Once again, Palmetto Bay residents have to take on their own mayor and council. This time the controversy involves how much time the mayor and council deem that the area residents may enjoy what their hard-earned tax dollars paid for: Thalatta Estate.
You may have heard of it. Thalatta Estate is the bayfront park that founding Mayor Eugene Flinn and the initial council fought hard to preserve for the public. That is the park that they went to Tallahassee and obtained over $3.6 million in state dollars to buy. That is the park that then Mayor Flinn proudly proclaimed “put the ‘bay’ back in Palmetto Bay.”
Yes it does, but apparently the original vision no longer counts, as the current mayor and administration deem it appropriate to serve mainly those that can afford to rent it regardless of whether the renters are or are not Palmetto Bay residents. The rest, especially surrounding neighbors, get the crumbs, short spurts of time, mainly mid-day during the week and periodic openings during the weekend (but park rental takes the priority).
Palmetto Bay resident and government watchdog David Singer is one of the residents outraged that he cannot take his family to Thalatta Estate on a regular schedule and he wants Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and this council to honor the commitments of the first mayor and council. This is not to say “no” to any weddings. His fight though is on behalf of all Palmetto Bay residents that this park needs to be a park open to the public first and then allowed to hold weddings in a manner not infringing upon the right to quiet enjoyment of public property.
Far too often the sign out front is not “Thalatta Estate, public welcome,” but “closed for private event.” And, to add insult to injury for the neighbors, Thalatta Estate is becoming recognized by these neighbors as the “loudest party place in Palmetto Bay” for all these private, publicexcluded events. Yet another poor legacy from Mayor Stanczyk, who wants to muzzle dogs and put a noise meter on events throughout Palmetto Bay while turning a deaf ear to the well-paying renters of Thalatta who often rock loud and rock late, well into the night. It sounds like Mayor Stanczyk refuses to apply her own created sound ordinance to Thalatta.
Palmetto Bay signed a grant contract with the state which Mr. Singer points out has specific requirements and limitations regarding the land and the house on it that was built in 1925. Mr. Singer points out that the grant contract provides for 18 “Special Management Conditions.” Mr. Singer argues that the village conveniently is ignoring most of the conditions, but provides some of the most glaring examples of requirements that have never occurred to his knowledge: That the facilities shall be developed in a manner that allows the general public reasonable access for observation and appreciation of the natural resources on site; 12 regularly scheduled and ongoing educational classes for programs that promote the protection of environmental resources, and the site shall be managed in a manner that will protect and enhance the listed and non-listed native wildlife species and their habitat.
Palmetto Bay residents deserve more than crumbs and having to place pillows over their ears when trying to sleep on the weekends in regard to Thalatta. The neighbors thought wrong that a public passive park was moving in. Instead it has been at times a public nuisance. All residents deserve use of this beautiful public property on the bay.