Saturday, January 20, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Prior to the meeting - the Thursday before -, the following e-mail was sent by Commissioner Jennings and widely distributed:
Please come out and help defend our Public Beach from being Re-zoned:
Ordinance No. 2007-09- create a Beach and Casino land use district & Ordinance No. 2007-10- provide for a Large Scale Comprehensive Plan amendment.
This item will create a new beach zoning district call BAC (Beach and Casino). This was passed by a 3-2 vote in November, but is coming back as the Department of Community Affairs in Tallahassee is requiring us to re-submit it during the 2007 calendar year. This change is necessary for the Greater Bay Group to move forward with their development plan for the beach. I have many concerns about
the plan and I am opposed to a land use change that is being put in place to allow for increased development and increased commercial uses.
My response, sent to all the Commissioners, the City Manager, etc.:
I think, and I hope that you would agree, that it is important to portray the
facts accurately in any matter that comes before the City Commission or
communicated broadly to the public. I have highlighted parts of your
communication that are not correct. First - this action would not create a new
beach zoning district. That is currently being considered and studied by the
Planning and Zoning Board. In fact, the Board held a workshop on the new zoning
district for the beach last Wednesday the 10th of January. It was disappointing
not to see people including commissioners like yourself that I know are
concerned about our beach park not in attendance.
As I have said before, if we are ever going to have a public input process that is meaningful, we need to give meaning to process. The process cannot have meaning if people do not attend and engage in the process, nor if the public is given imprecise information about the process by their elected representatives. \n \nI also want to remind you that the land use change, and any change to our Comprehensive Plan, requires review by the State of Florida. The creation of our zoning district for the
beach does not - it is under the City's control exclusively.
Second - the land use change before the City Commission on next Tuesday's agenda only corrects a long--standing omission in our Comprehensive Plan - having a land use category that is consistent with the long established retail and restaurant uses
found at the beach.
Let's all try to be as clear and accurate as possible when we make declarations to the public.
At the November 7 City Commission, the Beach and Casino future land use district language and change in the future land use map were approved for transmittal to the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA). This was done a vote of 3-2. The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously recommended approval at its 10/19 meeting.
In last December, DCA turned the transmittal around since we did not have our EAR completed. Other municipalities are in the same boat. There are no changes in the text and the map since that date.
Regardless of the Greater Bay project, the inconsistency with the PROS land use (which does not permit commercial uses) at the beach needs to be corrected to reflect actual conditions – we have had and will have commercial retail operations at the City’s beach.
By voting against this Beach and Casino land use language, you are essentially saying that you do not want commercial uses at the beach – whether there is a Greater Bay project or not.
Parallel to this, the Planning and Zoning Board has been reviewing new language for the Beach and Casino Zoning District. The first Planning and Zoning Board
meeting where the Beach and Casino Zoning District was discussed was October
19th. We had a well-attended meeting in December that gave further public direction to the effort and there was another workshop on January 10. There will be a public hearing on February 7th at the Planning and Zoning Board for additional public discussion and possible recommendation.The City Commission will meet in the future to consider any recommendation.
I encourage everyone who is concerned regarding re-development of the beach property to attend the meetings where the zoning district is being discussed. That is where the action is – not with these land use amendments being discussed tonight.