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Currently Browsing: Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach: A Clarification.

Satellite Beach Officials blocking access to meeting.
Left to right: Satellite Beach Police Department Sergent Steve Owen, Councilman Mark Brimer, Councilwoman Mindy Gibson, Mayor Frank Catino (seated.)

We received some feedback on our posts concerning Satellite Beach and their blocking of people into what are clearly public meetings. (See here and here.)

Mostly, the concerns have been with what to do as the City had admitted they knew their actions were to get circumvent the Sunshine Laws.

We agree that the City of Satellite Beach tried (successfully it appears) to circumvent the Sunshine Laws. The acts to do this were deliberate as the Mayor admitted.

Strangely, just admitting that you tried and succeeded at circumventing the Sunshine Laws is not a crime. Established law says that a government entity has to not on violate the Sunshine Laws, but know that their actions were illegal.

The case this is based upon is Blackford v. Sch. Bd. of Orange City 375 So. 2d 578 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1979) and is somewhat similar to what happened in Satellite Beach.

The School Board of Orange City was looking at a contentious rezoning of schools and did not want to have School Board meeting where all of the options would be discussed in front of a large group or parents. The School Board wanted to come out with the plan and present it at an open meeting, but did not want to have the discussion of proposed plans to be held “in the Sunshine.”

Here’s what the School Board did:
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Satellite Beach: “Screwed Up” Doesn’t Cover It.

Satellite Beach Officials blocking access to meeting.
Left to right: Satellite Beach Police Department Sergent Steve Owen, Councilman Mark Brimer, Councilwoman Mindy Gibson, Mayor Frank Catino (seated.)

Yesterday we wrote a brief post talking about a meeting Satellite Beach hosted concerning the health issues in the area. The meeting was attended by City Manager Courtney Barker, Representative Thad Altman, School Board member Tina Descovich, officials from Patrick Air Force Base, other elected officials, county employees, and a representative from Erin Brocovich’s group, Bob Bowcock.

Also in attendance were three members of the City Council – Mayor Frank Catino, and Council members Mark Brimer and Mindy Gibson.

What has people upset was that the public at large was excluded from the meeting.

At Monday’s meeting, Satellite Beach Mayor Frank Catino denied access to about a dozen concerned citizens at the council chambers door. Catino told them it was a private meeting, because fewer elected city officials were there at any given time than would trigger Florida’s open meetings law.

He and council members Mindy Gibson and Mark Brimer rotated in and out of the council chambers to avoid breaking state open meetings law, which requires public notice and public access if two or more elected city officials are present. City Manager Courtney Barker said the city kept invites limited to keep the meeting professional and focused. “There is a level of professionalism that’s being lost,” Barker said.

As we said yesterday, we agree that there is a level of professionalism being lost and that lack of professionalism starts with the City Staff and elected officials not following the law of the land when it comes to the Sunshine Law and open meetings.

The first question is “was this a public meeting?”
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Satellite Beach: Yes, We Are Working On The City’s “Non-Public” Public Meeting.

On Monday, September 17, 2018, the City of Satellite Beach had scheduled a workshop with other area officials and entities concerning the health issues being raised by citizens and others.

That meeting was abruptly cancelled and changed to a non-public meeting without allowing the general public to attend.

Satellite Beach Officials blocking access to meeting. Left to right: Satellite Beach Police Department Sergent Steve Owen, Councilman Mark Brimer, Counilwoman Mindy Gibson, Mayor Frank Catino (seated.)

According to the Florida Today:

At Monday’s meeting, Satellite Beach Mayor Frank Catino denied access to about a dozen concerned citizens at the council chambers door. Catino told them it was a private meeting, because fewer elected city officials were there at any given time than would trigger Florida’s open meetings law.

He and council members Mindy Gibson and Mark Brimer rotated in and out of the council chambers to avoid breaking state open meetings law, which requires public notice and public access if two or more elected city officials are present. City Manager Courtney Barker said the city kept invites limited to keep the meeting professional and focused. “There is a level of professionalism that’s being lost,” Barker said.

We agree that there is a level of professionalism being lost in this, but that professionalism starts with the actions of public servants, and that includes following the law.
(more…)

Cocoa Beach / Palm Bay / Satellite Beach: Petitions! Online And In Person.

The Cocoa Beach group gathering signatures for a ballot initiative on building heights in the City has to take the day off today because of other things in their lives. They are reporting good results in finding people to sign the petition, but obviously they need more people to help. If you are concerned about this issue and want to help, drop us a line and we’ll forward it to the right people who will then contact you. Even if you can help them collect signatures or talk to people for an hour would be a huge help.

The folks in Palm Bay will be back at the (called the South Mainland Service Complex) at 450 Cogan Drive SE, today from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM.

(click for larger image)

They too are facing a monumental task and if you want to help, you can contact them or drop us a line and we’ll forward that to them for you.

There is a new group in the petition drive arena as well.

A group called “Satellite Beach Sustainable Outreach” has an online petition for a moratorium on certain types of development until the issues with water / sewage infrastructure in the area have been addressed.

Their petition reads (in part):
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Satellite Beach: Coyote Meeting.

(image courtesy of Wikimedia. Image is representative of a coyote and not one seen beachside.)

Tonight at 6:00 PM in the Civic Center, Satellite Beach will host a meeting and briefing on coyotes in the area of Satellite Beach and Indian Harbor Beach.

Wednesday night, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conduct a coyote educational workshop at the Satellite Beach Civic Center, 565 Cassia Blvd. The public meeting starts at 6 p.m.

FWC conducted a similar event for alarmed pet owners in February 2016 at the Gleason Park Recreation Center in Indian Harbour Beach. Unexpected coyote sightings had popped up in recent months near Gleason Park and the Algonquin Sports Complex, among other areas.

“They’re notoriously difficult to trap. They’ve adapted to urban life pretty well. People rarely ever see them. They see the damage they do, lost pets and stuff like that,” [City Manager Courtney] Barker said.

Barker said Wednesday’s workshop will feature one-on-one question time with FWC personnel. Satellite Beach officials will summarize the findings, then post information on Facebook.

What’s more, Satellite Beach police volunteers will begin posting warning fliers in neighborhoods where coyotes are spotted.

Seems worthwhile to us to learn to deal with the coyotes and to learn what precautions one should take in regards to pets.



Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Satellite Beach: If You Like Meetings, You Have Your Choice Tonight.

Like a seemingly endless items at a buffet, tonight there are lots of meetings that people can and should attend in their local communities.

COCOA BEACH: Tonight Cocoa Beach hosts a Charter Review Board meeting. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. There are some interesting things within the proposed changes to the Charter as we suggest that people read them as they will affect everyone.

The City also has two more meetings this week. Tomorrow night there is a Special City Commission Meeting concerning the budget which starts at 6:00 P.M.

The Commissioners will be right back at it on Thursday night at 6:00 PM again for a CRA meeting followed by a regular Commission meeting at 7:00 PM.

PALM BAY: The City Council will meet tonight at 6:30 PM for a budget meeting as well. Ordinances will be read, discussed and voted upon concerning fees and millage increases.

The Council takes a day off and then hosts a regular meeting on Thursday at 7:00 PM.

SATELLITE BEACH: Satellite Beach has a Board of Adjustment meeting tonight concerning a variance request made by the developers / architects of the proposed Solar Hotel. We wrote about this variance request and why it does not meet any legal standard for a variance yesterday.
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Satellite Beach: Solar Hotels And Building Variances. UPDATED WITH ADDENDUM!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have added an addendum to this post below.

Satellite Beach is looking to have a new hotel built within the City limits:

SATELLITE BEACH — A development group is looking to build what is believed to be the state’s first solar-powered hotel in Satellite Beach.

The project, which received approval Monday from the Satellite Beach Advisory Board, is on 1.2 acres on the southwest corner of State Road A1A and Desoto Parkway. That was the former site of a once-popular beachside eatery called Peg Leg’s.

The building’s architect, who specializes in environmentally sustainable projects, said the three-story project would use 80 percent less energy than a conventional structure of its type.

The property is owned by the city’s Community Development Authority, and officials were particular about what type of development they wanted to see there. Most notably, the wanted a project that fit in with the city’s environmental sustainability efforts.

What is not said in the article is that while the City wants structures consistent with its “environmental sustainability efforts,” the City is taking a fiscal bath on this deal. Originally, the City purchased the property for $1.525 million dollars in 2006 and is now selling the property for $860K, a loss of $665K.

(We don’t want to be too sarcastic here, but it seems difficult to us to be funding “sustainability efforts” when you are giving money away like that.)

After the project was approved, the architects of the project, Spacecoast Architects, PA, submitted an application for a variance on the property. A Board of Adjustment meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 7:00 PM to hear the variance request. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. The application packet can be found here.

We want to look at what is being asked for.

The image below is page 6 from the application. We have colored in red and yellow the two properties that are adjacent to the hotel.

The red property is not a part of the variance. The yellow property is the issue.

As you can see in the blowup of the site plan, the developers want to build right up to the lot line of the yellow property:
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Satellite Beach: Hurricane Matthew

The City of Satellite Beach has a “preparedness message” on their site which reads:

TO: CITY RESIDENTS
FROM: CITY MANAGER COURNTEY BARKER, AICP
DATE: 10/04/16
TIME: 10:50 A.M.
RE: HURRICANE MATTHEW

The City is carefully monitoring Hurricane Matthew as the projected path moves it closer to the east coast of Florida. We strongly encourage our residents to take this storm seriously and begin preparations to care for your family and property in the event this major hurricane directly impacts our area. Currently there are no evacuation orders in effect; however, you should take time to become familiar with evacuation routes and shelter locations if evacuating becomes necessary.

Secure lawn furniture, potted plants, political signs, lawn debris and other items that may become a hazard in heavy winds, which are likely even if the storm stays off our coast. Please monitor local news channels for the latest information on the storm and we will continue to provide updates to our residents as they
become available
.
All residents should purchase 3 days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for each household member, batteries and flashlights. Please fill all vehicles with gas and have some cash on hand for purchases such as ice and more food. City Hall staff will be open normal hours today. Operating department will allow non-essential personnel to leave early tomorrow to prepare their homes.

Please do not trim trees or create piles of yard waste as this may become debris that could cause damage if it is able to be picked up by Waste Management
before the storm.

The City also has sand bags available at the Public Works Department. The bags can be filled at the DeSota Ballfields off of DeSota Parkway.

Stay safe people.



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