Thursday , 24 July 2014
Breaking News

Neighborhood protection? Depends who lives there

How do you like the plan to rip out and pave over the avocado and mango trees at the public works offices for use as a storage and parking lot for Palmetto Bay’s buses?

You never heard? No one is surprised as this proposal is a shock to everyone, especially the neighbors in the affected area who said that they knew nothing of the plans until a Miami Herald reporter contacted them.

That’s right, your Palmetto Bay, the one led by a mayor who continues to lavish praise upon herself as a “protector of neighborhoods,” is, in fact, soliciting federal money to pave over most of the green space at its Public Works building. And without a single word to those who will be affected most.

I don’t recall reading any alerts from Mayor Shelley Stanczyk regarding new plans for this property that was another owner-occupied home within the neighborhood only a few years ago. And after ripping out the mango and avocado trees, what kind of landscape, noise or diesel fuel buffers can the neighbors expect?

Will the design and operation comply with Palmetto Bay’s strict NPO (Neighborhood Protection Ordinance)? You can read the article for yourself: Herald Watchdog, “Palmetto Bay neighbors not told of project” Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, page 20A.

Ask yourself after reading it if this sounds like something you want on property attached to Palmetto Bay Park as well as in the middle of your neighborhood?

As a local blogger put it: “Wouldn’t you want to know what the village had planned for a facility near your home, out of common courtesy, if not political behind-covering?”

We all know the flow of information from village officials would be much different if this project was located at a private school or a church — or in their own neighborhood. In reality, you can rest assured that no such project would dare be contemplated near any homes of the current elected officials.

This is further evidence of the ongoing “Tale of Two Cities.” There is one that the press department creates, while the actual delivery by the mayor and council continues to sorely miss the mark.

And yet the underground actions of the mayor don’t stop with the Public Works property. The public only recently has become aware of the twoplus years of neglect of the fire station with a frantic attempt by Mayor Stanczyk to play catch up after the initial administration obtained approval from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Coral Reef area residents recently were left to their own lobbying and expense for legal counsel to fend off the U.S. Postal Service facility that nearly went into 152nd Street at the old village hall site.

Now we have a documented attempt by the Palmetto Bay government itself to lay waste to green space and bring an industrial use to someone’s neighborhood. Watch how fast this project becomes politically orphaned now that the Miami Herald Watchdog shined some much need illumination on this stealth project.

Is this the vision you had for Palmetto Bay? One set of rules for everyone else requiring significant pre-hearing public meetings and public notifications, onerous conditions of landscape buffering and restricting uses so not to disturb (only certain) neighbors while the government itself does what it wants to clear land next to parks and in local neighborhoods seemingly unconcerned with what its residents think?

Perhaps we all need to move closer to the current elected officials to gain restful sleep without fear of a commercial project moving in near you.