Palmetto Bay residents voted in two new Village Council members on Tuesday, but the council’s political balance will remain unchanged.
Challenger John DuBois won the race for vice mayor by a mere 28 votes against incumbent Brian Pariser. For Council Seat 2, the race was not as close with financial advisor Tim Schaffer winning by 217 votes over businessman Jim Araiza.
The South Miami-Dade city has had one of the county’s most competitive municipal elections this year, with residents divided over the expansion of Palmer Trinity, a private parochial school in the midst of a residential neighborhood. Some residents supported the council’s efforts to block the school, which were ultimately unsuccessful, while others complained about the cost of years of litigation.
One faction, made up of Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, council member Joan Lindsay and Pariser, enjoyed a 3-2 majority in their opposition of Palmer Trinity’s expansion and support for a Neighborhood Protection Ordinance to limit nonresidential development in neighborhoods.
Vice Mayor-elect DuBois previously told The Herald he entered the race because he opposed the ordinance, saying he found it “disgusting.”
“I think the whole concept of the moratorium and the Neighborhoods Protection Ordinance comes from some faction on the council who is not happy with losing time and again in the courts in the Palmer Trinity case,” he told The Miami Herald before the runoff election results were in.
But Schaffer, the Seat 2 council member-elect, was endorsed by Stanczyk and supported the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance and a related charter amendment.
“It is clear that almost 67 percent of the resident said they want the amendment. It is my responsibility to follow what they want,” he told The Herald.
The results are unofficial and Palmetto Bay leaders are waiting on final confirmation form the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.