Vice Mayor DuBois questions redevelopment plans | Palmetto Bay
Palmetto Bay News reports on the concerns regarding the Downtown Development and the costs. See Vice Mayor DuBois questions redevelopment plans by Gail Shivel
The Vice Mayor held his discussion town hall on January 6, in order to bring the issues out into the open for all residents to discuss - and many came asking questions and stating concerns that were not responded to by anyone on the council other than the Vice Mayor.
DuBois asked how many years it would take for return-on-investment for the project, and who the first seven anchor tenants of the new shopping area would be. Some residents at the meeting expressed concern that luxury stores would force necessary merchants such as hardware stores, computer repair and bicycle repair shops further away from residential areas. “I think we need to look at what kind of village we want to live in,” said Eric Tullberg, a resident who is chairman of the county Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee. “There’s a need for a mix of retail shops.” DuBois repeatedly stressed his point that a revenue goal had not been set for the redevelopment project, and expressed concern that any investment made by Palmetto Bay may be at risk.
“The redevelopment plans can’t all be driven by return-on-investment,” countered Scott Silver, a Palmetto Bay businessman and developer. “It’s not business, this is government, and government is supposed to create a better environment for people.” Scott urged the redevelopment task force to invest in only a small portion of infrastructure: “Pick a bite-size area and do that, then let economic forces take over.”
I respectfully disagree on this point Mr. Silver (who, by the way, has done an outstanding job developing the Palmetto Bay Village Center). What is the reason for the start of the Downtown Redevelopment Task Force? This DRTF was premised on the need to protect Palmetto Bay's financial future. See the DRTF Blog: SEPT. 5, 2013Downtown Outlined to Local Business Association...
When it comes to the future of Palmetto Bay, there is little doubt that the finances
of the Village need to change. Several independent studies estimate that within
five years, Palmetto Bay will have no reserves and will be forced to raise taxes
and cut services. So, right now is the right time to face facts and plan for fiscally
responsible change. No matter what side of the political fence you sit on, the adage
"You’ve got to spend money to make money" rings true... And that, plus a grand
plan, may just be the saving grace for Palmetto Bay. (all emphasis added)
So we do need to see the numbers and we do need to know that there will be a timely return on investment in order to protect Palmetto Bay's financial future.
Every million dollars spent on this project would no longer be available in the next five years to act as the rainy day fund against the Village's own posted projection of a total lack of reserves and projected tax increases in the next five years.
OTHER CONCERNS PRESENTED BY RESIDENTS:
As reported in the Palmetto Bay News article:
“I’m concerned we’re overlooking the needs and concerns of individuals who live and work in that area,” said resident James H. Woodard, raising the specter of eminent domain. “If this thing does move forward, there is going to be in some cases forceful taking of property,”
Some residents at the meeting expressed concern that luxury stores would force necessary merchants such as hardware stores, computer repair and bicycle repair shops further away from residential areas. “I think we need to look at what kind of village we want to live in,” said Eric Tullberg, a resident who is chairman of the county Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee. “There’s a need for a mix of retail shops.”
More updates will continue to be posted. I just want everyone to be knowledgeable about the ongoing project.
We all want Palmetto Bay to succeed, but we should not be afraid to debate fully the issues and designs. I would ask everyone to get involved. No surprises leads to better results.