Letter to the Editor : Pinecrest Petition is a Risky Business

Letter to the Editor : Pinecrest Petition is a Risky Business
Philip Leitman

My family and I have lived in Pinecrest since before its incorporation in 1996. We chose Pinecrest for the quality of life and safety it offered then and still does today.

Many of us have become aware of the petition that still looms and that I think it might turn our village upside down. It’s a big risk we need not take.

Some neighbors I have spoken to think this will help control growth, avoid development along US1 and give power to the people. Speaking as a resident and as a real estate developer, I think it will do the opposite. Neutering our Village Council and professionals will open us up to lobbying and development by those with the funds to push a project. Doubt this is possible? Look to DC.

In the past, our Council and police have made timely and considered changes to code to protect us from companies like Airbnb and adult entertainment whose continued presence would change the very nature of our community.

The petition would require all zoning and safety code changes in Pinecrest to go through a ballot referendum and pass with 60 percent of the vote! We elected council members to guide our village. Let’s tell them what we think, but don’t neuter our well-functioning village. I have spoken with a Council member who stated we will NOT do what Life Fitness did at US1 and Ponce.

Under the proposed system, our police or Council would not be able to act quickly to update codes in the interest of public safety. Public officials or citizens of Pinecrest would only be able to call for change every two years through the ballot referendum. This system favors companies and big money who can change the very nature of our village.

From what I have been told, this petition is NOT about over-development but would result in a costly system that favors big money over the people who are, in my opinion, well represented. I do not want a vacancy blighted US1 corridor because owners are prevented from applying to develop in a manner compatible with our Village.

Fellow Pinecrest community members, please join me with resolve to protect our quaint town. Do not sign the petition and tell your neighbors to do the same. It is up to us to protect one another from predatory outsiders.

I am willing to meet with any group, at any time, so we and our elected officials can talk though what is best for all of us.

Philip Leitman
A long time real estate investor, developer and a resident of Pinecrest since before incorporation of the Village of Pinecrest.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. This petition will do nothing to stop re-development along the US-1 corridor. Miami-Dade County controls the US-1 corridor as part of its regional transportation planning and supervision. The County’s control overrides any local village charter requirements. In other words, the proposal will do nothing to prevent the very problem they are trying to address. Plus why do we trust Village residents, most of whom have little if any knowledge of the intricacies of our zoning regulations, to make wise decisions about zoning changes? That’s why we elect Village Council members. They do the work to research the issues, hire professionals to investigate, and then report back to us through open public meetings. If you don’t like how our elected representatives are handling the issues, run yourself or support others to run who you think will do a better job. It’s called representative democracy. It’s what makes America great. This petition undermines the very premise of how our democracy is supposed to work.

  2. Coming from a real estate investor and developer, speaking about representatives elected to protect quality of life issues for residents, but can quickly enact high density development at a council meeting. Seems like making any major zoning or development changes to a community SHOULD be voted on by the residents. And how would big development have more play if several thousand residents would need to be convinced? Oh, yeah, more to pay to play?

  3. Totally disagree !
    Our family has been in Pinecrest since the 50’s.
    We have witnessed the out of control encroachment in the area and the HIGH DENSITY overdevelopment!
    We have become a concrete jungle, and no longer the Green City.
    “…something is rotten in Denmark…”

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