Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Madeira Re-Vote: Lax Procedures, No Intellectual Rigor, Poor Reporting: Craven Commissioners Extend Madeira PUD until 2027!

No sworn testimony.
No environmental expert.
No effort by City to negotiate a better deal for the public interest.
No information on who the LLC's owners are.
No concessions on affordable housing, environmental cleanup transparency or restoration of a golf course.
No answers to tough questions.
Developer manipulated Madeira residents, who cheered, heckled and were not gaveled.
Another shallow pro-developer Record article gets it partly wrong -- the developer agreed to build a sidewalk to a City park it had already agreed to dedicate.
Backward-bending labor supply curve by low-energy City Planning and Zoning Director David Birchim (a leaf blew in his window once and he signed it).
City Commission previously rejected the extension by a 3-2 vote.
The February 22, 2016 re-vote, on George Washington's birthday, was a craven cave-in. Sorry, I cannot tell a lie.
At least developers now know that illogical and illegal practices will be questioned, but the City could have gained more concessions.
Deluded Madeira residents need to hire a tort lawyer to sue the developer and ROGERS TOWERS for fraud.
Other-directed Commissioners and Mayor need negotiations training: we still do not do well in negotiating with oligopolists, either in our City or Nation.
Negative "Profile in Courage."

Commissioners approve Madeira development extension

Posted: February 22, 2016 - 11:52pm | Updated: February 23, 2016 - 1:41pm

Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to allow the Madeira developer more time to complete the project — a reversal of the St. Augustine Commission’s original stance on the issue.

The meeting featured extensive public comment by residents in Madeira, some of whom touted the features of the community and the tax-base benefit to the city of having more homes built. Residents also encouraged the commission to allow the development to move forward.

A couple of people, not residents of the development, voiced concerns about the project, one of whom supported the commission tabling the item and getting more details from the developer.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline recused herself from the vote, citing a Florida Commission on Ethics opinion, and the other commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the request. The extension also came with additional requirements for a public park, among other things.

“I’m thrilled,” said Madeira resident Mary Obrzut after the hearing. “And I’m thrilled that the community came out and supported [the request].”

About 20 people commented on the items related to Madeira.

This month when the commission decided to rescind the denial, City Manager John Regan cited at that meeting “unintended consequences” involving residents in the development — consequences that had not been vetted when the commission first turned down the proposal.

“The public good is what we were concerned with from the outset,” said Mayor Nancy Shaver after Monday’s vote. “And I appreciate the work that the developer did to acknowledge that, and I think we’re all benefiting from a timeline that I think everyone realizes ... is one that the city expects to be adhered to.”

The request that came before commission Monday was different than the one made in January.

This time, the developer was asking for one phase instead of three phases, and for a deadline in 2027 instead of the original request that would have pushed the latest phase to 2023.

Shaver asked why the deadline request was different.

Ellen Avery-Smith, attorney for developer and majority owner Ponce Associates, said the request had to do with certainty.

“We wanted to make sure, again, that we did not have to come back ... before this body 10 years from now and ask for another extension,” she said.

The changes that came forward Monday include requiring the developer to build a sidewalk — to go along with the reconstruction of Ponce Island Drive — that would lead to the public park. The public park will be deeded to the city as part of the agreement, but the developer will have to make sure cleanup of contamination the property is done before it is handed over, according to the city.

Arsenic was used on the property years ago when it was used as a golf course, and the developer is working through Florida Department of Environmental Protection requirements for cleaning up the property.

Madeira is on U.S. 1 North and includes more than 1,000 acres. Of the 749 homes approved, only 74 have been built, according to the city. The property once included the Ponce de Leon Golf Resort and Convention Center.

Avery-Smith has said the development was slowed by litigation and the recession, and she provided more details Monday night.

The developer’s team also indicated that getting the necessary permits from regulatory agencies had slowed down the project.

Avery-Smith said the developer has spent $36 million to date developing the 249 approved lots with things such as roads and sewer lines.

House cleaning

The city also unanimously passed an ordinance assigning land use designations to the property, which was annexed into the city in 2001.

A pre-annexation agreement for the property called for the city to process the Comprehensive Plan amendment with land uses for the property. At the time, that did not happen because the property was consistent with county land use designations, according to the city. When the county’s Comprehensive Plan changed, land use designations weren’t listed for Madeira — which made the update necessary.

sponger2 02/23/16 - 09:44 am 40More bogus horse hockey and lying BS.
And of course the commission caved again. Just like I told you they would. What remains now is are we are stupid enough not to stop them in the future? Or will it be another case of being bent over and saying "Please sir, can I have another?".

Archer 02/23/16 - 11:47 am 00@sponger2
Agreed. All they need to do is focus on Ms. Kalaidi's public comments for clues about what is really happening.

We have a very "special" situation here in St. Augustine, especially the composition of the commission.

Seems that Neville will not even stop to think before he OKs development, from Madeira to downtown (the latter on Flagler's behalf).

Do you know why Commissioner Sikes-Kline recused herself?

I wonder whether the developer(s) tell interested buyers at Madeira that they've clear-cut piney flat woods, prime Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake territory?

No comments: