Pinecrest to Hold Vote on Zoning in March

Eitan Greenberg, Sports Editor

In November, millions of people across the country went to the polls to cast their ballots for the midterm elections. For Pinecrest residents, the same process approaches in March. Residents will mail in their ballots to vote on an issue that will have a major impact on how decisions regarding zoning are made. 

Zoning includes a wide range of developmental decisions, such as where stores can be built, how tall buildings can be and if residents can rent their property out. 

Currently, zoning decisions are made by the village council, Pinecrest’s leading legislative body. In May, a group called Concerned Citizens of Pinecrest called for an election that, if successful, would change how zoning decisions are made. Their proposal looks to replace the current system with one that would require each zoning change to go to a vote every time. 

“The election will be full mail-in voting, with the deadline still needing approval from Miami Dade County Elections leaders, but ballots are likely to be due by March 7,” Pinecrest Councilmember Katie Abbott said. 

Residents should receive their ballots in the weeks leading up to the election. To vote, residents need to get their ballots from the mail, fill them out as they would a normal ballot and put them back in accordance with the instructions. 

“The most informative method of finding out information would be going to the town halls. What is important is to know the facts and to be educated on the topic,” Abbott said.

Like most other municipalities, Pinecrest has a village charter, which defines how a municipality is organized, how it functions and all related procedures. This would be a change to the village charter, similar in function to a constitutional amendment in that it amends the former law into something deemed more fit for the present and future. 

“Pinecrest has never had a voter-initiated referendum like this. It had been done as a result of a charter commission in the past, but never done by citizen signatures,” Pinecrest Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano said. 

Supporters of the referendum state on their website that the amendment “puts the power back in the hands of the residents” and protects the Village from future elected officials “that have a different ‘vision’ for Pinecrest.” 

Opponents of the resolution argue that it would be too expensive to go to a village-wide vote for every zoning change (initial estimates are believed to be at over $30,000), believing the current system works just fine. 

“The group proposing it (CCP) has been disseminating untruths, such as the yard sign around town including a high rise with an X on it,” Abbott said.

The Village of Pinecrest will be updating its webpage with information pertaining to the vote as the date appears.