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Friday, December 19, 2014

Public Zoning Advocates

A Public Defender is offered to those that can’t afford to seek legal advice.

It is time that a Public Zoning Advocate be provided to assist neighbors with defense against a developer that desires to rezone a nearby property, that will have a negative impact on their community and quality of life.

Developers often buy a property and soon thereafter make great efforts to rezone it for the sake of instant profit. They have deep pockets, high-powered lawyers and friends at City Hall.

Neighbors are at a huge disadvantage. They are greatly concerned about the negative impact this project will have and wish to find a better course of action. With little if any knowledge of zoning codes and legal process, they must attend Planning and Zoning meetings, go on the record in front of the Municipality Commissioners and perhaps even hire an attorney to fight this costly and timely battle.

It’s time to make this fight a bit more fair. Legislation is needed to help citizens defend their rights, preserve their community and maintain their chosen quality of life.

If the courts offer Public Defenders than our municipalities should also offer Public Zoning Advocates. A pool of qualified Zoning Attorneys or Law School Professors and Students could be assembled. A modest pay scale could be established or fees could be pro bono. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful dream. But as this alert neighbor remarks, developers rule: "They have deep pockets, high-powered lawyers and friends at City Hall.

Well, not exactly "friends". Just a lot of thankful, influential collaborators' of sorts.

December 19, 2014 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Planning and zoning board members are appointed by your elected council members. In other words, they should be the voice and reason of the people. If the people we elect are pro development why would we expect those boards not to be pro development?

December 19, 2014 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 9:17am You spelled co-conspirators wrong. ;)

December 19, 2014 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone is so negative. Well guess what, you'll get to elect a new City Commissionor soon. I'm sure that should make everything better when Sarnoff is gone right? #SarcasmIntended

December 19, 2014 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"pro development".. That means absolutely nothing, even for developer$ and their buddy-buddy politician$. It's pro-profit, as quickly and abundantly as possible. Regardless of "development", con$truction, de$truction, regre$$ion, progre$$ion, whatever.

December 19, 2014 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could post this with my real identity but I would get a lot of flack if I did.

Here's what I can say: Lawsuits can be very effective and you do NOT need an attorney to file a complaint. However, you do need an attorney for 3 reasons:

1) You need someone who will make the best possible legal case for you.

Note: Charles Corda tried to sue "pro se" on his own and did not have the experience to advocate his position in court.

2) Most of these cases are won by delaying tactics rather than through a favorable judgement.

Note: Elvis Cruz defeated and even bankrupted a developer through these tactics.

3) An attorney does command the respect of the court. Which means that if the case is presented in a professional manner the court actually takes more time to look at it.

Note: Even with an attorney Linda Caroll, the friend and boss of Grace Solares, she has never won or succeeded in achieving the goal of delaying a development project (which makes me think that their goal was not to win at all).

Conclusion: Lawsuits are easy to file and the courts should be swamped with complaints by the public about development rights. People have rights and the court should get used to this process.

The cost together with filing fees between the circuit and appeals court and the cost to write a decent brief is upwards of $2,000.

The City of Miami does not have attorneys with experience or knowledge that can defend it in court. That is why you see so many outside firms and companies involved. It also means that there is no one from the City really defending the City in these cases. This is literally an open door to win lawsuits (look at the positive results with the complaint against the Walmart in Midtown on a budget).

I love Miami and the dream should really be about more people involvement, true public service where people just commit to offering themselves because of the love of community.

The next District 2 commissioner will determine a lot about the direction of Coconut Grove and the city at large. You have to be involved as soon as possible to make a difference.


The Undisclosed Legal Mind.

December 20, 2014 10:51 AM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

I agree that makes sense for those who cannot afford to hire an attorney. But anybody who owns property in Coconut Grove, probably would not qualify.

December 20, 2014 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the cases brought on by Groveites against development are designed more to get their names in print than to actually stop or delay anything.

December 21, 2014 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is difficult to sue City Hall and win. City attorneys have an unlimited budget and they have all the time in the world. I respect Grace Solares and Linda Carroll for filing every one of their complaints. I believe they should have won based on the facts. Unfortunately, some cases are won and lost on technicalities.

December 21, 2014 10:24 PM  

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