It all began with the Town of Gulf Stream's proposal to bury all power, phone & cable lines underground.  The explanations for why such a massive and expensive project is necessary vary, depending on who you talk to at Town Hall.  To many however, it all boils down to aesthetics.  Nevertheless, a referendum was held and the property owners voted to proceed.  The next step?  How to fund this project which is estimated to cost over five million dollars? Early on, the Town decided to do so by a special assesment. That's when the word "parcel" reared it ugly head.

To the uninitiated, a parcel is nothing more than the property the owner owns.  One parcel could be a condo unit, a private residence, or a mansion.  They're all the same---well, almost the same.  But a large part of the project cost will be the expense of  hooking up each residence to the street.  In that case, should'nt the mansion owner (one parcel) pay for his hookup and the owners of a 54 unit condo  building (54 parcels) pay for theirs?  It would seem logical.  But the Town of Gulf Stream is taking a different approach.  Using a complicated and as yet, not  adequately explained formula, total program costs will be shared almost equally among all parcel owners.  As one condo president I talked to put it, "24 condo properties will be footing 1/2 of the cost of the project with the other half being paid by 450+ single family homes."

The first open meeting on the assessment issue was held last week and it generated more heat than light.  The Town of Gulf Stream is holding fast to its position and the condo owners are running out of time.  The next and final time the issue will be discussed is on Friday May 13th at nine am.  It will be the moment of truth for the condo owners, as it it will be their last opportunity to explain how unfair the Town's formula is to small condominium owners as opposed to large single family homes.  That's why they are urging everyone to attend and make themselves heard.  They are even suggesting that everyone wear something red to identify their cause.

Who will win this David and Goliath struggle?  It's hard to say, but I am certainly going to attend the May 13th meeting to find out.  And if you are wondering where I stand on this issue, my wife and I will be wearing red!

Ron Standerfer is a novelist, freelance writer, book reviewer, and journalist whose
articles have appeared in numerous news publications including online editions
of the Chicago Tribune, USA Today,and the Honolulu Star Advertiser. He and his
wife Maya reside in Gulf Stream, FL year round.

For more information on this or other posts he has written please contact him at or visit

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Email me when people reply –