This Is our Village

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Reported by Jean Dowling
Dave Israel


  1. as long as they are not spending my money, what the plaintiffs do is their own business.

    personally, i would like to see the project start, for three reasons. first, I am tired of looking at the empty lot. second, I am eager to see how closely the real life development resembles the proposal plan, or if, as many suspect, the property will be resold (flipped), and transformed into
    anything from a low income housing project to a utopian paradise. third, I would like to see CV homeowners getting involved in the process, one way or another.

    i don't think that filing endless lawsuits against the developer is the ideal way of "getting involved in the process". the bad blood being made between a small number of CV homeowners and the developer will, in my opinion, bite us all in the ass down the line. but, like them or not, southhampton C et al are, at this time, the only CV homeowners that are visibly involved in Reflection Bay.

  2. I'd rather look at an empty lot than at another village full of people (lots of screaming kids), cars, infernal noise and polution. And then there is the clause of: IN PERPETUITY, at least in our lifetime, that must take precedence over all other arguments.
    "Perpetuity" n. It means forever or something that is indefinite.

  3. Yeah, I have been thinking about "perpetuity". When I was a kid I read about "perpetual motion machines". Even if one could be built, perpetual operation would depend on all external forces remaining exactly the same, forever. If the building housing the machine collapsed, or if someone bought the house and threw a monkey wrench into the machine, that was it for perpetuity. Perpetual motion machines could never be created because external forces can never remain static.

    The same goes for the golf course. If the State of Florida decided that it was in the public interest to widen Haverhill into a superhighway and make the golf course into a rest stop, the property would be forcibly purchased from the owner. So there is one exception to perpetuity. If there is one, then there are others. External forces supporting the "perpetual golf course" have changed, just like the forces surrounding the hypothetical perpetual motion machine.

    When Comissioner Santamaria read the definition of perpetuity out of a dictionary, many people correctly pointed out that the legal definition and the general definition are not the same. But legal language does not exist in a vacuum- it is based in human experience and human experience with perpetuity is that it cannot be created by humans. Things change.

  4. I am not a scientist, but I question the premise in your first paragraph, Don4060. The attempts at a perpetual motion machine didn't fail because external forces changed; they failed without external forces changing at all. Gravity, for instance, just kept doing its same old thing and eventually caused the machine to stop, You may well be right, however, about the legal versus dictionary meaning of perpetual.

  5. Well, cosmological arguments aside, hingeing a legal argument on the definition of a single word seems disingenious to me. Everyone involved in this matter, including the plaintiffs, know that nothing is set in stone in a courtroom, or a commissioners' hearing room. Take, for example, your condo. You own it free and clear. You have a deed filed at the Courthouse. But your ownership is really conditional. If you don't pay your maintenence or taxes, or if your turn your apartment into a meth lab, your apartment can be taken away from you. Legally, in a courtroom.

    Same goes for the golf course. Judges and Commissioners will uphold a perpetuity clause in a private contract if it remains in the public interest to do so. But if adding to the local tax base is in the public interest, or if having a nasty looking wasteland is against the public interest, than government will usually swing toward what they think is best for the larger community, private contract or not. When you take a private contract dispute into a public court, don't be surprised if the Judge favors neither party, but considers the people who elected him first.

    At best, perpetuity is a delaying tactic, as prelude to negotiations for "renumeration". The trick here, I think, is to not overplay the hand.

  6. Agreed, Don4060. There are ifs, ands, and buts at every turn in life. The laws are there to prevent changes on someone's whim, to set up markers. But what's a whim and what's a real need? What's essentially a preference and what's causing egregious harm? Or if there is harm both ways, is the harm greater this way than that way? It all comes down to judgment calls. Enter the expensive judicial system if we cannot resolve the problems ourselves with common sense, give and take, and a real sense of fair play.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.