Thursday, September 30, 2021

"Missed message": Ignoring Cortada’s message as the current mayor once again misses the importance of going native – a Wildflower Meadow could have been planted, but we get – instead - another wasteful grass lawn

Pallets of sod on 136 Street
What a wasted opportunity! And this is what happens when you leave out creative minds and input from those concerned with the environment.

Truly a missed opportunity. Palmetto Bay could have — no, should have —planted for pollinators and established a Wildflower Meadow habitat for our local birds, bees and butterflies. But this takes thought, and concern for our environment. Once again, this project was never brought out for a public discussion. No public disclosure of the alleged landscaping plan.

Instead, sod was delivered to the SW 136th Street MEGA sidewalk Shared Path project on Wed. 9/29/2021. Please tell me that this is a joke, that SW 136 street is not actually receiving a planting of non-native grass as the replanting of greenspace lost to the MEGA sidewalk. 

This is not an environmentally friendly landscaping plan. Instead, it is a waste of lawn that will require fertilizer and watering - something that a village should avoid if it truly wants to be green. 

Instead, this mayor and council missed the message put out by the recent art piece installed by local artist Xavier Cortada - the message of Cortada's  "Flower Force" public art sculpture should have inspired this mayor and council to follow the LEED /sustainability statement and plant native Coreopsis wildflowers (the official State of Florida wildflower) rather than a high maintenance lawn. The native coreopsis wildflower is a Florida native. It is no maintenance and drought tolerant.

What a loss. A Wildflower Meadow might have improved this bland cement mega sidewalk. Seriously, what would have looked nicer, a Wildflower Meadow or grass? Another opportunity to improve our native environment is lost. We could have involved our local students in a planting project. Bringing volunteerism back to Palmetto Bay and continued to develop a sense of environmental steward ship, but instead, opportunity lost.

A wildflower meadow may have really tied SW 13th Street together.
It certainly would have been nicer than plain high maintenance St. Augustine lawn!

Oh, and just an aside, small landscaping trees are currently being planted. I have two observations here: First that these trees are small, not making up for the canopy of the mature trees lost to the cementing of SW 136 Street. Secondly, these trees are being planted on the Pinecrest side.

Yes, that's right, Pinecrest gets more trees and green while Palmetto Bay gets cemented over.

But then again, this mayor and council proceeded on this project on their own without public input or input from the Tree Board or Palmetto Bay Garden Club. The Palmetto Bay Garden Club would have been an excellent resource both for sustainability as well as creativity. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Series on Multi Paths - looking at Cutler Bay's shared path project. How it compares to the Palmetto Bay designed 136th Street project.

This video is part of a series examining multi use paths in our area. I plan in comparing the Old Cutler Trail, the Cutler Bay Shared use path, the Pinecrest Red Road Lineal Park Path, all with the current Palmetto Bay designed Shared Path now under construction on SW 136th Street. 

Part 1. Please look at this shared use path that Cutler Bay worked on with Miami-Dade County and compare it with the JPA shared path that Palmetto Bay designed for SW 136th Street.

Take note of the following for this Cutler Bay designed shared path:
  • The appearance of park amenity including numerous park type benches. The uniformity of the path.
  • The quality of the construction.
  • There are minimal areas of conflict with cars - in fact, there are no conflicts in the first 1 minute, 46 seconds of this video. The distance is .4 of a mile or 2,116 feet (measured via Google Earth) where there is a path uninterrupted by any conflict from motor vehicles crossing the path. 
  • There are a total of 17 areas of potential conflict (after the .4 mile area mentioned above). There are few streets; most are business driveways all located in close proximity to the Franjo Road business district.
  • At no time does this path narrow from its uniform width, nor does it take any sharp turns or curves. 
Contrast this with the Palmetto Bay designed shared path. Note that there will be as many as 70 separate areas of conflict with roadways and the numerous driveways that will cross the Palmetto Bay designed shared path along SW 136th Street. And note, I have previously identified that safety is compromised at each point where motorized vehicles cross shared paths. 
Above and below, photos depicting the construction status of the Palmetto Bay designed shared path on SW 136th Street. Some landscaping will eventually be restored, but the widths will not change. The first photo shows a full 10 foot section that reduces to an 8 foot wide section. The other photo above shows a section where 8 feet is suddenly reduced to a mere 5 feet (standard sidewalk width). The photo below documents a section "separated" by mere feet and no curbing from SW 136th Street.

Please also note that there was no public input on the Palmetto Bay designed shared path. Not a single public meeting. The re-design was developed in private by a few people with special influence and who enjoy special access to the current mayor.
Reference materials. See prior related posts of:

And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a cyclist and I am quite disappointed that this Palmetto Bay designed shared path will not get the cyclists off the road - that would require designation bike lanes - once designed for this SW 136th Street. See: June 22, 2021, Palmetto Bay can change the project, but municipal officials cannot change State Law which determines where bicyclists may ride. 

In other words, drivers will still be required to share SW 136th Street with cyclists. Please don't yell at the cyclists to move off the road. The fault is that of the current Palmetto Bay mayor and council who changed the plans from dedicated bike lanes to a shared path.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Update on the Coral Reef Park trees. New ones planted. Look how far from the asphalt.

The new trees are far from replenishing the lost canopy as they will take 20-40 years to catch up to the ones lost to the ill-conceived bridge installation, but we will have to settle for what we can get from this current council. 
FAIR QUESTION: I have a question for those who mocked the warnings made in concern for those now lost trees: Why are these trees (thankfully) planted so far from the newly pour asphalt, far from the increased elevation? 
The question above was rhetorical as clearly the path was not healthy for the trees. It killed them and the trees became a feast for Ambrosia Beetles, which are primarily known to attack weakened, dying, and recently cut or killed trees - nature's dead wood clean up crew.  Look how far these trees were planted from the asphalt. It is my opinion that this is a clear admission that Palmetto Bay officials killed the trees and are not being responsible stewards of our environment.

Another comment: 1:1 replanting is insufficient. The canopy is not replaced. The replanting should be better than a 3:1 replacement to make up for what they Village squandered. Remember that more has been lost than just these 2 trees. There are 2 more Oaks cut down in the right of way at 82nd and Coral Reef Drive. And then there are the many, many trees being stripped from SW 136th Street for the MEGA sidewalk.
The scar that currently remains in the bridge path.

Ask yourself: Why wasn't a tree re-planted where a beautiful 40 plus year old oak once stood? Because it would have only a slightly better change of survival (the original had no chance).

THE TOOL BOX -  some prior related posts:

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Graveling 9/25/2021 - crossing the water obstacle - no problem.

Another view - too much fun.

Dora and the Graveling Explorers: Sat. 9 25 2021

The weather is cooling off. Time to dust off the gravel / mountain / hybrid bikes and think about hitting the levees and trails. This was an awesome adventure. The planes where quite an event. Helicopters, parachutists, motorized parasailers. Crocs, turtles, deer and just about every everglades bird made its appearance. Dora sets up and runs great gravel rides! All are invited. Its an informal meet up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

87 Avenue Bridge Update. Here is the complete document - the proposed Interlocal Agreement between Palmetto Bay and Miami-Dade County. What does the agreement really provide?

CLICK HERE to view the complete document, the terms and conditions to be discussed by the mayor and village council at a Special Council Meeting set for Thursday, September 23, 2021.

The devil is in the details, so it is important that you read for yourself. I remain concerned that this matter was handled through dispute resolution, behind closed doors rather than in a collaborative matter involving the affected residents in public meetings.  Their voices (should) matter! Involving the affected residents would have brought the personal messaging to this matter in a way that cold negotiations through administration and lawyers cannot fully convey (which is why witnesses provide the testimony in court – not mere argument by attorneys).

This agreement is the result of meetings (including mediation sessions) involving the current mayor, Village Manager, In-house Village Attorney, and at least one outside counsel. Again, affected residents were never invited to present their impact statements. What would help (if anything) in this matter.

I am very concerned. I don’t see anything here that was not offered previously. In fact it appears that Palmetto Bay caved on significant items, including splitting costs (50/50) on expense items that should be carried entirely by Miami-Dade County. The County is seeking to build the bridge; therefore the County should bear the costs of the traffic studies, not our taxpayers. This agreement bills Palmetto Bay taxpayers $100,000.00. See paragraphs 3.a. and 3.b. where it the mayor and other participants agree that Palmetto Bay should contribute $50,000 for each of the two studies.  $100,000 to the $200,000.00 in study costs. Why? No wonder taxes are going up. A significant number of the County duties are conditional, using language such as:

If the post-construction traffic study supports the implementation of the traffic circles referenced below and such traffic circles meet the eligibility for road impact fee (“RIF”) funds and subject to funding availability, the Department of Transportation and Public Works will submit the necessary recommendations to seek approval of the use of RIF funds for the construction of such traffic circles. Alternatively, and so long as the post-construction traffic study supports the implementation of the traffic circles referenced below, the County will apply to the Florida Department of Transportation for County Incentives Grant Program funds to apply towards the construction of such traffic circles.

IMPORTANT ISSUE: Who pays or what happens (other than a bridge) if these conditions fail to line up?


A.           Will this agreement be simply voted up or down without concern for the affected residents?
B.           Will there be a mad fury of attempts by the 4 of 5 council members who were not involved to make substantive changes to this document?
C.           Speaking of plan B, is there a “Plan B”? If, situation B occurs, will the County entertain reopening negotiations or what is the plan, chaos?
D.          Is this really just a stall tactic to create chaos in an attempt to stall the bridge? 

Background - there have been numerous posts on this topic. Recommended reading includes:

May 18, 2021, Any updates on the 87th Avenue Bridge "fight"? Why are village officials not holding any public stakeholder town halls?

January 6, 2020, Palmetto Bay’s current Mayor needs to stop hiding behind proxy attacks and build coalitions, not angry mobs through misinformation. 2020’s first textbook example of poor leadership.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Important Palmetto Bay meeting for both motorists and cyclists - Wednesday, 9/22 - bike lanes or two more 8-10 foot mega paths?

Developing path on
SW 136 Street
Who here is thrilled with the  SW 136th Street project? What was once a complete street design with bicycle lanes morphed to what is frequently referred to as the MEGA Sidewalk that varies from 10 to 8 feet, even back to a mere standard sidewalk size in part. In fact, this 136 Street multipath places cyclists and other users on the same sidewalk in front of Howard Drive Elementary, which many view as a poor choice of mixed uses during the hours of school drop off and dismissal.

Original plan rendering

The fact is that the bike lanes were taken out of the 136 Street plans. So cyclists will still be required to “take the lane” only now the lanes involved on SW 136 Street will be reduced to 11 feet, thus making it a tighter fit and increasing driver angst toward cyclists. 

Here is your opportunity to get involved. Marlin Engineering shall host a virtual second Public Workshop, Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 6:00 PM. During the virtual Public Workshop, Christina Fermin, Project Manager for Marlin Engineering shall make a presentation of Palmetto Bay’s Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Study and there will be time for questions and comments.

The Palmetto Bay Multi-Use Trail & SMART Plan Connectivity Feasibility Study will identify and assess existing conditions for bicycle and pedestrian connectivity along SW 144 Street, SW 152 Street, SW 168 Street and SW 184 Street, between the South Dade Transitway and Old Cutler Road. The study will consider multi-use pathways, sidewalks and/or protected or buffered bicycle lanes.

The study will evaluate up to two alternatives for two of the above-mentioned roadways. The final plan will include 15% design plans for up to two corridors connecting Old Cutler Trail and the South Dade Trail. This study is anticipated to be completed by November 2021. The workshop will be conducted using a teleconferencing platform and broadcast live. CLICK HERE for details on how to participate.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Special council meeting set for Thursday, 9/23/2021 - relating to an agreement on the bridge. Does anyone have the specifics?

There is a big meeting coming up this Thursday, September 23, 2021. And to mark the importance, the important document is not disclosed, more evidence that transparency is dead in Palmetto Bay. This behavior of non-disclosure has become the norm here in Palmetto Bay see prior posts of April 30, 2019 and April 24, 2019, Tactical Transparency in Palmetto Bay - who is managing information, the elected officials or campaign consultants? Either prior mayor would have posted this very important Interlocal Agreement no less than 7 days prior to this meeting.

This decision will profoundly impact the affected areas of Palmetto Bay. Some say for the better, so disagree and say it will be for the worse. And that is why details and public discussion are important. So what is the agreement? Who knows?

9/21/21 UPDATE. The actual document remains out of the public view. CLICK HERE to view the agenda (saved as 'final') as it was posted as of 9:20 AM just prior to the 9/23 meeting. The Resolution approving the agreement is prewritten and posted, but the very document that it references, the actual Interlocal Agreement, is NOT part of the package. Note that the actual Interlocal Agreement is the important document. Everything else is procedural fluff.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What meetings were held with the stakeholders? I none, why? If meetings were held, then where was notice posted? Were minutes kept of any such meetings?

Here is all I have with only two business days remaining before the day this item is set to be decided. Is that fair to the affected residents (all sides of the issue).

This item was once set for a prior village council meeting, but deferred to allow time to review specifics. Now it is the close of day Monday, 9/20/2021 and the public (at least the general public) remains without access to the specifics pertaining to the 87th Avenue bridge.

I have written numerous articles relating to the lack of transparency of this current administration as well as the lack of prep and details of the so-called bridge fight.

Concerned residents appear not to be in the loop and are moving on beyond the current Palmetto Bay mayor and village council to contest the bridge.

But the fight appears lost. It really was never much of a fight at all. From the mayor engaging in a photo op at a park rather than appearing before a county board to contest the bridge (and claiming lack of notice besides having discussed the issue at a council meeting the night prior).


May 21, 2021, Canceled? Update on the "Hybrid Conflict Resolution Assessment Meeting with Miami-Dade County Transportation Planning Organization ("TPO") Regarding the SW 87th Avenue Bridge Project - CANCELED"

July 20, 2021, Palmetto Bay Bridge - the definitive statement from the Village Attorney - more post mortem - photos, video and links provided.

I have asked the question "What did they know and when did they know it?" (our current elected officials). February 2021 came and went without any elected officials keeping residents in the loop, updating them on preparations for combating the bridge. Why, obviously because there was no preparation, plan or vision. See another prior related post, this one posted February 2, 2021, Bridging Palmetto Bay - the plan is back and apparently this has been put together without any opposition or input from current Palmetto Bay officials. It is incredulous to think that our elected officials met with our County officials, with a new County Commissioner, without asking proper questions or being offered the updates on the plans for the bridge. 

Now we are left wondering what deal was cut and which (if any) residents were consulted or allowed input into this proposed deal set for a vote in the next few days. No wonder residents are reaching out directly to our County Mayor!

So why is money begin spent for the Social Media specialists as well as attorneys to attend these "mediations"? Where are the updates, the reports? What are the deliverables for the tax dollars being spent?
  • You want "no right turn signs"? The County has always been reasonable. What has been unreasonable has been the cost of enforcement. When does Palmetto Bay reach the number of 'no turn' signs where they lose their effectiveness?
  • You want "traffic tables"? We have secured these anytime we have asked (at least while I was in office). And I think we have reached the point of diminishing returns on them at this point.
  • Landscaped chicanes? We have been allowed to install those as well (I actually prefer them).  Approved for use and installed in 2008.
  • Roundabouts? They work. I even got the County to pay for them. Not everyone likes them, but traffic lights are so awkward. Holding drivers up when there is no traffic and tend to go out in bad weather. Current Palmetto Bay leaders have a lawsuit pending to avoid the County's offer to fund and build a roundabout at SW 87th and 174.
  • Traffic diversion, turning some streets one way? All could be done, at least at one time.
  • We did get the County to put in at least one traffic signal that I can recall - 87th avenue and Coral Reef Drive - through negotiation and in collaboration with our commissioner Katy Sorenson - once again, we thank you Katy! 
  • Also lighted crosswalks - Old Cutler Road/174, numerous spots on 82nd Avenue and on 168th street.

POD. Monday, 9/20/2021. Time to grind some stumps and sweep more issues under the rug

A friend of South Dade Updates (FOSDU) sent me photos taken at Coral Reef Park this morning.

A stump grinder is parked and ready to finish off the last remnants of those two original oak trees at Coral Reef Park

Inside baseball joke of the day: I wonder if the current mayor and council have their stump speech ready for this situation? They certainly have not been keeping us in the loop regarding the sad state of the war on trees currently going on in Palmetto Bay. 

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Since they have the stump grinder at the ready, can we expect that the grinder will move from Coral Reef Park to the nearby 82nd Avenue at Coral Reef Drive? There have been two oak stumps that appear to represent a hazard as they are in the right of way and are only marked (at times) by an orange cone. Photos of the current status as well as the trees, pre cutting, are posted below for your reference.
Above, Current state of the stumps.
Below, many of us remember how these oat trees once looked.

FAIR QUESTION: When will these oaks be replaced? 4 mature oaks are documented in just this one blog post. How many others have been removed in Palmetto Bay?

THE TOOL BOXCLICK HERE to view a 2016 presentation of the (then) Palmetto Bay Council urban forestry and tree addition initiatives 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Interesting observation – why was an outside contractor used, not village employees? Is this yet another example of misspending in Palmetto Bay necessitating the tax increases being approved by this council?

Interesting observation made yesterday (Thursday, 9-16-21) as fellow residents watched a contractor crew take down the 2 trees Palmetto Bay smothered in Coral Reef Park: the observation/question is: 'why was an outside contractor used, not village employees?' Is this yet another example of squandering our assets and prior expenditures in Palmetto Bay, necessitating the tax increases currently being approved by this council?'

Looking back to 2016: The Village council approved the purchase of a bucket truck in 2016 (see: village resolution 2016-20). The purchase was not to exceed $143,560, $20,000 of which was covered by a US Urban Forestry Grant obtained under my administration.

So what happened to the bucket truck that was funded by the Palmetto Bay taxpayers (and the US Urban Forestry Grant)? Why own it if you are not going to use it?

CLICK HERE to view a 2016 presentation of the (then) Palmetto Bay Council urban forestry and tree addition initiatives 

(note that the policies and activities cited in this presentation reflect a prior, much different council, from those who presently sit on the council – as they say, ‘new council, new direction, new priorities’).

So take a look and ask yourself “What changed?” – SPOILER ALERT – the concern for the environment hasn’t changed within Palmetto Bay. The change has only occurred with the recent elections and the lack of prioritization, if not absolute disdain for our environment expressed through the actions of the current mayor, vice mayor and council.


  • Why vote to purchase an asset and not use it?
  • Has this current Mayor and Council allowed this expensive asset to become unusable due to neglect or was it surplused and sold off? (Note: I cannot find any evidence that it was sold off).
  • Is the current Mayor and Council not properly funding the training necessary for assets such as the expensive bucket truck to be used instead of hiring outside contractors?
  • How many light bulbs can the current mayor and council change necessitating a $143,560 bucket truck?
  • Is this yet another example of ‘leakage’ leading to the tax increases in consecutive years?

A good (BAD) example of how Palmetto Bay officials are squandering our environmental assets. The affected trees were cut down & removed on 9-16-21

The Council never made a public statement about what was happening with these trees. Nope, not a peep - I'm sure their taxpayer funded PR department was of the opinion that it was better to say nothing than to admit their mistakes. But their actions did speak loudly as a tree removal crew quietly showed up on Thursday, September 16, to remove their mistakes. Two 40 plus year oaks were hacked down and removed from Coral Reef Park. What trees, you may ask? 

Please read to the end of this post. I raise the fair question as to whether this current administration, these current elected officials, can be (should they be?) entrusted with the beautiful 22 acres of  environmentally sensitive land at the Palmetto Bay Village Center.

Palmetto Bay's environmental record is turning to one of warnings ignored and waste of resources. Requests to save the trees ignored. All that is left is the deflection and other spin from our current elected officials who really wanted that third bridge so badly that they couldn't even wait to figure out how to place and build it without adversely affecting Coral Reef Park.

The heart cut into the stump (above # 1, left) speaks volumes. We were told by the current mayor's staff and supporters that the tree would be fine (as it existed in above # 2, right). We aren't hearing anything from any of them now.  I ask once again: Where is/was the Palmetto Bay Tree Board?
Above left another view of all that remains. Look how close the second victim was to the path (plus about 4 feet of earth pushed up against the trunk). The photo to the right is how the dead trees appeared just before the tree removal team showed up to remove the remaining evidence of these trees. 
Remember, these trees had thrived in Coral Reef Park for over 40 years. That is until this current administration took over and demonstrated their preference for asphalt and concrete. Take a look at Coral Reef Park to see how many new paths have been paved over grass. The paving of green space. But it is not just Coral Reef Park. The Palmetto Bay designed 8-10 foot shared path is yet another example of concrete over green.

These photos bring reality and mock the current administration's use of #PalmettoBayProud. Are you? Are they really?

Enough comments. Here are the photos of the day - a small series of photos sent to me by a fellow concerned resident. So many fellow residents are just floored as to how this current administration seems to have little concern for the trees.  I want to thank everyone who has reached out.

Before: the trees at Coral Reef Park - pre-bridge, pre-current council. Note the elevation

Post bridge completion. You can't see it as it happens, but the trees are being smothered -
and at risk of other tree diseases and pests such as beetles.

The toolbox - prior related posts:

September 12, 2021
Why? These trees once thrived in Coral Reef Park. That is until this current mayor and council started their war on trees in Palmetto Bay

September 9, 2021
Remember the trees I warned the Village about in April? Well those trees are now dead. Why it matters.

April 26, 2021
Poor Tree. Who determined where and how to locate the Coral Reef Park Bridge? Regulations ignored. Once again, Palmetto Bay acts say: do as (Palmetto Bay) says, not as Palmetto Bay does.

Parting thoughts:

The environmental track record of this council is very poor. They appear to say what people want to hear, but their actions, their record, demonstrates otherwise. Can we trust this group with the 22 acres at Palmetto Bay Village Center? 


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Why? These trees once thrived in Coral Reef Park. That is until this current mayor and council started their war on trees in Palmetto Bay

Coral Reef Park - losing beautiful specimen oak trees. These trees had thrived in Coral Reef Park for over 40 years. That is until this current administration took over and demonstrated their preference for asphalt and concrete. Take a look at Coral Reef Park to see how many new paths have been paved over grass. The paving of green space. But it is not just Coral Reef Park. The Palmetto Bay designed 8-10 foot shared path is yet another example of concrete over green.

These photos bring reality and mock the current administration's use of #PalmettoBayProud. Are you? Are they really?

Enough comments. Here are the photos of the day - a small series of photos sent to me by a fellow concerned resident. So many fellow residents are just floored as to how this current administration seems to have little concern for the trees.  I want to thank everyone who has reached out. 

I can't decide what stands out more: The two dead trees (any green is from the healthy trees behind the front two) or all that railing that now divides part of the part and has become a visual focus of the East side of the Park. The bridge has brought us more than 2 (for now) dead trees. It also has fenced off anyone from walking along the canal bank. I have yet to hear anyone tell me how all this railing adds beauty to the park.

Could this issue have been avoided if Palmetto Bay had gone through the proper process in pulling a permit?  See March 5, 2020, Palmetto Bay officials – acting as if “permits are for the little guy”: building a bridge without a permit – caught, now on hold, waiting for the permit. WTH (heck)??? Follow up on the issues.

Who designed and determined where to place this new bridge? The design required a significant ramp (also requiring a hard turn, further demonstrating how this current mayor and council shoehorned this bridge project into the park). Both trees had up to 4 feet of earth pushed up around their trunks. Frankly I can't believe the members of Palmetto Bay's Tree Board approved this - or sat quietly once the plans were presented. Where were they? Missing in action.

The current mayor and council succeeded if their goal was to clear the shade from parts of the Coral Reef Park paths as well as the SW 136st Street shared path. I wonder if the dead trees will  be removed from the park, or if they will remain as part of an upcoming Halloween event (scary dead trees) slated for Coral Reef  Park next month. 

The tool box: a link to Prior related Posts:

September 9, 2021, Remember the trees I warned the Village about in April? Well those trees are now dead. Why it matters.

March 5, 2020, Did I touch a nerve? Readers react. Village officials attempt to hide their shame behind a green screen for all to see at our upcoming community picnic. Update of the bridge.

September 9, 2021, Remember the trees I warned the Village about in April? Well those trees are now dead. Why it matters.

April 26, 2021, Poor Tree. Who determined where and how to locate the Coral Reef Park Bridge? Regulations ignored. Once again, Palmetto Bay acts say: do as (Palmetto Bay) says, not as Palmetto Bay does.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Happy 19th Village of Palmetto Bay! September 10, 2002 - September 10, 2021

Palmetto Bay was incorporated on September 10, 2002.

Feel free to search this blog for numerous posts regarding our Palmetto Bay history.

I am wishing everyone a very happy 19th. 

Thank you to everyone for making this the best municipality to live, work and play!


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Remember the trees I warned the Village about in April? Well those trees are now dead. Why it matters.

Warnings, alarms, requests were issued in April about two oak trees being smothered, surrounded by concrete as part of the 3rd bridge construction in Coral Reef Park. They went unheeded. And now, two stately oaks, well over 30 feet tall appear quite dead, suffocated in just over 5 months time. How old were these trees? We can count the rings when the trees are cut down and removed. What a waste. A squandering of our natural environment.

Palmetto Bay: Tree City USA, are you kidding me?  Palmetto Bay "leadership" should be hanging their heads in shame. Village of Palmetto Bay officials seem to be on a mission to reach record numbers for tree killing in Palmetto Bay. Obviously green is no longer a priority or an official policy for the current mayor, council and staff.

There are several ways to kill trees. The most obvious is to cut down, rip out, like what is now happening along SW 136 Street - remember trees that we paid for in prior tax dollars. But don't worry, our tax dollars will be used to replace some of these mature trees with fewer and much smaller landscaping trees. Our tax dollars at work 3 times: 1. The original planting, 2. Removal,  and 3. New smaller trees representing partial replacement.

Another way to kill a tree to to smother it by raising the ground level around its original base as well as surrounding the root line with asphalt. This is the tactic Palmetto Bay officials employed at Coral Reef Park. The results are documented in the photos posted here.

The alarms were raised back in April of 2021. Alarms that were ignored and instead, village officials mocked those who attempted to bring this issue forward. Another example of official and blatant disrespect for any civil discourse in this community. Of course the deforestation of Palmetto Bay has since moved from Coral Reef Park and continues along SW 136th Street. See PRIOR RELATED POST of April 26, 2021, Poor Tree. Who determined where and how to locate the Coral Reef Park Bridge? Regulations ignored. Once again, Palmetto Bay acts say: do as (Palmetto Bay) says, not as Palmetto Bay does.

I warned. I called out to the public and asked for support, but no one heeded the call. What did we get from Palmetto Bay officials? Crickets. Now look at the trees pictured here. Do they look healthy to you? How about we have mayor Cunningham and each council member reach into their own pockets to pay to have them replaced rather than raise our taxes to pay for the damage going on in this village. 

It is obvious that these trees were expendable as they were in the way of what this current mayor and her administration felt to be more important: more cement, more asphalt and a third bridge that no one from the public asked for in Coral Reef Park.

Why it matters:

  • People go to parks for trees. As mayor, I took pride in this village, I coined and introduced the moniker "Village of Parks". But more importantly, I worked hard to make Palmetto Bay the Village of Parks. The title should have meaning. But with that title comes responsibility.
  • A question of competence. Every child who has ever trapped a lizard in a jar knows that, if a living thing doesn't have enough air, it dies. Yet the mayor and council, a group that includes two supposed educators, didn't realize that pushing up the ground around the trees and then actually pouring an asphalt walkway around them would suffocate them. We were told they would be OK. Obviously they aren't. This current group of officials can't even care for mature trees that only need to be left alone to thrive. 
  • I took pride in leading Palmetto Bay to become a "Tree City USA" community. But let's face it, the village is backsliding under the current leadership. Poinciana Trees have been removed from 184th Street, trees are afterthoughts and are being removed from 136th Street to make way for the unnecessary mega 10 foot sidewalk and now this. Trees that survived Hurricane Andrew and so many other intense storms, named and unnamed, were unable to survive the onslaught brought on by the current administration.
  • Our Budget. Mature specimen trees are expensive, At best, we start over with yearling trees that will take 30 years to reach the size of the two trees that finally succumbed to the asphalt. Can this group be trusted with new plantings when they are obviously so destructive on the well established specimens throughout Palmetto Bay?
  • Responsibility to mange our natural resources
  • Designing public projects. Who designed this bridge? A huge structure which many opine is out of scale with the park, both in its size as well as the lengthy railing seemingly required for this bridge (but somehow that railing is not the other 2 bridges that have served the park well for 40 years). And of course, they could not design the bridge to work in the park without smothering two very large specimen oak trees.
  • Community trust in our government and the officials. We can see a continuing pattern of saying one thing; saying what people want to hear, but either doing the opposing or simply failing to follow through.

Palmetto Bay's Tree Inventory Action Plan. Well, members of the Palmetto Bay's Tree Board, here are two more trees that need to be counted along with all those along SW 136th Street; that you should update and remove from that great tree survey that Palmetto Bay taxpayers funded. Are you keeping score? You should be. You have but one very important job and we have not heard anything from you concerning the issues we have been raising. For a historical reference, I was the prime sponsor of creation of this Tree Board, part of our requirements for becoming a "Tree City USA" Community. the tree Board was created under ordinance 09-02, now codified under Article IV, Sec. 2-108. - Tree board, of our Village Code of Ordinances. It was enacted on 1-12-2009

Additional suggested reading:  July 6, 2021, “Trees are stationary superheroes”. Why not work around the long-time specimen trees that have historically shaded Palmetto Bay? They have much to contribute. They never received a fair hearing. What trees do for our Palmetto Bay community.

Is there still time to call upon Miracle Max? Maybe, just maybe, we can get lucky, and as Miracle Max (a character in The Princess Bride) would say, those trees are only mostly dead. Perhaps there is action that can be taken to bring these trees back that are mostly dead, if not actually dead, but as Miracle Max said: It would take a miracle! 

Below are some photos of how Coral reef Park look with when the trees were healthy, before the mega bridge.

A photo of the trees that thrived before the bridge.

The trees post bridge. Note the new raised elevation that impact their trunks.
Paving over their root lines

Concerned residents were told not to worry, this the tree would be fine - Wrong!