Development of Significant Impact

The City helped name this story.

I start this story well aware that many who receive it will not be interested in reading it due to the fact it is not located in their neighborhood or surrounding area. I promise you it will be a matter of time before a developer comes snaking through your hood with the idea this would be a great place to make a few million dollars, and move on. Then you will care when your small piece of paradise is invaded with the full support of the mayor and city commissioners of WPB. Here is the story of one new development just approved by the Lords & Ladies, better known as city commissioners.

I attended the City Commission Meeting held on 9/28/15 and commission chambers had more residents than usual. They were there for Item # 16 on the agenda which was to change the Future Land Use designation of approximately 12.29 acres from Commercial to Multifamily.

Commissioners in attendance were: James, Moffett, Materio and Neering. Commissioner Ryan was out of town and therefore absent.

I listened as a dozen residents living in High Sierra, a community consisting of 32 homes addressed the commission. The speakers were professional, knowledgeable and respectful with their allotted 3 minutes to make their case. At no time did a resident ask that the development not be built. They asked that it be built with consideration of area residents and the traffic that would come with the new development.

The meeting started with the mayor and commission’s Quasi-Judicial (Disclosure of Ex Parte Communication) swearing in of witnesses, and this is where I became concerned.

All 4 commissioner disclosed they had received e-mails from residents.
Commissioner James disclosed he made a site visit which is located in his district.
Commissioners Moffett, Materio and Neering did not make site visits. These 3 commissioners were going to make a decision affecting people’s lives and they weren’t concerned enough to drive to the area to have a better idea of the situation they were about to vote on.

City Commissioners voted themselves, the mayor, along with other city hall royals $500.00/ month for car allowance which the taxpayer so generously supply. Mayor Muoio passes the area on her way home to Ibis, and she declared she didn’t make a site visit. You good with that?

I took a drive to Skees Rd (which is 1 mi. west of the turnpike) to visit High Sierra, which is the first development on Skees Rd; and spoke to a gentlemen named William Crouse who was the first speaker at the commission meeting.

I wanted to verify what was said at the commission meeting and Mr. Crouse showed me documentation and I had a tour of the small well maintained development. I saw Adonel Concrete, the second commercial business south of Okeechobee on the east side of Skees where they are producing and shipping concrete daily.

The developer of the new project is CMSJR Development Group (Mr. Scardina) who previously built Casa Brera in Lake Worth. The residents requested Mr. Scardina build the same size development on Skees as in Lake Worth.

Here is the comparison between Casa Brera and the yet to be named development, but for the sake of clarification let’s call it Skees Folly.

Casa Brera:    92 rental units on 12.2 acres or 7.7 units per acre.
Skees Folly:   245 rental units on 12.29 acres or 20 units per acre.

Casa Brera was built in 2013 and sold in 2015.
Skees Folly will consist of 5 buildings 4 stories high.
245 rental apartment and let’s figure 2 cars per household for an additional 490 cars traveling on Okeechobee Blvd. Some families will have 1 car-some will have 2 or 3 depending how many kids still live at home.

At the end of the commission meeting Commissioner Materio basically told the residents to suck it up and be good neighbor’s. She mentioned a development in her neighborhood that she didn’t particularly like, but there it was. What ever development she spoke about may have been approved before she was appointed to the commission. Just like the Walmart fiasco she didn’t want built in her district and with the help of her BFF former Commissioner Mitchell the city spent 2.9 million to purchase the land and insure Walmart didn’t build.

Q: Why did the Mayor and Commissioner’s vote to approve this massive development?
A: Because they can.

Q: Why does city government favor developer’s over residents?
A: Because they can.

Q: What can residents do?
A: Election March 2016 up for re-election Materio and Moffett, pray for challengers.
Payback has always been a bitch.

It would be nice if intelligent, honest candidates who are truly more interested in approving issues, and new developments that help, and are supported by the citizens and less interested in helping big money make more money. Unfortunately in the world of politics today it is nearly impossible to find a politician who will stand up for the common people and possibly lose their big money supporters.