Commission Gives Unsafe Brett’s Structure a Pass

By Mike Phillips

Neatly tucked into the March 7 city commission agenda was a small bombshell about Brett’s Waterway Cafe: a resolution that the city would no longer bother Brett’s about the fact that city engineer (and deputy city manager) Charles George has officially declared that the structure upon which Brett’s rests is unsafe.

City commissioners do not have the authority (or, at least, guts) to override such a serious safety order. But they also clearly have no appetite for extended litigation. Brett’s challenged the safety declaration in court and lost a couple of rounds, but then it won one. And the city fathers stopped fighting.

Debate at the commission meeting danced all around the issue: liability insurance, unspecified other expert opinions, etc. But the proposition on the table was to cease all arguments with Brett’s. Commissioner David Sturges – who has a good friend who has a side gig bartending at Brett’s – even graciously recused himself. (Unlike some fist-pounding he did last year on Brett’s discussions.) So all sorts of things were in the air.

Except for the one question most citizens would ask: Is the Brett’s building safe, and if it’s not, what is the city commission going to do about it?

Good luck with that question. The city commission voted 3-1 to make the question disappear.

Don’t you wish you could do the same thing with your personal problems and questions?

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Tom smith
Tom smith(@high-n-dry)
1 year ago

Obviously Mike doesn’t agree with the decision. If you don’t like the outcome , what would a better one look like? Either you have legal and financial obligations or you don’t. I’m not crazy with half of the decisions I make in my own house but, you learn to work through them and move on.

1 year ago

If/when there is an issue with the structural integrity of Brett’s and/or the support structure it rests on and someone gets hurt, those who voted to ignore the details of the engineering reports should be held personally responsible for the massive personal injury lawsuits that will surely follow. Without any structural or civil engineering degree listed on their personal resumes, city commissioners willingly decided ignore the information and guidance presented by the city engineer/deputy city manager. Whatever happened to “safety first”?

Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet (@guest_67548)
1 year ago

Just remember Folks, all those City Beach Walk-overs (including the one I have walked over 2x or more each day since 2011) that were likewise “determined” to be structural unsound (unsafe I believe they wanted to say. unsound is a state of mind!). I believe an engineering firm “engaged” by the City (your tax dollars at work once again) The all-knowing Engineers proclaimed all these walk-overs (18 plus of 30?) had to be immediately closed off until replaced? The report had these faced with “imamate collapse” (their words not mine). Good for us the City Fathers(commissioners) tabled the discussions and asked for… got it!…… more studies…….Better for us the studies of yet another study went by the wayside. Now three(/) years later we’re still walking over the same unsound walk-overs………..

I thought that the FB Observer was started all those years ago to be an independent reporting source not an personal opinion platform? Sorry to see our resident editor throwing in personal jibs as to outcomes. Please report the news or if you must opinionate it, write in like the rest of us.

I appreciate your efforts but there is much here with “the behind the scenes” you need to still be educated on. Think Cruze Ships, porta potties and cement dust. Hint……follow the money trail as to who will win…who looses and who either ticked off in the process. Capitalism’s, the Amerikan way of life. Southern p.o.r.k. lives on. Gotta love it. Read Folks!

Chris subleski
Chris subleski(@oldtimehockey)
1 year ago

Is this news or opinion? Come on Mikey… can do better.

Roy Chisolm
Roy Chisolm(@hwalker00)
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris subleski

There is some news in there, but a lot of opinion and definitely slanted reporting. I had hopes for this guy, but not now.

Al MacDougall
Al MacDougall (@guest_67557)
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris subleski

Here news and opinion blend seamlesly…reader left to sort it out.

Cheryl Grant
Cheryl Grant(@cheryl-grant)
1 year ago

The facts included in engineering reports deem the structure unsafe. So did the Board of Adjustment with several engineers on the Board. The City Engineer’s Report states it is unsafe. His one time comment that the bldg could last another couple years. That OPINION is what Bean ran with and announced the building as safe.

1 year ago

Of course Brett’s was given a pass, big money in a small town wins every time, just like Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazard tv show.

Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet (@guest_67554)
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie

I very rarely comment on anyone’s write in comments but Charlie you are so far off base you are not even in the ballpark with your comment.

Brett’s in many folks eyes who watched the whole witch hunt unfold here for months, were targeted for removal. Replacement with another “most favored nation”(City of FB powers that be) business appeared to be the motivation of The Commissioners. Brett’s Owners at great expense to themselves fought back. The battle of the engineer’s and lawyers began. If you had poured your sweat and money into a business for years only to have it “condemned” and vanquished, wouldn’t you do the very same thing? Brett’s is so far from “big money” it’s a joke~~not.

You did get the Dukes of Hazard part of your comment right. As I have said, I love barbeque and southern p.o.r.k. is my favorite. Here in Fernandina it’s become the main course. Stay tuned Folks and READ!!!!!!!

Steve Harrington
Steve Harrington (@guest_67601)
1 year ago

Aww, Mikey has a sadz.

it would appear that Brett’s Waterway Cafe and its attorneys have prevailed, for now at least, over bureaucratic overreach.

Good for them!

1 year ago

We bought into this with clear eyes. My initial question is who owns those eyes.