Palmetto Bay residents want lush landscaping – creating a
sense of place consistent with the term I coined, “The Village of Parks.”
Palmetto Bay enacted some very good codes under my first two terms to enable
this vision. Some codes (to be discussed in other future posts) included
creating a Village Advisory Tree Board (created in 2009). As I said, there are some good codes. The issue is not always the code. We have plenty of laws. It is my opinion that the problems often lie in the failure of the Village to monitor and enforce (one example - the village code banning plastic straws in the Village).
I participated in a unique step in 2018 when I participated in the creation of a new section of the Village Code: Sec. 15-1. - Protection standards for Dade
County Pine (pinus elliottii). Now, to be fair, this new
code section does have a mitigation plan, but this is not one of convenience
for the developer; to the contrary, it is a good type, one for actually INCREASING the number of native
preservation in place or through relocation on the same property is not
possible, on-site mitigation shall be required with a mitigation ratio of 1:2,
i.e., for every one Dade County Pine individual taken or destroyed, two
mitigation individuals must be newly planted on the same property.
(2) If such
mitigation on the same property is not possible, off-site mitigation within the
Village shall be required with a mitigation ratio of 1:3, i.e., for every one
Dade County Pine individual taken or destroyed, three mitigation individual
must be planted off site in the Village, on property paid for by the owner
seeking off-site mitigation.
(3) Dade County
Pine individuals planted in mitigation shall be two-inch DBH (diameter at
breast height) minimum, ten feet in height planted a minimum of ten feet on
In the Pine code above, mitigation equals more pines!
Some politicians don’t get it and laws were actually enacted
during periods I was not a member of the Village Council (2010-2014 as well as
subsequent to December 5, 2018).
I believe that one of the best (or worst, actually) pro development example is found in Sec. 30-100.2. of the village code
of ordinances, commonly referred to as the Landscaping Mitigation Program. This code section was enacted in 2012 (under Mayor Stanczyk). Here
is a link to this code section online (Municode) CLICK
(a) Intent. This section seeks to
maintain the prevailing purpose and intent of subsection 30-100.1(b) by providing an alternative method for
developments to come into compliance with the village's landscaping code
found at Division 30-100. This section
establishes a program which will permit required landscaping to be installed
off the project site, in a public location within the village, when other
zoning requirements limit the area available to accommodate such plantings.
The remedy offered by this section shall not apply to the amount or type of
landscaping required by Article 18A of the Miami-Dade County Code. (Bold emphasis added)
No room for trees on a
development site? Do those bothersome trees offend or take up too much room for your planned development? Then no problem, the mayor and village council in office in 2012 have a proposed solution: plant them in public areas. Sounds like fun. Planned impact? Not more trees, instead, more room for cement and density on a development site.
Other objections - it is my opinion that the property owner should remain responsible for maintaining the required tree canopy / landscaping plan; that it be maintained on their own property. This 2012 tree mitigation ordinance appears to allow the property owner to divest him or herself of continuing responsibility once the trees are installed in this 'public location within the village.' This shifts the responsibility to the residents.
The Stanczyk tree mitigation ordinance seems to take issue
with what it terms [sub part (b)] 'the fact' that Miami-Dade County’s home
rule power and the minimum requirements
established in Article 18 of the Miami-Dade County Code precluded the 2012
counsel from offering a mitigation remedy from those provisions. The 2012
council recognized that the original Palmetto Bay tree and landscaping
requirements (created under my first terms of office) are more stringent than
that required by Article 18A of Miami-Dade County. Therefore, the Stanczyk
council wanted to offer a mitigation remedy through implementation of this
landscaping mitigation program. And why require a public hearing which may
alert people to a reduction of the code, the 2012 ordinance, as I kid you not, what is explicated stated that “This mitigation would obviate the necessity of seeking
a variance under the provisions of Division
30-30, relating to the village's landscaping
requirements as delineated in Division 30-100.” This, in my opinion, removes notice to
the public and any participation by the public.
This 2012 mitigation ordinance
remains on the books, but it was not employed for any zoning applications
during my administration, 2014-2018. The “Landscaping
did not exist until it was enacted in April of 2012.
Facts are facts. Get the facts.