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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CGVC Candidates Forum - Susanne Larissa Ozols

Nine seats are up for election on November 7, for the Coconut Grove Village Council. 15 people are running for the nine seats. The Grapevine is giving candidates a chance to tell their story as to why they deserve your vote.  We have asked all the candidates the same five questions and we'll post the results here as they come in. 


GRAPEVINE: Why do you feel you would be a good Village Council Member?

Susanne Larissa Ozols
SUSANNE: Conversations about preserving the Grove, its housing, and canopy, now more than ever, need to translate into action! That is why I’m running for Village Council. Grovites are passionate about their community. Given the opportunity and forum, we engage. I feel I’d be a good Village Council Member because I come from that common place of passion and have the ability to promote Grove issues on a City and County level. It is important that we all agree that our authentic and distinctive neighborhood character has become a critical economic asset today.

G:  What would you like to accomplish during your time on the Council? Objectives? Projects?

S: ZONING: More involvement by the Village Council at public meetings is a MUST. As a Village Council member I will continue supporting the neighborhood conservation districts. They are a thin layer of City Code that helps preserve our quality of life in neighborhoods. Specifically, I’ll continue to participate in decisions for responsible redevelopment of Coconut Grove at PZAB, HEPB and City Commission meetings. The PZAB meeting for the CVS hearing the other night was a great example where the Village Council was there for the community. Wow, that was a great turn out! Village Council has to do a better job in engaging the community through social media platforms.

PRESERVATION: The input that the Council has on businesses is very important to me. The Grove has a great selection of small businesses run by real people, not big box corporations. A business district like ours is getting harder and harder to find.

Involvement in the Village Council means getting ahead of the curve so Coconut Grove is not turned into a high density hub where the heritage of our Main Street is lost forever. I’ll take the initiative to find public and private grants to preserve our downtown (Grand Ave./ Main Hwy.). I would love to work with the CRA or perhaps a private community development corporation to come to Coconut Grove and pair the redevelopment of the Grove with opportunities for entrepreneurship, sustainable living and housing.

SAFETY: My goal as a Village Council Member is to spearhead the approval, funding and construction of a pedestrian bridge over Dixie Highway at 27th Ave. The project is doable and needed. Miami-Dade is rolling out a new fleet of metro rail cars soon. More people than ever will be riding the train. Plus, what better than a signature pedestrian bridge to act as a “gateway” to the Grove.

G: What is your favorite part of Coconut Grove?
S: My favorite part of Coconut Grove is the variety of people places and things. As the oldest community in Miami, there is a lot of history in our buildings. I love our tree canopy and eclectic architecture. They give the Grove its distinct flare. The scale of the Grove is intimate and that gives our community a “small town” feel…small shops, small cottages, small streets. Like I mentioned before, it is probably our biggest economic asset. We can’t afford to lose that. 

G: What is your least favorite part of Coconut Grove?

S: There are obvious things like traffic and crime, yes. My least favorite part of Coconut Grove is the way we describe ourselves and essentially divide ourselves as coming from North, Center, West or South Grove. By coming together as one community we can get a lot more done. The entire world sees Coconut Grove is a one community with a distinct sense of place, why can’t we? Think it; say it; do it.

G: How long have you lived in the Grove? Where are you from? What drew you here?
S: My family has been in Miami since 1928 and in the Grove since 1941. After school and sometime away, I returned home to raise my two boys in 2007. Since then, I started a business that sparked the revitalization of Dinner Key’s thriving commercial/recreational area and continue to be an active member in the community devoted to preserving what draws me and so many families come here…the character, canopy and limited density of Coconut Grove.  


As these forums come in, they will be all listed here for you to see


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