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What’s the rush? After special meeting, Sebastian City Council will pass on buying 3 lots

NewsWhat's the rush? After special meeting, Sebastian City Council will pass on buying 3 lots

Sebastian City Hall

SEBASTIAN — Is the the intersection of Sebastian Boulevard and Roseland Road dangerous? Maybe. Is the city going to do anything about it? Unlikely, given the discussion the City Council had last week.

Vice Mayor Christopher Nunn had called the council together for a special meeting to stress the urgency of taking some kind of action. His fellow council members, however, had others thoughts, some even questioning whether the issue was critical enough to justify calling all five council members together on short notice.

Most thought the subject had to be of grave importance since the next scheduled meeting is Feb. 1.

For his part, Nunn said, he believes there’s a potential safety issue at the intersection and he wanted to inform the rest of the council.

Potential traffic hazards

Homebuilder D.R. Horton is beginning to clear three residential lots at the intersection, and Nunn believes it would be dangerous to have the new residents entering and exiting their driveways to and from the Roseland Road turning lane.

To minimize that potential access, Nunn said, he wants the city to purchase those three lots before construction begins.

Still, Councilman Bob McPartlan questioned the urgency of calling the council together for that Jan. 25 meeting, and asked Nunn why the discussion couldn’t wait for the next scheduled meeting.

“I don’t understand why we had this special meeting tonight,” said McPartlan. “What was the urgency? Why couldn’t it wait until (the Feb. 1) meeting and, therefore, it would be in a packet where I could have this information that was just given to me now?  I could have additional inquiries about some of the concerns. Why did it have to be tonight? We can’t really accomplish anything because we don’t know anything. D.R. Horton isn’t here, so why are here tonight?”

In another week, Nunn argued, there would be fill on the lots and permits could be issued, and he was trying to get ahead of the situation before construction starts.

“In my opinion, we can’t stop them from building these houses,” said Nunn. “I 100% agree, under personal-property rights we can’t stop them from building them. The only thing we could possible do is purchase them.”

Thanks, but no thanks

The rest of the council, though, wanted no part of that. Moreover, no one had any idea whether D.R. Horton even would entertain the idea.

They asked City Manager Paul Carlisle if he’d discussed the idea with the developer but he said he had no instructions from the council to do so. At the end of the meeting, Carlisle was instructed by the council to contact D.R. Horton to see if there was any way to make the driveways safer.

As an elected official, Nunn said, he has an obligation to look out for residents and their safety.

“I couldn’t look at that intersection with a clear conscience. There are other options, but we can’t make those options,” Nunn said before directing some pointed remarks at his colleagues. “I can’t tell the city manager to go do something. I have to sit on this dais with you four people and ask this question. Obviously, nobody else is concerned about that intersection and the future dangers of it, and that’s fine.”

Those comments crossed a line for the other council members, and Nunn quickly apologized.

Mayor Fred Jones, a former state trooper, said he believes in traffic safety and is concerned about many of Sebastian’s roadways, “but there are certain things we can and cannot do.”

Newly-elected Councilwoman Kelly Dixon was less diplomatic, telling Nunn she didn’t appreciate being told she doesn’t care about safety. But she did accept Nunn’s apology.

“Unfortunately in the end, we’re not all superheroes and we can’t save ever accident from happening,” said Dixon. “It’s unfortunate, and I encourage everyone to be more careful citizens when they are behind the wheel.”

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