Publish Date: 
Monday, July 17, 2017 - 9:30am

Well, a couple of things have come across the transom as of late and although we were taking a hiatus from publishing the TWT, we decided that periodic updates might not be a bad idea.

Here are a couple of items of note as we continue to wait for more movement on the corporate selling of FECR and Fortress Investment Group. Following those items is important information for our entire region that is related to AAF development while not specifically a part of the war. We thought everyone should be aware of what’s happening, as we speak, in their counties along the Treasure Coast.

See Congressman Mast's recent comments at a Transportation hearing in Washington.

From those hearings came this column by Rich Campbell on TC Palm.

CARE also weighed in today with this article on TC Palm.

Further news and opinion on the war can be found on the CARE and CATT websites.
Read this news item and the pieces start to fall into place

As Mr. Signorello knows, It’s all About Real Estate …and what everyone on the Treasure Coast needs to know is that AAF was not just an intercity speed train but also a conduit to re-establish passenger train service on the FECR line. Why? Because from the federal government on down, the power brokers, corporations and real estate developers want to take control of our communities and implement Transit Oriented Development.

The following is an article from Phyllis Frey from the Indian River County No Trains Coalition who has uncovered the master plan behind the scenes that will lead to our loss of Home Rule and our control over our land … it’s all relates to AAF.


"It may surprise you to know that railroads are delivering more than just passengers these days. Vince Signorello, the former CEO for Florida East Coast Industries, stated at a Regional Miami Real Estate Conference, "All Aboard Florida is a real estate play that allows us to bring our portfolios into urban areas and improve our assets under Transit Orient Development." (He would know …read the item above about Vince.)

"Since the early days of real estate development by railroad baron Henry Flagler, Florida has been a hotbed for the liveliest and statistically most corrupt real estate deals in the country. Fast forward to the spring of 2017 and you will find the cauldron still simmering.

"Fanning the flames are the Florida Regional Planning Councils. With powerful lobbyists and political connections in Tallahassee, they are one of the largest supporters of All Aboard Florida, but not for its passenger-carrying potential. The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council carried a relationship with All Aboard Florida early on to further its own agenda revealed in its document 'South Florida Transit Oriented Development Grant Program.'

"The regional planners want to dominate real estate development and transportation along the entire east coast rail corridor reaching from Miami to Orlando and on to Jacksonville. The TCRPC’s Master Plan includes a Regional Blueprint Overlay predetermining where high-density real estate development will occur.

"Control of all land and its uses is achieved when the agencies assist communities along the rail route in revising their Comprehensive Land Use POLICY Plans, bypassing city and county P&Z boards. Once approved by the State, these regulations determine by law how and where we live, build and travel within the transit corridor for the next 18 years.

"The new rules and land use regulations mandate high-density population development. New "mixed use" zoning codes permit high rise stack-and-pack upward sprawl for high-density population growth. Mixed Use is defined as the designation for medium to large scale development, combining residential, commercial, institutional, cultural and industrial development and includes building “mixed use” on existing structure sites. No single family homes here!

"One only has to follow the money to understand how regional planners lure cities into relinquishing Home Rule. Transit Oriented Development is all about the TCRPC acquiring grants—taxpayer monies from the State or Fed—in exchange for cities that will change their Land Use Plans and implement high-density development. Their document shows an offer of $860K in grants for cities willing to take the bait and managing those grants is the lifeblood of the planning councils.

"One offer built into the Vero Beach revised plan offers developers a grant of $205K (taxpayer money) if they are willing to build to the plan’s high-density specifications. When asked why the TCRPC was invited in to redevelop Vero Beach, the answer from our city manager was, "Because they can get the grants." Tim McGarry, head of Planning & Development, commented at a local P & Z meeting that he had developers "lined up at his door, chomping at the bit." Providing local mass transit and encouraging intercity mass transit along the FECR corridor is promoted within the plans.

"So let’s connect the dots – state/fed grants to planning councils, changing local land use and transportation plans, densification requiring mass transit, no taxpayer say in the process. And who benefits? Regional planners, politicians, bureaucrats, real estate developers, construction and transportation corporations.

"Our quality of life and our preferences in many parts of the region to live in low-density communities are up for sale. From Vero Beach to Port St. Lucie to Stewart and beyond, Local Home Rule of Law is headed for the chopping block. High rise, high density, compressed and compact development is on the way.

"If you live in another Treasure Coast community, we strongly encourage you to find out what your P&Z boards are doing about fulfilling their obligation to revise their land use plans. If AAF can’t get the subsidised funding to build Phase 2, they may end up getting support through the local P&Z boards and city councils who will call for mass transit in all forms for their high-density communities.

"To the credit of the Vero Beach City Council, the new Comp Plan proposal was rejected on June 6, 2017, until the draft can be further researched. (A Special Call Workshop is scheduled for 9:30 am, August 10th in the Council chambers. I urge all concerned readers to attend.)"

Phyllis Frey

If you have questions or comments for Phyllis, her email address is I’m sure she will be happy to hear from you.

That’s all for now. Here’s hoping for a quiet summer and more delays for AAF!

Susan Mehiel
LL: 828-696-4094
C: 828-606-5369