PB: Palmer – Roll the Dice and CYA
Palmetto Bay released the agenda, staff report and draft resolution, and several attachments in advance of the August 29, 2012 hearing on Palmer Trinity’s application. SDM Warning: The links to the agenda and staff report take you directly to the documents, which are large PDF files, so you may prefer to click here to download or open them individually.
SDM gave the documents a once-over last night and had to stop reading because, candidly, they are annoying. First level annoyance comes from reading the endless conditions in the resolution itself – SDM apologizes for not going through this junk sooner. The fact that the village dragged this school through this process AFTER Palmer agreed to all of these punitive conditions just shows the depth of the enmity against them. SDM will itemize and comment on them in a subsequent post.
Second level annoyance comes from the blatant effort to absolve the members of council who supported extending the Palmer litigation after it was clearly lost. Here are some of the provisions of the staff report along with SDM comments in bold brackets following.
On May 4, 2010, the Council approved Resolution 2010-48 with conditions, granting a Special Exception and Modified Site Plan to Palmer Trinity (the Applicant) for a proposed private school expansion within their existing 21.92 acre facility (7900 SW 176th Street) and onto the adjacent undeveloped 33.22 acre parcel (8001 SW 184th Street). Palmer Trinity subsequently filed a Writ of Certiorari with the Appellate Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court appealing two conditions which pertain to an enrollment cap of 900 students and to a 30 year prohibition limiting any future development of the property beyond the authorized site plan connected to Resolution 2010-48. (Emphasis added by SDM.)
[The Council at the time consisted of former Mayor Flinn, Vice Mayor Pariser, and Councilmembers Stanczyk, Feller, and Tendrich. SDM, as a voter, would think it important to add two facts to the above: 1. Stanczyk moved the 900 student cap on her own initiative - against the recommendation in the staff report - and Vice Mayor Pariser seconded it; and 2. The vote on her motion was three to two with only Tendrich and Feller having the good sense to support the staff. So, when you go into the voting booth in November, remember that Councilmember Tendrich is the only now-serving official with the guts to do the right thing on Palmer when it counted most.]
On May 18, 2011, the Village requested clarification of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court’s Order as to what the scope of the subsequent public hearing may include when the Village Council convened to take, as per the Court, “appropriate action to remove…or otherwise render…ineffectual” those conditions ruled upon by the Court of February 11, 2011. On June 1, 2011, the Appellate Panel reaffirmed its prior Order of May 5, and Ordered the Village to “take no further action…inconsistent with [their May 5, 2011] Order.” This ruling is included herein as Attachment B. On July 19, 2011, the Village held the public hearing on the remanded Resolution 2010-048, deleted the 30 year prohibition, and struck all references to the 900 student enrollment cap. The Village Council took no further action, thus the Council did not strike the language denying Palmer Trinity’s request for an expansion to 1,150 students. (Emphasis added by SDM.)
[Please read the above paragraph slowly and carefully. Note the exercise in picking nits when it suits and just ignoring words altogether when it doesn't. The court in May, 2011 told the village to render ineffectual the 900 student cap and the 30 year prohibition. Instead of reinstating the 1150 number right away, at least three of the councilembers essentially voted to go to court over the meaning of "to render ineffectual." SDM thinks the Three Amigos should be rendered ineffectual.
SDM imagines the court was shocked when village lawyers showed up saying yes, they rendered the cap ineffectual, and had complied with the court order because it took no further action on the cap. No judge wants to be treated like a moron and any third grader would understand that the cumulative effect of the council's actions was to lower the cap on students to 600 (i.e., the cap of 900 was effectual because 600 is even lower than 900...duh). The Three Amigos parsed Palmetto Bay into a windfall of litigation expenses; no other conclusion holds water.]
… On September 8, 2011, Justice Raoul Cantero filed the Village’s request that Palmer Trinity’s motion should be considered a new Certiorari Action. …
[Is dropping FORMER Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero's name here supposed to give comfort to Palmetto Bay taxpayers? Of course it is! He puts his pants on two legs at at time.]
On January 23, 2012, the Village filed a first tiered appeal of the 11th Judicial Circuit, Appellate Panel ruling of December 22, 2011 to the Third District Court of Appeal. The Village argued that requiring the Village Council to grant 1,150 students would have violated clear precedent, Broward County v. GBV Int’l Ltd., 787 So. 2d 838 (Fla. 2001), holding that a court acting in its appellate capacity cannot direct the respondent to enter any particular order or judgment. Moreover, the Village argued that the record reflected competent substantial evidence that supported the Village’s conclusion that Palmer Trinity’s request to “increase the number of students from 600 to 1,150 was not in compliance with the applicable standards”. The Village also argued that the Appellate Panel’s ruling concluded, for the first time, that the Circuit Court’s original opinion and previous clarification had required the Village to remove the approval of an expansion to 900 students and to approve the application for 1,150 students. The Village argued that the Circuit Court’s new interpretation of its prior mandate departed from the essential requirements of law. Nevertheless, on July 5, 2012, the Third District Court of Appeal denied the Village’s request for Writ of Certiorari (Attachment A), and affirmed the 11th Judicial Circuit’s appellate ruling leaving the mandate in tack. (sic) (Emphasis added by SDM.)
[This entire paragraph, especially augmented by the name dropping of a former Supreme Court Justice as noted above, is just a bunch of CYA (covering one's backside). The only sentence that matters is the last one. SDM will be interested to see the transcripts of the attorney-client sessions where the Cantero tactic was discussed. Did Justice Cantero guarantee that the Third DCA would agree with his theory? Did he say it had a 50/50 chance? SDM's hunch is that Cantero hedged his recommendation saying it could go either way. But because the Three Amigos wanted so badly to delay Palmer, they were willing to grasp at Cantero's straw. In the end, the bet Palmetto Bay voters made on Stanczyk, Pariser and Lindsay came up snake eyes.]