Friday, September 30, 2016

WLRN covers traffic town hall - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We had a full house for our town hall meeting on traffic.  I had the pleasure of holding this meeting with our County Commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava.  See the report of WLRN:

Is It Possible To Have Too Many Stop Signs? Depends On The Alternatives, Palmetto Bay Residents Say - Kate Stein reporting.

The catalyst for this meeting was the County's removal of two stop signs in Mangowood on 82nd avenue at 148th Drive.  Formerly a 4 way stop, the traffic travelling 82nd avenue is no longer required to stop. 

As reported:
Malbrook 9-29-16
Officials and residents agree the underlying issue is the overall increase in traffic through Palmetto Bay. Many residents say they’re worried about other areas as well -- as drivers avoid traffic by cutting through residential streets.

Palmetto Bay continues to work on a comprehensive traffic plan - traffic calming plan.  There are currently many traffic calming initiatives going on throughout Palmetto Bay at the current time - and as one resident so directly pointed out: We are paying an additional tax when we have to use our tax dollars to address issues created by Miami-Dade County.

See prior relevant posts on my Eugene Flinn's South Dade Update Blog over the last 12 months:

Traffic Town Hall Meeting - Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 6:30 pm - Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, September 22, 2016

Working on solutions. Village---County Reach a Solution-on-Stop-Signs, while candidates stir the pot of discontent, September 16, 2016

Mangowood 4-way stop/crosswalk update - contractor selected - date for commencement of work, September 15, 2016

Leadership - pushing for a safety crosswalk to replace the stop signs that were removed by the County, not by or at the request of Palmetto Bay,  September 14, 2016

Manager's Traffic Town Hall Meeting - this Thursday, May 19, 2016, 7 PM, May 16, 2016

POD New speed trailer - LPR (license plate reader capable) coming to Palmetto Bay

Notice: Aggressive measures proposed to address traffic - be forewarned and let's continue the dialogue, May 12, 2016

Traffic assessment update - field & recording work - Wednesday, September 30, 2015, October 1, 2015

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Palmetto Bay Mayor & Council approve the lowest property tax millage rate in Village history - 2.3292 mills.

Hard work rewarded.  As your hard work should be rewarded by making sure that your government does not take money from you it does not (or should not) need.  I fought hard and obtained the votes this year to reduce our property tax millage rate to its lowest rate ever (tax relief failed last year on a 2-3 vote - Tim Schaffer & Eugene Flinn voting last year to to reduce taxes in a non-election year).
I am pleased to sign the budget ordinances regarding the Village Council adopted FY 2016-17 Operating & Capital Budget.  We approved the lowest millage rate in Village history. Residents should see a decrease in their municipal tax bill with the new millage rate of 2.3292 mills. The new fiscal year starts on October 1, 2016. Copies of the adopted budget will soon be available online.
We are working hard here as a team - along with our Charter officers including our Manager Edward Silva, Village Attorney Dexter Lehtinen and Interim Village Clerk Missy Arocha. 

Providing quality services here in Palmetto Bay AND reducing the property tax mileage rate; it's YOUR money.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Latest idea is now out - New tack on expanding Metrorail: Put the tracks on the street (Miami Herald)

Using Metrorail at ground level - like Light Rail - from Dadeland South to Florida City is the next serious proposal for South Dade - and may just stretch the transit dollar far enough to allow this to actually happen.  This may also provide a seamless connection from the extension line to the main existing Metrorail platform, eliminating a transfer. For all those naysayers, the effort is moving from complaints to implementation.  Putting forth credible mass transit; providing a credible alternative to commuter gridlock

Read the Online Miami Herald - New tack on expanding Metrorail: Put the tracks on the street, by Doug Hanks, September 27, 2016, 6:33 PM

None of this happens without continuing to push hard for resolution.  Announcements are one thing.  We need to show continued support and push to completion.  This is far from any announcement of completion. 

I will continue to monitor and push along with the other members of "The Gang of 6."  Our communities are united to make our communities making up South Miami Dade to be great places to live, work and play.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Traffic Town Hall Meeting - Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 6:30 pm - Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street

We look forward to your attendance and participation.
Traffic Town Hall Meeting - Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 6:30 pm
Municipal Center, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street (CLICK HERE for more info)
The Village of Palmetto Bay shall be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. The purpose of this Town Hall Meeting is to discuss the methodology of the installation of a temporary crosswalk at SW 82nd Avenue and SW 148th Drive after the county removed the eastbound/westbound stop signs at this intersection. Miami Dade County officials will be present to address concerns.
This meeting is open to the public. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava will be in attendance, as will Mayor Flinn, the Village of Palmetto Bay Manager Ed Silva, and Director Alice Bravo of the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works. Please come to share your feedback so that the County and Village officials can hear the concerns of our residents.
The Town Hall Meeting shall be held in the Village Hall Chambers at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus Street, Palmetto Bay, FL. Although this is not a meeting of the Village Council, Council Members may attend at their option.

Any person may contact the Village Hall at (305) 259-1234 for information. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, persons needing special accommodation (or if hearing impaired) to participate in this proceeding or to review any documents relative thereto should contact the Village for assistance at (305) 259-1234 no later than four (4) days prior to the proceedings

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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Photos of the day - The Sunday Old Cutler Run Club is off and running- Photos from week 2

The Old Cutler Run Club continues to grow.  This is a Tri-City effort between Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and Cutler Bay.  We thank our sponsor Baptist Health, South Florida and, of course, all-world runner, Frankie Ruiz as well as the Pineapple Pacers. 

Group Photo, week 2, 9-18-16
I continue to be impressed by the participation from Coral Reef Elementary and its CRE on the Run Club.  The club (run through teacher and parent volunteers) develops healthy activities to our youth.
 I am pleased that our village continues to promote a diverse range of activities in our Village Parks. The Amphitheater at Ludovici Park has been used for rehearsals and performances of cultural events, community gathers and now - pre-and post- run club warms ups/cool downs. 

I love this new activity - the run club provides yet another purpose to our parks system.  This run club has benefited from significant planning and we have to thank Frankie Ruiz for his expertise and confidence in our area as well as our Sponsor Baptist Health Systems.  Here are some photos from past planning meetings:

April 20 - A great meeting today (4/20/16) at Panera. Formulating a partnership Run Club. Look for it soon. Partnering with Miami-Dade County - MDC Parks (Deering Estate) and our sister communities and it all to be sponsored through Baptist Health Systems. Thank you Frankie Ruiz.
July, 7, Three Mayors and our sponsor working on a tri-city run club. Looking forward to a running start in early September. A Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay collaboration with our sponsor Baptist Health Systems.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Village of Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board - Sat 9/17/16 update

Important discussion on safety legislation - combating distracted driving.

The Village of Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board  met on Saturday, September 17, 2016.  Mark Merwitzer is bringing forward an initiative with support from the entire Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board.   Speakers included our State Senator, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and our County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava. 

This is an outstanding group taking on important issues and service to our community.  Thank you to our board members for their civic participation.

Discussion on Able Bodies - dance and beyond and working with those with different abilities.
Palmetto Bay Youth Community Involvement Board w/Sen Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava

Friday, September 16, 2016

Working on solutions. Village---County Reach a Solution-on-Stop-Signs, while candidates stir the pot of discontent

Clink the link above to read the actual release from Palmetto Bay regarding our efforts.

I have been working to pull things together in a positive manner while certain candidates have pandered and stirred the pot with misinformation.  Here are the facts and the updates:

Following a series of meetings with County officials, the Village of Palmetto Bay has reached an agreement with Miami-Dade County to install a temporary crosswalk at SW 82nd Avenue and SW 148th Drive after the county removed the eastbound/westbound stop signs at this intersection.

Citing safety concerns for pedestrians crossing the intersection, Village officials held several meetings with county staff to identify a solution. As a result of this action and through the help of Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County has agreed to the following:  

  • A Public Meeting will be held at Village Hall on September 27th at 6:30pm to discuss methodology. 
  • The County will allow Palmetto Bay to put in the temporary crosswalk consisting of pavement markings & temporary signage while they review and analyze the installation of a permanent crosswalk. 
  • In the future, the County will provide advance notice of at least 10 days to the Village and to affected residents of any roadway project, including the removal of signs or signals.
Miami-Dade County recently removed the stop signs after determining that they did not comply with Federal and County policies. In an email from Darlene Fernandez, Assistant Director of Traffic Services for the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works, she explains that it is the county's policy to "not have unwarranted signs, pavement markings, traffic calming devices, etc...throughout the county." See a copy of the email here.
The Village Council and Village Administration take the safety of our residents to heart. Although Council & Administration were informed that the intersection was being reviewed, the Village was not advised that the removal of the stop signs was imminent. The issue was to be discussed at the Council Meeting of September 12th.  
Information presented to the residents from sources other than the Village stating that the request to remove the stop signs came from Palmetto Bay officials is entirely inaccurate. An email sent by County Chief Engineer Claudia Diaz has been misrepresented to the residents and the residents are entitled to know the facts. There was no request from any Palmetto Bay official to remove the signs and there was no prior notice given to the Village before their removal. The decision to remove the signs was made by the county. This is affirmed in a follow-up email sent by Assistant Director Fernandez.  
The Village's primary concern has always been the safety of our residents and we will continue to focus on that priority. However, your trust is also important and we will continue to communicate the facts to you about what your Village is doing.  We feel it is our duty to keep our residents informed so that they can each reach their own conclusions that are based on facts rather than inaccurate information.

We would like to thank the Village Council and County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava for making this matter a priority, and also thank the Director and staff from the County's Division of Traffic Services for their willingness to work with us and for quickly responding to our concerns.  Work on the new temporary crosswalk is expected to begin by the end of next week.  
We can find the best solutions through working together.  It is unfortunate that some candidates for Palmetto Bay office are intent creating discontent through misinformation and throwing stones rather than working together for the benefit of our Palmetto Bay Community.  Keep that in mind at election time.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mangowood 4-way stop/crosswalk update - contractor selected - date for commencement of work

Mangowood - SW 148th Drive and 82nd Avenue update -
Palmetto Bay Manager Ed Silva has advised that we have secured the contractor for the crosswalk. 
The contractor will commence work no later than Wednesday to install the temporary crosswalk for SW 82 Av and SW 148 Drive.  I will continue to keep you up to date.

Addendum/update: Observations communicated to me led me to update this post.  I placed a photo of a representation of what we should see with the center stop notification delineator. The photo was taken in Coconut Grover earlier today (Thurs, 9/15).  If I achieve the goals, the Mangowood crosswalk will actually look more like those in the grove by city hall that also have the on-demand flashers.  I ask interested people to take a look at 82 Av and 163rd Street near Southwood to see the on-demand flashers installed in Palmetto Bay.  I want the latest technology for safety.  Thank you. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Leadership - pushing for a safety crosswalk to replace the stop signs that were removed by the County, not by or at the request of Palmetto Bay

The political campaigns are getting ugly and the truth is the first casualty. Conspiracies are used far too often to rile people up, but in the end they do nothing good for the community.  Here we go again. The latest conspiracy is from a district 2 candidate who I feel is trying to divide the community solely for the benefit of his campaign - this latest missive concerns a serious matter - the stop signs formerly at SW 82nd and 148th Drive in Mangowood.  Note that I am providing postings of actual e-mails to read and judge for yourself rather than merely telling you an opinion as to what they reveal.

The long-time stop signs on 82, at 148, were removed by the County on Friday, September 9, in the late afternoon.  This was done by the County, based upon their ongoing analysis and without input or request from Palmetto Bay (see e-mails posted below).  The County has advised that this is not specific to Palmetto Bay, but is an ongoing effort to remove signage that the County (not the municipality) deems "unwarranted".  Further - this same action has occurred in other municipalities including Pinecrest, Hialeah and North Miami.  To assist in your review, I am posting my e-mail statement and two e-mails from the County Public Works department below.

We are and should always remain a tight knit "Small Town USA" community; an oasis within greater Miami-Dade County. Let's work together to solve issues.

Please call me to personally discuss any rumors or campaign rhetoric you would care to discuss - at (305) 302-3713 (as many of you have - and I thank each and every one of you).  This is the same number I've used since I was first elected mayor of this wonderful village.

I may not be able to get the stop signs replaced, but I immediately began work on enhancing safety through championing the appropriate safety crosswalk for our community.  I ask my fellow council members to join in with me on this important effort.

I also ask that my fellow council members make their comments public where all can see and be fully apprised of their respective comments.  Backroom discussions only lead to miscommunications and rumors.  I sign my comments and I remain very public about my statements - for all, not just a select few to see.

Again, here are the facts, directly from the County, in their full, unedited original e-mail as to the Village of Palmetto Bay and/or their representatives: Lack of involvement of PBay in the stop sign issue at hand.  Click "Read more" below for more information and the posting of my complete public statement

Friday, September 2, 2016

Something different - Palmetto Bay hosts it's first Pokemon event. Fun was had by all

I was pleased to bring forward a new type of event to Palmetto Bay - and make it part of the diverse range of activities that can be enjoyed within in our Palmetto Bay Parks system.  We want to reach all our fellow residents with activities from the skate park, beach volleyball, walking trails, native areas, football, baseball, softball, Yoga, the tot lot playgrounds to name just a few!

The day was Saturday, August 27.  The event was the first-ever Pokemon Lure party in Palmetto Bay Park.  The pictures best tell the story.  The turn out was incredible and I was thrilled to see so many kids, all ages, out in our park.  This is #SmallTownUSA! 

Please see my prior post of 8/15 for some background of the event set up: Announcing Palmetto Bay's Pokemon GO event. Join us for yet another fun activity held in our parks.

Photos above, top row: meeting up with two Pokemon.  Great time with participants/volunteers
Our youngest enjoyed the event as did Miami Hal - aka Hal Feldman with spouse Judy.
Kids, young and old, parents, and grandparents participated.  It was a date night of activity both for adults as well as our youth.  There were food trucks, a DJ, prizes, meeting up with friends and neighbors.  It was all there to be enjoyed at Palmetto Bay park on Sat. August 27. 
Photos above - left: banners at Coral Reef Park advertised our most recent community events.
Right:  Great to meet up with With Maria Perez-Duque and Diego Duque.

Participating youth caught the Pokemon in many different ways:

Additional photos below.  
Please check out the additional photos posted on my Palmetto Bay Mayor page: