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Here’s The Scoop…#7…9/12/08 Commission Meeting…AND THE FEES REALLY ARE…..

MANAGER HOLDING IT CLOSE TO THE VEST……..

This writer has noticed more and more often the Town Manager gets quite agitated …when a member of the dais or the public asks too many questions…or challenges what she has put on the agenda..or states as the status quo..or what the commission has voted on….previously…

Some items as previously posted call for more questions…. such as …why are we suddenly with no Capitol Improvement funds…but we were in possession of between $1-$2 million to do the boardwalks…which by the way never came back to the dais…with a report from the Town Atty…..now we did not take on any other big projects…so what happened to those available funds?… How about the $1.4 million we did not use from the Palm Club sewers left after the purchase of the McIntee Public Safety Complex?….

Also…the flag poles now going in at every entry…previous post…without a vote for them….from the commission…and the added monthly expense….

WHAT IS ON THE AGENDA?………..WHAT IS NEVER OFF THE AGENDA?……..WHAT HAS REALLY PASSED?

This leads this writer to the Ordinances covered in this meeting…to which I surmised were really a way to add fees…to make money for the Town…….

At first she did not answer…then said the $900 stayed the same per the commission’s vote some months ago for all….and later said she was making for all applications….to have everything in line…HMMM…

A look back online at the minutes found the following….from Commission Meetings……and in the minutes…approved by the Commission…all was not as it was represented from the dais…….

Much confusion on what was done …what was not done…when it was put on the agenda…when it was put on the wrong agenda…leading up to a vote that is opposite of what was said to be Resolution 2008-03 which is now in new Ordinances…effectively raising the fees…on not only variances…but applications..appeals…and commercial properties….

In fairness….this writer did not watch the tapes…or see any background materials…but the minutes should be enough for residents like this writer to get the answers…

full text online …www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov

11/27/07…pg 2-3….#5…Reports…During reports then- Commissioner McIntee question former Development Director Rabinowitz about the $900 variance cost he paid for a car port enclosure….asking if the costs could be cut back…Rabinowitz answered arrangements could be made to see whether it could…and explaining the costs involved…planner cost/advertising/and notification to the community involved in all projects…

Former Mayor Parker questioned variance notices…

former Town Atty. Cherof explained the Quasi Judicial Hearings require a notice. …..Atty Cherof said the Town could lower the threshold of what type of activity constituted a variance….adding it was possible for administrative approval of minor changes to property…..

Parker asked if such a change would lower the price of a variance for a single family home…..

Cherof said it was possible…using categories….

McIntee requested it be put on the next agenda and asked for Rabinowitz and Cherof to present their ideas….

Parker added to do it for single and duplexes…

Atty Cherof said that if an adjacent property owner objected to a variance it could trigger a hearing and not an administrative decision….no objection…it could then be moved forward with the administrative hearing….

it was placed on the 12/11/07 agenda..

12/11/07…(a check of this online…will show on pg. 4 …#6minutes…then below is a new business item #14e moved up by McIntee…then on pg. 5…it jumps to item #16…)….

New Business …pg. 4-5….#14e….Ms Bradley came to speak about the cost of variances compared to other cities …

Mayor Parker wanted placement on the 1/8/08 agenda to lower costs of a variance on single family homes with instructions to the Town Atty. to create an Ordinance for 1st reading lowering the cost to a maximum of $250….

Yanni 2nd it…5-0 passed…

BCbythesea…what happened to the 11/27/07 request for a report from the Town Atty. and Director of Development?….

1/8/08…pg.7-8…..#10 b. 1st reading….Ordinance 2008-02 An Ordinance to lower the cost of a variance for single family homes (requested at 12/11/07 Comm. meeting)

Atty. Cherof explained the Ordinance was not required and would be available administratively in the form of a Resolution and available at the 1/22/08 meeting…

Comm. McIntee inquired as to whether the cost of variances to other cities had been researched.

Rabinowitz said in his experience…$900 was average…

McIntee made a motion to table to 3/11/08…

passes 4-1 Parker dissenting…

1/22/08…Town Managers Report…pg.12…#15d….Variance application fees…Manager Colon felt reducing the cost of a variance for single family homes from $900 to $453 barely represented the cost of the variance in surrounding municipalities. She asked that if there was a complex variance that needed review from the Town Engineer/Town Planner …the Town be allowed to recoup those costs…Manager Colon said the $453 was comparable to other cities….

Mayor Parker placed this item on the 2/26/08 agenda as a resolution setting variance fees and prepared by Atty. Cherof …

there were no objections…

BCbythesea…again all info is from the online minutes…approved by the commission…here again…on 1/8/08..this was tabled by McIntee until 3/11/08…it shows up on this agenda 1/22/08..under the Manager’s report with a $453 amount…exceeding the $250 voted on 12/11/08…that was supposed to be on 1/8/08 but was not…minutes do not reflect an increase in the amount…

2/26/08…pg. 7-8……#12a….Resolution…..Resolution 2008-03…A Resolution of the Town of LBTS Florida reducing and fixing the base application fee for variances for single family homes to $453 and providing for an effective date (Atty. Cherof)….

BCbythesea…this is the 1st meeting with the new commission…

Mayor Minnet reads the Resolution by title….

now the Vice Mayor…Vice Mayor McIntee believed in all fairness the resolution should read $453 for any residential property per unit….

Comm. Silverstone made a motion to approve the resolution….

Comm. Clottey 2nd it for discussion…

Discussion followed on the set fee base that would cover the Town’s cost and the number of single family homes requesting variances…..

Comm. Clottey asked whether the Town was recovering the costs involved….

Manager Colon clarified the $453 would cover a simple variance that included publication/application fee/internal review…she added it would not cover external review…such as engineering/planning/additional advertising….

Director of Development Services added an attorney was required for any Quasi Judicial Hearing at BOA….

Vice Mayor McIntee believed the Resolution should read $453 for simple up to 4 plex and for more complicated variances the Town should put people on notice….he made a motion to table until second meeting in 4/2008…

Comm. Silverstone suggested changing the wording to read….$453 for simple variances..

McIntee agreed …withdrew his motion to table….

Atty. Bridgeman suggested bringing this item up at a later time to be certain the wording was correct….

McIntee made a motion to table to 3/25/08

Silverstone 2nd…passes 5-0…

3/11/08…pg. 9-10…#12b….Resolution 2008-03…A Resolution reducing and fixing the base application fee for variances for all residential and commercial properties to $453 (Atty. Cherof) (Tabled at the 2/26/08 commission meeting by Vice Mayor McIntee…

BCbythesea…although McIntee tabled it until 3/25/08…not 3/11/08…seems to be a running pattern in this town…

Mayor Minnet read the Resolution by title…

Vice Mayor Mcintee made a motion to adopt Resolution 2008-03…

Comm. Silverstone 2nd it…

Comm. Silverstone thought the commission voted to reduce the fees for simple variances…adding that this version related to commercial and residential variances…

Manager Colon said the commission approved all types of property…she added the resolution also specified that anything over $453 such as review by outside source would be an additional cost to the requester…

Comm Clottey believed LBTS charged more than other cities…she believed the Town should not charge for staff time …she wanted to drop the variance fee to just the incremental cost of approving the variance and advertising…

Manager Colon explained that $250 was allocated for advertising and direct mailing…out of the remaining $203…$100 was the basic application fee and remaining $103 did not cover the time it took 6 people …including the Town Atty. to review the application…

Discussion continued on reducing the fee by the $103 and staff salaries….

Mayor Minnet believed whatever dollars were taken away from fees would have to be picked up from elsewhere…

(BCbythesea…if the discussion sounds familiar …it is …it was repeated at the 9/12/08 meeting by Comm. Clottey/Mayor Minnet)…

Vice Mayor McIntee made a motion to adopt the resolution…

Silverstone 2nd it…

the roll was called and it failed…1-4…Minnet/Silverstone/Clottey/Dodd voted no….

Comm. Clottey made a motion to reduce the fees to incremental costs only….

Comm. Dodd 2nd it…

Discussion followed regarding the costs involved …they would vary depending on the variance and type of notices/advertisement required…and the type of review…

Atty. Cherof asked the if intent of Comm. Cottey was to have Manager Colon track staff time to obtain actual cost…

Comm. Clottey wanted to know the extra costs the Town would have to pay in addition to salaries…

Manager Colon indicated that complicated plans may require additional code review/Atty. consultation..she added there is not a fixed cost except for advertising/application fee…

Vice Mayor McIntee suggested that if the cost for the permit /advertisement/application fee was $350 then it would be the reasonable figure to charge…

Commissioner Silverstone made motion to adopt Resolution 2008-03 at the reduced cost of $350…

Vice Mayor McIntee 2nd it…

roll call vote…passes 5-0…

BCbythesea….

RESOLUTION 2008-03 item #12b…on 3/11/08 READS AS FOLLOWS….

RESOLUTION 2008-03: A RESOLUTION REDUCING AND FIXING THE BASE APPLICATION FEE FOR VARIANCES FOR ALL RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES TO $453…(NOW REDUCED TO $350.)…

Nothing different is on any minutes from 3/11/08-9/12/08….which means the Resolution…according to the minutes online…called for a $350 charge for variances on all residential and commercial properties….

Now what?….

The Ordinances will be up for 2nd reading…and clarification and corrections need to be made….

BCbythesea…the charge should stay as it was voted on for both types of properties…with incremental costs…..as required …with that information provided to the applicants……as per the Commissioners from the minutes….

The concern…these cost increases in fees…and the hiring of another code enforcement officer…means more revenue for the Town at the taxpayers expense….

more to come……..

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