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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Large turnout for "Stop Grove Bay" rally

A couple hundred residents showed up at The Grove Spot Wednesday night for the "Stop Grove Bay" kick-off rally. The objective was to collect money and to inform the public of the sham being perpetrated on the Coconut Grove waterfront by Grove Bay, the developers, along with our elected officials, who have plans for an over-sized project on the Scotty's Landing and Chart House space called The Harbour.

Speakers included activists Glenn Terry, Grace Solares and the man who started the campaign Charles Corda. Many neighbors were interested in knowing how the plan was changed or different from the original Sisaki Waterfront Master Plan for the area and they were given an earful from how the retail/restaurant space went from 6,000 to 7000 square feet to 100,000, to how we have a district commissioner who cares more about himself than what the voters want. And of course they spoke of the ever-changing garage which is separate from The Grove Bay (The Harbour) project, but none the less, important.

Glenn Terry shows his sentiments.
One large aspect was the fact that the ballot question really does not address the issue and this may be cause for lawsuits. Another interesting aspect is that Grove Bay, who is building the project, can easily flip the project the next day if they care to. There is also mention in the plans of a casino, it only takes 3 votes on the City Commission for that.

Here is the wording in the November 5 ballot:

Proposed lease of city-owned waterfront and submerged lands in Coconut Grove 

Shall the City be authorized to lease approximately 7 acres of waterfront and submerged lands in Coconut Grove to Grove Bay Investment Group, LLC, providing for 1) a minimum of $1.4 million in guaranteed annual rent and 2) approximately $17.9 million of privately funded improvements to redevelop an existing marina and public baywalk, construct restaurants and, partially fund a public parking garage for a 50 year term with two 15 year renewal options? 

Charles Corda addresses the crowd
as Glenn Terry looks on.
This is not much for such a large and important project. It doesn't mention the exact area itself, it doesn't mention if a casino or 90 story high rise can go in, it doesn't say much. It just asks if the City should hand the land over to a developer. Should they? Should the developer have carte blanche, which is what this vote is doing, giving them the authority to do whatever they please.

Many present felt that people are not getting a clear understanding of the project. There have not been any real public meetings to discuss things and to get questions from the public. 

It makes sense to Vote NO on November 5, that is number 401 on the ballot. Why vote for something that is so shady?

As for voting, if you are not going to be in town, you can get an absentee ballot here.

You can get more info on Stop Grove Bay here.

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 Anonymous said...

Great reporting as always Tom! They are disgusting. The wording is so non soecific it can apply to Peacock or Kennedy Park!. Which they will be doing next. We were at Peacock tonight and I almost puked seeing how they gave away the land for St. Stephens private (20 foot fenced)locked up soccer field! We did not get to Vote on that ridiculous plan. Also for all you tree huggers out there, they destroyed so many large trees up there go get pics while the trees are still sitting there damaged and dying! Our City is so screwed up they are trading their souls. Sarnoff doesn't need a Halloween Costume this year !

October 09, 2013 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is sad.we will not get the mall because a few idiouts dont want it

October 09, 2013 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want rhetoric or rallies. I just want accurate, verified information. If this all comes down to a shady lease then someone should highlight the giveaways for voters to see.

As for flipping, does it really matter? Whoever buys the lease still has to conform to the RFP and the lease they're buying. The hangars are still protected and it was Sasaki that suggested retail there - as well as the contentious garage - which I thought was supposed to be built years ago by Monty's.

As a voter I am interested in the repercussions of voting yes or voting no. If the RFP fails, then what happens? While a new RFP for the same exact project takes place - the 'magnificent park and public access are put on hold. Or it turns from a beautiful park to a simple lawn and the public access expansion doesn't take place for years and years to come. The restaurants continue to deteriorate since no one makes improvements on a month-to-month lease. Or, the City just up and shuts it all down. Since the leases are up.

We're screwed either way. But hey, it's all going to be underwater in 20 years so why the big fuss?

October 09, 2013 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The division is result of zero trust and total disconnect.

October 09, 2013 10:41 PM  
Anonymous NoLongerHopeful said...

The Grove should be renamed "Village of the Damned" because we are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

All of these people on both sides arguing and all the while the Grove withers on the vine. Business closing every day. Rents are going up on empty buildings, where else does THAT happen?

It has almost become ok that it isn't crazy to think this village will every be anything but a "has been" or "never was".

The waterfront plan had plenty of public comment. It was built by the community and should be followed. Someone should also google what the real dimensions necessary for the garage because Charles Corda is way overstating the industry norm. But these leases are way too nebulous as well. Damned if we do and damned if we don't.

It may be time to move to a community that works together. I would miss the grove, but I am tired of feeling like I am at the wake of something passed that leaves no real legacy, just a lot of griping, whining, and feeling cheated.

October 09, 2013 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Swlip said...

Using the SS "lightning bolts" in the "Stop Sarnoff" sign is in terribly poor taste. This same crowd put Sarnoff in office on the merits of his mostly successful campaign against Home Depot. Now someone compares Sarnoff to a Nazi? Irony abounds.

October 10, 2013 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of the effort being put forth in complaining about the Grove, Home Depot, Mercy Hospital, Sidewalks, Playhouse, Toxic Parks, crime and now the Waterfront project (that has been in the works since 2008) would be better if it were directed into efforts to secede from Miami and become The Village of Coconut Grove.

October 10, 2013 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Glenn alluding to the Nazi SS symbol with that Sarnoff poster? If so, I am offended.

October 10, 2013 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between a government acting as a market participant, which is completely in their legal capacity to do, and a government executing 6 million Jews, which is not in their legal capacity to do. I hope Glenn understands that.

October 10, 2013 7:40 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

I see lightning bolts.

October 10, 2013 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only the community had come out in force YEARS ago to get rid of Sarnoff, things might be different today.

October 10, 2013 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shill comments are hilarious!

After months of trying to insult and marginalized any commenters as "old grove hippies" and non-progressives", after months of their attempts to paint those who are against the project as uninformed or mistaken while changing the public story as to what's actually planned to be built, their only tactic left is to pick on some guys sign??

Once it was clear to the players in this game that a majority of the Grove residents are against this plan in its current iteration, they and Sarnoff in particular gave up on trying to sell us yet another of the ever changing waterfront plan and tried to sell the idea to those outside the community giving those of us who live here a not so subtle "go fuck yourselves, if you won't do what I want I'll get votes by trying to sell the idea to people that live ten miles away".

If there was any real merit to this idea, any real plan for the local community benefit, not just for a few businesses and a couple restaraunt owner, one would think he would have embraced this chance to talk with the hundred or so people who came out in opposition to this. That's over 100 people who actually live here he had the opportunity to inform and clarify. His absence and silence speaks volumes as to his opinion of we who live in the Grove.
Instead, his shills come here and, once again, ignore the fact that so many came out and instead try to focus on one aspect of one sign and try to dismiss the opinions of all who showed up because of that homemade sign. This is the second time now that the shills have tried to create racial tensions over this.

There seem to be an inordinate amount of pro-garage/mall posting here out of nowhere. I think you need to organize a pro-project rally.

October 10, 2013 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what would be great? How about people talk to the city staffers and even the developers to find out what is going on. Then maybe people might get a true idea of what this project is about. Everything is public record and the city staff running this RFP are all eager and helpful in explaining everything. It is a shame that people are listening to a small group of conspiracy theorists and fear mongers. What would be more incredible is if the writer of this blog actually took the time to contact the developers or the City of Miami staffers to get their side of the story rather then helping to spread this filth. It is times like these that I am embarrassed of my community.

October 10, 2013 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Swlip said...

Anon at 9:01 am.

My criticism of the sign using the SS lightning bolts in reference to Commissioner Sarnoff should be taken as only that, not as an endorsement of the waterfront project or of anything else. I actually lean in favor of the protestors, albeit for reasons they couldn't possibly comprehend (I think that land use should be driven by market demand, not political bickering - this project is doomed to become another white elephant, like the Mayfair complex).

But that sign represents everything I despise about Grove politics.

October 10, 2013 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the best improvements achieved in Coconut Grove in many years has been the reuse of the former Pan Am Hangers on Bayshore Drive. They were destined to be demolished by the Manny Diaz administration, but a few caring preservationist North Grovites championed them. An RFP was created and local entrepreneurs came to the rescue. They converted the hangers and created the most successful Fresh Market and Grove Harbour Marina. Many Grovites and plenty of folks from Key Biscayne and the Roads are fans and frequent there often. It is comforting to know that the very same local developers that brought us Fresh Market and Grove Harbour Marina responded to the RFP to improve the area where Chart House, Scotty’s Landing and boat storage are presently located. They have proven themselves good stewards of the Grove Waterfront and will continue do so, in their efforts to developed Grove Harbour. All Miami has the opportunity to vote for or against this project on November 5th. I plan to vote for it.

October 10, 2013 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I am not a so-called shill. I signed the petition. I am a long-time Grove resident who can't imagine living anywhere else in Miami.

I went to the meeting last night to get better insight into the reasons to vote against the project. I was hoping to find articulate arguments that would help me finalize my decision.

Instead, I was surprised by the sophomoric level of discourse, which included one of the speakers using a vulgar word to describe Commissioner Sarnoff; peace sign waving; someone wearing a stupid hat; and a closing Give Peace a Chance sing-along. Huh?

One comment was particularly interesting: "The rich developer will only get richer." That's a reason to vote against the plan? It's totally irrelevant.

The question at hand is whether this is a good thing for Coconut Grove. The alternative is an unattractive, underused piece of waterfront land.

The 60's Grove is long gone. There is tremendous competition in every corner of the County now. It's time for the city to develop our lovely waterfront smartly for the enjoyment of our residents and our visitors.

Sure, there's no question that the Grove Harbour plan can be tweaked, but let's move forward and maximize our enjoyment of the bay and all of the natural resources we have in abundance in Coconut Grove.

October 10, 2013 12:25 PM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

The "zero trust and total disconnect" are the direct fault our esteemed commissioner Marc Sarnoff. He is shady and underhanded.

October 10, 2013 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Anon. @ 12:25 p.m.

I am glad that you have provided a more thorough and honest report of what happened at the meeting. The organizers of "Stop Grove Bay" thrive off name calling, peace signs and sing-a-longs. They want to be taken seriously, yet, they have no real goal, no real propositions for change. Just straight opposition and name calling. I just keep thinking to myself that this Grove politics as usual... Oh well, I'll be sure to see almost all of them at this new thing when it opens anyways.

October 10, 2013 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ - 9:51 AM

Are you kidding? The proposal is not concrete in any way, and is open to change. In short, there is no plan. That's the problem. That's why people are against it. Look at what the vote is on. The vote is let any and everything happen on this city owned land. How can you vote yes to that? A specific, concrete plan, that was certain in every minute detail, is what should be required before a vote is even called for.

October 10, 2013 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I had to stop by Olaf's during this rally as I was walking my son and dogs when it started raining. So I ended up sitting under the awning for a few minutes. A couple of things struck me as funny. First, I guess this is a white middle aged or older issue. I mean i'm white and 40, but the last time I saw a crew like this was at my Dad's birthday in Kansas. They even told customers who were eating and drinking (and actually paying) to be quiet so they could hear the speaker. Come on, it's a bar that counts on paying customers. Try and show some respect for your host. All I could imagine is these people sitting on their front porch yelling at kids to stay off the grass. Now I get why they made such a big issue about the Spanish language speech that included this project. And I agree with all the other posters about that guy and the ss sign. My son is only 11 months, but I wish he was a little older so I could show to him what a fool looks like.
I hope the vote will put this issue to bed, and whoever loses will accept that the democratic process prevailed.

October 11, 2013 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again with mocking and character assassination.
You shills really have nothing left, do you?

October 11, 2013 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. @ 12:16 a.m.

Baby boomers.

October 11, 2013 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anon 6:31. My name is Calvin and I am no shill. Since you won't believe what I say, then ask the most honest person in the Grove, Olaf. Or you can find me between 5 and 6 most days of the week walking my son and dog to Peacock Park to play. As for my observations, they were obvious and correct. The only individual I called out had a Nazi ss sign. And I think it says more about you not calling out that behavior..

October 11, 2013 11:46 AM  

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