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Riviera Beach Charter Amendment (November 2010)

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A Riviera Beach Charter Amendment measure was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the city of Riviera Beach, which is in Palm Beach County.

This measure was approved

  • YES 4,440 (53.94%)Approveda
  • NO 3,791 (46.06%)[1]

Background

This measure sought to reverse the city council's decision to lease parts of the Riviera marina for 25 years for commercial boat repair operations. Petitioners submitted more than the needed 2,052 signatures to get the issue on the ballot.[2] Proponents of the petition felt that their issues with the lease were not being answered so they saw this as the only means to stop the proposed project. The amendment would limit what could be built on the marina and the submerged lands around it.[3]

Legal issues

Issues had arisen with the wording of the ballot language and city officials were attempting to find a way to word the measure without giving way to lawsuits later on. City officials noted that the petition language was flawed but were trying to find a way to ensure there would not be issues if the measure did get approved.[4] On September 8, the city council decided to challenge the language of the measure due to a portion of the wording which states that the city would own and operation a hotel on the marina, when in fact the city did not own it, the Community Redevelopment Agency does.[5]

The judge had stated that a decision would be reached about the measure at least by the first week of November, but early voting had already started. If the measure had been declared invalid, notices would have been placed in voting locations and those votes would just not have been counted. Those arguing for the city noted that they were not against a public vote on issues, just that the measure was not legal and was unconstitutional. Those in favor of the measure were confident it would stay on the ballot.[6] The judge ruled earlier than expected, stating that this would stay on the ballot. The judge noted that he felt the ballot language was not misleading and did inform voters what the issue was and did not violate state laws. The Mayor of the city said it was a good decision, noting that any day the people were allowed to retain their rights to vote was a good thing. Some councilors noted though that it did not clear up the discrepancies of who actually owns the property.[7]

Differing views

The city renegotiated the deal with the proposed marina builders, Rybovich, hoping that it was a better deal for residents to consider. The city hoped to be able to convince voters that the new deal was a better option than the proposed changes to the charter which this measure sought to enact. The petitioners had noted that their main concern was the council would not listen to resident's criticism so the council hopes to be able to show that this new proposal was a better plan.[8]

Proponents of the lease noted that it would bring in needed money to the community. Opponents on the other side argued that companies should not be given areas that were intended for recreational use on the beach. Though it was noted that even if the measure was defeated, there was no guarantee they would set up their boat repair operations on the marina, permits and state approval would still be needed.[9]

Additional reading

References