Friday, July 12, 2019

Removing even the bark from Palmetto Bay Tree Board - nothing was said in legislative updates, so apparently the Palmetto Bay Council failed to act to protect our trees.

There is so much here; so many directions to go. No warning from our local officials who spent significant time in Tallahassee. More fall out from the 2019 legislative session. Not only did Palmetto Bay strike out on legislative requests (See June 21, 2019, Governor DeSantis issues his very first budget vetoes. Cutler Bay and Deering Estate budget appropriations appear safe.  as well as May 4, 2019, Legislative asks - Legislature completes budget. Now waiting for Gov DeSantis' line item veto. 2019 score card), was our voice heard in Tallahassee on important policy issues such as protecting our local rights to protect our local environment? It really does appear that the Mayor and Council were either oblivious or complacent (through failure to act) in the enactment of CS / HB 1159.  CLICK HERE to view prior relevant posts relating to the 2019 Legislative session, but be sure not to miss the post of April 26, 2019, Transparency - is the Palmetto Bay Council placing the cart before the horse or is the fix in on the multimodal?

Back to our trees: CS/HB 1159 passed the House on April 25, 2019, and subsequently passed the Senate on April 26, 2019. The bill was approved by the Governor on June 26, 2019, ch. 2019-155, L.O.F., and became effective on July 1, 2019.

In short, CS/HB 1159 - titled "Private Property Rights" - strips the bark off the rights of local government to protect our Trees.

The following is from the State of Florida Summary Analysis (CLICK HERE to read from source - 7 pages):
CS/HB 1159 passed the House on April 25, 2019, and subsequently passed the Senate on April 26, 2019.
Counties and municipalities develop and implement land use comprehensive plans and ordinances to manage growth within their jurisdictions. 
Comprehensive plans must be sensitive to private property rights and not inordinately burden property owners. The “Bert Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act” entitles property owners to relief when government action inordinately burdens their existing use of real property or any vested right to a specific use of real property. 
Local government vegetation and tree maintenance regulations vary but can require property owners to obtain permits before pruning, trimming, or removing any tree. Property owners with native mangrove trees on their property are subject to additional state or, in certain instances, local regulation. Electric utilities are also subject to federal requirements when maintaining vegetation in utility rights-of-way.
The bill prohibits local governments from requiring a permit, application, notice, fee, approval, or mitigation for the pruning, trimming, or removal of a dangerous tree on residential property upon documentation by a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect, and prohibits local governments from requiring a property owner to replant a tree that is maintained under the specified conditions. The bill does not affect authority delegated under the state’s mangrove protection laws. The bill also allows a property owner adjacent to an electric utility right-of-way to request an electric utility perform vegetation maintenance in the right-of-way without approval from the local government.   
The bill requires county property appraisers to post a Property Owner Bill of Rights on their websites, which lists a property owner’s right to acquire, possess, and protect property; use and enjoy property; exclude others from property; dispose of property; due process; just compensation for property taken for a public purpose; and relief when a new state or local government law, rule, regulation, or ordinance unfairly affects property. The website must state the Bill of Rights is not comprehensive and does not represent all property rights under Florida law. 
The bill may have a negative, insignificant fiscal impact to local governments. (Editor's Note - all boldface emphasis added)

FUTURE POST: What is the impact on Palmetto Bay's Tree Board? Can our Tree Board be used to regulate and protect trees in Palmetto Bay or is its power now forever diluted to merely choosing tree types, seeking proper maintenance and care, watching over tree inventory.  I am looking into this issue and I strongly suggest that our current electeds do the same - and communicate about it (substantively, not merely in mention) to our residents.  

Snip of Official Village website as of 11:40 AM 7-12-19
ASIDE - the Village Website (this apparently is not barred by threat of lawsuit*) lists two vacancies for the tree board. Perhaps those interested should contact the two council members who have open appointments (and I suggest that the website be updated to provide correct information if these positions are in fact filled).  My money is that the positions have been filled, but without updating the information that the Village carefully doles out to the masses. You simply can no longer rely upon the accuracy of the website any longer.

Update post release: A FOSDU in the know advises that the Tree Advisory Board positions are filled, that the information posted as of 7/12/2019 is incorrect. This makes my point that incorrect information is far worse than no information at all.

First the Media reaction: See Tampa Bay Times, June 27, 2019: DeSantis signs bill weakening Tampa’s tree ordinance, by Charlie Frago, The state law undercuts many of the protections approved by the City Council after years of conflicts, then hard-won compromises between builders and advocates.
TAMPA--The word spread through Tampa’s tree loving community quickly Thursday: The city’s tree ordinance had been buzzed way back by the stroke of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pen.
The governor signed a new law that bans cities from regulating the removal, replanting, pruning or trimming of a tree on private property if a licensed arborist determines the tree poses a danger. Tampa city attorneys said the legislation removes the city’s arborists from the role of verifying dangerous trees and being involved in the pruning of trees through the permitting process.
They also fear that trees will be allowed to be cut down without any recourse from the city. 
READ MORE: Tampa’s tree ordinance in peril


I went to look for the 2019 legislative agenda for Palmetto Bay, which passed on February 4, 2019, but surprise - all the resolutions remain down (note that the posting of the official executed resolutions were up to date on the Village website, up to October 15, 2019, when I left office). Palmetto Bay's sudden and fear of transparency continues to strike - the resolutions, posted online for well over 15 years are now taken down the excuse of "violation of ADA/risk of lawsuit" needs to be called out for what it is "poppycock" or one of my personal favs, "balderdash", as the website isn't restrained from posting all the self-promoting news and photo ops, more than ever before. 

It appears that you will have to take time and effort to make an official public records request if you want to see the actual legislative agenda, Resolution 2019-019. (And no wonder the Village is overwhelmed with public records request; the information is no longer freely accessible on our website.)

Policy failure.  Money is one thing, but protecting Home Rule and advocating on policy initiatives are important.  All that money spent in travel to Tallahassee, nothing to show for it.  I recall no record from the Village Facebook photo op page or any e-blasts mentioning anything regarding opposing CS / HB 1159 particularly in the legislative agenda or at any meetings in Tallahassee relating to our locals.  FOSDUs may feel free to direct me to any such confirmation of our Village Mayor and Council focusing any attention on CS / HB 1159.

No comments:

Post a Comment