We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

December 27, 2012

In the early 1930’s Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected as the 32nd President of the United States. It was the Great Depression, and this is from his first inaugural speech, otherwise known as the “Nothing to Fear Speech.” President Roosevelt basically told America not to be paralyzed into inaction by fear of action, by fear of change, by fear of predictions of doom and gloom. Like our POA.

If you haven’t watched the December 6, 2012 POA meeting on Williams Island TV already, then to understand the connection you should you watch the part related to our building’s (the 4000 Building’s) residents’ questions related to the development of Island Estates.  I have posted here the parts with the comments that made me write this article, but I strongly urge you to watch the entire discussion (just under 14 minutes), which is posted at the end of this article.

FDR:  We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself (00:00:48)

FDR: “We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself” (00:00:48)

I Can't Believe No One Wants to Discuss This (00:00:28)

I Can’t Believe No One Wants To Discuss This (00:01:43)

I'm Afraid and I live in Villa Flora So It Doesn't Affect Me (00:03:49)

I’m Afraid & I live in Villa Flora So It Doesn’t Affect Me (00:03:49)

I Have An Idea. Maybe We Could . . .(00:00:39)

I Have An Idea. Maybe We
Could . . .

Good Idea, But It Doesn't Matter Anymore (00:00:37)

Good Idea, But It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (00:00:37)








Our outgoing rep, Bill Laurie, making a reasonable, common sense, and very articulate motion for the POA to consider hiring a land use professional to examine the project to be built on Island Estates. The low point was probably POA Board Member Bob Shelley saying because he lives in Villa Flora, it doesn’t affect him, and he doesn’t want to the POA to spend his money on that – and besides, there is nothing the POA can do to stop or change the development.  Mr. Shelley is also afraid of litigation if we ask questions, and even refers to the recent litigation with Trump – even though, of course, there was no litigation. (Maybe his complaint about resolution with the Trumps taking so long is because the POA didn’t sue.)

Now even though Mr. Shelley suggests he “knows” that the plans for Island Estates are less than what he thinks they can build, the fact is that he really doesn’t know because his information dates back almost a decade. The current status of the project is that Island Estates is in the site plan approval process. This will determine whether there will be a public hearing. So another member of the POA’s Board reasons that there is nothing they can do, and no purpose is served by having a professional review the site plan.

One problem with the POA Board’s reasoning is, of course, that time changes development rights, and if a City or County doesn’t hear from neighbors they have no reason to think about that.

The real (and most important) reason to do a land use analysis is that it enables US to plan for what is coming down the pike and how it will affect us. Not like with the Bellini – after the builder started pouring the concrete the POA “discovered” how cars and trucks would come in and out of the building. THAT was when the POA hired a traffic engineer.

You know, one POA board member at the meeting suggested maybe participation in the site plan process would provide an opportunity for the Island’s “holy grail” of closing and securing the front gate. Not only a money saver, but an absolute security enhancement. THAT was shot down because it would mean moving the gate back over the bridge. So let me get THIS “rationale” straight: the POA always knew that Island Estates would be developed, and that it was a potential opportunity to secure the Island in one place, so the POA went ahead and demolished the existing front gate and built a new one in the same spot BEFORE exploring and exhausting the opportunity to secure the entire Island by moving the front gate in connection with the Island Estates development.

But – as usual – I am wandering a little. The point of wanting to retain land use professionals is not to find out what some developer’s rights are – it’s to find out what OUR rights are.

Stale and out of date information (some of which is almost a decade old), combined with changes in the law and our community, means to me that we (Williams Island) need to know what property we own; what rights other people (including government and utilities) have or can claim in our property; what uses we can make of our own property; and how time has affected all of this. This isn’t one of those discretionary things for the POA Board like whether to improve the spa or make a fancy front gate; knowing what we own, what our property rights are is a requirement – it’s the POA Board’s fiduciary responsibility.

To summarize: Thanks to Bill Laurie for doing it right, and no-thanks to the rest of the POA for getting it all wrong.

WIPOA Meeting excerpt 2012-12-06

The Entire Episode (00:13:50)