This $65,000 BCC paid report shows the "Real Issues" at Driftwood Estates

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Bob Hudson, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    Will the County once again fail to VOTE to resolve these issues ?
    How many $65,000 reports will they fund and then ignore ?
     

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  2. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    I got this a couple days ago...
    Here is a copy of an e-mail a neighbor sent the commissioners.

    Commissioners,

    I am writing you so as you cannot say you were unaware of the following report. I have attached Dr. Harvey H. Harper, Ph.D. report that Walton County commissioned. It has been almost 10 years since I first brought this issue to the BCC and still we are at the same point. I’ll save you the technical lingo and you can skip to the conclusion if you like, but it states verbatim…

    “The Engineer agrees that the 3-year, 24-hour retention standard is an extraordinarily high standard, particularly for the period in time, but the 3-year, 24-hour retention standard is consistent with the stated objectives by the applicant of maintaining water quality within Choctawhatchee Bay. Therefore, the Engineer concludes that the Sandestin DRI storm water standard is a retention standard which is equivalent to approximately 5.1 inches over the contributing drainage basin area for Interior portions of Driftwood Estates and 4.8 inches over the contributing drainage basin area for Exterior areas.”


    Walton County has ignored this fact for over 2 decades when it comes to enforcing the DRI drainage standards for both Driftwood Estates and all of Sandestin. In fact it means all projects including Baytowne and every project submitted by Intrawest and other developers have not been meeting the required standards of the development order and all their runoff is being dumped untreated and unretained into the bay.

    Even today, the county still takes the position given by county engineer Greg Graham that the comp plan standards are more stringent and meet or exceed the DRI standards. That is simply untrue, if fact on that issue Dr. Harper states…..

    “The transcript from the Special Magistrate Hearing discusses testimony by Walton County that land development regulations require a storm water Level of Service (LOS) of a 25-year storm, 24-hour duration with a total of 10.2 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period. The County contends that the 25-year, 24-hour standard is a stricter standard than the 3-year, 24-hour standard for the Sandestin DRI, and maintains that systems designed to meet the County LOS will automatically meet the Sandestin DRI storm water standard since the 25-year, 24-hour standard is a stricter standard. However, the Sandestin 3-year, 24-hour standard and Walton County 25-year, 24-hour standard refer to different components of a storm water system that are not comparable.”


    What this means in layman’s terms is that Walton County has not only permitted development activity in Driftwood to occur without the proper notice and land use change hearings, it has approved drainage systems that only meet 20 to 25% of the drainage requirements of the development order. In the case of the exterior section of Driftwood Estates it means the county adopted an MSBU proposed by the developer that didn’t meet the drainage requirements and the charged residents around 3.5 million in MSBU taxes to install a non-compliant, non-working system.

    It also means that current projects given the “green light” by Mr. Graham as meeting drainage standards for the county and the DRI, do not meet required standards and haven’t been engineered or reviewed to those standards. Both the projects submitted by SDI in Burnt Pine and the Osprey Point project should be rejected as they currently sit.


    What should happen now is as follows.

    1. Greg Graham should be removed as reviewing engineer for Walton County on all Sandestin projects as he is clearly conflicted as the developers former engineer. According to Dr. Harpers report he doesn’t understand how to compare the correct standards to county standards and is confused.

    2. Wayne Dyess and Renee Bradley should be directed to immediately apply the correct standards to all new and existing projects within the Sandestin DRI. The issuing of permits and the revocation of DO’s for projects that haven’t been started yet should occur immediately. Plans for Burnt Pine and Osprey Point should be returned to the developer for resubmittal as major projects with the proper drainage standards being met.

    3. Suspension of further building permits in Driftwood Estates until a solution can be approved and implemented.

    4. A notice sent out to all developers, SDI, Howard group and the SOA of what the required drainage standards are.

    This gets to the heart of things, I know we have had a lot of rain lately and every neighborhood is saturated. I drove from Driftwood today and our neighborhood laid in water from ditch to ditch with some ditches not draining even though they laid as close as 600 feet from outfalls. I could not go outside on Christmas day as the mosquitos would carry you off. I then drove though some other neighborhoods from Carson Oaks, Sacred Oaks and main Sandestin. The vast majority of those had zero standing water in the swells and rights –of –way. Why then are the almost 800 lot owners in Driftwood not entitled to the same level of service our neighbors are? We are in the same development order.

    Like it or not, if it happened on your watch or not, the Sandestin development order has been running with scissors for the last 25 years without any real oversight or enforcement except for the actions of Renee Bradley who is desperately trying to communicate to the county commission that it just isn’t open space, there are many things that are non-compliant. You just won’t seem to listen. You are shooting the messenger, as these problems are hurting the property value’s you collect taxes off of. Most of all, you are destroying or allowing the water quality in Choctawhatchee to be destroyed. I can tell you we have been taking water samples along Sandestin at the outflow drainage pipes locations and some of the pollutant levels are just a point or two from being considered toxic. As you recall in order to get a DRI approved, the developer had to mitigate the impacts and agree to stricter standards to ensure regional assets like the Bay and traffic on US98 aren’t negatively impacted because the density of the development was so intense it required state approval. In this case for over 2 decades the developers have reaped the benefits of the DRI while ignoring the requirements. It’s time for you to enforce it. I’ll address more item’s at the NOPC, but the time to act is now. We can continue to ignore it, but one way or another, no matter if it’s at the NOPC or at the witness booth in court, we are going to get some answers as to why all of this has occurred. Most importantly why you are continuing to allow it to occur by turning a blind eye to a problem you can see and touch.

    Again the state has told you what to standards are in multiple letters since 2007, so have our experts and now you have spent another 65K for an independent expert that you commissioned and picked to read you the plain English of the development order. What will you tell the jury?

    1. You didn’t Know?

    2. Your own expert was biased?

    3. The state was lying and had an agenda?
    If you believe either a jury or your constituents will believe these or other answers, I think you need to step back and relook your position. As one of you have said many times. “We need to either fish or cut bait” Well you already admitted it’s non-compliant. Why do selective enforcement now? Enforce all the rules of the DRI and send a notice to developers that says either play by the established rules or take your money and go do damage somewhere else. Developers who know it's a level playing field will bring new money to the county when the market demand dictates it.

    I am planning on sending this to all the Homeowners in the DRI that I can get it forwarded to so they know they are investing their life savings into property the county is not currently willing to enforce the rules on. I think they will soon realize that something nefarious was going on for years in Sandestin and there was money and political influence that made it happen. Why don’t you do the right thing? We’ll see if you even mention it at the next BCC meeting……..More to follow.


    I think they are about to throw down.
     
  3. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I don't know about anyone else but I am sick and tired of the county throwing money away funding report after report that basically all say the same thing and all get ignored. If you are not going to address the issues and not going to follow the comp plan and the LDC, then please stop wasting money on more reports. You will need the funds to pay the lawyer bills.
     
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  4. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    Well said, Danny, and you are not alone. It is time for the Commission to listen to Alan Osborne and settle the Driftwood Estate issue once and for all. Their actions could be seen as an affront to all Walton County citizens, not just Driftwood Estates residents.
     
  5. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Beach Lover

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    I can't say I don't have a dog in the fight as my sister lives in Driftwood and is furious at the BCC. But if you read Dr. Harpers report, you know this thread should be titled real issues at Driftwood Estates and Sandestin as the standard for driftwood is the standard for Sandestin. We know the county has been issuing permits for projects in Sandestin since Baytowne was done designed to a one inch standard. As the report states driftwood would have to retain between 4.8 and 5.1 inches to meet the requirements and protect the good water quality of the bay. The county has spent between tetra-tech and now Dr. Harper over 250K to be told they are wrong and now have a 6 or 7 million dollar problem on their hand and half of it lies on county owned property so the county is violating its own ordinance. The bad part of it is the county took responsibility from the developer for a 60K payment that was supposed to fix the whole problem, heck that wouldn't pay for Dr. Harpers report. You can thank brannon and comander for working that deal, go read the minutes.
    My sister say's Mr. Osborne is no longer president and resigned from the Driftwood board. He said he didn't want to be the reason the county wouldn't work with the board. He dropped the county from his suit and the Driftwood HOA put their lawsuit on hold for two years and still no response. Not a word has my sister gotten from commissioners except meadows who has tried to bring the real issue to light. I watched the BCC meeting the other night and saw osborne up there again. If I were him I'd be pissed off too, no wonder he sued them again. If you ask me their refusal to answer Osborne's questions when they are quite willing to answer the developers, the SOA's and other powerful groups is just proof they are targeting him for retaliation. They don't like him, so they don't want to admit they are wrong, they selectively enforce the LDC, Comp plan and DRI and stonewall the Driftwood folks.
    Selective enforcement of the rules is a travesty and a government not willing to admit it is wrong or has made a mistake is called a Kingdom or Dictatorship and not something Walton county or America needs. Sometimes the burden of leadership is accepting responsibility for someone else's mistakes who went before you. The current board wasn't here when this stuff started 20 years ago, but if they keep going to extraordinary efforts to cover it up and ignore it, they are just as guilty in my mind. The only way they will learn their lesson it seems, will be when they write the big check in court and then realize they still have to fix the problem anyway or at least not approve any more projects that don't meet standards...

    Andy A,- let's see you defend their inaction now. Especially Comander as this is all in her district. I will watch the NOPC on Sandestin this week and I bet they don't enforce the rules and let the developer change them.
     
  6. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Misty most of south Walton is within the two PCB TV stations. Both have a lot of young,new,Hungry reporters why don't you email each ( addresses on website) one will take the bull by the horns..questions will be ask, voters will,commissioners will not like this and respond...hey after all these years it can't hurt....JMO...
     
  7. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    If ever there was an investigative report opportunity in this area that could win journalism awards, this is it. Once the "sunshine" is shone down this rabbit hole, it will be fun to watch how deep it goes..
     
  8. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Beach Lover

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    The rabbit hole is the bay and the Jewell of the Emerald Coast (Sandestin) is the biggest polluter of the bay unfortunately. Blessed by the Walton county BCC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  9. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    There is no such thing as an "investigative journalist" in Walton County. Local news sources have neither the time, resources or inclination to bite the hand that feeds them. At one time Tom McLaughlin would do what the NWFLDN would allow him to do (he does still report news accurately) but his articles (for me) lack the substance they once had. There was a time that if corruption was even hinted at, Tom was on it like flies on stink.

    Those were the days...
     
  10. sunspotbaby

    sunspotbaby SoWal Insider

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    I've said it before, Carl Hiassen would have a field day with the material in Walton county. In reality though, this county is probably no different than every other Floriduh county.
     
  11. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    Yep, in general, it seems to me, it is a whole lot easier to be offended and indignant online, than it is to be offended and indignant in real life, to the point of doing anything about it.
     
  12. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    There is not any "investigative" reporting around here. A few years ago two women reporters from two local channels started to poke their heads into Regional Utilities and Dewey Wilson and both were quickly relocated to other markets. One to Tampa area and other out of State.

    It would be the same with Driftwood. With Brannon and Komander involved, their "connections" up in the sheriff's office and other higher ups, would be quick to place road blocks in any reporters way.

    The good ole boy and girl system is strong here.
     
  13. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Wow,"Truth in reporting", false advertising? Then go over locals station managers heads....20/20, 60 Minutes ,#ErinBrockovick, heck these are the days of putting corruption on the front page. Social Media moves these problems at light speed to the fore front.
     
  14. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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  15. Patriot Games

    Patriot Games Beach Lover

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    The NOPC hearing is tomorrow at 830 according to county web site but the signs say 9AM. Typical Walton County. Any bets on the outcome? Will the developer get a free pass? or will the BCC listen to it's staff and expert reports it's paid for and turn down the whole application. Place your bets! I bet the county attorney refuses to address the drainage standards out of fear it will make the county in violation of it's own ordinance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016

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