Hello members,

As the year draws to a close, it’s only natural for us to review what has been accomplished and to plan for what we can achieve in the future. This year, 2019, was a banner year for your Indian River Neighborhood Association. We worked hard on many varied projects on different levels and highlight for you 10 significant accomplishments of the past year.

1 – The IRNA is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We just received word in November that our transition has been completed. All donations received after May 31, 2019 are retroactively tax-deductible. If you donated during this time you will be receiving a letter from the IRNA letting you know about the new status of your donation. We truly appreciate the support you have shown us over the years. A copy of our IRS Determination Letter and our EIN is available upon request. Please reply to this email if you would like more information about this change.

2 – Our latest News Magazine is now available. Please click here to read it electronically. Copies have been mailed and we have many available around town. If you would like additional paper copies for your neighbors or business, please reply to this email and we will make sure some are delivered to you. This issue has some great articles in it from Blue Cypress Lake to Annexation and more. We hope you will enjoy it.

3 – Indian River Neighborhood Association undertook the successful filing of an Amicus Brief in support of the County’s appeal of a ruling in the All Aboard Florida (Virgin Trains) case. Virgin Trains fought this filing yet it prevailed. This brief was part of the court case several weeks ago and could help the County win against the train. 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.

4 – The Indian River Neighborhood Association was on the forefront of raising awareness of the recent annexation of over 1,100 acres into Sebastian. There is a very comprehensive, and important, article in our latest News Magazine on where this stands. Sebastian voters did not re-elect incumbents who voted for this annexation and with a new City Council now seated the situation is in flux.

5 – Last spring we hosted the Chairs of both the Indian River County Democrat and Republican Clubs at our annual Fellsmere Luncheon at Marsh Landing to discuss local issues. The video of this event is on our website, here. Both sides may have some differences in Tallahassee and Washington, but on many of the local issues that matter to us, there may well be a unity.

6 – The Indian River Neighborhood Association has long supported and advocated for the STEP Program to reduce septic pollution in Vero Beach. We attended public neighborhood meetings, encouraged people to connect and the latest information is that 373 homes on the barrier island have successfully connected to it. There is still a lot of work to be done, however. The next neighborhood to be approached is in the Country Club basin on the mainland. The STEP system is a very positive effort introduced by Vero Beach. You can learn more about it here.

7 – We worked with the county on the Roseland Septic to Sewer Program, and assisted with a letter to apply for grants to help pay for the program. It is still in progress, but funding has become a bit of an issue. The scope of the project has been downsized but we’re hopeful that it could get fully funded to enable more conversion from septic to sewer.

8 – A big issue last spring was the proposed JI wastewater pipeline to be created and run under the Indian River Lagoon which was a hard fight and seen as a big boondoggle, and stridently opposed, by the environmental and conservation communities. Capacity already existed for their needs without the addition of their own pipeline. Indian River Neighborhood Association joined the voices of many local organizations and individuals in asking the county government not proceed with the project at this time and it has been tabled.

9 – Biosolids or (Human) Sewer Sludge was a big issue in 2018-19 with the harmful algae blooms at Blue Cypress Lake. The County placed a moratorium on the application of biosolids on western lands shortly after it was determined to be related to those algae blooms and it has been renewed every six months with the support of the Indian River Neighborhood Association. We are grateful that the county has taken such a stand on this issue and is still working to improve state rules to assure our environment is protected from this source of pollution.

10 – The pumping out of boats is something that seems to be common sense. If you have a tank filled with sewage, it needs to be emptied. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same idea of where that sewage should be emptied and people have been dumping it directly in the lagoon in violation of local, state, and federal law. Led by the Clean Water Coalition, of which the IRNA was a founding partner, there has been a successful grassroots effort to enforce applicable law. We have encouraged Vero Beach to take more action and they have really stepped up to the plate.

The Indian River Neighborhood Association continues to work hard for you. Your issues are our issues and our quality of life is at stake. Our commitment is unwavering for both the near term and the long term as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Happy Holidays!

Honey Minuse, Chair
IRNA Board of Directors