Cocoa Beach Building Height Compromise
The Citizens and Businesses for Cocoa beach (CBCB) held an emergency meeting last week and was able to reach a consensus for building height in Cocoa Beach. At last evening’s Workshop at City Hall a consensus was reached that matched that which CBCB recommended. Preceding the workshop I talked with a major developer and told him the parameters of our compromise. He expressed his desire for a bit more than what we were offering. Then, the day before the Workshop, one of our members invited Commissioner Mike Miller and me to view the redevelopment taking place at the Wakula. We eventually began discussing our height compromise and Commissioner Miller replied that what we were proposing was what he planned to propose at the workshop.
Commissioner Miller did a good job of discussing the proposal and explaining it to the Workshop attendees, so when I spoke I just restated the parameters of our compromise. I also stated that we would campaign for its passage and against any proposal that allowed more height. I pointed out that neither side will really like the compromise, but that is what compromise is. Commissioner Skip Williams again explained his ballot proposal that will, now and in the future, grant developers the height necessary to comply with government mandated flood elevation regulations. It is likely that both proposals will be wrapped into one on the November ballot.
In essence, the 45′ has been retained. It will be measured from the “base flood elevation” (1′ above the FEMA established flood elevation). Mechanical equipment, elevator and roof access caps, roofs, etc. will be allowed above the 45′. This is likely to be restricted to 10′ maximum. The variance procedure will remain in the City Charter to review building height requests by developers that seek to exceed the proposed height limit.
Our objective for proposing a compromise was to bring an end to the community dividing feud that has existed in our city for 25 years. It is difficult for us to offer this compromise, and it will be difficult for the developers to accept it.
Our compromise is intended as a final settlement of this issue for our community. If in the future there is an attempt by any party for additional height or density outside of the variance procedure described in our City Charter, we will vigorously campaign to defeat such a proposal and to advocate once again to reimpose the today’s Charter language, thereby eliminating the allowance for flood elevation and roof and/or additions now being offered in our compromise proposal.
We caution that the matter is far from settled as we must wait for the exact language that the City Commission puts on the ballot. If it meets our criteria we will encourage the public to vote for the proposal. If it does not meet our criteria we will oppose it.
Yours in the cause of Cocoa Beach,