Darby Delsalle has been the Village of Palmetto Bay’s Planning and Zoning director since April but is becoming more familiar to residents through the televised council meetings and COW sessions as well as area special events.
The Miami Lakes resident is a Certified Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and spent the prior nine years as the zoning administrator for the City of Hollywood. Before that, he served seven years with Broward County. He has a master’s degree in urban planning.
“What I’ve always enjoyed the most about planning work really is, although it sounds cliché, the relationships,” Delsalle said. “You meet so many different people, whether they’re business owners or residents, whether they’re local politicians or just folks trying to improve their lives.
“For me, that’s always the most interesting part. I get to learn so many different things about what they do. It’s nice to be able to assist them in accomplishing the goals they’ve set out for themselves.”
Delsalle said that it is nice having a hand in the development of the community, but that it’s not just the large projects that count or that he enjoys working on.
“Those are certainly exciting because they have positive transformative effects,” Delsalle said. “But it shouldn’t diminish an individual who’s doing a simple improvement to their home, or a small business operator who’s trying to set up shop. All of these things contribute in a tremendous way to the success of any jurisdiction, and to be able to help that come to fruition in the village is wonderful.”
He said that it is good to learn about what people in the community are doing and how it all fits into the village. His department covers not only zoning and code enforcement issues, it includes occupational licenses, Art in Public Places and Historic Preservation programs. There is a total staff of six.
“Code compliance — they don’t have the easiest job to do, but they have one of the more important ones, when you consider the economy that we just went through and are slowly coming out of, where the real estate market collapses,” Delsalle said.
“It’s the code enforcement guys who are making sure that some of those abandoned properties are maintained in good condition so that they don’t create an economic drag on the value of neighboring properties. For many folks a home is their primary investment and when a neighboring property falls into disrepair it can hurt their values.
“It’s why we maintain a certain standard for the community,” Delsalle said. “That’s why people move to Palmetto Bay. Safety ties into that as well.”
Delsalle participated in career day on Dec. 14 at Southwood Middle School where he had a chance to explain to students what is involved in planning and zoning.
“I brought in a big zoning map of the city and I asked them some basic questions — where do you live, what kind of roads do you drive on, and created those sort of connections in their minds,” Delsalle said. “I handed out a little map of a portion of the city and gave them the opportunity to actually draw their own zoning methods, for them to decide where do the businesses go, where do the houses go, where do the restaurants go and even some community services like parks or places of worship. And it was a really great experience.
“You could see that they would really get that understanding that cities don’t just necessarily happen, that they’re thought out and they’re planned.”
Delsalle can be reached at 305-259- 1272 or by email at <ddelsalle@palmettobay- fl.gov>.