Saturday, December 14, 2019

Peanuts Gang : Christmas Song "Linus & Lucy"

It is that time of year. Time to lighten up and get into the holiday season. An all time classic.

Who doesn't tune in each year to watch the Peanuts Christmas classic?

Friday, December 13, 2019

SW 136th Street Project update - Pinecrest Meeting held December 11, 2019. Here is the report I received:

Meeting update. The Pinecrest meeting was held as scheduled. Over 20 people were in attendance, some were Palmetto Bay residents. Pinecrest officials were there. I am told that Palmetto  Bay was represented by District 3 Council Member Marsha Matson, who is advocating for a mega sidewalk for all of Palmetto Bay. [see a PRIOR RELATED POST of October 29, 2019, Foreshadowing - for now, please review the Palmetto Bay Path conceptual Plan proposed by Marsha Matson, Palmetto Bay Councilmember, District 3, March18, 2019. Please review the Palmetto Bay Path conceptual Plan proposed by Marsha Matson, Palmetto Bay Council Member, District 3, March 18, 2019. (CLICK HERE) to download and view this 23 page document.]

Will this be the future for the Palmetto Bay side of 136 Street?
The December 11th presentation to Pinecrest confirmed that the promised bike lanes (the original project) has been off the table for some time, replaced by the MEGA sidewalk which will be installed solely on the Palmetto Bay side of SW 136th Street.

Reports were that Council Member Matson was present at this meeting and asked the County representative as to Palmetto Bay's financial contribution to this joint project.  She was advised that Palmetto Bay is contributing $500,000.00 to this project. Pinecrest is contributing $1.3 million ($1 million of which is from a single grant). The County rep did not provide a total for the fiscal participation of Miami-Dade County, but it is safe to assume that the County payment is “the rest”. This is a project that will cost at least $2.0 million.

There is some opposition among Pinecrest Council (at least one member) who is uncomfortable with Pinecrest putting in $1.3 million for a project that will be placed completely across the street, solely on the Palmetto Bay side, but one view is that the money is worth it not to have the Pinecrest right of way taken up by a sidewalk up to 10’ wide. Pinecrest may be putting up $1.3 million, but Palmetto Bay is also participating in the surrender of the public right of way in front of the homes of Palmetto Bay residents in addition to the $500,000.00. There is significant value to the land.

The official meeting for Palmetto Bay residents remains set for Tuesday, January 28th at 7 PM, at the Village Hall, 9705 Hibiscus Street. (Note that I was told that the date for completion of the final design for the MEGA sidewalk project is alleged to be February 14, 2020). See PRIOR RELATED POST of December 4, 2019, SW 136th Street Project update - two meetings separating Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay residents. Palmetto Bay meeting is set less than 3 weeks from final design for more background information relating to the meetings.

I will keep you updated.  Please note that the Palmetto Bay website remains putting out erroneous information. 

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY WARNING: Incredible. Obsolete information continues to be published on the official village website (CLICK HERE) - note the information is as posted on December 13, 2019, 5:00 PM.
136th St. Improvement ProjectThis project is currently under design. Improvements include minor widening of the roadway to add bike lanes on both sides of the road and milling & resurfacing the existing roadway. We are looking to replace the existing 5’ sidewalk on the South side of SW 136TH Street (Village of Palmetto Bay Side) with a new 7’ wide sidewalk. Other improvements will include pavement markings, ADA Compliant pedestrian ramps, and landscape improvements. This is a LAP Project between Miami Dade County and FDOT, and Village of Pinecrest and Village of Palmetto Bay are also stakeholders.
This rendering no longer represents the project as currently proposed
This information is clearly inaccurate and has been inaccurate for several months. Palmetto Bay officials have a duty to keep their information up to date and accurate.

Here are additional links to relevant PRIOR POSTS, including:

I have uploaded (former) Item 10E from the February 4, 2019, agenda setting the scope (details) for this project. Note the differences between what was contained in the Staff Report (remember when those were made available to the public?) and the current MEGA sidewalk. This is a 31 page document relating to this issue I will be discussing at a later date. Please consider this part of your SW 136 Street Improvement 'tool box' for now. (CLICK HERE) to download and view.

The Joint Agreement with Miami-Dade County and Palmetto Bay - specifically resolution 2018-47.  And once again, please note - neither of these documents appear to be available online on the official Village of Palmetto Bay web site, but you can find it here as it is posted to my Googledrive. (CLICK HERE) to view this Miami-Dade County Memorandum of October 23, 2018 (17 pages). This County Memo includes Palmetto Bay Resolution 2017-47 (contained on the last two pages, at pages 17-18 of the 17 page document).

Thursday, December 12, 2019

How did the Village fare at the Conflict Resolution/Mediation meeting held 12/12/19? I am providing photos of a 'Do Not Block" intersection.

I am still looking for/waiting on additional reports relating to the Conflict Resolution meeting held between Miami-Dade County and Palmetto Bay officials on Thursday, December 12, 2019. I am told the video will be interesting. This meeting was held at a time when impacted residents would need to take time off from work to attend. 

Reports to date indicate that there was no movement, only the county digging the government heals in deeper. It is either traffic circle or simply paint “do not block” in the intersection at this point. This does not bode well for the other areas that are waiting for implementation of their traffic modifications. 

So much for the art of negotiation. Is there no one on the Palmetto Bay team with any basic negotiation skills? Don’t host the match if you are not (or you are ill) prepared to play the game. I could offer the basic rules for negotiation, but I fear it would continue to be ignored. 

Alice N. Bravo, P.E., Director of the of the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) led the team from Miami-Dade County. Obviously the Miami-Dade County team was well-prepared for this meeting. It showed. Point Miami-Dade County (possibly even 'checkmate').

Here is the short version, cutting to the chase as to what was offered at this meeting:

Miami-Dade County officials offered to do 1 of 2 things:

1.  Remove the stop signs and paint a "do not block" (the "box") at the intersection, (see posted pictures for an example) or 

2.  Miami-Dade County will fund and install a traffic circle at 174 and 87th Avenue. 

We all  are familiar with the Traffic Circles. But most are unfamiliar with what an intersection looks like with the "do not block" painted within it. I am posting photos that I took of such an intersection. 

FAIR QUESTION: How do our village officials feel their aggressive negotiation through threats and litigation is proceeding, is it effective so far?  Does Mayor Cunningham feel that this process will provide the results worth the probable negative impact on joint projects planned for other areas of Palmetto Bay?  Will we need to litigate all these projects?

The sample pictured are of an intersection along Red Road near the University of Miami in Coral Gables. 
I am told that the village rejected both items and indicated that it will move forward on their legal/administrative remedies. 

PRIOR RELATED POST: See December 10, 2019, Agenda for the Conflict Resolution/Mediation set for 2:00 PM, Thursday, 12/12/19. Agenda includes public comment. Should you/must you go to state your position. Fair questions in advance.

Additional updates will follow as information becomes available. Also see prior posts of:

October 25, 2019, Thoughts on the most recent litigation FILED by the village: Good faith or is this a less than good faith attempt to avoid a deal that the Mayor and Council had no authority to make?

October 17, 2018, Update on Palmetto Bay Traffic Projects - and further updates will be posted as available

December 6, 2019, Are we reaching the end game? What is the strategy and what is the long term goal of the current Mayor and Village Council Members? Fire by volley.

Did Palmetto Bay Council pass a noise ordinance with no intention of enforcing it against itself?

Seriously? This might be funny if it wasn't so pathetic -as well as such a political tease - to take action promising one thing, but showing that the "results" are nothing but an illusion. Mayor Cunningham pats herself on her back for passing a more restrictive noise ordinance that specifically removed any exemptions for government functions. It is easy to put laws on the books, but the issue is always enforcement.

First of all, a noise ordinance should not be necessary for the Village Government as the government should always be considerate toward the neighbors; it should be able to keep its own house in order without actually writing itself a ticket (and besides, the big joke is whether the village writes itself and then pays itself for the ticket - taxpayer money, simply shifting funds from one account back into another village account).

But, secondly, and more importantly, the ink is not even dry on the ordinance and this Village was in the face of neighbors with substantial violations. I received this email the morning of December 11, 2019:
The following is an email I sent to the council and administration in regards to how the "neighbors", commercial and residential, around the Franjo Project are being abused, as well as some obvious SAFETY ISSUES for the "DUV Neighborhood" being "created", including the village hall property "negatively impacted" too.  To date, I have gotten no response and/or acknowledgements of my email.

"Enforcement" is always the problem with rules/contracts.  Somebody has to be involved, "monitoring" the situation for compliance.  A great example (besides the VERY OBVIOUS ABUSIVE FRANJO PROJECT out of control) was both the Friday and Saturday PBay Christmas Lights events "for a few" at Village Hall where the new "institution/gov sound ordinance with lower DB restrictions" passed just prior to the events, and was "ignored" by those "officials and staffers present" there.  I heard the music and announcements 4 blocks away on 98 Ave and 182 Street, and even further away southeast at 94 Ave and 183 Street later on, I could hear/feel the music while still in my car with windows closed there!!!  My friend told me she hears the events all the time.  I usually try to leave my house when the music starts.  July 4th is ridiculous!!!

Maybe IF "everyone" had to LIVE IN/WITH THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS, then maybe it would be a "priority"?  As everyone can 'see', "Neighborhood Protection" is NOT a "priority" in Palmetto Bay...   
After reading the above I have several thoughts: 

First of all, why is this current Mayor and Village Council allowing the Village to be a bad neighbor? Why won't the Village quiet its own party when it is brought to the attention of village officials?

Secondly, obviously this Mayor and Village Council take a "do as we say, not as we do" approach to government?

Third, what about the annual Independence Day fireworks celebration? The noise ordinance does not provide an exception for this event. Will Mayor Cunningham and the Village Council work to amend this ordinance to make the fireworks show legal (which would require no spill over of noise off governmental property greater than 60 decibels before 11 PM and 55 decibels after 11 PM - a challenge for fireworks shows) or will it simply thumb their nose at their own law, while enforcing against those who are not friends of this administration?

Why did this village pass a noise ordinance it has no intention of complying with? It sets a tone for a culture of ignoring laws.


Why this ordinance? As stated in the recitals of the proposed ordinance (CLICK HERE to view the entire Agenda Item 12A, as published to the 12/2/2019 regular council meeting agenda):
WHEREAS, noise levels at public facilities and institutional uses are causing disruption to neighbors; and
WHEREAS, the Village has the general police power to regulate such noises in the public interest. 
Public Facilities    7:00 am to 11:00 pm  65  60
and Institutional 11:00 pm to  7:00 pm  60  55
The revised ordinance took effect on December 2, 2019, so it was in effect at the time this event was held. The Village passed it, so the village officials clearly had notice of their own law that they themselves passed (wouldn't it be funny if they claimed ignorance of their own ordinance?) However, lets be clear, the noise reduction was only reduced by a mere (but important to many) 5 decibels. From the information provided in the e-mail, it would appear that this event was well above both the revised and original permitted decibel level.

FAIR QUESTIONS: Where is the enforcement? And how do we track enforcement?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Another small bite update in the LUXCOM case. LUXCOM’S Motion for continuance GRANTED. The LUXCOM case has been rescheduled for final hearing on January 29 through 31, 2020, beginning at 9:00 a.m., at the Palmetto Bay Village Hall.

LUXCOM’S Motion for continuance was GRANTED on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The LUXCOM case has been rescheduled for final hearing on January 29 through 31, 2020, beginning at 9:00 a.m., at the Palmetto Bay Village Hall.

CLICK HERE to view the motion of LUXCOM for this continuance.

CLICK HERE to view the response filed by the Village of Palmetto Bay.

CLICK HERE to view LUXCOM'S Reply in Further Support of Petitioner's Motion for Continuance & Re-Scheduling of Final Hearing for Thirty (30) Days

CLICK HERE to view the Order granting the continuance, rescheduling the final hearing to January 29 through 31, 2020, beginning at 9:00 a.m., at the Palmetto Bay Village Hall.

IMPACT: Those setting aside the December dates to watch the hearing now need to find other things to do and now must set aside January 29-31, 2020. I was waiting for the Pre Hearing Stipulation to be filing. The date for the filing will now be pushed back even later that the 12/12 date.

Many other updates on this case are available on this blog, CLICK HERE.

Litigation update. "Indigo Street, LLC" resolves the petition challenging the Shore decision, agrees to dismissal through new Village Attorney John Dellagloria

Maybe sometimes it just takes a new attorney to get issues settled. Some attorneys are warriors, some are settlers. 

At least one item of litigation costing our village taxpayers has come to an end. The litigation generated by Petitioner, Indigo Street, LLC, and the Respondent, Village of Palmetto Bay, officially came to an end through the filing of a joint stipulation for dismissal on December 5, 2019. The parties advised the court that "The Parties have resolved their differences rendering this appeal moot." This stipulated dismissal was signed by John Dellagloria, Esq, Palmetto Bay’s newly installed in-house village attorney and Jeffery Leary. (CLICK HERE to view a copy of the stipulation/notice of voluntary dismissal)


The parties agreed that they will bear their own fees and costs.

TAXPAYER ISSUES: What was accomplished and how much did this cost the Village of Palmetto Bay taxpayers to defend? This is fair question and the Village Attorney should advise the public. This lawsuit was pending well over a year since being filed on August 20, 2018 with the Appellate Division of the Circuit Court (Case No.: 2018-000241-AP-01) and generated 48 docket entries - not including how many letters, e-mails and conferences, both telephonic and/or live. Substantial expenses went into this lawsuit that seemingly went nowhere other than to generate substantial fees and costs passed on to the innocent taxpayers - the village taxpayers are stuck with the bill.

Why was there no attempt to recover the costs for the taxpayers? 
Where can I find notice to the public that an item would come before the Village Council relative to the dismissal of this lawsuit?

NOTE: Indigo Street, LLC, is a Florida Corporation. It has a single officer/Manager: John DuBois (who also services as Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor). The Registered Agent (not an officer of the LLC) is Jeffrey Leary, who also acted as attorney of record in this Petition challenging the development order of the Village of Palmetto Bay. (CLICK HERE to view the 2019 annual report of Indigo Street, LLC as on record with Sunbiz.Org).

This case involved a Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed on behalf of the Corporation (LLC) known as Indigo Street, seeking to quash the decision of Palmetto Bay to approve the Shores at Palmetto Bay's application for site plan modification/approval. (CLICK HERE to download and view the entire 32 page petition filed with the 11th Judicial Circuit on August 20, 2018)

The petition arose out of an unanimous decision of the Village Council (4-0, Vice Mayor John DuBois was absent from the proceeding) to approve the application at the hearing held on July 24, 2018 (Zoning Resolution 2018-97 is NOT available online through the official Village website – CLICK HERE to view a copy that I posted).

NOTE: The Shores at Palmetto Bay is an ongoing zoning matter. See the Village notification posted online:

The Shores application is back before Palmetto Bay. This matter was noticed long prior to the stipulated dismissal of the Petition challenging this action, so we can assume that the Vice Mayor is good with the Shores moving forward both on the original approval as well as staff’s recent (in 2019) review and approval of administrative action approving site plan modifications. The notice posted on the Village website is that of a preliminary determination regarding the substantial compliance of site plan modifications for the Shores at Palmetto Bay (VPB-16-018), pursuant to Section 30-30.3(c) of the Village of Palmetto Bay Code of Ordinances: The Shores as Palmetto Bay (VPB-16-018) approved by Resolution 2018-97 on June 23, 2018 has made modifications to the site plan in order to comply with the conditions of Resolution 2018-97. (note not inconsistent - Emphasis added) Vice Mayor John DuBois did not participate in the conditions set in Zoning Resolution 2018-97.

Can we assume that John DuBois, at least either individually or as the sole officer of Indigo Street, LLC, is satisfied with the proposed site plan modifications that are presently being processed through the Village Administration? I would not understand a dismissal of his challenge if he was not in favor of the current status. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Agenda for the Conflict Resolution/Mediation set for 2:00 PM, Thursday, 12/12/19. Agenda includes public comment. Should you/must you go to state your position. Fair questions in advance.

Conflict resolution scheduled for Thursday, 12/12/2019 - 2:00 PM.  This is a court ordered event - a mediation, usually held between the parties to resolve a legal dispute, rather than a political event open to public comment and debate. The agreed order which set this event in motion was rendered by the Judge on November 18, 2019. This agreed step is actually required under Florida Law. Section 164.0141, Florida Statutes, which places a duty to negotiate and provides under subsection (1) that "If a governmental entity files suit against another governmental entity, court proceedings on the suit shall be abated, by order of the court, until the procedural options of this act have been exhausted."  CLICK HERE to review the complete CHAPTER 164, GOVERNMENTAL DISPUTES

It appears that the Village has included Public Comments for this meeting. Are the Mayor and Village Council Members looking for guidance from the public to assist in the negotiations? I ask this as there certainly should have been an open town hall meeting to discuss opens and put together a resolution plan by the Village Attorney and Village Council on behalf of those affected. No such meeting was held and yet there is public comment listed, so does this mean you should take time out to speak or do you risk not having your position considered if you stay silent?

See items #2 and 3 listed on the Agenda:
This meeting is scheduled for 2:00 PM, when a large majority of residents (especially the commuting residents) will be at work. 
Fair questions relating to this process: 
  • How will the current Mayor and members of the Village Council handle any conflict in position or advocacy my members of the public in regard to options? 
  • What position will the Village Council take? Who has determined the actual authority for resolving the conflict at this meeting on 12/12?
  • Have the Mayor and Village Council Members accurately gauged the will of those affected or will be affected? Were there polls or emails, are they relying upon a traffic study we can view? If so, those materials should be added to the agenda for all of us to view.
  • What if Miami-Dade County demands that the Village to live up to the deal outlined in the letter promoted by Mayor Cunningham in her e-blasts and her/the Village official social media? (CLICK HERE to read the confirmation letter from MDC DTPW)
  • Is the dedicated right turn lane proposed for the SE corner of the 87/168 Traffic Circle back on the table for implementation, and, if so, who will fund it?
  • Is the 87/174 Traffic Circle back on the table for implementation, and, if so, who will fund it?
  • How can those most affected be assured that their concerns will be brought forward in their absence? 
  • Is Agenda Item #2, a call to residents, advising them that there is no guarantee that their concerns will be articulated by the Village Council if they don't speak?
We will soon see how this all plays out. Here is the meeting agenda for this meeting as published:

I have provided links to some prior posts on this issue to serve as your "tool box" in advance of this meeting.

October 25, 2019, Thoughts on the most recent litigation FILED by the village: Good faith or is this a less than good faith attempt to avoid a deal that the Mayor and Council had no authority to make?

August 2, 2019, A full update of the Malbrook Traffic and other traffic calming issues - to the extent that the information has been made readily available.

October 17, 2018, Update on Palmetto Bay Traffic Projects - and further updates will be posted as available

December 6, 2019, Are we reaching the end game? What is the strategy and what is the long term goal of the current Mayor and Village Council Members? Fire by volley.

November 20, 2019, Litigation Update. Court approves agreement between Palmetto Bay & Miami-Dade County to stay proceedings pending exhaustion of conflict resolution procedures

I would advise you not to miss out on participating in this meeting.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Finally “Not Today!” Palmetto Bay’s tax bleed on hold - after raising and even creating new taxes in 2019 - 3 out of 5 Palmetto Bay Council members say "enough is enough" (for now).

Finally, a temporary respite from the ongoing increases in taxes and fees that have been passed under this current Mayor and Village Council since January of 2019. It started with raising park user fees (yet the recent council agendas are heavy with resolutions to wave these fees for community groups - a typical buy the vote tactic where government officials give away parks to groups to curry favor, while leaving the costs to the taxpayers). The latest issue was an increase in the Stormwater fee. By the way, did you receive a notice in the mail advising you that there was an attempt to raise the Stormwater fees you pay? (You did not.)
An example of a "stealth" increase - above -nowhere does it say increase the tax by 20%,but it does in fact raise that tax.
My issue? That this Mayor and Council are running the government like a student council or yearbook club where the money is used to benefit the popular people instead of collecting taxes only to the amount needed to provide services based upon a plan to benefit all (more on that in a later blog).

NOTE: Of the 5 members of the Village Council, only Council Member David Singer has consistently voted against these new and increased taxes/fees in 2019!

An important read - PRIOR RELATED POST of April 25, 2019, Palmetto Bay - Transparency - on sale to those who can afford it

What taxes/fees?
  • I mentioned the increase in Park user fees (for the 'regular people' - bring your community group and get a freebee passed by the council for your event - at taxpayer expense)
  • Creation of a new tax - a garbage franchise fee collected from waste haulers - not a fee paid by the service provider, no, to the contrary, it is an additional cost that will be passed on to those who use the services in Palmetto Bay. (David Singer voted no)
  • The FPL franchise fee was increased and passed for another 30 years - without allowing for a vote of the residents (CLICK HERE to view numerous prior blog posts on all the details). [David Singer and the vice mayor voted no (but passed on a 3-2 vote)]
  • There was an overall tax increase in the collection of tax revenue for all paying property taxes in Palmetto Bay. (David Singer voted no)
  • And lastly- another quiet attempt to take yet another $150,000.00 out of the pockets of Palmetto Bay families through raising the stormwater fee - made worse by the staff report not making a compelling need for the increase nor did the Mayor or any council member even try to bring this to the attention of the affected residents. (David Singer, Patrick Fiore and the Vice Mayor voted no, killing it on a 2-3 vote)
Palmetto Bay has outstanding reserves, budget awards and a solid public services program through the hard work of the prior administrations, particularly the initial village council.

Palmetto Bay deserves elected leaders who will guard our money, keep spending in check, protect our residents from shouldering political giveaways of park access at their taxpayer expense and to refrain from raising taxes unless absolutely necessary.

Finally common sense temporarily returned when three out of the five told the mayor "not today!" on December 2, 2019, in regard to taking $150,000.00 more from Palmetto Bay taxpayers.  Thank you Council Members David Singer and Patrick Fiore joined by the Vice Mayor in voting NO, for stopping the tax bleed - for now.

Voting for tax sanity, voting no on the 20% increase in the Stormwater Fees:

  • Vice Mayor John Dubois
  • Patrick Fiore, District 1
  • David Singer, District 2

voting to INCREASE tax burden needlessly:

  • Mayor Karyn Cunningham
  • Marsha Matson, District 3

Next step is to stop the giveaways of community assets solely to create a political patronage system here in Palmetto Bay.  There needs to be a fair and equitable process for fees, not merely where you are a "Friend Of" (FO) the Mayor or other elected official.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

12-7-2019. It has been 78 Years since the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Pearl Harbor Address

78 years ago today. December 7, 1941. "A day which will live in infamy." Please take a moment to reflect on this day and remember those who still survived this Day and those who gave up their lives in service of our Country.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Are we reaching the end game? What is the strategy and what is the long term goal of the current Mayor and Village Council Members? Fire by volley.

Mayor Cunningham and the Palmetto Bay Council have made their move. The County has stepped in and is now installing the No Right Turn signs. 

Does anyone remember how that worked out last time? 

Cutler Bay does and now Cutler Bay is countering with stated objections (see letter of 12-5 directed to County Mayor Gimenez). CLICK HERE to download and read the complete letter of December 5, 2019, full size with attachments. The attachments include Cutler Bay Town Council Resolution 19-30, approved 5-0 on May 15, 2019, along with a 2 page excerpt of the Village of Palmetto Bay Neighborhood Access Traffic Study.

I ask that readers take a very close look at what is contained within the letter. It relates back to promises broken by leaders of the current Palmetto Bay council.  I have a link posted below to a prior blog post - October 25, 2019, Thoughts on the most recent litigation FILED by the village: Good faith or is this a less than good faith attempt to avoid a deal that the Mayor and Council had no authority to make? This post specifically identified and discussed this leadership crises - this is just more fall out caused by making a hand-shake deal then running from it. 

I was under the impression that Mayor Cunningham has called for cooperation between the local municipalities, at least at the recent State of the Village Address. Now I have to ask the question as to whether there was any collaboration with our partners to the South regarding these newly replaced No Right Turn signs? Was nothing discussed or worked out at any of the District 8 Meeting of the Mayors or the South Dade Municipal Coalition meetings? 

Again, I have to wonder if this is all part of a hidden agenda to force the hand of the County to act in a manner that provides cover for our local officials to have it both ways - the ability to be able to tell different groups conflicting messages and not have to make a hard decision in public, on the record.
Question for readers to consider: 
The prior Village of Palmetto Bay Council passed resolution 2015-101 back in November 18, 2015. Signs were installed. Does anyone recall the result and why the signs were removed? 

Now, in 2019, is this simply being done with a hope that things will be different or are new traffic measures in place, or ready to go into place to bring about a better result?

Transparency demands an answer from the current mayor and all the current sitting members of the Palmetto Bay Village Council.

More lawsuits on the Horizon? Is anyone else hearing rumors that this current move will trigger the Cutler Bay Town Council taking a page from the Playbook of the current Palmetto Bay Village Council and initiate a lawsuit, this time against the Village of Palmetto Bay as well as Miami-Dade County? 


Small bite updates on the LUXCOM DOAH litigation. Waiting on the pretrial stip, due date moved to 12/12 and the trial beginning 12/18

More litigation updates. The quick updates on the LUXCOM litigation currently pending before the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). Not much interesting here. Housekeeping issues. The interesting read will be the Pre Hearing Stipulation. The date for the filing has been moved from 12/8 to 12/12.

December 4: The motion filed by Palmetto Bay was granted (CLICK HERE for the prior related post - CLICK HERE to view the actual one-page order). Palmetto Bay shall be responsible for having a notary public in India with Mr. Mohammed Khan on the assigned hearing date to swear Mr. Mohammed Khan in as a witness and shall provide the requisite documentation for proof. Fla. Admin. Code R. 28-106.213(5)(b).

Palmetto Bay is also required to make all arrangements for a speaker telephone to be available at the final hearing.

IMPACT: Telephone testimony. Burden is on Palmetto Bay to make sure everything is properly set up and working if they want this testimony to go forward.

Why not teleconferencing? Not necessary. Testimony is allowed via deposition in many proceedings. Reading a deposition offers less insight into the witness you neither observe the witness live nor can the judge hear any inflection or hesitation in the voice of the witness. 

December 5: Both parties; LUXCOM and Palmetto Bay joined into an agreed motion asking the court to extend the time to submit the Pre-Hearing Stipulation from December 8, to December 12. The grounds include the 12/5 depo of Petitioner’s Expert Witness and the 12/6 deposition of Palmetto Bay’s Expert Witness. The parties point out that the issues, witnesses, and exhibits may be affected by the deposition of the expert witnesses. (CLICK HERE to read the joint motion).

December 5: The motion is granted. The Pre-hearing stipulation shall be filed with the FRANCINE M. FFOLKES, Administrative Law Judge, no later than December 12, 2019. (CLICK HERE to read this Order).

IMPACT: The pretrial stipulation will be of great interest. Tune in to review that filing. I expect it to be filed at end of day, due to the significance of this document, though it would be nice if filed early.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Meeting noticed: Conflict Assessment Meeting set in Village of Palmetto Bay vs. Miami-Dade County, Florida, for 2:00 PM, Thursday, December 12, 2019, at Village Hall

Post update - 12-5-2019. 6:00 PM - apparently my "spoiler alert" (below) proved to be accurate. Information not provided form the village can be obtained from other sources. The Village released an email advisement (mine was released to me at 5:06 PM) advising of the following:
There is still no information as to whether this resolves the need for the conflict assessment meeting (it does not if the village intends to go through with further litigation), so my original post remains as originally posted:

What are your plans for 2:00 PM, Thursday, December 12? The future of 87th Avenue, the bridge or no bridge, 4-way stop or no way stop or traffic circle for the intersection at 174th may take shape in this meeting. Those interested in the outcome should appear, especially as the village council has not held a public town hall meeting to take public input on the desired actions. (SPOILER ALERT - a possible outcome may already be in the works, privately, pre-meeting - listed at bottom of this post)

As noticed on the Village website:
CASE NO. 19-03136 CA-01
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Conflict Assessment Meeting shall be held on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 pursuant to Case No. 19-03136 CA 01 (Village of Palmetto Bay vs. Miami-Dade County, Florida). This Conflict Assessment Meeting is in reference to the matter regarding the intersection at SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street whereas the Village adopted Resolution 2019-137 on October 22, 2019 to initiate conflict resolution for this intergovernmental dispute. More than three Councilmembers will be in attendance during the meeting along with Miami-Dade County representatives. 
What is this meeting about? You can find background relating to how the Village got to this meeting through reading a PRIOR RELATED POST of November 20, 2019, Litigation Update. Court approves agreement between Palmetto Bay & Miami-Dade County to stay proceedings pending exhaustion of conflict resolution procedures. Consider the information provided part of your 'toolbox' to prepare to observe this meeting.

What will happen? We will need to wait and see.  

PAST POSTS have discussed the buzz around the village is whether the current Mayor and council overstepped their authority in reaching a formal agreement with Miami-Dade County, through the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) without bringing the proposal back to the residents. It is a fair question as others have wondered whether this lawsuit is an abject 'abdication of responsibility' of the responsibility of their elected office as spelled out in the Village Charter for Mayor Cunningham and the entire Village Council to maintain civility, communication and advocate for Palmetto Bay with Miami-Dade County. 

Is the lawsuit nothing but an attempt to weasel out of the commitment represented by Village elected leaders to support the traffic circle and force a four way stop as a permanent measure despite an agreed-to short term stopgap? Or is this lawsuit a passive-aggressive back-door attempt to have Miami-Dade County take action on the bridge in order to enable this current Mayor and Council to deflect responsibility (or privately take credit?) for the action? This lawsuit and the Conflict Assessment Meeting may provide some insight. Look for what is said, and what is NOT said at this meeting.  For more background, please review a past post of 
October 25, 2019: Thoughts on the most recent litigation FILED by the village: Good faith or is this a less than good faith attempt to avoid a deal that the Mayor and Council had no authority to make?

We shall see.

Eugene Flinn

SPOILER - possible resolution already in the works -  Miami-Dade County appears ready to approve seven (7) No-Right Turn signs along 87th avenue. Cost and responsibility of enforcement would fall upon the Village of Palmetto Bay. Note that this would be the most cost effective resolution for Miami-Dade County. The cost of signs is minimal, especially when compared to the cost of the traffic circle the County had previously agreed to fund. 

So much happens outside of public view under this current mayor and council. The meeting may end being little more that public notification of agreement, depending upon who from the public appear and whether there are any objections to the No Right Turn sign proposal.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

LUXCOM update – DOAH Judge grant’s LUXCOM’s last-minute motion to allow the filing of an Amended Petition.

Petitioner LUXCOM prevailed in its attempt to amend the petition.  

CLICK HERE to view the order GRANTING its motion.  You can CLICK HERE to view LUXCOM's REPLY in further support of Petitioner's Motion for Leave to Serve Amended Petition that was filed to address the issues raised in Palmetto Bay's response.

IMPACT: The final hearing for December 18 - 20 will be on the global issues raised in the Amended Petition.

SW 136th Street Project update - two meetings separating Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay residents. Palmetto Bay meeting is set less than 3 weeks from final design.

Two meetings upcoming - one directed toward Pinecrest and the other held at the Palmetto Bay Village Hall.  Why not hear from all residents at once? Will the information be the same? 

The Pinecrest meeting is set for Wednesday, December 11, at 5:20 PM. This meeting will be held at Sunniland Park - SW 128th Street and US1.

The Palmetto Bay residents will need to wait for more than a month for their meeting: Tuesday, January 28th at 7 PM - and the meeting is set to be held at the opposite end of Palmetto Bay - at the Village Hall, 9705 Hibiscus Street. (Note that I was told that the date for completion of the final design for the MEGA sidewalk project is alleged to be February 14, 2020).

Regardless, thank you Commissioner for scheduling this meeting. It is long over due, see a PRIOR RELATED POST of November 8, 2019, Time is past due for a Public Meeting to engage and update residents regarding the SW 136th Street Project


Note that the initial public information meeting was held for all at a location impacted by this project - at Howard Drive Elementary located on SW 136th Street. January 25, 2017: Update on the 136 improvement meeting held at Howard Drive Elementary & Temporary Traffic Tables coming to Farmers Road during County Pilot Program.

October 30, 2019, Pinecrest Wins, Palmetto Bay loses. Pinecrest Council discusses material changes to 136 St Bike Lane. Palmetto Bay may be home to a 10 foot MEGA sidewalk instead of a shared project.

UPDATES - in response to some inquiries received:
Why is Palmetto Bay receiving a last minute meeting date? Shouldn’t there be a single joint meeting where all share the same information?

It’s a fair question. Should not the meeting be as early as possible if the plans are in progress, set to be finalized no later than February 14, 2020? The January 28 meeting is a mere 12 working days before the design deadline.  This late date appears to provide too little time to address the concerns, if any, from those who will lose 100% of the right of way in front of their homes to the MEGA sidewalk. And why not hold the meeting nearest to those affected? The 2017 meeting was held in easy travel of all who would be affected – at Howard Drive Elementary (HDE). And why, when Palmetto Bay is rumored to bear the brunt of the MEGA Sidewalk (up to 10 feet wide), is there meeting being set at a distance of 4.1 miles of driving (HDW, from SW 77th up SW 136th Street to US1 to Village Hall). The Pinecrest meeting is somewhat earlier in the process, set at a much better time and location, accessible to those most involved; a mere 1.2 miles from the Howard Drive location. Ironically, people could easily bike, or even walk from HDE to the Sunniland location, but this is not realistic for those in Palmetto Bay to reach the meeting at Village Hall as easily as their Pinecrest counterparts.

Proposed Solution: Perhaps the best solution is to hold a single meeting at Sunniland Park (3 miles less travel for all) with a makeup meeting in Palmetto Bay. Let everyone hear the same information and the same reaction.
 It is easier for those impacted along SW136th Street to attend Pinecrest meeting location (above)
Than it is for those impacted to travel to the meeting scheduled in Palmetto Bay (below)
As confirmed through an official tweet from the Village of Pinecrest (pictured right, posted 12-4-2019), the two meetings are set by our County Commissioner. It appears that Palmetto Bay would not be having a public meeting for the area stakeholders but for our commissioner's efforts at public involvement.