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Cocoa Beach: Questions To Ask About Ballot Question #1.

Tonight at 6:30 PM, there will be a “forum” on the now infamous Ballot Question #1 at 25 Brevard Ave North, Cocoa Beach next door to Coastal Produce.

Commissioner Mike Miller will make a presentation on the ballot question followed by Mayor Malik making a presentation on the City Budget and how the question impacts the City Budget itself.

Following the presentations, there will be a question and answer session which supposedly will be open to the public. We hope that it is, but we have our doubts once certain questions are asked.

Here is a list that we suggest:

1) In an piece authored by Mayor Malik and a graphic in an online magazine, several claims were made. One of the claims was that the question “retains 45 feet as the maximum building height for habitable space to maintain a low-scale residential community.” QUESTION: “Retains” implies something that is already present. Where in Chapter 6.04 of the City Charter is the term “habitable” used as a standard for determining the height of a building? If it is not there, “retains” isn’t true, is it?

2) The same article and graphic claims Ballot Question #1 “retains building wash through to protect new buildings from hurricane storm damage.” Once again, the term “retains” implies that there was a threat to wash through or that they were being outlawed. QUESTION: Is there anything within the current City Charter or code that prevents a wash through from being a part of a building? If not, doesn’t “retain” imply something that is not true?

3) Once again, the article and the graphic claims that Ballot Question #1 “permits screening of rooftop equipment to preserve the residential character of buildings.” QUESTION: Where in the current Charter or Code is screening of rooftop equipment barred?”

At a City Commission Meeting, the Mayor held up a post card sent out by the “Protect and Preserve Cocoa Beach.” The PAC made several claims.

4) The post card claimed “Protects us against high rise development, keeping the 45 ft. limit for occupied space.” QUESTIONS: (a) Where in the Charter is the 45 ft limit for occupied space? (b) How does this “protect us” as both Commissioner Miller and Mayor Malik voted for a variance to obliterate the 45 foot height limit that citizens and voters passed for the Ocean Dunes project? (c) What legally prevents you or another Commission from voting for variances for even higher construction?

5) The same post card said the Question “Strengthens our height ordinances, preventing future changes.” QUESTION: The Ballot Question doesn’t address the future, so what legal mechanisms fall into place against the changing of height restrictions that are not in place now? Wouldn’t the same process for higher limits be available in the future just as they are now?

6) The card made the statement that “Question #1 passed by unanimous vote (5-0) by our City Commission.” QUESTION: What exactly was passed by that 5-0 vote other than to have the Ballot Question on the ballot? Do you have any record showing which way the Commissioners voted at theit polling places?

7) The card claimed Ballot Issue #1 allows “more beautiful construction.” QUESTION: (a) How does this question deal with anything concerning the look of the building? (b) Given that many residents think that Cocoa Beach is crowded enough and lacking the infrastructure to handle more residents (much less more construction,) how does this Question address that part of the citizens’ concerns?

8) The card says the Ballot Question “ensures smart low-rise development and prevents any high-rise development.” QUESTION: Doesn’t the current Code and Charter do that now? Isn’t this an increase in allowable height of the actual building of over 50%?”

(A bit of math here…..the FEMA Flood Plain Height is 12.7 feet for most of Cocoa Beach. The Ballot Question #1 allows for construction to one foot about the flood plain elevation, then 45 feet for “habitable space,’ and finally 10 additional feet for a parapet. Total building height allowed: 68.7 feet. That is an increase of 52.67% in height.)

9) QUESTION FOR THE MAYOR: Why did you support the PAC and the lies they published?

As you can see, these questions all expose that the people supporting this are not exactly telling the truth when it comes to this issue.

We ask once again:

IF BALLOT QUESTION #! IS SO GOOD FOR THE CITY, THEN WHY THE NEED TO LIE TO CITIZENS ABOUT IT?

The Mayor’s presentation will center around the financial “needs” of the City. He has said in the past that the increase in height is needed to increase tax revenue.

10) The Budget of the City of Cocoa Beach is more than that of Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbor Beach, and Melbourne Beach combined. Adding the populations of those cities together is over 3.5 times the population of Cocoa Beach. QUESTION: Why does the City need to spend more money than other cities on the coast? Why doesn’t the City recognize that this is a spending issue and not a revenue issue?

So there you have it. Ten questions we’d like to see answered at this forum. We’d like to see the Mayor explain the misrepresentations he made, the City made and those from a group he supported made.

We know the people won’t get answers, but that is why there is a ballot box where citizens can show their disapproval at being lied to.



13 Responses to “Cocoa Beach: Questions To Ask About Ballot Question #1.”

  1. Concerned says:

    I received an email invite to a meeting tonight at 6:30 concerning Question #1. This invite came from IloveCocoaBeachFlorida. This organization is affiliated with local hoteliers and a marketing company. This same marketing company is assisting the campaign for Tim Tumulty for Commission Seat 4.

    I was curious about the direct relationship of parties trying to “encourage” the citizens of Cocoa Beach to vote “yes” on question #1 on November 6. The address for the upcoming forum tonight (25 N. Brevard Ave.) is owned by JMCM Heritage LLC according to the public records for Brevard County Property Appraiser. It lists a mailing address for the home of James Emory. Mr. Emory is the Chair and Treasurer for the PAC “Protect and Preserve Cocoa Beach”. Further research at sunbiz.org, a state site that records owners and representatives of corporations and businesses, reflects that JMCM Heritage LLC is owned by the same James Emory. After further research on the property appraiser site, I found that he owns lots of properties in Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. We are not against people owning property. That is what we all strive to do. He is the owner of warehouses, a contracting company, engineering company, roofing company, etc. Most of these companies could be directly profitable if the height increases in Cocoa Beach and they get the contracts for new development. I remind the citizens again that International Palms, a 13 acre property, is wanting to develop. They want this to pass also so their is more money in their pockets. The owners don’t even live here. As we have stated numerous times, follow the money.

    I agree with ROH that we need to review the spending, not place all of the emphasis on increasing the income. I agree with you that our infrastructure can’t handle this.

    I will not be voting for Tim Tumulty and I definitely will be voting NO on Question #1 later today.

    • Hometown says:

      So, if I’ve got it straight it would appear that two of our elected officials are providing their services in support of the special interest PAC which I believe is considered an in-kind contribution. Also, the owner of the building, by allowing its use is providing an in-kind contribution to the special interest PAC. Will be interesting to see if these in-kind contributions are reported on their next financial statement.

  2. CB Resident says:

    I found the following on a city website page regarding Florida Sunshine laws.

    What qualifies as a meeting?
    The Sunshine law applies to all discussions or deliberations as well as the formal action taken by a board or commission. The law, in essence, is applicable to any gathering, whether formal or casual, of two or more members of the same board or commission to discuss some matter on which foreseeable action will be taken by the public board or commission. There is no requirement that a quorum be present for a meeting to be covered under the law.

    At first look, the meeting described above would appear to violate Florida Sunshine laws (or at least attempts to skirt the intent). I could not find where the city advertised the meeting in advance and I don’t believe putting it on Facebook counts. Also, I believe discussions involving budget and the city’s height requirements can reasonably be expected to come before the commission in the future. Also, I seriously doubt if any minutes will be taken and become public record.

    Just another attempt by our elected officials to use their position as elected city officials to advocate for the passage of CB Question One under the guise of presenting the “fact” (or more correctly “their facts”). The City Attorney has stated it is illegal for the city to take sides on this issue but it hasn’t seemed to stop some of elected officials from using their official positions to advocate for this amendment. I gues the $41,000 spent by the special interest groups wasn’t enough.

    We may already be to late but spread the word to vote No on CB Question One and get all the residents to vote. This is a very important issue, don’t let the special interest groups funded by out of town money decide the future of our city.

  3. Sandy says:

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
    George Orwell.

  4. James Emory says:

    In reading above, there are several inaccuracies regarding me personally. First of all, I am a full time Cocoa Beach resident and homeowner. I do own a few, one story properties in Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island. I do not own any property in Cape Canaveral. My grandfather did, and as executor of his estate, I have since sold all of his real estate holdings as of December 2017.
    I agreed to host the meeting in our vacant space at 25 N Brevard for convenience only.
    My Engineering and Construction companies do not do new construction. We have a 25 year track record in restoration of older existing buildings. We are not looking to change direction and have more restoration work than we can handle. About 80-90% of our revenue is from outside of Cocoa Beach. My roofing company has been inactive for approaching 10 years.
    I agreed to participate in the PAC as I believe it is best for the city and not to benefit myself directly or personally.
    My cell phone is listed on the public PAC paperwork, yet no one from this publication has bothered to call me for input.
    The meeting tonight is indeed open to the public, please attend and ask questions

    • Lady Voter says:

      I have a question for you, Mr. Emory. Last week the city sent out an email saying it’s illegal to leave unsolicited materials on people’s porch and one of your PAC brochures was recently left on the doorstep. Like the rest of the community, I’m very concerned about the terrible condition of the lagoon and the detrimental impact pamphlets contribute to it. How does leaving this kind of loose literature laying around “protect and preserve” Cocoa Beach? Seems pretty irresponsible to me.
      The city email said to let the offending agency know first and then report it to the authorities if it happens again, so I’m putting you on notice.

    • AAfterwit says:

      James Emory,

      Thank you for the comment.

      Speaking for this blog, we immediately had an issue with the deliberate misnaming of a PAC which was supporting a fundamental change in the City being named “Protect and Preserve Cocoa Beach.”

      We also had issues with the statements your PAC made on the mailer that are false.

      We do not know how contacting anyone would have persuaded you and the PAC to change the name or address the misrepresentations.

      We like to think that people are fundamentally decent, but it seems that this question has brought out the worst in people.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      A. Afterwit.

  5. CB Resident says:

    A point of clarification, on 10/22/18 the city sent out a misleading (in my opinion) email to residents regarding unsolicited materials that said (see excerpt below):

    Distribution of Unsolicited Materials
    The Cocoa Beach City Commission has adopted Ordinance No. 1618 to address the issues of unsolicited materials, such as, newspapers, handbills, advertisements, or other similar paper materials being left/thrown/placed on driveways, right-a-way, porches or yards. The City Commission finds establishing an ordinance to address and prevent the indiscriminate throwing of unsolicited newspapers, handbills, advertisements, or other paper materials which can cause unsightly littering and the clogging of storm drains, and damage to waterways was necessary to protect the lagoon and residents.

    After reading the email above I (being the naïve trusting resident) took it to mean that all unsolicited material had been banned in the city. However, doing my due diligence I googled the CB ordinance 1618 and found the following (see excerpt below):

    Unsolicited materials may be handed to any person, or may be hung on any handle or knob of any door.

    So, Unsolicited material hung on a handle or knob of any door between 9am and 6pm is allowed. Unfortunately, it looks like only the people handing out the tumulty, miller, vote yes flyers got the word.

    After tumulty’s stunt at the commission meeting where he brought in a newpaper, waved it around and reiterated that unsolicited material was not allowed I’m sure most residents also thought that unsolicited materials of all types were not allowed.

    Again, this appears to be a slick concerted effort to hamstring the residents who want to get out the word to Vote No on CB Question One. I guess that’s politics, but I also expected a little more integrity and honesty on this controversial issue.

    That said, don’t get side tracked, get the word out to Vote No on Question One and re-elect Commissioner Williams and put a stop to this nonsense.

    • Lady Voter says:

      Nope. It was laying on the doorstep, not attached to the doorknob or knocker.

      • CB Resident says:

        Then, that would indeed be a violation of Ordinance 1618, although I doubt the city would be able to do anything about it before the elections. You might want to log onto the city website and input it as a concern to the code enforcement folks to look into, at least that way the city has a record of your concern about code violations in the city.

        • Lady Voter says:

          Thanks for the suggestion and also the clarification about unsolicited materials. I have a feeling the city will turn a blind eye to whatever this PAC does, before or after the election.

          • CB Resident says:

            No doubt, so focus your energy on telling all your resident friends what’s going on, tell them to tell their friends. Ask them to come to the ROH website and look thru the CB posts to learn the facts before they vote. Question One does not benefit the residents or our small beachside community.

            • Frances says:

              To CB Resident and his/her neighbors

              I agree with telling your friends about Amendment No. 1 but please do not bypass voting NO on Amendment No. 2.

              I think Amendment 2 is a blank check to change our city charter which has been working very well since it’s last review in 2008. I only hope I am wrong in thinking that city ordinances now referenced in the charter will be included under Scrivener’s errors; some appear to be INDIVIDUAL text amendments made to change the city comprehensive plan’s vision. Will they drastically update our charter under the guise of using terminology and typographical errors?

              It’s bad enough that Amendment No. 1 has terminology like “or” which might be like signing a blank check!

              Some of our city commissioners just agreed to raise our property taxes along with releasing NO FINANCIAL facts on what kind of work load and costs the city staff will have to incur if these amendments do pass.

              Our city’s general fund is doing a day-to-day balancing act to keep afloat.

              I’m voting NO on BOTH city amendments and will continue to spread the word.

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