Thursday, April 12, 2018

Solar United Neighbors - time remains to join and save - deadline to join the CO Op is April 27, 2018.

I am working hard to bring Solar to Palmetto Bay.  Wednesday evening was another step forward as the Palmetto Bay Municipal Center was filled with area residents interested in going solar. It was my pleasure to host this meeting and bring Solar United Neighbors to Palmetto Bay for the Miami-Dade Solar Co-op Info Session. This meeting was co-hosted by Daniella Levine Cava, Commissioner, Dist.8; Susan Windmiller, The League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County; as well as Mayors Peggy Bell of the Town of Cutler Bay and Mayor Joe Corradino of the Village of Pinecrest. We value our partners, both governmental as well as our ongoing collaboration with the League of Women Voters. 

More information can be found about Solar United Neighbors on their official web site:

Palmetto Bay is currently one of ten (10) Miami-Dade County municipalities that have waived all or at least 75% of permitting fees for solar panels: Town of Cutler Bay, Coral Gables, Surfside, Miami Beach, City of Miami, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Doral, Palmetto Bay and South Miami.

Waiving these fees can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their installation.

Palmetto Bay has eliminated building permit fees for installation of Solar panels for a one year period. Learn how you can save money through participating in a Solar Co-Op.  

It was my pleasure to see so many fellow Palmetto Bay residents at this Town Hall event. I remain available to answer any questions relating to Palmetto Bay - I can be reached at or by calling village hall - (305) 259-1234.  My cell is (305) 302-3713.  
LWV Pres. Susan Windmiller, Mayors Peggy Cindy Lerner, Eugene Flinn,
SUN's Jody Finver & Mayor Corradino

I could not be more proud how our hard work paid off - Palmetto Bay's Municipal Center is certified LEED Platinum in recognition of its energy efficiency (and money saving) features.   

Please review the October 9, 2012, article in the Miami's Community Newspapers: "Great news. It is official. Palmetto Bay’s Village Hall receives Platinum LEED certification." I am posting photos below of just a few of our solar panels located through the roof of the municipal center.

Please also read up about Palmetto Bay's sustainability initiatives that I have championed.  This information is located on the Palmetto Bay "Green Pages" - specifically (and CLICK HERE): Have You Heard?  Green is the New Black!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Buses Are Not “Rapid” Transit, by: Stephen Zarzecki, Community Newspapers, April 9, 2018

Steve Zarzecki pens a rebuttal to a prior column: “Let’s Get Rapid Transit on the Transitway”

Click the headline to read Stephen Zarzecki's column - Busses Are Not “Rapid” Transit, posted online on the Community Newspapers, April 9, 2018.  Mr. Zarzecki responds to what he terms, 'A recent inaccurate and misleading column in the Community News by James McDonald, “Let’s Get Rapid Transit on the Transitway”, cries out for rebuttal. I would like to simply state some facts that he has ignored.' 

Please click the link to read the entire article. The text in the photo in no way comprises the entire article. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Breaking News - Relief is coming in the form of Express buses coming to Palmetto Bay

Great news that I want to share.

I have been asking Miami-Dade Transit to work to resolve our overcrowding on our express buses.  At this time we are waiting on a confirmation, please stay tuned, more news to follow.
Thank you Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County Transit.

I continue to work for real transit solutions for South Miami-Dade for the benefit of our Palmetto Bay Community – including on demand services for our residents.

More information to follow as it is available to release.

Your Mayor,

Eugene Flinn

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Update on development issues relating to the Palmetto Bay Village Center. Reviewing the staff updates to weigh our best options

A Special council meeting requested by David Singer was held on Monday, April 2, 2018, regarding the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC) legislation. On March 19th during the zoning hearing, the Village Council considered an agenda item seeking to repeal the zoning regulations adopted through an ordinance 2016 for the Palmetto Bay Village Center and revert to regulations adopted in 2008.  During the Special Council Meeting this past April 2nd, the Village Council once again discussed the VMU zoning designation for the Palmetto Bay Village Center at length.  Councilman Singer, the sponsoring Council Member for an alternative ordinance, presented the differences between the regulations of the 2008 Ordinance and his amended one. The Village Planner, our Traffic Consultant and Village Attorney discussed historical and zoning background and answered questions to provide clarification between pending legislation and the impact of competing ordinances. CLICK HERE to view the video of this Special Council meeting.  The meeting should be an eye opening for many. Numerous presentation boards created for this meeting to address the differences between his amended/clarifying ordinance (which passed on a first reading 3-2) from the ordinance that repeals the 2016 ordinance entirely.  (CLICK HERE to view the presentation boards)  Here is what the facts show:

·       The 22 acres have development rights. There are NO covenants prohibiting development. Our village attorney clarifying that ‘any attorney opining otherwise is committing malpractice’.

·       All village planners, past and present, agree that the 22 acres are in fact developable. Past and present village attorneys have opined that these 22 acres are developable. The land is an Interim Zoning district.

·       A DERM vegetation management plan is NOT a covenant prohibiting development.

·       The Village Planner explained that this land was once part of a general zoning under a long-past county plan that predated Palmetto Bay.  This designation had at one time provided for 1,400 residential units located throughout the overall property.  This was prior to the Burger King World Headquarters.

·       The maximum development allowed under the 2016 ordinance is based upon a traffic study – The traffic study cap/requirement is REMOVED if the ordinance is repealed. The 2016 ordinance places a real cap on development at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.  This was a negotiated cap.  Therefore, a repeal of the 2016 ordinance would remove it and create uncertainty, risk of greater traffic.

·       304 units, not 389, is what the PBVC is limited to if the developer refuses to deed over the 22 acres (you can’t keep your property and transfer developmental rights too).

·       The maximum number of units drops from 400 to 304, from the 389, if the developer refuses to deed over the 22-acres to the Village.

·       The clarifying ordinance and the numbers determined by our Planner can reasonably be defended in court, much more than a full repeal, as it is based upon the evidence as it is based upon competent substantial evidence.

·       The repeal would re-establish the development of 400 units plus the development rights associated with the 22 acres and a hotel as well.  The 2014 attempt to allow development in the 22 acres involved an initial 41 units, but placed that land at risk for a maximum up to 220!

·       The risk of a hotel is real, as hotels are commercial uses, not residential, not subject to the 100/300 units in the 2008 ordinance. Hotel units generate significantly more traffic than residential.

·       If, and that is an “if” the PBVC ever built a hotel, it would be limited to a maximum of 189 hotels rooms (exhausting any right to any residential) or would drastically reduce any residential if less than 189 rooms are built as hotels generate no hotel and a maximum of 389 units under the 2016 ordinance, versus unlimited development of a hotel (at a much higher traffic count that residential units) and 400 units plus the development rights to 85 units or more in the 22-acre buffer area, if the 2016 ordinance is repealed.

·       Less traffic will be generated through the traffic controls agreed to in the 2016 ordinance and demonstrated last night in the presentation. Repeal reopens the Palmetto Bay Village Center to risk of aggressive growth and substantially higher traffic counts.

·       The PBVC is the last piece of property in the “Urban Infill Area” (properties east of 77th Avenue).  Properties located within the Urban Infill Area are not subject to the same traffic concurrency requirements, therefore there is no traffic restrictions with a repeal but there is with the 2016 ordinance (77th Avenue ends at 184th Street).

·       Repeal of the 2016 opens the 22 acres to development at 5 to 10 units per acre (applying simple math shows the risk to be 110 to 220 units in addition to the hotel units and 300/100) for a potential total of 620 units and in addition the real possibility of a hotel.

·       The 2008 ordinance was adopted unanimously- 5-0 - after over 40 public meetings were held and included the public Charette process (The Charette report was accepted in September 2004).

I am always willing to listen to alternatives. That is what a public process is about.  But why not argue the merits of the 2016 traffic controls placed in the 2016 ordinance.  Offering only ‘don’t be afraid to litigate’ is not a good option.  We need to be proactive and find real solutions. Did Palmetto Bay learn nothing from the Palmer and Charter School litigation? Both BIG losses as the Court recognized the property development rights in both cases over the simple denial of development by the Village Council.

Legislation versus a zoning hearing:

I offer the above on the legislation, separate from the zoning hearing that will be held late this year.  The Mayor and Council essentially sit and act as judges in a quasi-judicial proceeding – matters such as the Palmetto Bay Village Center – at any zoning hearing. I have made it clear that I will continue to conduct myself accordingly. Any discussion based upon political catch phrases and emotion, ignoring the evidence would not be defensible in court.

The opinions above are consistent with the near action taken in 2014 where prior Mayor Stanczyk attempted to development of those 22 acres. That effort failed due to political reasons, not due to legal barriers – the 2014 staff report NEVER claimed any inability to deny that development due to any alleged covenants. The proceedings leading up to the 2016 ordinance arose directly out of concern that those 22 acres would in fact be developed. It is my goal that the 22 acres must be protected.

The Court rules on the evidence and law, not emotional wants or political statements.

Elected officials need to be honest about property rights and cease the false contention that a property has no rights greater than what currently existing on a property. 

It takes true leadership to speak the truth about developmental rights.  It is tempting to hide behind political rhetoric and let the courts decide. Of course, that what we saw in the Palmer litigation - years of politically fueled litigation entanglement that led to approximately $1 Million – that’s right, $1 million in hard monetary costs to our Village.  And, in the end, the prior administration ended up totally capitulating after years of assurances of litigation success.  See:  Palmetto Bay approves Palmer Trinity expansion, by Lola Duffort, Sept. 26, 2014, documenting that the Village gave back all gains in the zoning issue, releasing about 80 conditions. All of this could have been resolved years earlier through rational compromise, but the politics got in the way of common sense, as well as, in my opinion, a failure to own up to basic legal principals.

The article details include:
Mayor Shelley Stanczyk made a point of underlining before the vote that all was not said and done with Palmer Trinity’s litigation outstanding against the village and some of its residents.

“We’ve been promised a new era tonight,” she said. “But I think that era only starts – in my estimation – when those lawsuits get dropped.”

Ball Mehta said on Tuesday that the school was looking to end litigation, but would not say whether or not it would seek a settlement.

“Discussions are going to commence and I anticipate that we will find common ground so that the parties can reach an acceptable resolution,” she said.

The bottom line is run for cover when your officials rely upon political tag lines and cute campaign sound bites, used far too often to gain populist appeal over truly serving the public good. I have followed much of this litigation on my blog at In fact, CLICK HERE to follow the “litigation” label you only need to scroll down 5 posted to read articles of how the Palmer litigation progressed.

The real issue is this – there are very real property rights vested in the PBVC site. Do we want to be proactive and limit development or fall victim once again to the political campaigns that want to litigate with our collective tax dollars and then ‘blame the courts’ for any adverse consequences?

Do we want to risk real controls agreed to in the 2016 ordinance by repealing it and having the courts decide.

In summary, the stakes are real.  We either engage and work to reduce our exposure using what leverage we have or turn the entire matter over to a court and risk a real unmitigated traffic disaster.

PBVC Comparison Chart - addendum to post on the Special council meeting of April 2, 2018

Efficiency through joining effort. Encouraging committees to work together on common projects. Case in point - student Transportation as part of the effort to relieve village traffic.

Leadership - bringing committees together to collaborate.  Putting talent together to work effectively for similar efforts.

Another great Education Advisory Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Eva M. Regueira, Ed.S., Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Grants Administration Miami-Dade County Public Schools works with our EAC and has recently also been working with Council Member David Singer - who has also been working on school transportation plans.  Director Regueira provided maps pursuant to his request which demonstrate the reported residences of students who attend our 4 area public schools: Howard Drive, Coral Reef and Dr. Henry E. Perrine Academy of the Arts - elementary schools as well as Southwood Middle School.
Robert Buzzelli serves on the village Services Advisory Committee and is working within that committee to coordinate efforts on village/Student transportation.   I invited him to participate in the 4/3 EAC meeting and begin to work together as he will also be in communication with Council Member Singer.

I have another "Meeting of the Mayors" meeting with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava on Friday  (4-6-2018) where we will continue work on many of these school transportation issues.
I’m very proud of the dedicated members of all our committees as well as serving as Council Liaison to the EAC.

I am proud to be involved in real efforts to reduce adverse traffic impact to our Palmetto Bay residents.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Offering up solutions to transit. I am sponsoring the Freebee alternative on Mon., April 2. I hope my fellow council members jump on board.

This is an exciting item that I have been working on.  It is presently operating in several Miami-Dade County Municipalities. I believe it is time to bring it to Palmetto Bay.

I am proud to sponsor this item and bring it to the Village Council.  It can be found on the current agenda [(CLICK HERE) to view the full agenda - warning large download] - it is found on pages 123-124, item 5. A. (iii).

This is a great idea and I am proud to be the sponsor to bringing this service as a pilot program to Palmetto Bay. Click the headline to read the Miami Herald article posted online March 30, 2018: A bus service that residents can’t get enough of? It’s happening in Miami, by ROB WILE

I have been in discussion with this group for some time (not just "sponsoring a reso") - I believe it is now ready to bring before the village council in order for me to get everyone on board (literally).

For more information on Freebee - CLICK HERE

We set up the geographical jurisdiction through negotiation. It won't take you far out of the area, but you can go anywhere within that defined area - we can have it take you to the bus lanes, to the Falls Shopping Center, to any restaurant in Palmetto Bay, to any park, friend's house, village hall. People could take it to go from home to any church within the defined area, to any village park or facility. We would use it to get to places where parking is an issue such as the village picnic or 4th of July event. Its door to door service.

Where do you want to go?

This is an exciting opportunity.

I have been asked about the fate of the IBus.  The Freebee is a pilot program.  We continue to work for real transit solutions.  At the very least, the IBus will always be available as a shuttle for large village events.Or perhaps a school shuttle for those less than a mile from each school. (I am working on that option as well - as are others.) It sure keeps traffic out of the neighborhoods for events like Deering Seafood, etc. And I remain skeptical of the "park and Ride" from St. Richard (even though I negotiated the lease) as it will have to go down 77th Av to 144 then up to the bus lanes to work. The trip will take at least 20 minutes from St. Richards to Dadeland South. Commuters will have to get there early to make sure they don't miss it (and those who are there won't want to wait on others - they want to 'park & go'). Miss it and it will be up to a 20-40 minute wait to start your commute. You might as well drive your own car downtown, forget about additional time involved in a transfer to metro rail at Dadeland South onto Metrorail.)

Community Center v. 1,400 Charter School. Which do you prefer?

Interesting question proffered by Council Member David Singer on a local Facebook page:

I have a question for the residents of Palmetto Bay, would you rather have a 1400 student charter school in our Village or a Community Center to serve all our needs?


Take the Poll that is posted in the right hand column:

"What I prefer for our Village of Palmetto Bay" far right column.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Palmetto Bay takes any threat or risk seriously. Update - police presence - Malbrook area 176/87th Avenue late evening of March 28, 2018.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018, was a busy night for the Malbrook and surrounding areas.  Helicopters were circling and police were going door to door. The scene was cleared before midnight.  I am posting my morning update, post briefing, as to what occurred.  

I am pleased that this incident turned up nothing.  I am similarly pleased that the police personnel and assets were in place to properly and aggressively respond to any threat had it been an actual emergency. Palmetto Bay takes any threat seriously.
Please note that my response below is taken from my "Mayor's" Facebook page - posted at approximately 9:30 AM (3-29).  For those on Facebook, I ask that you "CLICK HERE" and like this page in order to follow the updates that I post on that site:

I am posting my official update as to the events last evening (Wednesday, March 28, 2018).
On Wed., 3/28, an off-duty police officer was on his way home with family in his personal vehicle near 87 Avenue and 176 street when the driver’s side window broke. It is still undetermined if this window break was due to a rock or other object thrown at the vehicle or if it was simply related to the car striking a pot hole.

It was in an abundance of caution that police investigated, in case this was an intentional act or represented any threat to the community. The cause remains unknown at present. The extensive police Investigation turned up no witnesses that could point to any offender. There were no casings or other evidence of any weapons or offenders. Police did interview a resident who was in her garage at the relevant time, who indicated that she did not hear anything (specifically no – and I repeat – NO gunshots were heard).

The police cleared the site after determining there was no threat to the area/our community.

I thank everyone for their concern and sharing the information they had. Our PIO did release what information we had, as it became available. I remain available to provide information that I have upon request.
Once again, my cell phone is 305-302-3713. My official email is

Your mayor,

Eugene Flinn

PS - I have received a request to investigate a text notification:
"Can the Village consider a text system where residents can register their phone numbers and receive text notifications in the event of community emergencies like last night. So much misinformation, nervousness and hysteria last night with little info for residents. Similar to the emergency text system that exists on College Campuses. Thanks for considering this idea."
This would be a system identical to the text alerts used at the Universities.  

Again, I am pleased that this incident turned up nothing.  The police assets were in place to properly and aggressively respond to any threat had it been an actual emergency.

Palmetto Bay did put out several Twitter "tweets", which would have been similar to text message (through not as specifically directed).  You can follow our official village twitter - Palmetto Bay - @PalmettoBayVlg

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My e-blast update was released Tuesday, 3/27/2018. Important updates.

Please CLICK HERE to review all the information and updates provided on March 27, 2018.

  • It takes a Village! I'm stepping in to bring our Palmetto Bay strategic plan to conclusion - "Engage Palmetto Bay",
  • Interested in "going solar"? Don't miss: Solar United Neighbors of Florida, Wed., April 11 at 7:00 PM,
  • World Tai Chi day to be celebrated at Coral Reef Park, April 28,
  • Supporting transparency by holding additional public hearings on the proceedings, 
  • Engage Palmetto Bay! Palmetto Bay Visioning Session, Park Drive Community Center - April 5, beginning at 7:00 PM, 
  • Palmetto Bay Earth Week Events - "Participate Palmetto Bay!"
  • Palmetto Bay Ordinance 2018-03 - related to the reduction of housing units has been posted to the Village website as per my special request to our clerk.
Again, please CLICK HERE to review all the information and updates provided in the e-mail blast released on March 27, 2018.

"Engage Palmetto Bay"- visioning session set for Park Drive Community Center

Please participate in Palmetto Bay's exciting project - our Park Drive Community Center.

Let's Engage Palmetto Bay!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Palmetto Bay Ordinance 2018-03 - has been posted to the Village website

I have made a special request of our clerk to post the amended/substitute ordinance to the Village website for everyone to view.  

HERE is the link to the Ordinance that passed on First Reading - 3-2. It will be scheduled for at least 2 additional readings/hearings.

Protecting native pine rocklands - our duty to preserve our Palmetto Bay community - this property is still at risk - there is more work to be done to ensure preservation.

I was invited to speak before the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition on Thursday, March 22, 2018. I was pleased to present our continual efforts to protect what little native rock pineland remains in Miami-Dade County.  I posted information on how those interested in protecting our Pine lands can get involved: Presentation by the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition - -- Who they are. How you can join, Dec. 14, 2015.
I discussed our progress to date in preserving these Pinelands.
"The struggle is real": We almost lost the 22 acres of imperiled Pine Rocklands to development of 41 homes and a fire station back in 2014 - See: Palmetto Bay council defers old Burger King property zoning; approves Palmer Trinity’s site-plan changes, by Lola Duffort, July 22, 2014.This effort was sponsored by then Mayor Stanczyk (as reflected in official agenda and public documents)

See: Palmetto Bay developer’s rezoning request up for vote, Environmentalists worried about proposed project on 22 acres of forest land, July 21, 2014.

This was also covered in the Miami Herald at length, Palmetto Bay approves Palmer Trinity expansion, By Lola Duffort, September 26, 2014, reporting that:

The council was also initially scheduled to hear a rezoning package on 22 acres of mostly forested land to allow for single-family homes and fire station at the Palmetto Bay Village Center, the 80-acre bayfront office park that once housed Burger King’s world headquarters in the village’s southeastern quadrant.

The item was first deferred from July, when criticism from environmentalists about developing forestland peppered with Pine Rockland – an imperiled habitat unique to South Florida and the Bahamas – led council members to direct staff and the property owner to gather more information about the forest’s environmentally sensitive properties.

Last week Stanczyk, the item’s sponsor, withdrew it from consideration after staff told her that the appropriate information had not yet been gathered.

“Mr. [Scott] Silver [a partner in the office park] has contacted some of the [environmental] groups, he has done some things but I don’t have any thing in writing at this point that is available to me to show that those environmental concerns have been addressed,” she said on the Thursday before the hearing.

Environmentalists who spoke out against the measure in July, including Tropical Audubon Society Executive Director Laura Reynolds, have said they wouldn’t have a problem with the village rezoning just the 1.5 acres necessary to site a fire station on the northern tip of the parcel.

But Silver said on Tuesday that the company has no intention of splitting up the rezoning package to allow the village to make a decision on the fire station separately from the housing development.

Is it important to save Pine Rockland?
Florida’s pine rocklands are some of the most imperiled lands in the world. They are characterized by limestone rock outcroppings with a low understory of tropical and temperate shrubs, palms, vines, grasses and herbaceous wildflowers — as well as a single species of overstory tree, the slash pine. With very little soil substrate and a dependence on fire, these ecosystems are among the world’s rarest forests, occurring only in South Florida and the Bahamas. They once spanned 185,000 acres of Miami-Dade County, but now — thanks to rampant development — just 2 percent of those lands remain outside Everglades National Park. Florida’s pine rocklands are now regarded as critically imperiled globally, and the plants and animals that rely on them are extremely rare.
See: Save The Pine Rocklands, Biological -

I chose to save the 22 acres. These 22 acres do have significant development rights (discussed in many other blog posts). 

I ask that our residents who care for our community continue to join the fight to preserve these lands.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Going Solar in Palmetto Bay - Miami-Dade Solar Co-Op Info Session - Wed., April 11, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

I am proud to be hosting the April 11, 2018, Solar Co-Op meeting to be held in Palmetto Bay.  This is a tri-city event that will also include Daniella Levine Cava, as co-host for this meeting. This is a must attend meeting for those considering going solar.  Palmetto Bay is currently one of ten (10) Miami-Dade County municipalities that have waived all or at least 75% of permitting fees for solar panels: Town of Cutler Bay, Coral Gables, Surfside, Miami Beach, City of Miami, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Doral, Palmetto Bay and South Miami. 

Waiving these fees can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their installation.

Palmetto Bay has eliminated building permit fees for installation of Solar panels for a one year period. Learn how you can save money through participating in a Solar Co-Op.  

Solar United Neighbors presents
Miami-Dade Solar Co-op Info Session

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

Village of Palmetto Bay Municipal Center
9705 E Hibiscus St 
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

This event is Co-Hosted by: 
Eugene Flinn, Mayor, Village of Palmetto Bay
Daniella Levine Cava, Commissioner, Dist.8, and
Town of Cutler Bay
Village of Pinecrest, and
League of Women Voters of Florida

CLICK HERE to view and use the RSVP link. 

CLICK HERE to view the official Facebook event page

More information regarding Solar United Neighbors of Florida can be found online - (CLICK HERE)

Volunteer Eco Restoration fun days -- Hosted by Livablecutler - Sat / Sun, March 24 & 25 see information below

Volunteer - participate in Eco Restoration -- Hosted by Livablecutler
Here is an opportunity to participate in restoring part of our native lands - going on for 7 hours on Saturday with another opportunity on Sunday for an additional 7 hours.  Note that they are NOT seeking a full 7 hour commitment for either day, spend the time and effort to the extend that you are able.  Please see the Livablecutler Facebook site for more information.
We will be restoring our coastal ecosystems.

March 24&25, Sat and Sun. 8:30 - 3:30

What will we be doing?

Planting native plants - restoring uplands with pineland and hammock species and coastal wetlands with native grasses. Also removing light debris, installing interpretive signs, and mulching trails.


SE corner of Old Cutler Rd and SW 184 St - at the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands


All are welcomed. From individuals, groups, schools, organizations, and elected officials. And we give credit for needed volunteer hours.

You too can be a part of this great effort and add your own brush strokes to the painting.

Gloves, drinks, and snacks will be provided.

Just bring sunscreen and energy!