Friday, October 20, 2017
St. Augustine has never evaluated its existing Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) a/k/a "a sneaky way to get around zoning," in the words of Cathy Brown, former PZB member and retired Council on Aging Director. PUDs are approved, and no one ever evaluates whether they really serve a public purpose. Past is prologue. Failure to evaluate existing PUDs makes for lousy laws and bad new PUDs.
Developers call the shots. It's painfully obvious.
When I asked for a list in 2015, City of St. Augustine Planning and Building Director DAVID BIRCHIM said there was none, whereupon government watchdog Ms. B.J. Kalaidi went upstairs and got it for me.
What does BIRCHM have to hide? Why won't he provide board members and the public with all PZB and HARB application files in electronic format on the web?
BIRCHIM fears transparency -- hates it so much that he said to me, "You keep chipping away!"
BIRCHIM went to work for the City of St. Augustine in 1997 after earning his graduate degree at UT; he's never worked anywhere else.
BIRCHIM's one of the reasons why developers are still throwing their weight around the City of St. Augustine. He worked under MARK KNIGHT and ex-Mayors WEEKS and BOLES.
BIRCHIM needs to think for himself instead of acting like a shill for developers.
Here's a handy list of PUDs -- why not print it out and put it on your refrigerator and ask questions, demand answers and expect democracy?
From Historic City News: