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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enough! We are not going to take it anymore

Talk of seceding from the City is heating up again. Grovites are fed up with the way the village is being run and the last straw was the vote in favor of the Grove Bay project on the waterfront, if this had been just a Coconut Grove vote, the project would have been voted down, but when the City went out soliciting votes from Little Havana, Belle Meade, Morningside and other areas, that was the final act of treason from our City.

The bar closing times, the dis on the Village Council, the basic state that the Grove is in theses days are all negative effects from the City and of course the crime and lack of police presence is a major factor. I get emails daily from people crying over what is going on in this village. The rezoning of properties to turn the village into an office center is another strike. It all would not have happened if we were our own City and called our own shots.

Grovite  Grant Sheehan, sent out this informative email over the weekend. He has a mandate for the new Village Council.

Grant says:

"I would like to welcome the new Village Council members and give you your first assignment. As you know after the last attempt to incorporate the city commission allowed the Grove to establish our own elected Village Council so that we would have some say in the future of the Grove. Well you can see how well that has worked! They gave us a Village Counsel and immediately neutered them, no public forum (meetings in City Hall), no funding, no voice and no vote! They, the city, have continually moved in several different directions opposite of what, it appears, the majority of the Grove wants for its community. The last letter that Commissioner Marc Sarnoff sent supporting Grove Harbor should have been considered a slap in the face, by our elected Grove Commissioner, to every Grove resident. He made it very clear that he did not care what we, Grove residents, thought and that all the residents of the city would decide the future of the Grove!"

Grant did a feasibility study between Coconut Grove and Pinecrest, relating to millage rates and population, and according to him, we mirror each other. Of course, Pinecrest became its own city after incorporating itself away from the County, we have to deal with being part of the City of Miami. We were once our own city, but we were stolen in 1925 by the City. Long grudge ever since.

Here are the points that Grant makes:

Benefit “Home Rule”
Specific benefits will vary according to the state or province, but incorporation typically provides advantages in many areas, including the collection of taxes, powers to establish police and fire departments, avoiding annexation to adjacent municipalities and a hyper-local form of government likely to be more in tune with the needs of area residents.

Here are some steps to get the ball rolling.

1. Check with the secretary of state to determine the subtle details required to incorporate as a city. You must find out the minimum population needed and how many registered voters you need to pass the petition.

2. Survey the Grove to ensure you have the minimum population required to incorporate as a city.

3. Propose a feasibility study (see attached sample). Appoint a neutral party to conduct the study in order to determine if incorporating will be fiscally sound. You must have a petition signed by a certain amount of property owners or registered voters in the area that approve the feasibility study.

4. Hold a public hearing to discuss the feasibility study and the possibility of incorporation. If the feasibility study shows that it would be beneficial for the city to incorporate, hold hearings to discuss the matter with the residents.

5. Petition for incorporation. The petition must be signed by a certain amount of property owners or registered voters depending on the state law. If the petition passes, the voters must elect city officials to govern the new city.

6. File the articles of incorporation with the secretary of state. If the petition for incorporation passes and after city officials are elected, the mayor of the new city must file articles of incorporation to formally incorporate the city. The secretary of state can provide the forms.

It will not be an easy task because being part of a city requires us to request to leave the city, which I am sure, will require some legal action if they won’t let us go, then become part of the county and then request to separate from them. All of this would have to take place almost simultaneously and cost a few bucks but look what you will be part of by being the “Founding Fathers” of the “Village of Coconut Grove”. By the way we were our own city till Miami annexed us back in 1925.

I think the time has come (again) to make this happen. The city used to rely on our tax base but now with Wynwood and Midtown and the success and build up of Brickell, lots of taxes are coming in from elsewhere.

And for those of you who want all the fast speed progress and desecration of the Grove, please don't bother leaving nasty comments here, why don't you move instead to the burgeoning areas of the county where you'll be happy, destroying the last vestiges of sanity in Coconut Grove is not the answer for the majority of Grovites, that's why we moved here to stop the insanity. 

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck...

November 12, 2013 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You Grant! We are in please tell us more details ? Where to sign or meet or whatever we need to do? We need to do a recall of Sarnoff to put a stop to his shenanigans for now !

November 12, 2013 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cannot incorporate a municipality within the territory of an existing municipality. This is an alteration to the existing boundaries of a municipality, governed by Chapter 6.04 of the County Charter:

A. The planning director shall study municipal
boundaries with a view to recommending their orderly
adjustment, improvement, and establishment. Proposed
boundary changes may be initiated by the Planning
Advisory Board, the Board of County Commissioners, the
governing body of a municipality, or by a petition of any
person or group concerned.
B. The Board of County Commissioners, after
obtaining the approval of the municipal governing
bodies concerned, after hearing the recommendations of
the Planning Advisory Board, and after a public hearing,
may by ordinance effect boundary changes, with an
affirmative vote of the members of the Board of County
Commissioners. In making such decision, the Board shall 33
consider whether commercial areas are included in the
boundaries of the proposed area to be annexed for the
mere benefit of increasing the tax base of the annexing
municipality. Changes that involve the annexation or
separation of an area of which more than 250 residents are
electors shall also require an affirmative vote of a majority
of those electors voting. Upon any such boundary change
any conflicting boundaries set forth in the charter of such
municipality shall be considered amended.
C. No municipal boundary shall be altered except
as provided by this Section.

So you're going to need the approval of (a) the City of Miami; (b) the County Commissioners; and (c) the Planning advisory board. That's not impossible, but it is going to require quite a bit of lobbying. I hope this is a well-funded effort.

Alternatively, you could argue that the original annexation in 1925 was invalid. After 80 years, those arguments are probably face estoppel.

November 12, 2013 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Grovites" complain about $5 for a bed race, but their going to raise a couple of million dollars for this effort? ... ha, hahahahahahaha.

November 12, 2013 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what exactly is this mandate? The Grove Bay vote? I thought "only" a couple of thousand people in the Grove turned out for that? How is that a mandate?

November 12, 2013 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Try to make an alliance with as many of the Brickell folks as you can - keeping in mind that Sarnoff's mentors an principal supporters Jay Solowsky and Stephen Perricone have their hands in a lot of Brickell pots - and then reach out to the folks left within District 2 that are in the Northeast Section of the District and start a real Recall effort against Sarnoff.

That's something that can be financed and one effort that would for a long time serve as a real bright line warning for future District 2 Commissioners not to piss off folks in Coconut Grove.

Sarnoff has done more than any other local politician to deserve being recalled, and it's something that can be accomplished before people get tired of the whole thing.

November 12, 2013 12:46 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Sorry, but this is one of the silliest things I've read on this blog (which is, to be frank, saying something).

First, you cannot "secede" from the city without obtaining the agreement of a majority of voters in the city at large. I have explained this, patiently and using small words, many times. But people get in a snit and tend to forget.

Second, as bad as the City of Miami can be, I would not want to be governed by the small group of busybodies who would almost undoubtedly end up in charge.

Third, grow up.

November 12, 2013 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto to swlip at 3:59 p.m.

November 12, 2013 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

If you didn't think you had reason enough to recall Sarnoff,go read the latest story about the Trolly garage deal in the West Grove. Sarnoff went out of his way to screw the Black residents of the West Grove with this deal, and the Feds finally showed up.

Sarnoff needs to go for the betterment of the community, and now is the time to run him out on a rail.

November 12, 2013 9:56 PM  
Blogger Grant Sheehan said...

Thanks, for all the great comments! Open discussion is good as long as your mind is not completely closed to some sort of change.

We have an elected Village Counsel that should be looking out for the best of the Grove and a public voice in the future of the Grove. It is obvious that there is a willingness to do something to change the future and present situation in leadership and direction.

What was not in my letter is the size and Millage rate comparison I did between the Grove, Pinecrest and Key Biscayne. We almost mirror each other, (with Key Biscayne being a bit smaller) as to population, homes and property value.

Our Millage is 7.6 (total with county services is 22.6) Pinecrest Millage is 2.2 (total with county services is 18.8) Key Biscayne is 3.0 (total with county services 17.3) to provide the same municipal services as we are getting from the city.

We know it would be a long and difficult road to secede and it may not be an option but besides just Millage there are many more pros than cons from increased property values to better living conditions when it comes to considering some kind of change than just bad feelings!

November 13, 2013 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Swlip said...


Are you familiar with Section 100.361, Florida Statutes and the cases interpreting it? How do you intend to satisfy subsection (2)(d)?

Fwiw, I disinctly recall when all of the usual suspects in this community screamed that anybody who didn't support Sarnoff was a tree-killer and a puppy-hater. Moderation is not in abundance.

November 13, 2013 9:32 AM  
Blogger Grant Sheehan said...

Not sure if I can post this link here but it is very good reading as to the history of the Annexation of Coconut Grove.

November 13, 2013 10:21 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

Here is my question to you grape, what would your proposed boundaries be for this new independent coconut grove?
I want to see a map outlining the new grove, etc.

November 13, 2013 10:22 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

The Grove has boundaries now. I don't think they would change.

November 13, 2013 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are those the pre-1925 boundaries?

November 13, 2013 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the boundaries ? Do they include the high crime areas ?

November 13, 2013 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to the recall of Marc Sarnoff. Why does this never seem to move forward?

December 11, 2013 10:38 AM  

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