Monday, June 29, 2020

Harsh Impact - Gov. DeSantis vetoes $1 billion from state budget. Palmetto Bay loses the entire $100K appropriation

Palmetto Bay's next budget became an even bigger challenge for this upcoming budget year. The line item veto pen was glowing RED and the cuts were deep. 

This is why you never count your legislative chickens before the budget is signed. Many eggs were broken by Gov. DeSantis to make the current state budget omelet as Gov. DeSantis vetoed $1 billion from state budget due to the COVID created crisis that significant cut State tax revenue. 

The two year scorecard:
Zero received -  $ 1,790,800 requested by Palmetto Bay officials sought in 2019 for 3 projects.

Zero received -  $ 3,245,900 requested by Palmetto Bay officials requested in 2020 for 3 projects.

CLICK HERE to view the 2020 Veto Report. Palmetto Bay's budget veto is listed on page 11 (of 18 total pages)

From the 2020 Veto List:
Page#  Line    Item     Description                                                                              Amount vetoed 
  11        1635   A 114    Palmetto Bay Sub-Basin 61 Construction (HB 3461)       $100,000.00

IMPACT - No stormwater money for this upcoming budget year. No assistance of any type from Tallahassee for this upcoming 2020-21 Palmetto Bay budget. A realistic assessment will need to be made as to what the carry over impact will be for the next legislative session. Costs for legislative travel and lobbyists should not be underwritten by the Village taxpayers if there is no expectation of obtaining assistance. 0-2 doesn't bode well for year 3 of this current mayor and council.

PENDING  Costs to Palmetto Bay taxpayers for legislative items last two years
$ ZERO       State appropriations granted to Palmetto Bay through legislative travel to Tallahassee for the same last two years.

The Tool Box - prior relevant posts:

May 15, 2020, 

May 14, 2020, 

April 13, 2020,

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Why I ride - enjoying nature on a bike ride. Dora's Gravel Explorers Ride 6 23 2020 Deer

I missed this ride. I wish I hadn't. The Gravel rides are quite interesting. Let me know if you'd like information on how to join in the rides.

Here is another video from this same ride (same deer, different angle):


Gravel riding - Saturday, June 20, 2020. Another pictorial history of why I bike. Where I let the pictures tell the story of another great gravel ride - this one with a small (socially distanced) group along the Tamiami Trail just west of 137th Avenue. This ride occurred on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Breaking News - Third DCA Reverses and Remands the LUXCOM case back to the trial court for further proceedings

“Reversed and remanded” – the decision of the 3 judge panel from the Third District Court of Appeal in the opinion released today, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in the appeal of  Yacht Club by Luxcom, LLC, vs. Village of Palmetto Bay, No. 3D19-1495, June 24, 2020 

The Judges concluded that Yacht Club’s complaint, seeking a declaration as to the validity of two provisions of the Village’s code, states a cause of action for declaratory relief under chapter 86. The Judge of the Third District therefore, reversed the trial court’s dismissal order and remand for further proceedings.  In other words - unless there is a change of heart in a motion for rehearing, this matter goes back to the trial court for more litigation.

Note that this opinion is not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing, if one is filed.

CLICK HERE to view the full eight (8) page order rendered Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

I will dive deeper into this order as time permits, but I wanted to get the information relating to this case and its immediate impact to my readers.

EDITOR’S NOTE – BOTTOM LINE – it’s the process employed –using an ordinance - and not any notice or failure to timely notice by any member of the village staff.  From my review, it is my opinion that this matter should have gone to a proper zoning hearing rather than political posturing and acting though an ordinance.
The Court:
While we express no opinion on the merits of Yacht Club’s claim, we have little difficulty concluding that the claim, as pled by Yacht Club, is cognizable under chapter 86. Section 86.021, in particular, provides in relevant part as follows: “Any person . . . whose rights . . . are affected by a statute, . . . or by municipal ordinance . . . may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under such statute . . . [or] municipal ordinance.” § 86.021, Fla. Stat. (2019). 
The proposed ordinances – essentially initiated by an agenda notice rather than an application – would change the allowed uses of property owned by Yacht Club. If the challenged provisions of sections 30-30.7(a) and 30-30.8(a) are invalid, as alleged, because they run afoul of the requirements of section 163.3181, then presumably the Village’s proposed ordinances would need to be initiated by application. Because Yacht Club’s rights are affected by the process that the Village is currently employing to initiate land use changes to Yacht Club’s property, Yacht Club’s claim – alleging an injury sufficient to warrant redress – is ripe for adjudication ….
More to come 

Yet another car v bike conflict along the Old Cutler Trail – a multi-use path, not a dedicated bike lane.

I have personally witnessed numerous motor vehicle v. bicyclist accidents along the Old Cutler Trail - accidents at the entrance of Thalatta Estate, the library and at the commercial strip just north of SW 168th Street (where the 6/24/2020 incident occurred). Drivers are watching for cars on the roadway. Pedestrians can stop with the next step, but cyclists travelling anywhere from 12-20 MPH cannot.

Palmetto Bay Police 4 units and MDFR Truck 62 responded to a cyclist struck along Old Cutler Road, just north of SW 168th Street. The Cyclist was using the multi-path - known as the Old Cutler Trail

The Old Cutler Trail is not a protected bike lane. Too few are willing to acknowledge that the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and the bicyclist is a driver under the Laws of the State of Florida (see Florida Statutes, Chapter 316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—). Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. 

Predictability is a huge factor in preventing accidents. Drivers look for the oncoming motor vehicles before they make turns. Cyclists on a multi-path are often far from the focused field of vision for motor vehicle drivers, especially if the cyclist is riding on a multi-path in a direction that is counter to the direction of the lane it is adjacent to (e.g. riding southbound on the Old Cutler Path, which is adjacent to the north bound lane of traffic on Old Cutler Road). Cyclists are often obscured by these vehicles and have moved into the path of the vehicle by the time the oncoming traffic has cleared.

The bottom line is that a multi-path is not a protected bike lane and anyone who thinks these paths are “safer” than bike lanes are fooling themselves (and putting people at risk). The accident today is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, many are slight conflicts (thankfully) and therefore are not even reported.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day 2020

I want to wish a very Happy Father’s Day this Sunday to all fathers and grandfathers and those who fill the role of Dad, who live, work, play, or raise their family here in and around our communities.

Father’s Day is a day to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. A special Father’s Day wish goes out to the families who are separated due to military service, especially overseas

“Fun Facts” relating to Father’s Day:

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Father's Day is the fifth most popular card-sending holiday, with an estimated $100 million in card sales. Husbands, grandfathers, uncles, sons and sons-in-law are honored as well as father.

Neck ties, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are the number one gift for Father’s Day.

See for additional history on Father's Day.

2 Fun quote for this year:   

Stanley T. Banks; (Character, movie - Father of the Bride (1991):
You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.

Kid Rock (musician):
Being a father helps me be more responsible... you see more things than you've ever seen. 

Happy Father’s Day! 

 Enjoy the YouTube videos - both from the movie "Parenthood."


Gravel riding - Saturday, June 20, 2020. Another pictorial history of why I bike.

Another installment of why I bike. I will let the pictures tell the story of another great gravel ride - this one with a small (socially distanced) group along the Tamiami Trail just west of 137th Avenue. This ride occurred on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
And, by the way, the group saw deer ๐ŸฆŒ , box turtles , ๐Ÿข lots of birds , ๐Ÿฆ… gators ๐ŸŠ and a boar ๐Ÿ—

Friday, June 19, 2020

Back pedaling. Palmetto Bay - has relinquished its honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

I have blogged on this topic several times. Now the Miami Herald as taken notice, see: Bike lanes to nowhere: Miami lags behind other cities during coronavirus bicycling boom, by Linda Robertson, 6/18/2020, noting that:
A bicycling boom has swept the world, propelled by the coronavirus pandemic. Cities have reacted to plummeting traffic by creating new bike lanes and connecting old ones for workers needing an alternative to subways and buses, for stir-crazy families and for people running errands, seeking exercise or visiting friends.
  ***   ***   ***Just when bike infrastructure is in high demand, nothing is happening in a metropolis consistently ranked as one of the deadliest places in the country for cyclists, an audit by Transit Alliance Miami found. A 10-block stretch of Ocean Drive in South Beach is the only street in greater Miami that’s been completely closed to cars in response to the pandemic, mainly to relieve crowding in Lummus Park and enable socially distanced dining.
As reported in the Herald, South Florida leaders have not designated new bike lanes and continue to let old bike master plans that map out a cycling network languish on the shelf. So let’s take a look at what has happened since the change in administrations here in Palmetto Bay:

Why have long term strategic plans if elected officials are going to ignore them? We all realize that new mayors, new councils, bring with them new policies and priorities. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is shortsighted. Regardless, there should be room for bike/motorist safety with this current mayor and Council. The mixed messages delivered during the election are being sorted out through ongoing actions (and in-action).  Please see my prior post of November 21, 2018, relating to the $1,000,000 TAP grant obtained for bike lane safety improvements on SW 82nd Avenue. It is decision time: Bike lanes or not, safe streets or not.  Follow through with the Palmetto Bay Traffic Master Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan or not? Do you know what has happened since that time? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Bike lanes are important, both for the safety of the cyclists as well as providing additional lane space for motorists.

by Amelia Neptune

As more Americans turn to biking during the pandemic, the League of American Bicyclists honors the communities across the country making biking better for everyone 

The League of American Bicyclists honored 38 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in its Spring 2020 round of awards. There were eight first-time applicants earning Honorable Mentions. The 38 first-time communities join 482 total BFC awardees in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.  I will spoil the anticipation – Palmetto Bay is off the list. (CLICK HERE to view the list of 482 exclusive communities)
 “Undeniably, during the pandemic more Americans are biking to get around and to experience the joy that comes with being on a bike ,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The League is proud to recognize  these Bicycle Friendly Communities where leaders, both in government and advocacy, have committed to building better places for people to ride, whether they are new or seasoned. Bringing the joy of biking to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds is at the core of the mission of the League, and these Bicycle Friendly Communities are doing just that.”
All those families riding Palmetto Bay – and yet their efforts are not supported by our local mayor and village council. Sad. And out of touch.

We were once on our way to completing the Palmetto Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian master plan - a professional strategic plan for roadway safety. That is now off track and the talk among some professionals is whether Palmetto Bay is going to turn back $1 Million in current awarded grants as well as forgoing future roadway grants. Go back to the Palmetto Bay Strategic Plan (approved February 2019 - under this current mayor and council) and search "bicycle" - look how many times it is mentioned. Compare talk versus action. Promises versus delivery. 

The League of American Bicyclists had once listed Palmetto Bay as an "honorable mention" for re-starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in our community. 

Communities that earn an Honorable Mention are recognized for a year. These communities are recognized for starting efforts to address the need of bicyclists in their community. They often have popular shared use paths, community-wide bicycling events, or recent bicycle planning processes. Over 100 communities that originally earned an Honorable Mention have gone on to be awarded a Bronze designation or better.
Please see my prior post of December 5, 2017, Palmetto Bay earned an honorable mention as a bicycle friendly community.

Now it appears that we are no longer a listed community. Good work squandered.

And, by the way, Miami-Dade County is listed as a Bronze community.  Palmetto Bay has officially sunk below Miami-Dade County on this issue!  Who remained and moved up on the list? City of Miami, Village of Key Biscayne, Doral, Miami-Dade County, South Miami, Miami Beach and Miami Shores are all communities that have moved up to Bronze or Silver certification. We, Palmetto Bay, was once with or even ahead of these communities.

This while the City of Miami was recently Awarded Bronze as a Bicycle Friendly Community, recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as having made significant progress since last year's recognition as a Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The City of Miami will continue to expand its bicycle network and work to create a safer more bicycle friendly atmosphere.  Meanwhile, what is Palmetto Bay's next steps toward updating its traffic infrastructure and promoting alternative and healthier methods of travel within our Village. I will be covering this matter throughout my blogs. We have bike safety issues throughout the village. Palmetto Bay was working through issues on 82nd Avenue, SW 136th Street, SW 168th Street as well as Old Cutler Road.

Palmetto Bay families enjoy bicycling. Its family time.  See just one example: A great start - the inaugural "Bike By The Bay" - Saturday, October 17, 2015

Will Palmetto Bay relinquish its title to #TheBikeDistrict?  Bicycling Palmetto Bay has been a large part of our character and has been integrated into many of our events such as our Earth Week celebrations:

CLICK HERE to view my prior posts relating to bicycling in our Palmetto Bay community.

CLICK HERE to see the entire list posted online by the League of American Bicyclists. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Ominous clouds of development – Southland mall in foreclosure and therefore in play. What will be and will it be for better or for worse? It could be spectacular or spectacularly bad.

Southland Mall – the expect demise is not making many happy. Cutler Ridge / Southland Mall has been home to dinner / movie night for many of us, but this mall has not been thriving for quite some time. Sorry to see this mall go in the present form, as it has some good restaurants and a great, convenient movie theater. Who remembers Lord & Taylor, Dillard’s? What anchors remain there are ghosts of prior selves: Sears and JC Penny’s. Other current large anchor tenants include TJ Maxx, Regal Cinemas and LA Fitness.

Southland Mall, formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall, opened in 1960. It was renovated in 2005. It was originally hammered by Hurricane Andrew. The Coronavirus pandemic merely hastened this current sad situation where the mall has now gone into foreclosure – see “The Real Deal” online south Florida real estate news: Wells Fargo seeks to foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay, TRD MIAMI / June 09, 2020, by Keith Larsen

Also see Miami Herald online: Investors foreclose on Southland Mall in Cutler Bay for defaulting on payment, by Rene Rodriguez and Rebecca San Juan, June 10, 2020.

The lawsuit alleges the mall owner, Investcorp, defaulted on its debt payments in April. 

Something is going to happen at the Southland Mall site. The question is what and how much.

The Word On The Street: “Major players” are circling looking at obtaining it to tear down and build to the standards set up in Cutler Bay planning code.

Existing Property rights: For this site is 20 story max – 5,500 unit density (or Palmetto Bay’s entire DUV on a single site in Cutler Bay). Plus commercial. I also note that this Southland site is contained within a unified parcel. The above does not include the Macy’s and Sears parcels which have their own density, which I believe is up to 250 units per acre in what Cutler Bay code considers to be the core area.

Fair Questions? I wonder if the former unsolicited bid group – the $72 Million entertainment district group will appear at Southland?

IMPACT: (discussed below – overall, for Cutler Bay and for Palmetto Bay)

Overall: This will impact the bus lanes – the councils of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay should join together and renew a push for the metrorail extension, rather than continue to acquiesce on the shinier, better bus (BRT). This is why metrorail should be extended at least down to 211th (adjacent to the Southland property). This could be a true Transit Oriented Development (TOD). AN opportunity missed and another example as to how there is little vision paid to the real future needs for transit in South Miami-Dade.

For Cutler Bay: A potential entertainment district destination for their town, their residents. Road impact fees and an increase in ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance their town and address traffic issues. The Town Council could possibly extract assistance from any applicant to address traffic issues that impact Cutler Bay.

For Palmetto Bay:  US1 is at a standstill which will be made worse. The promise of the BRT may have all the same impact as the general promise of the ½ cent transportation sales tax – in other words – not much. The reality may end up being further traffic diversion off US1 east to 87 Avenue and Old Cutler Road. Bridge? No doubt. The Character of ‘old’  87 avenue transforming from neighborhood roads to a 4 lane surface highway as we have in Doral south through to Westchester. There will be no road impact fees or increase in village ad valorum taxes that can be used to enhance Palmetto Bay or to address any new traffic issues.

What properties are included in this foreclosure and which will be involved in any redevelopment? I reviewed the property records posted online with Miami-Dade County. These appear to be the relevant properties:

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 1 - 36-6007-020-0020 - 671,239 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 2 - 36-6007-020-0030 -  85,973 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 3 - 36-6007-020-0040 -  81,415 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL SUB SEC 4 - 36-6007-020-0010 - 146,658 Sq.Ft.

CUTLER RIDGE MALL Unplatted - 36-6007-000-0546 - 193,422 Sq.Ft

CLICK HERE to access the folder where I have posted .PDF print outs of the above property records.

Note that this list appears not to include the outparcels along US1 (including the Arby's and Olive Garden restaurants)  Nor does it include the Mercedes dealership or the two office buildings (the former Town Hall site).

The bottom line: Get a head of this before it has an opportunity to overwhelm us. Are the current officials up to the challenges? Believe me, this site, done properly or not, clearly has the potential to profoundly change both Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay. The question is will it be for better or worse?

The irony - the Southland carousel (pictured above).  Many years of good fun for kids, but now Southland is going to get South Dade started on the next go-round relating to density. Hop on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Appellate court update: YACHT CLUB BY LUXCOM, LLC vs. VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, FLORIDA, Third DCA Case Number: 3D19-1495, Lower Tribunal Case(s):19-11663

This is an update - Palmetto Bay is currently embroiled in an Appeal pending before the Third District Court of Appeal. We are at decision point. All the briefs have been filed. The Third District Court held Oral Argument on June 1, 2020. All that is left at this point is for the appellate court to discuss and render a decision. 

There are times when supplemental authority is filed, but that does not appear to be the case here - I am basing this on the fact that oral argument was 9 days ago (June 1) and I would have expected supplemental filings to been made very shortly to the oral argument.

This appeal is of a dismissal of Circuit Court Case No.: 2019-011663-CA-31 (Order rendered 7/01/2019) that dismissed the complaint filed by LUXCOM. The basis of the dismissal was stated in the final order of dismissal in that the Plaintiff, LUXCOM, has other remedies, that LUXCOM is "...fully able to raise and assert all of the claims asserted in this Complaint, after final agency action, through a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on a zoning map amendment, or through a Petition to the Division of Administrative Hearings on a comprehensive plan amendment."

See PRIOR RELATED POST of November 19, 2019, Litigation update: YACHT CLUB BY LUXCOM, LLC vs. VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, FLORIDA, Third District case number 3D19-1495

I will post the Order once it is rendered and published to the online court docket. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Thank you Miami-Dade County. My garbage cart has been repaired and put back away. Services provided.

Thank you Robert and Cecil from Miami-Dade Department of Solid Waste. The lid to my garbage cart has been prepared today (Monday, June 8, 2020). My cart is now put away.

This post updates and closes out the prior related posts, including: May 26, 2020, Please don't cite me $150 through Code Enforcement as I am following the County rules. Please, Palmetto Bay, do not interfere with my essential County services.

Personally, I was never cited - nor should I have been, but sometimes that my point is that some times that can you see left out could be one waiting for service by Miami-Dade County.
My garbage cart is repaired - a new lid placed on it and the cart has been placed back where it belongs, obscured from view. 

I even received an e-mail confirming that the service has been completed:
Mon, Jun 8 at 3:35 PM
Your Green Garbage Cart order 20-10335909 has been successfully completed.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please email or dial 311.To submit other requests to Miami-Dade County, please visit

Again, thank you Robert and Cecil from Miami-Dade Department of Solid Waste.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A ticking time bomb for village residents. Deadlines are here. Are Palmetto Bay officials properly prepared to defend residents in the Bert J Harris claim filed by LUXCOM?

June 11, 2020, will be a very important day for Palmetto Bay residents.  Deadlines are approaching. Has anyone heard anything relating to Palmetto Bay aggressively defending the 1 unit per acre zoning put in place for the LUXCOM property? Defending the Bert J Harris claim served by LUXCOM (VIEW HERE)

The timeline is important - the 150 day pre-suit period expires June 11, 2020 (unless an extension was agreed upon). Palmetto Bay was required to either make a written settlement offer or state that Palmetto Bay will take no action. 

Settlement must be reached during this 150-day notice period, if not the risk to Palmetto Bay residents is as much as $21,760,000.00.

The word is that negotiations have been ongoing; that the Village of Palmetto Bay has made the following offers to LUXCOM (note that it appears there is nothing in writing):
  • 145 units (which is significantly more than the 1 unit per acre limitation imposed by Palmetto Bay - promised to residents by this mayor and council)
  • Revert the zoning back to "institutional" but specifically excluding a use for a hospital, or
  • Participate in binding arbitration.
My first question is what authority does the Village Attorney have to make these offers? Is there an agreement between the mayor and village council members? There were no executive sessions - these are held outside of public view, but transcripts are recorded and those are released to the public after the litigation ends. Are the offers made in a "If we, would you?" sense, requiring approval by the village council after a public hearing? Or as alleged through an anonymous source; were the council members polled?  Polling would be troubling as that is a question in the abstract and removes the public and public hearing from the ongoing zoning issue.

This is not poker where players are dealt random cards from a deck, and which the cards are unknown to other players. There is an art to bluffing in poker. But litigation is not poker. We are dealing with real life issues with $21 Million liability to the village taxpayers plus future development at stake. Palmetto Bay can't hide our cards in this real life claim of Bert J Harris. It is tough to properly evaluate without seeing the preparation, the due diligence, of Palmetto Bay in defending the residents on this attempt to dramatically upzone this property. 

Another concern is arbitration. I have no confidence in this administration in binding arbitration - why? Arbitration sounds a lot like the 12/12/2019 dispute resolution event in an unrelated case against Miami-Dade County for traffic signs. That did not go well for Palmetto Bay – see: January 7, 2020, South Dade Updates Guest Blog- view of the 12/12/2019 Palmetto 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 $$$ ($21 million plus) here, not stop signs].

Does Palmetto Bay have evidence in support? Has Palmetto Bay obtained its own appraisal in opposition, I don't know what concerns me more: obtaining an appraisal that confirms LUXCOM's claim of $21 million in damages or failing. Luxcom has an appraisal to support their claim of $21,760,000.00. Do we, the residents of Palmetto Bay, have an appraisal to defend this case, to show that the zoning/comp plan decision to 1 unit per acre did not cause any decrease in the value of the property?

Fair questions:

  • What is the plan to defend the LUXCOM claim?
  • Has LUXCOM agreed to an extension to the June 11 deadline?
  • Has Palmetto Bay obtained a counter appraisal?
  • Will Palmetto Bay officials hold the line on the single unit an acre as promised at hearings as well as in the 2018 election?
  • Were any other details discussed in the negotiations, including, but not limited to: road improvements at cost to LUXCOM, public access to the boat ramp, any land for a public park, or parking for the Deering North park property?
This is a lead in to some small bite articles detailing this important LUXCOM issue. Watch this space for update articles.

Is this yet another example making promises and then failing to deliver? Posturing and delay over resolution in line with the promises? Many are shocked that the Mayor Cunningham's administration has recently endorsed 480 units for the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC) (see the Interim Manager's report). This after an election where the her promise was to stop the alleged over development. (See June 2, 2020, 480 Units at the Palmetto Bay Village Center - Village tax dollars were used to create a record that supports the applicant for this zoning hearing. Is this what you voted for?). We are all waiting to see how this "480" recommendation shakes out when and if this actually goes to an actual zoning hearing where the votes are taken. Or will the PBVC be also settled through subsequent court action, where this mayor and council can claim plausible deniability? 

Now we, the residents, need to be concerned whether there is even more political backpedaling, this time on LUXCOM. The one unit an acre zoning was represented as fully defensible by both the Mayor Cunningham and Vice Mayor DuBois. If it ism then why the offer for significantly more units? Once again, the issue is whether this promise and council action - setting one unit an acre - will be aggressively defended or will the political realities and promise breaking rear its ugly head once again. 

The bottom line: LUXCOM has few true expectations of unit rights. Why?

  • They purchased a property known to be contaminated. A known health risk not just to the site, but to surrounding areas.
  • Due to the contamination, there is a valid argument for ZERO units per acre.
  • The majority of the site had only been used for power plant production, not residential (and is also the reason for the contamination).
  • The area to the north is in a differing jurisdiction, Coral Gables - which has its own zoning / land use codes, rules & regulations; what I considered to be a 'hard wall' against liberally applying any trend of development into Palmetto Bay.
  • The area and few houses (caretaker houses) were zoned 5 unit and 1 unit per acre in the applicable close proximity. This would support reasonable zoning decisions of between 15 - 65 units on this entire property.
  • Hearings were held on the legislation establishing the 1 unit per acre designation.
  • (There are many more reasons not included here)
LUXCOM is significant. This may be the first time ever that a Palmetto Bay mayor and council upzone any property, increasing density. This property has important distinctions from the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC). First of all, back in the 1980s, the PBVC won a court-order right (against Miami-Dade) to over 1,400 residential units on the 80 acres long before Palmetto Bay residents ever though of becoming a municipality. Palmetto Bay officials have worked hard to whittle down the number of units over time. LUXCOM is an attempt to actually INCREASE the number of units.

The tool box:

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.

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.

February 9, 2020, Property analysis - the tool box - trend of development report prepared by the firm of Calvin, Giordano & Associates, Information relevant to the Luxcom Bert J Harris Act claim (part of a series).

January 8, 2020, Miami Today (online version) Palmetto Bay hospital zoning battle in court - Written by Gabriel Poblete on January 7, 2020

There are a total of 31 blog articles relating to LUXCOM - CLICK HERE

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

United Nations - 3 June - World Bicycle Day

Maybe today, June 3, is actually world activity day. The United Nations recognizes June 3rd as World Bicycle Day

Why celebrate the bicycle?
Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. At all ages, the benefits of being physically active outweigh potential harm, for example through accidents. Some physical activity is better than none. By becoming more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels.
The mobility needs of people who walk and cycle – often the majority of citizens in a city – continue to be overlooked, states Share the Road Programme Annual Report 2018, even though the benefits of investing in pedestrians and cyclists can save lives, help protect the environment and support poverty reduction. Meeting the needs of people who walk and cycle continues to be a critical part of the mobility solution for helping cities de-couple population growth from increased emissions, and to improve air quality and road safety. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), safe infrastructure for walking and cycling is also a pathway for achieving greater health equity. For the poorest urban sector, who often cannot afford private vehicles, walking and cycling can provide a form of transport while reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, and even death. Accordingly, improved active transport is not only healthy; it is also equitable and cost-effective.
  • The bicycle is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation;
  • The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, health care and sport;
  • The synergy between the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment;
  • The bicycle is a symbol of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.

CLICK HERE to read prior related posts on Bicycling.