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Here’s The Scoop…LBTS…2/10/09 Commission Meeting …#8…Is It Slander From The Dais?… Maybe…But Certainly A Double Mc-Standard…

RIDING ON THE RAIL OF SLANDER?…..

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Remember that song one of these things looks like the other?….

At the 2/10/09…Commission meeting…2 items on the New Business…2 items concerning “easements”….2 times…dealing with previous Commissions/Administrations…and 2 very different Mc-outcomes!…

16a….Leisure Tower…(previous posts…LBTS agenda/meeting  categories-agenda 2/10/09…and commission posts)…was the recipient of a long drawn out battle to get funds promised to them by the Town for giving up property…and work done …

The over 4 year “nightmare”…ended finally?…at the meeting with “selective” acknowledgment on the part of the VM and his BFF Comm. Silverstone…turning a blind eye to the year long “standoff” that was provided by the current Town Manager/ Asst. Manager and Town Attorney …keeping Leisure Towers from receiving their final reimbursement as detailed in 2003 in a letter from the Town…

The “2-Hats”…playing “cop” loyalty once more conveniently left out the role their “Golden Girl Manager”…played on her own…by not putting this on the Consent agenda in March of 2008 for the Commissioners to do what they did 1 year later…vote to comply with the Town’s obligation to Leisure Towers…per the 2003 letter…(The Town racked up costs in this last year with legal input, staff time…and Leisure Towers having to pay for legal counsel as well)…

McIntee and Silverstone…had previously voted in the last Commission to finish the Town’s obligation to the condo….and at this meeting as the last they backed up what was done previously by the Town…It passed 4-1…Comm. Clottey dissenting…

BC- Will Leisure Towers be sending a bill to cover their legal costs?…They should!…

ON TO THE FLIP SIDE….SELECTIVE ACTIONS….WITH MC-“SLANDEROUS?” REMARKS…

New Business item 16c…

Garden Court- Discussion and/or action to rescind donation of land to developer back to our Town…VM McIntee….

First of all the Town was lacking in the full backup materials supplied to the Commission and the Town Attorney…

The background from the archived minutes……..

This project has been going on in front of the Commission since 2005…with discussion on that whole part of town…and development on the canal….and the “red flags” that set the then Comm. McIntee off in 2007 with the acknowledgment that the Town had abandoned some land in exchange for streetscape…landscape etc….to redevelop that area….

McIntee lobbed onto this throwing out all sorts of misleading assertions at the 4/10/2007 Commission meeting…saying this was valuable land…that offered people with kids a way to get to the water…to do some fishing…and the Town gave away that land for nothing…

EXCEPT….as the Town Attorney tried (unsuccessfully) to rein McIntee in as he went “off” on his diatribe…here are the facts…

Town Attorney Cherof-” explained that the property Commissioner McIntee referred to as the Town’s property was actually right of way. It stated that it is right of way and the determination as to whether or not to abandon it rest on the Commission’s determination as to whether or not it continues to serve a public purpose to keep it as right of way. If it does not serve the public purpose as right of way, then the Commission would be justified in abandoning it.”

As the McIntee “little guy Vs Developer” increased in intensity…the Town Attorney also added this to “reel in” the McIntee dais diatribes…of losing the ability to walk to the water, fish and the cost of the property …being “handed” over…and going into the developers “coffers”…

T.A. Cherof-“Town Attorney Cherof stated that the property is a significant return to the Town in terms of taxation. He stated that it is all part of the give and take with these type of projects.”…”Town Attorney Cherof stated there is no canal access other than private ownership along the cul-de-sacs.”…” Town Attorney Cherof stated it was wrong to suggest or create the impression  that somehow if we do not go forward with the project as approved the property would be open to the public to fish, walk up or they may be able to peer over the fence and see water, but that was the extent of public interest.’

Comm. McIntee said to do such (peer over a fence at someone’s home to see the water) was important to some people and then sarcastically thanked the Town Attorney for defending the developers….

The Town attorney took offense with that statement calling it misleading and improper…and stated he was not defending anyone…he was trying keep the Town out of litigation…

BC- The concern of litigation came from this project being treated differently than others …with the same land issues…

So with the McIntee “spin” out of the way…here is what transpired…with the project…there seemed to be a series of problems concerning the progress of the the project…with partners…new attorneys…change in Town Development personnel…and this “spun” out of control…on differing levels…

The developers were looking for another extension…the Town was looking for a starting and completion date…and rescinding the abandonment order in a set period of time for those dates if their was continued non- compliance….and an escrow in case it fell through…

Further confusion came from the “cart before the horse”…on recording the property…and when…which would hold up the project as the development contained the abandoned portion and it needed to be addressed and solved before the permits…according to the builder…and their new attorney (2 months in 4/2007)…

By the end of the 4/10/07 meeting the developers were to come back with documents…with a motion made to that effect …along with staying the vacation until the conditions had been met…passed 3-2 …McIntee/Silverstone dissenting…

On May 22,2007  they came back …to again deal with the return of the cul-de-sac to the Town if the project was not completed and the time extension for the project …along with providing the documents asked for a month earlier….

The time extension was expiring on this very day…and the Development Director read the condition drafted for it…the Town Attorney did not draft it but reviewed it and said it was in order…”that he believed it accomplished what the Commission stated goals was.” although Mayor Parker was not so sure…he felt it did not answer the completion time with a date certain…

The Town Attorney “stated that the driving issue was to ensure a reverter of the abandonment of the easement, and he noted that the condition accomplished that, He stated if they do not complete they do so at their own risk.”…Parker wanted it reworded to include a 60 month project completion date…after much discussion  on time extensions from the start dates of 12 months-36 months….including the developer’s attorney speaking of financing  and zoning approval  requiring they “needed a firm approval in place”…along with McIntee asking about the worth of waterfront property in LBTS …going off once again on “what the client is giving the Town for the Town giving a full lot on the intercoastal”‘…(Mayor Parker  stated it was no on the intercoastal to which McIntee said” it was a canal and that lots on water are valuable”)…not done yet McIntee wanted the Commission to hire an appraiser to see how much the lot should be worth….The Town Attorney said “that was not the legal standard that the Commission must apply when making determinations to abandon property. He then explained abandonment standards.”…

The Town Attorney said that at this point the development rights hinged on getting an extension from the Commission…music to McIntee’s ears…he suggested no extension be given…to make them come back with a proposal that would provide more equity to the Town…and asked direction how to put it in motion….the Town Attorney did not have a suggestion….

Mayor Parker asked if they needed to give the extension…the Town Attorney “they did not need to grant an extension but they did need to apply their standards for applying an extension in the same manner they had in the past.”….

The Attorney for the developer spoke of the setbacks experienced in the project……and the efforts to move forward…with Mayor Parker stating “that the abandonment has not been recorded and  he asked if they were legally obligated .”…The Town Attorney said the “real question is if the Town can rescind the previous commitment to abandon the property.”…

Again there was discussion of time delays…May 2005- May 2007…

Mayor Parker said “there was an abandonment that was not recorded, and there should have been a deed of easement recorded at the same time.”…and then went on to talk of how long until “pilings were put in the ground.”..with more talk of financial problems…and this time the inclusion of problems their neighboring developer had with this developer…

Commissioner Clark repeatedly asked how long it will take to record the abandonment and why it wasn’t recorded before…their attorney said their was never a signed document from the town…

More discussion with a start time of 18 months…and a 24 month completion…at which point VM Yanni spoke to Commissioner McIntee asking if he was against the project or giving the property away…McIntee stated he was against the cul-de-sac being given away…and VM Yanni responded with asking about giving the cul-de-sac with the time extension to them…with a time line…and if they miss it…the cu-de-sac comes back to the Town…Parker thought 60 months was too long…Town Planner Walter Keller offered up a 18 month to get permits/12 months to finish…saying they could come back to ask for more time…Parker countered with 18 months to start-42 months to finish…McIntee said they should deny it…motion to deny was the extension failed 3-2 Mcintee/ Silverstone dissenting…

HERE IT IS….

Mayor Parker made a motion…”to grant 12 month extension with the following condition; the Town executes a new abandonment that has a clause (approved by the Town Attorney) that states they must start the construction of the foundation or installation of any necessary pilings within 18 months from now (5/22/07) and they have to finish construction within 42 months from now.’ He then added if they cannot make it, have a good reason the Commission will then have the option to extend… “He said they also have to execute an easement that they are supposed to give, and they record that at the same time, and they are recorded now.”

Commissioner Clark said 42 months too long…Parker amended the motion to 36 months….saying if they did not follow the time line, they can rescind the cul-de-sac and tear down the building…and in the end their attorney agreed to an escrow as well…subject to the cost estimate…more discussion…and it passed 3-2 McIntee/Silverstone dissenting…

The escrow amount amount and reverter language to come back on 6/26/07…

“WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN 5/22/07 & 6/26/07 behind the scenes?”…

June 26, 2007…it came back for the time extension…etc…but the Town Engineer had concerns about the documents …and did not accept the cost estimates for improvements…again Commissioner McIntee made reference to the developer getting  free land…

Discussion entailed water  and sewer lines…escrow….and question arose on the abandonment issue correlating to this work…

Now the Town Attorney was saying …that the conditions that were specific when the Commission approved the project and he had a concern that modifications being made post hearing by questions and interpretations by staff…opens up a host of issues with an applicant being questioned and re-questioned by the administration time and time again…he said this process is not consistent with how the previous Commission did things in the past and not consistent with the language in the code…following up with stating he (Cherof) believed the developer complied with the conditions of approval by tendering the proper amount of money based on their engineer certificate…

McIntee said he didn’t like the attitude of the developers….that they were getting a tremendous piece of property abandoned to them so they can make a lot of money….

VIGILANTE ALERT…

“He (McIntee) said he will watch their project as close as any other project and maybe a little closer, and he said that they have to build it anyway, but they have to fight about it.”

The Development Director …and Town Engineer discussed easement problems…that “were not lining up”…and then this…

THE DISCONNECT?…..

” Town Attorney  Cherof stated that it doesn’t need to come back again, and when the engineer signs off on the easements, then the Mayor will sign off; he stated there is no more approval required by the Commission.”

Commissioner McIntee wanted it to come back for discussion…and …

“Town Attorney Cherof stated that it did not have to come back on any additional approval; it is only coming back as a discussion item for Commissioner McIntee.”

WHERE’S THE TAPE?….

July 10,2007….it returned stating the following…

13-i….Comm. McIntee asked for Garden Court to return for more discussion…and under this item “Further discussion regarding Garden Court Town homes”…Comm. McIntee revealed he met privately in the Town Hall lobby with the owners and developers of the Garden Court at their request…where he taped the meeting…and then McIntee clarified for the record..”grassing the area was a volunteered effort.”…Attorney Cherof briefly discussed the escrow account being opened…the documents were in his position and he (Cherof) was meeting with Town staff to verify all the documents were on file and conditions of approval were acknowledged….

CAN’T LET THAT ONE GO….

Mayor Parker requested copies of the tape…and directed Manager Colon to distribute them to the Commission…

The minutes show no further  discussion from Comm. McIntee…HMMMMM……..

13-j.” At the June 26,2007 Town Commission meeting, Staff indicated that the Town Engineer had some issues with easements that were  presented to Staff to be recorded for the Garden Court roadway associated with the Garden Court Town homes project. The Commission asked the applicant to return to the Commission on July 10,2007 with documents pertaining to the cul-de-sac abandonment and new roadway configuration for Garden Court that have been approved by the Town Engineer and the Town Attorney and are ready to be recorded.”

Director Bell said all issues and documents have been met and brought up to date. He recommended going forward with the execution of the documents. Attorney Cherof agreed.

THE END…UNTIL….

2/10/09….New Business….

16-c. Garden Court- Discussion and/or action to rescind donation of land to developer back to our Town…VM McIntee….

VM-“This is an absolutely perfect example of this town being hustled and a tremendous piece of valuable property to be given away to developers who conned us. Absolutely conned us. You go down to Garden Court road now and you go back into there and they had a beautiful cul-de-sac that sat on a canal that you could walk down with your kid and look at and now what you see is two foot concrete foundation blocks laid  probably six months to eight months without so much as an additional block being laid. The iron reinforcement bars are all rusted. They did the minimum they could to secure that free piece of land and they now walked away. Now I asked the Town Attorney to check into this. He told me at this stage we can’t do a thing. I believe it’s thirty six months, Town Attorney?”

Town Atty. Abbott-” The ah, background is that the abandonment that the, that was recorded where the Town gave up its interest in the property while it did require a commencement date to construction it did not have a conclusion date to the construction and so since the construction was begun it looks like the abandonment on the Town’s behalf was completed.”

VM-” So we can never get it back? This falls right into Commissioner Clottey’s giving the Town property away.”…(reference to Comm. Clottey’s Comm. comments…previous post…LBTS agenda/meetings category…2/10/09 meeting)…

TA-” Well here’s a little more of the background . Now I’m not sure I know the entire history. There was a motion made by the Commission in connection with the application to extend the life of the site plan. The motion seemed to require a condition that the vacation be contingent on the project beginning within a certain period of time and concluding by a certain period of time and I think that’s where the thirty six months reference comes from, Vice Mayor. But, when the abandonment document came back it wasn’t presented to the Commission as well. The completion deadline guarantee and the, your the Town Attorney and your the Town Manager I think said the vacation looked good okay with them, then I don’t see any vote on the record. But, in any event the vacation was recorded. If it’s the case that the vacation the motion of the Commission insisted upon a completion date being included in vacation and if your predecessor Town Manager and predecessor Town Attorney simply didn’t follow the Town direction it may be possible for the Town to contend that,t hat vacation was an unauthorized filing. Now that’s an uphill struggle, those are two awfully important Town officials and once more, again it looks like the matter was at least presented to the Commission, if not accepted by a vote by the Commission. So when you say there’s no chance, I don’t want to say there’s no chance,but it looks like it would be an uphill struggle to suggest that, that  vacation was an unauthorized filing.”

VM-” Thank you, that’s all Mayor.”

Commissioner Dodd spoke about the lack of all the backup materials supplied by Staff…and asked for the Town Attorney to check with his predecessor ..

Commissioner Silverstone concurred with the Town Attorney it would be an uphill battle to overturn…

VM-” You know Jimmy might be onto something here. You know this , I gotta believe the developers are in big financial problems . They haven’t put a brick on the ground in a year. Maybe if we institute legal action they’ll bail out to get out from under we’ll get the property back. It might be certainly a reasonable thing to, what are we looking at money wise if we were to do that Mr. Town Attorney?’

BC- Ever notice it’s Commissioner Dodd/ Commissioner Clottey/Mayor…and then Jimmy…looks disrespectful…and BFF!….

The Town Attorney said the matter should be investigated  first…he was basing his responses on the backup material supplied to him…(Same as Comm. Dodd…not complete)…the he went onto to reiterate much of what was said before ..and the July 10th meeting did not reflect a vote per Clerk White review of the meeting…adding he (Abbott) would be surprised  if the predecessors went on a lark and just filed a document that was contrary to a motion made by the Commission..(a loud snicker by some was seen in response)…finishing up by saying if that was the case the Town would then have  the legal grounds ….

VM-” I think it’s worth , it’s worth the, the interest for this town to get that property back. If we can and if the developers are in bad shape.”…

Passes 5-0…

BC- So it looks from the minutes like it was voted on May 22,2007…..3-2……but it did not need to come back for anything but discussion…on July 10,2007…per the Town Attorney…due to his assertions all was in order…and at the June 26,2007 meeting…. the Attorney was  suddenly concerned about the legal implications of continual post approval….questions…and assertions…”moving the goal post”…giving way for legal action from the developers…

The July 10,2007 return was just to appease Comm. McIntee…….as stated on June 26th by the Town Attorney…and on July 1oth…McIntee seemed from the minutes  (13-i.) to be  very much appeased after a taped private Town Hall lobby meeting with Garden Court…and the “clarified for the record”..”grassing the area was a volunteered effort.”…..with finality coming …after with item 13-j. and “Director Bell said all issues and documents have been met and brought up to date. He recommended going forward with the execution of the documents. Attorney Cherof agreed.”

So  the Vice Mayor let Leisure Towers alone…(correct call in this writer’s opinion)…but went  after Garden Court…

While I agree the 36 months should be looked into and remedied…with a possible return of a cul-de-sac …or right of way…( it is nothing more)…due to the Commission’s direction…What is totally out of control….once again is to repeat 2 years later the same misinformation on what that property ( the cul-de-sac) is…what it offers to the people …To be a vigilante with menacing tactics of “watching their property…And badmouthing  taxpaying constituents with assertions that they “conned” us……while perhaps jeopardizing them in their ability to do business by asseting they are going belly up….

Will Garden Court respond?….YIKES!….

more to come……..

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