City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff sent out a newsletter to his constituents today responding to public outcry over the recent 2-2 vote on Miami 21. He hints that another vote could be held before the election. Check out what the Commissioner had to say about the future of Miami 21 and his thoughts on potential property rights litigation:
There is a strong possibility Commissioners may get a second chance to make a decision at an upcoming meeting, where hopefully all five Commissioners will be present to vote. The plan, while not perfect, offers a unique opportunity to redesign Miami into the pedestrian friendly community with wide walkways, and large green spaces that so many of our residents desire….
I do not simply accept what Development lawyers claim the law to be, that any change in the code which lessens their client’s development rights, results in an effective taking of property by the City. This is commonly referred to as a Bert Harris property compensation. The recent 3rd District Court of Appeals decision in Monroe County versus Ambrose, holds: “the mere purchase of land did not create a right (by the owner or developer) to rely upon existing zoning”. Equally, our City Attorney has opined there is no Bert Harris issue for height limitations. I have performed my due diligence. The threat of litigation and being sued is an omni present threat in Miami. Most importantly I understand that we are no longer in the building craze and land values are depressed. The Bert Harris argument is least effective during these times. We have more lawyers per square foot than anywhere in the United States. I will never govern nor cast my vote because of a threat. I stood my ground when personally sued by the Mercy Developer for my vote against its massive 36 story, 3 tower project in the Grove, despite 2 other Commissioners and the Chairman voting over the District Commissioner.
We hope that he is right and that Commission Chairman Joe Sanchez brings the code back for a vote. The Chairman has a big opportunity to redeem himself with potential voters. He needs to do this soon, or lose any chance of becoming Mayor. I’m sure by now he has realized how big a mistake he made, and what it might cost him. It’s not too late Joe, do the right thing.
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