Heady outlines position on power sale, other issues 1

GUEST COMMENTARY

Editor’s note: Brian Heady is a candidate for the Vero Beach City Council.  Nov. 7 voters will chose among 6 candidates to fill two seats on the Council.

BRAIN HEADY

Brian Heady

Generally speaking I believe:

1. The sale of our electric utility should be an open bid / purchase offer process inviting any viable utility to bid or make offer.  Analysis of all bids and open discussions by advisory committees.  No break up of system prior to that process. 

2. Any new plan for development or change in any codes should have a review by City Council with their additions or strike outs incorporated and then a vote.

3. Twin pairs parking temporarily by simply a restripe of lanes with parallel parking in one lane of each direction downtown.  If it works then a permanent solution.

4. No sale of ANY city real estate assets without a review of financial consequences.  

5. No further erosion of city owned assets.  

6. City police ABSOLUTELY favorable to any takeover by county sheriff.  

Have Indian River County Republicans fallen for Moss’ and Frey’s scare tactics? 5

COMMENTARY

“If anything is a threat to home rule for Vero Beach, it is that outside interests are essentially buying seats on the City Council. In the election to be held Nov. 7, FPL has already invested $50,000 to support Harry Howle and Val Zudans.”

MARK SCHUMANN

To listen to Vero Beach City Councilwoman Laura Moss and activist Phyllis Frey, you’d get the idea that the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and the Seven 50 planning group, under the direction of United Nations “bureaucrats,” authored recently proposed revisions to Vero Beach’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. According to other member of the City Council and of the Planning and Zoning Board, nothing could be further from the truth.

But Moss and Frey are not going to let facts get in the way of their grandstanding. Sadly, the Indian River County Republican Executive Committee appears to have falling for this nonsense. Just today, the IRCREC sent out an email inviting people to attend a luncheon on October 26 at which Moss will peddle the bizarre conspiracy theory she and Frey have cooked up. More…

Howle and Zudans would eviscerate the City of Vero Beach 7

COMMENTARY

“With a 4-person anti-city City Council majority, the challenge will not be to ‘Keep Vero Vero,’ but simply to ‘Keep Vero.'”

MARK SCHUMANN

If on Nov. 7 Vero Beach voters elect a Council majority determined to set in motion the eventual disincorporation of the City, it won’t be because they have beed duped. No, all the cards are on the table.

Candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, who seek to join Laura Moss and Lange Sykes in an insuppressible 4-person majority, have in the past made it crystal clear they want, not only to sell Vero Electric, but to divest the City of its other enterprise funds. If Howle and Zudans are elected, on the chopping block will be the water and sewer department, solid waste services, the marine, and possibly even the airport. The loss of all enterprise fund revenues will cripple the City, which is exactly what Howle and Zudans seek to do. More…

FPL pours another $50,000 into a Vero Beach municipal election 4

Supporting Harry Howle and Val Zudans, FPL seems determined to “buy” two more seats on the Vero Beach City Council.

COMMENTARY

“In addition to selling Vero Electric, Zudans and Howle have expressed support for handing the City’s water and sewer utility over to the County. Zudans has also advocated turning responsibility for public safety within Vero Beach over to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. To get elected, both candidates may cynically, but only temporarily, backtrack from these positions.” 

MARK SCHUMANN

During the most recent legislative session, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board described the Florida Legislature as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida Power and Light.”  Sadly, the same may soon be said of the Vero Beach City Council.

A flood of political post cards funded by FPL began arriving in local mail boxes today. Supporting candidates Harry Howle and Val Zudans, the mailers were prepared and paid for by Clean Sweep for a Brighter Tomorrow, a political action committee that recently received a $50,000 cash infusion from FPL. More…

Voters asked to extend Council terms from two years to three 7

From 2018 through 2025, the proposed change in the City Charter would save the City a total of approximately $27,500, or an average of $3,437 per year. This, some say, is a small savings to gain in exchange for rendering Council members less accountable, or for essentially reducing voters participation.

MARK SCHUMANN

When Vero Beach voters go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose among six candidates to fill two Council seats, they will also be asked to extend the term of office for Council members from two years to three years. If approved, the change in the City Charter will take effect in 2018.

One argument in favor of extending Council terms is that it will save the City money. From 2018 through 2025, for example, there would be six municipal elections rather than eight. In a year when other races are on the ballot, Council elections cost the City approximately $5,500, compared to the $22,000 is costs to hold an off-year municipal election when there are no county, state, or federal elections on the ballot. More…

Riverside Theatre presents Hank Williams: Lost Highway Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell and Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses, starts its 44th season with the celebrated musical featuring the music of American Icon, Hank Williams, in Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Presenting sponsors for Hank Williams: Lost Highway are Ted & Dawn Michael with additional support from Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers’ Group. Hank Williams: Lost Highway plays the Stark Stage at Riverside Theatre from October 24 through November 12, 2017.

A spectacular musical biography of a legendary singer-songwriter, Hank Williams: Lost Highway is an award-winning tribute to one of the great innovators of American popular music. Written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik, the show follows Williams’ rise from his beginnings on the “Louisiana Hayride” to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry to his eventual self-destruction at the age of twenty-nine. Along the way, audiences are treated to indelible songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Move It on Over,” and “Hey, Good Lookin’” and many more. Featuring a talented cast of performer/musicians, discover the show Rolling Stone calls, “exhilarating” and The New York Times says is, “smart, sweet, and poignant.” More…

Council set to pull trigger on full or partial sale of Vero Electric Reply

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

The hypocrisy Vero Beach City Council members Laura Moss and Lange Sykes displayed in Tuesday’s meeting was shocking. Moss and Sykes made it clear that, if allowed, they would spend months pouring over every detail in a non-binding proposed Comprehensive Land Use Plan, yet even though they do not yet have in hand the proposed purchase and sale agreement for the sale of Vero Electric, they are determined to approve the contract by election day. More…

‘Queen Laura’ latest storm to visit Vero Beach 4

COMMENTARY

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss – Self-described “Queen of Vero Beach.

Vero Beach Mayor and self-described “queen” of the City, Laura Moss, finally got called on the carpet this week for her continued dictatorial behavior. “This is not Venezuela, Mrs. Moss,” Councilman Richard Winger said during Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Throughout her term as mayor, Moss has repeatedly overstepped the very limited authority given her by the City Charter. Most recently, Moss took it upon herself to direct the City Clerk’s Office to move a discussion item submitted by Winger farther down the agenda. Winger sought to propose that the Council press forward with completing revisions to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan by its Nov. 7 meeting, so the document can finally be submitted to the state.

When it became obvious Winger’s proposal had majority support, Moss said, “This is why I put this on the agenda under Members Matters, because this is what I thought would happen.” More…

“Leo, A Ghost Story” Based on the Award-winning children’s book by Mac Barnett Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Allen D. Cornell, Producing Artistic Director/CEO of Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, announces a new musical production by Riverside Theatricals, a division of Riverside Theatre. Focused on the creation of new musicals, Riverside Theatricals’ first two productions have focused towards young audiences starring professional performers. Leo, A Ghost Story is the division’s second production and plays Riverside Theatre October 20-28, 2017.

Based on the award-winning book by Author Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson, Leo, A Ghost Story follows the adventures of Leo, a small kid, who just wants to make friends.

Featuring 9 original songs written by Ken Clifton with a libretto by Mr. Clifton and Ian Thompson, Leo, A Ghost Story is the delightful new musical for the entire family.

“Riverside Theatricals is a very exciting venture,” said Mr. Cornell. “By creating original works, this new division will expand Riverside Theatre’s mission in providing a total theatre arts experience for children and adults.” More…

Humane Society awarded Florida Animal Friend spay/neuter grant Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County (HSVB) is delighted to announce that it is a recipient of a Florida Animal Friend grant in the amount of $15,540.

The grant will be used to spay and neuter 400 cats and 150 dogs belonging to economically insecure residents living in Fellsmere, Gifford, Wabasso and South County for one dollar per animal. The program is funded through August 31, 2018. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5

CLASSIC FILM AT NORTH LIBRARY

Join Joseph Gramm at 2 p.m., on Thursday, October 5, at the North Indian River County Library for “Classic Films with a Twist,” which includes a full-length showing of a feature film followed by discussion and a trivia contest with prizes and refreshments.  Admission is free. For more information please call (772) 589-1355.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 6

FIRST FRIDAY GALLERY STROLL

The First Friday Gallery Stroll around and along 14th Avenue  in downtown Vero Beach will be held on Friday, October 6 from 5 to 8 pm.  For those who prefer to ride, a vintage trolley will be touring the area and riding is free!   The trolley will be running on Gallery Stroll nights through April.  Here’s a preview of the exhibits from south to north:  Raw Space, 1795 Old Dixie Highway, presents ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MEMORY, Paintings, Sculptures & Fabric Installations by Colombian artist Alejo Santa Maria. Gallery 14 presents BODYSCAPES:  Photography by Allan Teger to Benefit “Friends in Pink” – a Show and Sale for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   Artists Guild Gallery features new works by resident artists.  Main Street Vero Beach presents guest artist,  Ruth Feldman exhibiting encaustic paintings.   Flametree Clay Art Gallery “STEAMPUNK” exhibit will feature Victorian-Industrial-Modern technology with a Victorian Age design. More…

2017 Jeane Graves Charity Cupcake Challenge November 5 Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Is “Baking” your Super Power? Do your friends rave over your cupcakes? It is time for the Jeane Graves Charity Cupcake Challenge; a fun competitive bakeoff to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. This event is Sunday November 5th at 2:00pm at The Heritage Center in downtown Vero Beach.

Bakers will compete in three divisions; Professional Baker/Restaurant, Individual Bakers and a Junior Baker Category for ages 8-14. Take advantage of the early entry fees of $10.00 for Individual and Junior Bakers and $15.00 in the Professional Baker/Restaurant division if registered by October 5th. The baker entry deadline is October 27th with fees of $15.00 for Individuals and $30.00 for Professionals to participate. Bakers can enter more than one cupcake. Contestants are to bring 5 dozen cupcakes made with standard 2 ½” cupcake papers and all cupcake decorations must be edible. One dozen will be displayed and the rest of the cupcakes are cut into bite sized pieces for tasting and voting by attendees. More…

Craig Callan to explore Dodger archives with Emerson Center audience Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Craig Callan

The free Emerson Center’s Florida Humanities Series, in partnership with the Florida Humanities Council, will get underway on Thursday, October 12 at 7 p.m. with Historic Dodgertown’s Craig Callan as the season’s inaugural speaker. Callan will speak on “The Dodgers Come to Town: How Big-Time Baseball Found Vero Beach.”

Callan will provide a nostalgic and revealing look at the nearly 70-year history of the Dodgers baseball team’s relationship with Vero Beach. He will recount how local businessman Bud Holman and other neighbors overcame obstacles to launch a Spring Training home for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He will explain how, today, this facility has evolved into Florida’s premier sports and conference center hosting sporting events throughout the year. More…

Healthy Start Coalition receives donations of healthy personal care products Reply

 NEWS RELEASE

Mark Wygonik and Andrea Berry

Chris Foster and Mark Wygonik, Vero Beach residents and owners of M Boutique Foster My Body, produce and market a line of all natural and non-toxic skin care and bath products both locally and globally.  They recently donated Foster My Body personal-care products to Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition.

 “Having worked with the Healthy Start Coalition in the past, Mark and I knew that these products would be enjoyed by new mothers looking for some pampering and nurturing for themselves” shared co-owner Chris Foster.

 Andrea Berry, CEO of the organization is thrilled to be the recipient of this generous donation. “These gifts will be given to caregivers who attend our prenatal, childbirth, cooking or breastfeeding education classes. Self-care is an important part of mental and physical health. These products will encourage mothers to take the time that they need to fill their own cup. The fact that the Foster My Body products are nontoxic is also very important for pregnant and nursing mothers”

The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition offers a broad spectrum of programs to insure that every pregnant woman and their young children receive all necessary healthcare and support services. They are located in Bridgewater Plaza, 2nd floor, 1555 Indian River Boulevard, Vero Beach.  

 

Humane Society offers foster care for pets impacted by Hurricane Maria Reply

NEWS RELEASE

Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County (HSVB) announced it will accept animals for foster care from residents evacuating Puerto Rico and all other islands impacted by Hurricane Maria. The shelter is offering free care for the animals of those fleeing on a temporary, space-available basis for up to four weeks.

“This is clearly a humanitarian crisis. As flights arrive from Puerto Rico, people bringing pets may need our help,” HSVB Executive Director Michael Mandel said. “Our goal is to alleviate stress by helping families with pets so they have one less thing to worry about as they get back on their feet after this devastating storm,” he added. With Florida’s Puerto Rican population surpassing one million in 2016, the number of frantic evacuees and their pets seeking refuge with friends and family will likely surge in the following weeks and months. More…

Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop Brightline extension to Orlando Reply

An administrative law judge Friday denied a challenge to the South Florida Water Management District’s decision to issue a permit needed to extend the planned Brightline passenger rail service from South Florida to Orlando.

The judge tossed out the challenge brought by Martin County, St. Lucie County and the Town of St. Lucie Village. Continue reading…

Could minor change in track route delay Brightline to Orlando? Reply

It may just be a mile or so, but it could be a pivotal mile for the state’s long-desired high-speed train link to Central Florida.

A slight shift in the way All Aboard Florida’s Brightline trains will maneuver through a single interchange along its 235-mile route could slow the company’s plan to extend its passenger service north to Orlando, potentially requiring a more extensive federal review before construction can begin on the much anticipated leg. Continue reading…

IRSC student leadership program wins Florida Campus Compact Award Reply

Emerging Leaders awards on April 24, 2017, at the IRSC main campus in Fort Pierce. (Molly Bartels/IRSC)

NEWS RELEASE

The Emerging Leaders Program at Indian River State College has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Florida Campus Compact Award for student activities that partner with academic affairs to create career-ready, civic minded graduates.  Over 400 IRSC students have participated in the leadership program since 2015. More…

Free Florida Humanities Series unveiled by The Emerson Center Reply

NEWS RELEASE 

Details are coming together for the launch of The Florida Humanities Series at Vero Beach’s Emerson Center on Thursday, October 12.

This series includes six free programs; showcasing lectures and performances all relating to Florida history, culture, and people. Since the series’ inception in 2007, these programs have become a favorite on the Treasure Coast’s entertainment scene. All performances begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings.

Thanks to the generous support from Marine Bank and Trust and a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, these lectures and concerts remain free of charge.

The 2017-18 season kicks off with a nostalgic and revealing look at the 70-year history of the Dodgers baseball team’s relationship with Vero Beach. On October 12, Craig Callan, Vice President of Historic Dodgertown, will recall how local businessman Bud Holman and other neighbors overcame obstacles to launch a Spring Training home for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, this facility has evolved into Florida’s premier sports and conference center hosting sporting events throughout the year.  More…

Chinese National fastpitch softball team to train at Historic Dodgertown Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Beijing Shougang Eagles, the Chinese national women’s fast-pitch softball team, opened their fall training camp at Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, and will train here through Nov. 22 in preparation for their upcoming season, and with the long term goal to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games. 

The Eagles just completed their inaugural season of playing in the summer U.S. National Pro Fastpitch League. The NPF is the only professional women’s softball league in the United States, and features six teams.  More…

Daiges respond to commenter’s assertions about Comp Plan 4

GUEST COMMENTARY

Related Story: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

DEBORAH & KEN DAIGE

If one takes the time to read the Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Development Regulations Amendment Draft, one will notice the current plan with strike outs and the amended phrases. Most of the amendments add clarity, further explanation, and add statutes and building codes not in the current code. The amendments add further property right protections to older neighborhoods who have asked, repeatedly, for help with many serious conditions within their neighborhoods. The amendments to the Comprehensive Plan actually strengthen our local home rule character.

The following italicized are our responses to Ms. Susan Mehiel’s comment under: Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over

smehiel says: September 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

(1)Susan Mehiel: “They do not seem to speak about what is actually in the Comp Plan.” I’ll tell you. The Comp Plan states: More…

City’s legal and consulting bills for utility sale at $337,386 and counting 4

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Randy Old

Harry Howle

To prepare the previous and now defunct purchase and sale agreement between Vero Beach and Florida Power & Light, the City paid more than $1 million in legal fees. That contract, which was signed by Tracy Carroll, Craig Fletcher and Pilar Turner, failed to address and account for the City’s contactual obligations to the Florida Municipal Power Agency and its bond holders.

In the latest push to sell Vero Electric to FPL, the new council majority of Harry Howle, Laure Moss and Lange Sykes, all elected with significant support from FPL, has run up an additional $337,386 in legal and consulting fees.  Since May of this year, the law firm of Carlton Fields has charged the City $332,710. And additional $4,675 has been paid to the firm of Nabors Giblin and Nickerson for counsel on bond issues.

Any sale of the full system must still receive unanimous approval from the member cities of the FMPA’s All Requirements Project.  As it is being written, the current purchase and sale agreement will commit the City to sell the Indian River Shores portion of the electric system, even if one or more FMPA ARP members block the full sale.

As a candidate for re-election last fall, then City Councilman Randy Old said he believed a sale of the full system at the price proposed would not be good for the City, its residents, or the remaining customers of Vero Electric. To approve the partial sale at the price offered by FPL, Old said, would be a violation of a Council member’s fiduciary responsibility to the City and to the people of Vero Beach.

Old was defeated for re-election, loosing by 27 votes to Lange Sykes. Sykes received 90 percent of his campaign contributions from Indian River Shores residents. During the election, as he was seeing support for Sykes among wealthy Shores residents, Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot described Sykes as “a member of the Shores team.” Sykes was also supported by a political action committee that received half of its $100,000 in contributions from FPL.

This year Harry Howle is running for re-election. Like Sykes, he too was first elected with support from a political action committee funded in part by FPL.

As a candidate this year, Old now supports the partial sale. If the retired banker was right last year, then the legal fees now being passed on to the customers of Vero Electric will prove just a fraction of the negative impact on rates that will result from handing Shores portion of the system over to FPL.

 

With election approaching, councilman urges city residents to ‘be engaged’ Reply

TONY YOUNG/VERO BEAC CITY COUNCILMAN

Tony Young

Dear Friends, Family & Supporters, Vero Strong! We have another storm in the books. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible our hometown is in good times and in tough spells. We are speeding through the months. The work never ends but that is a good thing. Here are some items that are on my radar.

Hurricane Irma recovery is going in a deliberate responsive manner. Your city was proactive with the multiple efforts necessary to absorb the storm impact. We learn from every natural disaster. But your understanding, resilience and generosity played a major part in keeping the potential harm to a minimum. Hurricane season runs through November. Please stay alert and plan accordingly. More…

Cultural Calendar Reply

ONGOING

ON EXHIBIT

The Vero Beach Museum of Art has two new exhibits on view. The Masters of American Photography features some of the great iconic images of the 20th century by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Margaret Bourke-White, and other master photographers. Spanning nine decades of creative achievement, this exhibition, organized by the Reading Public Museum, represents a brief history of photography as art, addressing themes such as portraiture, landscape, still life, and cultural history. On view through January 14.

The kids will love 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition. Organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are. The exhibition features original illustrations for the book, which won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for pictorial excellence in 1964. The narrative follows a boisterous and adventurous young boy named Max who, having been sent to his room for misbehaving, ends up taking a rollicking trip to an island inhabited by Wild Things who crown him King before he returns home. The exhibition includes designs for an animated short film, a feature film, and an opera based on the book as well as a selection of works from the many other picture books that Sendak illustrated and examples from Sendak’s second career as a stage and costume designer. On view through December 31. More…

Indian River County Democrats elect new leadership Reply

NEWS RELEASE

The Democrats of Indian River County has elected a new slate of officers who will seek to dramatically increase organization membership and develop a winning strategy for the 2018 campaign.

Kimberly Lorimier, a web designer and owner of KLorimier Designs, was elected Chair of the Democratic Executive Committee. Adriana de Kanter, a former federal education official, was elected Vice Chair. Sharon Kolor, a long-time Vero Beach resident and Democratic volunteer, was elected State Committeewoman. Continuing in their current roles are committee members Barbara Spellman as Treasurer, Nancy Hernandez as Secretary and Don Henry as State Committeeman.

Elections were held on Sept. 21 at the Vero Beach Community Center. More…

Sebastian Art Club celebrating 80th Anniversary Reply

Bronze sculpture of Paul Kroegel by Sebastian Art Club founding member Rosalee Taylor Hume. Kroegel was the original manager of the Pelican National Wildlife Refuge, the first such refuge in the country.

Founded in 1937, the Sebastian River Art Club is celebrating its 80th Anniversary with an art show and reception Saturday October 14, 2017, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the SRAC Art Center, 1245 Main Street, Sebastian. Public is invited to enjoy refreshments, an art show of recent works by Art Club members, special recognition presentations, and free raffles of artworks! Come chat with the artists and see what the Club is all about. SRAC’s Art Center is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and most Saturdays 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. For further information call 772-581-8281 or visit www.sebastianriverartclub.com.

McKee Botanical Garden announces 2017-2018 book club schedule Reply

NEWS RELEASE

McKee Botanical Garden’s Book Club will gather for its first meeting of the 2017-2018 season on Thursday, November 16 at 11:00 am in the Library at McKee.  The club will continue to meet the third Thursday of each month at 11:00 am in the Library at McKee, except in December. Here is the list of titles and meeting dates: More…

Discussion on Comp Plan revisions is far from over 3

“Essentially those against the Comp Plan are infringing on our property rights.”

Editor’s note: Former City Councilman and current member of the Planning and Zoning Board, Ken Daige, and his wife, Deborah, wrote the following summary of this past Wednesday’s special call meeting of the Council at which proposed revisions to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan were debated.

DEBORAH AND KEN DAIGE

Summary – 9-20-2017 special call meeting of the City of Vero Beach Comp Plan:

Brief Translation – Comprehensive and Land Use Plan – The city’s blueprint and outline of land use, city provided levels of service, interlocal agreements for state and county infrastructure within the city, and funding for any and such projects.

1) The beginning commentary was from the majority of city council who lean toward not adopting the Comp Plan preferring to ‘stand alone’.

A motion was made by councilmember Sykes to prolong the process with a cooling off period while Mayor Moss rewrites the Comp Plan with the city manager and city planner. Councilmember Howle second the motion, which passed 3 to 1 (Moss, Howle and Sykes yes – Young no), at the culmination of the meeting. Winger left earlier in the meeting and was not there for the vote.

The P&Z Board was criticized in an insulting manner and accused of designing a Trojan Horse, the implication was that the P&Z Board and ‘outside influences’ such as the Regional Planning Council were the invading Trojans out to destroy the city.

2) Then the scheduled speakers: More…

Moss takes aim at revised Comp Plan, gets pushback 18

“We have heard what various people are against, but we haven’t heard very much about what you are for. If you don’t like what your Staff and your Zoning Board has prepared, where is your plan? Show us your plan.” – Carter Taylor

“And there is no merit to any statement that the Comp Plan provides for increased heights and densities throughout our city. Taking sentences out of context, giving them new meanings to justify some unknown theory is not acceptable.” – Honey Minuse

“In my opinion, opening the meeting with a negative statement was telling everyone in the audience who had come to support or speak on the Comp Plan, ‘Don’t even bother. I’ve already made up my mind, and I’m not going to listen to you. So, go ahead and talk, but it makes no difference to me.’ And that, to me, should not have occurred at any City Council meeting.” – Linda Hillman

NEWS ANALYSIS

MARK SCHUMANN

Laura Moss – Self-described “Queen of Vero Beach.”

Activist Phyllis Frey, seemingly sees the Devil in every detail.

Vero Beach is many years overdue in revisiting its 22-year-old Comp Plan. Now, after more than a year of work by City staff and the Planning and Zoning Board, the City finally has a draft of a revised comprehensive land use plan ready to be submitted to the state.  All that is needed now is for the City Council to amend the plan as it sees fit, and then forward it to the state.

That process has been slowed, if not stymied, by Mayor Laura Moss, who has publicly stated that she sees the plan as “a Trojan Horse,” “a death warrant on the city as we know it,” and “a threat to home rule.”

Moss’ attacks on the Comp Plan echo objections raised by local activist Phyllis Frey. (Moss and Frey live in the same six-story building on the barrier island, a structure that would not be allowed under todays’ building regulations.)

Though perhaps well-intentioned, Frey’s criticisms of the plan are rooted in fear, not in any positive vision for managing and accommodating inevitable growth. Worse, Frey’s objections are conspiratorial, fantastical, devoid of reason and fact, and are, quite simply, disconnected from reality. These unfounded concerns would be harmless, had they not been embraced and championed by Moss. More…