This letter has been submitted to the Tampa Bay Times for publication. We wanted to post it here as well just in case the editor decides not to publish this.
Re: Madeira Beach approves redevelopment despite objections from 1000
Once more elected official gave the voters a middle finger. This time it’s
the Madeira Beach commission that rejected a petition to schedule a
referendum to repeal a proposed zoning ordinance that permitted increased
height and density for two proposed developments. More than 1000 voters,
two-thirds of the number of voters who voted in the last election, exercised
their right to petition their government by simply asking for the commission
to let voters decide the future of their city.
This, of course, is not the first time. Ten years ago the Treasure Island
commission voted to increase height and density five days before a citizen
initiated referendum was scheduled for a vote to impose limits on those
Eight years ago, the St. Pete Beach commission sued citizens who attempted
to add charter amendments which would have permitted voters to approve
increased height and density and to repeal the City’s flawed comprehensive
Three beach community commissions that not only ignored the voters’
petitions but acted to increase height and density in face of petitions
which were intended to limit those increases.
Eventually, the mayors and commissioners in Treasure Island and St. Pete
Beach were unceremoniously ousted but only after citizens were forced to pay
tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs in the cities’ losing
efforts to place developers’ interests above those of the residents.
This week, Madeira Beach commissioners ignored the will of the voters and
violated the terms of the City’s charter. Years of litigation will follow,
and, once again, the voters will have to rely on the courts to impose the
rule of law on another of our beach communities’ commissions.
Fortunately, all of our beach communities have citizens who are willing to
spend their time, money and collective efforts to fight for their rights to
require elected officials to simply follow the law.
Kenneth L. Weiss, Esq.Share