PB: The Mayor Problem Strikes Again

by SDM

Way back in December of 2011, this blog took Mayor Stanczyk to task for closing down a hearing for an applicant known as Shores at Palmetto Bay, LLC. We wrote back then:

You may not be surprised that the opposition to this application was pre-cooked. Insipid Mayor Stanczyk reminded the applicant repeatedly that she had offered him a six-month deferral but that he had committed to being “ready” by December 12.

According to Palmetto Bay, the applicant was not ready because he did not have a site specific charter. The applicant countered that he was ready and met the requirements of the code. Stanczyk demanded a motion for denial despite the Village Attorney’s statement that the council could hear the item.

Here is the language in the Palmetto Bay code that Stanczyk relies upon for her opposition:

All public charter school facilities shall submit the following information to the village’s department of community development for review by the department and for consideration at a public hearing…

A copy of the charter approved by the Miami-Dade County Public School Board.

Allow SDM to break the “code.” The applicant has a charter that can be applied to the site by administrative act of the school district. Moving charters around happens all the time because otherwise they would expire before the sites are ready. The Mayor knows this fact and also knows the Palmetto Bay code does not require a site specific charter.

On May 20th – FIFTEEN MONTHS after the fateful hearing – the village council will take up an agreement to settle the pending lawsuit that Shores filed against the village. Below is a direct quotation from the memorandum explaining the item:

The Application, if approved, would allow a concession to the Owner: the usable charter does not have to be produced at the hearing, but, must be produced prior to a building permit being issued for the charter school portion of the site.

So, our Mayor Problem did the following damage because of her little tantrum:

  • A village property owner’s developable downtown site has sat fallow for almost a year and a half;
  • A village property owner has been paying legal fees, taxes, insurance, maintenance and other costs for an extra 15 months for no reason at all;
  • Children, including some who live in our village, did not get the chance to enroll in an alternative to the local, traditional public and private schools for at least two school years; and
  • The village has been paying attorneys to defend against the lawsuit in exchange for zero benefit to taxpayers.

SDM read the agenda item to mean that Shores will appear at the next council meeting and either be approved or denied to proceed with its 2011 application. If the village votes against or alters the project, then the lawsuit continues unabated. If the application is approved, then the lawsuit goes away.

SDM Code Breaker: The council met in a shade session before the May 20th special meeting was called. While the council cannot vote at shade sessions, they clearly can have their temperatures taken regarding whether they want to continue to fight or accept a settlement. Logic dictates that at least three council members decided to terminate the lawsuit, which also probably means that at least three of them believe that cutting the village’s losses will be better than risking an expensive judgment. So, SDM will wager that Shores will get their votes and the project will go forward.

Bonus Prediction: Some very vocal residents will come out screaming bloody murder at the next council meeting. They will rant and rave about developers, how the school will wreck the village and their property values, and how traffic will be a nightmare, etc. At least one of the three council members who agreed to end the lawsuit will waver as the Mayor panders her backside off to this tiny minority of residents. The Mayor will vote no all the time knowing that the village must approve the application to avoid a disaster of her own making.

SDM Says: Being shameless and devious may get you elected, but it doesn’t make you a leader. If Shores isn’t resolved next month, you alone, Mrs. Stanczyk, are to blame.

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