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February 20, 2024

DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR:

Tomorrow -- Wednesday, February 21 -- Downtown Farmers Market (4-7 pm)

Friday, February 23 -- Downtown Friday (6-9 pm)

Tuesday, February 27 -- City Council Meeting (9:30 a.m., Chambers)

Wednesday, February 28 -- Three Corners Evaluation Committee (9:30 a.m., Chambers)

Thursday, February 29 -- CMS of Lincoln Center (7:30 p.m., Trinity Episcopal)

Monday, March 4 -- Three Corners RFP Responses will be made public

Wednesday, May 1 -- Three Corners Selection Committe Meets to Score RFP Responses

Tuesday, May 28 -- RFP Selection Committe Recommends Preferred Developer to Council

 

Hello everyone,

 

Happy to be checking in again with updates on Three Corners, Downtown Master Plan, and most recent City Council meeting highlights.

 

Also, see the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center Season opening photos and lovely thank you video from Suzanne Davidson, CMS executive director, below. The arrival in Vero Beach and welcoming of CMS Lincoln Center to our community has been nothing short of spectacular!

 

Three Corners

As you all may recall, we received four responses to the Three Corners RFP. The names of the developers have been published but the content is confidential until March 4, when the evaluation committee will make recommendations to Council members.

 

February 13 City Council Meeting Highlights:

  • Keith Drewett (Clean Water Coalition) announced they have been approved for a grant of $200,000 to further the STEP System (septic to sewer conversion).

  • Gene Waddell commented that unless zoning rules are changed, no private investment will happen downtown and that onerous building department and permitting process delays need to be addressed.

  • There was discussion of formation of CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) and other funding mechanisms to finance revitalization of Downtown so as not to put the burden on the community/taxpayers.

  • Joe Earman (County Commissioner) presented the plan for wrapping of electrical boxes in art; you've probably seen some already and -- happily -- it looks like we'll be seeing more!

  • The Three Corners Selection Committe process was discussed at length. The important key dates are listed above. City Manager, Monte Falls, gives a very detailed overview of the process, and you can understand more about why the council members were not part of the selection committee by watching the replay for four minutes beginning at the minute marker 56:19 in the replay here. For those of you who are keen followers of the project and want up-to-the second, accurate details vs. hearsay, I highly suggest you watch.

 

Ideas for Downtown

The downtown master plan charrette has concluded, and we want to let you know DPZ CoDESIGN is still accepting ideas. If you want to submit more ideas, you are encouraged to view the video of the final presentation and submit ideas by visiting the Ideas for Downtown section at www.COVB.org. And then take the survey or send your ideas via email to ideasfordowntown@covb.org.

 

 

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February 5, 2024

REMINDER

Don't forget this evening's opening presentation with Andres Duany and the DPZ CoDESIGN team takes place at the Heritage Center from 5 - 7, presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. The full schedule of meetings can be found at the official website for the project, www.IdeasforDowntown.com.

 

Parking can be found behind the Community Center/Pocahantas Park, on 14th Avenue, or in the overflow parking lot north of 23rd Street.

 

 

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February 2, 2024

Hello all,

 

Excited to report that according to Demandstar, the following developers submitted responses to the redevelopment and operations of the Three Corners site:

 

  1. Clearpath, Bloomington, IN

  2. Edgewater Group, Fort Lauderdale, FL

  3. Suda, Cred Capital, Madison Marquette, Pompano Beach, FL

  4. Vista Blue Vero Beach Resort & Spa, Vero Beach, FL

 

No doubt you'll be hearing more information from Jason Jeffries soon, and we'll be sure to share it. In the meantime, as seen in Ray McNulty's Vero News story yesterday (here), The Three Corners Selection Committee tasked with evaluating the respondents based on the city's criteria has been announced. The selection committee members are:

 

Jason Jeffries, Planning & Development Director

Steve Dionne, Finance Director

Matt Mitts, Public Works Director

Rob Bolton, Water-and-Sewer Director

Jeb Bittner, Planning & Zoning Board Chairman

Robert Jones, Finance Commission Chairman

Vicky Gould, Chair of the 2019 Three Corners Steering Committee

 

What an incredibly uplifting way to welcome DPZ back to Vero Beach next week. As always, we will keep you posted with updates.

 

REMINDERS:

Don't forget Monday's opening presentation with Andres Duany and the DPZ CoDESIGN team will take place at the Heritage Center from 5 - 7, with the presentation beginning at 5:30 p.m. The full schedule of meetings can be found at the official website for the project, www.IdeasforDowntown.com. Please visit the site, take the survey and RSVP for meetings (not required, but helpful). See Larry Reisman's TC Palm piece from this morning (here -- subscription required).

 

Last but not least, the city has extended the deadline to February 9 for public input in conjunction with the preparation of potential neighborhood protection and preservation policies for island and inland and beachside neighborhoods. Interested parties are invited and encouraged to provide comments here.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all next week,

 

 

Irina

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January 29, 2024

Greetings,

 

In case you missed it, I am sharing Mayor John E. Cotugno's message circulated Monday about the Ideas for Downtown campaign (pasted below).

 

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (actually twice if you participated in Three Corners!) to work alongside Andres Duany in shaping a Master Plan for Downtown. The team is eager to hear your ideas. Completed surveys are rolling in and we are sharing your insights and ideas with the team in real time. Let's keep those surveys coming.

 

Forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues and encourage them to get involved with what promises to be an exciting series of workshops.

 

Mark your calendars for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb 5, 6 and 7) from 5 - 7 p.m. and then again on Friday, February 9 from 5-7 pm for the closing presentation. You can check out the full schedule here.

 

For planning purposes, we kindly ask you to RSVP in case we need to shift venues, add more chairs, etc. In fact, the opening presentation has already been moved to the Heritage Center and other presentations may as well. Fortunately, the two venues are close in proximity, and we will have re-direct signs from the Community Center for those who have already signed up.

 

Bear in mind:

 

  •  If you are new to this initiative, we suggest you start by reading up on Andres Duany's initial observations as presented to the City Council on January 18 in the "In the News" section and then check out the "FAQ/Resources" tab for links to historical studies at the website -- www.ideasfordowntown.com. If you want to drill deeper into the history, visit the Planning Department tab at www.COVB.org.

  • You will notice Andres is eager to hear from younger people...aka 30-year-olds who will be 50-year-olds when Downtown Vero matures. While there is a definite focus on the "under 45's," we want to hear from EVERYONE, so please take the survey and join in person as well.

  • When you take the survey, we do ask for your name, email address, and street address. We ask for this information to protect the integrity of the process as well as understand which Vero Beach residents are city residents (voters) and which are county (unable to vote in city elections). As a reminder, just because you have a Vero Beach mailing address does not mean you are actually a resident of the City of Vero Beach. You can check whether you are a city or county resident here.

  • Jason Jeffries, COVB Planning Director, is working on a list of frequently asked questions which will be posted to the website shortly. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you may pose them here.

  • If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the site or survey, please email jonathan@iwprgroup.com for assistance.

 

Last but not least, we urge you to take the survey ASAP so that the team has as much advance intelligence as possible.

 

And now....the Message from Mayor John E. Cotugno

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

A MESSAGE FROM

MAYOR JOHN E. COTUGNO

 

On behalf of my fellow council members and staff of the City of Vero Beach, I am excited to announce the Ideas for Downtown community engagement campaign with DPZ CoDESIGN is officially underway.

 

Andres Duany and the DPZ CoDESIGN team will arrive one week from today for what promises to be an exceedingly future-forward Downtown Master Plan Charrette, and we are eager to hear your ideas, both in person during the week-long charrette and online at www.ideasfordowntown.com. I encourage everyone in our community to get involved and take part in the process.

 

The outgrowth of a months-long process, this Charrette serves as the pre-cursor to adopting a new downtown master plan -- a plan very much designed for the future. And a plan that will appeal to the next generation who want to live, work and play in downtown. You'll see a lot of focus on how to make downtown more livable and on how to create more attainable housing in order to receive, attract and retain younger community members. You'll also see a lot of emphasis on shaping a place distinct in character from Ocean Drive or Three Corners.

 

Start by taking the survey. Then, mark your calendars for daily presentations and Q&A from 5-7 p.m. beginning Monday, February 5 through Friday, February 9 at the Vero Beach Community Center (2266 14th Ave.). Note: there will be no public presentation on Thursday, as the design team will be preparing their drawings for Friday's closing presentation. The full schedule can be found at on the website at www.ideasfordowntown.com

 

In closing, I want to express my gratitude to the entire Vero Beach community for your ongoing input, support and engagement on important issues facing our city. Your voices and feedback play a crucial role in shaping our priorities and decision-making.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Mayor John E. Cotugno

City of Vero Beach

January 29, 2024

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January 25, 2024

The Ideas for Downtown website and survey have officially launched!

IdeasforDowntown.com

 

Visit www.ideasfordowntown.com, take the survey, register for regular updates, and then forward this e-mail to your friends, colleagues and neighbors who want to share their ideas with Andres Duany and the DPZ CoDESIGN team as they work alongside the community to shape the future and design of Downtown Vero Beach.

 

 

 

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January 23, 2024

Reminder to attend tomorrow's Neighborhood meeting (not to be confused with ideas for downtown master plan with Andres Duany).

 

This will be a great opportunity to get to know and ask questions of Jason Jeffries, Planning & Development Director about potential changes to neighborhood protection policies.

 

These are two meetings set for tomorrow for citywide residents to share their concerns about encroachment -- or any kind of development -- taking place in their immediate neighborhoods.

 

There is meeting a at 2 pm for island residents and 6 pm for mainland residents.

 

If you'd like to submit questions in advance, simply reply to this email and I will forward to Jason.

 

See locations below:

 

NEIGHBORHOOD PROTECTION

On Wednesday, January 24 join these meetings to share your thoughts about Neighborhood Protection.

 

Beachside Neighborhood Meeting

2:00 p.m. -- Bethel Creek House, 4405 North A1A

 

Mainland Neighborhood Meeting

6:00 p.m. -- Vero Beach Community Center, 2266 14th Avenue

 

Neighborhood and protection policies serve to:

Preserve the character and quality of neighborhoods with an emphasis on maintaining unique character, identity and livability. They may include regulations on building design, density and use (commercial vs. residential, etc.), as well as guidelines for preserving historic buildings and landmarks.

 

These policies serve to:

 

Ensure compatibility and harmony. They may include zoning regulations that separate incompatible land uses, such as residential and industrial areas.

 

Protect natural resources and the environment. Think wetlands and water bodies. They may include restrictions on development in environmentally sensitive areas, requirements for green spaces and open areas, and regulations for sustainable building practices.

 

Enhance public safety and wellbeing of residents. Including regulations on fire safety, building codes, access to public amenities and provisions for emergency services.

 

Overall, these policies help to create and maintain a balanced and sustainable land use pattern that meets the needs of the community while protecting the environment and preserving the quality of life in neighborhoods.

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January 22, 2024

Important upcoming dates at a glance

Tonight: January 22 at 7:30 p.m. Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Beethoven, Shostakovich and Dvorak. Trinity Episcopal Church Purchase tickets here.

Tomorrow: January 23 at 9:30 a.m. City Council meeting @ City Hall

January 18 -- 1:30 p.m. -- Andres Duany at Joint Council and Planning Meeting

January 24 -- 2:00 p.m. -- Beachside Neighborhood Protection Input Session

January 24 -- 6:00 p.m. -- Mainland Neighborhood Protection Input Session

February 5 - 9: Ideas for Downtown DPZ CoDESIGN Charrette (More details tk)

 

Tonight at 7:30 is the opening Concert for The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society; The church is nearly sold out for this performance, but there are still seats available. Purchase tickets here.

REPLAY AND MEDIA COVERAGE OF PLANNER ANDRES DUANY'S OBSERVATIONS OF DOWNTOWN VERO BEACH.

 

Check out Andres Duany's observations during kick-off of the Vero Beach Master Plan here.

 

Looks like we have another standing ovation plan in the works!

 

 

Then read the media coverage. Larry Reisman's opinion piece here. Nick Slater's reporting here, and WPTV Television here.

 

Mark your calendar for February 5 - 9. More details to follow.

 

Ideas for Downtown website and surveys from the city are set to be launched this Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 17, 2024

Reminder:

Join Andres Duany in City Hall Tomorrow @1:30 P.M.

for

Ideas for Downtown Kick-off

Hello all,

 

Join Andres Duany tomorrow, Thursday, January 18 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall for the joint City Council / Planning and Zoning workshop.

 

Andres and the DPZ CoDESIGN team want to hear your ideas as they prepare for the launch of the Ideas for Downtown Charrette scheduled for early February. Attend in chambers at 1053 20th Place or click here to watch via Channel 13. As always, we will be sharing the replay.

 

The Ideas for Downtown campaign will launch with a dedicated website and surveys soon. For now, mark your calendar for the Ideas for Downtown Charrette, scheduled for Monday, February 5 through Friday, February 9. There will be full-day workshops and meetings every day -- open to the public. More schedule details will be announced soon.

 

The team wants to hear from everyone, especially downtown neighbors, business and property owners. If you haven't already, please share your contact information and ideas with us here so that we may assist DPZ in organizing stakeholder meetings throughout the Charrette process.

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January 16, 2024

Hello everyone,

 

Sharing important upcoming dates at a glance -- more details below:

Tomorrow, January 17 -- 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. -- Downtown Farmers Market

January 18 -- 1:30 p.m. -- Andres Duany at Joint Council and Planning Meeting

January 24 -- 2:00 p.m. -- Beachside Neighborhood Protection Input Session

January 24 -- 6:00 p.m. -- Mainland Neighborhood Protection Input Session

DOWNTOWN MASTER PLAN KICK-OFF

As you know, we kick off the DPZ CoDESIGN Downtown Master Plan initiative this Thursday, January 18 at 1:30 p.m. Andres Duany will present his observations as we prepare for the launch of the Ideas for Downtown campaign. You may click here to watch via Channel 13.

 

As always, we will be sharing the replay. Also, don't forget to note February 5 - 9 for the actual Charrette. More details soon.

CALLING ALL DOWNTOWN STAKEHOLDERS

If you are a downtown property owner, neighbor or business owner, we want to make sure we have your contact information as we assist DPZ in organizing stakeholder meetings during the Charrette. Click here to share your information.

 

NEIGHBORHOOD PROTECTION

On Wednesday, January 24 join these meetings to share your thoughts about Neighborhood Protection.

 

Beachside Neighborhood Meeting

2:00 p.m. -- Bethel Creek House, 4405 North A1A

 

Mainland Neighborhood Meeting

6:00 p.m. -- Vero Beach Community Center, 2266 14th Avenue

 

Neighborhood and protection policies serve to:

Preserve the character and quality of neighborhoods with an emphasis on maintaining unique character, identity and livability. They may include regulations on building design, density and use, as well as guidelines for preserving historic buildings and landmarks.

 

These policies serve to:

 

Ensure compatibility and harmony. They may include zoning regulations that separate incompatible land uses, such as residential and industrial areas.

 

Protect natural resources and the environment. Think wetlands and water bodies. They may include restrictions on development in environmentally sensitive areas, requirements for green spaces and open areas, and regulations for sustainable building practices.

 

Enhance public safety and wellbeing of residents. Including regulations on fire safety, building codes, access to public amenities and provisions for emergency services.

 

Overall, these policies help to create and maintain a balanced and sustainable land use pattern that meets the needs of the community while protecting the environment and preserving the quality of life in neighborhoods.

 

Downtown Farmers Market

The Downtown Farmers Market returns tomorrow, Wednesday, January 17 from 4 - 7 p.m. along 14th Street.

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January 9, 2024

Let's get 2024 started with some exciting news and important dates -- open up your calendars!

 

But first, on behalf of our community, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Claire Higgins (Engel & Völkers) and Baerbel O'Haire (The O'Haire Group | Merrill Lynch), the two remarkable women who make Let's Talk Vero possible. Their commitment to powering civic engagement will have a lasting impact on Vero Beach now and for years to come.

 

New York's Lincoln Center is Coming to Town:

For the 2024 season, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is proud to bring a lineup of world-renowned musicians to Vero Beach.

 

Introduced to our community by local architect Scott Johnson during the Three Corners envisioning process, we have three-world class concerts taking place at Trinity Episcopal Church. Check out the photos and fantastic coverage in 32963 here. Get your season tickets before they sell out! We'll be sure to send reminders.

 

Ideas for Downtown

The City of Vero Beach will begin the process of developing a downtown master plan this month. World-renowned architect and urban planner, Andres Duany and his team from DPZ CoDESIGN, will lead a charrette very similar to the Three Corners process, where they will actively be seeking your ideas. Expect a dedicated website, surveys and more announcements later this month. In the meantime, block out February 5 through 9 on your calendars for the charrette. More details soon.

 

Andres Duany and Xavier Iglesias will be here next week for key stakeholder meetings on January 17, followed by a presentation and joint meeting with City Council and the Planning & Zoning Board in chambers at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 18.

Coffee with the Mayor this Friday at Riverside Theater.

Main Street Vero Beach will host Coffee with the Mayor this Friday the 12th at 8:00 a.m. at Riverside Theater. Mayor Cotugno will be talking about the "why" behind the master plan initiative. Come on out, make new friends, celebrate the new season and get engaged. Open to all -- please RSVP here.

 

Downtown Farmers Market

The Downtown Farmers Market is returning Wednesday, January 17 from 4 - 7 p.m. along 14th Street. Thank you to Barbara Ruddy for her unwavering enthusiasm and for funding the music!

 

Look Both Ways -- Cross Walk Art

Thanks to Vice Mayor Linda Moore and Off Island Studios, get ready to experience some fun cross walk art beginning early spring -- sneak peek below. Keep an eye on the Edgewood area in the Vero Beach Arts Village. Special thanks to the volunteers and the Vero Beach Mural Project, who will be providing paint.

As we close out 2023 and welcome 2024, we would like to thank all of you for your amazing letters, comments and engagement over the past year. You've inspired us so much. If you have any ideas or suggestions for content, please don't hesitate to let us know.

 

Also, this is a good time to prune our lists. If you no longer wish to be engaged in growth and development issues in Vero Beach, please hit the unsubscribe button below or reply to this email with the word "unsubscribe."

 

Best regards,

 

 

Irina & Jonathan

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December 13, 2023

Downtown Farmers Market Debuts

Today

 

 

 

Farmers Market, Twin Pairs Outcome and Downtown Master Plan

 

 The Inaugural Downtown Vero Beach Farmers Market

TODAY

 

Wednesday, December 13

4 - 7 pm

In the heart of downtown

at the intersection of 21st Street and 14th Avenue

 

Hello all,

The day you have been waiting for has arrived. Later today from 4 - 7 pm is the inaugural farmer's market right in the heart of downtown, and it's all thanks to you for making your voices heard!

 

Special thanks to Claire Higgins of Engel & Völkers Real Estate and Baerbel O'Haire of The O'Haire Group, Merrill Lynch for powering the work that brought this to fruition. And to Matt Haynes of Main Street Vero Beach for listening to your feedback and making this a reality.

 

Swing by from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to enjoy live music from Purr Box, an upbeat atmosphere and an assortment of produce and products from vendors below:

 

21st Amendment | Armani's Market | Barefoot Cafe | Barnes Citrus | Birdie Hogan | Bohemian Eats | Born2beecandles | Bragg Family Soaps | Chef Lippe | Countrywide Botanicals | Culinary Genie | Crystal Seas | CW Willis Family Farms | Dolly's Table | Florida Man Pet Treats | Fresh Market | Fruity Sunrise | Grumpy Cat Coffee | Haizea Lulich Florals | Happy Goat Soaps | Health Wealth Hydration | I Love You Peanut | Jerk on Jerkies | Kettle Corn | Local Seas Fisheries | Moe's Place | Nazhi Thee Baker | Niko's Market | Olives Guy | Palato Cafe and Bakery | Seafood Steve | Tall Pines Honey | Tea and Chi | The Mushroom Man | The Nut House | Thelma Jeans Bakery | Truly Delicious Foods | Vegan Mario | Wreaths for All Occasions | Zesty Fox Farms

 

 

 

 

In Other News:

 

Downtown Master Plan and Twin Pairs: Super excited to share the announcement of DPZ CoDESIGN -- the same designers for Three Corners -- as planners for the new Downtown Master Plan. A week-long

Charrette process, similar to the one you participated in for Three Corners, is slated for mid-February 2024. You will be hearing directly from the DPZ team and their PR consultant, Impact Campaigns, in the new year. As always, we will keep you apprised as well.

 

On a related note, the final vote on Twin Pairs took place yesterday -- option 4 was voted 4-1. You can see all options that were considered here and watch television news coverage here and here.

 

The final Twin Pairs outcome is very much a compromise; neither proponents nor opponents got what they wanted. But the decision paves the way for the community to collaborate again with DPZ on designing a master plan to achieve all the things our surveys say you want -- more walkability, better retail, more outdoor cafes, aesthetic enhancements, and more.

 

 

Final EAR/Comp Plan Workshop Today -- if you can make it in person at the Intergenerational Recreation Center (address: 1590 9th St SW). Meetings will take place at both 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with the option to attend the 6:00 p.m. meeting via ZOOM (link).

 

In case you missed the last meeting, you may view a replay here.

 

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December 13, 2023

Downtown Farmers Market Debuts

Today

 

 

 

Farmers Market, Twin Pairs Outcome and Downtown Master Plan

 

 The Inaugural Downtown Vero Beach Farmers Market

TODAY

 

Wednesday, December 13

4 - 7 pm

In the heart of downtown

at the intersection of 21st Street and 14th Avenue

 

Hello all,

The day you have been waiting for has arrived. Later today from 4 - 7 pm is the inaugural farmer's market right in the heart of downtown, and it's all thanks to you for making your voices heard!

 

Special thanks to Claire Higgins of Engel & Völkers Real Estate and Baerbel O'Haire of The O'Haire Group, Merrill Lynch for powering the work that brought this to fruition. And to Matt Haynes of Main Street Vero Beach for listening to your feedback and making this a reality.

 

Swing by from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to enjoy live music from Purr Box, an upbeat atmosphere and an assortment of produce and products from vendors below:

 

21st Amendment | Armani's Market | Barefoot Cafe | Barnes Citrus | Birdie Hogan | Bohemian Eats | Born2beecandles | Bragg Family Soaps | Chef Lippe | Countrywide Botanicals | Culinary Genie | Crystal Seas | CW Willis Family Farms | Dolly's Table | Florida Man Pet Treats | Fresh Market | Fruity Sunrise | Grumpy Cat Coffee | Haizea Lulich Florals | Happy Goat Soaps | Health Wealth Hydration | I Love You Peanut | Jerk on Jerkies | Kettle Corn | Local Seas Fisheries | Moe's Place | Nazhi Thee Baker | Niko's Market | Olives Guy | Palato Cafe and Bakery | Seafood Steve | Tall Pines Honey | Tea and Chi | The Mushroom Man | The Nut House | Thelma Jeans Bakery | Truly Delicious Foods | Vegan Mario | Wreaths for All Occasions | Zesty Fox Farms

 

 

 

 

In Other News:

 

Downtown Master Plan and Twin Pairs: Super excited to share the announcement of DPZ CoDESIGN -- the same designers for Three Corners -- as planners for the new Downtown Master Plan. A week-long

Charrette process, similar to the one you participated in for Three Corners, is slated for mid-February 2024. You will be hearing directly from the DPZ team and their PR consultant, Impact Campaigns, in the new year. As always, we will keep you apprised as well.

 

On a related note, the final vote on Twin Pairs took place yesterday -- option 4 was voted 4-1. You can see all options that were considered here and watch television news coverage here and here.

 

The final Twin Pairs outcome is very much a compromise; neither proponents nor opponents got what they wanted. But the decision paves the way for the community to collaborate again with DPZ on designing a master plan to achieve all the things our surveys say you want -- more walkability, better retail, more outdoor cafes, aesthetic enhancements, and more.

 

 

Final EAR/Comp Plan Workshop Today -- if you can make it in person at the Intergenerational Recreation Center (address: 1590 9th St SW). Meetings will take place at both 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with the option to attend the 6:00 p.m. meeting via ZOOM (link).

 

In case you missed the last meeting, you may view a replay here.

 

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December 11, 2023

Big Day Tomorrow:

All You Need to Know

for Tuesday, December 12

Hello all,

 

So much going on tomorrow Tuesday, December 12 -- here is everything you need to know:

 

9:30 a.m. - Regular City Council Meeting

 

1:30 p.m. - Special Call Meeting

  • Final SR60/Twin Pairs lane repurposing workshop

  • City Council votes on one of four scenarios -- see the options in detail (Agenda pg. 15-24)

  • View full agenda here

 

4:30 p.m. - State of the City at CURFEW

  • Mayor Cotugno will update on all key city matters, including recap of the day

  • Commissioner Moss will provide a countywide update

  • More details and RSVP here

Reminder for Wednesday, December 13

 

11:00 a.m. - Comp Plan/EAR Workshop

  • Intergenerational Recreation Center (1590 9th St SW)

  • View the previous Comp Plan/EAR Workshop replay here

     

6:00 p.m. - Comp Plan/EAR Workshop (also via ZOOM)

  • Intergenerational Recreation Center (1590 9th St SW)

     

  4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Inaugural Downtown Farmer's Market

  • Intersection of 14th Ave. and 21st St.

 


 

 

 

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December 5, 2023

Next State of the City

One Week from Today

Tuesday, December 12

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

State of the City

with

Mayor John Cotugno

and

Commissioner Laura Moss

 

Tuesday, December 12

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

4:30 - 5:30 p.m. -- Cocktails

5:30 p.m. -- Presentation

at

CURFEW

1932 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

 

Hello everyone,

 

Eat, drink, gather and -- most importantly -- engage, this coming Tuesday, December 12 for State of the City at our newest downtown restaurant, CURFEW (formerly Southern Social).

 

As you know, December 12 is the big day when City Council conducts a special workshop and makes its final decision on how to proceed with Twin Pairs. John Cotugno will provide a recap for those of you who are unable to attend the City Council meeting in chambers (December 12, 9:30 a.m.), and Laura Moss will give us an update on County matters.

RSVP

Arrive at 4:30 p.m. and get a taste of a CURFEW Confidential cocktail at the newly remodeled full-length bar. But don't get too carried away because at 5:30 p.m. you will head over to the dining room for the main event. Unlike our last event at Post & Vine, we will have the dining room to ourselves, meaning our audio will not be drowned out by the din of busy patrons.

 

Be sure to check out the menu, and we look forward to seeing you Tuesday.

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December 4, 2023

Call to Action

All residents of

Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Fellsmere

Full disclosure: This email is long, but I encourage you to read to the end. Bear in mind the top three things to do ASAP are listed below:

 

Take urgent action by doing these three things:

  • Take the survey

  • Attend the next meeting (Dec. 13)

  • Spread the word

 

Attention all Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Fellsmere residents, 

 

I write to you in the midst of a countywide make-or-break moment. You have seen the numbers and know that Indian River is growing by leaps and bounds -- up to 205,000 new residents by 2030. If you are holding out hope we can miraculously avoid this fate, which is not unique to this region of Florida, I regret to inform you this is not possible.

 

What is possible, you may ask?

 

While we cannot stop growth, we have a robust arsenal of tools at our disposal to manage this growth and preserve the charm of our county -- specifically, the Evaluation Appraisal Report (EAR) process currently under way which guides the review and revision of the Comprehensive Plan. As you know, unchecked growth can lead to various problems such as traffic congestion, loss of open space, increased pollution, strain on public services and infrastructure, and potential decrease in property values. The comprehensive plan -- which needs your input now -- helps to control rampant growth by:

 

  1. Providing a Vision: The plan provides a vision for the future of the community, which will help to guide growth in a sustainable and beneficial manner.

  2. Setting Goals and Objectives: The plan sets out specific goals and objectives for growth and development, which can help to ensure growth is managed and controlled.

  3. Establishing Policies and Strategies: The plan establishes policies and strategies for managing growth, which can help to prevent over-development and ensure growth is balanced and sustainable.

  4. Guiding Decision-making: The plan provides a framework for making decisions about land use and development, which can help to ensure that these decisions are in line with the community's vision and goals.

  5. Engaging the community: The process of developing the plan involves engaging the community, which can help to ensure the plan reflects the community's values and priorities. The County has gone above and beyond to make it easy for you to provide input. Without civic engagement, the comprehensive plan may not reflect the needs, desires, and priorities of the community at large, which can lead to a plan that benefits certain groups more than others or overlooks important community issues.

 

Indian River County, led by Chief of Long-range Planning Chris Balter (contact info above), is currently organizing a thorough public engagement process to guide the review of the comprehensive plan, an opportunity which arises only once every seven years. If you haven't already attended one of the first four meetings, please do everything in your power to attend one of the final two, being held on Wednesday, December 13 at the Intergenerational Recreation Center at 11 am and 6 pm.

 

If you cannot make one of the final meetings in person -- and even if you do -- please be sure to take this survey, open through December 31, and share with your friends, family and colleagues encouraging them to do the same.

 

I realize it's the holidays and everyone is busy, but if you don't get involved now, you may spend the next seven years wondering why your local government officials seemingly don't "get" you. This is avoidable.

 

Attend one of the meetings on the 13th (the 6 pm is available via ZOOM) and take the survey. If you are interested in receiving a replay of yesterday's meeting, click here and we will get that to you as soon as it is made available by Kimley-Horn.

 

Best regards,

 

Jonathan Buckley

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December 2, 2023

Downtown Farmers Market Debut

and other important dates

 

 

The Inaugural Downtown Vero Beach Farmers Market

 

Wednesday, December 13

4 - 6 pm

In the heart of downtown

at the intersection of 21st Street and 14th Avenue

 

Hello all,

You'll recall in our recent survey of Let's Talk Vero readers, the most sought-after amenity downtown (after more sidewalk cafes) was an early evening, mid-week Farmers Market.

 

We're super excited to say that thanks to Claire Higgins (Engel & Völkers Real Estate) and Baerbel O'Haire (The O'Haire Group, Merrill Lynch) and their commitment to powering citizen engagement, that dream becomes a reality in less than two weeks.

 

We shared the survey results with Matt Haynes (executive director of Main Street Vero Beach) and he and Barbara Ruddy, Vero's tireless cheerleader, got to work to deliver a first-rate mid-week Farmers Market. A sampling of vendors to date:

 

21st Amendment | Armani's Market | Barnes Citrus | Birdie Hogan | Bohemian Eats | Born2beecandles | Bragg Family Soaps | Chef Lippe | Countrywide Botanicals | Crystal Seas |

CW Willis Family Farms | Dolly's Table | Florida Man Pet Treats | Fresh Market | Fruity Sunrise | Haizea Lulich Florals | Happy Goat Soaps | Health Wealth Hydration | I Love You Peanut |

Jerk on Jerkies | Kettle Corn | Local Seas Fisheries | Moe's Place | Nazhi Thee Baker | Olives Guy

Palato Cafe and Bakery | Seafood Steve | Tea and Chi | The Mushroom Man | The Nut House

Thelma Jeans Bakery | Zesty Fox Farms

 

 

Also -- Mark Your calendar for these Important Dates (more details to come)

 

Tuesday, December 12

  • Twin Pairs Workshop

  • Regular Council Meeting

  • Let's Talk Vero's State of the City at Curfew from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

    • Hosted by Tia Fanelli and Deb Kershaw at Curfew (formerly Southern Social)

 

Wednesday, December 13

  • Final County EAR/Comp Plan Workshop -- 6-9 pm at the Intergenerational Recreation Center -- for more details visit www.letstalkvero.com

     

 

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November 30, 2023

Call to Action

All residents of

Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Fellsmere

Full disclosure: This email is long, but I encourage you to read to the end. Bear in mind the top three things to do ASAP are listed below:

 

Take urgent action by doing these three things:

  • Take the survey

  • Attend the next meeting (Dec. 13)

  • Spread the word

 

Attention all Vero Beach, Sebastian, and Fellsmere residents, 

 

I write to you in the midst of a countywide make-or-break moment. You have seen the numbers and know that Indian River is growing by leaps and bounds -- up to 205,000 new residents by 2030. If you are holding out hope we can miraculously avoid this fate, which is not unique to this region of Florida, I regret to inform you this is not possible.

 

What is possible, you may ask?

 

While we cannot stop growth, we have a robust arsenal of tools at our disposal to manage this growth and preserve the charm of our county -- specifically, the Evaluation Appraisal Report (EAR) process currently under way which guides the review and revision of the Comprehensive Plan. As you know, unchecked growth can lead to various problems such as traffic congestion, loss of open space, increased pollution, strain on public services and infrastructure, and potential decrease in property values. The comprehensive plan -- which needs your input now -- helps to control rampant growth by:

 

  1. Providing a Vision: The plan provides a vision for the future of the community, which will help to guide growth in a sustainable and beneficial manner.

  2. Setting Goals and Objectives: The plan sets out specific goals and objectives for growth and development, which can help to ensure growth is managed and controlled.

  3. Establishing Policies and Strategies: The plan establishes policies and strategies for managing growth, which can help to prevent over-development and ensure growth is balanced and sustainable.

  4. Guiding Decision-making: The plan provides a framework for making decisions about land use and development, which can help to ensure that these decisions are in line with the community's vision and goals.

  5. Engaging the community: The process of developing the plan involves engaging the community, which can help to ensure the plan reflects the community's values and priorities. The County has gone above and beyond to make it easy for you to provide input. Without civic engagement, the comprehensive plan may not reflect the needs, desires, and priorities of the community at large, which can lead to a plan that benefits certain groups more than others or overlooks important community issues.

 

Indian River County, led by Chief of Long-range Planning Chris Balter (contact info above), is currently organizing a thorough public engagement process to guide the review of the comprehensive plan, an opportunity which arises only once every seven years. If you haven't already attended one of the first four meetings, please do everything in your power to attend one of the final two, being held on Wednesday, December 13 at the Intergenerational Recreation Center at 11 am and 6 pm.

 

If you cannot make one of the final meetings in person -- and even if you do -- please be sure to take this survey, open through December 31, and share with your friends, family and colleagues encouraging them to do the same.

 

I realize it's the holidays and everyone is busy, but if you don't get involved now, you may spend the next seven years wondering why your local government officials seemingly don't "get" you. This is avoidable.

 

Attend one of the meetings on the 13th (the 6 pm is available via ZOOM) and take the survey. If you are interested in receiving a replay of yesterday's meeting, click here and we will get that to you as soon as it is made available by Kimley-Horn.

 

Best regards,

 

Jonathan Buckley

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November 28, 2023

Tomorrow: Help Plan Indian River's Future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello all,

 

I encourage you to attend the second Comprehensive Plan (Evaluation Appraisal Report) Workshop tomorrow, November 29 at the County Commission Chambers, Building A, Room A-1502 (address: 1801 27th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960). You can either attend at 11:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. depending on what fits your schedule. Again, if you would like to attend virtually, you may do so using this link, but this option is only available for the 6:00 p.m. evening meeting.

 

This is a valuable opportunity to guide the direction of the county's comprehensive plan and voice your concerns on matters related to land use and development in the region, as Commissioner Laura Moss has reminded us many times. Moss will provide an update on growth and development for us at the next State of the City in December, but until then, take advantage of this chance to directly mold the comprehensive plan through the public process.

 

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November 27, 2023

New Council Seated

Four Alternate Scenarios Proposed for Twin Pairs

Three Corners Prospective Developers Update

We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend! Since our last update:

 

New Council:

Taylor Dingle was sworn in as a new Councilmember -- the youngest in COVB history! John Cotugno remains Mayor and Linda Moore remains Vice Mayor. Congratulations to all!

 

The matters outlined below will be discussed at tomorrow's Council meeting (11/28) at 9:30 a.m. in chambers. Or you can watch via Channel 13.

 

Alternate Twin Pairs Scenarios:

You'll recall in our last update we shared the idea of a new range of possible scenarios for Twin Pairs. The chart below sets forth four options proposed by Public Works for consideration at the December 12 Council meeting. Which option do you prefer? Share your thoughts (pro or con) and if you'd like us to share with the Let's Talk Vero readers, feel free to post in the Forum section or submit here via CitizenTalk and we'll share in an upcoming email. Ray McNulty's most recent opinion piece is here, for your ease of reference.

 

Option 1:

Original scope as presented by Kimley-Horn at workshops on October 5 and November 16. 

Option 2:

Original scope excluding parallel parking. Parallel parking would be removed from the proposed improvements and replaced with diagonal striping to eliminate the lane.

Option 3:

Safety improvements to be implemented by FDOT with no lane repurposing. 

Option 4:

Safety improvements to be implemented by FDOT and the addition of two landscape areas to repurpose the southern westbound lane of SR60 between 14th and 16th Avenue. The additional landscape areas would increase visibility at the SR 60/16th Avenue intersection to improve safety and reduce accidents. Note: Staff is currently coordinating with FDOT to determine the viability, cost and application requirements for this option (4).

Three Corners Update:

There will be a recap at the Council meeting tomorrow detailing the marketing efforts to date for the Three Corners RFP as well as a look at the prospects to date; currently there are over 35. The RFP is due mid-December -- as soon as we know who has actually responded, we will let you know. In the meantime, the PowerPoint for tomorrow's meeting can be found here.

 

And the full agenda for tomorrow's meeting can be found here.

 

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November 21, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 

A couple updates:

 

Thank you all for coming out to the Twin Pairs Workshop this past Thursday -- we counted well over 100 participants. You can find the replay here and scroll to minute marker 53:58 for public comments.

 

You will see there were noticeably more supporters in the room this time around, and it appears Council is now working toward presenting some trade-offs/ concessions as part of a range of possible scenarios for discussion at a newly announced, final workshop (likely scheduled for December 12 just before the vote).

 

Coincidentally, NBC's Lester Holt ran a segment last night on road design, speed and safety, which you may find informative and relevant to what we are experiencing in Vero Beach. Clearly, this issue is national in scope. You may view the segment here. Let us know your thoughts!

 

Don't miss tomorrow's meeting to welcome Taylor Dingle as he takes his oath of office during the organizational meeting, which will also include certification of election results as well as the election of mayor and vice mayor. The meeting will take place at 10:00 a.m. in chambers (1053 20th Pl.) You may view the agenda here.

 

Last but not least, we hope to have an update on interested developers for Three Corners in early December.

 

Best,

 

Irina

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November 15, 2023

Big Day Tomorrow

Two Important Meetings

 

End the proliferation of tract housing, car washes, mattress stores and storage units throughout Vero Beach! Don't miss this Comp Plan Review Meeting -- in person or via ZOOM -- Read on.....and, of course, the final Twin Pairs input meeting also tomorrow.

 

Hello all,

 

Reminder to attend the FINAL TWIN PAIRS WORKSHOP tomorrow, Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Vero Beach Community Center, 2266 14th Ave.

 

This is your final opportunity as citizens to engage with the issue in a public forum before the City Council votes on December 12. In advance of this meeting, please review the following:

  • Most up-to-date Kimley-Horn presentation

  • Survey and input results to date

  • Official FAQs based on your questions submitted

     

All three can be found here at this link.

 

Please let us know if you plan to attend in person by clicking here. If you would like to be sent a replay instead, let us know here.

 

Just as (if not more) important:

 

Christopher Balter, Chief of Long Range Planning for Indian River County encourages you all to join the County tomorrow, November 16, at the North County Library in Sebastian at 11:00 a.m., or via this ZOOM link for a critical review of the comprehensive plan.

 

The comprehensive plan guides decisions on land use, transportation, housing, infrastructure, and other aspects that directly impact the quality of life in our community. By participating in the review, you can help shape policies and strategies that enhance our community's livability, sustainability, and overall well-being. The meeting will take place at 1001 Sebastian Blvd, Sebastian, FL 32958.

 

Many of you have expressed concern about the rise of soulless tract housing and wasteful land use (storage units, mattress stores, etc.). This is your chance to voice objections and affect change.

 

County Commissioner Laura Moss will elaborate and provide an update at our next State of the City, sometime in December. Stay tuned for the date.

 

Refer to the graphic below for future meeting dates. We will send you a link to the County's survey when it opens tomorrow.

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November 9, 2023

Launching CitizenTalk 

for all County and City of Vero Beach residents

+

  • Official City-approved FAQs for Twin Pairs

  • Community Input collected as of 10/11/23

  • Updated PowerPoint for November 16

CITIZENTALK

You received earlier today an email from Jonathan Buckley with the first edition of CitizenTalk, a new Let's Talk Vero initiative designed to democratize the opinion ecosystem in Vero Beach -- the first featuring Bob Jones' rebuttal to a recent 32963/Ray McNulty opinion piece. 

 

We've received an overwhelmingly positive response, with many of you thanking us for making this possible and others commenting at length on Bob's observations. As such, we have created a way for you to read and interact with his (and future opinion pieces) by clicking here or visiting www.LetsTalkVero.com and clicking on the CitizenTalk tab, where you will be asked to register for an account if you haven't already.  

 

OFFICIAL CITY APPROVED FAQS FOR TWIN PAIRS

In advance of the next Twin Pairs meeting on the 16th, please find the following:

The most up-to-date Kimley-Horn presentation
The survey and input results to date
The official city-approved FAQs based on the questions LTV readers asked

 

All three can be found here at this link.

(Scroll to the end for FAQs)

 

REMINDER

The next public meeting for Twin Pairs will take place on:

 

Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m. 

at the Community Center

2266 14th Avenue

 

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November 6, 2023

Remember to Vote Tomorrow

+

A Quick Update

Hello all,

 

Don't forget to vote tomorrow! The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You may find your polling location by entering your address here or by calling the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections at (772) 226-4700. Given the confusion around mail-in ballots, we encourage everyone to do their best to make the time to vote in person.

 

Also, remember there is a City Council Meeting tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., where Councilmember John Carroll will present on Twin Pairs. You may view his powerpoint ahead of time here. The full agenda is here for your ease of reference.

 

Many of you have been asking for the Kimley-Horn traffic study, which you may find here for your ease of reference.

 

Thank you all for taking the time to submit your questions about Twin Pairs following the first workshop. We have been advised that a public Q&A page will be posted on the City's website (and here) as early as Wednesday.

 

Last but not least, remember to come to the second Twin Pairs workshop on Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Vero Beach Community Center, located at 2266 14th Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960. This is your last chance to participate in the public input process with Kimley-Horn before the City votes on the matter on Tuesday, December 12.

 

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November 2, 2023

Downtown Master Plan and Twin Pairs Update

Hello all,

 

In case you missed Tuesday's special call workshop about the Downtown Master Plan, you may watch it here. Council voted 4-1 for Planning Director Jason Jeffries to formulate a downtown master plan and to explore funding options, such as a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) or Business Improvement District (BID). We understand one of two firms will be chosen for this project -- DPZ CoDesign or Dover-Kohl. Nick Slater provides an in-depth summary of the points discussed here.

 

Regarding Twin Pairs, both Ray McNulty and Larry Reisman published articles today, which you may find here and here respectively. I would like to remind you that wherever you stand, attending the upcoming workshop on Thursday, November 16, at the Vero Beach Community Center at 5:30 p.m. is highly encouraged before the final vote takes place on Tuesday, December 12.

 

Larry Reisman revisited the concept of closing 14th Avenue to motor vehicles, as suggested by former County Commissioner Peter O'Bryan. What do you think of the idea of a pedestrian plaza?

 

Last but not least, Kimley-Horn is working on the questions you all asked. We hope to have those answers back to you in writing prior to the workshop on the 16th.

 

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November 1, 2023

Election Day is Just Around the Corner

Tuesday, November 7

7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

 

Hello City of Vero Beach Voters,

 

Election day is fast approaching, just a few days away on Tuesday, November 7. This election is an "off-year," one where voter turnout tends to be much lower. Consider: last year, 3,032 Vero Beach residents voted by mail. This year, due to the recent change in statewide rules, only 950 have returned mail-in ballots.

 

That's a reduction of nearly three quarters!! All the more reason to get out and vote this year. It's critical.

 

Life is very busy for all of us, and sometimes it is just easier to sit on the sidelines and let others decide the fate of our City. This is not the year to do that. I urge you to take a few moments out of your day to research the candidates, understand their platforms, and make your way to the polls. Municipal elections directly impact our daily lives even more so than statewide or national elections, shaping the policies and decisions that affect our neighborhoods, schools, infrastructure, and local economy. By participating in these elections, your voice is important in shaping the future of Vero Beach.

 

Go to the polls on Tuesday, November 7 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are unsure of your polling location, you may enter your address here to find out.

 

Last but not least, all the candidates stand ready to answer your questions, and you may contact them individually using the email addresses provided below:

 

Taylor Dingle: taylorjdingle@gmail.com

Honey Minuse: sisustarfish@aol.com

John Cotugno: johnecotugno@gmail.com

 

Let's set a new record for off-year voter turnout in 2023! Send this email to your friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members urging them to get out and vote.

 

Best regards,

 

Jonathan Buckley

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October 30, 2023

SPECIAL WORKSHOP TO REVIEW DOWNTOWN PLANS

Tomorrow

Tuesday, October 31

9:30 a.m. -- Council Chambers

 

Don't miss this workshop if you are interested in understanding where we've been, where we are and where we're headed in creating a vibrant and thriving Downtown Vero Beach

 

Each and every plan from 1990 to 2008 has been reviewed and recommendations will be made on how to proceed. From a dedicated funding mechanism like a CRA, adopting design standards, improving streetscapes, redeveloping underutilized sites to updating the zoning for Downtown, everything will be discussed.

 

Click here and scroll to Page 9 for an illuminating SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

 

Please try and make it in person. If you are unable, we will follow up with the replay and perhaps a survey to see how you think the City should proceed.

 

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October 14, 2023

Hello everyone,

 

As promised, click here to see a list of the recurring questions and concerns surrounding Twin Pairs -- click the ones you think are most important, and there's also a write-in space in case these jog more questions of your own.

 

We will share them with Kimley-Horn, City Council and Staff in the hopes they will create an FAQ packet for hand-out at the next meeting.

 

Here's why we think an FAQ is a good idea, especially for this hot-button topic:

 

  1. Time-saving: By addressing frequently asked questions, it saves time for both the participants and the facilitator. People can quickly find answers to their concerns, allowing facilitators to address unique and more specific concerns.

  2. Consistency: An FAQ hand-out ensures all participants receive consistent and accurate information.

  3. Transparency and trust-building: By openly addressing common questions and concerns, an FAQ promotes transparency.

  4. Reduced frustration: Participants often become frustrated if they cannot find answers to their questions or if they are receiving conflicting information -- an FAQ acts as a centralized and easily accessible source for facts.

 

 

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October 13, 2023

Great news to report -- you spoke and Matt Haynes, Executive Director of Main Street Vero Beach listened.

 

In a recent survey, nearly 2,000 participants indicated the number one thing they wanted to see more of downtown was outdoor cafes, followed by a farmers market. I'm pleased to report Matt Haynes will deliver on your wish -- in December you will have a new weekly farmers market at The Heritage Center grounds, to take place on a weekday (likely mid-week) during late afternoon and into the early evening hours. Details are being finalized, but I wanted you to be the first to know that your engagement was key to making this happen and to thank you for taking the time to participate in Let's Talk Vero surveys and events. Huge thanks to the Main Street Vero Beach organization for listening and executing. I find it most gratifying to see the community was heard and action taken.

 

Which brings me to the Meet the Candidates replay here. We had some 50 people in attendance and, not surprisingly, Twin Pairs emerged as the dominant issue. I was saddened to hear that even though the city has invested in, and we are in the midst of a robust and critical public education process that won't conclude until mid-December, both Honey Minuse and Taylor Dingle have declared they would vote against it if elected on November 7 and that Taylor Dingle provided a written statement to the new TruthLocalVero outlet stating "I oppose the proposed lane reduction and would not approve it if elected." All this begs the question: Do our candidates value and recognize the importance of input from everyone in the community? We hear it on the dais at nearly every meeting "We need to hear what the people want," yet the City has no mechanism in place to quantitatively measure community sentiment. This is just one void Let's Talk Vero seeks to fill through events, online surveys, and ongoing updates concerning growth and development in Vero Beach.

 

To be clear, Let's Talk Vero takes no position on issues before Council. We are committed to fostering the process, not the outcome. We believe the value of the public process lies in its integrity, which can only be upheld when the voices and concerns of all the citizens are genuinely heard and considered. And in a manner that can be backed up by data to the extent reasonably possible. By valuing the integrity of the process, candidates and elected officials demonstrate their commitment to democratic principles and the wellbeing of the people they serve.

 

We are late in that process for Twin Pairs and hopefully not at risk of a foregone conclusion. Let's Talk Vero is committed to encouraging engagement right up to the December 12 vote. Hopefully it will result in more than one plan so that the community can rally around something we can all celebrate.

 

To that end, in a separate email, we will be circulating a list of recurring questions and concerns posed by the community that we believe have not been satisfactorily answered. We will submit these questions to Council and Kimley-Horn and ask them to put an official FAQ together with thorough answers to your questions prior to the next workshop, in the hopes of ensuring the most productive sessions possible moving forward and up to December 12.

 

We ask you to check the questions most important to you, add more if you have them, and thank you in advance for participating.

 

Best,

 

 

Irina

 

 

 

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October 9, 2023

Hello everyone,

 

As promised, a recap, replay and photos of the Kimley-Horn workshop from Thursday evening. I think we can all agree on one thing -- the turnout was spectacular; we counted 120+/- people in the room! CBS 12 News Anchor Luli Ortiz was on hand to interview Audrey Mosel and other community members -- you can watch that clip here.

 

I will summarize below, but if you wish to watch the meeting in its entirety, you may click here; the audio is not ideal and the screen far away, so I suggest following alongside the PowerPoint presentation, which can be found here. As of this writing, we have 30 views -- let's get that ticker up to 500+.

 

Key timestamps:

  • Minute 2:40 -- Matt Mitts, Public Works Director, grounds us in the where we've been, where we are and where we're headed with this project, followed by Councilwoman Tracey Zudans' remarks encouraging more questions, especially from those who could not make it in person.

  • Minute 8:04 -- Councilman John Carroll on why this project is important

  • Minute 12:20 -- Kimley Horn's Brian Good begins his presentation

  • Minute 36:10 -- Discussion of Costs

  • Minute 39:05 -- Q&A begins

     

 

Recap, Photos and News Coverage of the Evening:

As Mayor John Cotugno pointed out, we are in the second generation of discussions on the matter and Matt Mitts reminded us we don't have another opportunity to look at this until 2045 -- it's a "forever hold your peace" kind of situation.

 

There are two more public meetings prior to the December 12 vote. Below are some observations based on all your emails and conversations since Thursday:

 

  1. It seems there are lots of revised opinions and positions, which is really refreshing, and surprising too! Some of you who were once in support of lane reduction and added parking/bike lanes are now rethinking your positions. And some who were not interested in narrowing lanes or doing anything at all, whatsoever! to Twin Pairs are coming around to seeing the merits of eliminating and/or narrowing lanes. And there are many new questions. Like, can we have a look at various scenarios, not just what the study proposes?

     

  2. It seems now would be a great time to answer some of these important questions, most notably -- how does this Twin Pairs study intersect with the Bob Gibbs Retail Study and shouldn't the consultant (DPZ CoDESIGN or Dover Kohl) for the Downtown Master Plan be actively engaged in these discussions now, working in concert with Kimley-Horn and the public?

    Aligning these three initiatives sooner rather than later will help enormously in ensuring all this hard work, investment and passion gets us to the right place -- a beautiful, walkable, livable, lovable, economically vibrant downtown Vero Beach.

  3. We've prepared a list of recurring questions and concerns and would like to present them to Kimley-Horn to be assembled into an official Q&A document prior to the November 16 meeting. Please click here and check all the questions you would want more concrete answers for -- from traffic congestion, population growth, traffic diversion, etc. There is a section to write in new questions as well.

  4. I believe an official Q&A document, disseminated in advance, will go a long way toward refining and distilling all this complex material. The clock is ticking and we should plan for the most productive meeting possible on the 16th -- with a start time of 5:30 p.m., followed by Q&A until 7:30 p.m. and if folks want to recount stories of their long personal histories in Vero Beach, their experiences elsewhere, their own ideas of what might work better, etc. we can do so after those important questions have been posed and addressed.

 

Bob Higgins (Engel & Völkers Real Estate) said something at the close of the session -- and Victor Dover (author of Street Design) echoed it at the close of the Twin Pairs walking tour: Not everyone is going to get what they want -- compromise will be in order, and that's what democracy is all about.

 

If you haven't already, visit www.letstalkvero.com to sign up for this Wednesday's conversation with the candidates -- Taylor Dingle, Honey Minuse and John Cotugno. Via ZOOM only at 6:00 p.m.

 

As always, we will keep you posted on upcoming meetings. In the meantime, please remember to check the questions you want answered so we can share them with Kimley-Horn. And think of more!

 

Last but not least, here is TCPalm Kaila Jones' piece from Friday, here is Larry Reisman's story from today and we'll share 39263 coverage soon.

 

Irina

View photos here

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October 9, 2023

THIS WEDNESDAY -- OCTOBER 11 

6:00 p.m.

VIA ZOOM ONLY -- MEET THE CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL 

 

 

Dear Vero Beach Voter,

 

We hope you are able to join us this Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. for "Meet the Candidates for City Council" on ZOOM, where you will have the opportunity to participate in conversation with the candidates and ask questions.

 

Candidate Bios:

Taylor Dingle:

Taylor Dingle, Vice Chair for the City of Vero Beach Utilities Commission, former member of the City of Vero Beach Historic Preservation Commission, and dedicated community advocate, has devoted the past six years to gaining a command of the most pressing issues and related initiatives facing our community.  From Three Corners, Twin Pairs, and Downtown Master Plan, to the City Marina expansion, and relocating the Waste Water Reclamation facility, Taylor is committed to advancing these projects with an eye toward preserving the charm Vero Beach is known for, while working with the community to create a fresh, shared vision for the future.

 

A southwest Pennsylvania native with blue-collar roots, Taylor was raised in Centerville by his mother, a small business owner, and father, a US Steel worker. He attended Pennsylvania Western University and after graduation, relocated to Vero Beach. A member of the John’s Island Club Professional Golf Staff since 2017, Taylor met his wife, Taylor Eliason-Dingle, during his first season here in Vero Beach. That is when Taylor found his family, home, and future in Vero Beach. Taylor recognizes his generation will live with the consequences of today’s decisions and will work tirelessly to shepherd the most important projects to successful implementation.

 

Honey Minuse:

A Registered Nurse and long-time resident of Vero Beach, Honey Minuse has been very active in the community since 1989, when she and her husband, Dave, purchased a home in Vero Isles.  Among many other volunteer and leadership roles throughout the city, including Vero Isles HOA President (1996-2000 and 2004-2007) Minuse served on City Council (2020-2022) and the City’s Planning and Zoning Board (2011-2020) where she served as both Chair and Vice Chair.  It was during those years on Planning and Zoning that the Comprehensive Land Use Plan was updated, a major project with citizen participation throughout.  She was also Chair of the Noise Impact Committee which led to the adoption of the Vero Beach Noise Ordinance. Years earlier she participated in creation of the City's Vision Plan which still today defines how growth will be managed to maintain the unique charm of Vero Beach. She held a leadership role with the Indian River Neighborhood Association (IRNA) to assure the integrity of that Vision Plan and later brought it to a non-profit status, away from divisive politics.  The IRNA was a founding partner of the Clean Water Coalition under her leadership. 

 

Born and raised in New York, Minuse graduated from State University of New York at Stony Brook. and then became certified by the Veterans Administration in "Principles of Patient Evaluation and Diagnosis," prior to the establishment of the Nurse Practitioner role. An accomplishment during that time was being part of the team which established the diagnosis of Autism. She holds a current Florida license as a Registered Nurse (non-practicing) and serves as Ambassador for the Indian River County Mental Health Collaborative.

 

John Cotugno:

Incumbent Mayor John Cotugno hails from Rhode Island but landed in Vero Beach after retiring from over 40 years of leadership in the electronics Industry, primarily in the Semiconductor market. He immediately began serving our community as a Volunteer Public Policy Advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association on both the State and Federal level. In 2019: Governor DeSantis appointed him to the State Health Improvement Plan Committee, he was appointed both to the Vero Beach Utlites Commission, where he served as Vice-Chairman, and the Three Corners Steering Committee.

 

He was elected to the Vero Beach City Council in 2021 and began serving as Mayor in 2022.He resides in Central Beach with his wife, Jan Williams, and rescue dog Roxie.

 

REMINDER: If you vote by mail, all requests for Vote By Mail Ballots in Florida expired on December 31, 2022. So, to cast a vote by mail for the upcoming 2023-2024 elections, voters must submit a fresh request. Applications for mail ballots must be received no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26. More details on application process here

 

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