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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Staying on the same page

The following letter went out from activist Phillys Gross to Senator Gwen Margolis, I agree with this as I don't feel that the Waterfront Project is going to not exist and I don't believe that the area will ever be plowed down and made in to a park. There will be a project and putting something there will happen, but most would like something that fits in with the area. Casinos, Publix, Big Box stores and more are being mentioned as scared tactics, I don't agree with that, but perhaps it's true, it could happen. 

My parents live south, I joke about it being in the country when I visit. Years ago, the gas station owner used to ride his horse to work and tie it to a tree, that tree is now a bank and next door is a Publix and next to that are restaurants and shops. So it's all possible. This is on Old Cutler Road, which I sort of liken to our waterfront, in its historic value.

As for the "pitchfork" comment, I honestly don't think Comm. Sarnoff meant it as an insult, it's an expression. I don't agree with the project as-is, but it really is getting out of hand. I do believe that the rest of Miami is indifferent to the project and will vote for it, just because
it's something new. I do believe traffic will be a nightmare.

As for Phyllis' letter, it started an argument online and now makes us look amateurish and foolish as it's is dividing us and really not helping the cause. In this day of instant access and social media, there is no way to control the message unless we are all on the same page.

Here is the letter from Phyllis gross:

Dear Senator [Margolis]:

Enclosed is the petition  to be signed by everyone in the City of Miami. That, of course, includes people who do not live in this area and could care less about a potential Bayside on the water in Coconut Grove at the intersection of S. Bayshore Dr. and Pan American Dr. right across from the New Grand Bay Building, Grand Bay Plaza and Office in the Grove. The traffic would be unbearable and the Village of Coconut Grove would die if there was retail at that location.

I have been in many discussions with the builder, Jay Leyva and David Martin of Grand Bay. They are personally trying to get it lowered, but [Art] Noriega [Miami Parking Authority head] insists on retail stores which, of course,will fail as retail on the water side has failed before. Then, there most probably will be a big box store to fill the empty space...Publix has been trying to get in already. Perhaps, the next step could be Big Lots or a mini-Home Depot. Jay Leyva of Grove Harbor has planned a beautiful waterfront and agrees that there should be no construction at that site as without the retail, we would not need that many parking spaces. We would need some kind of tram or bus to take people up to the Center Grove. Human nature would be to eat on the water and not go into the Grove as it is too far to walk.

We have 2,300 signatures so far on the Petition. The wording was passed in July when everyone was out of town...now, as people come back and learn about this potential structure they are ready to fight. We would like to see the exact description of what we will be seeing at the voting stations. Instead, we have a rather innocuous group of words which, are at the very least, confusing.

I am sure that you know that there is much going on...I would be happy to speak with you personally about this. You can reach me at [she gives her number here]. Yes, Marc Sarnoff is squarely behind destroying the convention center and making another park in it's place. He claims that he has the money to do it, but we all doubt it. When I suggested to him that he did not have all of the money he needed for the project, he got angry and told me to put down my "pitchfork". I don't have a pitchfork, I just want to protect our waterfront as I live rightacross from the Coconut Sailing Club at Yacht Harbour.

I would be grateful for any insight you can give to me before September 12th as that is the day that the language will be approved for the vote on November 5th.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Phyllis Gross
Coconut Grove

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous James Hawkins said...

A resident of Coconut Grove for over 15 years, I was initially against this project, with that disapproval fueled by a photo placed on this website. I've since come to realize that photo is not representative of the development, and am now a supporter of the waterfront development.

I recommend that this writer take the time to learn about the project in detail via the links at the bottom of this comment post. Change will come to the waterfront. This seems like an excellent form for that (inevitable) change.

I'd also note that it feels like some village retailers fear the competition of a vibrant waterfront. I'd submit to them that Coconut Grove has lost much of its appeal to visitors. This waterfront development is the first step toward linking the village with the waterfront, seemingly good for all. Competitively speaking, it is not waterfront versus village, but Coconut Grove vs. Midtown, South Beach, Merrick Park, etc. In this battle, the waterfront needs the village, and the village needs the waterfront.

The Links

Sasaki Waterfront Master Plan:

Grove Bay project “The Harbour”

September 03, 2013 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

Re: This morning's Grapevine- Letter to Senator Margolis-

As you know this project will be on the November 5th Ballot.

When you cast your ballot you will not have the option of approving parts of this project and disapproving other parts. It will be a yes or no vote on the entire project.

You are doing your readers a disservice if you lead them to believe otherwise.

The Petition( http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop-grove-harbor) signed by nearly 2,300 people as of this morning is titled "STOP GROVE HARBOR" .

It is clearly not an objection to any single part of this project. It is an objection to this project in it's entirety.

The City has not given you or I the option of a partial approval.

If you vote YES the project goes ahead essentially in any form the developer decides to proceed. They will not ask your opinion.

If you vote NO, as I will, the project is stopped and we will hopefully be able to participate in re-forming this project as they will most certainly attempt to try again.

The ONLY way for anyone to have any meaningful input is to defeat the project on November 5.

In her letter to Senator Margolies, Ms. Gross is focused upon the proposed parking Garage and Retail component of the Project. I respect her objections to same.

However I do not agree that the remainder of the project is "beautiful" on any level.
Clearly Ms. Gross is representing the Developer's interests in her letter.
The developer would love to be let out of the required multi-million dollar contribution to the cost of constructing the Garage and associated retail.

This is a multi-billion dollar deal over the life of the lease. The money for the Developer is in the boat storage and three restaurants..not the Garage."Grove Bay Investments Group,LLC. is a vertically integrated company. They will OWN and OPERATE the restaurants and boat storage. They can care less about the garage and are attempting to use our opposition to it as a way of furthering their own ends. Ms. Gross is their tool.

In point of fact my own personal view is that the Parking Garage, albeit a much smaller, less intrusive garage is probably the only part of this project that should be constructed. Parking will be a necessity on this site. Where else will the parking lost when the convention center site is made into a park go?
That is solely my personal opinion and NOT a representation of the opinions of those who may have signed the "Petition".

What isn't necessary is 25,000 SF of chrome and glass restaurants, bars and banquet facilities that will forever change the character of the bayfront and may result in the demise of the Center Grove.

This is the part that I and a great many others object to.

Ms. Gross misrepresents the 2,300 Petition signers when she suggests they believe this project "beautiful" .

The City has not given anyone the option of approving one part of this project or another.
Come November 5th, we will vote to either approve or disapprove the ENTIRE Project. There is no wiggle room here. In point of fact the "garage" is NOT specifically on the ballot.

The only way to stop the garage or end up with a smaller garage is to stop the project. Period. End of story.

Anyone who believes that they can get the specific part of the project they object to, changed or altered before November 5th, is in a fantasy land. They are dead wrong. It will not be changed or altered in any legally binding way before the November 5th vote.
The City will not alter the Lease and the Developer has refused to alter the plans.

The City has made this an all or nothing vote.

So where does that leave us...?
Vote Yes or No..
There will not be any other holes to punch.

I will vote NO.

Charles Corda

September 03, 2013 10:31 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

With all due respect James, you need to read the copy as well as look at the pictures. On the first day this was announced, I published with that picture, the whole plan, including 9 other pages pertaining to the project. Every piece of paper was there, including the initial plan that calls for 5 to 7000 square feet of retail, not 100,000.

I would ask that you treat me with respect and not a dumb ass, as you are doing.

Thank you.

September 03, 2013 10:31 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

They've already broken ground for part of the project, between the convention center and the Dinner Key Marina dock house. I thought that all construction was on hold until we had a vote?

September 03, 2013 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pitchfork" and "not going to shove it down your throats" are the way Sarnoff talks down to people. Vote smart next time dummies ;)

September 03, 2013 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love parks as much as anyone. It would indeed be wonderful if all of Dinner Key was a huge waterfront park with a breathtaking view and access to Biscayne Bay. It would also be wonderful if Monty’s, Shack-A-Leg and all Grove Waterfront property were turned into a park. But I am afraid that is just wishful thinking. That ship sailed a long time ago. Miami has been more than willing to sell out to the Billboard Companies for much needed revenues. So why would anyone expect them to demolish Scotty’s Landing and Charthouse for the purpose of a Waterfront Park, that will not generate income? It’s just not going to happen! The lease for Scotty’s Landing and Charthouse has expired. A great deal of time, energy and money has been dedicated to determining the future of our Dinner Key waterfront. I feel that the approved proposed waterfront project is the best one we have received and should be accepted after fine tuning. No new project, a park or leaving things as they, will satisfy everyone. Petitions, e-mails, Tweets, Texting and blogs are a great way to vent. But I doubt they have accomplished much to improve government, protect zoning or change the course of history. Those are mostly accomplished through the ballot box, law suites, citizen participation and getting elected. On November 5th all registered voters in Miami will have a great opportunity to decide the fate of the Dinner Key Waterfront. It’s once again most distressing that we Grovites can’t determine our own Coconut Grove’s future. But that is the unfortunate reality of being a suburb of Miami since 1925. At least this election is more of an opportunity than we had with the Marlins Stadium or the rezoning of Mercy Hospital. I encourage all registered voters to visit the ballot box and cast their vote for the Groves future.

September 03, 2013 3:35 PM  

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