Friday, January 31, 2020

Traffic calming - public works - leadership. What is happening with that lawsuit so critical to address an “emergency…”? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Rumor has it (actually, well-placed sources that are honest)  that there is a deal pending that this suit will be ‘dropped’ (dismissed) in exchange for Miami-Dade County funding and installing the traffic circle at the intersection  of SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street. This 'rumor' has neither been admitted nor denied by Village Council. It just sits there - like the stalled traffic mitigation programs in the pipeline in 2018 (CLICK HERE to view October 17, 2018, Update on Palmetto Bay Traffic Projects - and further updates will be posted as available - under a different mayor and council and, therefore, different priorities.

Back to the lawsuit. What is up with the lawsuit to protect public safety at 87 & 174? Neither the facts, nor the law are on the side of Palmetto Bay, yet it is strange that this is not being discussed publicly; that the allegations of the alleged deal were conspicuously not addressed at the Special Council Meeting held on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Item 3 of this meeting (III) was "A traffic circle on SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street.” The can keeps getting kicked down the road and, what, another ninety (90) days has been requested by the Village. Really? What for? The Village dodged a bullet of a prior January 17 removal date thanks to grassroots resident action (the ‘in spite of the elected officials’ result). See January 13, 2020, Palmetto Bay - salvage what you can before the door actually closes on the traffic circle for 174 and 87th Avenue

Will Palmetto Bay officials accept the inevitable on the traffic circle or, if not, why does it take 90 more days to simply say no to the county and move on the lawsuit? Is there another plan other than delay, delay, delay?

Experience matters as does maturity. It is time for Palmetto Bay to move forward on the traffic circle – and this should be done before the 4-way stop signs are removed and the “do not block the box (intersection)" paint is placed on 87th avenue.

What has been accomplished to date?  Nothing – there has been no action on the lawsuit which sits dormant to date. 
Screen shot of official court docket -
Palmetto Bay v Miami-Dade County as of 3:00 PM, Friday, 1/31/2020
Why must this important item of traffic safety proceed behind the scenes? How are the various members of the Village Council being advised/included without violating Florida’s Sunshine Law?

It is beginning to look more and more like there is deliberate foot dragging (if not actual hiding under the bed to avoid responsibility) calculated to make the county take unilateral action; just as the county did after the current Palmetto Bay Village Council denied the traffic circle at  SW 87th Avenue and SW 144th street which forced Miami-Dade County to step in and unilaterally install the 4 way stop signs.

This is all most irregular – no action, little communication, no leadership. Miami-Dade County removed a 4 way stop at SW 82nd Avenue and SW 148th Street in Mangowood in 2016 (which did lead to significant Village council uproar, but under a prior Mayor and Council). Things have certainly changed under this current mayor and council: 
  • Miami-Dade County installed a 4 way stop at SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street– that it now wants to remove in favor of a fully funded and installed traffic circle. 
  • Miami-Dade County has installed, apparently as a permanent solution, the aforementioned four way stop at SW 87th Avenue at SW 144th street (mere blocks from where the Mangowood signs were removed - the irony!)
All this without a peep, and with no comment by the current mayor or other village elected officials.

There is no action (resolutions or other foreshadowing of discussion) relating to any of these areas listed on the official village agenda for the February village council meeting for Monday, February 3, 2020 (CLICK HERE to view the agenda as it was posted as of Friday, January 31, 2020).

It is all beginning to look like the current mayor and council continue to abdicate their responsibilities in order to simply throw shade and point fingers, all the while waiting on Miami-Dade County to tire of the endless delays and take action without them, thereby allowing Palmetto Bay officials to maintain plausible deniability and blame others – in this case Miami-Dade County.

The tool box on this issue - prior relevant posts:

2020 Biscayne - Everglades Greenway ride(s) - Calling all gravelers! Save the date - detailed information and links provided

Save the date - a different kind of rides for those who prefer not to ride on the road:

NOTE: Biscayne-Everglades Greenway Ride is a FAT Tire Event.

This ride offers 3 distances to choose from: 42, 22, & 14 miles and is brought to you FREE of charge by Everglades Bicycle Club (EBC), Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Green Mobility Network & Bike305.

Parking for this event is at the EAST GATE of the Homestead Sports Complex.

All rides are Free!
Helmets are required
Fat Tire Bikes or Hybrids (no road bikes)

---Registration is ONSITE ONLY from 8:00am-8:45am
---Mandatory Pre Ride Tutorials 8:45am
---Pedals Up for all rides  9:00am

All rides will have a Ride Leader.
Route maps will be distributed at the event.
Please bring spare tubes, c02 cartridges and hydration. 

Any questions contact the event chairs:   
Tom Burton  786-229-1001
Eric Tullberg

More info if available by clicking either of the following two (2) links:

CLICK HERE for the EBC Facebook event

CLICK HERE for the EBC website info page

#RideEBC #EvergladesBC #EBCRides #Bike305  #EBCTrailRides

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Video of the Day - the sounds of morning in Palmetto Bay. Birds are singing and squirrels are barking

Most people don't recognize the sound of a barking squirrel - or the sound of an owl in their backyard. Good morning Palmetto Bay - It’s morning and the morning air is filled with the sounds of songbirds - and squirrels barking out their morning announcements. I think the squirrels are getting impatient waiting on the 2020 mango crop.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Fact Checking the Palmetto Bay Village Center issue. Facts, not conjured up rumors and outright lies.

A repeat of a prior post of:

October 20, 2018

The facts about the Palmetto Bay Village Center. Its not 485, its never been 485.

We hold the cards.  My opponent and her team either do not get it about the 22 acres or they have no qualms about deliberately spreading misinformation.

It could not be any simpler: The developer must transfer the 22 acres to the village as a condition to any change in developmental rights at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.

Not transferring the 22 acres means that that the developer has no right to 85 units, granted or reduced.

Not transferring the 22 acres to the village means that that the developer's rights remain as existed since 2008: 300 senior units, 100 town homes.

There has never been and never will be 485- based upon the traffic chokeholds that we placed in the ordinance we passed 3-2 in 2016.  We are in some serious negotiations, and those negotiations are delicate. The negotiations require that politics be put aside and we speak in a unified voice.

So far these negotiations are playing out as expected at the Monday, Oct. 15, hearing as the PBVC owners:

  • Objected to this ordinance, also alleging the timing is premature.
  • Threatened to not deed over the 22 acres (actually 40 acres) unless they get their way.
Strong leadership stands up to threats.  We countered with the fact that the PBVC loses all of their rights of the 2016 ordinance if they walk away, reverting back to the 2008 rights. The owners of the PBVC don't want this.

Here are some of the concessions I achieved Monday night (October 15, 2018):
  • The owners admitted that the final number will not be "485". 
  • The representative for the PBVC mentioned that negotiations are ongoing for 200 -- half of the units -- to be Senior housing units. That's a HUGE offer in regard to traffic reduction.
The Village Manager and our Village Attorney will now enter into negotiations that should result in a significant reduction of the overall impact of this property AND obtain endangered Pine Rocklands.

None of the above would have happened if Councilman Singer had not brought this ordinance forward. None of this will happen, or our final results will be reduced if we don't stand together.

Being mayor is a special responsibility that I take very seriously. I have to continue to work hard and represent the best interest of the Village. Contrast this with a candidate and her supporters who undermine the process for there own political gain.


March 20, 2018

Meeting report - Monday, March 19, 2018 - a victory for controlled development

"CCOC" continues to throw blame, but I know of no instance where CCOC has stood with residents to oppose the development of the 22 acres at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.  Please review the following opinion posted back in October 2014 concerning (Then) Mayor Shelley Stanczyk's attempt to zone the 22 acres for development.  See: Mayor Stanczyk: Using the promise of a fire station as bait to develop protected native areas. By: Grant Miller October 13, 2014
Palmetto Bay residents have reason to keep a close eye on Mayor Stanczyk, who has recently demonstrated that she is willing to sponsor removal of a protective covenant in the name of unrestrictive development. Homeowners used to feel secure in zoning decisions when a covenant was put in place to protect them well into the future.  I believe I recently read something on the Eye on Miami blog where it was stated  “There ought to be a law. Oops, there is and Mayor Shelley Stanczyk of Palmetto Bay thinks there is a creative way around it. That’s what our lawmakers do: dodge the laws.”
Click on the headline above (or CLICK HERE) to view the entire op ed article.

Yet, I cannot recall a single peep from anyone from CCOC on this effort at destroying 22 acres of Pineland that should be preserved.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Python update. SFWMD announcement: Participants in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl removed 80 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades while simultaneously helping to raise awareness about this important conservation issue

Pythons are just one of the numerous threats that impacts the Palmetto Bay / Cutler Bay area along with South Florida / the Everglades. Pythons and other invasive non-native constrictors have been killed and captured here in Palmetto Bay. (CLICK HERE) to view some of these prior posts. This is my 31st post regarding Invasive Species

The results are in for the  2020 Python Bowl!

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) put out a News Release on Jan. 25, 2020, providing an update that 80 pythons submitted during the 2020 Python Bowl! Noting that the "Competition to remove invasive pythons from Florida’s Everglades is a big success."

Click the link above (or CLICK HERE) to view this full release.

Participants in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl removed 80 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades while simultaneously helping to raise awareness about this important conservation issue. Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District announced the results and winners of the Python Removal Competition at the 2020 Python Bowl award ceremony at the Super Bowl Live event in Miami.
Here are the official Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl results:Most Pythons
  • Pro grand prize winner Mike Kimmel won a TRACKER 570 Off Road ATV for removing eight pythons.
  • Rookie grand prize winner Kristian Hernandez won a TRACKER 570 Off Road ATV for removing six pythons.
  • Pro second prize winner Lindsey Floyd won $750 for removing six pythons.
  • Rookie second prize winner Ethan O’Neil won $750 for removing four pythons.
  • Active service member or veteran winner Barry Offenburger (U.S. Army) won $1,000 for removing three pythons.
Longest Python
  • Pro grand prize winner Tom Rahill won $2,000 for a 12-foot, 7.3-inch
  • Rookie grand prize winner Kristian Hernandez won $2,000 for an 11-foot, 6.5-inch python.
  • Pro second prize winner Amy Siewe won $750 for a 10-foot, 7-inch python.
  • Rookie second prize winner Dave Mucci won $750 for an 11-foot, .08-inch python.
  • Active service member or veteran winner Dave Mucci (U.S. Air Force) won $1,000 for an 11-foot, .08-inch python.
Heaviest Python
  • Pro grand prize winner Tom Rahill won $2,000 for a 62-pound python.
  • Rookie grand prize winner Dave Mucci won $2,000 for a 49.4-pound python.
  • Pro second prize winner Dustin Crum won $750 for a 9-pound python.
  • Rookie second prize winner Kristian Hernandez won $750 for a 1-pound python.
  • Active service member or veteran winner Dave Mucci (U.S. Air Force) won $1,000 for a 49.4-pound python.
More than 750 people from 20 states registered to take part in the 10-day competition to remove Burmese pythons, which are decimating native wildlife populations in the Everglades. Everyone who registered passed a mandatory online training. Another 550 people took part in hands-on, optional safe-capture trainings that taught them how to identify, locate, and safely and humanely capture Burmese pythons. 
“The Miami Super Bowl Host Committee is very proud to have worked with these partners to bring attention to the threat that invasive species pose to The Everglades,” said Rodney Barreto, Chairman of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee. “There are many men and women who work diligently every day to combat the harmful impacts of nonnative species and it is imperative that we are all educated on the effects of the Burmese pythons to our native wildlife.” 
“Having more than 550 people come out to take part in optional in-person trainings is a testament to the public’s commitment to helping conserve Florida’s precious natural resources,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “Public support is critical as is the strong leadership of Gov. DeSantis and the support of our partners and sponsors including the South Florida Water Management District, the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, the University of Florida, Bass Pro Shops and the Bergeron Everglades Museum and Wildlife Foundation.” 
“More than 750 registrants joined Florida’s ramped-up efforts to remove harmful pythons from America’s Everglades as part of the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl,” said South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Drew Bartlett. “The national and international attention around Super Bowl LIV brought incredible public awareness to the danger invasive Burmese pythons pose and the importance of Everglades restoration. Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and everyone who participated in this important conservation effort.
In addition to the Python Challenge™, there are several ways the general public can continue to help control nonnative species such as Burmese pythons. Anyone can hunt pythons any time on private lands with landowner permission and on 22 public lands throughout south Florida. People can also take part in ongoing Python Patrol trainings to learn more about how to identify and capture Burmese pythons in the wild.  Learn more at 
The public can also help control invasive species by reporting nonnative fish and wildlife to the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), by reporting sightings online at or by downloading the IveGot1 smartphone app.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly, I did not take part this year, perhaps I will have an opportunity in the 2021 challenge. Also see:  May 25, 2018, 1,000 fewer pythons in the Everglades. Miami Herald Reports. I was part of one out of the 1,000.
Photo taken 2-18-2018 - photo from sanctioned/licensed hunt effort,
but not related to 2020 Python Bowl

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A vision of a possible future - but it will take work. Metrorail coming from the south.

It occurred on my Wednesday, January 22, 2020, commute to court when I saw a vision.  Photographs were taken, after all, it didn't happen if it isn't posted on social media.

I rubbed my eyes in disbelief, but quickly realized that I am definitely seeing what I am seeing here, but not to the extent of what should be. Many others with me on the train platform wondered whether this was a mirage, an optical illusion, caused by the extremely cold morning (for south Florida).

A transit TEASE! I never thought I’d see the day - a train came from the south to pick up passengers at Dadeland South. Yes, this could be our future, it should be our present. Too bad this train is not actually coming from Florida City. But at least I could see a vision of a possible future. 

The difference is that I would have already been on a train coming from further south rather than waiting for it at Dadeland.
Waiting for more than "A" train, waiting for the day this will be a regular occurrence.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

LUXCOM and the Bert J Harris claim against Palmetto Bay: Is the planning letter of November 30, 2018, a "$21 million dollar letter"?

Is this a $21 million dollar letter? Luxcom appears to believe so.

I have posted this link (CLICK HERE) to the complete 6 page November 30, 2018, land use letter prepared by the Village of Palmetto Bay for attorneys for Luxcom.  

This letter begins:
Thank you for your interest in working with the Village of Palmetto Bay to determine development possibilities for the land that is described by Folio 33-5024-000-0020 that was previously the site of the Florida Power & Light Cutler Plant.
This is a six page letter that requires deliberate reading. No one phrase or paragraph is determinative on its own.

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts related to LUXCOM's Bert J Harris claim, see PRIOR RELEVANT POSTS (the 'toolbox'):

January 13, 2020, blog post: involving Breaking News – 2:29 PM, Monday, January 13, 2020 - LUXCOM voluntarily dismisses the DOAH administrative action; gives notice of BERT J HARRIS claim potentially seeking over $21 million. Details including link to relevant documents.  As indicated, there are links provided to relevant documents that will allow those interested to do a deep dive into this matter.

January 17, 2020, A medium length primer on Bert J. Harris Act claims. What we can expect (including a timeline). Link to Bert J Harris Act provided.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

No sign of them here? Why is this critical intersection not marked? Street by street? Not here.

2:00 PM UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST: It gets worse. I spotted a Facebook update who went out to confirm or deny what I had posted early morning of Tuesday, 1/21/2020.  Here is the report from this FOSDU* Note that the identity of the person who posted has been redacted. 

As stated in the post: 
So, was the Mayor's (Referring to Mayor Cunningham's) Clean Street Sign initiative so good that some signs disappeared like the 174 SW 87th ??And some others were completely ignored.See exhibits A, B &C
The missing signs are confirmed, but note the second photo that documents the condition of the Street sign placed at SW 86th Avenue and SW 174th Street (a different intersection).

It is obvious that residents of this area are not "FOK's" (Friends of the Mayor) and are not receiving their spoils share of council delivered public works pork. Unfair!
Original post - 6:00 AM Tuesday, 1/21/2020:

It is easy to see what is there, but it is often harder to notice what is missing. Can you tell without me pointing it out? Look at the photos below, provided to me by a FOSDU*  

Do I need to give you a sign, or at least a hint? Not everyone uses a traffic APP to navigate Palmetto Bay. Anyone involved in a true "street by street" initiative should have been all over this issue by now.

Street signs remain critical. Why then, is the intersection of 87th Avenue at SW 174th Street without these signs? We need to separate and highlight the facts from the fiction being promoted. This is an additional example of why public works should be through professional administration, based upon need, rather than a political initiative through the Mayor or Village Council members.

We may know more on Thursday, January 23, 2020, as Palmetto Bay officials have called a Special Council Meeting for 7:00 PM, to be held at the Palmetto Bay Municipal Center. Item 3 of this meeting (III) is "A traffic circle on SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street."

Do you really want to know how to get action for your street? See the post(s) related to:  Getting action. Sometimes nagging works. Sign in process of restoration on day 67! An account of one neighborhood's experience with street signs under Mayor Cunningham's administration and how some streets appear to be treated better than others.


*FOSDU - a frequently used acronym for "Friend of South Dade Updates" Blog - concerned residents who don't necessarily want to be publicly identified.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Celebrating the leadership of Martin Luther King. Jan 20, 2020

Today, Monday, January 20, is the day we celebrate the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King in 2020.  President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation creating a federal holiday to honor King in 1983 . The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a leader about principles, not populism and doing things that are RIGHT, not because they are politically expedient.

I have posted a link to watch a posting on YouTube of the "I Have A Dream Speech" of August 28, 1963. Please take the time to view this important and inspiring historical statement:

For more information, check out 10 Things You May Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr., on by Christopher Klein. This online article was originally posted on April 4, 2013. It was updated January 15, 2020.

Happy Martin Luther King Holiday

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A fun time riding as a guest with AOS. 59 miles on Sunday. Central Miami-Dade to Hollywood Beach, Broward County, FL

Quality exercise is a great way to clear my mind. I was fortunate to ride 80.4 miles over the weekend, 59 miles of that rode today. 

I have taken my bike with me on travels and have ridden throughout different Counties and States, but this was my first ride that took me from central Miami-Dade (Ponce by UM) crossing the Dade-Broward county line to Hollywood Beach.  I often head south and accumulate mileage riding from Palmetto Bay to as far south as North Key Largo, FL via Card Sound Road (yes, crossing the Dade/Monroe County line.

Winds were less than Saturday. Ride was beautiful and fast at times. Stopping for traffic, bridges and one flat tire. A great day riding with a great group.
Above photos - the group at the halfway point at Hollwood Beach, cooling down and preparing to make the turn, heading back to Miami-Dade County.

Photo immediately below - Group stopped at the light in Golden Beach, preparing to cross the Dade/Broward Line.
Photos below: downtown Miami

Friday, January 17, 2020

A medium length primer on Bert J. Harris Act claims. What we can expect (including a timeline). Link to Bert J Harris Act provided.

Be thankful that Bert J Harris claims don’t arise every day. But this also means that the law is one that is still developing, so there is some uncertainty, so less predictability, as to how these serious claims for (alleged) deprivation of property rights may play out. 

I offer up some perspective to answer questions I have been asked on this matter. I am publishing this response here for public viewing as well as to assist our first time Palmetto Bay “Interim” Village Manager who has no experience in these types of matters as well as Palmetto Bay’s recently hired in-house Village Attorney (I am unaware as to his level of expertise on this specific litigation). I am trying to be helpful. The main point is Palmetto Bay needs to manage this litigation correctly as this could be the first of a few Bert J Harris claims, unfortunately, rather than a unique claim. Palmetto Bay must avoid setting bad law precedent for future litigation.

This article is in follow up to the Monday, January 13, 2020, blog post: involving Breaking News – 2:29 PM, Monday, January 13, 2020 - LUXCOM voluntarily dismisses the DOAH administrative action; gives notice of BERT J HARRIS claim potentially seeking over $21 million. Details including link to relevant documents.  As indicated, there are links provided to relevant documents that will allow those interested to do a deep dive into this matter.

Before a lawsuit is filed for a Harris Act claim, certain prerequisites are required under the statute. The Bert J Harris claim must be submitted not less than 150 days prior to filing a lawsuit under the act (Completed by LUXCOM on 1/13/2020). This claim must include a bona fide valid appraisal in support of the claim. (Completed by LUXCOM on 1/13/2020). Both the claim letter and appraisal were delivered to Palmetto Bay.

Palmetto Bay is now on the clock, and is required to either make a written settlement offer or state that Palmetto Bay will take no action within 150 days. (Deadline date:  Thursday, June 11, 2020)

If no settlement is reached during the 150-day notice period, Palmetto Bay must then issue a written statement of allowable uses identifying the allowable uses.

LUXCOM has to follow this procedure, or Palmetto Bay will be entitled to a dismissal of the Bert J. Harris Act claim.

Remedies – the $21,760,000.00 question.

Cash or rezoning – much is a matter of timing and how Palmetto Bay responds. 

LUXCOM appears to be alleging $21,760,000.00 in damages under Bert J Harris. The important allegation is contained in the Appraisal (Page two of appraisal, overall page eight of 63) that the Bert J Harris damages are projected at $21,760,000.00. The appraisers arrive at that number by setting their appraised value for the property as of July 29, 2019 at $34,000,000.00 based upon the value as an institutional use. The same appraisers then set a value for this same property predicated upon the re-zoning for the Estate Density Residential as of July 30, 2019: $12,240,000.00.  This results in the opinion of the appraisers for the "Bert J. Harris" claim as of July 30, 2019, or: $21,760,000.00.

Obviously Palmetto Bay will seek its own appraisal. However, it will be bound by the appraiser’s report.  Perhaps the appraiser will opine that there is no difference in value between the value of institutional use for example on July 29, 2019, as when the property was rezoned (as of July 30, 2019). Obviously, any different in value by Palmetto Bay appraisers (if requested) will set a minimum (floor) for potential damages, just as LUXCOM is bound by a maximum claim (ceiling or high water mark) of $21,760,000.00.

Another aspect of the act is encouragement for the parties to resolve claims by using alternative remedies (sounds a lot like the 12/12/2019 dispute resolution event, that did not go well for Palmetto Bay – see: January 7, 2020, South Dade Updates Guest Blog- view of the 12/12/2019Palmetto Bay / Miami-Dade County conflict resolution proceeding (let’s hope the Village has learned from this 12/12/2019 debacle and will be better prepared for this round involving a potential $21,700,000.00 plus Bert J. Harris claim – we are talking serious money here, not stop signs)

Palmetto Bay, if it acts timely, can avoid monetary damages, but, [and again, during a limited period (unless extended)] Palmetto Bay must make a written settlement offer that can include adjustment of land development; increase in density, intensity, or use; transfer of developmental rights (TDRs); land swaps or exchanges; mitigation, including payments in lieu of onsite mitigation; location on the least sensitive portion of the property; conditioning the amount of development or use permitted; etc. This takes a willingness to actually take a stand and make an offer. Obviously none of this would occur if Palmetto Bay officials opine that the Village (and its taxpayers) are at no risk from a Bert J Harris Act claim.

Big Issues with remedies

Once a lawsuit is filed, the court is limited to remedy monetary damages only. This may pit Palmetto Bay's appraisal (if one is obtained) v. LUXCOM’s appraisal of  $21,760,000.00.

Special circumstances may allow for the parties to revisit the monetary and work out a zoning option, but both sides need to be willing and sufficiently savvy to do so.

The “Toolbox” (resource materials):

The actual ACT online (CLICK HERE or title line below):

70.001   Private property rights protection.
70.002  Property Owner Bill of Rights.
70.20 Balancing of interests.
70.45 Governmental exactions.
70.51  Land use and environmental dispute resolution.
70.80 Construction of ss. 70.001, 70.45, and 70.51.
70.001 Private property rights protection.—
(1) This act may be cited as the “Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act.” The Legislature recognizes that some laws, regulations, and ordinances of the state and political entities in the state, as applied, may inordinately burden, restrict, or limit private property rights without amounting to a taking under the State Constitution or the United States Constitution. The Legislature determines that there is an important state interest in protecting the interests of private property owners from such inordinate burdens. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that, as a separate and distinct cause of action from the law of takings, the Legislature herein provides for relief, or payment of compensation, when a new law, rule, regulation, or ordinance of the state or a political entity in the state, as applied, unfairly affects real property.
BLOG EDITOR'S DISCLAIMER: I will update with more information in additional future posts. This information is put out to provide some idea of the alleged basis for the LUXCOM claim under BERT J HARRIS ACT. How the claim actually proceeds, if at all is dependent in large part upon how the claim is pursued by LUXCOM as well as defended by the Village of Palmetto Bay.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Lighter side - Photo of the Day - The phone book has arrived?

Remember when 'the greater Miami area' was served by the White Pages and two volumes of the Yellow Pages? 

I received this must smaller edition on Wednesday, 1/15/2020. And it was delivered the 'old fashioned way' in a bag, tossed onto my driveway.

The "Real Yellow Pages" even bills itself as "The original search engine." Gallows humor?
Bed side reading.

Please recycle.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

QUICK BITE – Observation of the issues generated at the “Zoning Hearing / LPA meetings” held Monday, January 13, 2020 – I see issues and a glaring need for a reboot to survive court action or rejection by the State.

Monday night concerns - Should I watch college football or Palmetto Bay hearings? Tough choice. I tuned in to the Palmetto Bay Land Use/Zoning Hearings held during the evening of Monday, January 13, 2020, for a few minutes. However, I do admit that I was a bit distracted in my activities by the College Football National Championship game (as were most of us sports loving South Floridians).

Please help me. Did I see what I thought I saw? Specifically did I see a mayor and Village Council voting on an ordinance that affects an entire area, but apparently was noticed (or more correctly – mis-noticed) only as a specific zoning / LPA matter affecting specifically listed properties and not correctly listed as a reduction in vested property rights?

It appeared to get worse as I watched. It  seemed that Mayor Cunningham and the remainder of the Village Council did not know what they were voting on (well, 3 of the remaining 4 – as Council Member David Singer did recognize and raise the issue of notice and legality, that the proceeding - not the decision - was improper) – the density of this ordinance (again, that they had been ‘hard at work on for over a year’) was greater than the prior DUV. Again, this was after more than a year of ‘workshops’ and other meetings that involved ‘preliminary votes.’ Council Member Singer did tell me later on that he is in favor of the 2,500 cap, but that it must be put in place properly, as required by law.

Panic appeared to ensue and a reactionary and arbitrary cap of 2,500 units appeared to be placed on this downtown area. This, seemingly, without notice to all properties located within this downtown area or for the general population of Palmetto Bay.

So before we get all excited and applaud this arbitrary 2,500 unit cap for the downtown (which may or not be a good thing, if properly put in place), let’s consider whether this action is:

1. Likely to survive court challenge as there appears to be improper notice – both to the public as well as the affected landowners.
2. Arbitrary, not based upon any evidence – yet another “Palmer” litigation situation.
3. Legal – this appears to downzone properties without giving them notice (government does have discretion in areas to make land use decisions adverse to a property owner, but you have to at least give notice as to the action).
4. Liable to create yet another Bert J Harris Act issue (more on this in other areas, but think “LUXCOM”), and, finally (for now – there are other issue that I could, but will not address at this time),
5. Does this action create a conflict between the Palmetto Bay Zoning Code and Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP)? – (but there are workarounds).

My prediction? At best, I see a re-do or re-boot in the future, or, at worst case, yet more Bert J Harris Claims. And, this is if this hastily and arbitrarily revised ordinance can even get the required review by the State - It may not get transmitted to the State for review.

Moral should be (if there is one for this group): Anything worth doing, is worth doing properly. As much as I wanted to watch and enjoy college football, it is clear that we all need to keep a watchful eye on this Mayor and Village Council.  Has this current Mayor and Village Council forgotten the hard lesson of arbitrarily picking numbers out of the air (for populist approval) from the Palmer litigation fiasco?

Quote by Hunter S Thompson: “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.”

BREAKING NEWS - County was set to remove stop signs, but will wait for Village Council to reconsider Traffic Circle

This is breaking news.  Miami-Dade County was set to remove the stop signs on 87th Avenue at SW 174th Street today - January 15, 2020.

Thanks to resident involvement and complaints, Miami-Dade County will now hold off on the sign removal to allow the Palmetto Bay Mayor and Village Council to reconsider its position on the Traffic Circle for this location.

Another great example of leadership at the local grassroots level - by involved residents.

IMPORTANT BACKGROUND see: January 13, 2020, Palmetto Bay - salvage what you can before the door actually closes on the traffic circle for 174 and 87th Avenue,  where I have advocated for cooler heads, that it is time for Palmetto Bay to move forward on the Traffic Circle – and this should be done before the 4-way stop signs are removed and the “do not block the box (intersection)" paint is placed on 87 avenue. This change is currently scheduled for January 17, 2020 - just days from this post. The Palmetto Bay lawsuit seeking injunctive relief is not going anywhere and it will go nowhere – at least anywhere productive. 
Photos above demonstrate the options for Palmetto Bay on 87th Av at 174:
"Do Not Block" paint versus landscaped traffic circle. Which looks and performs better?

UPDATE - 5:00 PM, January 15, 2020:  Palmetto Bay officials have called a Special Council Meeting for 7:00 PM, Thursday, January 23, 2020, to be held at the Palmetto Bay Municipal Center. Item 3 of this meeting (III) is "A traffic circle on SW 87th Avenue and SW 174th Street.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pictures often tell the story, but I can't tell from photo. Has anyone else observed this activity along C100?

This photo was sent to me by a friend who resides along the C100 canal - the photo was received mid morning on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

I have posted prior photos of happenings in this canal, from invasive fish and iguanas, hunting iguanas and canal repair/restoration.

The observation is of spraying taking place from those on this boat.

Has anyone else observe this and, if so, can someone provide additional insight as to what is happening in the C100 canal.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Real Breaking News – 2:29 PM, Monday, January 13, 2020 - LUXCOM voluntarily dismisses the DOAH administrative action; gives notice of BERT J HARRIS claim potentially seeking over $21 million. Details including link to relevant documents.

Perhaps LUXCOM would rather face the current Village Attorney on a Bert J Harris claim than litigate against Dexter Lehtinen, Esq, before the ALJ later this month.

The dismissal simply states that LUXCOM has 
...opted to assert its legal rights against the Village, pursuant to the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act as set forth in Fla. Stat. Sec 70.001 ...
As part of this document, LUXCOM served the Village of Palmetto Bay with the pre-suit claim and supporting appraisal pursuant to Section 70.001(4)(a) of the Bert Harris Act.

CLICK HERE to download and view the entire 63 page document (2 pages voluntarily dismissal)

There is a document (beginning page 6) entitled "AN APPRAISAL OF THE FORMER FPL CUTLER POWER PLANT SITE LOCATED AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF SW 67TH AVENUE AND SW 152ND AVENUE"(Hereafter simply "Appraisal")

LUXCOM appears to be alleging $21,760,000 in damages under Bert J Harris. The important allegation is contained in the Appraisal (Page two of appraisal, overall page eight of 63) that the Bert J Harris damages are projected at $21,760,000 – an excerpt follows:
Based upon the scope of the assignment, our investigation and analysis of the information contained within this report, as well as our general knowledge of real estate valuation procedures and market conditions, it is our opinion that the Retrospective Market Value of the Fee Simple Estate of the Subject Property, as an institutional use, as of July 29, 2019 was:
It is also our opinion that the Retrospective Market Value of the Fee Simple Estate of the Subject Property, considering the land and zoning use to Estate Density Residential, as of July 30, 2019 was:
Based on these two valuations, it is our opinion that the damages claim for the “Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act”, as of July 30, 2019 was:

I need more time to review, so updates will follow. I want to get this information out for public discussion. This is an interesting development. We will see the reaction from the Village.  I look forward to a strong and spirited defense.