Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Palmetto Bay Village Center proposal: When is the timing right to disclose to the public?

I will have more to say about this, but as I continue to investigate, it does not escape notice that the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler (CCOCI) have not spoken up either in support or against this plan.  I have texted the CCOCI president and asked to speak with him. 
This issue is more than whether you approve or object of the proposed 41 homes. There is a serious issue in regard to the process or lack of public process that ultimately brought this issue to the public hearing.  
No other members of the village council have stepped forward to disclose that there was any public work or discussion of the proposals that Mayor Stanczyk sponsored on July 21.  They may have been just as surprised to review their agenda package and find much, much, more in play than a fire station.
And that, my friends, is not transparency in government.
This plan may signal a major change in policy as well as a significant shift in property uses. I believe that any detailed change of the Comprehensive Development Master Plan should be done in public with full disclosure and invitation for the public to participate - from the beginning, not after the details are up for hearing.  First notice should not be left to the bare legal notice requirements and posting on the agenda days prior to the actual hearing. 
Shelley's own e-mail blast of July 20 (the day prior to the scheduled hearing) made reference only to Palmer and the fire station with NO MENTION of the homes element:
*Tomorrow night, July 21, 2014 at 7 PM there will be a Zoning Hearing with applicants:  The Palmetto Bay Village Center and Palmer Trinity School. Links to the applications and you can watch on WBAY (77 or 99) or on the website live.  This application from the Palmetto Bay Village Center includes the re-zoning for the planned Fire Station to serve the south end of Palmetto Bay.
In fact, even by clicking the link you still reach only the following:
July 21, 2014 - Zoning Hearing
Documents relating to Items 3 a-d:  Palmetto Bay Village Center, 17901 Old Cutler Road
1) Staff Report
2) Zoning History
3) Posting
The title provides no reason to suspect that there is anything in play here other than approving a fire station.  It appears to me that this e-mail is also factually incorrect as it was the village (sponsored by Stanczyk) as the “applicant” because it was discussed at these proceedings that the Village of Palmetto Bay was the applicant, not the Palmetto Bay Village Center.
which I believe is inconsistent with her choice of language in the e-mail blast that: ”This application from the Palmetto Bay Village Center.”  
An interest reader is required to dive several clicks into the links to reach reference to 41 homes on 22+/- acres. And why would you take the time to go on the hunt if you were told the issue related to the fire station; an issue that has near universal support with the only issue being why was this issue neglected until the eve of election?  This is called ‘hiding in plain sight’ especially when no one can recall any history of a discussion, foreshadowing or even a tease of this housing project at any public meeting.

EDITOR UPDATE:  These questions are being asked both within as well as outside Palmetto Bay.  See EyeOnMiami: Question for South Dade Matters Blog. Guest Blog By Palmetto Bay Resident, Inquiring minds want to know....  The post is looking for answers. 

EOM calls it “The biggest story in Palmetto Bay…”


  1. I smell fish in Palmetto Bay. too fishy. Here is a question for you. When Palmetto Incorporated it automatically went under the Dan Paul amendment which would mean there has to be a countywide vote to change a parks and Rec zoning. Check with your no nothing lawyer. Make him read the charter.

    1. "Parks, aquatic preserves, and lands acquired by the
      County for preservation shall be held in trust..." (Article 7, Section 7.01) is the conditional clause at the beginning. Small problem here, this has not been acquired, it is not a park or zoned as a park. It is zoned "trending", which basically means it eventually takes the zoning of the majority of it's surroundings, when a change is made. Not even sure if, under section 7.04, it applies to municipalities formed after the County Charter was adopted. We have something similar in Palmetto Bay, in that any change in our parks master plan here requires a super-majority, etc. Which might apply, if this were part of the parks master plan. I don't believe it is. It is designated "parks and rec" for land use on our CDMP, not bought, acquired, etc.. Not to say that this was a great idea or well played, or that aren't all sorts of aquatic animals in our waters, but not Dan Paul material. And, it appears our attorney knows our Charter (and Miamidade's ordinances) extremely well, and is not afraid to tell our Council when they are flouting it (them).

  2. 40 homes? What 40 homes. This is the first I heard of it.