As expected, Flagler Beach’s attorney appealed the Flagler BOCC’s decision allowing Sea Ray to build an employee parking lot. What Flagler Beach got in return was, to say the least, unexpected.
PALM COAST, FL – August 19, 2015 – Flagler Beach beat today’s deadline, filing an appeal yesterday of the Flagler Board of County Commissioners’ (BOCC) approval of a recent rezoning application. The BOCC decision will allow Sea Ray to build an employee parking lot on land Sea Ray will acquire that is adjacent to its boat manufacturing plant in Flagler County.
GoToby.com has reported on the events leading up to the appeal (see Related Stories at right). For years, Sea Ray has been harassed by a small number of residents led by Don Deal and Rosanne Stocker, whose properties on North Lambert Avenue either adjoin or are in close proximity to the Sea Ray property. The plant has been in continuous operation since 1982, long before the residents purchased land and built their expensive homes nearby. You can see the Deal and Stocker homes located in the picture below.
Sea Ray is Flagler County’s third largest private sector employer, with 700 – 750 well payed employees. For more than 30 years, the plant has amassed a steady stream of awards for safety, quality and efficiency.
Sea Ray builds fiberglass boats. One of the byproducts of fiberglass manufacturing is styrene. The government has set limits on the amount of styrene that can be safely emitted. The plant has been inspected numerous times over several years to determine whether or not it is exceeding allowable emission levels. The plant has been found to be in compliance every time.
Many of these inspections were prompted by complaints from North Lambert Avenue residents (North Lambertonians) Deal and Stocker. Deal and Stocker are also members of the City of Flagler Beach Planning and Architectural Reviews Board.
Deal and Stocker were joined in their anti-Sea Ray crusade by like-minded Flagler Beach Commissioners Kim Carney and Jane Mealy. When the BOCC decision went counter to their (in my words) egregiously self-serving assault, Deal, Stocker, Carney and Mealy, joined by Commissioner Steve Settle, orchestrated Flagler Beach’s decision to appeal. I was at that meeting. Read: Amateur Hour at Flagler Beach City Commission Special Meeting
Sea Ray has a steadfast record of emissions compliance. They have a history of being good corporate neighbor. Many of their employees are residents of Flagler Beach. Yet this small band of “civic Lilliputians” has the power of public office, either as Flagler Beach City Commissioners or as members of the Planning and Architectural Reviews Board. They are leveraging their public trust to serve their own ends.
Upon completing a successful raid on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamota is reported to have said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” More colloquially, Flagler Beach Commissioners and their North Lambertonian confederates have “pissed off” Sea Ray and the Flagler business community.
Unwilling to continue the “death by a thousand cuts” assault, Sea Ray has decided to fight back. Minutes after receiving notice of Flagler Beach’s appeal, Sea Ray countered with seven Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests excerpted below.
The City Commissioners and Flagler Beach residents and taxpayers need to understand what is likely happening. Public records requests are a nuisance to the public sector. Flooding Flagler Beach with requests could be simply a tit for tat response. After all, the appeal has little chance of prevailing and will likely be over soon. On the other hand, public records requests are often used to gather information (evidence) to support contemplated litigation.
When the City Commission directed their attorney, Drew Smith, to file an appeal, they did so without questioning him about the expected costs of an appeal. Smith explained that the city would have to reach “a high bar” to prevail in the appeal, but Smith and the City Commission failed to contemplate the ramifications of a defense by Sea Ray.
Planning Board members Deal and Stocker chose to build their homes next to a boat manufacturing facility. Should the taxpayers of Flagler Beach be asked to underwrite the costs of Deal’s and Stocker’s apparent buyer’s remorse? The actions of the City Commission and Deal and Stocker do not serve their constituents well. Their constituents should take note and act accordingly.
EXCERPTS OF PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
Public Records Request regarding all comments made by or on behalf of City of Flagler Beach to Flagler County between March 16, 2015, and August 4, 2015, concerning Flagler County Comprehensive Land Use Plan Application #2972 (the Amendment)
1. All Comments, recommendations or objections made by or on behalf of the City of Flagler Beach concerning the Amendment to Flagler County pursuant to s. 163.3184(1)(a) between March 1, 2015 and August 1, 2015.
Public Records Request concerning City of Flagler Beach (City) Planning Board, Staff and Related Inquiries
1. All Records of discussion or consideration of Sea Ray by City Planning and Architectural Review Board on 2001 and 2015
2. All records concerning City Charter s. 2.05(c) compliance or noncompliance in relation to Sea Ray. Without limiting the foregoing, all public records by and between any covered official under 2.05(c) and City staff under the direction of the City Manager under City Charter s. 4.01(b) concerning City staff reports, or analysis statements or actions concerning Sea Ray.
3. All public records concerning one or more members of the City Commission or Planning and Architectural Review Board, outside of noticed and scheduled City Commission or Planning and Architectural Review Board public hearings, meeting or communication with any City staff who are subject to City Manager authority under s. 4.01(b) of the City Charter, concerning Sea Ray.
Public Records Request concerning Sea Ray
1. All public records to or from City Commissioner Jane Mealy, no matter whether at or from City offices, home, office or any location, concerning Sea Ray, including but not limited to those on her personal or business email account, computers, or servers.
2. All public records to or from City Commissioner Kim Carney, no matter whether at or from City offices, home, office or any location, concerning Sea Ray, including but not limited to those on her personal or business email account, computers, or servers.
3. City of Flagler Beach records related to any communication generated or received off-site of City of Flagler Beach offices responsive to 1. Or 2.”
Show the City has a general policy or other method for ensuring any public records received or generated by a City official off of City owned or operated property or outside of City official email or server is or will be copied or otherwise provided to a location that is intended to be available to any member of the public consistent with ch. 119, Fla. Stat., and AGO Nos. 93-16, 04-43, 07-14, or otherwise.
All public records regarding whether, when and where either Commissioner Mealy or Carney provided to the City any public records received or generated off of City owned or operated property to make such records available for public access consistent with ch. 119, Fla. Stat. and the above-noted AGOs.
Public Records Request concerning Sea Ray
1. All public records possessed by or reviewed by City Commissioner Jane Mealy concerning Sea Ray emissions before or at each time she appeared before the Flagler County Planning Board or County Commission concerning Flagler County Plan Amendment Application #2972.
2. All public records possessed by or reviewed by City Commissioner Jane Mealy concerning Sea Ray permit compliance before or at each time she appeared before the Flagler County Planning Board or County Commission Concerning Flagler County Plan Amendment Application #2972.
3. All public records possessed by or reviewed by City Commissioner Jane Mealy concerning Sea Ray expansion plans before or at each time she appeared before the Flagler County Planning Board or County Commission concerning Flagler County Plan Amendment Application #2972.
Reading statements into the record; Public Records Request
1. Any First Amendment … or statutory policy or other general statement of the City concerning whether and where to read statements into the record at public hearings, and on what conditions.
2. All public records concerning reading into the record any statements opposing Sea Ray provided to any collegial board of the City in 2001 or in 2015.
3. All public records concerning reading into the record any statements in favor of Sea Ray provided to any collegial board of the City in 2001 or in 2015.
4. All public records demonstrating any putative authority for the City to differentiate between 2. and 3.
Public Records Request concerning Public Water Supply for City of Flagler Beach (the City)
1. All records concerning the City’s need, efforts, or intent to acquire additions to the Wellfields or other lands from the Maury Carter & Associates (Carter) or any affiliated or related entity to Carter for purposes of obtaining, delivering or facilitating or related (sic) to delivery of water.
Public Records Request concerning City of Flagler Beach (City) Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) or Waste Treatment Plant (WTP)
1. All records of analytical results related to the City POTW or WTP since January 1, 2010
2. All notices of violation, warning notices or other allegations of violations of any of:
Federal Clean Water Act
Federal Clean Drinking Water Act
Chapter 373, Fla. Stat. or implementing rules
Chapter 376, Fla. Stat. or implementing rules
Chapter 403, Fla. Stat. or implementing rules
Any other regulatory authority at any level
3. Current City POTW or WTP operating permits
4. Records of discharge from the City POTW or WTP fro January 1, 2010, to date, including but not limited to:
Total haloacetic acids
Any other analytes tested for
5. As to 4, please provide all laboratory data, including but not limited to Detection Limits, chain of custody records, and raw data.
6. All analytical results for compliance with TMDLs, as well as sampling protocols, chain of custody, raw analytical data, detection limits, and actual analytical results.