Palmetto Bay


Letter: Palmetto Bay council should reject giant lights for athletic fields


How to sound off

To submit your letter, e-mail, or write Soapbox, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, FL 33172. Fax: 305-376-5287. Letters must address a specific LOCAL issue, and must be signed with a name, city or neighborhood, as well as a telephone number for verification purposes. Letters more than 350 words will not be accepted, and writers are limited to one letter every four weeks. Letters will run as space allows, and may be edited for length, style and clarity. The deadline for letters is noon Wednesday.

Palmetto Bay Councilman Timothy Schaffer is seeking lighting modifications to Ordinance 30-110 that will forever change the face of our community.

These changes would allow stadium lights throughout the residential districts of the village on outdoor athletic fields/recreational areas. These lights could be used seven days a week until 10 or 11 p.m., bringing additional noise and traffic to your neighborhood. His proposal places no restrictions on the height of poles, number of poles, number of light bulbs, wattage, or proximity to neighboring homes.

Immediately after Schaffer’s election in November 2012, he was interviewed by a Miami Herald reporter who wrote that Schaffer supported the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance and a related charter amendment. “It is clear that almost 67 percent of the residents said they want the amendment. It is my responsibility to follow what they want,” he told the Herald.

Apparently Schaffer no longer finds neighborhood protection important. Who or what has caused this 180-degree change?

One private school recently submitted athletic field lighting plans that included more than 40 light poles ranging in height from 60 to 90 feet. The poles had almost 300 bulbs – each 1,500 watts. Imagine the domino effect of this and more throughout our village. Currently, the Palmetto Bay code does not allow this in a residential neighborhood, but Schaffer wants to change this.

Approval by the Village Council will allow lights on athletic fields – existing and future.

Schaffer’s ordinance will be considered on May 5 during the 7 p.m. Village Council meeting at Village Hall, 9705 E. Hibiscus St. Before the vote, there will be a public hearing on this item where you can speak for up to three minutes.

This is your opportunity to voice your opinion and it is your responsibility to make sure Councilman Schaffer and the other Village Council members know what you want for the future of your community. Your input is critical.

Gary Pastorella, Palmetto Bay

‘McMansions’ are bad for Pinecrest

Re: Council puts off 'McMansion' limits (Neighbors, April 13): I agree that McMansions are ruining Pinecrest's character, so why can't we offer a blueprint to preserve our beauty and identity and still grow and prosper? Why must we bend to builders to remain economically viable? Why must these megalomaniacal palaces become the norm?

Perhaps we should require that the bigger the house, the more efficient it must be. Mandate on-site renewable energy such as solar panels, etc., or limit energy consumption to a house 6,000 to 8,000 sq. feet. Perhaps some of the older village residents could place restrictive covenants on their property when they sell. I know I would. These energy-wasting castles would be so inappropriate in my neighborhood.

The Village Council is in the driver's seat, so let's tell the council that we do not believe restrictions would harm our neighborhood. I believe restrictions would only make our existing homes more valuable. Isn't quality of life worth something? Isn't it hypocritical to promote no expansions on U.S. 1 while openly embracing warehouse-sized home?

As is often the case, the people that are attracted to the character of a community inadvertently change it because they may not understand or fully appreciate it.

Patricia Kyle Lawrence, Pinecrest

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