As a resident of Ocean Ridge for the past five years, I have attended five Town Commission meetings, four regarding my building a home and the fifth to defend what I have built.
And while my purpose for attending the Jan. 6 meeting was to provide my perspective on the environmental benefits of artificial turf near the ocean, what I experienced was more abhorrent than the uninformed review of my building project. Perhaps the parallel of the town overreach of “permitting” my project (Planning and Zoning’s architectural condemnation of my home) should be fully expected — because the leader advocating limits on artificial turf was none other than the P&Z.
In the vote to determine whether Ocean Ridge would allow artificial turf to be installed on future projects, the P&Z made two presentations, neither of which had scientific basis for their recommendation to ban it — not even an admission that artificial turf eliminates a number of environmental concerns, such as fertilizers, pesticides, lawn mower emissions, grass clippings or water usage.
No, their concern was purely aesthetic: They didn’t like the way it looked.
And while a debate can be had about the look of artificial turf, the true issue at hand is your commissioners’ belief that they should control what residents do with their private property. In voting that artificial turf could be used on no more than 25% of your total property, town commissioners have taken the right to control 75% of your private property. You can determine what you do to 25% of your property, but get to pay Ocean Ridge 100% when property taxes are due.
So what else does this council get to determine? Future agenda items are sure to include elimination of palm trees, color of grass allowed, strain of grass allowed, house color choices, approved architectural design and of course, banning of Big Gulps.
Every resident of Ocean Ridge should be concerned about the direction of our elected officials, regardless of where you stand on this issue. Your concern should be the loss of your personal freedom and property rights in Ocean Ridge.
Feb. 3 is residents’ last chance to speak up before the council ramrods this ordinance through. Please attend to voice your concerns.
— John Zessin,