PB: New Times misses the point
It’s always interesting to see how the outside world views a Palmetto Bay dispute and the Miami New Times has a blog article is most definitely interesting. Allow SDM to pull a couple quotes and comment on them:
But their opponents are armed with outside cash, a political action committee, a powerful private school, and candidates poised to push through their pro-growth agenda.
Unsurprisingly, the New Times is looking at only one side of the story. Somehow they missed the long-standing Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI), a corporation set up for the sole purpose of pushing an anti-school, anti- church agenda. SDM is also not surprised that the New Times didn’t notice that CCOCI and its progeny has been stirring up the village for years.
“This is about saving the village,” says Jack Fell of the group Palmetto Bay Concerned Residents. “These protections have to be put in place. I don’t want a gas station next to my house.”
How tragic. Mr. Fell has been sold a gigantic bill of goods if he thinks the “neighborhood protection” nonsense has anything to do with gas stations. The NPO applies to institutional uses in residential areas. Gas stations are commercial uses and the NPO simply doesn’t apply to them. SDM suspects Mr. Fell knows this fact but may have misplaced his talking points.
But Fell — a spirited 79-year-old — says there is nothing progressive about the PAC’s pro-growth platform. He points out that David Singer, another PAC founder, works for a real estate developer. And Wayne Rosen, one of the county’s biggest builders, has donated thousands to the PAC’s candidates.
SDM finds it fascinating that the SOPs at CCOCI have decided to vilify their neighbor Mr. Singer who works for a company called Berkowitz Development. Singer’s company focuses almost exclusively on shopping centers so it’s really hard to see how his company would ever have an interest in Palmetto Bay.
More importantly, Mr. Fell knows all too well that Palmetto Bay has no interest in attracting major commercial development along its US 1 corridor. Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay are perfectly content to have a perpetual auto mart be the main attraction of our commercial area. The idea that a scourge of developers is gathered on Palmetto Bay’s borders waiting for the election results is utterly preposterous.
For those residents who may not be familiar with Mr. Rosen, let SDM bring you up to speed. Rosen purchased 5 acres almost directly across Franjo Road from village hall. He proposed building exactly what the village asked for in its master plan for the area: mixed use, pedestrian friendly development, including a charter school.
Palmetto Bay’s response? Mayor Stanczyk and her minions manufactured a controversy over the school’s application so they could deny Rosen even a hearing. Read more at SDM is so proud!
Of course, Rosen took the village to court though you shouldn’t expect to hear anything about it from the village. They prefer to keep you pesky taxpayers out of the loop when it comes to how much money they’re wasting in court.
Ultimately, SDM sees the political upheaval differently from Mr. Fell. Palmetto Bay has fallen under the control of a tiny minority of residents whose only genuine concern is that the village be cleansed of its iconic institutions.
Only in the past couple years has a counter-movement come into fruition and the once-dominant minority doesn’t like it one bit. Too bad the New Times couldn’t find a few minutes to dig a little deeper.