Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Strip Club - It's Not Over

Tuesday night was a great outpouring of community sentiment and clearly sent the message that we don't want a strip club in North Bay village. But that message is only partial. The same message equally as strongly must go to the commission as they, and they alone, have the ability to reject the plan in its entirety. Tuesday night was a recommendation to reject but not an actual rejection. That is for the commission to decide.

It matters that the voice be heard, loudly and clearly. If you are able to circulate a petition, please let me know. Better even, if you can attend the commission meeting on November 29 at 6:30, a special meeting to select an interim commissioner, and confirm the city manager's new contract, that would be great.

Most importantly, attending the commission meeting at which the petition is presented, the second Tuesday in December is the critical point. Our commission needs to kill this project completely.

Important to know: since the rejection by Planning & Zoning was unanimous, the city commission requires a super-majority to override the rejection. Four out of five must vote to override. Section of the code is quoted below.

Okay, now the boring stuff. A breakdown of Tuesday night's happenings.

Channel 7 did a good job of covering the meeting. Click here for the video, the Herald much less so. Click here for the article.

But neither of them covered the bad plans submitted to the city. Understand that even if this were the perfect fit, the plans are so flawed that they should never have passed city planning's approval, much less been recommended for approval.

There were ten conditions and exceptions to our plan, including environmental reviews, noise regulations, traffic studies, number of parking spaces, and no standard of measurement.

That alone should have caused the city to reject the plans. You could not build a shed or a dollhouse on your waterfront property without these.

The city planner did not seem to know how the distance should be measured to the nearest child care facility and school. The city attorney was befuddled by the definition of the "parcel".

Our city staff should know the Adult Entertainment Ordinance by heart before they present a plan they say should be approved. It's all there in Section 152.111 and they should have studied up before the meeting.

The kindest explanation is that this was confusion that day from the dais.

As the Planning & Zoning board members discussed their reasoning for their vote, only one, Richard Chervony, brought up the technical questions of distance measurement. The others simply talked about vague lawsuits and that the "citizens don't want it."

I hope that the commission will look at the deeply flawed plans and reject them on their merits.

Now for the big argument. The lawyers for the developer condescendingly educated us that the Supreme Court requires that a city with a wide diversity of public establishments must have an adult entertainment district, so there's nothing we can do about it. That argument is truthy but not true.

The ruling allows for a wide variety of exceptions. In a city like North Bay Village, limited by our island geography and neighbors with two cities having nearby adult entertainment, the argument falls apart. There is no compelling reason to locate such an establishment here. The most readable research is from Exploring Constitutional Conflicts on the University of Missouri at Kansas City site. Read it. There is no constitutional requirement to allow nude dancing or other adult businesses to operate where local conditions are unsuitable.

Here's the text from our regulations that show a super-majority of the commissioners are required for approval. From Section 152.102 of our ordinances. Emphasis mine.

If a written protest against an amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception is filed with the City Clerk, signed by the owners of 50% or more within 500 feet of the perimeter of the property being considered, or if the Planning and Zoning Board recommends, after a public hearing as described above, that the proposed amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception be disapproved by a unanimous vote of the full Planning and Zoning Board, such amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception shall not become effective except by a favorable vote of at least 4/5 of a all of the members of the City Commission.

Finally, a personal point regarding a slander hurled at me. During the meeting, Fane Lozman, a resident at 2913 Avenue F, Riviera Beach, stated that he and I had discussions in which I expressed racist views regarding the clientele at another establishment. Lozman has an unhealthy obsession with me; he has made similar outlandish statements before; Lozman has harassed my family and with the full consent of the city commission slandered me in other city meetings.

I am stating here that Lozman and I never had any conversation remotely related to the subject of ethnicity or the establishment in question. He lied in a blatant attempt to slander me. The chair of the meeting, in accordance with our City Charter which specifically prohibits such behavior should have shut the microphone down. Section 30.13 states

The public. Any person making personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks or who shall become boisterous while addressing the Commission shall be, forthwith by the presiding officer, subject from further audience before the Commission unless permission to continue be granted by a majority vote of the Commission. This remedy shall be in addition to the provisions of section 135.03(A).

It is not just about me. Our City Commission and Boards have an absolute obligation to enforce decorum and allow free speech at our meetings. That Lozman does this is despicable but our city allowing it is illegal and injurious to citizens.

Much more when the petition is ready.

Kevin Vericker
November 17, 2011

1 comment:

  1. Why was this Fane person at the meeting if they live in Riveria Beach?


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