Sunday, March 31, 2019

Update on DUV revisions. Reviewing attorneys' opinions and considering in light of transparency in the Village

I originally released the DUV opinions on March 15, 2019. Please note, fellow residents, that we, the tax payers, paid for these opinions. Not a single member of the village council reached into their own pockets to pay for all the extra legal opinions. These documents belong to the residents, not any single member of the Village Council, not to the Manager and not to any special interest group. 

 As stated, I originally released these opinions on March 15. See: DUV update - materials available to Attorneys’ DUV analysis (CLICK HERE or the headline to view. You can download all three opinions).

I reviewed the 3 paid attorney opinions and I may release my opinion in advance of the hearings.

My first observation is that I cannot believe that I am the only on to release them; that they have not officially been released by the Village for study by the public. I guess this administration works on a “need to know” basis and deems that at this point the public needs not know.  So it appears that it is OK for the public to pay for these opinions, but not to view the opinions in advance of the DUV hearings. 


I am waiting to hear something, anything, from a member of the village council. It appears that the current Mayor and Council Members are playing it close to the vest, not commenting (A/K/A "committing") to anything in public, seemingly only willing to discuss in closed groups of their own specific supporters (or maybe they have yet to begin to focus on the issue).

It appears to me that all options are on the table. I will be interested to see if there are any changes to the original opinions as it gets closer to decisions, or if any one or all three of the attorneys will be invited to participate at the DUV hearings in order to actually apply an actual opinion to a firm set of facts rather than answering a broad brush survey of the general law of municipal zoning.

Note that the analysis centers based upon facts as presented. I have posted links for everyone to view and download in order for interested persons to be able to read and interpret the opinions on their own. These opinions may eventually be posted to the Village website, but were not as of the date I released, Friday, March 15, 2019, nor even weeks later as I post this update.  The time does continue to run on the DUV proposals.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

FWC- Warm spring weather means it’s time to brush up on tips for living with alligators - important read

It is that time of year again. Palmetto Bay is blessed to have native wildlife thriving in our suburban environment, but this is not without risk.  

Related Post: June 16, 2016, Local Gator? Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program - SNAP. FWC Alligator Management Program

This posting was in response to questions I have been receiving involving our local alligator population. We have numerous alligators and even crocodiles traversing our local canals here in Palmetto Bay.  There are some hard and fast rules regarding these reptiles which were posted

But before you read below, I post an important note to those who may mistakenly believe they are making everyone happy by having a gator "relocated". Read the blog post. The story of relocation is as much of a myth as sending your aged pet to live out its life on “a farm”: see - Sorry, but Florida alligators are almost never 'relocated', by Colin Wolf  April 20, 2017. This post involves a true story:
A Florida woman was surprised and saddened to discover that an alligator she asked to be relocated, but not before putting bunny ears on it for a photo, is now most certainly dead.  
Last weekend, a Royal Palm Beach resident called a local trapper after a 5-foot-long gator was getting too close to her property during an Easter egg hunt, reports the Palm Beach Post.
Before the trapper could "relocate" the gator, the woman put a pair of bunny ears on the the doomed reptile and snapped a cute photo. Happy Easter! The only problem is, the woman wasn't aware that here in Florida the word "relocate" actually means "super dead," at least when it comes to gators.

"Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." (pun intended) The FWC sent out a reminder on 3/26/2019 regarding the American Alligators: Warm spring weather means it’s time to brush up on tips for living with alligators
CLICK HERE to view the complete FWC communication online.
The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is an important part of Florida’s wetland habitats. This large reptile is found throughout the state in fresh water lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers.
During spring, alligators become more active and visible. When temperatures rise, their metabolism increases and they begin seeking prey. Although alligator bite incidents resulting in serious injury are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when having fun in and around the water.
Because alligators control their body temperature by basking in the sun, they can be easily observed. If you see an alligator, keep your distance. Also, never feed alligators because it is dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators can overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.
Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. To reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators, swim only during daylight hours and in designated swimming areas.
The FWC also recommends pet owners keep their animals on a leash and away from the water because pets can resemble an alligator’s natural prey.
The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and urges people who believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property to call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, the FWC will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about living with alligators.
The American alligator is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. Learn more about alligators at MyFWC.com/Alligator. 
__________________
Stay safe.  Enjoy our local wildlife - from a safe distance - for the safety of all involved, you, your family, pets/domestic animals and the Alligators.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

A thought provoking article. Bicycle-friendly projects are even good for people who will never ride a bike. Here's how: (AARP Livable Communities series)


Palmetto Bay remains focused on its Age-Friendly plan. I still receive significant material and offer up the following read for the Age Friendly Plan in the making:

Benefits abound for those with no intention of ever getting on a bicycle
by Jay Walljasper, AARP Livable Communities

This article is part of the AARP Livable Communities series.

Please read the entire article and consider the 10 reasons – set out in detail in the full article. But first, I would like to start with the PS or post script, which really hits home the some major points for those who skim or fail to finish the article:
 P.S. People of All Ages Like to Bicycle
Contrary to myth, bikes aren't only for kids, and bicycling as a means of exercise and transportation is not the sole purview of young, male, ultra-fit daredevils.

The article notes that the number of older, younger, female and inexperienced bicyclists is rising.
Riders age 50 and over pedaled an estimated 2.6 billion miles rides in 2009, according to the latest data from the National Household Travel Survey conducted by the USDOT. That's more than a six-fold increase from 1995, when that age group covered less than 400 million miles.

Read this article. Bike lanes are not the enemy, to the contrary, they are part of the Safe Streets Guidelines that Palmetto Bay adopted under my administration which is still the stated Policy of Palmetto Bay, unless and until that resolution / policy is rescinded.

The author makes the case that the solution is to share the streets by providing a space for each listed category of user, again, making the case that bicycle-friendly projects are even good for people who will never ride a bike. Here's how:
1. Safer Streets Are Safer For Everyone 
2. Safer Sidewalks 
3. Smoother Trips 
"The anxiety and anger that many people have about bicyclists is because we have streets designed for conflict," observes Randy Neufeld, director of the SRAM Cycling Fund. "Everyone is nervous because no one knows where the bikes belong. Protected bike lanes take that chaos and disorganization away. We're not all fighting over the same space."
In fact, says Martha Roskowski of People For Bikes, defining spaces is the reason why research shows that drivers like protected bike lanes: "It increases the predictability of bicyclists by giving them their own place in the streets."
4. Less Congestion 
It makes sense that having more people on bicycles will lead to less roadway congestion. However, a study by researchers at the University of Virginia finds that increased bike riding across America could mean more congestion if bike lanes are not included on busy streets. 
5. Increasingly Livable Communities 
"Bicycling makes cities more attractive," explains Gil Penalosa, founder of 8 80 Cities, which promotes making community livability for people of all ages. "The quality of the air is better and the amount of noise is less. You're more likely to know your neighbors and stop for a conversation." 
Arlington's Leach notes that neighborhoods with bike lanes are often "filled with people on the streets going to stores, sitting in cafes." 
6. Economic Vitality 
One of America's most ambitious bicycling projects is Indianapolis' Cultural Trail, an 8-mile network of separated bike and pedestrian lanes that has reinvigorated a number of struggling business districts and sparked a whopping $1 billion in increased property values. The Cultural Trail has also bestowed considerable cachet on this often-overlooked city. 
7. More Opportunity 
8. Saves Money For Taxpayers 
In an era when streets and sidewalks across the country are in disrepair, bicycle projects can save us a bundle in maintaining and expanding our transportation systems. 
Even protected bike lanes are "dirt cheap to build compared to road projects," says Gabe Klein, a partner at Fontinalis, a venture capitalist firm founded by Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford. 
9. Health Care Savings 
The health benefits of bicycling look almost like a miracle. Moderate physical exercise such as bicycling for only 30 minutes a day reduces a person's chances of diabetes, dementia, depression, colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, anxiety and high blood pressure by 40 percent or more. 
10. A Greener Environment 
Transportation accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouses gases, the second largest sector after electricity (30 percent), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 
A study from the Worldwatch Institute found that swapping a car for a bike on short commutes of four miles to work and back would generate 2,000 less pounds of carbon every year — which adds up to a five percent reduction in the carbon footprint of an average American. 
More bicycles on the streets and fewer cars also lessen other forms of air and noise pollution.

Planning for an age-friendly community requires planning to keep everyone safe and active. 

Please see a related post: March 9, 2018, Age Friendly community - an update. Palmetto Bay is the 156th community to be accepted in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly CommunitiesWhere an update was provided on Palmetto Bay moving onto the next step toward being recognized as an "Age Friendly" Community.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Bees plan on working through the weekend. Our Dombeya Seminole plant is "abuzz". POD

Here is my picture of the day. A composite of 4 of the best photos I was able to take today. Bees are not known for cooperating for photos, though they did not seem to mind my presence.  A nice part of the time change is having additional sunlight later in the day to enable some after hours garden time.

This has been a nice day for the local bees - it seems like hundreds are having a field day on our Dombeya Seminole, which is also commonly called the Florida hydrangea. I found the entire plant to bee abuzz.  Overall, I'd rate this Dombeya Seminole a solid "Bee+" for attracting honey bees.

I assume that these bees also spend significant time pollinating the many varieties of Mango trees in the yard. I may have a good crop this year, so stay tuned as to plans for giving away the excess come June.

Nice to see the local bees here doing their job.  There are times when the bush itself sounds like it is buzzing due to the large numbers of bees this plant attracts.

Plant native. Enjoy our local environment. 

Have a happy and productive weekend (if those two go together for you).

Eugene Flinn

Bike lanes - important infrastructure - improving mobility in Palmetto Bay for short trips and for fitness

Its important to keep up with infrastructure needs.  Bike use is increasing - more than just for the 'spandex' sportster crowd, ever increasing traffic and healthier living is making bikes a more attractive method for getting around Palmetto Bay - known as a major player in #TheBikeDistrict.  How can anyone miss the numbers of people - of all ages - who are biking for Palmetto Bay - and yes, commuting to work, to school (though much more is needed) as well as to and from our parks.

Granted, Palmetto Bay is not NYC, but this is still a important read. We can ignore trends, but isn't that how Miami-Dade County found itself in the transit crisis we all are suffering under? Bike lanes are far from hard to do, especially when you add them as you update our streets. Palmetto Bay has committed to "Safe Streets" *

Important real news read: More New Yorkers Opting for Life in the Bike Lane, Biking has become part of New York’s commuting culture as the city expands bike routes and Citi Bikes become ubiquitous. There are more than 450,000 daily bike trips.


Are we providing bike lanes, or are we updating our revising our roads to provide for additional room that equally benefit drivers for motor vehicles? Safety and mobility for all.


*I suggest that this current council take a look at policy set to date by prior administrations, specifically Resolution 2017-67,  (sponsored by Mayor Eugene Flinn) wherein the Village Council unanimously adopted  Miami-Dade County’s “Complete Streets Guidelines” and directed that these guidelines should be incorporated into the planning, design, approval, and implementation processes for any construction, reconstruction, retrofit, maintenance, alteration, or repair of streets, bridges, or other portions of the transportation network, including pavement resurfacing, restriping, and signalization operations if the safety and convenience of all types of users (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit riders, including children, youth, families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities) can be improved within the scope of the work.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Equinox 2019 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 5:58 PM today, Wednesday, March 20

Do you know what today is? We hardly notice a change in seasons here in sunny South Florida.

Happy Spring Equinox 2019 to my fellow residents of the Northern Hemisphere. We should enjoy roughly an even 12 hours of daytime/nighttime today. And a very Happy Fall Equinox to any friends who reside in or are currently visiting in the Southern Hemisphere.

Did you know that the Spring Equinox always falls on March 19, 20 or 21?

And, According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this is the day the sun crosses south to north over the celestial equator which is the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.
If you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly overhead as it makes its way north.
Also, as noted in the Farmer’s Almanac, tonight is a rare full moon marking the Spring Equinox.
The last time the Full Worm Moon happened less than one day of the March equinox was 19 years ago, in 2000, and the next time will be 11 years from now, in 2030.
But that’s not all: March’s full Moon will also be a supermoon, meaning that it will be slightly larger than most of the other full Moons this year.
What an extra-bright way to greet spring!!
So don’t forget – 5:58 PM, today, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Don’t forget. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Public Awareness Sign for Shoreline Property Owners - SaveTheManatee.org

Thank you Mr. Chen - the following information is posted as suggested:

Public Awareness Signs are available for Shoreline Property Owners through SaveTheManatee.org

The sign, which is aluminum and 24″ x 18″ in size, reads, “Slow Please — Report Manatee Injuries: 1-888-404-FWCC.” It is designed to alert boaters to the presence of manatees in the waterways. Florida shoreline property owners can post one on their dock to let boaters know that manatees might be in the area. When contacting Save the Manatee Club to request a sign, please give us the address where the sign will be posted and your mailing address (if different).



Just for fun - SafeWise released their fifth annual Safest Cities report. See where Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest are ranked.

There are always ranked lists distributed. SafeWise is one such group.  Follow this link for more information about SafeWise, as stated by SafeWise: https://www.safewise.com/about/

Taken verbatim from the social media post: 
SafeWise is happy to release our fifth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 50 Safest Cities in Florida for 2019. See if your city made the list.
This year we expanded our Florida list from 20 safe cities to 50, and every city that made our list last year is included again. But four did fall out of the top 20—Edgewater, Cape Coral, North Palm Beach, and Coconut Creek. Even so, all 50 cities limited violent crime to fewer than 2.5 incidents per 1,000 people, which is nearly half the national violent crime rate of 4.49. And these cities can be extra proud because Florida overall is a bit over the national rate, coming in at 4.81 incidents per 1,000 people.
CLICK HERE to view the actual link. Enjoy. - 

Oh, and SPOILER ALERT - Pinecrest is ranked #10, Palmetto Bay is #49.

Miami-Dade County fared well on the list of top 50. The Miami-Dade County municipalities are excerpted, posted below in order of ranking (click on the photo to view enlarged):




Monday, March 18, 2019

SFWMD Prepares Flood Control System to Handle Expected Rainfall - see link provided for official update from the SFWMD

Keeping you up to date. Please note - those living along the canal may see water movement increase.  This post updates you on what the SFWMD is doing to manage an expected rainfall totals as high as 4-6 inches expected in some areas. The SFWMD is preparing system by lowering water levels in the canals to handle expected stormwater.


Release: SFWMD Prepares Regional Flood Control System to Handle Expected Rainfall

Rainfall totals as high as 4-6 inches expected in some areas, SFWMD preparing system by lowering canals to handle stormwater

In preparation,  The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is working to prepare its regional flood control system to ensure flood protection as an upper level weather disturbance is expected to drop heavy rainfall across the region on Tuesday.


The weather disturbance moving in from Mexico is expected to interact with a cold front and drop an average of 1 inch of rainfall on the basins from Lake Okeechobee south, starting early Tuesday morning and diminishing by Tuesday evening. Some areas are expected to receive local maximums of 4-6 inches of rainfall on Tuesday.
Much of the region is dry due to drier conditions over the recent weeks. SFWMD is preparing the regional flood control system by drawing down canals along the east coast from Palm Beach County south to Miami-Dade County to ensure they have capacity to move stormwater runoff from local drainage districts and municipalities.
The District also held a conference call on Monday afternoon with local drainage districts that are responsible for local flood protection to share information and coordinate storm preparations. 
Flood control in South Florida is a shared responsibility between the District, which operates the regional flood control system, and local drainage districts, municipalities and homeowners associations that operate the secondary and tertiary drainage systems that move flood waters away from homes and neighborhoods. Residents throughout South Florida can report neighborhood flooding concerns by visiting the website, www.sfwmd.gov/floodcontrol and entering an address to locate their local drainage district.

Native Plant Day - to be held in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade's Bill Sadowski Park, Saturday, March 23 - 9 AM to 4 PM

Readers and fellow residents know how I enjoy our unique Palmetto Bay / South Miami-Dade environment.  Keep it native as planting natives mean no fertilizer or irrigation as our local plants are appropriate to our South Florida environment.  Here is a family friendly, yard friendly event will take place at Bill Sadowski Park in Palmetto Bay - come on out. CLICK HERE to view the official Native Plant Society e-blast with official details.

Related posts - CLICK HERE to view prior posts relating to gardening in Palmetto Bay including our local Palmetto Bay Garden Club. I invite you to view one of my favorite local posts of January 14, 2013, We can help rebuild our ecosystems with proper gardening - Home & Garden

Please shop local and support the Native Plant Society, just as I ask that you support our Palmetto Bay Garden Club. This is always a great event which is co-sponsored by the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

Native Plant Day
Saturday, March 23, 2019 * 9 a.m.  4 p.m.

Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock

17555 SW 79th Avenue, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

(One half mile west of Old Cutler Road)


Programs & nature walks

Hands-on activities

Plant sales and raffles

Books & other merchandise

  Learn about attracting birds and butterflies to your yard and ask experts questions about plants, cuttings, insects, wildlife, the environment, and landscaping.  Kids activities, too!

This and much, much moreall FREE!

Rain or Shine!


Also: Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Rain Barrel Workshop!

Workshop free.  Barrel Cost: $40. Register:https://tinyurl.com/NPD2019RainBarrel

M-D Water & Sewer is generously offering lightbulb (3) and showerhead (2) exchange!

8 a.m.: Early Birding Walk  bring binoculars!

Drinks and food will be available for purchase on site.

Full Schedule - Available at http://dade.fnpschapters.org

  talks  include topics such as: attracting birds, growing orchids, attracting butterflies to your yard, and urban beekeeping. 
        walks include: fern identification, natives behaving badly,  proper planting techniques, & free canoe trips all day


Co-Sponsored by: The Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

CLICK HERE to view prior blog posts related to local native plant sales and activities.

Friday, March 15, 2019

DUV update - materials available to Attorneys’ DUV analysis

The attorney's opinions to the Village Council have been received regarding the DUV.  Note that the analysis centers based upon facts as presented. I have posted links for everyone to view and download in order for interested persons to be able to read and interpret the opinions on their own. These opinions may eventually be posted to the Village website, but have not as of noon today, Friday, March 15, 2019.

(CLICK HERE) for Memorandum of LEHTINEN SCHULTZ, PLLC, Village Attorneys, dated March 6, 2019, consisting of 44 pages

(CLICK HERE) for Memorandum of John R. Herin, Jr., Esq., Fox Rothschild LLP, dated March 4, 2019, consisting of 9 pages

(CLICK HERE) for Memorandum of John Quick, Esq., Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, dated March 6, 2019, consisting of 34 pages

These attorney opinions will be important tools for the revisions to the DUV Code.

IMPORTANT NOTE (DISCLAIMER): As stated in one footnote (a legal disclaimer): (The attorneys) cannot and do not make any representations or warranties concerning the likelihood of any particular property owner initiating and prevailing on a Bert Harris Act claim against the Village, or the outcome of such claim. We do believe, however, the analysis contained in this Memorandum represents the current state of the law in Florida on the matters set forth herein.



Possible meanings to the term "Monitor" as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What is monitoring? Consulting Merriam-Webster Dictionary for its meaning and uses:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monitor

monitor

 noun
mon·​i·​tor | \ ˈmä-nə-tər  \

Definition of monitor

 (Entry 1 of 2)
1aa student appointed to assist a teacher
bone that warns or instructsmonitors and instructors for troops green in the art of war— New York Times
cone that monitors or is used in monitoring: such as
(1)an electronic device with a screen used for display (as of television pictures or computer information)
(2)a device for observing a biological condition or functiona heart monitor
3Monitor, first ship of the type ]
aa heavily armored warship formerly used in coastal operations having a very low freeboard and one or more revolving gun turrets
ba small modern warship with shallow draft (see DRAFT entry 1 sense 8) for coastal bombardment
4a raised central portion of a roof having low windows or louvers for providing light and air

monitor
 verb
monitoredmonitoring\ ˈmä-​nə-​t(ə-​)riŋ  \
Definition of monitor (Entry 2 of 2)
to watch, keep track of, or check usually for a special purposeNurses monitored the patient's heart rate.