Shara Brodsky, Palm Coast Resident and City Council Candidate Talks Development, Flooding and Transparency

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Shara Brodsky is a local Palm Coast resident and manager at Chey Jacqueline, a small fashion boutique in Palm Coast. You can read our interview with Shara below, where she explains her stance on a variety of issues facing Palm Coast, her qualifications, her experience and more. Our questions are in bold, with her answers following them.

How long have you lived in Palm Coast? Why run now? I’ve lived in Palm Coast for 29 years. I grew up here in this beautiful city, known for its Tree City USA status and for being a “planned city” with accounted-for, manageable growth. I have watched first-hand in recent years the results of our current issues and how it has affected the city and its residents, which has inspired me to act. If helping people, preserving land, and making the right choice for the betterment of our community is something I can be a part of, I’m all in! I spend much of my free time volunteering and organizing fundraisers for local charities. I am not running for City Council for money, power, or for my own special interests; I am running because helping our community be a better place is part of my nature.

What do you believe the biggest issues are that Palm Coast is facing? How do you plan to help fix that if elected? One of the biggest issues Palm Coast faces is government transparency. I have joined many local Facebook groups, reading through the threads, and realizing that citizens are losing faith in our local government. If elected, I plan on increasing public awareness and regaining trust between the residents and local government officials. The city’s website is a helpful tool, and I would like to see more involvement with public announcements made across multiple social media platforms. Infographics and detailed posts explaining all upcoming projects to provide a better understanding of future plans and where our tax dollars are being spent. I believe the residents of Palm Coast are ready for transparency and accountability from City Council.

The rate at which the city is being developed is currently one of the main conversation pieces at the city meetings, do you think this is a sustainable pace? How do you plan to move forward in dealing with this issue? Palm Coast is not being developed at a sustainable pace. We need commercial and residential balance as well as land preservation. The growth of Palm Coast happened for a reason. It is a city that has always prided itself on its beauty, affordability, safety, and outdoor recreation. That’s what has drawn so many of our current residents here. However, we cannot maintain any of these attributes unless we find a balance in the rate of growth between commercial and residential construction. We must keep our infrastructure maintained and updated, and we must be sure we are thinking about more than just dollar signs when it comes to land development. It’s no secret that inflation has grown to another level. Basic living expenses vs. job opportunities is certainly a concern for many residents. Having an overabundance of residents with no job opportunities exacerbates the situation. Which brings me back to public awareness. The residents deserve transparency and accountability. We need to educate our residents and provide them with a plan of action on how our city will remain safe and healthy for years to come.

One major side effect of the current development boom is the flooding issues that many residents are facing. Are you aware of the current steps the city council is taking? Would you do anything different? I am aware of the current steps the City Council is taking to address the issues. The Council finally admits to some faults at higher elevations that were only planned for flood zones. The problem has gone too far, with too many infill lots above legal grading levels. If elected, I will make sure that those regulations are adhered to, doing due diligence instead of waiting on city workers or residents to address an issue that has been ongoing for years. My plan is to address the issue as soon as possible and take action!

Another issue that many residents have been talking about is the ‘near constant’ rezoning of developments to include apartments in residential areas; what is your stance on the subject? Do you plan to fight those rezoning requests if elected? I would have to disagree with having apartments in residential areas. If elected, I will fight those rezoning requests. Convenience, preservation of current home values, and infrastructure management need to be taken into account for these developments. We certainly need affordable housing for our low- and middle-class working residents; we just need to make sure they’re in appropriate locations.

Many residents want to see their council members be transparent and reachable. How do you plan to fulfill that desire for residents? As I stated previously, providing better transparency is one of my core goals. For example, the “Bridge to Nowhere” had many residents fired up. If the city had used more transparency and better communication about the funding and future plans for that project, much of the anger and frustration from residents could have been avoided. My goal is to avoid issues like that whenever possible by keeping the community better informed of projects and providing details across multiple platforms.

What are some key factors that differentiate you from those running against you for this city council seat? Giving back to our local non-profits is something I’ve been doing for the last 12 years. I am well known in the community through Chez Jacqueline and have been called the “Queen of Fashion Show Fundraising.” We raised over $250,000 for our local non-profits and over $25,000 for our Breast Cancer Foundation through Advent Health Flagler last year alone. Chez Jacqueline has given me the opportunity to organize and give back to our local charities, and now I want to take those opportunities to the next level.

What is the platform you are planning to run on? Palm Coast has been on the list of fastest growing communities in the United States for years for a reason. Our city is beautiful, affordable, safe, and a natural playground for outdoor recreation. We cannot lose sight of what makes Palm Coast such a desirable place to call home. Land preservation and conservation in our environment are very important for a healthy future. Clean water, clean air, and wildlife protection should be priorities. Transparency between the city and the residents can help us work together during this time of expansion for controlled, sustainable growth. Infrastructure maintenance and management are key, particularly as it pertains to growth. Traffic and road management, swale maintenance, the functionality of water and utilities, and safety are all paramount. Our Flagler County Sheriff’s Department is doing a great job maintaining safety for residents. As our population continues to grow in our small community, safety is key. Given the opportunity, I’d fight for more streetlights, which would ensure our children’s safety while waiting for school buses, minimize crime, protect bicycle riders, and reduce car accidents. Small businesses are the backbone of our American economy. Locally, small business taxes generate money for our infrastructure and create jobs. We need to support our small business owners and strive to help them achieve success.

What qualifies you for this position? As a college-educated woman who works and participates in the community, I have witnessed first-hand the changes our city has undergone over the past 29 years—good and bad. This has shown me what works and what doesn’t. I’d like the opportunity to fight for policies that work. Managing a local business for the last 14 years has taught me to understand the value of teamwork, strategic thinking, integrity, loyalty, and commitment. These attributes are what we look for in our elected officials to help make our community a safe and healthy place to live.

 

You can find out more about Shara Brodsky by visiting her page here.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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