The OrdinanceWatch service presents an intriguing concept to enable the distribution of notices of important public discussions and decisions to be taken at the Municipal and County levels.
The online service allows the public to learn and be aware of potential hearings about important issues that affect them, their properties and their communities.
Despite Florida's mandates of open government, what happens in reality is that many counties and municipalities actually erect barriers to prevent the dissemination of this critical statute-mandated information.
The archaic method of posting cryptic legal notices in the newspaper with tiny undecipherable text and unreadable maps has been very effective in circumventing the intent of the Growth Management Act by corrupt municipalities.
Most people do not notice these very important "Legal Notices" of pending actions that can affect their lives and the financial future of their properties and investments. This is not a coincidence but a calculated cause and effect that borders on conspiracy.
The less people show up at rezoning hearings, the more latitude public officials feel they will have in doting out candy to their campaign contributors and cronies. The fewer people that are aware of these changes, the less judicial challenges to the cities... And, since the price of admission to obtain judicial redress is high, only the well heeled can afford the cost of challenging an unjust or even plain illegal ordinance. The rest must bear the abuses.
In Daytona Beach there have been several cases where innocent property owners find out years after a change was made, that the value of their property has been greatly diminished as a result of a zoning action that was never communicated to them. Their constitutional due process rights to a hearing and to argue and defend their property rights are thus denied. Motivations vary but include retaliatory actions to prevent the marketing of a property, efforts under Color of Law to coerce a below-market sale to a crony, official actions to impair the business of competitors of friends, or simply to prevent any development at the request of a campaign financer that may reside nearby.
This has been a very effective system staunchly defended by the Daytona Beach City Commission and their cronies which have benefited by hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable zoning deals.
It is not just Daytona corruption but also the gross incompetence at many other Florida municipalities that has created an opportunity to companies such as OrdinanceWatch to disseminate this information, previously effectively hidden from the public and affected parties.
OrdinanceWatch™ tracks local government agendas of 67 counties and 111 municipalities in Florida to alert its subscribers when issues they care about appear on an agenda. Subscribers can get email alerts, lists of experts and the ability to search the archive for past activity.
This very much needed service should be state-sponsored and include all Florida Counties.
To view notices of real-estate-related ordinances in Volusia County, click HERE
To view notices from other Florida counties, click HERE
AP Top Headlines
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)