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Opinion
Palm Coast Thursday, Sep. 19, 2019 5 months ago

Three topics in letters to the editor: prayer, Hammock development, unlicensed contractors

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Here's what your neighbors are talking about.
by: Guest Writer

Having prayer at board meeting shows arrogance

Dear Editor:

The issue isn't faith or prayer. The issue is the arrogance of an elected official who chose to ignore procedure (not placing the item on the agenda), chose to disregard common courtesy by not informing her fellow board members about what she planned to do, and chose to completely ignore public opinion.

This was a stunt, nothing more. She knew the media would cover it and it would garner support among those who believe their religion is the only "right" one. The fact that she allowed the minister to do a commercial for her particular church and faith after the prayer is proof of that. A moment of silence would have allowed everyone to pray according to their beliefs.

I wonder if the readers who rote in support of prayer at official meetings would be OK with a Buddhist, Muslim or Wiccan prayer at the next meeting.

Last, let's be clear on the record: In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that teachers were not allowed to lead prayer or Bible readings even if the activity was optional.

Edith Campins

Palm Coast

 

Don’t make Jungle Hut an asphalt jungle

Dear Editor:

Beachwalk is a proposed development on Jungle Hut Road and A1A that is asking for 50 homes on 12.44 acres. In order to have this great a density the developer requested a PUD, a planned unit development, which allows for greater diversity, only if “The purpose and intent of the planned unit development PUD is to provide innovative urban design, creative and flexible concepts and protection of natural features and open spaces that strict interpretation of zoning regulations would otherwise inhibit.” 

Beachwalk fails to meet these criteria for a PUD; Beachwalk also fails to meet the Comprehensive Plan requirement that “The design and construction of a PUD must be in harmony with Zoning District regulations and the Flagler County Comprehensive Plan.”

In total there are eight different requirements (five from the Land Development Code and four from the Comprehensive Plan) that Beachwalk does not meet — especially the need for low density in the coastal areas. (Both A1A and Jungle Hut are designated scenic highways.)

From the beginning of the plan for the development, TRC attorney Sean Moylan wrote on Jan. 8, 2019, “Beachwalk as it exists does meet the criteria for a PUD.” The only changes made since the original proposal were to remove four homes and add two cul-de-sacs and allow more trees to remain between both 1A and Jungle Hut. None of these changes meet the criteria for a PUD.

In the first votes on Beachwalk (March 15, 2019) the commissioners unanimously voted “No,” on the site plan and “No, ” on whether Beachwalk met the criteria for a PUD. 

The developers then asked for a mediation. This so-called mediation (May 23) dealt almost exclusively with the site plan, not the PUD. The commissioners passed on the site plan 3-2 on (June 17), but Jerry Cameron, the Flagler County administrator, said that this vote was on the PUD as well, although there was no presentation about how or why the requirements of the PUD were met. This was one vote, not two as was the original vote.

Then on July 25, the commissioners voted 3-2 to table Beachwalk. On Aug. 5, commissioners voted 4-1 to discuss Beachwalk on Aug. 13, but because of time necessary for notification that date was changed to Sept. 16. At this meeting the commissioners will decide if Beachwalk meets the requirements for a PUD. 

Sean Moylan also wrote, on Feb. 8, to the developer’s attorney, that “a PUD cannot be used solely to gain a blanket of variances.” This is exactly how the developers of Beachwalk are using the PUD.

I urge all concerned citizens of the Hammock, to wear a green shirt, show up on Sept. 16 and oppose the Beachwalk for the dangerous precedent it would set in the Hammock for greater density than our codes allow.

Dr. Lynne Bravo Rosewater

Palm Coast

(Editor’s note: see the results of the vote on Page 5.)

 

City should verify that contractors are legitimate

Dear Editor:

Most of us remember the caution that parents imparted to their young ones when getting ready to cross a street: “Look both ways” is still emblazoned in the mind of this 93-year-old. But, in our maturity and life experiences, we should exercise, as well, some very important tenets in order to avoid the wiles of unscrupulous building contractors who ply upon the lack of sophistication of both the senior and younger individuals who hire these individuals to do major work on their homes. 

Had I and my late husband exercised “due diligence” or the Latin phrase, “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware), I would not find myself in the untenable situation where a contractor was engaged to do a major restoration project and the end result is that the leak continues.

After the fact, I have embarked on a project of “due diligence.” From a complaint filed with the Department of Professional Regulation, I learned that any Tom, Dick or Harry can act as a contractor using the license of an individual who passed the state exam.

That becomes the loss to the homeowner when hiring such a person who presents his business card with a licensed contractor’s number.

Following the hiring of such an individual, the contractor must file for a permit, in my case, with the city of Palm Coast. But the Building Department does not require verification of any sort!

I wonder, at this point, who is minding the store at the permitting department in Palm Coast?

Only one councilman has met with me to look for answers. The mayor and other councilmen plus the city manager have been unresponsive to my email. Also I was not afforded the opportunity to meet with the supervisor of the Building Department when I met some months ago with the compliance supervisor.

But I am doggedly persistent and I will leave no stone unturned. Wrongs should not be swept under the rug, thus allowing this “pseudo contractor” to continue to operate as he has and to defraud the city and the individual homeowner.

Phyllis Robbins-Scheffler

Palm Coast

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