Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Commission agrees to hear Roscoe marina item again. (SAR)

I testified in support of the opponents of this project, who prevailed. Upon hearing the testimony of the proponents about alleged extortion and perjury, I strongly supported a rehearing. The vote was unanimous. The rehearing will be October 15, 2019. I am waiting on documents -- more later.

But Commission needs to start swearing in witness at all quasi-judicial and legislative hearings, and adopt a modified version of the Rules of Evidence at Florida Statute 90.

In the 1980s, U.S. Department of Labor Chief Administrative Law Judge Nahum Litt hired Professor Graham of the University of Miami Law School to adapt Federal Rules of Evidence for Administrative Nearings. 29 C.F.R. 18.100, et seq.

There are some six additional hearsay exceptions, because we trust judges more than juries.

When Commissioners asked for advice from County Attorney PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK, the former Navy Captain failed miserably. McCORMACK was stumbling, bumbling and inarticulately, unable to suggest referral to the U.S. Attorney, or even th4 captive Inspector General in the force of St. Johns County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller Hunter S. Conrad,

It's time for McCORMACK to retire. Now.

Polluters, Temple Destroyers, tree-killers, lobbyists, wetland-destroyers and louche lobbyists have never had a better friend in the St. Johns County Attorney's office.

Watch this pitiful excuse for a St. Johns County Attorney here: (click on public comment, watch allegations of extortion, fraud and perjury, and Commissioner Jeremiah Ray Blocker's responsive motion, seconded by Commissioner I. Henry Dean, and adopted 5-0.

It takes guts for a public official to admit they might have made a mistake. These County Commissioners deserve credit for revisiting their decision.  (In contrast, that man in the White House won't even he made a mistake about the weather forecast in Alabama for Hurricane Dorian.)

It is right and just that this appeal be re-heard. Let justice be done. It's time for St. Johns County to replace its unethical, incompetent, inarticulate County Attorney, PATRICK FRANCIS McCORMACK. McCORMACK is a charter member of the Smirking Turkey Society, inept local government managers who are other-directed and unethical. It's time for him to go. Watch the video -- he's not worth his salary. It's scary. We need a statewide search for a new County Attorney, with public interviews and a full EEO/Affirmative Action search, with ads in the Florida Bar Journal.

(Photo credit: Historic City News)

Commission agrees to hear Roscoe marina item again
By Stuart Korfhage
Posted Sep 17, 2019 at 10:49 PM
St. Augustine Record

Although Tuesday’s St. Johns County Commission meeting lacked the expected drama of another review of The Outpost property, a different controversial development unexpectedly garnered a lot of attention.

The Outpost item was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant, but the Roscoe Boulevard marina project resurfaced despite it not appearing on the agenda.

After hearing from the developer during the public comment period, the Commission agreed to revisit the marina issue.

It was an unusual move, but developer Paul Rohan accused those who appealed a Planning and Zoning Agency decision to allow the marina of extorting the developer. He provided the commissioners with emails as evidence.

“It was all a plan to extort money and to leverage their position into getting whatever they wanted,” Rohan told the Commission.

He said opponents of the project also exaggerated accounts of serious watercraft crashes in the area.

“We pulled the police reports,” Rohan said. “Nobody was crippled. Nobody was sent by helicopter for a broken neck. Shame on these people for coming up here and lying to you.”

The proposal was to build a 75-slip community marina and boat storage facility on about two vacant acres east of the Intracoastal Waterway and south of the Palm Valley Bridge and public boat ramp.

The applicant, ICW Bridge LLC, asked for a variance to build the marina. The PZA granted it in May.

Then Robert Fredeking and James Whitehouse — representing Delores Schwab, Jerome Hoffman, and Kara Terwilliger — all property owners in the area, filed an appeal that was heard by the Commission Aug. 20. Commissioners voted 5-0 to uphold the appeal.

In light of the new allegations and several legal issues, the Commission voted 5-0 Tuesday to hear the item again.

“I’ve had a number of residents of Palm Valley reach out to me, several of the community groups ... I have some concerns about some standing issues,” Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker said. “There’s a number of matters that have come forward.”

Whitehouse, who was not at the Commission meeting Tuesday, said he didn’t know anything about extortion allegations. However, he said the legal argument in the case isn’t any different today than it was in August.

“The bottom legal line is: Is there or is there not a hardship?” Whitehouse told The Record. “All five of them (commissioners) said, ‘I’m having a hard time finding a hardship.’ Their 5-0 unanimous vote was because they did not find a hardship.”

Also Tuesday

The Commission voted 5-0 in favor of a project to build 49 townhomes on more than three acres of land at the southwest corner of Vilano Road and Loja Street in the heart of the Vilano Beach Town Center.

There were some issues with neighbors on Ferrol Road about the alley along the southern edge of the property that is privately owned and will remain so.

Commissioner Jeb Smith read a letter to the Commission received from Ferrol Road resident Cynthia Lee Barrancotto, who opposed the project as presented.

In the letter, Barrancotto wrote: “In summary, the Developers are asking you, the County to allow them to utilize and pave property that St. Johns County does not own or control, and therefore the County cannot agree or grant this request. Please know, that if you decide to vote in favor of the Developers’ request, it will not be legal and, it will take a large portion of property from all current property owners along the North side of Ferrol Road. Were this to result, sadly, it will destroy our once peaceful and quiet family neighborhood environment; potentially lower the value of our homes, and increase our taxes.”

However, another Ferrol Road resident, Dottie Hudson, said she can now support the project after working with the developer.

“They have really tried to accommodate and mitigate every problem that I see on my property,” Hudson told the Commission.

The townhome project is part of an effort to give Vilano Beach a small urban component with a mixture of commercial, hotel and residential development.

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