Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fact checking - David Feinberg, architect, planner, author of the "covenants" re: the Palmetto Bay Village Center (Burger King Headquarters) speaks to the real facts, blowing away the cheap political distortions

It is time to reject campaign smear tactics and listen to someone who was actually involved in the original fight regarding the Palmetto Bay Village Center; there was a court order that set vested developmental rights - 1,700 units. That's right - and 485 is more than a 70% REDUCTION in development rights. 

But here we go again.  Once again, divisive politics and misstatements are used for selfish political gain in Palmetto Bay.  This is not what we signed up for.  Once again I am asking John Dubois (attack mailers and e-mails against me) and David Singer, to tone it down and behave in a manner more befitting a small town USA than big city divisive politics. 

This post is generated due to a 9/20 e-mail David Singer sent me as well as a Facebook forum posting of this same date.  In both, he falsely alleges that his opponent, Councilman Tim Schaffer,  misleads the residents on 485 homes.  Ironically, David Singer apologizes to the residents "...because (the e-mail) uses technical references that may not be easily understood...) (It appears that he is telling us all that WE are not smart enough to understand - while it seems clear to me that either he is the one who doesn't "understand" or he is simply ignoring facts and asserting bold  false statements as his  "facts").  It is time to call them out, once again, and present the actual documented facts concerning the vested property rights underlying the Palmetto Bay Village Center, this time stated from someone where was there back when all these rights were originally sorted out.  The documents don't lie.  Its all stated in black and white, and we have had planners, zoning attorneys, and even the original parties to the original agreements present the truth concerning the 1,700 units. 

Please review the actual history and facts presented by Cutler Bay resident David Feinberg.  Why should we listen?  Because he is not an observer, but was an active participant in the evolution of the original Burger King World Headquarters, now known and operated as the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC). He was there.  Mr. Feinberg actually fought to preserve the native areas of the PBVC. He is an important and objective resource on this issue; to present the real facts, unfiltered or influenced by political aspiration as David Singer and John Dubois. And by the way, Mr. Feinberg confirms the number long denied by Mr. Singer: 1,700 units.  This exposes Mr. Singer's outrageous and outright misstatements/fabrications.  Case closed. The truth bomb drops once again on Mr Singer and he needs to cease and desist from his work to revise history.

Mr Feinberg cares about our community, not political goals.  Compare his facts, actual facts, rather than the divisive, self-serving, Lord of the Flies politics of John Dubois and David Singer as evidenced in their unsubstantiated and inflammatory misstatements.  These comments come from Mr. Feinberg as one of the drafters of the original 'covenants"?  He has the requisite historical, institutional knowledge and it was shared during public comments on May 2, 2016.  How can David Singer possibly functions as a member of the village council and manage a zoning hearing if he misses (either deliberately or through lack of capacity to understand) the unmistakable and documented evidence presented on an issue as important as the PBVC?

Here is one of the most important statements from Mr. Feinberg:  "The transfer of the development rights as I’ve heard it tonight and in legal terms, and I am an architect and planner, sounds to me like one hell of a deal for the town of Palmetto Bay, for Cutler Bay and all the areas along Old Cutler." (Emphasis added)

Here is the verbatim taken from the hearing:
The following individual addressed the Village Council during Public Comments at the May 2, 2016 Local Planning Agency Meeting (Time of recording: 1:23:26) - official video posted below (CLICK HERE to go to the official village video achieve if the video posted below fails to work)
David Feinberg
(address redacted)
Cutler Bay
I am David Feinberg, an architect.  I have lived here in Cutler Bay for the last 44 years; (address redacted) - Cutler Bay.  As it turns out, I am the author along with John Cox of Dade County that wrote the original document you have in front of you; the Ordinance permitting Burger King to come into this place.  I was called by Mayor Clark and Clara Osterle to discuss then as Chairman; I was then Chairman and founder of the South Dade Community Council, which took in all the area of 136th all the way down to Palm Spring, Palm Avenue.  We had to deal then with a Judge ordered high rise that had something like 1,700 units approved by a Judge for the bay side of the property.  Burger King came to us and said we propose to put in a commercial space here and the community said “no way” are we going to have commercial on Old Cutler etc., etc.  Homework proved that the Burger King facility would be far more preferable than the high rise.  And you have now the Burger King. We don’t have 1,700 high rises on the bay. 
I’ve listened to all of the discussions tonight as to the transfer of the development rights.  There are two glaring errors that we missed when we wrote this Ordinance.  One was the use of the word visual screen instead of a buffer and the fact that 30 years from then; 1985, is when we did this originally that the conveyance would expire and that they could build housing on Old Cutler.  We screwed up there, sorry about that.  The other was toward preservation; we screwed up on that too.  But, they were not in vogue in those days, so you have the Ordinance as it was written then.  The transfer of the development rights as I’ve heard it tonight and in legal terms, and I am an architect and planner, sounds to me like one hell of a deal for the town of Palmetto Bay, for Cutler Bay and all the areas along Old Cutler. 
We just won the battle of 9 acres down here at the same intersection for Cutler Bay and we are going to push like the devil and I did not wear my yellow shirt tonight to build a park on that corner.  I have dealt with that corner since 1985 as well when it was known as the Turchako property and we tried to make it a golf course and it didn’t happen.  There will be housing on that property unless we can get a park and that is going to be a big deal with monies that don’t exist yet.  I am basically beginning to feel that this transfer of development rights is a hell of a deal and I’m only coming to you tonight after listening to all of these arguments on behalf of the guy who started this whole thing way back with Burger King.  I know my three minutes are probably up.
Mayor:  You need to wrap it up.
Mr. Feinberg:  I am available to the town as a neighbor to discuss the development with your Town Manager and with your Development Director to sit and discuss what I see as what we envisioned 31 years ago.  Thank you for your attention and I would like to put this letter into record, which I wrote on behalf of myself.  I have no other respect, but as a private citizen.
Mayor:  Thank you. I have one statement totally off task. Please contact me at the very beginning, Councilman Neidhart. We have been trying to maintain local history. Where are you? We need you.  We need documents.  Thank you
Mr. Feinberg:  I’m right here.
End (all bold emphasis added)

My final notes on this topic today: I am beginning to wonder if David Singer can comprehend the truth - though in my opinion he seems incapable of telling the truth.  Is this by design or through lack of capacity?

Mr. Singer, is this all a plan to undo the "485" at the PBVC in order to go back to the 1,700 units?  Developers like you would make much more money developing 1,700 units rather than being restricted to less than 1/3.  That's right Mr. Singer, 485 is a reduction of over 70%.  I bet your development company has never developed a project reduced by over 70% of its original developmental rights.


  1. I don't know who is worse. #SlimeySinger or #DubiousDubois. They both insist on misleading the residents of Palmetto Bay. I kind of laugh when I pass campaign yard signs with their names, because I have to wonder just how mislead the homeowners are to allow campaign signs on their property for two of the politicians who are the worst for our community. I wonder if the people who allow campaign signs for #SlimeySinger or #DubiousDubois are even aware of the truth? Would they even listen to the truth, or are they too friendly with #SlimeySinger or #DubiousDubois to care?

  2. Mayor Flinn: Are you even literate? The restrictive covenants which David Singer is talking about are exactly what got rid of the 1700 residential units you reference. These "rights" no longer existed after 1985; all rights were limited to the site plan of the Burger King headquarters which still exists in the exact same condition other than the additional parking with the Village Library. Before your own 2008 decision, there were not any residential rights on the property. You must either not be able to read or not be able to count, which one is it?

    1. Your hostile statement is unsupported by the record - it is confirmed 1,700. Not ZERO. Check the record and the details of the covenants. Wishing it does not make it so.

  3. So...are you saying that the Burger King commercial property PLUS 485 homes is somehow better than just the Burger King commercial property? Mr. Feinberg himself says that the Burger King campus was approved INSTEAD of 1700 units. How can you possibly say that an additional 485 units is a reduction? #makesnosense

    1. Think about - are you saying someone with the institutional knowledge and expertise is wrong? Obviously you think a candidate's hyperbole trumps the legal opinions and past legal action relative to the site.

  4. Wait...doesn't Feinberg say that they meant to preserve and create a buffer? how is that consistent with what you highlight in bold? how would Singer undoing the 485 plan return the property to 1700 units? Who is misleading who?

    1. I invite you to read the documents relating the to history of this project. The Burger Kind Property is no longer at the site. Mr. Fienberg spoke as to the history of the covenants. A "visual barrier" is not a covenant against construction. DO you really think a candidate can accurate state the facts on a campaign mailer or e-mail? Seriously, don't be fooled. Review the materials as well as my prior history which is still posted on line:

  5. I did have a chance to review the materials Mayor Flinn. Even the village limited the development of the property to the Site Plan of the Burger King property when the current property owner had to enter a unity of title document. It says development was tied to the Burger King site plan with NO residential development. Where again is the risk of 1700 units? Please stop spreading the same misinformation you claim to be trying to stop!

  6. I have no idea what materials you reviewed so I cannot comment. However, let's talk about risk and what this lawsuit achieves or fails to achieve. I cannot argue with someone who remains anonymous.

    I cannot allow the loss of the Rock Pineland. Preservation of land and permanently taking it off the development list is one of my priorities. It may not be important to 2 of the 5, but fortunately, 3 of the 5 do want to preserve and protect. You are absolutely wrong that no development was allowed on the 22 acres. A strip of 5 acres would be sufficient to accommodate the “restrictive covenant” (that ENDS no later than 2019, but the same covenant - always allowed development so long as there is a visual barrier). 85 units were calculated as a low number predicated upon the buffer remaining. Developable units on the 22 acres always could have ranged to a maximum of 220 units. That is big risk.

    The 2016 action essentially removed the hotel, which had unrestricted right to be “massive” and that does not include events, employees, suppliers and other vendors making daily trips into the site for the hotel, clogging our roads further. Of course the owner never has to build anything. The owner never has to build any of the “485” – the owner can still build the hotel – but not without commensurate loss of residential – it’s a choice.

    And the risk of additional commercial has been greatly reduced. The 400 initial employees of BUPA, which came in sometime from 2013-2014, certainly are having a major impact on Old Cutler Road during rush hour.

    So bottom line, the “lawsuit” has nothing to do with stopping future development. It only reinstates prior rights and encourages development on the Pine Rockland.

  7. I have read the material and looked at the video from July 2014, its clear to me that the rights to 400 plus hotel was already granted superseding the rights to burger king which did allow additional development in 1985, it is also clear if you believe Dexter Lehtinen and the original authors of the agreement with burger king that the covenants do expire. In 2014 on the record it s clearly stated that the developer did have development rights which would have destroyed these lands. In the end this was as the original author states a good deal for the Village, and it comes down to who do you believe, a vice mayor which has had numerous ethical complaints, a hysterical candidate in Singer which has ties to the Vice Mayor or a former US attorney and the author of the original agreement? I pick a US attorney and a unbiased author