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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Motion to enjoin waterfront project

There is a court hearing, Thursday, October 31, regarding the Grove Bay Waterfront Project. 

Activist Grace Solares, has filed a petition regarding potential violations of the City Charter and Comprehensive Plan relating to the referendum on the current ballot. There was a lawsuit filed last week.

There is a motion to enjoin, which includes many issues, including the semi-preapproval of gambling in Coconut Grove and the vagueness of the whole ballot question. The issues do not involve the merits/demerits of the project itself. She would like the whole question removed from the ballot.

The lawsuit states: "The City’s voters approved Revisions and Amendments to several and distinct provisions of the City Charter during a City-wide Special Election on November 6, 2001. Charter Amendment No. 3 limited and restricted the authority of City officials to lease City-owned property, and imposed specific limitations, restrictions and conditions on their authority to lease City-owned waterfront property."

The lawsuit goes on to state: "The ballot title and summary are clearly and conclusively deficient. They fail to inform the City’s voters of the chief purpose of the enabling Resolution. Relevant and material information is omitted from the ballot summary which renders it misleading and deceptive and the voters are not being provided fair notice of the sweeping effect of the public measure. The “wordsmithing” employed in the ballot title and summary is misleading, designed only to encourage an affirmative vote. And, the ballot title and summary are affirmatively misleading. Finally, identification of Section 29-B as the sole basis for seeking voter approval during the November 5, 2013 Referendum Special Election
knowingly undermines the integrity of the election process."

It goes on to state that the public is not informed of what is on the property now, that functioning businesses, although now without a lease, are already there. It's not barren land that is being built on.

The hearing is in Judge Jerald Bagley's courtroom, room 1202 at the Dade County Courthouse.

You can see the lawsuit 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 James W. said...

Why not let the people vote? It sounded like from all the past posts that there was a huge groundswell of people that was against the project. One would think that a sound victory on election day would be the perfect showing for what the people want for their waterfront. Or did someone do some polling, and see that the silent majority is in favor of the waterfront proposal? Let's not try to delegitimize the will of the people. Democracy works, let us vote. If it fails or passes, so be it. We'll know it was voted on by the citizens of Miami.

October 30, 2013 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What time is the hearing

October 30, 2013 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Robby Robb said...

Last time I checked, democracy had worked to get us a government shutdown and a Congress with a 9% approval rating. When you're up against sketchy (to put is nicely) politicians, corporate cronyism, and an uninformed electorate, direct action works too. If the will of the people is toward the plan, this is their time to express it as well.
-Robby Robb

October 30, 2013 11:14 AM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

To the first commentor, the suit alleges that the ballot is misleading - therefore, it cannot determine the will of the people. Apparently, you are not well-informed, and are not aware of how often this language is legally challenged (regardless of subject matter). The law is clear on the level of clarity and specificity needed for a referendum.

Democracy requires an active judicial branch of government to keep the legislative branch in check.

October 30, 2013 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haywood Jablome,

This project is right for the voting YES

October 30, 2013 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Lois said...

Anyone who believes an unspecified, open-ended, secretive deal to lease the last remaining waterfront land in Coconut Grove should be approved cares not a fig about preservation.

I suggest those people go live in the boondocks as the natural beauty of the waterfront land is lost on them.

I do agree something should be done to improve the waterfront but not this fiasco that could destroy Coconut Grove forever.

Natural beauty matters! Even children know that.

October 30, 2013 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heywood you tell us why it's right for the Grove?

I encourage City of Miami residents to vote NO for the following reasons:

1. Only one response to the RFP. If the City can only get one respondent to an RFP for 7 acres of prime waterfront land in Coconut Grove then something is terribly wrong with the process. The City threw the first RFP out because they didn't like the results and should have thrown this out also.
2. The Lease term is for 80 years which is in violation of the charter and unnecessarily long. No reason to agree to this long of a term other than they asked for it and the City said OK.
3. The lease can be sold tomorrow without any compensation to the City which is wrong.
4. The fixed minimum rent is low and does not reflect "fair market" value another requirement under the charter. $1.8 million for seven acres of prime waterfront land is less than $6 per square foot for the lease of the land.
5. There have been no appraisals to tell teh public or the City for that matter whether this is a good deal or not. Not that an appraiser can't be influenced to give you the valuations you're seeking. We saw plenty of that in the valuations that lead to the last real estate market crash. But the city charter requires 2 independent appraisals to be done and the City and the District 2 commissioner has chosen to ignore that and assert that we, the taxpayers are getting a great deal and it won't cost the taxpayers a dime. Who knows? Why not go ahead an get the appraisals done so there are no questions or doubts. Why the big hurry?
6. The Grove Bay Investment Group LLC is the same group that redeveloped the other two seaplane hangers where Fresh Market is and Grove Harbor marina and boat dry storage are tenants. The issue is that there is no real public access to the waterfront. The layout of The Fresh Market turned it's back to the waterfront. Great high-end grocery store but not a great place to locate it, unfortunately, At least the way they designed it. The balance of the retail space has been marginally occupied also. The boat brokerage firm has a relatively stable tenant but the remainder of the space has been vacant for years. Why? Are there no incentives built into the terms of their deal for them to lease it? The same goes for the deal the City cut with the Monty's space which sat vacant and underutilized for years with the master lessor paying the City nothing while the space sat vacant. They finally leased the corner to Starbuck's but that should have happened long ago.
I could go on but I'm tired of the same old story with the City;s assets being squandered and handed over to the "friend's and family" of our commissioners and Mayor. Enough. We need commissioners who will fight for what's best for the taxpayers and neighborhoods rather than on behalf of political campaign donors.

October 30, 2013 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The docket says 230pm hearing today is anyone going ?

October 31, 2013 10:43 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Bagley is a good judge. He'll give it a fair hearing, anyway.

October 31, 2013 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hearing almost over Sarnoff shaking his head feverishly about garces arguments

October 31, 2013 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean Grace's comments?

October 31, 2013 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No I mean Grace's arguments - Sarnoff spent a lot of the hearing shaking his head when her attorney was speaking. The county had a few attys the city had a few and the developer had a few.

October 31, 2013 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So here is what happened - she lost. Her argument was misleading ballot and that dirty word, gambling. The county said it doesn't care about the fight between her and the city but you can't stop an election this close to the date plus 70k have already voted. The city said details cannot be on the ballot you only get 70 words. The developer said too late. Judge said injunction denied you haven't shown likelihood of success or harm or that I can't fix this later at trial. Her attorney announced an immediate appeal to the third. The spectators looked like an AARP convention.

October 31, 2013 4:33 PM  

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