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:

Satellite Beach – City Council Meeting Tonight.

Satellite-Beach-Roller-Stamp---ROHTonight at 7:00 PM the Satellite Beach City Council will hold a regular meeting.

There are, as always, a couple of interesting things to talk about.

City Manager Barker is asking for approval of a letter to Ferrara Fire Apparatus for the purchase of a new fire truck. The letter seeks to place a “hold” on an in-stock truck until financing can be arranged. We are sure the truck costs something, but it is not in the letter or in the documentation within the agenda packet.

The other interesting idea is that the City Council will look at participating in the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. The program allows a property owner to apply for a loan through the PACE agency for improvements related to energy efficiency, hardening to weather, etc. The variable interest rate loan is then paid back to the PACE program through a non-ad valorem assessment to the tax bill for the property. The assessment stays with the property (not the individual) until it is paid off. That means people taking part in the program can leave the next owner of the property with the bill.

Interestingly, any tax credits or rebates will go to the property owner but any carbon credits will go to PACE to help pay for costs.

There are a couple of other odd things in the program as well.

Satellite Beach: Hiding Losses And Spending Money.


We mentioned the other day that the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit had ruled in favor of the Goersch’s in their lawsuit against the City of Satellite Beach with all three judges concurring in the opinion (no dissent.)

The opinion was issued on July 13, 2016, a week before the July 20, 2016 regular City Council meeting and 21 days before the August 3, 2016 Regular City Council meeting.

At the August 3rd meeting, something a little strange happened.

At the very end of her City Manager report, Courtney Barker brought up the issue of the decision and wanted to know whether the Council wanted to pursue an appeal of the case.

What made this odd to many people was that the items was not on the City Manager’s Report:

Satellite Beach Loses To Goerschs On Fence Permit And Variance.


In case you missed it, Satellite Beach lost again in Court to the Goersch’s. Previously, the Goersch’s had beaten the City in court when the City tried to take back property that was vacated to the Goersch’s.

This time the issue was that the City failed to issue a variance for the fence the Goersch’s had built upon their property. (See the decision below.)

Saying that as the “Board’s denial was not supported by competent, substantial evidence, the Petitioners’ application for a variance should be granted,” the three member Court quashed the denial of the variance and sent it back to the City for an “Order consistent with this opinion.”

The Goersch’s are said to be seeking reimbursement for their legal fees in the first case. We have no idea if they will seek the same lawyer fees in this second case.

No matter what, it is impossible to say that the City has gotten anything but a black eye from this case. Whomever is telling the City to go forward with these suits seems to be giving questionable legal advice.

Satellite Beach: Council Meeting Tonight.

Satellite-Beach-Censored-Sign-ROH For a couple of reasons, we have stayed away from Satellite Beach for awhile, but no longer.

Tonight the City Council will meet at 7:00 PM. The agenda can be found here and the agenda packet can be found here.

There are a couple of items of interest on the agenda.

Chickens are back for a second time. On July 6, 2016, the Council passed an ordinance on its first of two required readings to allow people to raise up to four chickens (no roosters) in coops in their back yards.

It is an interesting proposal and one we support on a trial basis. Obviously, there are some concerns with predators and things like that, but that is what coops are for – to keep predators out. Chickens are rather smart, tidy animals and they shouldn’t be a bother to any neighbor which should be the only objections the government should have when trying to control what people do on their own property.

What is interesting is that Lorraine Gott voted against the ordinance the last time and yet she and John Fergus are very much into the Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW) theory and are looking to do everything they can to raise money and pass regulations in support of that theory.

Yet here is a simple way of lowering carbon levels even a tiny bit. If you have chickens, you don’t need to go to the store to buy eggs. That means a truck doesn’t have to deliver as many eggs to the markets. It means that more chickens can be free ranged on farms because the density of chickens and egg production can be lowered.

Local chickens are good for the environment so why is Gott against them?

The City Employee Clinic is back on the agenda.

Satellite Beach: Teen Assaulted For Not Wearing Safety Gear At Skatepark.

Satellite-Beach-Skateboard-ROH An anonymous tipster sent us this story that is so ridiculous it is unbelievable. However, truth is stranger than fiction.

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. — A 30-year-old man is facing charges for allegedly attacking a teenager at a skate park.

Witnesses told police the attack was unprovoked.

Investigators said the incident started because the teenager wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Think about this for a moment….

A 15 year old was attacked and assaulted for not wearing a helmet. In other words, to try and convince the kid to be more safety oriented and prevent injury, the 30 year repeatedly hit the kid in the face and then started kicking him.

The adult injured the kid in order to teach him about preventing injury while skateboarding.

Yeah….. that makes sense.

The short post at WFTV includes this line that also raises some questions:

A witness called police, while a park employee came to the teen’s defense after he said he saw him being kicked.


Satellite Beach: The Goersch Decision.


We have been reluctant to write about the Goersch’s lawsuit against the City of Satellite Beach and Judge John Harris’ summary judgement in favor of the Goerschs.

(For the record, a “summary judgement” is one where there are no material differences of facts between the two parties. Once the facts are established, the only thing to determine is the applicability of the law. That application and resulting court order is a “summary judgement.”)

We have received requests to comment on the case and because of the holidays, were reluctant and time constrained to do so, but now we have some time, so here we go.

The case begins back in the summer of 2012 when Klaus and Brigette Goersch approached the city about vacating a city owned right of way which bisected their property. The Goerschs stated a desire to have one continuous property which is understandable. The right of way they sought to vacate was part of what was platted as “Beach Street,” which was never developed and for which the City of Satellite Beach never had any previous plans or even long range plans to do anything with. Under the law, the Goerschs were allowed to seek the vacation.

The vacation request was first addressed by the City Council which sent the issue to the CRA Board. The CRA Board determined the issue was not in their purview and returned it to the City Council which on August 15, 2012 adopted a Resolution 920 granting the Goerschs the vacation.

While there were some technical and legal issues that were discussed through the process (specifically whether the vacation needed to be done by a resolution or ordinance,) it was clear that this was a political hot potato. The reason for that was that it appeared that then Councilwoman Sheryl Denan was friends with the Goerschs and therefore was pushing the item for them.

That position may be very true. It may be that the Goerschs and Denan were best buddies or it may be that they barely knew each other. In many ways, it doesn’t matter.

Council members are elected to represent their constituents within the City of Satellite Beach. That means the Goerschs were as deserving as anyone of a Council member determining whether to bring forth the item. Furthermore, if the issue were so lacking in merit, there were four other Council members who had the ability to say “no” and not pass the vacation. In fact, before it even got to the Council, then Mayor Joe Ferrante could have not allowed the vacation on the agenda as it the Mayor who controls the agenda as per the City Charter.

Those who were opposed to Denan and the vacation used the “they’re friends” meme to taint the discussion and eventual resolution. What is difficult for us to understand is that after the new City Council was elected and seated in late 2012 and following Councilman Billman’s resignation, in interviewing people for the vacant Council seat, members of the new Council stated they knew and were friends with applicants. Even if one accepts the premise that Denan and the Goerschs were friends, why is it that bringing an item forward for a friend is a horrible thing, but yet promoting and advocating for a friend to sit on the City Council is a good thing?

Unfortunately the political nature of this case was just beginning.

Satellite Beach: Writer Nails It.

Pen-and-Nails-ROHA Satellite Beach resident has a letter to the editor in the Florida Today where she says the outcome of a “planning meeting” was already predetermined.

Of course, she is right.

The City Council has allowed the appearance of public input while at the same time Council members have complained that citizens are giving input. The Beachcaster is no longer and informational publication, but propaganda supporting anything and everything the City and the Council does. The people who supported the current Council members complained that the previous Council did not listen to public input. In some ways, they were right. This Council has taken a deaf ear to new heights (or lows depending on how you look at it.)

All we can say is “November is coming.”

A1A project hearing ‘a farce’

The “public” hearing regarding the project on A1A was limited to informing those residents or business that are located within 300 feet of A1A.

We were told that the project is 90 percent finished. A limited number of local citizens were in attendance to give their suggestions and ideas (10 percent?). All those who spoke had great concerns for the safety of the mid-block crossings. With established intersections and existing beach entrances, the suggestions were to install traffic lights at these traditional crossing areas, as well as other intersections where pedestrian and vehicle traffic has increased. The mid-block crossings are no safer than the “suicide” lanes.

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