The Palm Coast City Council this morning voted 3-2 against changing its ordinance banning the parking of commercial vehicles in residential driveways, unless the vehicles are on a work call. An attempt to consider a referendum on the issue, assuming the question can be appended to the 2022 ballot at no additional cost, was set aside.
True to form, the council could not get through the latest of its controversial issues without some of its members devolving into acrimony, first between Council members Victor Barbosa and Eddie Branquinho, each yelling to the other–Al Pacino-style, but with less style–that he was out of order, Barbosa calling Branquinho “a little kid,” and Branquinho’s hammer keeping time with his anger (Branquinho had inherited the gavel since Mayor David Alfin had opted to make the motion on the question). Councilman Ed Danko at the end of the meeting again rudely attacked Councilman Nick Klufas, also calling him “kid” and deriding his intelligence, though it isn’t unusual for Danko to do so at almost every meeting.
Alfin, Klufas and Branquinho voted for keeping the commercial-vehicle ordinance as it is. Barbosa and Ed Danko voted against. A referendum is likely to ratify the council’s decision: half of Palm Coast’s residents do not work, and fewer still are the type of blue-collar workers who drive their work vehicles home.
The prohibition on such vehicles–unless they’re tarped–has been in place since the city’s founding in 1999. It does not apply to commercial vehicles during lunch hours (between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and does not apply to public safety vehicles. The prohibition still enjoys strong backing from residents and the Flagler County Associations of Realtors, one of whose representatives addressed th council today in opposition of a change. The Realtors’ opposition was ironic: the association has often pressured the city to relax its rule against signs in medians and other right of ways advertising open houses.
The council last spring reopened the issue of commercial vehicles–which has vexed the panel for years–at least to reconsider the ordinance. The council debated the matter several times since. It surveyed residents, albeit through an unscientific, web-based survey that proved useless as a guide to the discussion. That left Alfin opting for an up-or-down vote today.
For all its visibility, the issue drew just nine public comments–two of them favoring a change, one non-committal, and six against–though as one of the speakers noted, most of the workers affected are currently on job calls.
Mike Cocchiola spoke of “ambiance,” and cautioned against change. “I’m not sure if you go that route, how you would describe what is acceptable on the size of these vehicles and what is not acceptable,” Cocchiola said. “We know we have political divisions in this county and they’re pretty, pretty strong. We know, and I witnessed many times, really abhorrent language on the side of vehicles. Will that be allowed? How do you describe that, how do you describe pornography, how do you make those decisions in an ordinance? That concerns me a lot.”
Pam Richardson, a Realtor for 39 years, a former city council candidate and a former member of the city’s code enforcement board for five years, also argued against altering the code. “We attract a quality of life, and we have to continue to keep a quality of life,” she said. “Commercial vehicles are breaking the rules in every size, not just the small vans, as you state.” (Barbosa had noted at the beginning of the discussion that “we’re not changing the type of vehicle that is going to be allowed to park. What we’re changing is instead of you tarping your vehicle when you get home, you don’t have to tarp it anymore. It’s not changing shape, size of the vehicles. That’s the only thing.”)
“But when will it stop?” Richardson continued. “I have two semis tractors that park on my street, almost every weekend when they can and they say they’re washing their trucks. They’re destroying our roads. Our sewers are failing all throughout the P section, and several other of the neighborhoods.” She described being in the neighborhoods across town and “seeing the damage” being done.
Garrett Decker, on the other hand–also a Realtor, a former cop who used to park his patrol car in the driveway–favored relaxing the ordinance. “I want to put a sign on my car, I don’t like taking the magnets off all the time,” he told the council. (“Well, that’s why you have magnetic signs on your car. So it takes 20 seconds to take them off,” George Mayo, another resident, retorted moments later.) Decker’s point was broader: “There’s a number of businesses that want to move here, home based businesses that want to move here, but they can’t because they can’t advertise. We are limiting home based businesses really limiting other businesses from advertising,” he said. “One thing people aren’t talking about is, it’s going to save city council, it’s going to save the code enforcement time and money on enforcing these signs, which they can use it to enforce other issues around town, such as semis being parked because semis being allowed in the neighborhood is not part of this ordinance. This ordinance does not go into those, and people are misinformed.”
Klufas’s position has been clear all along–every council member’s position had been clear, except that of Alfin, though he had hinted often enough that he was against a change. But Klufas again today reiterated his hope that the matter be placed on the 2022 ballot, a position Alfin supported. Alfin’s original motion was both to keep the ordinance as is but to add the question to the referendum. “I am in favor of maintaining maintaining the code as currently enforced and also will favor a ballot vote on the item at the next opportunity provided as economically feasible,” the mayor said.
Danko, seething, objected, saying the agenda item called only for a single-issue consideration of the ordinance. Alfin didn’t contest the matter. The discussion that ensued between the council members was more blustery than the points made by the public–the contrast between the public’s conduct and that of council members was arresting–and the vote, by then its outcome foretold, was taken.
It was at the end of the meeting, during the council members’ own comments, that Danko’s anger again raged after Klufas chided him: “Facebook politics doesn’t work either,” Klufas said. “I see one of our council members sitting here taking pictures of us so that they can be posted on Facebook momentarily. That’s not how we should be representing ourselves and that’s not what our constituents deserve.”
“I took a picture, I wasn’t posting anything on Facebook,” Danko retorted. “All right, I take pictures occasionally up here, from my own memory my own collection.” He then insulted th councilman: “You’re like half our age kid. All right, maybe when you grow up someday you’ll learn a few things. Yeah, I’m sorry. I watched you make smirks at Victor, while he was talking, make your little stupid faces.”
The meeting’s indecorous exchanges again drew a gentle rebuke from Bill Reischmann, the council’s attorney. “I think it’s imperative that this council take a moment, consider this other rule of decorum that you have adopted, and that you agreed when you took your job to abide by.” He read the rule, again asked the council members to abide by it, and the meeting was adjourned. It isn’t likely that Reischmann’s admonition would be heard anymore than it has been so far.
Case closed. This council executed the will of their constituents.
Ken j says
The correct decision was made!
Klufas for Mayor!!!
Results of the survey were split.
Pathetic how the youngest person in the room was the most mature and level-headed. That’s Palm Coast in a nutshell. A gigantic pissing contest amongst a gaggle of old white farts.
David Schaefer says
Every day since we have lived here for 20 years.
@Rebooter: Very accurate and succinct assessment of our Council and many boards and commissions in this area.
No need for me to watch my weekly comedy show of Saturday Night Live … I just watched a comedic discussion and vote on the Palm Coast council live stream. … Have my need for a comedy fix filled
Joseph Shabotz says
Why does Palm Coast seem to attract seedy politicians and their ill mannered ilk?
Victor “Boob’osa” and Ed Stank’o are transplants from a world where “loudest = right” and bold face lying is just a perk they can slip in amongst the noise.
Mayor Alfin is doing a fantastic job, even better when you realize he’s dealing with such a difficult pair of shamefull councilmen.
I thank God every day that Alan Lowe didn’t become the Mayor and permanently distort my city, just imagine that hot mess!!?
Clean up your act ‘Boomer’s, or get the hell out of dodge, you two fools.
How can anybody think “blue tarps” on a work truck makes a neighborhood “look” better than a work truck in the driveway?
I believe the tarps to which they refer generally mean custom neutral colored fitted covers you put over the vehicle in your driveway. We have a neighbor with two vehicles he covers nightly and they are not unsightly at all. I believe “tarp” is just a generic term for those covers. I have never seen a blue tarp on anything other than a damaged roof after a storm.
No “blue tarps” that you see used on roofs brought at your local home supply stores carry is acceptable means to covering a work vehicle. Matter a fact you can cover the work vehicle with anything you like as long as it covers the signage on the vehicle. The rule does not state what types of coverings are permissible.
Sounds like the council chose to stay the course, but putting it on the ballot is a punt for the future of this. On the ballot and council members give the appearance that they didn’t change anything that the choice of the vote was the Democracy to lift or retain the ordinances. So 2022 as on the ballot was a strategic political punt on this issue. They’re taking the hit from those that wanted it changed in the council meeting & vote. I think that perhaps a ballot vote is the only direction as a solution that the council should go with this. That way they aren’t changing the charter of Palm Coast as it was originally intended. Citing that home based businesses want to move here, but won’t is disingenuous. There are so many ways to advertise without parking a vehicle in the yard or driveway with signage. There’s radio, traditional paper media, google & search engine internet, facebook, twitter & other social media. Not to mention the magnetic signage still works for anyone driving in & out of the residential. The work they perform as a job, they can still park in their customers driveway or along the street doing that job. It’s no secret who is doing the yard maintenance for your neighbors all day and in every neighborhood. It’s no secret who is doing the house inspection, the AC service & repair, the roofing. Do we really need to know who is peddling vitamins, vape products or CBD ? It’s not like driving out on FL-100 the store front signage from the highway isn’t luring enough. Use a smartphone or internet, consumers shop online,advertising should be that way too. And it’s not like word of mouth and business cards still don’t adequately market a business. So the commercial vehicle ordinances appear to be safe until fall 2022. Instead of taking that challenge, we get the name calling and school yard bullying Flagler politics is known for. My gut feeling is the ordinances will be safe, even on the ballot for 2022.
TV Trey says
I mean I aint gotta work or nothing but I think its wrong that people that do wanna work cant park at their own houses. Maybe those people hurt by this should quit those jobs and just take the benefits. If you learn how the system works it pays better than having to get a job.
Please teach us how to work the system and earn more than $100K per year. Please, I beg of you . . .
TV Trey says
100k a year. Who needs that much to live in this town? Look I am just being honest. If you wanna place to sleep and food to eat some medical care if you wanna call it that with the medicaid. We get extra for our kids too. You can figure out the other ways to make more. There is many angles you can work. You stupid if you wanna go to work instead of collecting when you got the knowledge of how to do it. Life aint about working its about living.
mary fusco says
So sad that others who are working are paying for your living! While you are not working and collecting, take a basic course in English because you definitely need it.
NPA Voter says
@ TV Trey … Dear Lord I hope you are being facetious.
The taxpayers of Palm Coast finally got their wish, no commericial vehicles. I commend Nick Klufas for his majority and professionalism as far as the rest of them they are a bunch of grouchy useless old me they need to go find something else to do with their time other than wasting it on fighting in public like a bunch a play yard school boys. Grow up and act your age.
Peaches McGee says
Nick Klufas acts more like an adult, and is more educated then these yahoo’s who sit on the commission.
Remember your childish ways during election time. I sure will.
Land of no turn signals says says
Everybody jumps on Joe Mullins when he acts like an ass now we have the city’s version in Ed Danko being the asshole.Nice job.
Let Freedom Ring says
Keeping crazy rules like this in place will keep driving Palm Coast values down. I moved to Flagler Beach years ago and it was the best move I’ve ever made. I don’t even like driving up to Palm Coast.
E, ROBOT says
Can’t park commercial vehicles in FB residential areas either.
@ Let FreeDUM Ring … Driving values down?
My property value has more than doubled in the past year. Granted, I expect a market adjustment to happen sooner rather than later, but there is no loss of property value due to the ban on commercial vehicle parking in residential driveways. We also own a lot we purchased 3 years ago for $20K and have gotten offers for as much as $60K but will not sell. If that is value “going down” I sure hope it continues LOL
Glad you enjoy FB … no need to come to PC – you are also close to Ormond Beach.
mary fusco says
This market is going to burst sooner than later. All of those that bought overpriced homes are going to be stuck owing more than the property is worth which means they cannot even refinance. This is when the foreclosures come into play. Everything looks good on paper. Reality is another thing.
David Schaefer says
Stupid is as stupid does..
John Stove says
Good…done. signed-sealed and put a stamp on it.
Percy's mother says
This post relates to DANKO and his continuing distasteful and abusive verbal assaults directed to Nick Klufus. . . (in a public city council setting).
Danko is turning out to be the poster boy for a classic abusive personality.
When Danko issues forth yet another verbal attack towards Nick Klufus, I don’t know about anybody else, but I can almost sense and see the toxic venom issuing forth from his tongue. He almost spits out his abusive remarks directed at Nick Klufus. Have you ever watched a snake issue forth its venom?
Danko’s continual attacks directed at Nick Klufus are classic of an abusive and toxic personality. If he behaves this way in public, one can only imagine how he treats those in his inner circle when not being watched by public camera. (but most of us already know the story on his personal life recently).
Danko’s verbal abuse directed at Nick Klufus (and apparently others on city staff) is NOT OKAY and should not be tolerated as OKAY. Danko needs to be reprimanded IN PUBLIC.
Why the mayor and/or city attorney sit silently while Danko issues forth yet another torrent of verbal spit is beyond me. Sitting silently while Danko verbally abuses Nick Klufus (at almost every city council meeting) is NOT OKAY.
I’m calling on our new mayor to step up to the plate and say to the public that verbal abuse on the city council is NOT OKAY AND WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Verbal abuse in any avenue of life, private or public, is NOT OKAY.
At the end of the city council meeting today (9/21/21), the city attorney tried to address this issue; however, he spoke about decorum.
This is not a “decorum” issue. This is an ABUSE ISSUE.
By the way, I watched the entire city council meeting livestreamed on YouTube.
Discouraged In PC says
Agree 100%!! This is unacceptable conduct, and for Mr. Klufus to gracefully tolerate blatant bullying at a public meeting of elected officials it is beyond comprehension of anyone with an ounce of integrity and maturity.
Nick Klufus has more class in his pinky finger than Danko has on his best day. I’ve attended my share of public meetings and hearings in my day (in several states thanks to military moves) and I have NEVER seen the kind of behavior that goes on with the PC Council and Flagler County Commission. Absolutely disgraceful.
Try watching the school board meetings
Concerned Citizen says
The end of the world has been averted.
We can now move on to far more important issues. Like adequate mental health services and shelters for our homeless. or treatment centers for those dealing with addiction.
And once the Council learns how to behave perhaps we can even get our Swales, Streetlights and Sidewalks fixed.
Really concerned says
Except for the fact that Barbosa is a single issue individual and has demonstrated that he has no interest in any of the issues you mention.
More like “adequate mental health services” for our elected officials.
E, ROBOT says
Doesn’t anyone know what residential means?
Yes , it is where people live, and some people that live there also work, and need to park their work van in their driveway. Maybe we should ban parking residential vehicles in commercial areas.BS that it lowers property values. There are a lot worse looking things in my neighborhood.
Richard G Sweet says
Nick K. is a level-headed person. Don’t care about his age. New ideas with mature values. Thank you Nick! Don’t let the Uninformed and Egomaniacs get you down. Brains always beat wannabe brawn. Always be on the side of common sense.
Thanks for being the voice of reason!
Celia M Pugliese says
Mayor Alfin, Councilmen Branquinho and Klufas saved our city from going down to the dumpsters. Also deep appreciation to the FC Board of Realtors, Nicole Williams, Realtor Pam Richardson, Gentlemen Mr. Cocchiola, Mr, Mayo and other residents ladies and gentlemen that spoke in the majority behalf that was absent, like myself given the pandemic. We have nothing against workers to the contrary but they need to park their commercial vehicles in the proper commercial areas, storage or industrial lots. “Is the cost of being a business owner”. Many of our city residents employees some travel to Jacksonville, Orlando or Volusia and St John counties to make a living “as is the cost to have a job”. And please refrain from insulting or bullying the silent Palm Coast majority comprised of respectful homeowners some residing here for 30 years or more that are no o.d f…s, a la “Barry” viciously attacking resident realtor Jane Gentile Youd for her opposition to the Danko-Barbosa proposal. Thank you Jane to you too.!
Again Mayor Alfin you kept your promise.
Nancy N. says
you “have nothing against workers”, you just want to make their lives more inconvenient, more expensive, and force them to contribute to the use of fossil fuels and the growth of global warming by forcing them to drive extra miles to park their vehicles elsewhere for the sole reason that you are a snob. If that’s how you treat people you “have nothing against” I don’t want to know how you treat people you do have a problem with.
Too Bad says
If they are driving commercial vehicles to and from work they are saving a hell of alot of money on car payments, gas and insurance. Therefore they can afford to park somewhere else. If they dont like that arrangement then leave the commercial vehicle at their place of business and drive their personal vehicle back and forth from the office.
Who Dat says
Be serious! These folks to whom you want to kowtow knew the rules when they moved here. Why should they get to change the rules after the fact? What would you say if a bunch of Brits decided to move here and then start demanding that we all drive on the wrong side of the road? Yeah, that’s what I thought . . .
Most “commercial vehicles are literally normal vehicles with signage or ladders. Sorry I wasn’t there I was busy working. They picked the perfect meeting time for less opposition.
I agree with Percy’s Mother—Mayor Alfin SHOULD and NEEDS to stand up to the Demon Danko and any of the others that fight with each other and not let them get away with it. If he Mayor Alfin doesn’t get control of these men then he is just like the Senators and others that bow to Trump. We don’t want that kind of government in Palm Coast or Flagler county as a whole. As long as those fools can get away with arguing and dissention, and a anger towards their peers, they will get bolder and bolder.
Yes, Nick Klufas has more class and intelligence in his little finger than Danko and others have together.
Happy we don’t have to look at those eyesore vehicles by the workers(mostly construction) in our neighborhoods. Maybe it will keep away the riff raff and keep neighborhoods looking picture perfect.
Nancy N. says
I cannot believe so many people are willing to make other peoples’ lives more difficult just so they can create the illusion of some non-existent utopia.
Too Bad says
Believe it…its called wanting quality of life.
You better believe it! Plus the utopia can be reality if the working class gets the point that palm coast is more for the retired or wealthy.
Thanks to the wise vote by our City Council today, we won’t have to look at the ugly black truck that’s wrapped in his driveway.
Now if only he could drive with a blue tarp over it, we wouldn’t have to look at that ugly black wrapped truck on our beautiful city’s streets!
Concerned Citizen says
Instead of getting upset with each other over who parks what where. Especially on property they own.
Can’t we band together and use all of this anger to demand change in our local governments? I watched that meeting and it was embarrassing. And yet we continue to let it happen. These folks divide us and distract us and then they get up there on our dime and act like ass hats time and time again.
How much time was wasted at that meeting banging gavels and yelling at each other? We deserve better representation than this. But instead we want to fight each other.
Time for us to demand a change and make it happen. I’ve sent my share of emails and made phone calls. But sometimes it takes a village.
To Our City Council
Grow up and start doing your jobs. Enough is enough.
It would be just a short matter of time before things get out of control! Give a finger take a hand.
That Guy You Know says
I was all ready to start using my “Danko’s Dildo Emporium” car magnets while driving around town. Maybe some other time.
NPA Voter says
Thank you. Thank you for injecting some humor in this insanity circus called the City Council. What a spectacular idea! I think you should do it anyway, but just remove the magnets when you get back home LOL
What is so hard about putting a cover of the vehicle?
I don’t get what the big issue is. I cover my vehicles anyway to protect them from the sun and they aren’t commercial or marked up with logos.
Palm Toaster says
OMG, this little shithole of a city is worse then the Democratic house of Representatives . I’m so glad I’m selling my home of 30 years and getting the hell out. I heard Biden is sending 2000 Haitians to Palm Coast tomorrow. And 3000 muslims from the illegal border crossing. Let’s see how long before Sheriff what’s his name will ask for 40 more deputies. US 1 now looks like Little Havana with all the new townhouses being built. Enjoy !!!!
God forbid we should have to see vinyl wrapped vehicles from someone trying to build a business, who will end up hiring and adding jobs. No, instead, thanks to this great group of people, we get to look at hastily applied tarps and covers which look even worse than a wrap. People who are for the ban on commercial logos should be ashamed. You are about as unamerican as they come.
Ty Dygbee says
You sound like someone who lives in a gated community. So afraid of the rest of the community that you need gates yet when an issue comes up that affects everyone else except you because of your covenant restrictions then you are all for it.
Reality check says
You seem to have missed the point that most of them have made. Their businesses are elsewhere. They don’t want to have to drive there to pick up their vehicles. Those businesses pay no taxes in Palm Coast. It is not un-American to have a different point of view. It is un-American and arrogant to think your is the only “right” point of view.
We should be supporting small businesses, not penalizing them for promoting their livelihood in their own driveway. They pay a mortgage and property tax for their land. They should be allowed to have a sign on their own car in their own driveway. After all…you allow political stickers on cars of people that made contributions to their preferred elected officials.
Concerned Citizen says
The Property Appraiser took a lot of steam out of most of these folks argument when he said it doesn’t really affect your property value. So it boils down to dislike.
Until I came here I never lived in an open city (not a gated community) that had neighbors calling CE for tall grass and signs on vehicles. And some even get excited about snitching. And don’t mind letting you know. I just shake my head at these folks. And hope they don’t end up being the ones worrying about getting their lawn mowed because they are older and don’t have help/money.
In general it pays to be nice. Life is short. And fortunes reverse fast. Instead of being a bitter snitch why not walk up the street or next door. And see if they could use help. Might be surprised what folks are dealing with.
Gina Weiss says
Concerned Citizen: You are so right! A neighbor who had fell upon some hard times in my area could not afford to have their lawn mowed so I had asked my lawn people if they would do it and I picked up the bill which was not expensive but meant so much to these people just to know that someone had their backs, you’re so right life is short, nothing last forever, those who are more fortunate should pay it forward it’s good for the soul, some people are just miserable and bitter, no fortune in the world would make those people happy. Just be happy we are not like them!
Nancy N. Don’t bother wasting your time on FOS people as they are not for the working class, they spend most of their time on FB belittling people but can’t take back the BS they spew out and want to also contol what comments Flagler Live puts out they have no lives of their own.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
I have a legal home office – yep – that’s right! I don’t need to ‘advertise’ in our driveway. I mail notes, and never miss sending yearly calendars; I post on Facebook; I send letters and I even still get requests after 20 years being away in Miami Dade County. How about that! Why don’t I use our driveway? Because it is in a R E S I D E N T I A L zoned area… Enough already with this B.S.