On Sept. 7, I wrote a newspaper commentary on seawall repairs and the use of empty lots as industrial sites. I felt at that time this was becoming a real menace to the quiet enjoyment of our Island by all of us. Unfortunately there is another potential menace that could make the seawall problem even more serious; I am referring to a letter sent a few weeks ago by Mr. Larry Sacher stating that he will “make an excellent candidate for City Council.”
In his campaign brochure he states that he intends to “demand accountability and transparency” from city employees and committees and that he has a “demonstrated skill at long term planning.” At the last City Council meeting Mr. Sacher showed all of us what his standard of “excellence” is. He spoke about the need to keep the existing ordinance allowing sea wall contractors to use vacant lots in residential areas as permanent industrial fabrication and staging sites. He said the ordinance was “working well,” was in place “a long time” and there was no need to make any changes. For him, embedding an industrial operation in residential areas adjacent to single family homes and destroying the property values and peaceful enjoyment of these homes was well worth the price.
To judge the level of “excellence” in Mr. Sacher’s review of this matter we need to evaluate the factual reports that justified the existing ordinance. One would expect an “excellent” candidate to have read those reports before forming an opinion on such a critical matter.
Well, there were no real factual reports and due diligence was absent. Specifically:
The alleged “cost savings” of using vacant lots for sea wall staging were based on sea wall contractor estimates. There was no independent evaluation of these “savings.”
There was no mechanism for assuring that, if there were cost reductions, that these “savings” would be passed on to consumers and not just result in increased profits for contractors
There was no review made of all possible alternatives to the utilization of residential lots for staging
There was no review made of what other municipalities do in this matter. Naples, for example, would never allow such improper use of residential properties.
There was no consideration or cost analysis of the impact on single family home values and resident quality of life when vacant lots adjacent to them become permanent industrial factory sites.
There is presently no independent review being made as to whether the use of vacant lots has, in fact, reduced sea wall costs to residents.
Bottom line. The justification for the present ordinance allowing the use of vacant lots was done without any level of due diligence. For their credit, City Council has recognized this and moved Monday night to limit such use and insist that a complete due diligence study be completed over the next six months.
For his part, Mr. Sacher has demonstrated that his review of critical matters will be done with a surface look, without due diligence and that he will be more than willing to destroy basic rights of our residents without facts or justification. This is far from being an “excellent” candidate. Both Mr. Honecker and Mr. Petricca are also on record of supporting Mr. Sacher’s position. Unfortunately for them they are running as a slate with Mr. Sacher and they are also in favor in disturbing the quiet enjoyment that we homeowners sought when we moved to this Island and built our homes away from an industrial site.
Not only Mr. Sacher is nowhere near being an “excellent” candidate, but one must question his motives as to why he founded the Homeowners Association, was it to build a platform to run for City Council or because he truly wants to protect homeowners rights. His actions speak louder than any words.
Joe Granda | Marco Island