When we incorporated as a village in 1996, we vested zoning power in a professional village government and an elected volunteer council, with public input from residents. We designed a representative, self-governing democracy and it's been a resounding success! We have low crime, excellent finances, great schools, and charming neighborhoods. Most importantly, we have the ability to adapt our Village to the needs of the future and prevent damaging changes to our Village's character.

Last year, a small, but vocal group misled enough residents into believing that our Village Council wanted to rezone US-1 to allow high-rise buildings in Pinecrest. The Village Council did not re-zone for high-rises and voted unanimously to maintain a four-story limitation on US-1 on December 13th, 2022.

But it didn't matter. This group cobbled together enough signatures on a petition that would fundamentally undermine our Village’s zoning power. A special election by mail-in ballot is set for March 7th, 2023. An election that we must now pay for with our tax dollars.

This referendum would freeze Pinecrest's zoning and would require most zoning updates to be decided by a Village-wide election and approved by 60% of the voters. And get this…we would have to pay for all of those elections too ($63,000+ each time).

If special elections were required for these types of zoning changes, nothing would get done. This referendum means gridlock – a total inability to respond to real-world problems.

What will happen if this referendum passes?

Scenario 1 - Airbnb

Airbnb turns homes into businesses by allowing the owners to rent them out as hotels. Sometimes the renters are really bad neighbors, throwing loud house parties that turn front lawns into parking lots.

This actually happened when Airbnb first launched in Pinecrest. The Pinecrest Village Council received lots of complaints about Airbnb party houses and responded by adopting a zoning change that prohibited these rentals in residential neighborhoods. These types of changes normally require amending or adding definitions to the Village's land use regulations to close loopholes.

If the referendum passes, the Village would be unable to act quickly to stop this type of threat to our Village character and quality of life!

Scenario 2 - The Next Fly-By-Night Business

Every other day, a new business pops up presenting challenges in safeguarding communities like ours. Heard of Swimply yet? This new business allows homeowners to rent their private pools by the hour for parties, and whatever else you can think of.

How about e-scooters? Sick of all the scooters that are just left on the side of the road yet? These companies pop up in an instant and don't care about where riders leave them.

If the referendum passes, future companies offering new services that aren't addressed in our frozen zoning rules can set up shop in our Village. And without a costly and time-consuming special election to approve amendments to close loopholes, we wouldn't be able to do a darn thing about it!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When is the referendum and how do I vote?

This vote is by mail-in ballot only. If you’re a registered Pinecrest voter, the County will mail you a ballot. It has to be returned to the Miami-Dade County Department of Elections by March 7. Note that you do not need to request a mail-in ballot. Be on the lookout for it, as you will not be able to vote in person in this election.

What would this proposal do?

If voters agree, this proposal would require that changes to the Village’s zoning code be approved by a super majority – 60% - of Pinecrest voters. Every single property in the Village, be it residential or commercial, would be affected. And taxpayers would foot the bill for this change, at the cost of $40,000 or more an election.

With low voter turnout in off-year elections, a small group of people who are not elected and have no legal responsibilities to the public could decide the most important zoning changes affecting everyone in the Village.

Why should we vote NO?

Here are three reasons:

  • PRESERVE OUR PROPERTY VALUES AND CHARACTER: Putting zoning decisions to a referendum would lead to haphazard development and cripple the open and professional process that makes Pinecrest a fantastic place to live, negatively impacting property values and village character.

  • PROTECT PINECREST FROM LOSING ZONING CONTROL: If this measure passes, our zoning code would be frozen in time, with the Village unable to respond to emerging needs or threats, like the next Airbnb. In that case, the Village Council quickly moved to ban these noisy rentals in our community. If the referendum is approved, bans like this would take months or years to pass - if ever.

  • DEFEND AGAINST OUTSIDE SPECIAL INTERESTS: If this proposal passes, deep-pocketed developers would be able to circumvent our zoning process through well-funded campaigns designed to mislead voters in low-turnout elections. And it would cost us taxpayers $64,000+ to hold each vote!

Can I read the ballot language?


The charter amendment would require 60 percent voter approval for text amendments to the zoning code or land development regulations that would create a new zoning district, amend any definition in the land development regulations, or have the effect of allowing uses not currently permitted, increase residential density, allow additional hotel or accommodation units per acre, increase lot coverage, increase height, or increase floor area ratio. Shall the above described amendment be adopted?

Yes [ ]

No [ X ]

Who wins under this proposed change?

The clear winners will be developers with deep pockets who get to circumvent a transparent and public process. They will run well-funded political campaigns stressing the benefits of development, arguing density brings more taxes to the Village and will

ultimately lower residents’ taxes, which is false. And if they lose, they will come back again and again until they win.

Developers have long timelines. The opponents of the zoning change have to win every time, but the developer needs to win only once!

What is a zoning change?

Zoning is not simply the size of a building lot. It includes setbacks, height limitations, accessory buildings, tennis courts, lights, landscaping, the location of your front door, how to calculate lot coverage, and many other regulations.

Most importantly, it governs what can be done on a property. Can you rent through Airbnb? Can you hold garage sales every weekend, can you rent your tennis court, your pool or your house for parties? As the uses of property evolve (there was no Airbnb in 1996 when the charter was adopted), the Village must be able to promptly respond to nuisance uses, which disturb neighbors and the community.

Let’s say your neighbor decides to lease their property to a 75-foot cell tower operator. Are you prepared to engage in a campaign in opposition? How much time and money will it take to stop the cell tower? Who would oppose better cell phone service? Maybe the people who don’t live near you don’t care, won’t bother to vote, or would love to have better cell phone service and support the tower, all at your expense. Would you win the zoning election or would the cell phone tower company win?

On the other hand, the Village Council has always opposed cell phone towers. The public process – not the burden on a homeowner to oppose the cell phone tower – would ensure that it would not pass.

What types of property would be affected by this change?

The proposed change to the Village Charter would affect every single property in the Village. Every home. Every commercial property. Anyone who wants to change their zoning would need to pay for and participate in a full election process, a process that could be dominated by a small group of voters misled by well-funded outsider campaigns.

I understand this all began with a debate over higher density in Pinecrest. Are high-rises planned for the Village?

No, they aren’t. In fact, buildings are limited to four stories along U.S. 1.

How did this debate begin? The Village Council went through a public process of responding to a Miami-Dade County draft proposal to increase density along U.S. 1 to feed riders into Metrorail, in an effort to deal with the incredible traffic issues in Miami-Dade County. The Village Council lobbied and worked hard to exempt Pinecrest from the draft proposal, and they were successful. Cities along US. 1 are now exempted from any requirements to increase density.

Then the Village Council, after a long public process of listening to residents and having a vigorous public debate, adopted zoning regulations that maintain the prohibition on buildings on U.S 1 taller than four stories. This is how a resident-focused public process should work: a proposal is made, it is analyzed, debated, reviewed, and eventually resolved by elected officials responsible to the voters. It shouldn’t be undermined by a one-shot election funded by special interests with no public responsibilities or transparency.

Who are the Pinecrest Friends?

We are your friends and neighbors, families that own businesses in our community, who volunteer for our religious organizations, youth sports teams, and who care deeply about Pinecrest’s future. Our supporters include every Mayor of Pinecrest, past and present.

We firmly believe in transparency. As we file our financial disclosures, we'll share them upon request.