School football playoffs. The Deerfield Beach
team put on a gallant effort, supported by the cheerleaders who were
an extremely enthusiastic and engaging group, they cheered throughout
the entire game tirelessly! The marching band was superb, the music
was upbeat and the half-time show was a joy. They are all truly champions