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Recording of the Aug 15th P&Z meeting
From the Aug 15th Planning and Zoning Meeting.
There is a lot of opposition to the Sebastian annexation plan for the land located on South CR510, as was demonstrated last night at the Planning and Zoning Board meeting. Although it was pouring rain, the entire room was packed with Sebastian City Residents. As you can imagine, this was highly unusual. Planning and Zoning meetings are rarely, if ever, eventful and are only attended by a handful of people.
Two lengthy presentations were given with very slick charts and diagrams in favor of annexation. Of significance was the second presentation given by an engineer hired by the would be land developers. Many years ago Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, wrote a book entitled “Don’t Pee On My Shoes and Tell Me That It Is Raining.” Listening to the 2nd presentation immediately made me think that I was watching this concept in live time. The presentation was arrogant and frankly, ridiculous. We were all asked to suspend our reasoning and all common sense. The speaker had the unmitigated gall to tell the council, as well as the attending property owners that the development of this small city within our city would result in not only no increase in traffic to the City of Sebastian, but would actually improve our traffic because this new little city would have various different access points that traffic would feed in and out of. Yes, he actually said this but failed to explain how this would comport with the laws of reality.
The developer’s front man also told the Board that instead of harming our wetlands and water supply, building all these homes would magically improve our wetlands and water supply. More than one person would later come forward disputing these claims. A representative from the sewerage utility in Fellsmere contradicted the developer and stated that the water treatment utility had the right to deny service to the development since they had limited capacity and were required to provide their services to the entire county and not just this highly concentrated proposed development.
The developer’s mouthpiece further insisted that the people of Sebastian should all be supporting the massive expansion project because it would bring us more shopping that is closer to home. Apparently driving into Vero for the mall or to go to a restaurant should be sufficient to sacrifice the character and wellbeing of Sebastian City residents. As any used car salesman would do, he asked how we do our shopping other than food shopping. In my case I use Amazon Prime. Regardless of how people do their shopping, we already have many empty commercial spaces in the Sebastian area. Bringing in more shopping would only bring further closure to pre-existing Sebastian area businesses.
Even if the idea is important to your aspirations for growth, a Sebastian resident attorney, having read the proposal, indicated that that same proposal had a legal loophole embedded within which would allow the builder to change the “shopping district” to residential property once annexation has been achieved. I believe this is what has been called a hustle. The same resident legal eagle presented information to the Board showing that the land developer had additional lands that have been broken up. In other words, in another “sleight of hand” move, we can expect that in the future the same developer will be back multiple times to develop the rest of the land as a part of Sebastian. As such the Sebastian taxpayer can expect their taxes to continue to go up in order to accommodate the interests of a large land developer.