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Please Sign my simple petition (a big favor to ask) Please!! (now with more hound!) Login/Join 
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
posted
Sigform Friends, I have a big favor to ask.
For the past 6 years my neighborhood has been fighting to keep public our access to the Sebastian River.

Change.org petition below:


https://www.change.org/p/st-jo...are_email_responsive



For further information (if you are bored or have time to kill), keep reading:


My wife, daughter, and Catahoula hound on the property in question. (The dock has been removed due to a lawsuit, pictured kid is in elementary school, and both my daughters caught their first fish from this spot)



Executive Summary: Wealthy New Jerseyite trust fund person moves to our neighborhood, buys 500 ft of waterfront property and then realizes neighborhood has been using the adjoining 50' of public land for 60 years for water access. Completes his seawall, dock and boat lift. Builds giant wall. Blocks view of river for 4 other houses. Sues everyone in sight. Loses 5 times at county commission meetings when trying to block the public from using public property. Is told by public agency which owns land that it is open for public access and will remain so permanently.

Property is now for sale to highest bidder under mysterious circumstances and with no public notice or meetings.

I ask that you write the Water Management District Directors and comment on their website.
Please Skip to the end for contacts and email addresses;

I wrote the SJRWMD Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle when I found out about the sale (2 weeks ago) and she wrote back requesting my phone number, haven't heard a peep from her or my state or county representatives.

My letter of today to St. Johns River Water Management District Board of Directors below;

"Dear SJRWMD Board Members,

I am writing to you in a last ditch effort to prevent the sale of the parcel of land at the terminus of Mockingbird Lane in Micco, Brevard County, Florida.

There is a strong appearance of impropriety and undue influence surrounding this highly unusual sale. Please do the right thing and stop this sale, which will be tremendously detrimental to our community. It is also against the spirit of State and County laws to preserve public ROW’s and access to the waters of the State.

This piece of property has been used for over 60 years for public access to the St. Sebastian River for our neighborhood and community. Originally given to Brevard County “for the perpetual use of the public” in 1956, it was taken by the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District in 1967 for C-54 construction and maintenance, and later rolled into the public lands held by SJRWMD.

The parcel has been the subject of much controversy including at least 5 Brevard County Commission meetings since a single fractious individual has taken exception to public use of the property after moving in and completing his own dock and boatlift around 2012. At five consecutive meetings where the public use issue was raised, the Commission decided in favor of the public each and every time. After the Commission decided to turn the property into a small public park and repair and permit the existing dock on September 16, 2014 it was discovered that Brevard County was not the owner of the shoreline 20’ deep parcel, SJRWMD was the actual owner due to the 1967 “taking.”

SJRWMD decided to remove the existing dock (under threat of lawsuit/fines?) and apparently attempted to vacate the property back to Brevard County sometime in 2016, there was no public notice or meeting on the issue, and the newly elected Commissioners declined to take the property for unknown reasons. We were assured by several representatives of SJRWMD in2015 (including Dr. Ann Shortelle, Doug Voltolina, and Brian Emanuel) that the property would remain permanently open for public use. In an August 18, 2015 Dr. Shortelle wrote one of our neighborhood residents;
“...We are committed to keeping this property open for public use and enjoyment. This use though is subject to the administrative rules that govern District lands...”
That was the status quo as far as anyone in the neighborhood was aware of until we received a notice of sale late last month.

What has changed? Why has this one tiny property, of all the 700,000+ acres of land owned or controlled by the District been the ONLY one recently put up for sale? Why was there no public notice, meeting or debate? We know that the wealthy individual who has been attempting to gain control of the parcel has hired multiple lawyers and law firms and spent unold thousands of dollars attempting to either block any public use of this property, or acquire it outright. He has harassed, threatened, screamed at, and called the police on multiple senior citizens and children just trying to enjoy the view of the river, launch a kayak, sight a manatee or dolphin, or catch a fish.

Please don’t succumb to the pressure of one wealthy bully and his lawyers to prevent our neighborhood and community from enjoying the single available public access point on the north side of the St. Sebastian River as we have for over 60 years.

Should you have any questions or wish to see any documentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sincere Regards,

Michael Schoeller
Mockingbird Lane
Micco, FL 32976"

——————-//-/——————————/—//-///—————-//—//—//——-/—-//—//—————————————-

Sigforum, Please send emails to anyone/everyone on the below list or comment on the website.
"Please Don't Sell the Public River Access on Mockingbird Lane to a Private Party" or
"Keep Public Lands Public" RE Mockingbird Lane.

Also, please report back to the thread if you do send an email, I told my wife I would try to get an approximate count.

SJRWMD Executive Director and Board Members emails:
ashortelle@sjrwmd.com,
jmiklos@sjrwmd.com,
froberts@sjrwmd.com,
cdrake@sjrwmd.com,
rhowse@sjrwmd.com,
dbournique@sjrwmd.com,
dburnett@sjrwmd.com,
susan.Dolan@sjrwmd.com,
janet.price@sjrwmd.com,

SJRWMD Inspector General:
dfanger@sjrwmd.com

https://www.sjrwmd.com/about/

At the bottom of the page there is a button to "Tell Us How We Are Doing" and additional contact information.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CaptainMike,



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bald Headed Squirrel Hunter
Picture of Angus the Kid
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No disrespect but I read this and my head hurt. I think a salient summary of the problem and what you are asking help on would be better than this.



"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
 
Posts: 5838 | Location: In the tent, in Houston, in Texas | Registered: October 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
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I have been immersed in this nightmare for 6 years so I'm too close to summarize clearly perhaps.
Wealthy psycho yankee guy moved into neighborhood. He basically declared war on everyone, has hired two law firms full time, and has done everything in his power to deny the use of a public river access to the public. He has almost succeeded. Property will be sold to highest bidder next week(Minimum bid $30,000 for an approximately 15'x 50'unimprovable strip along the water) Local neighborhood and community has been using this public access without any issues for over 60 years.

Travesty of Justice imminent.

Please write the reps listed at the bottom of the OP and ask them to stop the sale.
Thanks.



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
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Here is my request to Para, which actually seems to be the most concise explanation.

"Para, I just wanted to ask for permission in advance to post a request in the lounge for members to email a government entity in the State of Florida, “The St John’s River Water Management District” which is selling a piece of property at the end of our street which has provided access to the Sebastian River for local residents for over 60 years. My neighborhood is trying to block the sale, but almost everyone is a fixed income retiree and we don’t have the funds to hire lawyers to fight a wealthy landowner who has hired multiple law firms and spent “Hundreds of thousands of dollars” to acquire this tiny 20’ x 50’ strip of land for the sole purpose of denying public access. I will list organizational (not personal) emails of the board members and executive director, and the web link to the organization’s public comment page."

He very kindly approved my posting this.



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Move Up or
Move Over
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One solution would be to put a group together to bid on the land. It probably shouldn't have to come to that but life isn't always fair.

Form a trust with a 99 year expiration on it. See if any of the local residents is a lawyer. If they are ask them to sue for a stay on the bid date so you can gather more families.

Maybe in the end you can't outbid the jerk but you may be able to make the process take longer and cost much more money. Possibly by shining a brighter light you may get some sympathetic news coverage. Lots of goods things happen when people start shining bright lights on a situation...
 
Posts: 4397 | Location: middle Tennessee | Registered: October 28, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
Picture of sigmonkey
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You need the local people to make visits and calls to the County Commissioners, SJRWMD Board, planning and zoning and anyone else that has influance.

Attend any or request public meetings.

It needs to be collective of large and loud voices, and the "trust" purchase/lease that "mark_a" recommends is likely the best bet.


May be the "Wealthy psycho yankee guy" wants a buffer, or simply does not want what he considers a nuisance and is willing to pay for that.

May have been that the lawyers involved, know some on the board or commission and made recommendation, and they are/were not fully aware.


And it might be all about "back room, good old boy politics".

The only thing that matters is doing the things that can allow you to prevail.

A lot of how it got to this point may be moot.

Can you and or others get access to public records on this issue?

And lastly, I don't know if there is any legal recourse to put a hold on the sale or force it into the public and give you and others time to act.




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" I could explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
 
Posts: 38494 | Location: fl | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
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Good suggestions. We have turned out the entire neighborhood and surrounding homeowners for 5 different County Commission meetings since 2012. Each time the public access rights were supported by the Commission. At the 5th (and we thought final) meeting, the Commission voted to turn the property into a public park and improve and maintain our dock, etc. (I have had to miss entire blocks of work at a cost of thousands of dollars to attend)

Lawyers for the opposing homeowner found some vague 1967 "taking" where the county had vacated the shoreline 20' of property to the old flood control district. His lawyers also got someone at the Corps of Engineers to file suit to remove the dock, which had existed for 25 years prior to the start of permitting of docks.

So the SJRWMD (which inherited the lands from the 1960's flood control district) had some public meetings, determined they didn't want the headache of permitting and maintaining the dock, but did agree at the meetings and in writing that they would keep the property permanently open for public access, cut the grass, etc.
That is where things stood for 3 years, suddenly we were informed that the property will be sold to the highest bidder on March 20th.

No prior notice, no public meetings. It is the ONLY property for sale (in the past 6 years) of all the 700,000 acres the SJRWMD owns. Something stinks like my toddler's diaper pail.

We have 15 homeowners on our platted neighborhood.
5 of them own waterfront homes, of the remaining 10, my wife and I are the only ones who aren't fixed income retirees, (and I'm on my 4th round of pay cuts in 2 years) so putting together a bid to beat out someone with effectively unlimited funds is a non-starter, even if I believed the bid process would be completely above board.

Many of my neighbors are just becoming resigned. we have been fighting this for 6 years, going to meetings, writing and calling our commissioners, state representatives, etc.
Every time we achieve a victory, we are faced with another hurdle, another legal trick, another mysterious reversal of stated public policy. Another case of some unaccountable bureaucrat siding with a big money law firm.
It looks like we are up against the wall this time. Hence my call for additional support from SigForum.

We have paid lawyers to look into founding both an HOA and/or a Non-Profit to try to get the property.

The property has been used continuously for 60 years by both our neighborhood, and the wider community, it is the last public access point on the entire north shore of the Sebastian River, everything else is now gated estates.

Anyway, we shouldn't have to buy it, it is the stated public policy of the State of Florida, Brevard County, and the St John's River Water Management district that public access right of ways, to the public waters of the state shall not be sold or given to private parties.

I did just receive a call from my State Senator Debbie Mayfield, (The SJRWMD is a State agency) who has promised to look into the situation.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CaptainMike,



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
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Every email helps!, we are starting to get some response from our State of Florida reps who have promised to look into the issue. We only have until the 20th to get the sale stopped or delayed so we can get on the agenda for a public meeting.
Thank you SigForum!!



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
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Fire-up a Change.Org petition. Get everybody you know to promote the petition, especially on Facebook and Twitter.

DO NOT, as you've done here, over-explain the problem, or people will simply turn off. Look at a few existing petitions and see what makes them most readable and most likely to be read.

E.g.:

A wealthy land-owner, new to the neighborhood, has been trying to take away the only river access our neighboorhood has. Access we've had for sixty years. Access that is supposed to be guaranteed forever under the terms the property was deeded to the government. He's been stopped by our County five times. Now, suddenly and mysteriously, the property is up for sale to the highest bidder. Help us stop this sale. Please help now. We have only six days to stop this!

Something like that. (And be very, very careful with the "impropriety" suggestions.)

Put it up. Put a pointer here. I'll sign it in a New York Heartbeat. I'll post it on my Facebook feed and Tweet it.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"Whenever somebody uses 'liberal,' when what they really mean is 'leftist,' they immediately lose my attention." -- Me
 
Posts: 14347 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Needs a bigger boat
Picture of CaptainMike
posted Hide Post
Great Advice. Posted in OP and again here.
Link to Change.org Petition:

https://www.change.org/p/st-jo...are_email_responsive



MOO means NO! Be the comet!
 
Posts: 2584 | Location: The Tidewater. VCOA. | Registered: June 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I have tried to sign the petition but it seems to be locked, at least to me.

I will try later with a different browser.
 
Posts: 3794 | Location: Citrus County Florida | Registered: October 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
posted Hide Post
 
Posts: 11085 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Truth Seeker
Picture of StorminNormin
posted Hide Post
I signed the change.org petition.




NRA Patron Life Member
 
Posts: 6396 | Location: The Lone Star State | Registered: July 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
CAPT Obvious
Picture of Spiff_P239
posted Hide Post
Signed as well.
 
Posts: 3019 | Location: SE Michigan | Registered: February 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
posted Hide Post
Signed & shared on FB. (I'll tweet it, too, but I've few followers.)




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"Whenever somebody uses 'liberal,' when what they really mean is 'leftist,' they immediately lose my attention." -- Me
 
Posts: 14347 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
From the Frozen North to Tropical Florida....Signed.


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 7416 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Essayons
Picture of SapperSteel
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Signed.

Wishing you good luck in this effort!


Thanks,

Sap
 
Posts: 3452 | Location: Arimo, Idaho | Registered: February 03, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
signed
 
Posts: 1626 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: November 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
posted Hide Post
*bump*

Not many days to help try to save these guys' access.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"Whenever somebody uses 'liberal,' when what they really mean is 'leftist,' they immediately lose my attention." -- Me
 
Posts: 14347 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
10mm is The
Boom of Doom
Picture of Fenris
posted Hide Post
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I suspect that this time evil will win.




The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People again must learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. ~ Cicero 55 BC

The Dhimocrats love America like ticks love a hound.
 
Posts: 16371 | Location: Northern Virginia | Registered: November 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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