Letter to the Editor

73

Respected Editor of The Pinecrest Tribune,

I refer to you to the Pinecrest Water Vote article by Mayor Corradino on the February 2019 issue of The Pinecrest Tribune.

While I fully realize the issue at stake, I just cannot seem to grasp the concept of making every Pinecrest property owner (whether it be a home or vacant land) for an issue belonging to just 750 homes. It just doesn’t seem fair to place the burden of these select few into the pocketbooks of the many other property owner and/or residents in the Village.

As an owner of 4 residential properties (2 homes and 2 vacant lots) in the Village, and a former owner of a newly constructed home completed in Dec 2015, who had to:

Bring water and hydrants to the property with 400 lineal feet of water main and 3 hydrants to meet construction requirements at a substantial cost personally to me.

Pay impact fees to the Village for that privilege to do.

Pay fees to Miami Dade County as well as establish a bond for construction and then a performance bond for 1 yr after.

I see no reason to levy this ‘personal and specific’ issue to each land or property owner in the laps of the other residents who may have had to already pay for this privilege (either on their own free will or by edict of the Village new construction requirements).

We have gotten this close to 100% water connection by enforcing on new development or upon transfer of ownership that homes connect to city water, and this, during a time of almost no Real Estate activity due to the Great Recession. With construction now booming in Pinecrest, it will be no time before the 750 properties will have the opportunity to connect.

I instead would urge the Village to focus their time and efforts on getting the sewage issue resolved for the entire Village where probably close to 95% of the homes are on septic tanks. Given sea level rise concerns, it will soon before a large majority of the properties will be under seepage risk in the very near term. I find this a more meaningful and impactful undertaking for the Village and the County.

In addition, the fact that this is being pushed thru as a Referendum, on the wishes of a few that have voiced and vigorously campaigned in front of the Village for action, instead of first in the form of a Poll amongst all property owners (not just registered voters) to determine whether to move it forward, is an issue worth exploring as well.

If a solution is sought for the select few, why not make a special assessment to those affected 750 homes without water and hydrants, and spread the cost over 20 years to current and future owners? That is a targeted solution to those that will benefit from this action, and puts no burden to the overwhelming majority.  In essence, the Village finances – by paying for the upfront cost – to these owners their right to water over the same 20 year period but doesn’t penalize the other 5000 property owners in the Village.

I will strongly oppose this measure and plan to vote NO in the upcoming referendum and encourage the other property owners to do the same.

Respectfully submitted,

Francisco Mehech

Pinecrest Property Owner


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Sean, all interesting points and at the end of the day we hope to find a solution. Did you know that the project isn’t about just a few, but began with 1500 homes in 2007. The simple answer would be to treat the remaining part of the project like we did the first 600, with having someone else pay for the construction, but no new money has arrived in almost 12 years, and at the rate of the past decade where 70 homes were required by Miami-Dade, not Pinecrest, to construct water lines, we would finish the Village in about 100 years. Having folks individually build outlines is crazy and I wish the Village had finished all the project before M-D required you to do so. Miami-Dade WASA doesn’t collect enough money from current water customers to do construction in established neighborhoods, if this is a policy you would like us to work on, we can certainly review. We are one community, and we help pay for canals, flooding, drainage, parks, schools, beautification, etc. because we love Pinecrest and we want it to be the best place to raise your family and ours. I’m happy to pay taxes that help others, even when I don’t use the parks or tennis center, in fact, most of the folks that use them don’t live in Pinecrest. What is being asked is to finish the infrastructure project which benefits us through health and safety protections, is that a bad premise for raising funds, I can’t think of a better one. The cost per household is manageable, so is it the money or the principle, or something else? I’m happy to learn, but after reading many documents, being at meetings for 2 decades where this was discussed, participating in survey after survey, it seems that the data supports the action. It often comes down to lack of information, or you just don’t want to vote yes and I respect that right. This is finishing fire and water access for our Village, to protect our families and prepare for the future. No one is coming to help, only Pinecrest neighbors can help their neighbors.

  2. Two words, Mr.Mehech, on why you and the rest of Pinecrest property owners should support the water referendum: Property values. Salt water intrusion and arsenic contamination are already very real threats in our Village to those residents still dependent on well water. How valuable will your four Pinecrest properties be when the top Google search for “Pinecrest real estate” returns stories about poisoned water in the Village of Pinecrest? We recently had residents concerned about the Underwater HOA public art project might attract negative publicity that could potentially impact property values. Imagine what would happen if it hits the national news that Pinecrest residents can’t drink the water at their own houses. I’m guessing the drop in value of your investments in Pinecrest would pale in comparison to the cost of finishing the water infrastructure in our Village. And don’t forget, us “select few” still without water access got to contribute via our county taxes toward paying for many other other Pinecrest homes to have water infrastructure, we are just unlucky enough to have not been included in the first phases. It’s disingenuous to claim this is some sort of gift to the homeowners still without water service. We all participated in financing the bulk of Pinecrest’s water infrastructure, we just happen to be last in line.

  3. Ann Whoever, wells that are contaminated that meets certain threshold will have water lines extended to subject property (plus any neighbors that happen to live along the way. You should realize you are protected by our county. Also there are no residential wells in Pinecrest with salt water intrusion. Pinecrest is monitoring for any salt water.I understand you want to make arguments to convince people to to make the fiscally irresponsible to vote for the bond, but they are flimsy at best. How do you figure anyone but owners, builders or the county have contributed any money towards the “bulk” of the water lines?

  4. Karen, Karen, how quickly you forget….where exactly do you think the county gets its money? From taxpayers that live in the county, of which we all are. I was present at a Village Council meeting when you stood up and made this exact point “the county doesn’t have any money that isn’t mine,” except as usual you were speaking out against any change even if it’s an improvement. Yes, I did in fact contribute toward YOUR water lines. And no, I don’t consider myself “protected” nor do I want to live a year or so without potable water waiting on the county to install lines on an emergency basis if my water is contaminated. And I don’t think you’ll like the effect on the value of your house, either, if water problems in Pinecrest develop that get any news coverage.

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