I hope this email finds you all well and enjoying summer as we officially enter this season. At this time I’d like to bring you up to date on some matters which have recently occupied our attention.
The first matter concerns the fast train (AAF-Brightline-Virgin Train) and the successful filing of the IRNA Amicus Brief in support of the County’s appeal of a ruling last December. Virgin Trains fought this filing yet it prevailed. Virgin Trains now has a limited time in which to respond to the Court’s acceptance of this Brief. Many thanks are extended to our Board Member Peter Seed for his extraordinary work here.
For your more comprehensive information, the Amicus Brief is available here as well as the press release sent to media outlets. Several of these news outlets have carried articles about this filing, please see the articles in The Bond Buyer, TCPalm, and Hometown News. All are noteworthy.
Legislatively, it was not a good year for our water and lagoon interests. Very little funding was provided for conservation lands to protect our waters, despite the Voter’s mandate by passing Amendment 1 (Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative) in 2014 and which we supported. Senator Mayfield and Representative Grall worked hard on these issues but ultimately their bills did not advance.
One item of concern did pass and has now received the Governor’s signature. This will effect releases from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River which will reduce the nutrients flowing into our Lagoon. There is much more to accomplish particularly addressing aging infrastructure, storm-water and septic systems and the spreading of biosolids on lands and we ready ourselves for the next legislative session.
We continue monitoring various issues in our local governments: Sebastian has a large annexation proposal with concerns about sprawl and the installation of new septic tanks impacting the St. Sebastian River, Vero Beach hired the local Kimley-Horn firm to address beachside parking problems and another firm to determine community interests in developing the Three Corners at the western end of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge (17th Street). Fellsmere has its City Manager position open, accepting applications. And, land uses throughout our County and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agendas also receive our attention.
Budget season is upon us and soon we will learn how our local governments intend to fund various projects. Summer is always an interesting time for us!
I wish to thank all of you for your continued support and dedication to our mission. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have comments or concerns you wish to share.
With my sincere appreciation,
Honey Minuse, Chair
IRNA Board of Directors