How could such a seemingly quaint little spot on the County map be in such a constant state of drama.
Wake up and smell the coffee, Palmetto Bay!
It was just a couple months ago we were talking about how they were being sued by Coral Gables-based Luxcom, a privately held developer that boasts some 10,000 residential units and over a billion in sales. Luxcom wants to develop the former FPL parcel they purchased in Palmetto Bay late last year. Now, there are multiple developers and property owners in the Downtown Urban Village “DUV”) who are also threatening to sue the Village for millions of dollars over the potential downzoning of their properties.
These are not small players. And they’re not playing around.
So why are you, Palmetto Bay? Didn’t you learn your lesson after the Palmer Trinity saga that not only tore this Village apart, but in the end resulted in settling with Palmer to the tune of about $1 million in litigation fees – not including all the Village staff hours that went into losing. You know who else lost? Palmetto Bay taxpayers – because that cash came right out of your village coffers. Nearly emptied the pot!
But back to the multiple property owners and developers who are threatening to sue the Village. How is the Village going to pay for the litigation? The layers of ineptitude here appear to be staggering. Has anyone thought about the projected $800,000 loss of future revenue due to the new FPL franchise agreement. Has anyone figured out how the village is going to offset this loss? Yet, despite there being no clear direction, the Village is taking reckless steps to burden the Village’s citizens with significant and unnecessary expenses.
This entire episode is like giving the village idiot a big fat checkbook and saying, blow it all in the most reckless way you can think of – like, on lawsuits with property owners that will potentially create millions of dollars in judgments against the village all in the face of a potential budget shortfall!
I mean really, is anyone asking what it’s going to cost in attorneys fees to defend against the potential multiple claims that will arise as a result of the Luxcom debacle? And now all the lawsuits that may emerge as a result of the Downtown Urban Village (DUV)?
With respect to the DUV, the village made a decision to allow an increase in density in the DUV – creating investment expectations for certain property owners only to turn around and seek to eliminate the increase in density.
With respect to Luxcom, the village is re-designating and re-zoning property that it does not own nor has paid for traffic studies and consultant reviews to justify a zoning classification that is found in agricultural and rural areas and which run counter to Village consultant recommendations they previously paid for.
Both the DUV and Luxcom properties presented the opportunity for the village to enhance the amenities here.
They could have easily negotiated with the property owners and developers to provide for roadway improvements, traffic sync technologies, park enhancements, and public access to waterways from the millions of dollars generated from these development through real estates taxes, impact fees and permit fees. Instead, the village has only invited lawsuits and welcomed significant expenses – all at the cost of taxpayers!
So what is at the core of all this dysfunctional behavior – politicians, of course! These Village Councilmember’s seem to be more focused on electability, shuffling around nervously to save face, making it look as though they care about resident concerns over increased traffic and overdevelopment and all the other standard NIMBY arguments.