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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Overbuilding on US1 - is that possible?

It looks like US1 is now the new breeding ground for new development. There is basically one section of US1 that does not have stores or businesses on it, it just has a few single family houses from the 1960s. Now there is a plan to knock down four houses which are near the Miami Science Museum to build 18 townhouses which was approved 6-1 by the Miami Planning and Zoning Appeals Board last week. Is this what is needed - 4.5 times the amount of homes and traffic right on US1 at the only spot on US1 without some sort of development? And the funny part is that some people will actually purchase the townhouses leading right up to I-95. They'll pay top dollar to look out their window at I-95. The actual site is at South Miami Avenue and US1. The site consists of six lots, including vacant land and the four current homes. This is an image of the proposed design.

Borges + Associates designed the project, despite objections from neighboring homeowners. But when are neighbors ever considered when it comes to developers and Miami? Just the fact that the Miami Planning board approved this shows they don't care about quality of life.

The new request to change the zoning from single-family to multifamily still has to go before the Miami City Commission for a final vote. Is there any guess on how that will come out? Look, I don't want to complain about everything that is developed in Miami, but when the zoning is not legal for a certain project and the neighbors are against the change of zoning, that should be the final say. Neighbors do not want the project because they feel it is out of character for the neighborhood.

The properties are owned by Southeastern Investment Group Corp., which lists Key Biscayne resident Alex Zakharia as its president. He had been purchasing the lots little by little since the late 1990s to early 200os. He paid a less than $1 million for everything. The town houses will list from $1.2 to 1.5 million each. They are ugly and cookie cutter, but a goldmine for Alex.

Reinaldo Borges, the architecture firm’s chief executive, feels that the idea is a good one because they are using earth tones and not bright white for exteriors. He's slick.

Attorney Lucia Dougherty is representing Southeastern. Lucia sees zoning laws as suggestions. She is one of the reasons that Miami is such a mess when it comes to zoning and development.  It's all about money, nothing ever about quality of life. She claims that the traffic is too rough in that area for the four single family homes to navigate, although they have been doing it for over 50 years, but she says that the 18 new town homes will apparently will fare better. Yes, she said that. She is paid top dollar to sway the commissioners. And many of us wonder why the commissioners sell out the taxpayers in favor of the developers. Although it's not hard to guess.

I would like to see the City Commission do the right thing just for once and keep the zoning the way it is - single family. But we all know better.

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...

Only in Miami this does not surprise me.It makes no scene lets pay top dollar to see and hear USI all day long plus my neighbor. It is funny that a vote of 6 to 1 to build something that is not remotely close to the surroundings. I think sometimes our commissioners really have a degree it how to color a coloring book outside the lines.

May 10, 2015 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami 21 is meaningless. The Appeals Board and Staff during the meeting even had no idea why there were tree preservation orders on the property. Pitiful.

May 10, 2015 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Luxury apartments with views on US1. Who would have thought.

May 10, 2015 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I have been a single family homeowner in The Village West for over 30 years. I have received notice that the adjacent proper to mine will be developed into 2 homes. They are asking for interior staircases leading from the second floors to a rooftop deck. Evidently this is against Miami 21 height rules. This extra height will loom over my property blocking what little bit of sunshine I have left. does anyone know if it is worth appealing? if so how does one go about it or do the developers have everything in their pocket?

May 10, 2015 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That space is perfect for public green space

May 10, 2015 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can we protest this? I don't want to sit idly by if there is any hope of preserving the property or keep it single family.

May 10, 2015 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are the zoning board members who are so much in defiance of Miami's zoning rules?

May 10, 2015 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Linda Pollack said...

Jack, I do not have the answer to your questions, but what you are referring to is a homeowner's right to light. There is a lot on the internet about this issue and related laws that affect development, placement of a neighbor's trees, etc. Since you have received this natural light for at least 20 years (this was the magic number in the UK since the 19th century) maybe that will count for something. Good luck with this.

May 10, 2015 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm on my boat in the Bay about 3 times weekly and I go to Card Sound Road and swamp around about twice monthly and I do so to make sure I'm out and about in these green spaces for my health and sanity. Most humans relate to these concerns and there is a definitive satisfying and near at hand solution. Take a few seconds and google in The Georgia Guide stones and find solace in what is about to happen to your concerns.

May 11, 2015 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't necessary think that more development is a bad thing, however it is a shame that all of this development is out of the price range of the average person in Miami. What this city needs is more affordable housing, so that people who make less than 6 figures are not squeezing too many people in too small of an apartment because we can't afford to rent a reasonable place to live and are completely priced out of the housing market. Unfortunately affordable (by this I mean $100-300K houses/apartments) is not as profitable as million dollar+ housing, so the average Miami resident will continue to be priced out of housing and spend so much on housing that they cannot support the economy through eating out and shopping as they normally would. And yes, I am speaking from experience.


May 11, 2015 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is right around the corner from Grace's house. She will blow a gasket

May 11, 2015 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a pretty urban spot, and it is literally across the street from 95 - if they can sell people on that, more power to 'em...

This is not a hill I'd die on. Far bigger, better battles to choose.

May 11, 2015 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Grape, did you complain as much when the condo you live in was built on valuable water front property? You're a hypocrite.

May 11, 2015 12:38 PM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

It floated down like a feather in the middle of the night. My condo was built over 30 years ago on land that was not rezoned and the law was not illegally changed to accommodate it. I'm not against development, I am against ILLEGAL development. And next time you want to call me out, don't be such a coward by being anonymous, Lucia.

May 11, 2015 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace got punished... too bad

May 11, 2015 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get your fact straight contractor

May 11, 2015 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

West Grove, North Grove precedents . No rules apply. Buyer beware.

May 11, 2015 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show up in LARGE numbers to this item on the city agenda to oppose this project. I remember when George Perez had paid outsiders to march to the City Hall to support his luxury condo project on the Mercy property. He sent swaths of people who did not live in 33133 to support his project. Luckily the public's interest prevailed when the Vizcayans objected vehemently.

Increasing density does not equal luxury in the Grove. Lucia Dougherty is a veteran attorney who knows how to make the commissioners sit, drop, roll, and play dead.

Be ready to show up to City Hall and expect deferrals until fewer citizens show up so the attorneys bring out their big guns.

Grovites need to stand up and support the South Miami Homeowners' Association to reject this density increase.

In the meantime, please write or call your commissioner and staff and ask them to deny this proposal. The number is 305 250 5334 and emails for Sarnoff and Chief of Staff Nelson are

May 11, 2015 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

If people want to pay top dollar to live on US-1 overlooking I-95... let them do it, that just means six fewer people/families to compete with for the more desirable homes that we all love in the Grove (that aren't on US-1). You have to pick your battles with the zoning/development issues, and this one is not worth fighting - this development is not going to do anything to "degrade" the neighborhood or property values - it is right on US-1 for goodness sake! We need more housing in the Grove. If the current Grove homeowners keep protesting every single development, they are going to be ignored. Better to support responsible, reasonable development with some projects, projects that add more housing supply to a market with too much demand, than to just complain so much about everything that you become the boy who cried wolf.

May 11, 2015 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a lot of fact picking going on this report. According to existing zoning, the developer can build 11 homes here by right. Covenants were put in place so density was only increased by 7 units. The primary reasoning behind this perfectly legal upzone is that it allows for underground parking and a single ingress/egress point into US1 rather than ELEVEN seperate driveways backing into US1.

May 12, 2015 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best be a pirate in a city of pirates.

May 12, 2015 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Ryan H said...

I am a new resident of the Grove, and I have to say I am so disappointed by the tenor of many of these posts as well as comments. It seems that a bunch of lucky folks arrived in the grove in a simpler time and now they want to freeze frame their existence to the exclusion of others. This is one of the fastest growing cities in America.. You can't live at the center of it and demand no new development, no road improvements, no increased density (even on the main highway for God's sake) and at the same time cry about the lack of affordable housing when your NIMBYism is what creates a lack of affordable housing to begin with. Perhaps San Francisco, a city I left for this very reason, is a better fit for you? This kind of selfish "me, my neighborhood, my town, my single family home, my low density village" masquerading as "anti-developer" is the rule in SF.. I suppose you all would have complained when the developer received the permit to build my higher density Grove dwelling.. You would have preferred me to have been priced out and have been cast to Doral. Maybe us new guys aren't "in keeping with the character of the neighborhood." I hope I find neighbors more welcoming and more realistic about the compromises we make (more traffic, more density) to live in a very close-in and dynamic urban neighborhood attached to one of the great growth cities In America.

May 16, 2015 11:22 PM  

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