Skip the blabber and take the survey here.
Just over two weeks ago Palm Coast City Council members agreed in a workshop to do what’s never been done before: survey residents about the code enforcement rule that forbids work or commercial vehicles with exposed signs to be parked in residential driveways for an y reason other than a work call.
The ban has been in place since the city’s founding but has flared into controversies from time to time, with some residents or business groups finding it unreasonable and others finding it necessary to maintain the city’s orderliness. The Palm Coast City Council is itself divided, with Mayor Milissa Holland and Council members Nick Klufas and Eddie Branquinho hesitant to relax the rule and Council members Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa favoring relaxation. Barbosa has had his own public run-in with code enforcement over that very issue, which he complied with at the 11th hour to avoid an appearance before the code enforcement board. But they all agreed to explore the possibility.
Today, the city issued the one-question online survey, which asks: “Would you be in favor of amending the Code of Ordinance Sec. 44-34 (C) to allow ONE commercial vehicle (passenger car, panel van, pickup truck or similar) with advertising markings to park in a residential driveway?”
But the survey is somewhat flawed.
The question follows two sets of perspectives–seven of them in favor of the change, seven against, in an attempt to keep the question framed in as neutral a way as possible. The favorable perspectives point to Palm Coast no longer being a retirement community, to the allowance reflecting a more business-friendly attitude and one more respectful toward essential businesses, and to making life easier for workers.
At the opposite end, opposition to the change reflects a desire to preserve the aesthetic environment residents chose when moving to Palm Coast. The change would not be “harmonious” with the residential character of Palm Coast’s streets. The city would be unable to regulate the content of the signs.
But the set of statements “opposed to the change” includes a few misleading ones. For example, it states that “Allowing commercial vehicles in driveways invites business activity into residential neighborhoods.” In fact, the vehicles in question are currently allowed, and the type of “business activity” they conduct is conducted routinely, from air conditioning repair to plumbing to electrical work to roofing to cable and satellite and phone installations, and so on. When work vans are on such calls, there is no ban on their signs being visible. All such work vans may also be parked in. residential driveways when not working, as long as they’re covered by a tarp: that doesn’t mean the parking is encouraging business activity.
The following statement is also misleading”: “Business activity can occur in early morning, late night or on call hours.” City code regulates business activity such as construction or lawn-mowing separately. That section of code would not be affected. The survey does not clarify that.
The statement that allowing the change “negatively impacts residential property values” is made as an asserted fact rather than presented as what it is: speculation. The statement is baseless and unsupported by evidence, and as such could be read as a sly attempt to scare and sway respondents.
Finally, the claim that “The City will be unable to regulate any content of vehicle signs or graphics” is true, but it’s true today of all such vehicles that crisscross city streets or periodically park for work calls in driveways. The statement is also not entirely true: while the city may not regulate signs’ content, it does have more than two dozen restrictive regulations in place.For example, “Signs containing statements, words, or pictures of an obscene nature,” in the city code’s wording, are banned, as are flashing or scrolling signs, and so on.
The survey defines commercial vehicles as “passenger car, panel van, pickup truck, or similar,” but does not explicitly say that larger vehicles would not be allowed regardless.
“Problem is that a lot of people get confused,” Council member Victor Barbosa–a proponent of relaxing the rule, had said at the workshop earlier this month. “We’re not talking about trucks. We’re talking about regular vehicles as being as big as just a van, cargo van. Not a truck, not a dump truck, not a semi. So it needs to be specified that it’s just as big as a work van, not bigger than that. I don’t know how we’re going to be able to do that.”
The survey question includes four illustrations of commercial vehicles with signs that would be allowed.
At the same workshop, Bill Reischmann, the city attorney, said there was no “one size fits all definition of commercial vehicles.”
“To Mr. Reischmann’s point,” Mayor Milissa Holland said, “obviously the details are going to matter either way and the details are going to matter to the residents, frankly, what that looks like.”
The survey was initially proposed by Council member Eddie Branquinho. “I think we’re going to be in for a rude awakening,” he said at that meeting, regarding the anticipated results of the survey. “Just up to 10 questions. Survey it, and I’m just saying, food for thought.”
Council members on April 13 said they wanted to see the survey before it was issued. They did. But the administration held those meetings with council members individually, and council members provided their feedback that way, rather than in an open meeting, even though they were contributing to a document that is unquestionably part of the policy-making process: the survey will have a direct bearing on whether, and how, council members change the code enforcement ordinance. It’s a gray area of the law, but when elected officials are involved in such steps, their work at every step, because of its collective impact on a policy document, is usually conducted in the open, in accordance with the state’s open-meetings law.
“It was merely their input in regards to the format of the survey,” Brad West, the city’s spokesman, said, “it wasn’t polling them, it wasn’t tallying anything.” He said there’d been concerns about a previous survey’s lack of clarity that the city had conducted, he said, a lack of clarity the council members wanted to avoid.
One council member had complained of a previous survey’s “leading questions.”
Like previous surveys issued through the city’s online platforms, this one is also open to all, so the thousands of snowbirds or tourists who keep an eye on Palm Coast may take part, just as Flagler Beach or Bunnell or unincorporated Flagler residents surely will, just as anyone anywhere on the planet could also do so, while people locally could theoretically stack responses one way or the other. In previous surveys, the city did not publicly detail methodologies that would clearly indicate who took part and how, providing results in bulk even though results combined online and paper responses.
Nor has the city enabled or explained means that might limit survey numbers from being overly influenced by people who may not have driveways in the city: what right, for instance, might the resident of an assisted living facility or an apartment complex or a person who merely works or owns a business in the city have to judge how residential driveways might be policed?
Prone to some fabrication though their answers may be, survey questions specifying whether respondents live in the city’s residential neighborhoods might have at least reasonably narrowed the valid sample. But no such questions appear. Between the survey’s tendentious wording and its technical limitations, the results may end up being a lot more, or less, than they appear.
To vote in the survey, go here.
In a release the city issued this morning, announcing the survey, the city said a virtual town hall video would be released on May 7 regarding the code in question. “You can watch it on the city’s YouTube (@palmcoastgovtv) and Facebook (@palmcoastgov) channels,” the release stated. “Residents can learn about the history of the code, what is allowed in the current code, along with picture examples to educate the community about this topic.”
Percy's mother says
Concerned Citizen says
I hope you never need someone to respond to a late night plumbing or AC issue.
Before moving into security I worked in the property maintenance field. And we provided 24/7 services. As Palm Coast didn’t allow our work trucks in the garage this is how we handled a call out at 1am.
Call center calls and asks us to roll. We leave our house. Drive 30 minutes to the office to get the truck. Clock in then drive 45 minutes the opposite way to fix the issue. Then drive 45 minutes back to park the truck. Then drive 30 minutes home. Only being paid for drive to site from the office and back.
Fast forward a year later and I am an armed security officer/field supervisor for a major company with a district from South Jax to Daytona beach. As I am a supervisor I am required to bring a patrol car home. I am on call 24/7. And required to be able to roll right away if needed.
As such I kept the car in the driveway and we lived in the C section in an older home that didn’t have a garage. In the first 6 months I recieved no less than 4 warnings from Code Enforcement. Because Palm Coast is so unwelcoming we moved out to the West side. But I’m a working stiff so that means nothing to you right?
I know you live in an Ivory tower and look down on all of us peons. But the next time your AC goes out and it takes an hour or more then that’s probably part of the reason why.
I agree. NO!
Palm Coast has always been a deed restricted community and many of us like it that way.
Why should we have to give up the visual quality of our neighborhoods because someone else didn’t use due diligence prior to moving here. I shouldn’t have to look at rolling billboards parked up and down the street. Or worse, in the streets clogging the flow of traffic because they already have full driveways.
What’s next? Caving in to all the lawn service businesses that want to be able to park their equipment trailers at home and work on their equipment? How about boats and RVs?
Surely my neighbors wouldn’t mind if I parked my 40′ coach in the street. Telling me that I can’t is mean and unfair and storage is expensive.
If you do this, where does it end?
The city should put all questions to the residents! Do away with City Council!
Fernando Melendez says
Survey is out!
The fact that this survey is even out demonstrates how these two selfish and self serving individuals who bamboozled their way onto the Palm Coast City Council (Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa) shows how far their push for their own ajenda has gone. We just heard from our Mayor Milissa Holland in her City’s state of address on how far we’ve gone in national and state recognitions with A+Ratings and continued planning towards the future in keeping Palm Coast not only beautiful but inviting. We should not allow No! commercial vehicles as the City cannot regulate content and there are photos of what could potentially be allowed like CBD trucks, smoke shops, political organizations that are advocating for a certain position, sex shops so there is an unintended consequence to allowing this as the Supreme Court does not allow us to restrict what is placed on the vehicles.
94,000 residents chose Palm Coast knowing the rules that have been in existence before the incorporation in 1999. To see these two unscrupulous Councilman who are not thinking of the rest of our residents and the reasons why we chose Palm Coast to live here is reasons enough to remember them when election time comes around.
Laurie Behenna says
I totally agree. This is a travesty in the making. Keep Palm Coast residential. Residents should not have to look at commercial vehicles parked in driveways every day and night. They should be kept at the place of business.
Concerned Citizen says
Easy to say when you aren’t providing a 24 hour service.
Breakdowns and failures don’t always occure between 9 and 5 when technicians are already working. But hey let’s make it harder on the the person by incorporating a sometimes 30 to 45 minute longer drive.
So you stand in your front yard staring at other peoples driveways all day and night, or maybe you will just see the work truck for 30 seconds while you are driving home.
I think that makes the most logical sense @watson. No one ever says, Hey, lets hang out front… and stare into other peoples driveways and look at work vehicles. But yet someones got a noisy, distasteful color choice, parked in their driveway called a personal vehicle but no one complains about those. I don’t see an issue, not like they are placing billboards on and around the house or yard. I get tired of seeing junkyard houses vs a working class transportation vehicle. Let people live.
Mary Fusco says
I haven’t got a real problem with work trucks. My problem is that we can’t leave our cars in the driveway without them being broken into, garage door openers being taken out and garages being ransacked. I’ve been here almost 22 years. Small town politics is what is is BS. What concerns me more is what PC is attempting to attract here. I am more concerned about crime than a truck of a hard working citizen that is parked in their driveway. Focus on what the real problems are!
Little extreme aren’t we? No worse than you seeing the same advertisements on your “smart device” or the “dumb tv”. Start bending before you break. The fact that you only named “taboo or stereotype” items, lead me to believe you, must live an exceptional life. I would actually encourage it as it creates a competitive market and you would never have to worry about knowing where to locate said “company”.
Michael Cocchiola says
Uh where are they actually enforcing this because it’s not my street. It would be nice if they did though along with other major violations but all they care about is the stupid grass and trees.
Many of us residents have no problem with allowing work vehicles with signage in driveways. Glad to have a chance to let our views be known.
Willy Behan says
No! Let Danko and Barbosa park their trucks at their places of business. We already seem to have someone on Coral Reef that covers their truck up every night.
Bill C says
Code restrictions that regulate the appearance of neighborhoods should be enforced. Commercial vehicles parked in residential areas are a no-no. I once had a neighbor across the street who started out parking one commercial vehicle in their driveway, which turned into two, then they added a commercial trailer parked in the swale in front of their house. Go park in a commercial lot, pay for it, write it off as a business expense.
Most people parking the work truck in their driveway work for a company, not own it
Bill C says
Guess you’ll just have to commute to work like all the rest of us working stiffs. PS: tax the rich.
R. S. says
It doesn’t matter to me whether a police cruiser or a service truck is parked in someone else’s driveway. After all, most people appear to have junk in their garages and all their cars filling their driveways or adjacent street areas. If we ask that any vehicles be kept out of driveways, then let’s go all the way and ask that ALL VEHICLES be kept out of the driveways and in garages. Things would indeed look a lot neater, and car theft might go away. Here’s another case of worrying about the splinter in my neighbor’s eye and overlooking the beam in our own.
Art Bowles says
NO NO NO NO NO !!!
I never liked the Rule. I didn’t have to deal with it so I wasnt affected. At some point it needs to be changed IMO.
Edith Campins says
No. Such a change will affect property values.
john stove says
The current code works just fine and business is not hurting because they cant park their truck in the driveway! People looking to hire a company do so at the recommendation of neighbors or reviews. not because “I saw your sign”. Try calling a company/service and they all tell you the same thing: “we will get to you in a couple of weeks, we are super busy”.
Allowing work trucks in residential areas will lead to these same businesses using their homes and garages as “storage” for their business’s with all the loading and unloading going on.
We didnt purchase a home on a canal so that when I go out to get the paper in the morning I see “Joe’s plumbing” next door and the local Pizza Guy delivery car across the street while the DishTV guy is taking stuff out of his garage and loading it in to his van.
DO NOT CHANGE THE CODE
That would be a “No” on this.
NO NO NO
Absolutely yes! With the lack of jobs in this town outside of food service and basic retail, many of these good folks would have to drive as far as Jacksonville to go to work, only to turn right around to return down here to the areas they service. Palm Coast is not a sleepy little retirement community anymore. It is a city full of hard working blue collar people. Sorry you were sold a lot and a retirement dream for $1000 back in 1975, but the reality now is many more people are here having paid hundreds of thousands to live and raise their families in a good community.
Janet Fonseca says
Fernando Melendez , you just said it all, well put.
Fernando Melendez says
Thank you Janet 😊
I’ve had a utility truck parked on my street for twenty years. If you have friends in code enforcement – no problem !!!!
Didn’t know they weren’t allowed because my neighbors have them in their driveway all the time and nothing happens.
Those not retired need to work. As long as it is done “tastefully” for lack of a better word , I don’t really care.
Concerned Citizen says
What these articles on this issue have shown me.
1.) Palm Coast is desperatley trying to cling to it’s “retirement community” image. And the ordinary working class aren’t really welcome in Palm Coast proper.
2.) Most of you are really judgemental and harsh towards blue collar workers just trying to make a living. But yet you rely on those folks when your AC,Eletrical Systems, Plumbing fail.
Times are changing folks. Time to start being a little more friendly towards the people who keep your daily lives running without major inconvieniences.
Trailer Bob says
I agree, I mean how would I ever make it through life if I were forced to see a vehicle with a company name on it?
The gall of these blue collar working folks! You may think you live in Florida, but actually you live in NY, NJ, and CT…the three states that were targeted for the promotional advertising to move to Palm Coast.
So, to look at it another way, what gives those northern whiners the right to turn Florida into a copy of the north?
Talk about arrogance…
David Schaefer says
Laurie Behenna says
Please Please do not allow commercial parking overnight in Palm Coast. This is a residential community. We are not the Hammock where anything goes. I hate to say it, but we will start looking like trailer park. Most people live here and are moving to or building here for our family community. It used to be there was no parking at all overnight in driveways and residents were required to park in the garages. If Barbosa has a personal problem with this code, he should not be forcing this on the residents. They have a right to NOT look at commercial vehicles outside their windows. Please stand up for residents rights
Sent from my iPhone
Sent from my iPhone
Magnetic signage. It goes on, it comes off easy peasy problem solved. But I am just an dumb uneducated conservative………..as far as your tractor trailers, large work trucks, and construction stuff, keep that stuff where it belongs, not in neighborhoods. And keep your damn vehicles off the pavement if you feel the need to park on the roadside.
Trailer Bob says
Conservatives believe in freedoms…Why don’t you build a home that isn’t 4 feet away from your neighbors? The only reason we are even talking about this issue is because you all chose to build too many homes on too little land. Then you decide that what and how your neighbors use their property is somehow up to you? Interesting concept.
Bob, your problem us you assume to much, that makes you,…. well you fill it in. My house has 19 feet on each side to my fence, then another 12 feet to the house on each side. You first assumption, is false. I only bought and paid for one house, didn’t build any others and don’t plan to, your second ASSUMPTION is also false. I don’t decide how my neighbors use their property, the town does, your third ASSUMPTION is false as well. As far as Conservatives believing in freedoms, seems YOU want to dictate what a conservative considers freedoms. My views are, if you don’t like the rules, you are free to leave. That is freedom. You simply ASSume to much Bob, perhaps your name would be better spelled with two o’s instead of one.
I’m a No on this one
Palm Coast Citizen says
If the city lifts this code, it should do so with caution and with limitations. It should be relaxed, though, considering how many working families there are living all through Palm Coast.
Did you not read the article, it lists the limitations.
Palm Coast Citizen says
I did, but they haven’t fleshed out the limitations. “the survey will have a direct bearing on whether, and how, council members change the code enforcement ordinance.” I imagine it could be tricky with speech and all that. It would be nice for workers to park in their own driveways, especially for those who are employed.
A Local Small Business says
Want to be business friendly while appeasing the citizenry? Palm Coast should set aside 20 acres somewhere. Fully paved. Well lit with security. Maybe even a city owned maintenance shop, vehicle wash, with auction/sales office so that businesses can buy and sell amongst themselves. Provide direct paid reimbursements or tax breaks to the businesses to store their street legal vehicles (no trailers bulldozers, etc. Actual cars, van, light duty trucks).
Money to pay for it to come from the vehicle maintenance services, wash and sales, along with some from the economic developmemt office since it will be a business attractor.
Do that, and watch service related companies flock here, competition goes up, prices go down, everyone happy. That’s how government can serve everyone in a capital market.
No don’t want to see advertising in driveway’s!
John Stove says
Most brick and mortar business’s have a shop somewhere with ample parking for their shop trucks. Employees report to work, check in, gather tools and supplies and roll out to their scheduled service calls in the shop truck. When the day is over, the maintenance tech drives the service truck back to the shop, completes billing and the service work order and locks up the service truck. The service tech gets in his/her personal vehicle and drives home.
Where is the need here to drive the service truck and park it at his home?
Non-traditional brick and mortar business’s typically operate out of a suite or office space somewhere with little to no supplies stored at the location. They basically stock their shop trucks with everything including a tablet or computer for generating invoices. The office person takes the call and dispatches the truck from wherever they are. When the day is over, the shop tech drives the shop truck home and parks it in the driveway of the residential neighborhood. In this business model, the business is saving money by not having a large brick and mortar footprint at the expense of parking commercial vehicles in a non-commercial zone.
So….the business has made a decision to cut costs by not having a storefront somewhere with ample parking for their service vehicles but why should we (the residents who live in the non-commercial neighborhood) have to support their parking plan?…we already pay a “travel fee” or “minimum service call fee” or whatever else they are calling it now.
Please don’t try to insult us as saying that “we don’t care about business or blue collar workers”…..I am one and I leave my truck at work and I see no need to bring it home.
NO TRUCKS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD PERIOD
Only Me says
Could have fooled me I see work trucks in many driveways so the City of PC Code Enforcement hasn’t done their job and these work trucks are the same ones all the time.
I agree with Mark, get rid of the City Council who are they to decide what the taxpayers in PC want or don’t want. What is the City of PC doing about all the crime in the local parks? What is the City of PC doing about the water still in the swells around neighborhoods that has never stopped?
I think the City Code Enforcement Department needs to step up to the plate and do the job around town they are suppose to be doing.
Well obviously this “survey” is skewed. Non business owners will vomit “NO TRUCKS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD PERIOD” and business owners will say yes, of course. Business owners are in the severe minority here.
What I find interesting is how it is even legal and would hold up in a court of law to not allow someone to have a decal’ed vehicle in their own driveway. Particularly in a city and county that allows local government vehicles to do it. Do as we say, not as we do? The quintessential “Don’t tread on me”. Palm Coast is incorporated and that means we’ve chosen to have all kinds of monies and incentives flow in and out with the county, state and federal goverments. I simply don’t see how this rule holds up if someone so chooses to vehemently challenge it.
In a county, in the third most populated state, that can’t even keep it’s own Chamber of Commerce in business, it is an understatement to say that Flagler and subsequently Palm Coast aren’t business-friendly at all. Thus, we all pay the premium across the board for everything. Careful of what you ask for. Aesthetics is a two-way street, so keep your checkbooks always at the ready if you choose to live in Palm Coast, Florida.
Ann Babcock says
A survey should ask a question, not tell you why you should vote one way or another. And it looks like anyone can vote, as many times as wanted. That’s NOT valid.
Leave the law as it is.
I’m not a fan of the code to not allow certain business vehicles in residential driveways. I wish the city would enforce the code for everyone equal. I say this meaning it should also apply to city workers who take their vehicles home with the city logo on the doors. Or how about the police department when their deputies take the squad cars home. Now before anyone starts with it’s safer to have a police car in a driveway because it (for example) slows down drivers. That’s bs, because there use to be a supervisors police vehicle in the driveway a few doors down from me and it never stopped the idiot speeders going down my street. In fact there were these two idiots that use to race side by side right past the deputies house. No one cares if there is a patrol car in a driveway. So if the city want to really enforce the code they should include ALL business vehicles and not just some.
Concerned Citizen says
Here’s a thought.
How much could we accomplish if we focused on important issues. Like our homeless or mental health care. But no. Let’s take care of really important things like parking vehicles.
I would put a massive eye roll in there but I can’t
First question. Does this include…..let’s say law enforcement?
Leave them alone. Let them work and live in peace. So long as its not interfering with your direct day to day then mind your own business. Not everyone is able to escape with continued employment, especially by refusing a requirement by their employer. If it’s a personal business, congratulations hope you will continue to be successful in owning your own piece of the “American Dream” someone else telling you what you can and cannot do at your own home.
Law enforcement vehicles are exempt in the current ordinance.
My initial feeling is “why not”. Why shouldn’t working people be able to park a working vehicle in their own driveway. I am retired now, but I appreciate the difficulties of a typical working family. But then, I recall a time when we lived
in a residential neighborhood peacefully until our neighbor started to park their work truck in the driveway. No problem. Then he started to stock supplies and equipment in the garage. Then co-workers started to hang out while preparing for their daily jobs while drinking coffee and shooting the breeze (not quietly) a few feet from my house. The decline of the nice residential neighborhood happens slowly, while you don’t even realize it’s happening. I vote NO!