Saturday, September 8, 2012

Village History Update - Part II - 10 year anniversary

The initial posted timeline (Village History Update - 10 year anniversary) reveals that the path to cityhood was hard fought. “Rome ne s'est pas faite en un jour.” It took aggressive dealing with Miami-Dade County as well as good sense to know when to compromise and move forward to the common goal, for the common good.  Long-term leadership was a key. I also found a document online that provides a very short and general history of the Palmetto Bay history from the Village of Palmetto Bay, Department of Planning and Zoning, Historic Preservation Program, entitled "Our Historic Past". Click the link to view.

We are coming up on the 10th anniversary of Palmetto Bay. I think back to how fortunate I was to be able to serve for a period as Chair of the Steering committee for the Incorporation of Palmetto Bay (following our First Chair Alan Taylor).

Palmetto Bay Municipal Advisory Committee (PBMAC):

The negotiations with the county was long and tedious during the period of time that I chaired the Palmetto Bay municipal Advisory committee along with Ed Ludovici, Bob Dempster, Brenda Marshall, Mary Cagle, Leland "Bud" Hunter, and Marshall Brodie. The PBMAC, as it became known, was created by County resolution on June 20, 2000 and was charged with holding many duly advertised public hearings at which citizens residing in the area shall had the opportunity to express their views and concerns regarding the proposed incorporation of Palmetto Bay. The initial PBMAC meeting was held July 27, 2012.  The final PBMAC report was submitted and the Board of County Commissioners held two public hearings; September 17, 1996 and November 20, 2001, whereas, by Resolution No. R-1296-01, adopted on November 20, 2001, called a special election for February 5, 2002.

The Kings Bay situation:

Pinecrest faced the same issue as Palmetto Bay – having a sub area within its boundaries that wanted to annex to Coral Gables, not be part of the newly incorporating area.  Palmetto Bay had two such areas: Kings Bay and Paradise Point.  In the end, Kings Bay had what I referred to as its escape clause. The residents of Kings Bay were allowed their own election to determine whether to be part of Palmetto Bay or annex to Coral Gables. The residents overwhelmingly chose to annex to Coral Gables.  The present and final boundaries of Palmetto Bay were now set.

The legislation approving the Creation of Palmetto Bay:

The legislation for creation of the "newmunicipality - Palmetto Bay was introduced on June 10, 2002, Miami-DadeLegislative Item, File Number: 021782. This provided for authorization of the creation, set the municipal powers as well as the initial conditions.

Election Day:

February 5, 2002, was a truly exciting election. It was what is known as a stand alone special election. No other items were on the ballot. I vividly recall that day. One opinion from the County elections department predicted a 17 percent turnout. Low. I recall of the callings driving in and all the thumbs up from fellow residents coming in to vote and by the close of election day the turnout was 48%. Wow, 48%. That is near presidential election level.

More details, to come, but a look at the first council meeting:

So it was with great excitement that we started off with the initial Village Council that first met on November 7, 2002. And I was truly blessed to be Palmetto Bay's first Mayor and serve as part of both the growth pains and successes of the first 8 years. Remember that we still had more efforts even once incorporated which included successfully fighting off some onerous special conditions that included both costs of specialized police services (that I joined with the mayors and councils of Cutler Bay, Doral, Miami Gardens and Miami Lakes) to successfully see an end to (saving nearly $400,000 annually) and then the big debt; mitigation, a $1.7 million dollar reduction that I teamed up with the Mayors and Councils of Doral and Miami Lakes to finally end.

The end of our most onerous special conditions:

We fought the county for years on legal and even legislative fronts, even having special legislation passed by the Florida Legislature in 2008 to end mitigation. Finally, on November 20, 2008, Commissioner Katy Sorenson sponsored the resolution spelling out the negotiated end of mitigation for the Village of Palmetto Bay which was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners. The resolution provided for the phase-out of mitigation at the end of that year once the voters within the Village decide to modify their charter to reflect the settlement agreement. And of course, you, the voters, did vote to end mitigation. This was a 6 year fight to which no one person can or should claim ownership. It was a collective effort that started almost with the initial village council as soon as we incorporated in 2002.


  1. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Do you think the residents of Kings Bay are happy with their decision to go to Coral Gables and not be part of Palmetto Bay?

    1. I haven't heard otherwise. One size does not fit all. I am sure they are quite happy being part of Coral Gables. I would have loved to seen them be part of Palmetto Bay, but C'est La Vie

    2. The vote was overwhelming but not unanimous. At least 10% of Kings Bay residents were wise enough to realize that inclusion in Coral Gables was a mistake. The idea was sold on the basis of house values, but the reality of the matter is that someone looking to buy in Coral Gables is not interested in Kings Bay. Kings Bay residents passed on the option of being one of the finer neighborhoods in Palmetto Bay to be one of the strangest in Coral Gables. I take small consolation in the fact that I voted with the minority.