Jupiter Island

 

 

Martin County

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Jupiter Island

Town of Jupiter Island

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Website: townofjupiterisland.com

Jupiter Island Latest News From The October 18, 2020 Edition

COMMISSION MEETING OCTOBER 15, 2020

 

The Guardians of Martin County made a presentation about creating preserve land on Bridge Road.

 

According to the presentation, this is a joint effort between the Guardians and Treasured Lands Foundation to preserve 138 acres on a two mile stretch of Bridge Road in Phase 1. The project is being called the Loxa-Lucie Headwaters. Most of the land is wetlands so huge parts would be undevelopable.

The property is for sale and the owner would like to see it go into conservation. To date, fundraising has resulted in donations and pledges of $1 million. The total price for acquisition is $2.5 million. It is in the Secondary Urban Services District but abuts the Primary District. They believe this can be turned into a recreation area as well as a water management use facilitated by grant funding.

 

They are not asking for any money from the Town or Martin County though they are applying for federal and state grants. Both the Town and County have 30% of their land as conservation areas currently. To see the entire presentation go here here

 

ABANDONMENT

 

In some instances, before Martin County came into existence in 1925, roads were platted, easements given, and development contemplated that never happened. Many times, the nature of development changes over time. Originally, what was then known as Bon Air Beach Plat 2 in 1924, many streets were envisioned that never were built by Palm Beach County then subsequently Martin County and since its 1953 incorporation Jupiter Island.

 

The same platted map shows small 50-foot-wide lots that bear no resemblance to the size of the properties that are there today. In other words, things change. If there hasn’t been a need to have a road for one hundred years, then the Town will not be building one now. So why shouldn’t adjacent landowners to these be given the opportunity to vacate the easement. The owners of 12 and 16 North Beach Road are asking that very question.

 

Unfortunately, the neighbor who is not objecting but is not consenting is not a person but FWC, a government agency. While it appears that the last Refuge Manager had no objections, the current one is not so sure. Will they ever use the easement even though they apparently haven’t in the past?

The Commission made some tweaks to the ordinance and passed it unanimously on 1st Reading. When it comes back for 2nd Reading, the hope is that everyone will be happy.

 

Commissioner Collins wants to look at all the unused roadways. That is a good idea.

 

You can see the ordinance and the applicant’s presentation here

 

MASKS

 

The Town Commission was not happy that the County did away with the mandatory mask ordinance.

 

They will be making it Town policy and sending a communication to all the residents that they wear masks and follow CDC guidelines. The Commission realized that the County had no way to enforce having masks mandatory after Governor DeSantis removed local government from having a penalty for non-compliance.

 

As one of the Commissioners said, “You can’t have a rule if you can’t enforce it.” That is right and County Commissioner Jenkins said the same thing on Tuesday. If the state is not going to have a policy, then local government should be able to set one…and enforce it.

 

The Commission believed, and it makes perfect sense, that as cases climb again businesses will suffer. With restaurants and other non-essential venues operating at 100% capacity, the spike should not take long. While there won’t be any formal shutdown, people will retreat from those places and many will close.

 

Jupiter Island Latest News From The October 4, 2020 Edition

The next meeting will occur on October 15, 2020

Jupiter Island Latest News From The September 20, 2020 Edition

I was unable to attend the September 16th meeting. If something occurred of interest I will report.

Jupiter Island Latest News From The September 6, 2020 Edition

The next meeting will be September 16, 2020.

Jupiter Island Latest News From The August 23, 2020 Edition

COMMISSION MEETING AUGUST 20, 2020

 

Mayor Pidot held one of his “Coffee with the Mayor” and he said he had quite a few people attend virtually.

 

Pidot was particularly hard on the County Commission for letting the mandatory mask ordinance expire. He said he would shop in Palm Beach County where it is still mandatory instead of Hobe Sound. He felt much safer with it in place. Many store owners liked the idea of the County being responsible instead of the store for instituting the policy.

 

He may need to speak with his County Commissioner, Harold Jenkins, for Jenkins stated at the last BOCC meeting that he was not in favor of re-instituting the mandatory ordinance.

 

It would not make much difference practically but symbolically if the Town passed such an ordinance it would show at least one County Commissioner that it mattered to a very influential group of his constituents.

 

The Commission sat as a quasi-judicial body to hear two appeals in the same dispute from decisions of the Appeals Board. It took more than three hours to hear and decide the matter. It was good to see the Commission took their time in deciding the outcome. I do not know if any other governing board in Martin County could have come to such a reasoned decision.

 

They denied the appeals. The appeals were technical in nature. Without reading and studying the testimony and the transcript of the Appeals Board’s deliberation, it is not possible to venture an opinion. I wonder whether it will now go to District Court.

 

Jupiter Island Latest News From The July 26, 2020 Edition

Next meeting August 20th

Jupiter Island Latest News From The July 26, 2020 Edition

Next meeting August 20th

Jupiter Island Latest News From The July 9, 2020 Edition

Next Meeting is scheduled for July 14, 2020

Jupiter Island Latest News From The June 28, 2020 Edition

Next Meeting is scheduled for July 14, 2020

Jupiter Island Latest News From The June 14, 2020 Edition

COMMISSION MEETING JUNE 9, 2020

 

Dr. Shamarial Robertson, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Health Department, spoke from Tallahassee and our own busy Carolann Wegener-Vitani from Martin County accompanied her virtually. Robertson did not know when the order for electronic meetings would be lifted in Tallahassee. There has been an uptick in cases in Indiantown and Stuart zip codes. However, at the Stuart meeting, it was disclosed that by checking the addresses of those that were positive, only 40 people were within Stuart borders. Ms. Vitani said that the virus was spreading in the Hispanic community among landscape workers.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

 

The Public Safety Chief gave a report about what to expect with this year’s hurricane season. We can all expect a more active one. We can have anywhere up to 10 hurricanes with perhaps 6 being considered major. Because of COVID-19, many of the Town’s residents may not be leaving for other places this summer. Some may have never been through a storm. The Public Safety Department goes to every home to see how many occupants are there and any needs they may have.

 

To see that presentation

 

The department has an investigator that is adept at monitoring social media to see whether there are any marches or rallies that would affect the Island. There was one supposedly happening on Bridge Road and Federal Highway for later in the week. The Town’s first line of defense would be the Sheriff and then, if it seemed to unwieldy, they could raise the bridge connecting the island to the mainland. Those optics could surely be problematic!

 

Two employees of the department were instrumental in responding to two fishermen struck by lightning on the beach. One of the victims had no pulse and they were able to revive him. Both will be receiving lifesaving awards from the Town.

 

CURRENT AND NEXT YEAR’S FINANCIAL PICTURE

 

The Town Manager gave his monthly report on the current year’s financials. Everything seems to be in budget with total revenues of $7,385,000 and expenses of $5,203,000. Some savings were found by Town Manager Ventura continuing with his position of Financial Director and Chief Garlo as Deputy Town Manager. The only additional employee is a senior accountant.

 

The report can be found here

 

The draft budget for next year is less than 2020 by about $230,000. There is a small 2% COLA increase for employees. The Town will have a mil rate of 4.0391 which is the same as 2020. To view the entire 2021 proposed budget, go here

 

JUPITER ISLAND ARTS COUNCIL

 

The best part of what I do is everything I learn new. I did not know that there was a second Arts Council in Martin County. Jupiter Island has its own well-run council. It is an independent 501(c)3. It has a speaker series at Town Hall and has on loan the wooden Blue Heron sculpture in front of the chamber.

 

This Arts Council has even given almost $8,000 in unused grant money back to the Town. A list of projects and art is in the attached packet. It is quite substantial.

 

I wish there could be better coordination with the Martin County Arts Council. It just seems the non-profits in Martin are so busy doing their own things that the combined energy of working together is lost. We have so many wonderful people yet so disconnected. Too bad.

 

The presentation can be found here

 

 

Jupiter Island Latest News From The May 31, 2020 Edition

COMMISSION & SHORE PROTECTION MEETING MAY 18, 2020

 

Mayor Pidot and the Town Attorney drafted a proposed new parking agreement with the County for Hobe Sound Beach. Most of the provisions were lifted from the 2007 agreement that had expired. The agreement covers the weekends and holidays for 54 spaces at Town Hall. It is almost identical to the past agreement.

 

The Town has decided that they will not allow the County to use those spaces for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend unless it signs the agreement. It is a good deal for the County and the Town because it prevents illegal parking on the side of the road. It passed 5-0. The Commission gave Mayor Pidot the right to make minor tweaks to the agreement if needed.

 

The proposed agreement can be found here

 

 The Town Manager gave the Financial Report. The Town’s income and expenses are within budget currently. The report can be found here

Lastly, at the Shore Protection Meeting, there was an extensive briefing on the current conditions. Staff was seeking $42,991.00 for Gahagan& Bryant Associates to conduct this summer’s survey and analysis. The motion passed 5-0.

 

It was decided to see whether Jupiter Island could partner with the County for the survey. The Commission was told by staff that the Town’s survey is more in depth than Martin County. The Town will speak with Martin County staff. For those who wish to have a better understanding of shoreline protection, you can look at the presentation here

 

Jupiter Island Latest News From The May 20, 2020 Edition

The next meeting will be May 18, 2020. Please check the website for instructions on attending virtually.

Jupiter Island Latest News From The May 3, 2020 Edition

COMMISSION MEETING APRIL 21, 2020

 

Mayor Pidot spoke about COVID-19. Just as everywhere else, the residents of Jupiter Island are concerned.

 

When the State Health Officer for Martin County, Carol A Wegener-Vitani, gave her update she reiterated about testing or the lack thereof. Apparently in Palm Beach County, anyone can line up and receive a test which is different than Martin County. It was also stated that Martin County residents could go down there if they wanted the test.

 

I will not give you the numbers because they do change daily. There is a dedicated dashboard that can be found at:

 

CLICK HERE

 

The Police Chief gave a report about how the department patrolled with the Sheriff last weekend on the water. There was a high percentage of people trying to use the sandbars. It is amazing to me why you would want to mingle with strangers at this time.

 

A letter will be going out to all residents regarding the governor’s orders and what the Town expects. You can find it at:

 

CLICK HERE

 

OFFICERS GET A RAISE

         

Ever since Parkland and the requirement to have School Resource Officers in every school, there has been increased demand for sworn police officers. The staff of Jupiter Island has recognized the fact and decided to negotiate increased wages for their Public Safety Department.

I do not know what the cost is for training, but it must be significant. Each public safety officer is cross trained as a firefighter, EMT, and police officer. To hire and then keep those certifications does not come cheap. But the lure of more money does matter.

 

The costs will increase by 3% plus other benefits. The PBA contracts for both sergeants and officers and the newest MOU agreements can be found at:

 

CLICK HERE

 

CLICK HERE

 

CLICK HERE

 

The motion to accept was passed unanimously.

 

ALLÉE AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS

One of the things that the Town is known for is its ficus trees. A canker disease has infected two of those trees and they must be removed. While this disease is not new, it is relatively recent to South Florida. Once the trees are cut down, the Town will need to wait before planting anything new.

 

Palm Beach County has also had this occur, and they have substituted a different type of ficus tree or a buttonwood. This is critical because most of the trees are ending their life expectancy. In the next decade or so, they will need to be replaced. Mayor Pidot stated that he would like to see a plan for this.

 

The Town is building a garage addition at its Public Safety Building. There were two estimates received. Staff recommended that the least expensive one for $61,847.00 be accepted. Motion passed unanimously.

 

The Allée, garage and projects for North Beach Road and South Beach Road can be found at:

 

CLICK HERE

Jupiter Island Latest News From The April 17, 2020 Edition

The next meeting is scheduled for April 21st at 9 am.

Jupiter Island Latest News From The April 5, 2020 Edition

The next meeting is scheduled for April 21st at 9 am.

FROM THE MARCH 22, 2020 EDITION

 

Longtime Manager Gene Rauth has been to his last meeting as Town Manager. He is retiring from what must be a rewarding yet very challenging position. He is a CEO of a place in which many residents have worn that hat. The Town likes to keep a low profile yet make sure that Martin County knows who they are.

He is being succeeded by his 2nd in command, Michael Ventura. The hand off is to occur at close of business on April 3rd. Gene always treated me well. I am sure he may be retired from this job but not gone from Martin County. I look forward to having the same working relationship with Mr. Ventura.

 

FINANCIAL REPORT

 

There is nothing wrong with the Town’s fiscal situation.

 

For a place this small, it has a huge impact on the entire County. Mayor Pidot stated that 13% of Martin County’s taxable value is on the Island. The water utility has 10,000 customers. This is big business for little Martin.

 

The 2019 financial audit can be found at:

 

CLICK HERE

 

EVEN IN PARADISE

Former Jupiter Island and County Commissioner Anne Scott is looking for records.

 

The Mayor hosts a coffee for residents a day before the monthly meeting. At the coffee, people would put their names on a piece of paper so that Pidot would know who they were. According to the Town Attorney, it was not a formal sign in sheet nor is the coffee clutch an official meeting.

 

Virginia Sherlock, a Martin County attorney, made a public records request for a sign-up sheet for a meeting that was not required to have any. Will it go any further? Only time will tell.

 

Former Commissioner Scott addressed the Council regarding weekend parking at Town Hall for beach goers. The beach is a public beach open to all not just Jupiter Island residents. Pidot and Scott are attorneys, so legal jargon was used extensively during their exchange.

 

The gist is that this accommodation was reached with the County over a decade ago. According to Rauth, it has caused no trouble. The County is not pressing for more. The Town is not having any difficulties. So, what is the problem? Scott believes that the rest of the County is not appreciative enough of this gesture.

 

Scott proposed that a sign be erected that this parking was allowed by the benevolence of the people of Jupiter Island. That seems similar to when Leona Helmsley said to her maid that only little people pay taxes. I do think the days when you erect signs like that are past. Thankfully, the Council thinks so too.

 
 

Jupiter Island Latest News

The next Meeting is March 9, 2020 at 9 am

 

February 23, 2020 Edition

The next Meeting is March 9, 2020 at 9 am

 

Town of Jupiter Island Latest News

FEBRUARY 9, 2020 EDITION

Next Meeting February 14, 2020 at 9:00 AM

 

Town of Jupiter Island Latest News

JANUARY 26 2020 EDITION

COMMISSION MEETING JANUARY 15, 2020

What does it mean to be listed on the National Register of historical properties, especially if you are a tree?

 

The Island has a magnificent stand of ficus trees. This acts as a gateway to a quiet town that is averse to notoriety. Unlike its splashier neighbor to the south, Palm Beach, Jupiter island exudes refinement. It is Greenwich, Connecticut without the cold.

 

Martin County is fortunate to have a place like Jupiter Island to enrich our tax base. Perhaps in the past, it was more integrated into County life but from this outsider’s perspective, they just want to be left alone. And there is not much on the island for a visitor to look at except perhaps those trees. There is concern about accepting any type of designation that may change the character of the Town.

 

That is why placing these trees on an official registry is such a discussion item. Technically, most of the “ficus allee” is on roads where either Martin County or the state have the rights of way. Yet, the Town maintains most of the road where those trees are located. By placing the allee as a part of the National Register, you do have some advantages.

 

If road work is contemplated, the state must consider that the trees are registered as historically important. There are also grants associated with the designation. But grants are the last thing that Islanders would contemplate because then the Town’s hands begin to be tied. If you do not take funds, then the Town can do what it will. That is important when you want to preserve your anonymity. One of the questions asked by Commissioner Townsend was about the publicity associated and the increased traffic of people trying to look at the allee.

 

It was decided that Mayor Pidot would work with the County and the Town Attorney to ascertain the next steps.

 

The presentation can be found at:

CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATION

 

AVIATION

Jupiter Island is facing the same problem as Sewall’s Point regarding aviation, but it seems that Jupiter Island has sea plane issues rather than the landing of helicopters. Different flying machines but with the same problem. Neither should be allowed in a residential community.

 

If you want to be able to take flight from your backyard, then move to an airplane community. There are a couple such places in our area. Jupiter Island is not one of them. This is not a case about a community that is being unreasonable. Landing or taking off a seaplane poses a risk. Further, why should anyone believe that it is fine to subject a community to the noise and pollution that aircraft entails.

 

I have no problem with private aviation. Anyone who owns or uses his own plane for business or personally is welcomed as far as I am concerned. However, Witham Field is the proper place for private aviation not a back yard. It would be hypocritical to suggest otherwise.

 

The ordinance that was passed on first reading can be viewed below:

CLICK HERE FOR PRESENTATION

 

Jupiter Island Latest News From The May   2020 Edition

 

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