Why the City voted NO!

23 Jul

On July 18th, 2012 the Planning Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) met to hear this item.   Bernard Zyscovich testified.  He recommended against the proposed text changes.  The PZAB voted unanimously (9 to 0) to recommend against the changes.

Please honor the Midtown Overlay District and the wonderful improvement made over the past seven to eight (7 to 8) years.  Please honor the residents of Midtown and please honor local business owners who have invested in this community.  Do not make the proposed changes.  Please vote No.

If you approve these proposed changes you seriously hurt the ability of pedestrians and bicyclists to safely navigate N. Miami Avenue from NE 29th and NE 34th Streets. Imagine five (5) lanes, no medians, very narrow gutters, very narrow sidewalks and only 10’ wide lanes?  Please vote No to all the proposed changes.

What advantage does the city gain by making these changes now before plans and designs have been submitted?   Please wait until plans have been submitted to the City, to the public and to your esteemed body.  This proposed legislation is premature.  Please vote NO to all the proposed changes.

These proposed changes are tenant specific and, in fact, there may be dozens of excellent prospective tenants for this site.  There may be dozens of excellent responsible forward thinking buyers for this site.  Please vote NO.

The City due to aggressive lobbying efforts of one landlord is presenting these changes. The goal is to facilitate more traffic lanes on N. Miami Avenue and an additional lane(s) on NE 31st Street.   No plans or applications have been submitted to the City.  The truth is that these changes have been pre-negotiated in order to facilitate ONE specific tenant and ONE financial transaction between the current property owner, DDR, and Walmart.

The proposed text changes and the proposed amendments presented to you today merit intense scrutiny.  For example, the potential reduction or elimination of the gutters on N. Miami Avenue and on NE 31st Street and the possible elimination of parallel parking would convert N. Miami Avenue from being visually appealing and pedestrian and biker friendly to being friendly to 18 wheelers and friendly to connected insiders.  These proposed changes would put pedestrians and bikers at risk.  10’ lane width vs. the current 11’ lane width?  How is that pedestrian and biker friendly?  Adding new lanes?  Please vote No.

Commissioners, if you look on page 4 (of 5) of the proposed text changes (http://egov.ci.miami.fl.us/Legistarweb/Attachments/67485.pdf), it talks about a 1 foot wide curb and a 1 foot wide gutter. You are being asked to make a change to eliminate or reduce this current requirement. Either this language should be left the same or the word SHOULD be replaced with MUST to protect pedestrian and biker safety.  Please vote No.

Currently lanes on N. Miami Avenue (and NE 31st Street) are required to be 11 feet wide, you are being asked to change this requirement to 10 feet. This text change is intended to narrow the lanes to add a 5th lane (or a 3rd lane on NE 31st Street), so that 18-wheelers and massive pick-up trucks can more easily turn on to the site. This would cause traffic jams.  These proposed changes seriously erode the communities of Midtown Miami, Wynwood, Lemon City and the Design District.  Worse, these proposed changes would cause an unsafe pedestrian and biking environment.  People might be killed.  Please vote No.

A principal goal of the recently approved Miami 21 was to make Miami more pedestrian friendly. You are being asked to make text changes, which could lead to the demolition of medians on N. Miami Avenue.  See page 4 (of 5).  These medians currently exist and they have mature trees, mature bushes and mature ground coverings.  Medians should be required, not demolished.  In addition, you are being asked to narrow the streets from 11 feet to 10 feet so that a new lane could be added to N. Miami Avenue (and NE 31st Street) to accommodate the turn radii of 18-wheelers. Please vote No!

Bernard Zyscovich testified on July 18th, 2012 in front of the Planning Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB).  He strongly advised against changing the Midtown Overlay Master Plan.

On July 18th, 2012 the Board Members of the Planning Zoning and Appeals Board voted unanimously (9 to 0) to deny the proposed text changes.  Please vote No.

It does not need to be stated that Walmart is one of the most controversial companies in the world and that there are several locations within a 5 miles radius from Midtown with alternative locations.  Although Walmart will bring in aproximately 345 part-time jobs (with no benefits), it will hurt the Midtown more. Please vote No to having a Walmart in Midtown.   Thank you for your consideration of this important issue. I hope that you will be able to help in efforts to improve our community by voting NO to Miami Zoning Law SD 27.1 & SD 27.2 on July 26, 2012.

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