Attend City Council? Residents Might As Well Stay Home.

Residents Beware: 

17

 

Publisher’s comment:

Please Tell Our Sponsors You Saw Them on BocaWatch

At the request of some readers, the entire legislation that is the subject of this article can be viewed at the following link: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/07103

Al Zucaro, Publisher

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The option of residents filing lawsuits against local government to protest and attempt to halt development is about to become a thing of the past. In the Florida Legislature session that ended this week, the legislators have advanced a bill for the Governor’s signature (HB 7103) that puts residents at risk for attorney fees if the residents file a lawsuit and are not the declared winner.

Effectively what that means is that without the threat of legal action, local government may feel more liberated to approve new residential development over the residents’ objection, and, although residents would still have the option of getting the courts involved, if they lose the court action, the resident would be libel for the winner’s attorney fees.

What a major disadvantage…

Local government has a steady stream of taxpayer dollars to defend any such legal challenge against the resident/taxpayer, and, if successful, local government can recoup attorney fees and costs expended to defend the lawsuit from the resident/taxpayer.

What is even more egregious is that if the developer chooses to get involved in a successful defense of the resident lawsuit, the resident would be at risk to pay the developers legal fees and costs as well.

If Governor DeSantis signs this legislation in its current form….residents may as well stay home and let local government approve whatever they want.

THE RESIDENT’S VOICE CONCERNING LOCAL GROWTH MANAGEMENT WILL BE LOST FOREVER!!!

CALL TO ACTION:

Contact the Mayor and Council Members as well as County Commissioner Robert Weinroth and demand they oppose this bill and encourage the Governor to refuse to sign HB 7031.

Andrea Levine O’Rourke – AORourke@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Monica Mayotte – MMayotte@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Scott Singer – ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Andy Thomson – athomson@myboca.us

County District 4 Commissioner Robert S. Weinroth – RWeinroth@pbcgov.org

Residents, themselves, should begin a letter writing campaign directly to the Governor demanding he not sign this legislation into law in its current form.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantishttps://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/

Here is the May 8th Orlando Sentinel Editorial reporting on this legislation. 

You are encouraged to read it in its entirety as it has dramatic impacts on your quality of life and your ability to influence the local legislative outcomes within the scope of our elected officials.

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Absurd article. That is not what the law says. 99% of this law–which is a combination of at least five (5) separate bills most of which deal with affordable housing, impact fees, fire requirements for condos, etc. The law says “prevailing party” so if a resident wins THEY get attorneys fees, THAT IS ONE SENTENCE in a 43 page law! Al or Jason please post the Law and don’t mislead anyone. Absolute misrepresentation!

    • Mr. Merrill, The article is in no way misleading. By creating legislation where the “prevailing party” is entitled to collect legal fees and costs, makes it to high a risk for the resident. This element puts the resident at the mercy of city officials and land-use attorneys who always have greater access to the elected officials. Unfettered growth is what residents of Boca Raton have been complaining about for years. Unfettered growth is what can be expected if court review is no longer a viable path for the resident. Please read the Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post editorial pages on this topic over the last week. The article stands as written.
      Al Zucaro, Publisher

  2. Are you seriously suggesting we should rely on PBP or Sun Sentinel as an authority on anything given the last 2 yrs of their hate-filled opinions they call “reporting”…the media has proven over and over they no longer report facts…..

    • No I am suggesting that you read the opinions and consider their content. Of course, if you are predisposed to reject other argument and not open to debate, than there is no point in discussing any further. But thank you for weighing in…AZ

    • Mel you are exactly right, the dishonest media in the form of the PB Post and Sun-Sentinel exposed themselves for what they are biased left wing liberal media. Their whole modus operandi is “class warfare” “us against them” evil developer motif has been used for decades to write about “controversial” projects that 17 people oppose. The development angle has been used for decades to divide people, spread fear and misrepresentations to the point where people don’t even know WHY they oppose development, they will parrot the tired traffic line (as if anyone can control traffic coming form 125 million tourists and other communities) or there is somehow something wrong with a taller building?

  3. If you are relying on the integrity of a local court to uphold the interests of the general public against local government, big business interests, affluent supporters, etc., you are sadly mistaken. A single private citizen has so much risk at stake and cannot afford the endless needed appeals to have the chance at justice. Rather than asking for individual attorney fees by either party, the disputed public issue could be handled by a branch of the state attorney office. If they refuse to investigate and/or prosecute, then I think the local citizen is entitled to his day in court without risk. If other types of lawsuits do not provide for the loser to pay court costs and attorneys fees, why should your most important right (questioning the actions of your government) be held to a much higher financial risk?

  4. Amazing how a fair and level playing field is objectionable to everyone! Residents want the right to file endless frivolous lawsuits without consequence. Almost every such lawsuit or the vast majority of them are dismissed. They are used as a delaying tactic and have no substance. The lawsuit against Palmetto Promenade by George “Beto” O’Rourke and his “gang” was one such example. A beautiful project 95% occupied and a big taxpayer. Frivolous lawsuits are just that “gangsterism” Palmetto Promenade was claimed to be Section 8 housing. Andrea “Beto” O’Rourke listed her 1500 square foot home for $1.1 Million dollars after all the development she opposed caused property values to skyrocket–she doesn’t think the Midtown homeowners deserve to get the same benefit. Where are those folks now? Nowhere to be seen. If you don’t have the basis for a lawsuit you should not file one! If you lose there should be consequences! Why should NIMBYS and CAVE (Citizens against virtually everything) be free riders, as any attorney will tell you there are hundreds of statutes that have prevailing party litigation clauses, that’s once sentence in a 43 page law that mostly deals with creating affordable housing!

  5. Al please post this law in its entirety! Its 43 pages long and you are misrepresenting what it says! Its titled “Community Development and Housing” Let the readers decide what it says and means! A guess you are opposed to affordable housing! Seriously!

  6. I am against unchecked development disguised as affordable housing. Been there and done that.

    And the law seems to provide for the local governments to require affordable housing, but forces them to repay the developer for any financial losses as a result. In other words, if local governments want affordable housing, they’re going to have to pay for it themselves.

    Yeah. I get to pay taxes which could go to developers for any losses on their over-priced real estate development that may result. You have got to be kidding, right?

    • Good morning Ms. Folk, Reading your comment leads me to wonder if you might consider sharing with the readership your experiences and beliefs on the underlying premise of this legislation. I would be very interesting in publishing an in-depth resident’s viewpoint on the subject.
      Thank you for participating and for your readership. Al Zucaro, Publisher

      • Mr. Zucaro, I am not a prolific writer, but always tend to see the fallacy in self-serving comments and, as my husband says, I cannot hold myself back from sharing my observations however so briefly. I have no dog in this fight except as a tax-paying citizen tired of financing fraud, waste and abuse as allowed by our taxing governmental entities. On that matter, until I finish our exhausting approximately 100-page tax return (on extension), I cannot offer the needed time to honor your most worthy request. But, I will definitely keep it in mind for any future bouts of overzealous needing to share my thoughts in more detail. Please keep up the good work. Nothing deserves a spotlight more than politics done in a dark, secluded backroom!

        • Thank you for the vote of confidence and your readership. Residents like you are exactly what is needed to shine the light on back room tactics that seem to go on at all levels of local government. No need to be a prolific writer…Expressing sentiment is most important. AZ

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