Letter: Listen To The Residents

I attended the Oct. 15 Royal Palm Beach Village Council meeting, along with more than 100 of my neighbors, to voice my opposition to the RaceTrac gas station proposal. As a resident who would want to state my opposition to the project, the preliminary comment made to the council prior to the agenda item was very surprising to me. The village attorney clearly implied that the only evidence that the council needed to weigh in their decision would be that given by experts offering testimony relevant to the issue. If this is true, there would be virtually no amount of public comment that the council would value in their decision. This seems to me to be contrary to the responsibility of an elected government official and an affront to the public participation process.

The mayor also noted that with so many public comment cards submitted, he suggested that we pick a few representatives because he did not wish to be there all night listening to everyone. The vice mayor added later that if anyone wanted to make “expert” witness, they would need to turn in any written evidence prior to the meeting in order for the council to be able to review it. It appears to me that every effort is being made to be sure that the public is not considered in this decision.

I will return for the special scheduled meeting on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m., now at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. I am asking that my elected officials listen and consider the statements regarding my community seriously, just as they gave more than 45 minutes to a long-winded, redundant presentation by RaceTrac. I hope to see all my friends back again.

Marcia Berwick, Royal Palm Beach