So it is after four years, countless meetings, and hours of testimony over the fate of Miami 21, that we still find ourselves fighting for a walkable future for the city of Miami. It is absurd that the new mayor (and longtime foe of liveable cities) is requesting that the fractured City Commission vote on delaying implementation of Miami 21 for 90 days (until May 20).
Forget that the full commission voted in favor of the code (with Regalado casting the lone ‘no’ vote), and also forget that over a third of the city is not going to be represented when the item comes to vote tomorrow because the commission seats are empty (a detail that Regalado would have cried fowl over were he still on the commission). Not to mention bringing such an important item to vote right before the holiday and with less than a week’s notice. What ever happened to transparency and public involvement in government? It would seem by the Mayor’s actions that he only believes in these principles as they apply to people who are running for office (not those already in office).
Lets also forget that one of the items being presented before the commission is to delay implementation of the land use changes associated with the code even though these changes, by the planning department’s own admission, have already been transmitted and accepted by the State of Florida. How do you delay implementing something that has already become effective according to state law? Weird.
The newbies to the commission are not likely to pick a fight with the new Mayor, but they should know that delaying the code will only cost the city taxpayers money. The cost to the real estate market will be devastating, as property owners will be uncertain what rights are being taken away from them, further exacerbating the current economic problems. Litigation by property owners and concerned citizens could bring financial ruin to the city. All of this to allow a couple of projects to move forward under 11000? (Another anomaly for Regalado, considering his strong criticism of the previous administration’s relationship with the business community. Why is it now ok to change the law around to suit private development?)
If reconsidering the code is about allowing projects already in the pipeline to move forward then the commissioners should propose that they advance these projects under 11000, while not moving back the start date for Miami 21. I urge all three commissioners to respect the votes of the previous commission and allow the code to become effective. All new commissioners will have time to review and propose changes to the code - but it has to be allowed to start functioning. How the new commissioners vote tomorrow will be a strong indicator of what smart growth advocates can expect from our newly elected officials. I am deeply concerned that the progress we made this year in advancing smart growth and walkability will be have been shortlived. I hope I am wrong.
PS. Dear Commissioner Sarnoff: please don’t increase parking requirements downtown. That’s just plain dumb. We don’t need more parking. I drive downtown all the time and never have trouble finding parking. Evidence from around the world shows that cities are reducing requirements to support pedestrian life. Please listen to your professional city planners (and local professional planners like me) when we tell you that parking requirements downtown should be very different from parking requirements in Kendall. Read up on Donald Shoup, guru of parking.
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