Saturday, April 28, 2018

Palmetto Bay Village Officers to Impart "R.A.D." Training - 3 day workshop in May - FREE - space is limited

Safety Empowerment classes for women.

Palmetto Bay is offering a course is for females aged 16 and up, taught by "R.A.D." certified Palmetto Bay Police Officers Wendy Yanez, Pete Judge, Erick Roque, Silvia Romero, Kevin Collins and Astrid Rodriguez

Empowering women with the tools to protect themselves from the unexpected is the purpose of a specialized three-day workshop offered by Palmetto Bay Police.

Participants must be willing to commit to three, three-hour sessions. While the course does involve some physicality, it is designed with all ages and fitness levels in mind.

Best of all, Palmetto Bay is currently the only community in South Florida to offer this course absolutely free.

What: R.A.D. Safety Empowerment Classes

When: Tuesday, May 15, Thursday May 17 & Tuesday, May 22, 6 pm - 9 pm

Where: Village Hall - Training Room

Who: This course is for females aged 16 and up, taught by "R.A.D." certified Palmetto Bay Police Officers Wendy Yanez, Pete Judge, Erick Roque, Silvia Romero, Kevin Collins and Astrid Rodriguez

Cost: Free!

Space is limited, so please call or email us and sign up early. Remember, you must be able to attend all three sessions. (305) 259-1234 or

We will request your full name, address and phone number. Don't miss this opportunity. Join us!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Twenty-two acres of preserved pine rockland, protected from future development, is extremely significant for endangered animals that are being pushed out of their primary habitat." - Al Sunshine, President of the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition, Inc.

What is important? Read the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition information:
Florida’s pine rocklands are some of the most imperiled lands in the world. They are characterized by limestone rock outcroppings with a low understory of tropical and temperate shrubs, palms, vines, grasses and herbaceous wildflowers — as well as a single species of overstory tree, the slash pine. With very little soil substrate and a dependence on fire, these ecosystems are among the world’s rarest forests, occurring only in South Florida and the Bahamas. They once spanned 185,000 acres of Miami-Dade County, but now — thanks to rampant development — just 2 percent of those lands remain outside Everglades National Park. Florida’s pine rocklands are now regarded as critically imperiled globally, and the plants and animals that rely on them are extremely rare. 
A slim majority, 3 out of 5 members, of the Palmetto Bay Village Council are working to protect the valued pinelands located within our municipality and reduce traffic.  Council Member David Singer issued a press released on Wednesday, 4/25/2018, further clarifying council action taken to date (See below):

A Clarifying Ordinance that Reduces Density & Traffic while preserving 22+/- acres of endangered pine rockland in Palmetto Bay secures majority vote
Councilmember David Singer’s proposed revision to the 2016 zoning of Palmetto Bay Village Center from 485 to 389 units secured the first of three votes to become law

April 25, 2018 – Palmetto Bay, FL – A majority of The Village of Palmetto Bay’s Councilmembers voted to revise a 2016 amendment that reduced density, traffic and saved 22+/- acres of endangered pine rockland from future development. This vote, supported by Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn, and Council Members David Singer, Seat 2, and Larissa Siegel Lara, Seat 3, marks the first of three necessary to have this revision to become law; the remaining two votes will take place in the coming months. 

In 2008, the land was zoned for the development of 100 condos, 300 senior housing units, and a hotel, but didn’t protect the 22 acres of pine Rockland. In 2016, Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor John Dubois submitted a repeal to the ordinance that would have reverted the land back to the 2008 ordinance. This repeal would have allowed 485 units, the rights to building a hotel and would have expo­­­­­sed the pine rocklands to development.

At a March 19, 2018, Palmetto Bay Council Meeting, Singer sponsored a clarifying revision to the 2016 ordinance that protected the pine rocklands and capped traffic on Old Cutler Road based on a traffic study to 2,116 trips per day, limiting the development to 389 units. If the repeal had occurred, the daily trips would have exceeded 2,550 trips per day. Additionally, the clarifying revision included a reduction of density in the Village Mixed Use (VMU) area by 96 units (485 to 389) and the creation of a park within the span of 22+/- acres of endangered pine Rockland bordering Old Cutler Road.

“I’m glad that the majority of the Council agreed with me and voted to reduce density and traffic on Old Cutler Road and preserve vitally sensitive pine Rockland,” said Singer.

Pine rockland is a rare type of forest found only in South Florida and the Caribbean, and the latest U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) cites that Miami’s remaining pine rockland is down to 1.3+/- percent of its original 186,000-acre forest. “We are very happy that lawmakers in Palmetto Bay have taken the preliminary step to preserve the critically needed vanishing habitats of pine rockland in South Florida,” said Al Sunshine, President of the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition, Inc., a Florida non-profit corporation. “Twenty-two acres of preserved pine rockland, protected from future development, is extremely significant for endangered animals that are being pushed out of their primary habitat.”

Photo right: Palmetto Bay's Earth Week 2018 included the annual community bike ride.  One stop occurs at the Ludlum Pineland Preserve in Palmetto Bay where a presentation is held regarding the importance of the Pine Rocklands.

CLICK HERE to view additional blog posts concerning Pine Rocklands

Photo immediately above taken on Nov. 5, 2016, while working at a Pinelands Clean up at Coral Reef Park: Al Sunshine & Belen Valladares, both board members, 
representing The Miami Pine Rockland Coalition, Daniel Mateo, Principal, 
BIOTECH, Susan Windmiller, President, League of Women Voters, Miami-Dade 
County, and Orestes Mayo, BIOTECH school

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Community Center - we finally have the land. It is now time for us to work together on the design.

I am proud that 3 members of the Village Council have taken a strong stand against traffic, ensuring that there will NOT be a 1,400 student seat Charter School on Franjo Road.  Instead, this property will become another jewel in the Village of Parks, enhancing our quality of life.

No decisions have been made as to the design. This has been made clear at multiple meetings as well as the initial public visioning session.  I invite all Palmetto Bay residents to join the Visioning efforts to design OUR Community Center. 

See Palmetto Bay News online: Land next to Village Hall bought to construct community center, by: Gary Alan Ruse 

Again, this is to be our Palmetto Bay Community Center.  No decisions will be made on any designs - including uses, height, square footage, amenities, etc., without significant public input. 

Council Member David Singer has proposed a resident Task Force to assist and advise (as part of the public process, not instead of a public process).

We look forward to the discussions on how this property can best serve our community.  

Your Mayor,

Eugene Flinn

A huge influence on my generation, Bob Dorough, the creator of 'Schoolhouse Rock' passes away

So which Schoolhouse Rock was your fav? I enjoyed them all. My favorites include "I'm just a Bill", "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" and "3 is a magic number"

Bob Dorough, the creator of 'Schoolhouse Rock' passed away on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at age 94.

Dorough wrote his first 'Schoolhouse Rock' tune in 1973 in response to a New York advertising executive asked Dorough to set the multiplication tables to music to assist the Executive's sons who had difficulty with multiplication.

See CNN online: Bob Dorough, whose catchy 'Schoolhouse Rock' tunes taught kids grammar and math, has died, by Ellie Kaufman, CNN


Eugene Flinn

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Solar United Neighbors - time remains to join and save - deadline to join the CO Op is April 27, 2018.

I am working hard to bring Solar to Palmetto Bay.  Wednesday evening was another step forward as the Palmetto Bay Municipal Center was filled with area residents interested in going solar. It was my pleasure to host this meeting and bring Solar United Neighbors to Palmetto Bay for the Miami-Dade Solar Co-op Info Session. This meeting was co-hosted by Daniella Levine Cava, Commissioner, Dist.8; Susan Windmiller, The League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County; as well as Mayors Peggy Bell of the Town of Cutler Bay and Mayor Joe Corradino of the Village of Pinecrest. We value our partners, both governmental as well as our ongoing collaboration with the League of Women Voters. 

More information can be found about Solar United Neighbors on their official web site:

Palmetto Bay is currently one of ten (10) Miami-Dade County municipalities that have waived all or at least 75% of permitting fees for solar panels: Town of Cutler Bay, Coral Gables, Surfside, Miami Beach, City of Miami, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Doral, Palmetto Bay and South Miami.

Waiving these fees can save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their installation.

Palmetto Bay has eliminated building permit fees for installation of Solar panels for a one year period. Learn how you can save money through participating in a Solar Co-Op.  

It was my pleasure to see so many fellow Palmetto Bay residents at this Town Hall event. I remain available to answer any questions relating to Palmetto Bay - I can be reached at or by calling village hall - (305) 259-1234.  My cell is (305) 302-3713.  
LWV Pres. Susan Windmiller, Mayors Peggy Cindy Lerner, Eugene Flinn,
SUN's Jody Finver & Mayor Corradino

I could not be more proud how our hard work paid off - Palmetto Bay's Municipal Center is certified LEED Platinum in recognition of its energy efficiency (and money saving) features.   

Please review the October 9, 2012, article in the Miami's Community Newspapers: "Great news. It is official. Palmetto Bay’s Village Hall receives Platinum LEED certification." I am posting photos below of just a few of our solar panels located through the roof of the municipal center.

Please also read up about Palmetto Bay's sustainability initiatives that I have championed.  This information is located on the Palmetto Bay "Green Pages" - specifically (and CLICK HERE): Have You Heard?  Green is the New Black!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Buses Are Not “Rapid” Transit, by: Stephen Zarzecki, Community Newspapers, April 9, 2018

Steve Zarzecki pens a rebuttal to a prior column: “Let’s Get Rapid Transit on the Transitway”

Click the headline to read Stephen Zarzecki's column - Busses Are Not “Rapid” Transit, posted online on the Community Newspapers, April 9, 2018.  Mr. Zarzecki responds to what he terms, 'A recent inaccurate and misleading column in the Community News by James McDonald, “Let’s Get Rapid Transit on the Transitway”, cries out for rebuttal. I would like to simply state some facts that he has ignored.' 

Please click the link to read the entire article. The text in the photo in no way comprises the entire article. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Breaking News - Relief is coming in the form of Express buses coming to Palmetto Bay

Great news that I want to share.

I have been asking Miami-Dade Transit to work to resolve our overcrowding on our express buses.  At this time we are waiting on a confirmation, please stay tuned, more news to follow.
Thank you Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County Transit.

I continue to work for real transit solutions for South Miami-Dade for the benefit of our Palmetto Bay Community – including on demand services for our residents.

More information to follow as it is available to release.

Your Mayor,

Eugene Flinn

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Update on development issues relating to the Palmetto Bay Village Center. Reviewing the staff updates to weigh our best options

A Special council meeting requested by David Singer was held on Monday, April 2, 2018, regarding the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC) legislation. On March 19th during the zoning hearing, the Village Council considered an agenda item seeking to repeal the zoning regulations adopted through an ordinance 2016 for the Palmetto Bay Village Center and revert to regulations adopted in 2008.  During the Special Council Meeting this past April 2nd, the Village Council once again discussed the VMU zoning designation for the Palmetto Bay Village Center at length.  Councilman Singer, the sponsoring Council Member for an alternative ordinance, presented the differences between the regulations of the 2008 Ordinance and his amended one. The Village Planner, our Traffic Consultant and Village Attorney discussed historical and zoning background and answered questions to provide clarification between pending legislation and the impact of competing ordinances. CLICK HERE to view the video of this Special Council meeting.  The meeting should be an eye opening for many. Numerous presentation boards created for this meeting to address the differences between his amended/clarifying ordinance (which passed on a first reading 3-2) from the ordinance that repeals the 2016 ordinance entirely.  (CLICK HERE to view the presentation boards)  Here is what the facts show:

·       The 22 acres have development rights. There are NO covenants prohibiting development. Our village attorney clarifying that ‘any attorney opining otherwise is committing malpractice’.

·       All village planners, past and present, agree that the 22 acres are in fact developable. Past and present village attorneys have opined that these 22 acres are developable. The land is an Interim Zoning district.

·       A DERM vegetation management plan is NOT a covenant prohibiting development.

·       The Village Planner explained that this land was once part of a general zoning under a long-past county plan that predated Palmetto Bay.  This designation had at one time provided for 1,400 residential units located throughout the overall property.  This was prior to the Burger King World Headquarters.

·       The maximum development allowed under the 2016 ordinance is based upon a traffic study – The traffic study cap/requirement is REMOVED if the ordinance is repealed. The 2016 ordinance places a real cap on development at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.  This was a negotiated cap.  Therefore, a repeal of the 2016 ordinance would remove it and create uncertainty, risk of greater traffic.

·       304 units, not 389, is what the PBVC is limited to if the developer refuses to deed over the 22 acres (you can’t keep your property and transfer developmental rights too).

·       The maximum number of units drops from 400 to 304, from the 389, if the developer refuses to deed over the 22-acres to the Village.

·       The clarifying ordinance and the numbers determined by our Planner can reasonably be defended in court, much more than a full repeal, as it is based upon the evidence as it is based upon competent substantial evidence.

·       The repeal would re-establish the development of 400 units plus the development rights associated with the 22 acres and a hotel as well.  The 2014 attempt to allow development in the 22 acres involved an initial 41 units, but placed that land at risk for a maximum up to 220!

·       The risk of a hotel is real, as hotels are commercial uses, not residential, not subject to the 100/300 units in the 2008 ordinance. Hotel units generate significantly more traffic than residential.

·       If, and that is an “if” the PBVC ever built a hotel, it would be limited to a maximum of 189 hotels rooms (exhausting any right to any residential) or would drastically reduce any residential if less than 189 rooms are built as hotels generate no hotel and a maximum of 389 units under the 2016 ordinance, versus unlimited development of a hotel (at a much higher traffic count that residential units) and 400 units plus the development rights to 85 units or more in the 22-acre buffer area, if the 2016 ordinance is repealed.

·       Less traffic will be generated through the traffic controls agreed to in the 2016 ordinance and demonstrated last night in the presentation. Repeal reopens the Palmetto Bay Village Center to risk of aggressive growth and substantially higher traffic counts.

·       The PBVC is the last piece of property in the “Urban Infill Area” (properties east of 77th Avenue).  Properties located within the Urban Infill Area are not subject to the same traffic concurrency requirements, therefore there is no traffic restrictions with a repeal but there is with the 2016 ordinance (77th Avenue ends at 184th Street).

·       Repeal of the 2016 opens the 22 acres to development at 5 to 10 units per acre (applying simple math shows the risk to be 110 to 220 units in addition to the hotel units and 300/100) for a potential total of 620 units and in addition the real possibility of a hotel.

·       The 2008 ordinance was adopted unanimously- 5-0 - after over 40 public meetings were held and included the public Charette process (The Charette report was accepted in September 2004).

I am always willing to listen to alternatives. That is what a public process is about.  But why not argue the merits of the 2016 traffic controls placed in the 2016 ordinance.  Offering only ‘don’t be afraid to litigate’ is not a good option.  We need to be proactive and find real solutions. Did Palmetto Bay learn nothing from the Palmer and Charter School litigation? Both BIG losses as the Court recognized the property development rights in both cases over the simple denial of development by the Village Council.

Legislation versus a zoning hearing:

I offer the above on the legislation, separate from the zoning hearing that will be held late this year.  The Mayor and Council essentially sit and act as judges in a quasi-judicial proceeding – matters such as the Palmetto Bay Village Center – at any zoning hearing. I have made it clear that I will continue to conduct myself accordingly. Any discussion based upon political catch phrases and emotion, ignoring the evidence would not be defensible in court.

The opinions above are consistent with the near action taken in 2014 where prior Mayor Stanczyk attempted to development of those 22 acres. That effort failed due to political reasons, not due to legal barriers – the 2014 staff report NEVER claimed any inability to deny that development due to any alleged covenants. The proceedings leading up to the 2016 ordinance arose directly out of concern that those 22 acres would in fact be developed. It is my goal that the 22 acres must be protected.

The Court rules on the evidence and law, not emotional wants or political statements.

Elected officials need to be honest about property rights and cease the false contention that a property has no rights greater than what currently existing on a property. 

It takes true leadership to speak the truth about developmental rights.  It is tempting to hide behind political rhetoric and let the courts decide. Of course, that what we saw in the Palmer litigation - years of politically fueled litigation entanglement that led to approximately $1 Million – that’s right, $1 million in hard monetary costs to our Village.  And, in the end, the prior administration ended up totally capitulating after years of assurances of litigation success.  See:  Palmetto Bay approves Palmer Trinity expansion, by Lola Duffort, Sept. 26, 2014, documenting that the Village gave back all gains in the zoning issue, releasing about 80 conditions. All of this could have been resolved years earlier through rational compromise, but the politics got in the way of common sense, as well as, in my opinion, a failure to own up to basic legal principals.

The article details include:
Mayor Shelley Stanczyk made a point of underlining before the vote that all was not said and done with Palmer Trinity’s litigation outstanding against the village and some of its residents.

“We’ve been promised a new era tonight,” she said. “But I think that era only starts – in my estimation – when those lawsuits get dropped.”

Ball Mehta said on Tuesday that the school was looking to end litigation, but would not say whether or not it would seek a settlement.

“Discussions are going to commence and I anticipate that we will find common ground so that the parties can reach an acceptable resolution,” she said.

The bottom line is run for cover when your officials rely upon political tag lines and cute campaign sound bites, used far too often to gain populist appeal over truly serving the public good. I have followed much of this litigation on my blog at In fact, CLICK HERE to follow the “litigation” label you only need to scroll down 5 posted to read articles of how the Palmer litigation progressed.

The real issue is this – there are very real property rights vested in the PBVC site. Do we want to be proactive and limit development or fall victim once again to the political campaigns that want to litigate with our collective tax dollars and then ‘blame the courts’ for any adverse consequences?

Do we want to risk real controls agreed to in the 2016 ordinance by repealing it and having the courts decide.

In summary, the stakes are real.  We either engage and work to reduce our exposure using what leverage we have or turn the entire matter over to a court and risk a real unmitigated traffic disaster.