Sunday, May 28, 2017

Record (finally) reports St. Augustine Beach Mayor RICHARD BURTT O'BRIEN's illegal home construction

St. Augustine Beach City Manager BRUCE MAX ROYLE, you failed.  Horribly.
So did your staff.  Miserably.
No one respects your illegal gag order and your unconstitutional effort to silence City Commissioners and to keep this local scandal from public discussion.
Your latest First Amendment violation has flopped:
First, this blog broke the news, with several stories commencing on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Then, a code enforcement complaint was filed on May 28, 2017. 
Now, mirabile dictu, the St. Augustine Record has a short story on Monday, May 29, 2017:

Posted May 29, 2017 12:02 am 

Online headline:
Setback on St. Augustine Beach mayor’s property violates permit
Print headline:
Construction on Mayor's property hits a snag
City Commission to review issue on June 5

Construction has been delayed on St. Augustine Beach property owned by St. Augustine Beach Mayor Rich O’Brien and his wife after the city learned the project was in violation of a conditional use permit.
The issue will be in focus at the City Commission’s June 5 meeting, where the recommendations of an independent report on the issue are expected to be discussed, City Manager Max Royle said.
After the issue arose, City Manager Max Royle asked for an independent report on the matter by Steven Lindorff, president of Community Redevelopment & Planning Consultants of Atlantic Beach.
According to the report, a city commissioner who is unnamed reportedly asked in April about the project, which led the city to discover that what is being built at 16 F Street had a western setback of about 12 feet instead of the 15-foot setback required.
“It is my professional opinion that the 3-foot encroachment is just a mistake that started and was compounded by there being too many versions of lot dimensions,” according Lindorff’s report. “It does not appear to be the result of any specific intent to deceive by any of the parties.”
The mistakes led “to the erroneous staking of the building corners and encroachment into the special 15-foot setback established by the City Commission,” according to the report. Also, Lindorff reported that he believes the City Commission imposed the special setback “as a result of it erroneously showing up on the sketch site plan based on several inconsistent depictions of the property boundaries.”
The report indicates that both the city and O’Brien and his wife’s team should have caught the mistakes, and it says responsibility for administering the Land Development Code rests with Building Official Gary Larson.
“The responsibility for ensuring that a development project is constructed per the applicable codes and ordinances is a shared one,” according to his report.
In April 2016, the City Commission approved the conditional use permit for two homes to be built on two adjacent commercially zoned lots at the corner of F Street and A1A Beach Boulevard — the city’s planning and zoning board had recommended denial. O’Brien recused himself from the discussion after initially saying he would remain at the dais.
O’Brien said in 2016 that he and his wife planned to build two three-bedroom, 3 1/2 bathroom homes, with one at a little more than 2,500 square feet and the other at about 3,000 square feet. The plans rattled some neighbors, who worried about the scale of the homes on small residential lots and the trend of more development like that happening.
Lindorff suggests O’Brien and his wife modify the conditional use permit approval order. That would be an “alternative to seeking compliance with the original order, i.e., removal of the partially-completed structure, via the city’s code enforcement procedures,” according to the report.
Lindorff’s report suggests the city take a number of action to prevent problems elsewhere, including adding mandatory field inspection after a building is staked out and before the foundation is poured.
O’Brien, who said construction on the building stopped because of the issue, said this week that he believes the commission’s discussion will show that his team “dotted every I and crossed every T.”
The study cost $2,550, Royle said, but he declined to comment in detail about the report.

“The study will speak for itself, and I prefer that it do that rather than me commenting on the study,” Royle said. “This is a matter that concerns land use issue on property worth a considerable amount of money. … I’m always aware of the liabilities of the city.”


Tom Reynolds

This is ..........................KARMA BABY.......................................... and NOBODY escapes ...................................................................KARMA ! ..............................................................................

City Commissioners, DO YOUR JOB..................... and order that Illegal House be torn down.


Both the Builders and the Property Owners knew exactly what they were doing.

TEAR DOWN THAT HOUSE, because that is what the LAW REQUIRES.

Building Official Gary Larson FAILED and FAILED on purpose. All for Commissioner Richard Burt O'Brien to illegally build a house. The City Commission needs to order City Manger Bruce Max Royle to FIRE LARSON.


Mark Priester
Inconsistent property boundaries ? Ever heard of a Survey? Mandatory field inspection? They already have that it's a footer inspection and the Inspectors are too lazy to do their job especially when it is for one their own . The study cost $2550? Hey I will come pull a tape measure on the lines for half that . This is simple make them chop the 3 feet out of the building .Why should everyone else including me have to modify plans to meet requirements ? Trust me these crooks will get a pass it's just what Government workers expect and this is why they run for office .

Raymond Newdell
Yes, tear it down and. yes, it's time for Mr. O'Brien to resign.

Artemis Kore
At the Commission meeting in which these two homes were approved Mayor Obrien stated inequivocably he would comply with any and all requirements his fellow Commissioners requested. And I can assure you many unusual requirements were added and especiaaly by one of the Commissioners. If you know SAB you know all the properties the Obriens have built and/or renovated are some of the most beautiful and well kept on the Beach. So does it surprise me whatsoever that 1) worh all the requirements and survey variations a SMALL as in 3 ft setback was missed by ALL. And 2) that the "unamed" ""commissioner who started all this was the same commissioner who requested all the additional requirements to start with. No the Obriens should not be requested to chop off 3 feet. The permit should be adjusted accordingly. We residents should be more concerned about why our city commissioners (some) more focused on anything OTHER than we residents newds. I am sick and tired if it. YOu all should be too. Government by anger and revenge seeking needs to stop.

Tom Reynolds
We will look forward to you speaking at the hearing.

Brian Roach
This is an unfortunate circumstance given the participants involved are public figures. Regardless of your personal opinions of the owners they do not deserve to be publicly tarred and feathered. So close on the heels of the new hotel height kerfuffle at the Pope Rd end its much more than a wake up call to St. Augustine Beach government to get the story straight as soon as possible, that the same errors won't compound: the entire region is under siege from developers eyeing every square inch for exploitation so don't think for a minute that any similar "mistake" would be 'unintentional.".
I think it's absurd to insist the offending structures be torn down. Rather, the community should see this as a cheap lesson and tighten the oversight and approval process to avoid future scenarios like this.

Mike Woodruff
Thank you Brian. Mr. Reynolds is his predictable mean-spirited self. Even when he is right his personal attacks are unsettling. Having endured listening to his vitriolic rants at commission meetings in the past I do not relish his next display of incoherent hyperbole. On an up note, his candidacy for county commissioner will likely maintain that seat in the hands of the St. Johns County Republicans.

Tom Reynolds
Thank you Mike for recognizing I am right all the time. There are no personal attacks ! It is hard for you Mike to have to read that Commissioner O,Brian is involved again in wrongdoings. You never speak Mike , so I look forward to hearing you talk at the podium. I won,t get tired of hearing your three minutes. Yes Mike I also understand why you can only hear "incoherent hyperbole.". Again it is hard to hear the truth about an Elected Official who is a friend of yours. But Big Mike, Commissioner O'Brien is a proven Unethical Elected Official. Just a few weeks ago Commissioner O'Brien paid a fine for an Unethical Election Violation. Commissioner O'Brien just got caught trying to sneak health Insurance for himself and Spouse. a 170 % raise. .So Big Mike your Boy Rich, should is not an open, honest, transparent, and Ethical Elected Official. That is why Mr> O'Brien should RESIGN !

One last thing Big Mike, I spoke two times in favor of Commissioner O'Brien building these homes. I expected him to obey the laws and rules.

Chip Kirk
It's sad that they're turning St. Augustine beach into a small daytona ! Stop this madness or the great little town will totally disappear! This goes for the hotels also ridicules

jason hamilton
I wonder what would be done if these were my properties, or some other resident of SAB? Would there still be those who feel 3 ft is no big deal? Would I get to keep the buildings the way they are, or would I have to fix the mistake?

Tom Reynolds
You would have to tear it down !

Just like Commissioner O'Brien is going to.... TEAR IT DOWN !

Mark Priester
You would have to re-design the plans then get them re-approved then whack the 3 feet out .Trust me I know

Joseph Piccioni
Once a politician always a politician.
What would be done if it were your average joe? Then apply those same rules to the Mayor they should have no more rights than we do...
Yet inspectors came out to my buddies shop and make him take down two small signs, or pay fines. What a joke..

Lance Davidson
This actually seems to be pretty gross. Under most circumstances, they usually mandate compliance. In this case, that would get expensive... and since it's the mayor, well, they're talking about things like 'shared responsibility' and 'in the future, lets include another cost-adding layer of bureaucracy so this never happens again', to strongly imply they're going to wave this one off but add expense to all future projects. If you built a house that went 3 feet (!) deep into a setback, you almost certainly wouldn't get those same favorable considerations. Starting to really lose faith in the integrity of this particular elected body. It actually pains me to say this, given some of the loons it puts me in agreement with.

Douglas Detrick
I have seen this happen before. And it, was caught oncr the foundation was poured. And it and it all had to be torn out. Re engineered. And rebuilt. This shouldn't fall on Gary larson. It should fall on the builder. For not knowing how too read a survey and Blueprint.

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