Welcome to the Grapevine

The only place for Coconut Grove, FL News, Views & Opinions - Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Are they circumventing the public process?

A Committee has been Formed to Propose Changes to Grove Zoning

However you are not invited to participate in that effort.

David Villano founder of Grove 2030 has apparently taken it upon himself to circumvent the public open process of Grove 2030 , to form a small exclusive group or committee to propose changes to Miami 21 Zoning as it pertains to Coconut Grove. Once again YOU are not invited to participate.

The group or committee which was formed without any community involvement or knowledge includes:
Two Residential Developers - Andy Parrish and Marcelo Fernandes
One Real Estate Salesman - Javier Gonzalez
Two Lawyers - Elan Gershon and Miriam Maer
One "businessperson" - Johannah Brown
One Veternarian - Ruth Ewing
One Architect - Thorn Grafton of Zyscovich Architects

At least one of the developers has been building oversized "McMansions" in the Grove for a some time and has proposed "relaxing" the restrictions governing residential construction in the Grove. i.e. "reducing setbacks, increasing FAR (Buildable Area), increasing Height"  and the like. The "committee" is currently entertaining those suggestions.

The "businessperson" plans to compile a list of the restrictions that some builders find onerous and would like to see more flexibility with...."

Other items under consideration by this "select" committee are basically ways to make larger, taller (40' suggested)  and more omnipresent houses in the Grove easier for developers to build.

I object to this "committee" proposing Code Revisions to COMMISSIONER RUSSELL AND  the Miami City Commission on a number of grounds.

1.) Any review of the Zoning code MUST be done with the full knowledge and input of this community. Any process like this that will effect every Grove Resident must be OPEN, TRANSPARENT and INCLUSIVE..The manner in which this committee was formed, and is operating, does not meet those requirements.

2.) Any other review of the Zoning code MUST include knowledgeble professionals  such as Planners, Landscape Architects and Historic Preservationists, who know Coconut Grove, who possess a working knowledge of the Code, and can visualize and articulate the impact of any proposed changes to Grove Zoning.

3.) NO one on this committee should have a clear conflict of interest..i.e. developers and or Real Estate Sales people who's goals may conflict with that of the community.

4.) At this time from what I have learned the intent of at least some members of this "committee"  is to make the Grove a better place for "investment". I do not believe that to be the primary goal desired by the Grove residents I have spoken with..I do believe perserving the Residential Grove to the greatest extent possible and stopping overdevelopment is the real priority of this community.

5.) At this time I have yet to hear any cogent identification of where specific  "problems" exist in the Zoning Code..They committee has NOT identified what those "problems" are or who is affected by them..BUT this committee is now proposing solutions to those yet unidentified 

I do not object to a review of Zoning. HOWEVER I believe that in order to address the problems and issues that so many of us are troubled by that any committee formed to do so, MUST do so with the involvement and consent of the community.

By way of this letter I ask Commissioner Russel to totally disavow this group or any proposed Zoning changes they may present, to him, or the City Commission.

Charles Corda
Coconut Grove


Charles Corda’s letter is wildly inaccurate. There is no "group" from which he or anyone else in being excluded. What he refers to is a handful of people mostly working on their own, as volunteers, who are studying the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) zoning overlays with the idea of making recommendations to Ken Russell's office and to the City’s Planning & Zoning department for making them better. Mr. Corda’s suggestion that this effort is developer-driven is fanciful. Andy Parrish, for instance, is looking at things like increasing set-backs and reducing FAR (floor-area ration) allowances; I am looking at ways to better promote the tree canopy and for ways to encourage historic preservation. And none of this is a secret. The commissioner’s staff and P&Z staff are aware of these efforts, and it has been announced at least twice in Village Council meetings. Javier Gonzalez, on behalf of the Council, sent out multiple emails requesting community input (we got quite a bit); and a lengthy letter was printed in the Grapevine in November explaining this project. Mr. Corda, in fact, was individually approached, in writing, not long ago asking for his ideas, as an architect, for making the NCDs better. He declined, choosing instead to pursue one of his wild conspiracy theories that sadly, have become his signature.

Ironically, Grove 2030 was founded as a vehicle for moving beyond the inane civic ranting that has long dominated the public discourse here, by giving people a meaningful opportunity to engage in substantive steps -- real action, like reworking the NCDs -- at making the Grove better. Visit us at and on Facebook.

David Villano
Grove 2030

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...

I'm a Real Estate "Broker"....if you are going to insult me at least get it right....

Make sure to come to the Housing Summit this morning at Christ Episcopal, should be informative.

Co Conspirator Grove 2030
CGVC Vice Chair

January 21, 2017 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wild Conspiracy theories? kind of a Trumpian Tactic.. If you cannot address an issue launch a personal Attack. Thanks Dave:)

Simple Question for Grove Residents
Have you been asked your opinion by this Group as to Zoning Changes?

Do you want to "negotiate" with the Developers building McMansions or would you like to see the Code get stricter to prevent the proliferation of such houses in our neighborhood?

I have always had great respect for Dave Villano..However I believe he has gotten this all wrong..

The issue of "McMansions, "Big White Boxes" and basic over-development in the Grove are issues of great concern to this community..NO One has the right to use their power or influence to alter the Zoning Code without community input.

Dave- I am not going to demean you or insult you..But I believe you need to bring this committee and their work to light.

Why don't you announce When and Where this committee meets and invite ANYONE who lives in the Grove who would like to participate to join your committee..?..

January 21, 2017 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have asked one of the members to bring us up to speed on what has been happening with this "planning Group" and am still waiting for a response.

January 21, 2017 2:10 PM  
Blogger reid prevatt said...

Boy one guy gets insulted by being called a RE salesman. pitifful. So put the time and the place for this meeting in your response. Do not want hot tempered people leading the Grove. Found it rather bad.

January 21, 2017 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Sonya de Long said...

As a former Grove 2030 participant and committee member, I support everything Charles Corda has said.

However, Planning + Zoning are now rewriting the NCD-3 regulations and plan to hold a public forum here before the springtime. In the meantime, Jacqueline Ellis, Acting Chief of Land Development at would like to hear from all interested parties DIRECTLY. You are free to state that Grove 2030 does not speak for you. It certainly does not speak for me.

P & Z are aware of many of the concerns we have in the Grove. I have spoken to Jacqueline and met with her, and she inspires confidence. She is competent, fair, willing to listen and has new employees who are enthusiastic about we want to achieve. She needs our requests in writing, though, so best not to call her.

January 21, 2017 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

Over the last 2 days I have received numerous responses to my open letter regarding a generally unknown committee attempting a re-write of Coconut Grove Zoning on their own.

In addition to those I have personally spoken with, those written responses I have received, have been consistent in noting that no one had any knowledge of this "Select" zoning re-write committee.

It has now come to my attention that this "select" committee, under the direction of Javier Gonzalez and David Villano, have been working at Re-writing the Coconut Grove NCD-3 Zoning for about 1 year.


While scores of people on virtually every committee of Grove 2030 were at work reviewing issues, collecting data, trying to move the Grove forward in a collective, positive and transparent manner., Villano and Javier Gonzalez were working serruptiously to bring their own ill conceived changes to NCD-3, thereby undermining and making a mockery of the work of everyone who participated in Grove 2030.

I believe David Villano owes an apology to this community, and every single person who contributed their time and efforts to "Grove 2030".

People who attain a public persona such as Javier Gonzalez and David Villano have a responsibility to the community that elevates them to a position of leadership..You cannot violate the trust the community puts in you to be forthright and honest.If you do... you do not deserve to be in a position of leadership.


January 22, 2017 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Charles, I have been advocating for a review/revision of the NCD's for over 3 years....and will continue to do so.

Enjoy your Sunday

Co Conspirator Grove 2030
CGVC Vice Chair

January 22, 2017 12:25 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home