Thursday, April 2, 2015


VISIT: SEJ, Society of Environmental Journalists.  SEJ on track as Trump thunders.
Of note: Scientists' March on Washington. Earth Day, April 22.

Update, A NEW YEAR ::: February 9, 2017 ::::   STILL NO DRAINAGE!  Building of second luxury home inside development OK'd and nearly finished WITHOUT separate stormwater sewers or sufficient drains inside plat. (More Zika news. Two more species = 3)

Still NO positive drainage inside plat or nearby

MOAT LAND MODEL OPEN. Showcase home is number 1 of ten, be the first!  NEW MANSION FEATURES a 5 ft deep sump pit, your very own flooding-hatchery side yard. Find out how thrilling living next door to an undrained earthen stormwater holding tank can be. 

See it like a native. 

Smell it like a native. 
Experience southside sumpland upclose. 

Pinecrest has provided a service no other city has so readily offered: a mosquito sanctuary for disease carrying insects — a hatchery for ZIKA bloodsuckers on land permitted for mansions without a place for the water to go — a breeding ground in a populous neighborhood subdivision lacking positive stormwater drainage, aka, a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).

May 6, 2016 cesspool in sumpland after storm
Building Minus Positive Drainage on Sensitive Land Too Valuable to Pass Up

July, Zika in Miami !!!!
AUGUST 2016. Still NO positive drainage

Miami Herald, June 2016

Dec 5, 2015  MOAT LAND DAY. 
Bootie Selfie, 
7 inches on city street
Pinecrest, South Florida 

** 12. 15. 16: Understanding Toxic Lake Okeechobee. 10. 26. 16: Frills over infrastructure. Pinecrest spends $5 million for community center makeover   

Update, A NEW YEAR ::: January 10, 2017 ::::   STILL NO DRAINAGE!  Building of second luxury home inside development OK'd and nearly finished WITHOUT separate stormwater sewers or sufficient drains inside plat. (More Zika news. Two more species = 3)

At the beginning, all was obvious ... first desecration begot another. And another. Plus more.   Sumpland, October, 2008 to December 28, 2016. Plat remains without sufficient drainage.
“My home and safety have been compromised,” resident Hope Marcus says. “I moved here in 1980. And since 2008 when the city permitted the land, life has been topsy-turvy for me, always scared to tears of the next rain, wondering when the next flood will be. No one should suffer like this, be placed in harm’s way for a developer.”
Q: Is it common to build houses before drainage?
A: What would you think?

Image from unnamed storm in October 2013. Moat land, 2015. Aquifer breach, and cesspool in May 2016 below.
12.28.16 //STILL NO POSITIVE DRAINAGE. Storm above was a night time event, photo taken the following morning. Streets and area flooded when berm(s) overtopped. TODATE: A separate stormwater sewer system does not exist and despite the documented risk, was never proposed. Eight years later, area remains without a sewer stormwater outlet. 

9/24/16. Model home opened for viewing. Certification of occupancy issued October 2016. Camouflaged earthen undrained stormwater holding tank southside. The acreage had been an INLAND floodplain until the city deemed it too valuable to pass up.

Southside of the completed two-million-dollar sumpland luxury home, 9500 SW 72 Court. Ten mansions are planned. This one features a 5-ft deep sump pit, a flooding hatchery side yard with land graded and pitched into the five-foot pit, all the water from the elevated acreage above runs into it. There is no sewer outlet, you see the result (page top), plus cesspool below. Also, desperate measures — breaching the aquifer for drainage following three floods and moat land — pictorial underneath.

Notice fence in horse pasture above. Prior to 2008, fence had divided higher wetlands from lower sumpland. During the rainy reason, horses were kept in stalls on higher terrain to keep their hooves from rotting. 

The mansion under construction (summer, 2016) is built in the lower sumpland, atop marl soil.  All the water from acres above rush into the mansion's southside yard. When the berm (s) top, the area floods.  Otherwise stagnant water pools inside and remains for days. Marl soil, a defining wetland / sumpland feature,  is not very permeable. A true positive drainage system at the lowest point, or anywhere, does not exist. 

JULY 13, 2016 — U.S. EPA Weighs in on Pinecrest Mess, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Cites Developer (Pinecrest didn't see necessity of doing)

Eight years into — U.S. EPA + FDEP after 3 floods, moat land, aquifer breach, and cesspool. Now Zika. Will this citation have teeth? Or more Village of Pinecrest run arounds?

7.13.16 (Reply Due Date 8/13/16)

Builder cited! "Please be advised that engaging in construction activities of greater than one acre (including those as part of a larger common development plan) without an appropriate or valid permit issued by the Department is prohibited in accordance with section 403.161(1)(b), Fla. Stat., and 62- 620.300(2), F.A.C. Facilities or activities without proper NPDES Stormwater permit coverage may be subject to enforcement action." .... "The Department requests that you respond within 30 days of receipt of this letter indicating one of the following:
  1. Your activities are regulated under the NPDES Stormwater Program. An application for NPDES Stormwater permit coverage was submitted (or will be submitted) on (by) month/day/year. ...
  2. ... The Department is looking forward to your cooperation to assure compliance with the NPDES Stormwater Program. If you have any questions, please contact me at 772-467- 5558
    William Gordon // Environmental Consultant FDEP / Southeast District 
  3. PS: Site author does not know how to attach a pdf, please email for copy of full report. Or call 305.815.4726
Below: Cesspool May 5, 2016 + MOAT LAND, December, 2015.  Moat land became cesspool, imagine that ....
Following a rainstorm, you had to look over the side berm and down into to see. There is an incline, the wetlands above had been filled and elevated two feet. The entire 5 acres, once flat and rolling, had sloped downward to the street, was even with it. Building began October 29, 2015. On moat land day, 7 weeks after building commenced, water curled up and around backing up to artificially made berm on the street side. 

VIEW:  Some people experienced difficulty envisioning CESSPOOL— was one CONTINUOUS sump. The area on the south-side of the home in progress on construction site, garbage plus feces. The mansion's south side yard, an estimated 150 X 120 feet was an open sewage holding tank.

 IMAGE: May 6, 2016. Cesspool in sumpland, took days to drain. 
Full port-a-potty burst/ flooded during storm. Water pools with no place to go, mansion is built atop non-absorbing marl soil as in wetland, sumpland terrain. See very bottom for current image.
  • Port-a-potty flooded. Note placement above. Event: May 5, 2016
  • You had to get out of car and look over berm and down into to see. 
  • Took days to drain, stench longer.
Prior to cesspool May 5, 2016 there had been MOAT LAND and flooding in December of 2015. And before then, two additional floods, for a total of three since 2008 when the inland wetland was desecrated: filled and elevated without a place for the stormwater to go.

U.S. EPA steps up, YAY!  Whippee, thank you!!!!  Florida Department of Environmental Protection cites builder. Image on Pinecrest Floods and Sumpland sites shows text. Don't know how to attach pdf to blog, is public record. Since 2008: 3 floods, moat land, aquifer breach, cesspool and now a our very own Zika hatchery.

May 3, 2016

Desperate for Drainage Pinecrest Breaches Aquifer, 

900 Homes on Well Water

One travesty begets another in South Florida 

Village Digs into Aquifer for Stormwater Relief, 

Adds Fouling Drinking Water to Litany of Environmental Blunders

Snap shot: 2008 to present
• Around 2005, five acres of horse pasture / sumpland up for grabs
• Permitted in 2008 for development without drainage upfront
• Desecration: land filled and elevated 
• Flood Number 1 in 2008 
• Flood Number 2 in 2013, after fail safe berm overtopped
• During a Council meeting in December 2014, City banned the term sumpland, sounds too icky
• GREC/ Bindor /Dorsy paid 3M by Village to settle lawsuit, same LCC with big stake in sumpland mansions  (Links in Zika story)
• In June 2015, Miami Herald kills sumpland story
• About same time, Google bounce backs show pinecrest gov rejects pinecrest floods email
• On October 29, 2015, building begins in sumpland, aka Pinecrest Place without drainage beforehand
• Absent stormwater outlet, Pinecrest says drainage will be approved upon occupancy
• On December 5, 2015, Flood Number 3 and MOAT LAND arrive together
 Zika hatchery comes with
• In late 2015, GREC/ Bindor/ Dorsy LLC register indemnifying Homeowner’s Association
• Building continues lickety-split, still minus a positive drainage system
• In early April 2016, developers dig into limestone aquifer for stormwater outlet
• Oops …contaminate groundwater more so? 
Updated. Cesspool: May 5, 2016
• 900 homes in Pinecrest alone remain on well water, a portion already contaminated 
• An ongoing saga without resolve 
• Hurricane Season 2016 begins June 1, a positive drainage system does not exist

An eight year battle in bullets.  Flooding, a Zika tank, plus a breached aquifer on land too valuable to pass up. The pleas for common sense, environmental considerations, plus angst left out. The emails, snail-mails, Village meetings, intimidations, omitted.  

We did not flood during Hurricanes Andrew, Wilma or Katrina, all before the sumpland was destroyed. It had served as a storm water basin for streets above, and protected those below. All before desperate measures.

For full story, documented with startling images, visit:

This is an ongoing sad tale. The Zika story attempts a humorous take.

PS: In case you missed, Nina Burleigh did a superb job in her Newsweek article. "An unusual January storm bent palm trees and turned city sidewalks into creeks as a small group of Miami-area mayors and administrators huddled in Pinecrest, one of Miami-Dade County’s 34 municipalities. They had come at the invitation of Pinecrest’s mayor to discuss rising sea levels, long predicted by climate change scientists and now regularly inundating their towns. The mood in the room was somewhere between pessimism and panic... .”

From the Daily Kos:  Nearly 1 in 3 American mayors think they may already have hurt their own citizens by making cost-saving decisions on critical infrastructure—a startling admission of fearfulness and accountability from the nation’s top urban executives on the heels of the Flint water crisis.  This isn’t an admission of evil.  It’s certainly not bragging.  The guys who are expressing this worry are likely the good mayors—those who have a real concern for the citizens who have trusted them with the responsibility of maintaining services. The mayors that we should be worried about are the other two-thirds, the ones who think they’ve done no wrong.

PSS: Why didn’t DERM know?  Pinecrest used its "Incorporation Powers" to do as it wanted and held off the telling.  Having lost the GREC land case and after shelling out 3 M to Bindor, aka Dorsy, the same LLC with a stake in developing the sumpland, Village delayed filing the mansion construction permitting with Miami-Dade County.

Contact: Hope Marcus
305 815 4726
Pinecrest Floods <>

Drain in and out of ground

WHEN A CITY IGNORES BUILDING CODES. Update: February 7, 2016. Building continues WITHOUT DRAINAGE as Zika virus looms — standing water a mosquito breeding ground.

December 6, 2015
Moatland Comes to Pinecrest

Building began October 29, 2015 without a drainage plan, and six weeks later ... a heavy rain and by golly, wouldn't you just know it ...

Pinecrest, South FL. December 5, 2015. Stagnant water basin and moat land. 

Forget preserving sumpland, a plea for common sense. In the time of sea rise, greed and money prevailed. 

Please click to Pinecrest Floods for the big picture.

Inland sea rise an afterthought, a moat land not even on the building plans.

Health issues deemed irrelevant — incidental.

Pinecrest, Miami-Dade County, Fla.  September 1, 2015.    

Pinecrest's Hurricane Scenario: Irrefutable Risk Unheeded

Pinecrest’s Platitudes Preposterous, Protection is Paramount

September 1, 2015.  Miami-Dade County, Fla.  What if the next storm is like a Katrina when it careened into South Florida in 2005?  Or a Wilma? The Pinecrest area was hit with both yet did not suffer the flooding effects, in part, because the sumpland was intact. The area didn’t flood during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 — the sumpland with all its trees had not been toyed with and was viable then, too.

There has not been a hurricane since the acreage Pinecrest permitted in 2008 was gutted, filled and elevated. Altered from its previous wetland ecosystem. As a result of heavy rains, two floods — both without wind — have occurred since. Nothing on the magnitude of a hurricane, let alone a tropical storm, yet now with a hearty soaking the area floods.

Last week. while South Florida was galvanized, on alert tracking storm Erika, the Village of Pinecrest did not provide relief to the area robbed of its protective sumpland. Rather than help, they planned a discussion group.

In the midst of alarm, the monitored “cone of concern” advancing, the City of Pinecrest refused to take action to alleviate flooding caused by a flawed land filling they permitted.

Instead, at the very same time this author was pleading, begging for help, Pinecrest employees, futzing in their offices, were devising diversions, searching for a way out. On August 28 at 10:53 AM with the path of the storm apparent and rains from it expected, predicted, the City emailed residents announcing a workshop series titled: Climate Resiliency Series.

Resiliency, the latest climate change nomenclature implying buoyancy, fortitude. Banding together. A winning team.

Hope Marcus, this author and creator of Pinecrest Floods was stunned. 

“I was in throes of worry, angst, panic, hitting the refresh key every 2 minutes, so needing a reply, support and what I got was a platitude," she said.

"A cruel Pinecrest Platitude bonged into my mailbox.

Rather than help, assurance, on August 28 at 10:53 AM a kick in the pants.

At issue is a land filling. In 2008 Pinecrest permitted and allowed 5 acres of sensitive land to be filled and elevated without drainage, and approved the channeling of the altered land into a pit behind Marcus’s home. During a heavy rain, run off water from the land mass fills it, essentially turning Marcus’s backyard and neighboring streets into an overflow storm basin.

Given the urgency and the city’s delinquency, Marcus contends the only recourse now is to dredge the land for water retention. “Considering the immediacy and the fact that neither current owners, nor the City have found a solution for the drainage problem, the north section of the acreage must be dredged into a holding basin to alleviate the amount of runoff flowing south,” she said.

“My city made a bad decision in permitting the land and we are bearing the brunt of it. The actual damage is irrefutable, we flood when we did not before the sumpland was tampered with. Add to that the personal harm, the stress inflicted by Pinecrest’s refusing to clean up their act. Stress and worry: bonafide mental duress. 

There exists a legal duty to exercise reasonable care and Pinecrest isn’t looking out for us.”

In 2013, storm water reached to 80 feet under her home, submerging water lines. Two major floods have occurred, one in October 2008, and the other October 2013. Both without wind. 

Pinecrest is a wealthy community, opting to spend money on the community center expansion rather than flood mitigation. The zip code 33156 made number 15 on the Forbes most expensive zip code list.

“Officials knew that drainage by way of canals connecting into Biscayne Bay was illegal when they permitted the sumpland, the canals are full,” she said. “But they continued regardless. Mansions their priority, new homes more important than existing residences.”

Florida leads the nation in property at risk from climate change. Instead of setting an exemplary standard, Pinecrest has presented a lesson on what not to do.
“We learn from mistakes,” Marcus said. “It’s unfortunate my city has taken the lead on this one. The before and after images on Pinecrest Floods and sister sites show plenty.”

Contact: Hope Marcus
305 815-4726

Added September 16, 2015. The NYT comment below got so many site hits!

Hello Pinecresters and others:

Wow, Pinecrest Floods  hits still strong after Tuesday’s live link in New York Times comment section. My screen name is Curved Angles and my reply relates to an article about about regulators being vague on what constitutes a pyramid scheme.  The author, Joe Nocera, closes this column line citing a dereliction of duty, and I open my comment with it. Pasted below is an image of the remark. Comments are closed, but that online link remains live.  

OH, lest I forget, another recent comment also drew visitors.  Responding to title ‘Jeb Bush, Family Ties and a Museum That Never Materialized.’  I wrote about the fine Miami Herald reporting by Mary Ellen Klas telling of Florida’s redistricting fiasco and managed to tie Pinecrest Floods into it. 

Another live link, another opportunity to spread the word.

Except I’d rather not be spreading negatives about the city I’ve lived in for 35 years.  Pinecrest Floods is awful, and ugly and sadly true.

I would love to stop the shaming, want to get back to a book my sister and I began before she died. 

Please help.  Call Pinecrest. Remind them placing residents in proven risk is against the law and they must act.  

Tell Pinecrest officials the bad-mouthing embarrasses you — is frightful and you’d expect better, so much more, were the tables turned. 

Speak up. Thank you.

Tell Pinecrest officials the bad-mouthing embarrasses you — is frightful and you’d expect better if the tables turned: your flooding, not mine. 

Speak up. Thank you.

as ever, Hope
305 815-4716
Mayor: Cindy Lerner

PS: Educators and Teachers. Appreciate your kind words. Still no cuss four-letters although tempted! Good before and after images of what NOT to do. Also, changed Pinecrest Underwater, text easier to read, thanks for suggestions.

Oh, another from last month to article

Pinecrest, Miami-Dade County, Fla.  AUGUST 4, 2015.    
Pinecrest permits acreage without drainage; South Florida adds risk to property by flooding

With the worst of hurricane season ahead, the complacency of homeowners irks one resident who has become the voice for those affected by flooding yet won’t speak out.  Fearing lower property values, they remain quiet.  

Long time Pinecrest homeowner, Hope Marcus while nettled, understands their reluctance. She too hesitated, waited until her second flooding to launch her first protest site.

“After the October 2013 flood, neighbors said they’d send photos of their damage but most didn’t.  Going public takes guts. When you read Florida leads the nation in risk to property by climate change, you are not thinking inland. That a city would make it worse seems preposterous.”

Marcus contends Pinecrest did just that when they permitted 5 acres of sumpland without drainage. She also says that had she been aware of sumpland status, she’d have enlisted the help of environmentalists early on.

“Perhaps I would have heard what my backyard neighbor meant when he talked about his horses’ hooves; the reason he wire fenced sections of land to keep them from rotting. He owned the acreage for decades, the sumpland doubled as a pasture. I heard but didn’t relate.  What did I know about horses and their hooves?  Or city planning?  In 2008, I didn’t even know filling in sumpland was illegal.”

When the land sold, Marcus trusted her city to abide by the rules. She’d been assured Pinecrest would adhere to building codes stating water could not encroach on a neighboring property.

Instead, after the filling and elevating, her property became an overflow basin, as did the streets around her. “One guy had just moved in and his garage still with unpacked boxes were soaked,” she said.

City officials called the 2013 flooding a fluke. Marcus responded with her photos on Pinecrest Floods.

Permitting the land without drainage, Pinecrest counted on developers to figure it out. So far, no one has, several have tried.  Police were called to an illegal clearing in June. Referring to the land as sensitive, officials noted it lacked a drainage plan even as owners are pushing mansions at 2.7 million a pop.

“Selling luxury homes on the sumpland is a sham, quackery marketing,” Marcus said.

“Right now there are scoops of fill on one patch and a partially-cleared section in another. Thankfully, no trees have been removed. The developers are enticing buyers into believing work is in progress.

Do you think buyers want to harm their neighbors? Live on flooding lands?”

Marcus so wants the stupidity to end. For Pinecrest to reclaim the land.

“The Village made a major mistake. They need to right a wrong and move on."

She maintains the sumpland had been a natural ecosystem that controlled flooding yet rather than proactive measures, her city is ceding its own protection while ignoring the initiative to identify and preserve lowlands for future needs.  

Caption (left)

Drainage an afterthought while an entire neighborhood faces foreseeable and dangerous flooding events. Two have occurred since acreage was filled and elevated, one in 2008, the other in 2013. The city's first Stormwater Master Plan is complete and excludes a sumpland solution: a fix does not exist. There is trouble ahead for the S FL area, more so for Pinecrest as leaders push for mansions at a neighborhood’s expense — immediate gratification over sound planning.


June 1, 2015

Hello Pinecrest Officials,

Via the Justice Department, the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) contacted me. And while they didn’t take on the sumpland filling, for a wetland violation, for them to have considered and then follow up is meaningful. 

[ *** ADDED August, 2016: IN July of 2016, they looked again, and nabbed the city and builder via the FDEP ]

I found another photo showing the desecration in progress and my heart stopped. I could not have taken the image before the butchery began because the trees and foliage would have prevented it, the view from my side yard gut wrenching. The image posted on Pinecrest Bans Sumpland shows the destroyed sumpland ground level with 96 Street: how its flow and slant had been.

Hurricane season 2015 begins today and I’d like to know how you will rectify. What your plans are.

I look forward to hearing from you.

As ever,

Hope Marcus

305 815-4726

After speaking with a county official, I learned the Pinecrest Bans Sumpland site may be blocked, those sneaky filters. The word "bans" a problem. Images below can't be denied, the water mark on the fence where the berm overtopped and flooded this author's backyard apparent.

Pinecrest Floods, Pinecrest Underwater: Denial and the Evidence.
Click on collage, 'Ecology 101' to make larger.

Filling in sumpland is a no-no. Why? Several reasons, mostly because wetlands protect the land and ecosystems. Toying with wetland is a Federal offense.

In Pinecrest, the sumpland was a natural drainage basin. It had never been filled, and had been referred to as sumpland. Sumpland by definition is a wetland.

Why was the sumpland messed with? Money. Wanting mansions, City believed they could get away with it by calling the sumpland a horse pasture. It had been a horse pasture by default, the land was wetlands. When it sold, the inherent disaster of altering became apparent by the flooding that ensued. Pinecrest denied their bungled engineering and questionable permitting was the cause. 

Tree / foliage removal, mounds of it truck loaded out, lickety-split.

Beginning, Fall 2008-2009. Land even with surroundings.

This was the flat level land facing south to 96 Street, the denuding and butchery in progress. 
Trees indented in soil, breathing room for their roots. Land hand been flat with street.

Land: elevating and filling, and the results.

On my. This image from area of tree in foreground below.

Note the fence on the right corner on dry street, the sumpland is behind. When berm (s) overtopped, a neighborhood flooded.

Before filled, the area behind that fence was one rolling long expanse of sumpland undivided by a city street inside that now breaks its flow. Behind that fence that had not existed were 5 acres of inland wetland. It had remained as such until the city permitted it to be cleared, elevated and filled. 

Knowing the area lacked drainage, the City's game plan was make the developer provide it.  Over the years it changed hands as the stormwater drainage proved impossible to engineer. The former water absorbing sumpland was turned into a flooding field, its path channeled from a wide free flowing path into a 5 foot deep pit behind this author's backyard. Despite the evidence and risk to homeowners, streets flooded to an extent not seen before, Pinecrest continued stonewalling and denying believing they were Scoot free, protected by sovereign immunity. 

Now the Katrina verdict, a city is liable. So much for that immunity. 

Children (top right) above in image, May 2008. Click on image to make larger.

Five months later (bottom right) after construction began in October 2008, the same area is underwater.

In 2013, stormwater topped the fail-safe berm and flooding reached beyond the backyard to under the author's house. The white building is a tool shed, the house 80 feet ahead.

The protection the wetland provided disappeared and was replaced with a man-made engineering botchery that now floods an entire neighborhood.

Some progress. ... 

You'd think the city would get it, well-heeled Pinecrest, Florida, zip 33156.

You'd hope your own officials would care, would fix what they messed up. 

You'd expect they'd be responsible. 

Not in Pinecrest. 

Instead, land they permitted for mansions floods you. And too bad.

This is my 3rd protest site, the first was Pinecrest Floods, launched January 2014, after years of denials. 

Earlier today the second, Pinecrest Below the Surface.

Hurricane season starts June 1, 2015

How many sites will it take? How many searches negating the city I've lived in for 35 years?

See for yourself. The lake below looks pretty, right? 

A man-made lake where a lake was not permitted  (does not appear on the plans the city approved) and did not exist before the landscape was altered.

Except consider:

There is no drainage! 

Mosquito heaven, mosquitoes breeding.

This is not supposed to be a lake, yet abracadabra, there it is!

So where does the water go?

See the black marks on the fence?

Whose property became the new drainage field?

Had water encroaching eighty feet to under under the house? 

Down city blocks?

Can you guess?

Pinecrest Floods

Egrets in sumpland that still remains despite attempts to get rid of it

Overtopped berm
Through the fence into our backyard.
Same area. Doggies play yard underwater as above.
Same area closer up, days after. Backyard flood receding.


Please contact me:
Contact: Hope Marcus
Phone: 305 815-4726