Article Courtesy of The
Daytona Beach News-Journal
By Frank Fernandez
Published October 3, 2021
The Palm Coast City Council Tuesday voted 3-2 to continue restrictions
prohibiting commercial vehicles from parking in residential areas in another
meeting marred by clashes, yelling and gavel banging.
At one point, Vice Mayor Eddie Branquinho pounded the gavel several times as
Councilman Victor Barbosa accused Branquinho of attacking him.
The council deadlocked on the commercial vehicle issue prior to Mayor David
Alfin taking office in August. On Tuesday, Alfin voted with Branquinho and
Councilman Nick Klufas against changing the current ordinance, which prohibits
residents from parking their commercial vehicles overnight in their driveways.
The ordinance also prohibits any vehicle with signs larger than 3 square feet,
according to the city attorney. That means some residents have taken to using
magnetic signs that they remove nightly or covering their vehicles with tarps.
Council members Ed Danko and Barbosa voted to ease restrictions so that vehicles
with larger signs could be parked legally, according to a live webcast of the
Danko said there was some confusion among residents based on the many emails
he's received. Danko said there was no intention to allow large vehicles — like
box trucks or semi-trucks — to park overnight, as some residents feared.
“So these are the exact same trucks, cars and vans that you see in your
neighbor's driveway right now, so I just want to make sure everyone understands
that we're not talking about allowing any other types of vehicles to park in
those driveways,” Danko said.
Barbosa, who owns a truck with a large sign for his business, said his vote
wasn't personal. He said other small business owners asked him to make the
change, adding that easing restrictions would free people from having to place
tarps over their vehicles.
“We're not changing the type of vehicle that is going to be allowed to park,”
Barbosa said. “We're changing: instead of you tarping your vehicle when you get
home. You don't have to tarp it anymore.”
Council member Klufas said he had received a number of emails regarding the
ordinance, and the greater number was against a change. Klufas said he did not
believe changing the ordinance was popular, but he suggested placing it on a
“But I think this, on a referendum on the actual ballot, will give not only us,
but future councils the data and pulse of Palm Coast on how they feel about
this,” Klufas said.
Branquinho said the issue was more involved.
“I could go on and on and on about what it does and what it doesn’t, but I tell
you it’s a lot more than nasty tarps,” Branquinho.
About half a dozen or so residents spoke about the issue, with most against the
change. One person worried easing restrictions could lead to pornographic or
abhorrent language on vehicles.
Another said he was in favor of easing restrictions because he’d like to know if
his neighbor was in a business that could provide him a service.
Dorothy Sperber, executive officer for the Flagler County Association of
Realtors, said her organization recommended against changing the ordinance,
which is similar to regulations found in homeowners associations, or HOAs. She
said easing restrictions would hurt curb appeal and home values.
"Code restrictions like HOAs ensure there is a level of uniformity and
uniformity is what sells and helps with values,” Sperber said.
She added that one study found that properties within a homeowners association,
code-restricted community sell for about 5% to 6% more than a house in a
Palm Coast Realtor Garrett Decker spoke in favor of easing restrictions, saying
he would like to keep a sign on his car. He said some home-based businesses
would like to move to the city but didn’t because of the restrictions.
Mayor Alfin, who is also a Realtor, said he favored keeping the code as-is, but
would not be against placing the issue on the ballot. However, action wasn't
taken related to a referendum.
“The parking code has served the city well during the last 20 years, reinforcing
the curb appeal of our neighborhoods and contributing to the value of our
homes,” Alfin said.
Danko said the city is no longer just a retirement community.
“We're not an HOA,” Danko said. “If you don't want to see a work vehicle, move
into an HOA. We got tons of HOAs that you can choose from.”
Danko said business owners are a minority in the community, and he did not
believe that their rights should be placed on a referendum for the majority to
'You're out of order!'
Later, Branquinho, who had the gavel because Alfin wanted to make the motion on
commercial vehicles, went to question Danko about his comments related to
businesses being a minority.
That prompted Barbosa to intercede, saying that Branquinho was attacking them.
Branquinho banged the gavel hard several times.
“Will you stop? I’m talking!” Branquinho said.
“Well talk to the people. Don’t talk to us,” Barbosa said.
“I could-” Branquinho said.
“I’m tired of this. You’re being a little kid,” Barbosa said.
Branquinho banged the gavel some more.
“You’re out of order. You're out of order. You're out of order!” Branquinho said
and banged the gavel twice.
“Stop attacking!” Barbosa said.
“You’re out of order,” Branquinho said.
“You're out of order!” Barbosa said. “And I’m tired of it!”
“You’re out of order, you're out of order, sir, your out of order!" Branquinho
said banging the gavel some more.
“Nobody wants to hear you anymore,” Barbosa said.
“Good,” Branquinho said.
Later, Danko and Klufas got into it when Klufas brought up Danko taking pictures
during the meeting.
“Facebook politics doesn’t work either. I see one of our council members sitting
here taking pictures of us so that they can be posted on Facebook momentarily,”
Klufas said. “That’s not how we should be representing ourselves and that’s not
what our constituents deserve.”
Danko said he was just taking a photo.
“You know, I took a picture. I wasn’t posting anything on Facebook. All right,"
Danko said. "I take pictures occasionally up here for my own memory, my own
collection. Gee, there's no law against that. I’ve done it in the past so you
can’t read my mind, Nick. All right. So stop putting words in my mouth, stop
accusing me of things I haven’t done.”
Then Danko accused Klufas of smirking and making “little stupid faces” as
“You somehow have the thought in your brain that you’re the smartest person
sitting up here,” Danko said. “You’re like half our age, kid. All right, maybe
when you grow up someday you’ll learn a few things.”