BREAKING NEWS: Cocoa Beach Approves Variance While Palm Bay Mayor Proves A Lack Of Leadership.

Cocoa Beach approved the 70 foot height variance for the International Palms redevelopment.

In our opinion, the people who were opposed to the variance that spoke did so on factual basis of the project not meeting the required criteria for approval of the variance.

Citizens who spoke in favor of the variance, including the City Commissioners, voted in favor of the variance because the conceptual plans were “pretty” and the project would bring in money. Neither is a criteria for the variance, but facts were trampled by money.

In Palm Bay, the City agreed to send City Councilmen Santiago, Anderson, Bailey and Johnson, as well as the City Manager and City Attorney to the JLAC hearing next week in Tallahassee.

The noticeable absence from that list is City Mayor Capote, on whose watch many of the violations in the JLAC report occurred.

This is the same man who claimed that the staff were “like his family.”

To us, it is an incredible lack of leadership for a Mayor not be at a hearing on his city.

It is also gutless.

What a sad night for two cities here in Brevard.

6 Responses to “BREAKING NEWS: Cocoa Beach Approves Variance While Palm Bay Mayor Proves A Lack Of Leadership.”

  1. John Smith says:

    As usual, the city commissioners are holding up a dime up so close to their eye that they can’t see the silver dollar out front! For some reason they feel that more is better. Time will tell.

    Last night the city commissioners did not talk about the city budget impact or A-1-A congestion soon to happen in Cocoa Beach due to the heavy truck loads of debris exiting it. Local businesses can expect a loss in business due to their normal customers’ avoiding the area.

    You hit the nail on the head when you stated the criteria for a height request variance had nothing to do with this project. Hopefully Commissioner Williams request to add the legal documentation requirements into the loop will help. I did not quite understand the ordinances the city lawyer, Mr. Voss, suggested be used so that the variance could go forth. However, several folks talked about the Land Development Code re-development district new terminology recently placed in the city’s operational documentation.

    I assume the lawyer tried to smooth out the fact that the application needed to adhere to the City Charter referendum requirements; like only adding the variables, i.e., the FEMA appropriate base level footage, the 45 ft standard building height, and the 10′ height accommodation for roof top appurtenances so that THE FINAL 70′ height WILL BE THE LIMIT the variance allows.

    Will the site-plan actually conform to the official ‘nod’ given to Commissioner Williams by the developer; agreeing to stay within the city referendum requirement. Guess only ‘time’ will tell.

    ‘Time’ is another consideration right now. Will the city receive some more land, i.e., Lori Wilson Park so they can vacate it to increase the encroaching developers dreams. “I dream of Jeanie’ easement is already there!

    We can still dream too, maybe the city might even take into consideration the inland environmental land parcels full of Florida native plants and critters and allow Mother Nature’s Land area to remain as is a part of Lori Wilson Public Park.

    Folks on Merritt Island and the
    mainland need to be aware their county
    public park in Cocoa Beach has been poorly managed by the Tourist Development
    Board (TDC) /organization. whoever?. If residents enjoy beach-side activities they need to let their County Commissioners keep the Brevard County Asset Management Public Park.

    It would be nice to see the county residents authorize their County Commissioners to keep the taxpayer Lori Wilson Park PUBLIC. It supposedly has been maintained by that TDC group and needs to be re-assigned to the responsible County Public Parks Department to use allocated funds to repair it, not give to the city of Cocoa Beach to re-develop it.

    In summary, it was a sad night knowing I now have to spend the next five years with the debris flying about my yard, and having to listen to the pile pounding noise; hopefully not all of the buildings will require those deep driven noise y pilings. The city mayor previously indicated how considerate he will be when they obtain additional land and monies and responsibilities obtaining Lori Wilson Park. Only last night he did not want anybody else to discuss it. The City Manager has been tasked to come up with an agreement and stated he is still working the issue. It would be nice if the Brevard County Commissioners put the land management transfer on their agenda before agreements are drafted.

    The Mayor also indicated county residents could be issued permits like he & they can now get at our Jetty Park county park for a $25.oo fee. However, he failed to mention that county residents not living beach-side in the Port Canaveral Taxing District DO NOT QUALIFY for a $25.oo yearly Jetty Park parking permit. Their ONLY county taxpayers!

    I’d like to wish my neighboring county residents a Very Happy New Year and pray they spend their time and possibly last free beach days at Lori Wilson Park soon.

    • jamie hooper says:

      lori wilson is no longer under the tourism council. i filed a code enforcement complaint against the brevard county parks and rec because it is not maintained. wish folks on merritt island would keep their trashy bus stops maintained. been calling the commissioner about that too much. i live across the street from lori wilson….and international palms. i would prefer to hear the annoying noise of progress than the drone of sirens attending to the s*** show that goes in at the international palms nightly. My family formerly owned this property and i am relieved that it will no longer be an eyesore and also relieved that some one else can carry the burden of tax increase. my property taxes have tripled in as many years





      • AAfterwit says:

        jamie hooper,

        Thank you for your comment.

        Lori Wilson is owned by the County who was responsible for the maintenance as far as we are aware. The TDC was supporting the maintenance costs, but we don’t believe they had a staff or people hired to maintain the park itself. We could be wrong.

        We aren’t sure what bus stops you are talking about, but the County Commission may not have anything to do with it. The stops are usually erected in the right of way of the state roads, which means the state gives SCAT permission to have the stops there and to maintain them. Try contacting SCAT.

        As for the International Palm property…..

        You haven’t heard a peep from anyone on this site saying the property does not need to be redeveloped. The issues that people are raising was the means and methods the variance was achieved. For example, since you brought up the “drone of sirens attending to the sh** show that goes in at the international palms nightly,” one of the criteria for the variance was the amount of crime and calls for service on the property. That means that the company who bought the property had a fiscal incentive to not make the area safer. By not making areas brighter, and hiring security (or more security) to patrol the grounds, the were able to say “look! We need to develop this because of the crimes!”

        The company should not be rewarded for being a lousy neighbor to the residents of the City.

        Finally, we have no idea why your property taxes tripled in the last three years. Maybe you lost the homestead exemption, or made vast improvements. The tax rate within the City did not triple. Property values have been increasing which would mean an increase in the taxes you pay, but we can’t see your home tripling in value.

        However, one of the things that the Mayor touted was that the development would mean higher property values. Higher property values means higher taxes. With this development, your taxes will rise again.

        The Mayor also opined that citizens would pay less taxes because of the new development.

        We are highly skeptical of that claim. Cocoa Beach has a spending problem as evidenced by the fact that the City’s budget is greater than Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbor Beach, and Melbourne Beach combined.

        We don’t believe that citizens will see a significant drop in their property taxes and that the City will see the added income as more money to spend on more projects.

        That’s our opinion though and time will tell.

        Thanks again for the comment.

        A. Afterwit.

  2. Percy says:

    Cocoa Beach is already working on ways to “monetize” parking at Lori Wilson park once the city takes over the park. Based on the past performance of the CB commissioners who are heavily influenced by special interest groups (i.e. Developers) if this park is turned over to the city you can immediately say goodbye to the currently free parking and count on the commissioner to let the developers take control of this park, they’ve already talked about building a restaurant on the property operated by the international palms developer. The only chance of turning this around would be if enough county residents complained to their county commissioners, otherwise this will quietly be turned over to CB and the developers to do pretty much as they please. County residents need to realize that once turned over to the city they will no longer have any voice/input into what happens to the park in the future.

    As for the TDC, if anyone starts a petition to get rid of it, I’m all in. This sham organization just takes money that rightfully should belong in the county general fund and funnels it back into the hoteliers pockets in the form of free marketing and advertising. I was one of the dummies that believed that the revenues from taxing tourists would be used to benefit the residents in the areas most heavily impacted by tourism.

  3. John Smith says:

    Response referencing Jamie Hooper, AAfterwit and Percy comments.

    I am so happy to hear that another fellow Cocoa Beach resident is as upset about the Cocoa Beach city Mayor’s discussions on Lori Wilson Park; Jamie indicated that he filed a code violation with regards to the Tourist Development Council(TDC) mismanagement of Lori Wilson Park. I am interested in knowing the present status of that complaint as I have no idea on how the county complaint process/system works. In Cocoa Beach it might go to the City Magistrate for a final penalty/fine or a jurisdiction decision. Then again, the outcome of Jamie’s complaint might be turned around just like the International Palms Resort police reports were done and be used to their advantage.

    The Lori Wilson Park item to discuss appeared on the city agenda as a discussion topic by the Mayor, not as a New Business Item; also the TDC representative appeared and DISCUSSED an idea on approaching the taxpayer funds usage, i.e., handing county money over to the city as the TDC evidently no longer want to be accountable for their task of maintaining the county park. Sounds like our County Commissioners should vote to simply repeal that agreement.

    Sounded like their is enough monies to repair the bathhouse facility or actually re-build a new one AND THEN SOME!!!

    Percy is so right stating that the city commissioners discussion included “Cocoa Beach is already working on ways to “monetize” parking at Lori Wilson park.” The $$$ signs jumped right up into their eyes; not how much better they can do managing a public park while they apparently allowed the city’s dedicated civic space, i.e., Holly Avenue to become neglected. Thus, so much crime in the International Palms Resort’s divided areas.

    If the Cocoa Beach City Commissioners appear to be unhappy with the amount of tourist not spending money in Cocoa Beach then they should install the money-making parking meters at the city public park golf, tennis and pool complex. If the hoteliers are making money on their golfing visitors why can’t the city do the same with the land they already manage. Just because other golf courses don’t charge might be because their golf courses are not located in a city recreational complex! It isn’t likely that residents in Cocoa Beach will be able to continue to maintain THE REC COMPLEX. It’s a ‘given’ that the tourist do use it and don’t pay enough for the city to maintain the 18 hole plus course. Like the Mayor said, City and County residents can purchase parking passes and pay a yearly fee; locals usually need a pass just to visit the downtown area. Perhaps the city commissioners should look more at their own turf.

    Correct Afterwit – – “Lori Wilson is owned by the County who was responsible for the maintenance as far as we are aware.”

    From what I have gathered up Lori Wilson Park is also a divided land use park. The Florida Conservation Lands central section is a “small but ecologically significant PARK THAT BORDERS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN and contains maritime hammock, coastal strand and scrub.” At one time the Johnnie Johnson Nature Center existed in the northeast corner, however, Atlantic storms, quite possibly the same waterspout that damaged the Ramada Inn years ago caused it to also close.

    The most recent, 2011-11-01 comments I could find on the Lori Wilson Park hammock area indicated that the Brevard County Tax Appraiser in March of 2004 listed Lori Wilson Park as Owned and managed by Brevard County.

    Thank you Afterwit for being so understanding with ‘us’ folks who try and blurt it all out but never get it in one sentence. Your knowledgeable responses are appreciated.

  4. Percy says:

    You bring up a great point in that some of our expensive amenities in CB are primarily being used to attract more tourism. If that is truly the case the city should be getting some additional revenue from the TDC funds which are supposed to used to support increasing tourism. If these amenities such as golf, tennis, Olympic size pool, are only there to support the residents they need to be downsized to be more affordable for the residents who are paying for them. I wonder how many city’s the size of CB have a 27 hole golf course and an Olympic size swimming pool. Just a thought but I’d be willing to support downsizing the pool to a short course only pool and the golf course to an 18 hole course, both would be more appropriate for our residents. Imagine the extra revenue the city could obtain by selling off 9 holes along the river and allowing developers to build riverfront condos to 45′ (which I’m sure would end up with a variance to allow them to build to 70′). 🙂

  5. […] week as we noted, the City of Cocoa Beach Commission passed a variance of 70 feet for the height of the […]