In mid-April the Palm Coast City Council agreed to survey residents about an issue that’s divided the population over the years: should the city relax its ban on commercial vehicles parked in residential driveways?
The city conducted its survey in May. It posed just the one question: “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?”
The results are in: there were 16,491 responses. How they split is a mosaic of caveats, because the survey was flawed.
Taking the raw numbers alone, it’s unequivocal: 70 percent of the responses were opposed to relaxing the rule. But when the survey is weighed for manipulation by those who took the survey, the results are almost dead even: 49.32 percent for relaxing the rule, 49.29 percent for not relaxing it, and 1.38 percent undecided.
What does that mean, weighed for manipulation, and why should there be two sets of results?
The answer is in the survey’s design. It was web-based. Many such surveys lock down a response from a particular browser after one participation. Palm Coast’s did not. It allowed the same respondents to take part as many times as they wished. A respondent could sit at a computer all day and click “No” again and again–as many respondents did. Some did the reverse, clicking yes, but not nearly as many.
The city’s IT staff could see all this by analyzing responses from their IP addresses. Every vote was tied to an IP address. It was obvious when the vote was jiggered.
For example, one Palm Coast-based IP address returned 2,062 No votes, eight undecided, and one Yes vote. That IP address alone accounted for 12.5 percent of the raw votes. It was obviously a manipulated vote. For starters, no single IP address in the city can account for over 2,000 people. Even taking account of large organizations, such as the school board or City Hall, where an organization has one IP address, no organization (or business) has anywhere near that many people in one office complex. Someone with too much time on their hands, or a group of people, systematically clicked No over 2,000 times.
The same pattern is repeated with almost 150 IP addresses accounting for thousands more votes, each address returning from tens to hundreds of lopsided votes one way or the other, with zero vote in the opposing column–a mathematical impossibility in a normal vote, especially about an issue that has divided the city more or less down the line for years.
The top 20 busiest IP addresses, which accounted for almost 6,000 votes between them, or 35 percent of the vote, broke down this way: 5,593, or 95.7 percent, opposed, 21 undecided, 228 (or 3.9 percent) for. Just two IP addresses accounted for all but three of the votes in favor, just as all the votes opposed had almost no “yes” votes to go along with them: again, indications of clear and unquestionable manipulation.
In all, votes were traced back to 5,000 IP addresses. Those 20 IP addresses accounted for 35 percent of the vote, but represented only 0.4 percent of all IP addresses participating: more indications of willful manipulation.
The survey could have been determined to be useless at that point. But the city’s IT department then applied its weighing method to essentially neutralize the manipulators. Every single one of the votes from the 5,000 IP addresses was weighed to an average.
For example, where an IP address produced 473 votes against and zero for, the weighted result was 1 for, 0 against.
Where an IP address produced 631 against, 8 undecided and 0 for, the weighted average was 0.9958 against, 0.0042 undecided, and 0 for. And so on.
Similarly, where an IP address returned a single vote, for or against, that vote counted as one vote, for or against. In other words, every IP address was reduced to its weighted result, and those results were then added up for the weighted total.
That total showed the 49-49 split, but for its decimal difference. Those final percentages “represent a total average of the averaged responses for all IP addresses,” the city’s analysis stated.
Weighting that way is not foolproof: for example, many a household would have had two or three people taking the survey. If they split their votes, that would have been reflected in the weighed results. But if they did not–if three actual people in the same house voted No, the total would still read as one No vote, not three. But in the same way, when manipulators attempted to run up the score in their favor, their votes, too, were averaged out.
The 49-49 split reflects the current split on the council: two council members want the rule relaxed (Ed Danko and Victor Barbosa), and two don’t (Nick Klufas and Eddie Branquinho), though they all agreed to the survey. When they agreed to it, they were not aware of the survey’s flaws.
City staff appears aware enough of the survey’s problems. The administration will present the numbers to the council on July 13. The matter may all be moot after the special July 27 election. Whoever is elected will provide a swing vote regarding numerous issues at the city, the commercial vehicle rule being one of them.
The current rule forbids commercial trucks with commercial lettering of a certain size from parking in residential driveways when they are not on a job assignment. If such commercial trucks do park for lunch or overnight, they are required to be covered with a tarp.
The proposed relaxation of the rule that council members have discussed would not be a free-for-all: larger trucks would still be banned regardless. But smaller work trucks such as work vans would be permitted, as long as the number of such vehicles is limited to one in a driveway.
Laurie Behenna says
Putting it on the next ballot would be the fairest thing to do to avoid further gerrymandering.
City of PC get your act together. Between the County officials and as usual the City of PC Officials you sure all act like none of you know what your doing, it is actually pathetic.
Put it on a ballot or send something out in the mail to the taxpayers then tally the votes, are you capable of handling that? If not then just leave well enough alone.
Beyond ITT says
Does anybody take into account that many of the residents of Palm Coast must bring their work van/truck home on a daily basis as it is given to them by their employer not to mention those who are self employed? Come on people, get over this already. These people live and work in our community and have families to support. ITT is no longer here!
Just because the company doesn’t want to pay for security for their work vehicles doesn’t mean we should let them be parked all over our communities. Don’t act like the company is doing the workers a favor by letting them take vehicles home. It is the other way around , only its the citizens who are paying the price to have these monstrosities all over our neighborhoods.
@Mark… precisely!!! In addition, anyone who opened a business or moved here without learning about this did not do their due diligence!
@mark… I am not saying I am for or against this but you do realize that with your logic, a person who covers the Palm Coast area, for a company in Jax, should get up in the morning, drive to Jax, drive back to Palm Coast and at the end of the day repeat this? Does that really make sense to you? That company is doing you a favor by having someone local who provide you service efficiently….
Are you kidding me? Of course they should drive to work each day, and then report to the job, if the company is going to offer service that far away from where they are stationed they should open offices in or closer to flagler county, not use tax payer neighborhoods for free instead. They are doing no one a favor. Only saving themselves money while stealing from flagler County taxpayers. Maybe you should name the company you refer to so we can be sure to cancel them from out community
Park the commercial vehicle in the garage, its that simple.
Not that simple. Most of the commercial vehicles everyone is complaining about won’t fit in the garage. They are to tall.
How can we find out how the people running for mayor feel about this and other issue’s
We’re asking them in our interviews, which started publishing yesterday and will be all published by next week. Five of the six candidates answered. Lowe refused.
Dennis C Rathsam says
POPPYCOCK!!!!!! Next thing we will will have is cabin crusers in driveways too! Why would you want to turn Palm Coast into the Daytona slums? They even have the cabs for 18 wheelers in their driveways…….
The dude says
If you’re a hard working person with a marked vehicle, and you can afford to live in the houses on either side me… I’d be proud to call you my neighbor and welcome you to park your car/truck/van in your own driveway.
I agree with Dude. These people that don’t want this are probably retired and have nothing to do but complain. This is so ridiculous. These people work had and have to have their vehicles. Very ridiculous rule . Wake up people .
Chris S says
This is called “job racism”. The condo laws do make exceptions for marked vehicles for Police and sheriff cars.
The neighbor is not good enough to park his work van on his property BUT he’s allowed to park it on your property to snake your toilet and clean up your crap.
It’s OK to make a living using a computer but not your hands.
If you have a two car garage put it in the garage. If it don’t fit, then I don’t want to look at it.
PC is run by poor decisions muskets, just like the county. Maybe PC can buy some of the unwanted property bought by the county so people can park their business vehicles there. Ring mandated to cover the vehicles is more of an eyesore than just leaving it uncovered.
John Stove says
I work in St Augustine as a service tech and Palm Coast is one area we serve and I have a pickup truck with ladder rack assigned to me every day……I have no need or desire to leave my personal vehicle at work just so that I can bring my work truck home to park it in my driveway (even if my service call the next day is in Palm Coast). The shop I work for wants the trucks parked at the shop every night and we get paid from the moment we take the truck out to when we return it at the end of the day.
The problem will not be the truck itself parked in the driveway, it will be “mission creep”…..this is a term for when the original intention (just parking the truck in the driveway) slowly expands to doing actual work in the driveway/garage (think prepping plumbing, AC systems, water heaters, fencing, paint etc). The home now becomes a sort of staging area for the employee to save some time by doing prep work in the driveway (material deliveries to the home so that employee can load onto truck), brazing plumbing fittings, nailing lumber assemblies.
We now have not only commercial vehicles in residential areas, but mini-warehouses all over with the subsequent noise, additional traffic etc
NO TO COMMERCIAL VEHICLES IN DRIVEWAYS
Alda Gentile says
People that need to use these work trucks to support their families should be able to park their own truck in their own property!! This is ridiculous and unconstitutional, especially if you own your house! That is your property!!!!!!
John Stove says
Please show me exactly where the founding fathers wrote about bringing work truck homes to park in the driveway.
So by your logic, the guy that picks up and hauls porta potty’s in the back of his F-250 pickup can park in a residential neighborhood?
Commercial speech is protected under the First Amendment, but not as broadly as, say, political speech, which is why the city can more strictly regulate commercial signs than it can political signs. But the city’s ban on commercial-signed vehicles has not been tested in court.
Been there, Done that says
Working from home means just that. You are working, at your home, probably on a computer. It doesn’t mean that you have a comercial vehicle assigned to you. No, I don’t want a garish pizza delivery car parked next to my house. Having lived in a community where this was allowed I can tell you that once you allow some comercial vehicles, you’ve opened the door for a free for all. My old community got sued and ended up having to allow all kinds, or sizes, after spending thousands of dollars defending various lawsuits. Our property values fell and the neighboorhod ended up looking like a slum. Those of you who think this is a good thing…drive around a neighborhood that allows it at night or on a weekend. See what the reality is like.
Chris S says
So….in your world only pretty SUV suburbanites going to daycare, tennis and shopping at NM (that’s Neiman Marcus to the uncouth) are allowed?
Edith Campins says
Have you actually driven by an area where this is allowed? Compare property values in those areas and to property values where it is not allowed. Enough said. Been to the Mondex?
If the person is self employed and owns their own business , they should be able to park in their own driveway. If the person works for someone and has the company vehicle, park it at the company property.
We should be more concerned with the uptick in speeding on side roads and peoples “rolling stop” habits into cross walks, rather then this nonsense.
I see no problem with business logos. Many folks own their own businesses and have bumper stickers on their cars. We need to get our noses out of other’s space. It’s their house, leave them be and focus on your own area. These company vehicles are nothing compared to some of the offensive, vulgar bumper stickers slapped all over cars around here.
Parking Wars says
If you bring this to a ballot, it will surely fail. Most people don’t have nor have access to company vehicles. That’s after the 30% or so of retirees in Palm Coast. So this is a decision that has to be made by legislators that need to put their big boy/girl panties on, which it appears they have.
The whole “looking like a slum” is pure nonsense. Again, it’s very few people that have or have access to company vehicles. Then those companies that don’t want their company vehicles at employees houses for various reasons, one of which is insurance requirements. There are even sole proprietorships that don’t want their neighbors knowing what they do in lieu of getting bugged to come fix something for free. When they’re home they want to be home – not working for you!
But you people make it sound like every single house on the street will have a company vehicle in their driveway. Note that we’re talking vehicles with decals! Companies that benefit from the rolling consumer advertising! It’s nowhere near any of that. It will not make your world disproportionately less-than. Get over yourselves! We live in a public incorporated city with residents and businesses alike and neither can NOT coexist. People need businesses and businesses need the people. Figure it out folks. It is very very very unusual in the least to have this kind of ordinance in a public incorporated city of nearly 100k people.
This comes from a small business owner that parks their van in their Palm Coast garage and will continue to do so with or without the ordinance for the aforementioned reasons stated. What dismays me is the pure unadulterated hatred and vitriol over what is inherently a whole lot of nothing.
The dude says
“ What dismays me is the pure unadulterated hatred and vitriol over what is inherently a whole lot of nothing.”
Seems to be a lot of that around this area.
I believe the work truck restriction was part of the original covenants and restrictions established by IT&T.
How about parking the vehicle in the garage or using removable magnetic signs?
Les Patterson says
“It is very very very unusual in the least to have this kind of ordinance in a public incorporated city of nearly 100k people.”
” Work vehicles are often a cause of concern. Many people who work with their trucks need to park them at home, while their neighbors do not want large, dirty or damaged vehicles ruining the residential feel of their community. These restrictions do not apply to commercial vehicles used by tradespeople while they are performing their job, only to parking overnight.”
How would you like it if your neighbor had a septic tank cleaning business, he parked his vehicle in his driveway every evening, and only emptied the truck in the morning.
Restrictions for parking commercial vehicles has been has been around for decades and should remain intact.
The dude says
This is a fallacy or false equivalence.
Pretty sure nobody’s advocating for letting residents park 2 ton, or multi axle vehicles in a residential driveway.
Most of the driveways I’ve seen in this city wouldn’t fit trucks of that size on them anyways.
I realize our sheriff vehicles from multiple countries parked everywhere in PC, yes not commercial vehicle by code. Provide a service to our community, same as our hard working plumbing, HVAC, electrician, and so on.
Get with the program. Just like the code of no parking in the swell from 12am – 6am . But the city doesn’t cut the empty lots during that time? Doesn’t make sense.
Dennis Dumas says
The walking dead of Palm Coast (retired community who believe Palm Coast is Valhalla)
ITT and their planned community idea has failed and they have taken up stakes and moved elsewhere. But the issue regarding signage on vehicles remains for residents to wrestle with.
At present it’s ok for the plumber to show up with his lettered vehicle to unplug your overflowing toilet and clean up the mess, but god forbid he part his lettered van overnight in his driveway. Let’s get with it people, the city of Palm Coast should abandon these covenants and restrictions, the demographics do not support them. If you find your neighbors lettered van in his driveway is so objectionable, I suggest you move to a gated community like Grand Haven or Hammock Dunnes, and stop making life miserable for the self employed business people who also pay taxes and support this community they serve!
Mondex has no rules on commercial vehicles. Move out there if you want to live like that.
Concerned Citizen says
Love your attitude.
So PC is only for the affluent upper class folks then? You’re ok with waiting on your plumber or AC guy an extra hour or so because he has to drove 30 minutes or more to get his van? Then drive to you? Then drive back and put it up. After fixing your issue?
What!? Are you OK? You do realize the plumber should get his van at 6a.m. and come to work in the city by 7 a.m. and he can bring his truck back to the yard in mondex at end of day.. if I need a 24 hour plumber I’ll call one that has enough money to store the work trucks at a facility in city limits. No one said affluent only in PC. Just no work vehicles parked in driveways. There are places to live for people who want to store their vehicles for work at a place of residence.
Typical joke – I voted 25 times- lets have a recount – it was rigged !!!!
Edith Campins says
Communities like Grand Haven, Hammock Dunes, etc. have rules against the parking of comercial vehicles in driveways for good reason. Drive around those neighborhoods and see how nice they look. Those advocating for allowing the parking of commercial vehicled in our area will be the first to complain when they see the reality. Boat, trailers, big brown Amazon delivery vans, lawn mowing trucks and trailers…once you allow some, you open the door for all types. What will happen next is that those excluded will sue and it will cost the taxpayers thousands to answer the lawsuits.
Although the majority of houses in PC have garages, most people use them for storage and park ther cars in the driveways. What do you think will happen when those houses add a commercial vehicle or two to their driveways? Where are they going to park all their vehicles? Lastly, service and delivery people still have to go to their place of business to get their supplies/materials so the idea that it is cost effective to park in their driveways is a myth.
Apples to oranges. I have my own business and go to the “gated communities” you are comparing the entire city of PC to. Over all the yrs I have been going to those “Gated communities” their are mostly retired people living in them. So of course their won’t be any commercial vehicles in any driveways. Oh and for the record. I park my company vehicle in my driveway every single day after work and no one ever complained.
BOGDAN J PANEK says
These vehicles don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. It has been a rule here for a long time, no need to change it.