Regular City Council - May 23, 2023 at 5:30 PM

City Council

Regular Meeting

May 23, 2023


The City Council of the City of Titusville, Florida met in regular session in the Council Chamber of City Hall, 555 South Washington Avenue, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. 


Mayor Diesel called the City Council meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Present were Mayor Daniel E. Diesel, Vice Mayor Joe C. Robinson, and City Council Members Herman A. Cole, Jr., Col USAF Retired, Jo Lynn Nelson, and Dr. Sarah Stoeckel. Also present were City Manager Scott Larese, City Attorney Richard Broome, and City Clerk Wanda Wells. Assistant City Clerk Jolynn Donhoff completed the minutes of the meeting. 


Mayor Diesel requested a moment of silence. He then led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. City Clerk Wells read the procedures for public comment and participation. 






Employee of the Month for March 2023 - No action was requested. Police Department Chief John Lau recognized Police Officer Zakary Simmons as the Employee of the Month for May 2023. Chief Lau highlighted Officer Simmons’ nomination and presented him with a plaque and a gift. 




City Clerk's Office Spotlight – No action was requested. City Clerk Wanda Wells gave a video presentation on the services provided by the City Clerk's Office. 




Brevard Zoo Pilot Seagrass Restoration Project - No action was requested. Olivia Escandell of the Brevard Zoo and Conservation Manager of the Restore Our Shores Program gave a presentation on the Brevard Zoo Pilot Seagrass Restoration Project. Subsequent discussion ensued on the viability of sea grass in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), learning, permitting, whether there were mechanisms to speed up the growth of sea grass, water quality improvement projects were the solutions, planting sea grass alone would not cure the issues that caused the loss of sea grass in the IRL, lagoon water that was too dark did not allow for the growth of sea grass, oyster and clam projects were limited in prior success, there were few oysters in Titusville, projects to increase oysters, oysters filtered water, clam projects, clams did not like low salinity, monitoring water quality each time Zoo staff visited sites throughout the County, salinity reading frequency schedules, nutrient concentration testing in the IRL’s sediment, the Zoo did not monitor phosphorus and nitrogen in the IRL as did the St. Johns River Water Management District, funding sources for various projects and the duration of projects, etc. 



Update on the Economic Development Strategic Plan - No action was requested. Economic and Redevelopment Coordinator Nicholas Gow gave a presentation on the status of the City's Economic Strategic Plan. The presentation was informational only; however, an action item was scheduled on the Regular City Council meeting agenda of May 23, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.


Council discussion ensued on knowing where industrial and commercial uses were located, marketing to these uses, balancing these uses with residential properties, qualities that were unique to Titusville and the community would not want to be lost, a desire to see the community grow, etc.  



Transitional Housing - No action was requested. Community Development Director Brad Parrish highlighted information on his research from the City's zoning regulations related to transitional housing, including homeless, domestic violence and emergency and protective shelters. Some of this information was provided in the Council agenda packet.


The City had received a request for a permit to accommodate up to six bedrooms in a dormitory setting with communal kitchen and living areas in the Urban Mixed Use (UMU) zoning district. The applicant described the purpose of the permit consistent to a transitional housing use and not

congregate living. Transitional housing was not permanent and was generally intended for purposes of providing temporary housing for persons in need of shelter due to homelessness or a crisis.


To this, there was a growing need for alternative housing options, including temporary residential units such as transitional housing for the homeless. The City's Land Development Regulations listed domestic violence shelter and recovery/halfway house as permitted transitional housing options in the Downtown Mixed Use (DMU) zoning district.


The staff requested approval to research the implications of expanding transitional housing options into other zoning districts and to report back to Council with alternatives for further action. On April 11, 2023, the City Council approved advisability for staff to research the zoning regulations related to transitional housing, including homeless, domestic violence and emergency and protective shelters and approved for staff to propose amendments to the City’s zoning regulations. This approval of advisability and research included staff combining their efforts on the research for Transitional Housing with the Affordable Housing Property Disposition Program and Community Land Trust. Information related to the property disposition program would be provided at a future meeting.


Information discussed during staff’s overview included the following concepts:


  • A matrix (table) within the agenda packet organized with information on zoning uses, number of residents, licensure requirement, services provided, and zoning where uses were permitted
  • Neighborhood Group homes
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Recovery/hallway houses
  • Fire Code Requirements
  • Staff discussions with the City’s Fire Marshall
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Multifamily complexes being similar


Council discussion ensued on the stringency of fire suppression system Codes, domestic violence shelter security requirements, staff exploring more information on domestic violence housing, possibly allowing for types of transitional housing, the business of transitional housing, State and other agency requirements, the status of the applicant’s permit application and staff review, getting more information and ensuring any allowances were consistent with the City’s regulations, receiving recommendations from staff, whether to expand related definitions and evaluating performance standards, not having enough guidance from other sources or related regulations, terminology that might be used, whether the use(s) could be expanded, how the Salvation Army shelter or its services were classified, challenges associated with how neighbors may feel about transitional housing facility, distance considerations, etc.




Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations - No action was requested. Eliza Juliano, professional planning and urban design consultant of Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc. gave a presentation (the third in recent months) on draft amendments to the City's Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. The presentation highlighted the following concepts: 


  • Creating a place-based Comprehensive Plan
  • Downtown Titusville: goals, objectives, proposed policies, strategies, streetscapes
  • Urban Mixed Use (UMU) in West Titusville: goals, objectives, proposed policies, strategies, streetscapes
  • Gateway Corridor Overlay(s): goals, objectives, proposed policies, strategies, streetscapes
  • Next steps
  • Planning concepts
  • Garden Street frontage


Council discussion ensued on the vision process, the ultimate plans or actions that might be implemented, cohesion and disparities on what was allowed and was not allowed, having opportunities for improvements, planning, and studies. The discussion also included the process to adopt amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, subsequent evaluation and changes to the City’s Codes to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, the timeline and phases in which new and updated policies could be adopted, concerns and questions on old or historic housing on Main and Tropic Streets, procedures for the Historic Preservation Code being in effect, areas and street frontages were distinguished, development costs, who would be responsible for maintenance of various infrastructure or landscaped areas by the streets proposed for improvements could vary, the City’s appearance could change, changes the community may or may not accept, many ideas had to pass through many hands to make these decisions, controlling and being prepared for changes, etc.






Several citizens spoke on the presentation for the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. 


Toni Shifalo read from a prepared statement that discussed her desire to preserve historic structures and neighborhoods in west Titusville as they were, avoiding gentrification, there were many various plans guiding the City’s goals and responsibilities, having more public participation during formulating plans, publicizing any and all meetings on such plans affecting the community, etc. 


Jim Ball of the Titusville Playhouse commended the efforts and proposals discussed during the presentation. He felt meetings were well publicized and well attended by stakeholders, the Playhouse, its officers or representatives, were comfortable with proposed plans, etc.  


Nick Herring of the Framework Group, multifamily housing developers, supported the proposed plans, policies, etc. He discussed the type of work performed by his company, his company’s vision in Titusville, and his firm’s consideration of community assets. He felt there was a current mismatch in the City’s zoning regulations related to height or density, which he explained.  


Stan Johnston lived in west Titusville. He commented on his concerns with a prior sewer spill or back-up, concerns for warning the public, dishonesty, and fraud. 




Tom Perez read from a prepared statement that discussed the status of CITY OF TITUSVILLE v. SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC. and the pending City Charter amendment related to this legal case. He requested the City Council certify the results of the 2022 election specific to the Charter Amendment, discontinue spending public funds on this matter, etc. 


Michael Myjak commented on the SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC. Charter Amendment. He felt the amendment language was Constitutional. He commented on the processes that private individuals or groups must follow to get a charter amendment on the election ballot, his belief that cities were required or should review a charter amendment’s ballot summary and if cities did not do this, they could not bring suit against the amendment’s petitioner. Further, he commented on the importance of clean water, rediverting stormwater away from the lagoon to improve the water quality of the Indian River Lagoon, fresh water from stormwater runoff was poisonous to the lagoon, etc. 


Marlys Breckle commented on being ethical and doing the right thing, even if actions were legal, they did not mean they were necessarily right. She reviewed her feelings or the opinion of the recent court ruling CITY OF TITUSVILLE v. SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC.  


Bill Klein read from a prepared statement that discussed his dissatisfaction with the municipal government’s actions regarding CITY OF TITUSVILLE v. SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC.  


Kristin Lortie commented on how other City plans and projects discussed or provided for water quality improvements, which was a goal of SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC.  In short, she requested the City Council certify the results of the 2022 Election, respect the voters that voted for the Charter Amendment, stop spending money on unnecessary legal fees, and work with the citizens on the right to clean water for or within Brevard County and specifically, Titusville. Additionally, Ms. Lortie requested improving communication with the public and public participation for economic and comprehensive planning, improving the use of the City website and social media to attract public input, etc. 


Stel Bailey advised she was a nationally recognized health advocate. She congratulated SPEAK UP TITUSVILLE, INC. on their recent victory in court and requested the City Council certify the results of the 2022 election concerning the Charter Amendment. She felt clean water was important to the economy and the public’s health.




Maria Hilton commented on the presentation on transitional housing. She read from a prepared statement and requested the City and the community to discontinue using the term “NIMBY ism” (Not in My Back Yard). 




With no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.