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Cocoa Beach: CRA And Commission Meeting Tonight.

The City of Cocoa Beach will host a CRA meeting and a regular Commission meeting tonight. The CRA meeting starts at 6:00 PM and the Commission meeting follows at 7:00 PM. The agendas for both meetings can be found here.

As of this writing, the CRA meeting is perfunctory and only has the approval of the minutes from the last meeting.

The Commission meeting has a couple of interesting things as far as we can tell.

First, there is a agenda item to approve an agreement accepting $200,000 for the demolishing of the Glass Bank Building. We have no opinion on the proposal at all, but once again, it seems sad to us that Cocoa Beach’s iconic building is gone.

Secondly, there is a proposal to allow the City Manager to designate City Workers to issue citations. This seems to be addressing a hole in the City Code where Beach Rangers cannot issue actual citations but can only issue demands of compliance.

We find this rather interesting.

Beach Rangers are code enforcement agents. They are not law enforcement agents.

The difference is that if a law enforcement officer asks for ID based upon reasonable cause, the person should supply ID. That is not the case with Beach Rangers. So a person can either opt not to tell the Rangers their name, provide ID, or even lie to the Rangers when being asked for ID. Rangers do not have the power to detain anyone so they can’t even say “wait here while I request a police officer.” (A police officer cannot do that on a traffic stop either. You do not have to wait for a officer to call for a back up or a K-9 unit. That’s the law.)

Perhaps this is a case where the City is looking to make the process the punishment. We don’t know.

But in our opinion, this makes situations worse, not better.

Finally, we were surfing the ‘net and came upon some instances of black and white photos that had been colorized.

While many of the photos are interesting and well done, given the controversy over dogs on the beach, we found rather, well…..”insightful.”

Bulldog on the beach, ca. 1900-1910

It’s an interesting thought to think that at one point in time, dogs were allowed and even welcomed on beaches. Now we see discussions on whether to allow dogs on the beach during limited hours.

We wonder what happened? What changed?

Certainly the dogs didn’t change.

Did the owners change? Did irresponsible owners force governments to ban dogs from beaches? Was is a case of someone just didn’t like a dogs on the beach and managed to ban them?

We don’t know, but it seems like some change of thought and regulation occurred in the last 100 years.

Both meetings can be viewed on the City’s website or on Spectrum Channel 497.



4 Responses to “Cocoa Beach: CRA And Commission Meeting Tonight.”

  1. Herrburger says:

    Look at the glass bank settlement from a taxpayer point of view. $100k plus in code enforcement fines waived, $245k in real costs for demo and clear, no interest on the $245k for 3 years. Conservative value $375k for a $200k settlement, kind of ironic the deal is called the glass bank. How do we apply for this kind on loan?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Herrburger,

      I think you are off the fiscal mark a bit.

      The City waived $400K in code enforcement fines. While we guess that is technically the “plus” of “$100k plus” you stated, the actual fines were much higher.

      The $200k – $240K being discussed was for actual work that had been performed or will be performed. How the Commission said “screw it – we are going to write off 20% of the money owed for work and let the taxpayers take the hit,” is beyond me.

      I would bet that there is no one on that commission that would wipe off a debt of $45,000 owed to them in their personal life or most likely in their professional life as well.

      So why do it now? Because it isn’t them paying the freight?

      Thanks for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

  2. Hometown says:

    I’m with Herrburger on this one, doesn’t seem to make any sense. They’ve known what the fines were as they have accrued so why don’t they have to pay what they owe. I have a feeling that if I ever owe the city money I won’t get a reduction like this. If the city feels the need to reduce the fines they should change the “fine/fee schedule” to reflect what these noncompliance actually cost the city and not negotiate with every individual that doesn’t want to pay what they owe.

    • AAfterwit says:

      This has been a bit of a discussion around here since the meeting.

      Tumulty is correct that often Boards will reduce or relieve fines. It happens all the time. The fines are meant to encourage compliance and are not “fines” for bad behavior. (Sort of.) So if you had a code issue while you were out of town and then came back home 30 days later or 6 months later and fixed the problem, I would not have an issue with the City waiving the fines. If the fines are there to bring the issue into compliance, they worked for you and your property.

      The problem is that the Glass Bank Building was never brought into compliance. The owners sat there and thumbed their noses at the City. If the fines are there to bring the situation into compliance and there is no compliance, why waive the fees? There is no logical sense to doing so. In the housing crisis / recession, banks would repossess homes and then not cut the grass, or whatever. Cities waived the fees even though the banks were aware of the code issues and thumbed their noses at the City and Code enforcement.

      Tumulty is wrong in that there is very little cost to fines and fees on code violations. The City (like most cities) has software that when a code violation occurs, it is entered into the system and at that point in time, the clock starts ticking. In 30 days, the fines start kicking in due to the software and not human intervention. There is very little work done on fines and fees.

      Finally, we thought that the one option that was never offered or put on the table was “pay the actual costs.” Pay the $200 grand and if the bills tally to $200+ K, the Glass Bank people owe the difference. If the amount of the bills total to be less than $200K, the Glass Bank people get a refund. That means that the City is not playing with money nor is the Glass Bank. The monies owed are actual costs.

      The next time someone says “we need to raise taxes / fees,” the response to this Commission should be “so you can throw $45,000 away again?”

      A. Afterwit.

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