National Airlines have included the City of Cocoa Beach in a tour package which will greatly benefit the six motels in our area.
The Mayor expressed his concern that the devastation caused by hurricane Camille has not been cleaned up and that repairs in the area have been minimal since the storm hit in 1969. Swimming pools beside collapsed homes were half-full of water and have become breeding grounds for snakes and rats; children are playing in the debris.
Discussion on future of Cocoa Beach. It was stated that the "forecasters of doom" were overestimating the lengths of the economic recession. 1972 would probably be our worst year since signs of recovery are already evident. The City's future is very promising.
A great opportunity for our area will be the Apollo 14 Space Launch. We are expecting 7000 visitors along with 25 to 30 special interest groups, i.e. congressmen, senators, and a 1000 journalists. The City Attorney is directed to prepare an Ordinance extending hours of sale for alcoholic beverages during the Launch until 5 a.m. The resolution concerning continuation of construction of the Bee Line Expressway has apparently gotten results and the first contract is to be awarded shortly. Another adult theater wants to operate in the City of Cocoa Beach. Commissioner Czajka expressed his opposition to both the old and proposed adult theater. The City Manager was directed to get the beach cleaned up for the Apollo 14 launch.
Ordinance #366: Prohibiting selling, showing for monetary profit, materials depicting sexual behavior, including fondling or kissing of male or female genital organs. Adopted unanimously on second reading.
Motion to authorize the transfer of deed for Fischer Park to the State, and the acceptance of a 99 year lease, subject to: 1)Cabinet approval of the full $50,000 grant for improvements; 2) approval of City Attorney concerning content and form of deed and lease agreement; 3) provide for the restriction of the use of this land in the deed for park and recreation in perpetuity; 4) deletion of the north 50 feet of the property to be retained as street right-of -way. Motion passed unanimously.
Proposed zoning changes: Many comments, one of which follows. Mr. Carter, 427 Brightwaters and a local businessman, spoke against rezoning: "advised many people moved here because they thought it would be a wonderful place to stay forever. I have enjoyed living here except for that period when most people were involved in working three shifts, and when our highways were so loaded with people, they were anticipating running Banana River Expressway right up the middle of the river. That proposal is still on the books, and all that is needed to start the expressway is to get this concrete jungle going around here, one like we have south of us. We risk reverting back to a boom town era, turning the river into a cesspool. (pro and con comments from other residents included in the Commission minutes.)
Ordinance #387, an ordinance providing for conditions under which boathouses and boat shelters may be constructed. Second reading, adopted.
Resolution opposing proposed revision Article V of State Constitution. Mr. Evrett Scrivner, former US Congressman, and former City Commissioner spoke to the issue recommending that the City Commission go on record as to opposing the revision. Passed unanimously.
Remarks by Mr. Stan Adams, Chairman of Planning & Zoning Board: I would like to go through the Mapped Streets Act...an Act based on a Special Act of the Florida Legislature allowing the reservation of specific land by alignment for the future acquisition of land for the building of public streets...First in the Boards mind is the extension of South Banana River Blvd, bypassing a good portion of SR A1A;...trying to anticipate growth through zoning, and looking to widening the roads. ...The Act would be exercised solely for the purpose of acquiring additional rights-of-way for the widening of these roads...The bypassing of SR A1A has first priority, and we will consider a marginal access road on the east side of SR A1A where there are large amounts of vacant land. The potential for development and increase in density will overtax the present capacity of A1A, which is currently 25,000 cars per day, and is currently handling 25,800....It is incumbent upon the City of Cocoa Beach to energetically use every means at their disposal to acquire this land as rapidly as possible and then in turn to develop the roads.
(General discussion among Commission members and Mr. Adams continues) Asked for, and received, was a vote of confidence in the Planning and Zoning Boards continued work in this area. A summary of remarks on the Mapped Streets Act has been placed on file in the office of the City Clerk.
Ordinance #413. Providing that animals at large, dogs creating a nuisance, animal defecating or urinating on property not belonging to owner, shall be in violation...the violation is a misdemeanor, providing that owners of animals in violation are guilty of a misdemeanor...that persons who fail to license dogs or cats, who poison animals, who are cruel to animals, who interfere with impounding with the impounding officer, who release impounded animals, who conceal certain animals shall be in violation of ordinance...providing rules and regulations for animals suspected rabies...providing for quarantine and fees for same...providing for rules and regulations regarding license certificates and tags...providing Brevard County Ordinances respecting kennels to be applicable within City of Cocoa Beach.
Explanation on enforcement of Ordinance #413. City Attorney explained that section 4-31 of the Ordinance is declaratory of existing Court decisions in this State; that the requirement of two or more to make the charge is because you can only legislate offenses if they offend the public; that one person does not constitute the public; that in order to make an arrest, the mechanics are set up where you have witnesses actually sign the complaint and in court actually have the complaining witnesses present to constitute the public and then an offense can be charged against the public as a whole.
Ordinance #413 was adopted unanimously. November 1972 Commission Minutes and documentation of Zoning Board, and petitions and letters of protest dealing with proposed zoning changes for Motel/Hotel, Apartments, and other multi-family housing.
A letter addressed to the Mayor regarding a violation of Sec.4(2) of Ordinance #278, by the Cocoa Beach Citizen's League, complaining that a City Commissioner voted on a contract in which he had a vested Interest. National media attention given to this conflict is mentioned in these minutes.
TOPICS program discussion. Present for this discussion were elected officials of state and county government, and engineers working on the program. TOPICS is a project for SR520 and A1A regarding traffic congestion and safety as the result of deaths and traffics accidents. Lengthy discussion over the issue is recorded in the minutes.
Ordinance #428 providing minimum floor area for motel and hotel rooms. Adopted at 2nd reading.
Resolution #73-6, requesting the State Legislature to provide tax relief for the beach front municipalities located in Brevard County. The issue evolved around the County taking taxes from the City of Cocoa Beach and distributing larger amounts to Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral thereby causing hardship for the City of Cocoa Beach in administering its own programs. A suggestion was made to petition the State of Florida to make another geographical unit called Ocean County from areas between the Port Authority to Sebastian Inlet. "Whereas the City of Cocoa Beach feels there is definite inadequacy in County services, and... efforts to negotiate some form of revenue sharing with the County have been unsuccessful, and... we have received no more than 10% of our County ad valorem taxes in County services, and... the State Legislature has failed to implement the provisions of the State Constitution to resolve these inadequacies...Resolution #73-6 adopted as amended.
Ordinance #429, Fire Prevention Code requiring installation of automatic sprinkler systems in certain buildings; providing for the installation in existing buildings within specified times. Adopted on second reading.
Public Hearing on consideration of adoption of a Land Development Plan as an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. This is to be the first update since 1966, and has taken a year to develop the update. It includes Land Development, Transportation Plan, Civic Improvements, and Waterway plans. The Plan consists of a draft copy marked Exhibit #1; a map of existing land use Exhibit #2; a map of recommended land use Exhibit #3.
The Land Use Plan and Development Plan for the City considered factors of existing character and land use, and in the case of the City 75% was developed and 585 acres vacant…the recommended land use was: low density defined as 0-5 dwelling units per acre, medium density residential from 6-12 dwelling units per acre, and high density residential as 24 in one zone and 30 in another. The land use pattern of the City was firmly developed and the expanded uses as they existed. The commercial was decreased because the amount of land zoned commercial compared with the percentage that was in actual commercial use was much higher so an attempt is being made to bring the commercial in line with anticipated commercial use.
Resolution #73-8-A, adopting the Land Development Plan as an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Cocoa Beach passed unanimously.
Mr. Emil P. Bertram addressed the Commission advising that he had been elevated from the rank of Commissioner to that of Citizen and Critic. He asked to appear before the new Commission for two reasons. 1) To share a discovery he had made while serving on the Commission, and 2) To make a small presentation. A summary follows: "Throughout my term as a Commissioner, and in my search for a way to make right decisions, I used a standard of measure that is the best ever written for persons in public service. 'We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union', …this was to be my first criteria. It meant to me that I had to assess the conclusion of my decision to determine if it will promote public satisfaction. '…to establish justice'… I had to ask myself, is it just, fair, non-exploitable. 'To promote the general welfare'…i.e. will my decision provide for a better quality of life in the City? 'To provide for the common defense'…i.e., will my decision discourage transgression against the people who live in the City of Cocoa Beach…' and secure a blessing of liberty for ourselves and our posterity' i.e., the Commissions net effect ensures an ultimate and better society for us in the City, and for those who follow on and take over." Mr. Bertram stated he was leaving this thought with the Commissioners because he knew how tough it was to make some decisions that had to be made. "Accomplishments," he said, "are soon forgotten." "Errors take a little longer to forget and people fade into infinity, so I wanted to leave a little tangible remembrance for the City to use." Mr. Bertram then presented a new gavel to the Mayor inscribed: "TO BE WIELDED ALWAYS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, EMIL P. BERTRAM, MARCH 1973.
Mr. Richard Tillman gave a synopsis of his background, making him knowledgeable on his subject under Personal Appearance, "State of the City" in relation to decisions on City Manager and City Attorney Appointments. He explained that he had been a City Commissioner from 1965 to 1968; that he had served a term in the State Legislature and had been appointed Chairman of a subcommittee of the Local Government Committee on Intergovernmental Relations; in a chart prepared by him on City Attorney selection guide, showing attorney ratings, which he distributed. Said Chart on file in the office of the City Clerk as Exhibit L-8-74. These ratings show the Commission was prepared to "dump" someone from the A-1 and A-2 group, for someone in the G group, as City Attorney. He was referring to the Commission not as one person, but as a collective action. In addition the water problems that this Commission is going to have they cannot consider them alone, but that Commissioner Doerer and the League of Cities are going to have to prod and push this County to work on these problems. Mr. Dolan had made a fine race for the State Senate; he is a very capable man and would go far if he makes a record here in this City; and that he had the choice of making a record based on things like. The water supply and coordinating with other government agencies, or he can be petty and put a "G" rated man in as City Attorney. Mr. Tillman stated he would be around a long time and has an interest in following State guidelines and he hoped the Commission would get on with it and do it.
Mr. Hirsch advised he did not think you could put much stock in Martin and Hubbel, which was used for the rating chart. I have no axe to grind, but this chart cannot be used as a guide as far as lawyers were concerned.
City Clerk/Treasurer advised that effective May 1, 1974, we must move to $1.90 per hour for minimum wage; that this will effect the lifeguards for Beach Patrol, the Recreation Complex Pool, and some of the summer recreation help which will be employed.
Mrs. Virginia Franklin, Chairman of the Beautification Board advised money would be spent on the SR520 east to the ocean in the amount of $8,000, followed by a little cleanup downtown. However, the maintenance problem is so bad that in spending $5,000 in plantings, $3,000 will be lost.
Mayor Caron said that the Citizens League has come to the Commission with many requests, and that it would be gracious of them to show their civic pride by coming to downtown Cocoa Beach and make it beautiful. Also the Mayor asked the Acting City Commissioner to contact DOT to see what it would take to get curbs and grass by the curbs, and get the beautification committee to work on putting trees on our highways from 4th Street north.
Mayor Caron made a statement to the effect that he was happy to recognize any citizen who spoke to the Commission, whether at a meeting, by mail, or by telephone. However, that does not mean he has to recognize people to stand in front of the citizens and taxpayers of this community and misrepresent and lie about the facts in their presentations. (He goes on to give examples of persons who have done that in his understanding). He then listens to rebuttal from other Commissioners and members of the audience attending the meeting. In addition the rancor over the appointment or release of the City Attorney continues following the flow of comments. (To be continued.)
Acting City Manager reported he had applied some time ago for a 911 telephone number that would take care of all emergencies. We have been accepted for a 911 number and will be billed at a rate of $35 per month with a onetime connection fee of $33 per trunk. Estimates indicate a need for a three trunk system with a direct line from our location to Cape Canaveral Police for $22.80 per month, and a connection fee of $33. Cape Canaveral will share in the latter expenses.
The Commission has received requests that the Beautification Committee start planting something other than cabbage palms. A suggestion was offered that maybe we should plant some real trees. It was suggested that an effort be made to get local business owners to come to Commission meetings and offer suggestions for beatifying the downtown area. It was noted that local business owners used to attend meetings on a regular basis, but most of what they asked for was turned down, so they just stopped coming.
Mayor Caron introduced Mr. William D. Williams, applicant for the position of City Manager. The Commission interviewed Mr. Williams at some length and voted to hire Mr. Williams as the new City Manager beginning July 15, 1974. Mr. Williams said he and his family were excited about coming to Cocoa Beach and serving the community. (There had been 100 applicants)
A question of legal action regarding sunbathing on the beach came up for discussion. Mayor Caron had received several letters, and a petition from owners of oceanfront condominiums opposed to topless sunbathing. Another letter was opposed to topless sunbathing being illegal. Another from a motel owner advising that young people were running around on the beach in front of her motel completely nude, and the result has been a loss in guests at her motel. Several other letters pro and con were read before a packed Commission room.
Mayor Caron advised he had a discussion with the Cape Canaveral Police Chief and was told they do not have a topless sunbathing ordinance, but they do have one on indecent exposure. Several arrests had been made for topless sunbathing and the cases had been thrown out of Court. One resident suggested that little bikinis gave them sufficient suntan and was ample for sunbathing.
The City Attorney spoke about the difficulty of criminal prosecution under State law. He then went on to say that if the City of Cocoa Beach wanted to make this issue illegal, they you had better pass an ordinance. The conduct being discussed may be in poor taste, but under existing Statutes, we would not be successful. Chief Parsons has indicated that unless the City Commission passes an ordinance, he would not be making any arrests regarding topless sunbathing.
Mayor Caron read the following: "In the interest of fair play, a TODAY reporter, who apologized for the editorial against topless sunbathing, was fired because of his Tuesday statement.
An ordinance of the City of Cocoa Beach revising chapter 15 of the code of ordinances by adding a new section number 15-24 providing it shall be unlawful for any female person over the age of 12 years old, or who has reached puberty to appear on the public beach or in proximity of same or to appear in public generally without such person's breasts being covered, providing for penalties, was read in full by the City Attorney. After much discussion, a vote was called for on the first reading of the ordinance, and the vote failed 3-2. It was decided to workshop the issue to come up with an ordinance.
The Ordinance was again presented for a first reading vote. The Ordinance was amended and passed 3-2; however, a motion followed to put the issue on the November ballot, as a straw ballot that would be binding on the City Commission. After some discussion the decision was unanimous to put the issue on the ballot.
Commissioner Czajka moved that Kay Wright (Acting City Manager/Treasurer/City Clerk) be appointed City Manager. Mayor Caron asked Mrs. Wright if she would accept the position, and Mrs. Wright answered in the affirmative. Fernald seconded the motion. Before the vote, Mrs. Wright said there was one proviso in her acceptance, i.e., she would like protection in the City's Pension Plan included in her contract. She asked for an agreement that the City would pay her 50% of the amount require to purchase an annuity, equal to the benefits which would be received under 100% vested rights in the plan; that this payment would be reduced to 10% each year of participation in the Plan, and if the employment is continued for 10 years, until the Pension Plan is 100% vested. At that time, this part of the contract would be obsolete.
Mrs. Wright also said she would like her 65 days of accumulated vacation leave protected.
At a special meeting of the City Commission, Mrs. Wright was appointed City Manager with a contract agreeing to the stipulations Mrs. Wright made at the meeting on 11/21/74
A committee appointed by the Brevard County School Board is addressing itself to the advisability and recommendations for closing various schools in order to consolidate population of schools and to save operating monies. Cocoa Beach Elementary School is among those being considered for closing. Citizens of Cocoa Beach should begin to develop opinions and ideas on the subject for presentation at public hearings.
Commissioner Brady advised he had some matters he wished to present and Moved to terminate Kay Wright as City Manager without cause, pursuant to the employment agreement of November 26, 1974, and further Move the City of Cocoa Beach waive the 90 day provision to subject agreement, by paying a lump sum salary for such a period. Seconded by Commissioner Doerer.
Discussion followed on the amount of money involved. The City Manager said that since she had heard the rumor that this might take place, she had acquired an Attorney, and asked that her attorney review the contract and have the opportunity to sit down to make amicable agreement as to what the terms of the contract are and the dollar amounts involved.
An amended motion to add "pay employee benefit as stated in the contract, in a manner in the best interest of the employee and the City" was offered and the motion as amended was passed by a vote of 3-2.
Mr. Tillman spoke of not hearing any Commissioners cite a great problem which would warrant such a disruption of this City. Mayor Moore, said he found it very difficult as one Commissioner to be asked to commit $20,000 plus of taxpayer money to terminate an employee without any reason. Mr. Brady said the agreement didn't require him to expound on reasons for termination, but limits to one or two alternatives did not suggest that Mrs. Wright has performed any acts which would constitute cause for termination. Another motion by Mayor Moore to postpone the decision until the next meeting failed by the same margin 3-2.
Mrs. Wright advised at that point that she would step down.