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Vero Council sets rare night session for riverfront vote

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of January 27, 2022)

The Vero Beach City Council has now scheduled a rare 6 p.m. session next Tuesday, Feb. 1, for the climatic public hearing at City Hall on the proposed Master Plan for the Three Corners riverfront.

At the Jan. 18 council meeting, Councilman John Cotugno had suggested Vero hold regular evening meetings to better accommodate people who work daytime jobs and cannot attend the 9 a.m. meetings currently held on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Cotugno said evening meetings would encourage participation from a more diverse group of citizens, and from students.

Mayor Robbie Brackett responded that when an issue is big enough, and when people are worked up about a potential city action, residents pack the chambers no matter what time meetings are held.

The other council members also rejected shifting to night meetings, but agreed that for especially important votes like the one on the future of Vero’s riverfront, an evening meeting is warranted.

Once the riverfront plan is approved by the council, city planning staff will develop and publish a Request for Information so developers can respond with expressions of interest and their credentials. Staff and consultants will pre-qualify developers who would then be able to submit proposals.

But before formal proposals are sought, Vero voters will get the chance to decide whether the city’s riverfront property should be leased for 99 years to a developer for a hotel, dining, shopping and entertainment complex. The former Big Blue power plant may or may not be preserved and incorporated into the new hotel structure.

The meeting will be televised on public access Channel 13 and live streamed on the city’s website at The proposed plan can also be viewed on the city’s website. Comments can be sent to council members via the city clerk by email at