Wake up Palmetto Bay!

Grant Miller, Publisher

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.

Tell your Village Council at the next hearing this

Tuesday July 30th, you’re tired of their inability to work with property owners and developers to find common ground.

Tell them “no” to dumping your tax dollars into the litigation grinder again.

Tell them to wake up and smell the coffee, before the pot is cold and empty.

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  1. Wow, Grant. This is too much. I thought the new slate was going to improve things. I guess it’s still amateur hour at Village Hall.

  2. This is absurd! Would the village council do this if they had to spend their personal funds on the litigation? Of course not!

  3. Is this one of the right wing pro big developer anti environment “newsletters”? I see bashing Palmetto Bay, South Miami and anyone who has even a minimally progressive agenda.
    Someone please answer this , so I can decide whether to direct this thing into spam folder in the future. Thank you.

  4. I’m awake and I smell a rat, Grant.

    Your advice that Palmetto Bay turn over the keys to the city to developers isn’t in the best interest of Palmetto Bay.

    • Just like the plastic straws the communist want to force the power on the people.
      Responsible development can be achieved and zoning rules are there to guaranty that. The communist forget that if not for development they would be living in wood shacks.
      They got theirs and now want to stop others from doing the same.
      Maybe they should call this place the new Caracas.

      • Jaime

        This isn’t Caracas, no commies or socialist to be found here.
        While your hyperventilating perhaps a handful of those plastic straws well positioned in your nasal cavity.

        You sir are an idiot or, off your meds?

  5. Mr. Miller, am impressed!!! > you have finally decided to point out just a few of the myriad huge mis-steps past and present Village of Palmetto Bay Councils have made > upon incorporation in 2002, Palmetto Bay had a population of +/-24,500, and today the Village population remains virtually the same, but yet the Village has created a huge (growing!!!) administrative bureaucracy that perhaps equals the size a 200,000 population city would have > there have been so many bad decisions and violations of the Village Charter and of Resolutions and Ordinances, I am not even going to begin to list them all > but there may be grounds for a resident based class action suit against the Village > since (and even before) incorporation the “not in my back yard” folks, the lobbyists, the developers, the “empire” builders within the Village bureaucracy, all stewed in with incompetent(?), inefficient(?), and clueless(?) (but well meaning in their minds) elected Council members, and this is what we have repeatedly experienced since incorporation, and it seems to get worse every day > all we needed was a “Strategic Plan”, a blueprint for the Village’s future development to abide by the original incorporation goal of “protection of our single family lifestyle” and all we end up getting are reactionary bad decisions.

  6. The only “dysfunctional behavior“ is actually from developer Oscar Barbara (luxcon) who tried to pull a hospital plow against his attorney’s advice and then filled an erroneous lawsuit against the Village.

    With the countless number of Village of Palmetto Bay public meetings and hearings over the last few years on planning/zoning/legal/traffic of the former FPL property complete, the proper staff analysis and recommendations were painstaking followed by the Village of Palmetto Bay Council, the Local Planning Agency, and the State of Florida. ALL have unanimously voted in favor of maintaining the EDR and existing E-1 Zoning already on a sizable portion of the property. All. There was also clearly E-1 single family acre estates already in this NE area of the Village, outside the property. Different than any other area of the Village Zoning Map, where there’s 15k sq ft lots. And far different in material facts from the Palmer case as stated by numerous legal land use attorneys who have thoroughly advised. Most residents already know this.

    Under Mayor Gene Flinn and under Mayor Karyn Cunningham, the last three Zoning Hearings have included approximately 900 residents in attendance who have been part of an in-depth discussion, analysis, testimonies and lengthy process. Each hearing and meeting has been over capacity with standing-room-only in the chambers, lobby, conference rooms, and outside on a large viewing screen. and all of the vote results from Jan 2018 (Flinn) to present have been unanimous.

    Developer Oscar Barbara (luxcon) is fully aware of all of this but he chose to pull his infamous “hospital ploy” against the advice of his own attorneys, and then unbelievably, he chose to sue the Village. The court recently issued a dismissal of Barbara’s frivolous motion. If Barbara with the E-1 zoning now doesn’t want to make many, many millions of dollars from single-family ocean access acre estates, plus profit handsomely from an 8 acre marina making many millions more, then he should sell it and allow someone else to do so.

    Fact is, the residents, the Village of Palmetto Bay, the Village Councils (2), the Local Planning Agency (LPA), and the State of Florida — have ALL followed procedure. Here is a tally of all of their votes:

    EDR: 5-0
    E-1: 5-0
    EDR: 4-0
    E-1: 4-0
    EDR: 5-0
    E-1: 5-0
    Local Planning Agency: 5-0
    EDR: 5-0
    E-1: 5-0
    Village Palmetto Bay residents: unanimous approval
    State of Florida: Approved

  7. Welcome to Miami-Dade County, the most CORRUPT, THIRD WORLD DUMP in the Southeast US!! I don’t live in that area, and feel sorry for the residents who are the victims of corruption and GREED!

  8. I smell a rat Grant Miller. And the rat is not among the highly respected four out of five village council members. The mayor, vice mayor, Councilman Patrick Fiore, and counsel person Marsha Matson, are doing a great job and protecting the village citizens. The only councilman that is objecting to fighting the developers, David Singer, works for a developer himself. In addition we find it very interesting that you as a publisher of the community news, has given developer David Singer apparently free access in your newspaper to spit out his stupid opinions, as if they were actually factual. In fact the majority of Palmetto Bay citizens do not agree with almost all of his opinions. Such an obvious conflict of interest on your part is really very sickening . you should be ashamed of yourself . but I know you will not be because you have no shame , in my opinion . why don’t you talk about the nineteen million dollar community center that the village did not need , that your good friend David Singer was pushing so heavily for last year. Why don’t you talk about David Singer causing the village to buy a piece of land locked real estate for $3 million when it was only worth $2 million. Why don’t you talk about this $3 million purchase, being made from one of the real estate developers , That the village currently has a lawsuit with?? Yes the village may spend a lot of money on legal fees. But at least they’re trying to protect the village citizens. We are very lucky that we have now four out of five newly elected officials that are looking after the best interest of the citizens.

  9. From what I understand, Luxcom doesn’t have much merit in their suit against the Village but from my point of view Luxcom’s argument makes sense. Had the village negotiated with Palmer, which is what they ended up doing, there would’ve been no lawsuit and better concessions by Palmer. It’s the same in the case of the DUV and Luxcom’s property. They asked to negotiate and be involved with the development of the DUV. We should allow them to negotiate so at least all the buildings will be uniform and not end up like south Miami and hopefully look more like Greenville South Carolina.

  10. I don’t always agree with Don Waters, but in this case I smell a rat as well!

    Citizen’s, and more appropriately a “village” has a right to determine what, where, and how high it will allow commercial establishments to be.

    Spot on Don, we are with you and most of the council on this. In this day and age it seems like developers believe they have a free reign on government to do whatever and wherever they want. Your opinions are definitely twisted in their favor!

  11. So you want you the Village to cave in to developers so that Palmetto Bay turns into Kendall? No.
    SInger does not have the best interest of the residents of Palmetto Bay in mind. The developers have one thing in mind; pack as many people into a given space as possible.

  12. Where is the master planning for Palmetto Bay? This political posturing back and forth does no good for all involved. I have lived here now 15 years in the same house. I see spotty haphazard development, over-congested areas, wide open areas and parks. There seems to have been some semblance of planning – in the past. But, where is the planning for now and for the future? I have seen traffic grow worse by the year and no sign of logical relief in the way of traffic signals, street widening and the like. I work in the real estate development industry, on the finance side. There are those of us that believe in controlled and sustainable growth that can enhance community life. It’s way past time for all to come together and actually come up with a sensible plan that makes the best of the lifestyle South Florida has to offer, balance residential and commercial development and allow people to move through and about the community with ease.

  13. Hi Grant – the citizens of Palmetto Bay don’t have to let a developer browbeat them into a higher density rezoning of the parcel. Developers don’t have a “right” to increased density. Maybe the community can consider it if the developer makes an attractive enough package, but that doesn’t sound like the case here. The village went through this before with a prospective purchaser for this parcel some years ago with the same result. So the village is being fairly consistent. If he can’t make a go of it with the existing zoning he should just sell the parcel and move on. Most savvy developers avoided this site for just this reason. Luxcom is choosing the litigation route but as long as the village keeps everything above board they should prevail. What’s unfortunate is that a community needs to incur these costs to preserve their standards. While the village may have stubbed its toe with Palmer, each case is independent and they should be judged that way.

  14. I’ve lived here for well over fifty years and have watched paradise die due to greed and stupidity. I’ve been speaking about the destruction of South Florida since 1972 and it seems that greed usually wins.

  15. Reward U.S. Soccer Coach Ellis who lives in Palmetto Bay with an article ,document ,trophy ???since her team is the World Champs!!!!!!

  16. When we moved to South Florida in 1972, to a beautiful, new development called POINT ROYAL, I never imagined the streets, littered with traffic circles at every intersection. Apparently, meant to improve the flow of traffic? Yet, during the morning-rush hours, cars are “locked” in those “circles” quickly, going nowhere, with the driver’s bright, not-so-happy faces.

    Now, we have in Palmetto Bay, Mac-Mansions Building Mania! Oh well, Traffic congestion, must be the way of the future. Maybe, you can find a way to petition, again, for the Metro Rail? One, must never give up. Good Luck.

  17. What the hell Grant. FPL wanted to build 600 a Unit Condo plex right on Old Cutler. what should Palmetto Bay do? Nothing. Do you drive on Old Cutler? What do you think it will be like with 1200 new homes in Palmetto Bay right on Old Cutler road. 600 at the old Burger King headquarters and 600 at the FPL site. Our job it just to let this happen. I don’t like the loss of the green space, but I’d be okay with it if we had roads that can handle the traffic. Instead we have Oscar Barbie/Luxcom doing traffic studies when all the local schools are on spring break.

  18. This isn’t the first time Grant has offered ill-informed and just plain bad advice.

    Last winter Grant recommended that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen be appointed to replace retiring Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón. No matter what one’s thoughts are on Ros-Lehtinen long service to our community as a congresswomen that in no way would qualify her to run the largest institution of higher education in the country.


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