Saturday, July 25, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
ALERT. A potential new Bert J Harris claim has been raised by Qualcom Palmetto Bay Active Zone Business, LLC. This should be discussed Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Now there is the probability of rough water ahead for Special meeting - Tuesday, July 28, 2020: Zoning Hearing (Comprehensive Plan Amendment, FLUM, & DUV Zoning District). (CLICK HERE to view this 9 page agenda package - as it was posted as of 3:30 PM on Friday, 7/24/2020) This is scheduled to be the final hearing to pass the DUV changes on second reading. Anyone that has been following zoning hearings know that they have been held and then reset to a future date due to the pandemic and resulting difficulties in holding live hearings. This one looks like it will move forward (and it should as village business needs to move forward). However, this DUV code rewrite is not moving forward under the radar, without notice of at least some of the affected property owners. The entire 1,392 page agenda can be reviewed (it is a long download) CLICK HERE.
Property owners with objections - Attorneys for Qualcom Palmetto Bay Active Zone Business have raised multiple objections to the code rewrite, placing Village Officials on notice of potential lawsuit. The main claim is that the revisions violate the Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act (“Act”). Their objections are discussed in detailed further on in this blog post, as well as providing a link to the actual objection letter.
Back to the developing litigation demand: The property owners object to the Revision as applicable to the Property, alleging that the village's recent changes to the code "...unreasonably, arbitrarily and detrimentally burdens (their) Property.”
A. The Revision violates the provisions of the Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act (“Act”). The Act is a mechanism to protect and compensate any Landowner whose Property is affected by Government action not rising to a taking. See Florida Statute Section 70.001. It is our position that the Revisions inordinately burden our Client’s existing use of the Property and/or a vested right to a specific use of the Property under Section 70.001(2) of the Act.
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Ballot for Town Manager Search - Town of Bay Harbor Islands, 7-22-2020. How will this impact Palmetto Bay?
- Is this why Palmetto Bay scheduled their discussion for tonight, July 23, 2020, to allow for the vote to take place in Bay Harbor Islands?
- Are any of these candidates not hired going to be considered by Palmetto Bay tonight on a whim?
- Did any of these candidates participate in the Palmetto Bay search performed by the Mercer Group, but did not make the list of Palmetto Bay finalists.
- Would Palmetto Bay elected officials actually consider any of these candidates if they chose not to participate in the Palmetto Bay search, or if they did, they failed to make the finals?
- What communication, if any, has been held between any of the 6 listed candidates for Bay Harbor Islands post and our elected officials (or any of their intermediaries)?
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
POD - do as Batman does, wear the mask. "The mask is not for you. It's to protect the people you care about."
"The mask is not for you. It's to protect the people you care about."
Monday, July 20, 2020
What's happening - Real Estate - Change is coming to the old Calico Corners – building reported sold for $1,650,000
NOTE: Potential buyers often meet with officials in the village planning office to discuss their plans for a property, as part of pre-sale due diligence. Again, I am not in the loop as to whether such a meeting occurred in this specific instance or what was discussed if there was a meeting. We will, as they say; “wait and see”.
Friday, July 17, 2020
“PREDICTION: Mediation will start, but will suspend and reset for another day further down the road, ….”
So chew on the above for a moment. Then look ahead to some of the very important issues:
“What if” an ‘agreement’ is reached on LUXCOM and this village council reacts the same way as the manager-select's proposed contract: where the council again substitutes their judgement for those whom they sent to negotiate and subverts this process by using the mediation process as a starting point and not a complete negotiation. Will council members bust that agreement in the same way the manager-select’s proposed contract went south, doomed to failure once brought before this mayor and council?
• A RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY, FLORIDA, RELATING TO EMPLOYEE BENEFITS; APPROVING A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION WITH RISK MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, INC., D/B/A PUBLIC RISK INSURANCE ADVISORS TO PROVIDE AGENT-OF-RECORD SERVICES TO THE VILLAGE OF PALMETTO BAY AT A COST OF $22,500 PER YEAR; AUTHORIZING THE VILLAGE MANAGER TO EXECUTE APPLICABLE DOCUMENTS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.And if one special council meeting was insufficient to satisfy your hunger to watch zoom council meetings, perhaps there is still time to notice a LUXCOM update to be presented at the second special council meeting of that week, set for Thursday, July 23. This second special council meeting starts at 6:30 PM and involves attempting to resurrect the search for a new village manager.
Perhaps, for once, either item on either day can move smoothly through approval and the Village Charter officers can in good faith determine how to add on items in order update the council and the residents regarding LUXCOM. However, it would be a shame to hear that we, the people, should be locked out for the loop as it “may adversely impact the negotiations.” Really? This is not secret information as we all know LUXCOM representatives and those they report to have are in the loop as to the status, so by the same token, shouldn’t those who our elected officials report to (HINT: “We, the people”), be similarly situated in the know?
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
You have to be kidding me! Barrow County Manager Mike Renshaw turns down the Palmetto Bay Manager position
Better now than days, weeks or months into the job. I don't know whether this reads like a script from “The Runaway Bride” or “Bad Date Chronicles." Either way, it is neither entertaining nor good for the reputation of Palmetto Bay.
An article is posted online with the Barrow News-Journal (you must be a subscriber to pass through the paywall to read the full article).
It was reported that Barrow County manager Mike Renshaw will remain with the county for now after talks for him to become the new manager for the Village of Palmetto Bay, Fla., fell through Monday night.
… he said Tuesday that contract talks had broken down and he was no longer interested in the position.
He had been scheduled to begin work in the incorporated village in Miami-Dade County on Aug. 1.
*** *** ***Renshaw said he had told the Barrow County Board of Commissioners about his candidacy and kept them informed on the negotiations with Palmetto Bay.
“I’m happy here, but if an opportunity arises that looks interesting and would be a challenge, that’s something I will look at,” Renshaw said. “I’ve got a good working relationship with the board here and that’s crucial to any manager’s tenure.”The above does not read like a candidate that could be, or should be, persuaded (translation: "begged) to accept the Palmetto Bay Manager’s position.
I remain proud of what I (along with so many others) worked so hard to build here in Palmetto Bay and believe that the position of Village Manager is one of high esteem. It should only be offered to someone who really wants the position with no holds barred. We need someone who is tried and true, dyed in wool Palmetto Bay Blue!
This is the "Brittany Spears" council - as this latest episode can be titled: "Oops, I did it again" Failure to close. Back to the drawing board.
- Did the Village dodge a bullet when the top pick for Village Manager withdrew?
- Who will be blamed for this latest stunt?
- Where do the Mayor and Council go from here? Move on to candidates 2 & 3? Or do they scrap the prior process and start over.
- Do the Mayor and Council suck up any semblance of pride and beg him to reconsider, tossing more money, more perks or what ever it takes to land this fish?
- This is a problem with going far outside the area to bring in candidates. One has to wonder whether this was all a ploy by the manager-select to negotiate a better deal with his present job.
- Was this actually orchestrated behind the scenes to enable some yet to be discovered player to bring in a dark horse candidate who did not go through the executive search process?
Unfortunately, it appears that the article put out by the Palmetto Bay News is going to sit out for the next two weeks, edition running from July 14 - 28, 2020, as an in our face article about what could have been. Not today! Read the Community Newspapers online: Palmetto Bay selects new village manager, by Gary Alan Ruse -July 12, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
LUXCOM - Tuesday, July 14, 2020 is mediation day. a day that will set the future of development in Palmetto Bay. Some thoughts.
The "mediation" is set for Tuesday, July 14, 2020. I put the quotes around mediation as there is no Bert J Harris claim lawsuit filed, at least yet. Pre-suit mediation do happen by agreement of parties, but the fact of this matter is that this matter could have been worked in the public through a zoning hearing, where residents could have attended and put in their testimony, their input into the final numbers.
At last check, the negotiations offered by Palmetto Bay officials included the following:
- 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
Should the council exceed 1 unit an acre? 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)
- How long will we be kept in the dark as to any agreement reached at this mediation?
- Will an impasse be announced the same day?
- Will a proposed settlement be announced or will we have to wait until the proposed settlement is released in an agenda for a special council zoning meeting to approve the proposed settlement?
- What happens if a majority of the Village Council rejects that proposed settlement, or,
- One possible result being talked about - an announcement that no agreement was reached; that an update mediation will take place after the respective attorneys confer with their respective clients (one possible translation: pushed off until after the upcoming elections).
Sunday, July 12, 2020
I will remember her for several things: Her role (along with the entire Cultural Council) in bringing "Art in the Park" as well as "Jazz Under the Stars". She has earned recognition in positive Palmetto Bay history.
Palmetto Bay was blessed to have so many members of the Cultural Council residing within its borders. I recall attending a Jazz Under the Stars when it was held at Metro Zoo. A brief partnership formed between the first Palmetto Bay Village Council and the Cultural Council after incorporation,and through the efforts of Yolly Buchmann, Betty Noe, Maria Kesti and so many others with the Council. We had two of their events. "Jazz Under The Stars" on March 6, 2004. And the many years we enjoyed the Art Show through 2011 Neither event occurs any longer within Palmetto Bay. CLICK HERE to read more and view a few photos from this Jazz event.
Her obituary can be found on page 13A of the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald (CLICK HERE to read the online version). Facts I did not know:
She was baptized at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. She would go onto study at the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico and the College of New Rochelle in New York. A dedicated patron of the Arts, she served as President of the South Miami Cultural Council and Theatre Arts LeagueMy memories with Yolly will resolve around these events in Palmetto Bay, the tenacity should put in in the year around logistics to make these events happen, her leadership in working with the Cultural Council Board and her work with the village in sponsorship and logistics. She was an 'energizer bunny' of the Arts. Rest in Peace Yolly. You earned our lasting respect. So many of us benefited from your efforts. A leader in the arts and team building.
Friday, July 10, 2020
Enjoy your ride. Please ride safely and in full compliance with the rules of the road and the emergency orders relating to COVID-19. Key Biscayne has agreed to suspend enforcement of their Order prohibiting non-motorized vehicles from entering Key Biscayne.
Saturday, July 4, 2020
This is a holiday to celebrate, the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation, the creation of the greatest system of freedom and democracy. All of this occurred due to the great physical and financial sacrifice of the founders of this nation, the brave men and women of yesterday and today who have sacrificed so greatly to ensure the traditions bestowed by our remarkable founders. We owe them vigilance, and the willingness to defend the democracy they have passed on to you.
Independence Day has been celebrated since 1776. But do you know the year that July 4 officially made a Federal Holiday? Would you believe 1941? Check out the History.com page regarding July 4, for additional information.
Protect Your Pets on July 4th
Protect your pets on this fourth of July holiday - it is not a 'pet-friendly' holiday. They don't understand what all the ruckus is about. (See my blog - CLICK HERE - to view my full post and important links)
July 4th is a busy day for pet shelters. Many pets get frightened and run off during fireworks. Pets are severely distressed by the noise of fireworks. Remember, dogs' and cats' hearing is much more sensitive than ours, so those loud booms can be extremely uncomfortable!
A wiser choice for your pet is for you to bring your pet inside the house and make sure that your special friend is safely tucked into a room with a television or radio on. It is recommended that if you are not staying home with your pet, make sure that their favorite hiding spot is available so they can run to a place in the house where they feel safe ---- this could be under the bed, in the closet or even their pet crate. If you are home, stay near them, speak to them and let them know that they are safe.
Please take the time - CLICK HERE - to view a .PDF put out by Miami-Dade County Animal Services - July 4th Pet Safety Tips.
Thursday, July 2, 2020
This is the cyclist who was mowed down by a vehicle in what was supposed to be a 25 mph street on Key Biscayne this past weekend. A second cyclist was also struck and remains in the hospital.
I mourn the loss of another cyclist - one who had a deep and personal connection to Palmetto Bay. I still do not know the identity of the other cyclist. But regardless, a pair of cyclists were struck by a single vehicle early Sunday morning on Key Biscayne. There appears to be no allegation that either cyclist was doing anything other than what thousands of others do riding that same route. Another life lost and more lives changed forever.
But hey, keep tell me how we don’t need bike lanes. We still know little about this accident. But killing a cyclist is barely even a traffic ticket in South Florida. And there are always those who will make the point that cyclists are a nuisance -- as if they deserve the death penalty for getting in your way.
There has been much discussion and planning for bike lanes in Palmetto Bay. But there seems to be a lack of political will to act beyond planning. Politicians, including our own Daniella Levine-Cava, hold meetings. There are longstanding strategic / master / local / community plans. Plans are not the problem. The problem is that the efforts end with a celebration of discussion. Then people go back thinking there will be action, implementation. But there is little to none. And then more are injured or worse, killed. And then we all wonder why.
Or maybe discussion ends because politicians are scared of a few neighbors who don't like cyclists -- even if those cyclists are kids trying to get to school.
When will discussion result in actual action? We have seen many, many, “initiatives” where people are called together to discuss the issues, weigh in and propose solutions. I have participated in some of these: See the Miami-Dade County "Dead Serious" discussions reported back in May of 2018 (CLICK HERE to review). What has changed? Everything appeared to have gone dark once the videos and photo ops were completed. "Mission accomplished" was declared seemingly without any new protections actually put in place.
CONCLUDING STATEMENT: I make no apologies for the passion and venting of frustration. People are dying - all types - parents, grandparents, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors. Yes, some are sportsters; but many of these victims were simply traveling on a short commute by bike to or from work, riding to school or a friends house, or otherwise simply on a leisurely ride, but all were in the very wrong place at a very wrong time. So spare me the celebration of yet another public photo op forum. I am demanding implementation, that promises be kept.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Now is the time to request your tickets as this event always fills up fast – and there is a limited number of tickets for this family Bike305 'Bike the Wild Side' event at Zoo Miami. Guided by the talented Zoo Miami staff, groups of 9 cyclists will be led on a leisurely ride around the zoo for approximately 3 miles. Each group will have the opportunity to stop and learn about the habits and habitats of some of the animals, with special appearances from life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Don't miss this one of a kind opportunity to see Zoo Miami in a whole new way!
It doesn’t get more family friendly, cuter than this!
CLICK HERE for more information and tickets
*Masks are required to participate. Masks must be worn at registration and at all stops along the route. However, they may be temporarily removed while bike riding.*
Note- There is a charge for this event: $20 for ages 13 to adult. $15 for 12 and younger. Bring your own bike or rent one at the event (must pre-register rental for an additional $15 per rental. Please review the official site to review and confirm all prices and details.