WPB Voters Lose Again

On Nov.8,2014 I attended a meeting between the residents of Northwood Hills, Mayor Muoio, and guest speaker Jeff Greene. Mr. Greene, an invited guest of the city, is a billionaire developer, who is actively purchasing land in the area. Mr. Greene spoke elegantly, answered all residents questions, and appeared to be an honest man in his dealings while sharing his vision for the area. So what’s the problem?
Mr. Greene mentioned a much needed supermarket in the area with the closing of Winn Dixie on 45th. St. The mayor responded with “If you bring us a supermarket, we’ll give you additional height” and ended her comment to the audience with “we’ve got a lot of positive things happening and we need you to stop suing us, so we can get things done.” Really?

I have no problem with growth in WPB. I have major problems with city leaders who refuse to follow the city’s own master plan that protects residents and the city from overgrowth and abuses in development. I have a problem when the city leaders allow waivers in height, density and setback. What recourse do residents have except to turn to the courts for relief. The lawsuits the mayor referred to are Waterview Towers, Rybovich, and Chapel by the Lake. Does anyone have the belief these people leading the fight enjoy spending time and money in an attempt to see justice done? If these areas don’t involve you, how do you feel about city hall using your tax dollars to fight them? If not your district, be patient the city will get to you eventually.

It appears to me that where the development is happening is of great concern to city government. They are concerned with Minto West development happening. Seems the project is to large, roads can’t handle the influx of that many residents. The County Commissioners need to give this serious thought of overgrowth. If this project goes forward the much needed expansion of State Road 7 is going to happen. See growth is great, just not in my back yard.

I attended the City Commission meeting on Nov. 24 and agenda item # 15 concerns the Downtown Master Plan. I’m talking the height limit on the “old” city hall site. Allow me to refresh your memory.

In March 1996 a citizens petition proposing an amendment to reduce the building height allowed within the waterfront and government district to 5 stories. The city commission approved the amendment. Done deal? Not by a long shot. City officials thought the residents didn’t understand what they were voting on. Let’s ask them to vote again.

August 24, 2010 the voters again went to the polls, and again voted No. Leave the height at 5 stories. Done deal? Not by a long shot.

If you read the city’s “Background” on item 15 it states in part.

“For a variety of reasons, including uncertainty regarding the maximum height permitted * no successful respondent was selected to move forward with this project. The current maximum height of 5 stories was a significant issue with the negotiations.” **

*Are you serious, voters said 5 stories twice. What’s uncertain about that?

** This is a blatant lie.
Navarro Lowery Properties of West Palm Beach, Hyatt Hotels and Concord Hospitality placed a bid to build a five-story hotel. Meaning they would abide by the rules set forth by the voters.

If you read this far you should be aware that this is Commissioner Mitchell’s district.

Ms. Mitchell’s recent motion was for an 8 story hotel on the site because, she said she talked with a few downtown residents, who were some of the original voters for the 5 stories and they don’t have a problem with 8 stories. So let me get this straight. It was thousands of voters who voted but the 5 or 6 that she talked with, said It’s ok. Are you good with this?

So what’s the bottom line? The five commissioners, Mitchell, Materio, Moffett, James, and Robinson all voted to pass Ordinance 4539-14. So we will have an 8 story hotel on the “old” city hall site because Commissioner Mitchell and a “few” original voters said it’s OK. You good with that? Better be, cause the mayor don’t want no more lawsuits.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein