Following the verification of thousands of signatures on a petition, residents of Riviera Beach in Florida will now get the chance to vote on the proposed megayacht-refit facility that Rybovich wishes to build.
As we've reported before, for the past several months, Rybovich has been in negotiations with city officials to establish a boatyard at an unused marina. When Rybovich and Riviera Beach announced the plans in May, a primary issue was whether the city could legally enter into the proposed 25-year lease. That’s because the state of Florida set aside submerged lands at the marina strictly for municipal park and recreational usage, and current laws do not include exceptions for leases. Many residents were upset over what they saw as city officials ignoring the rules, granting commercial usage of submerged lands. A group known as the Riviera Beach Citizens Task Force decided to circulate a petition among city voters, in an effort to collect enough signatures to force a public vote over the issue.
According to an article earlier this week in the Palm Beach Post, the Palm Beach County elections office verified the minimum 2,052 signatures needed. More than that number was actually collected, but the office stopped counting when the minimum was reached.
Emma Bates, chairwoman of the Citizens Task Force, claimed victory. She was quoted as saying, "There's going to be an all-out campaign to get people to vote."
The vote will take place on November 2. The ballot item will request voter input on whether the laws should be changed to prevent the marina from being used for a "commercial boat repair operation." They'll also be asked to vote yes or no on restricting the use of submerged lands, so that Riviera Beach would own and operate the marina and the existing properties.