Monday, June 25, 2012

An Emissary from Scott Greenwald Writes

Did you think that the support for the strip club was limited to one out of town poser and people on Scott Greenwald's payroll? Well, no. Below is the text of an email that was sent to the commission by one Al Blake, an outspoken fellow from North Bay Island, currently vice chair of the Budget Oversight Board, and a man whose outrage knows no bounds when it suits him. The only edits I have made are line breaks for readability. All spelling and grammatical errors are the author's. I unpack it below the quote.
"Good evening Mayor, Vice Mayor and Commissioners: I write to all of you tonight as a friend to you and emissary of Scott Greenwald. Since we have the ongoing law suits, it’s very difficult for him to sit and talk to each of you. So he asked me to present some alternatives for Isle of Dreams and see if anything excites you for the City. If you chose individually not to reply to me, that’s your choice. However, if there’s something that can be done, then at least we may have a starting point. I’m not paid nor hired to do any of this other than I know Scott and he knows my thoughts as to try to find something that’s agreeable to our Commission for that parcel of land. I know we have ongoing lawsuits with probably more to come and that a lot of money will be expended by our City on these cases. In fact, does anyone know how much we’ve spent so far? I for one, would like to see all of that ended and a nice project go up for our city. He basically feels he has 4 choices to go with that make sense for him as the developer and also might make sense for us in the City. These are:

1. Current project that is being discussed- Obviously NOT GOOD

2. Build a 2 story building only for the strip club- smaller scale- Still NOT GOOD

3. Use the existing building for a hip-hop club, similar to what Barchetta’s was on the weekend- Not what we want

4. Build a residential building with commercial units on bottom- different that the standard condominium, maybe a showcase building for NBV with different design-maybe 40-50 Stories- Yeah, I know, taller than we currently have but that’s all for discussion as to how, what and when.

Personally, I think it opens a new discussion. This can be discussed with our high priced attorneys, who will be the ONLY beneficiary if we continue to fight. For the record, I have always believed that if anyone fits our code with all T’s crossed and I’s dotted, then we must allow it since it’s the LAW. If not, why even have it on the books.
However, in my days, if anyone presented something that was not wanted or acceptable to the commission, we tried to figure out what else could be done. That’s what a Commission does in trying to figure out what’s best for their City. As a resident and taxpayer, I would hate for our CITY to continue to spend MUCHO $$$$$$$$$ without trying to see what else we can do, especially if it’s ultimately allowed by our code of land use ordinances but we just don’t want it. At least now, there’s some options to consider that after a lot of discussion could offer a win-win for all us and a savings of MUCHO $$$$$$.

What do you think? The door is open. Whether you like the Developer or not, he owns a parcel and has the right to develop it. Let’s make it happen for the benefit our beautiful City. So that’s it from me. If you think you want to go further , I’m sure we can after speaking with the attorneys. Have a good night and take care. Al "
Let's unpack this.

The T's are not crossed nor are the I's dotted.  In fact, the T's and the I's are Missing.  

Options 1 & 2 -  Build the strip club.  What this conveniently ignores in exactly the same way that the original application ignored is the presence of a school within 500 feet of the club.  Greenwald's measurement studies, flawed studies, only measured to the child care center, which is significantly further than the licensed vocational school across the street.  The unchallenged ordinance specifically prohibits building within 500 feet of any licensed school.   

That the then city planner Alex David approved it without noting the presence of a school was an egregious oversight but had the plans passed, the city would have been on the hook for major liability.  

So there's no reality to this.  A strip club can't be built there.  

A Hip Hop Club?  

Actually there is nothing to stop Greenwald from developing a Hip Hop club, a Big Band club, a disco, a restaurant, a retail plaza, an office park.  Interesting that "Hip Hop" was the only alternative presented.  Are people afraid of Hip Hop?  I'm a bit old for it (and so are you probably) but there was no anti hip hop sentiment that I was aware of.  So build one.  

A 50 Story Condominium

I'm sure the banks are lining up to finance that project.  It would bend code but man, it would be interesting to see where the money would come from.   Get the financing and I'm sure the city will be willing to talk.  

How do we know it's over?  

It's so weird that this keeps going on.  The plans can't work.  The parcel is less than 500 feet from a school, there's no demand locally and it's time to give it up.  Some investments work, some don't.  The city has already provided Scott Greenwald with enough corporate welfare by putting our city offices in the otherwise vacant ground floor at the Lexi at considerable cost to the taxpayers, tolerated his non-payment of taxes on parcels throughout the city, and not enforced basic maintenance on the abandoned lots at 7914 through 7918 West Drive.  

It's unfortunate that one developer has not done well here but it happens. This does not require emissaries, agents, quislings or other influencers.  The taxpayers didn't break it, the city can't fix it.  It's time to let this go.  Enough already.  

Kevin Vericker
June 25, 2012

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