We’ve all thrown a stone into still water and watched the ripples. Throw one stone, the ripples are mesmerizing and peaceful. Throw a LOT of stones, the ripples really get that pond water churning. One stone, a lot of stones, there are always ripples.
When our City Commission votes on the agenda items, they create ripples across our city. They vote to approve a Buc-ee’s and a Buc-ee’s will probably appear. They voted to support One Daytona and now we have One Daytona. They voted to approve The Midtown Lofts and now BCU is getting sued. Their votes cause ripples.
Their ideas and concerns, not so much.
Let’s look a couple of examples from last night’s City Commission meeting.
1. Item 9B was an amendment to the Large Scale Comprehensive Plan to allow restaurants on the east side of A1A. Commissioner Trager raised concerns about the effects of any new beach front restaurants on the peace and tranquillity of the neighborhoods. Assistant City Manager Jim Morris said that the new restaurants would be bound by the same rules and regs that apply to all other restaurants. The amendment passed and the concern sank without a ripple into the deep pond of inaction.
But Commissioner Trager raised a very valid concern. Just ask the residents in Seabreeze. It is no fun having bars, I mean restaurants, open until 3 AM in your neighborhood. And how many of the businesses on Main Street are designated as restaurants but really serve no food?
The current rules and regs are not being enforced effectively. How can there be any comfort in knowing these same rules and regs will be applied, and probably also be unenforced, in the expanded beach front areas?
I don’t object to the amendment. I think restaurants on the beach front are a lovely idea and many of the lots are too small to entice larger scale development. And an extended discussion of the current ineffective enforcement wasn’t appropriate to discussion of this amendment. However, the concern for the impact on the neighborhoods is real and it should not be allowed to sink without a ripple.
2. The Mayor expressed a desire to have a city wide survey of citizens to solicit feedback. That’s a great idea but it’s not simple in its execution. There needs to be discussion on format, distribution, formulation of the survey questions, and compilation of results. But never mind, last night this idea also sank without a ripple into the deep pond of inaction. I’m hoping it will re-surface but I’m skeptical.
There’s nothing I’d like better than to be proven wrong. I would be delighted to see a robust discussion drive actual changes to the enforcement of the rules and regs for restaurants. And I would be first in line to review the results of that survey. What’s it going to take for our Commission to roil the waters a bit, to create a few ripples when they have a concern or an idea?