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Thursday, April 19, 2018

It's residents vs developers at NCD hearing

The Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board met Wednesday night, the discussion focused on the new NCD plans for Coconut Grove. In the end, due to many requests by neighbors, the legislation was deferred for another time. In that time, there should be more workshops and discussions

Neighbors who spoke to the board were concerned about the proposed plans; the ancillary units were brought up (the granny flats), the way the proposed code is written, too much density would be added to the neighborhoods if each new house had a "mini house" attached. Parking and great congestion comes with the additional residents.

Combining NCD 2 (Village West) and NCD 3 (the rest of the Grove) is part of the new plan. Some people are concerned that the character of Village West will be affected if there are is just one NCD combined plan.

Resident Nathan Kurland said, "It doesn't matter if you're on the right track, if you're going in the wrong direction." He claims that residents asked for a tweek of the NCDs but now the whole thing has gotten out of hand. Many residents feel the new NCD favors developers, by adding density, too much density to the neighborhoods. 

"The NCD has been watered down. We need stronger language, not weaker," said Nathan.

There should be less mass added to the NCD, not more. And tree disruption is still not adequately addressed. The floor/lot ratio is 65% and many would like it dropped to 40%, which is the norm for other local communities.

One developer, who started the GroveBeautiful group, stood up and of course complained that the reduction of home sizes proposed is not to his liking, he wants larger homes. He was shut down fast by the board. Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Miami Beach all have a lower ratio. It's intersting that he chooses to build here in the Grove, where anything goes. One resident called the new GroveBeautiful group a "political pac posing as a residental group." She stated that many of the faces at the meeting were well known and the un-known faces were developers who have no regard for the neighborhood.

It's unconsionable how the developers are now making believe they are neighbors out for everyone's own well-being, when in reality they are here to build, make a killing and be on to their next project. "Follow the money" was the battle cry Wednesday night. Don't trust these strange faces who have no love for the Grove.

The residents want smaller homes on lots, they want to do away with zero lot lines. 

The over-development (and size) of new single family homes is the problem. The houses are too big.

After hearing neighbors speak for awhile, board member Adam Gersten brought up the fact that while people have their ideas about the NCD changes, most are not agreeing, there doesn't seem to be one consensus. One person asks for a certain percentage of lot coverage, another asks for another. While people are not happy with the new NCD, there is no one set plan for changes.

He said there is no movement, people are stalled.

For some reason, business owners and the Coconut Grove BID are part of the discussion and I'm not quite sure why. The issue is residential and a lot has to do with the South Grove, where there are no businesses. I'm not sure why they are part of the discussion.

One lady with a large lot who is in favor of lot splitting says that changes to this rule will drive developers out of town, which drew large applause from the audience. This apparently is the goal - drive developers out! This lady calls the cookie cutter townhouses "city villas" and says the architecture is "just right." There's no accounting for taste. Or greed.

In the end, there was the deferral, but the bottom line is this - outsiders have come into the neighborhoods to destroy the ambiance and make a fast buck. It's residents against developers. The developers come here because other areas will not stand for their shenanigans. The laws need to change to favor the residents.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grand Ave past CVS is basically a slum. There is nothing "grand" about it. There is little historic to preserve. Just because something is old doesn't make it worth saving. How many of the homes in the area are really inhabited by the descendants of the Bahamians? The new low income building is almost the only decent structure in that area. Where is the realistic/effective leadership necessary to design a plan that makes sense for a variety of income levels?

April 19, 2018 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Carol Lopez-Bethel said...

I am the resident who called out Grove Beautiful as a political pac posing as concerned residents. They are funded and backed almost exclusively by pro-development developers, architects and attorneys who directly benefit from increased density and higher prices, like $1M in the West Grovehttps://therealdeal.com/miami/2017/04/12/developer-launches-sales-for-luxury-homes-in-the-west-grove/

We need a strong show of opposition at the next meeting to counter them bringing more money to the table to back their agenda at the next PZB meeting.

Below is a transcript of a motion put forth by Andy Parrish o April 18, 2018 to the Planning and Zoning Board regarding the City's NCD Proposed Changes affecting all of Coconut Grove. Although the City argued that Intent is open to interpretation, this motion clarifies the intent for any reasonable person to understand and would go a long way to protecting the Grove and supporting sustainable growth of our community.

"I move approval of Item 2, with the following changes to section 2.1 Intent:

2.1 The intent of the Coconut Grove Conservation District is to establish a protective series of legislative elements that enhance the preservation of the overall low density nature of the District by including specific regulations to protect green space and tree canopy, encourage the preservation of existing single family residential houses, and to guide new residential and commercial development by protecting the scale, character, and architectural variety within the District's established neighborhoods. Together, these neighborhoods make up the community of Coconut Grove, which is distinguished by the diversity of its residents, its character, derived from lush landscaping, and naturally occurring vegetation and trees, its unique property sizes and shapes; its bay views; geologic features; proximity to Biscayne Bay; public open space; recreational opportunities; commercial services;and a special character imparted by its tropical vegetation and cultural contributions to the City of Miami, which it predates.

The Coconut Grove Conservation District has three over-arching principles which shall guide the reading and application of these regulations. They are:
1. Protection, preservation and enhancement of Coconut Grove's green spaces and tree canopy, especially its specimen native trees at their present locations so long as consistent with public safety.
2. Encouragement of architectural diversity within a generally applied maximum FLR of 40% for T3R and 60% for T3O;
3. With regard to new construction on any Building Site where an existing principal structure has been demolished after the effective date of this legislation, there shall be denial of all applications for any waiver, exception, bonus or administrative relief that increases the generally applied maximum FLR unless the applicant for such waiver, exception, bonus or administrative relief demonstrates a primary purpose consistent with the intent of this Section 2.1 that would justify an increase in the maximum FLR.

The effect of these regulations shall be to modify transact regulations included within the District's boundaries to the extent indicated herein"

April 19, 2018 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends and neighbors, please put on your critical thinking hats, this is not a time to be emotional and reactionary.

Comparing floor/lot ratios in Coconut Grove to Coral Gables is a red herring. In the Gables, lots have to be at least 10,000 square feet. As we know, our lots in the Grove can be smaller, as little as 5,000 square feet. A 40% ratio on a 10k sq. ft. lot still gives you room to build a house fit for a modern family. However, a 40% and even 50% ratio on a 5K sq. ft. lot simply will not, especially when you consider the mandatory setbacks. The proposed NCD does a great job of balancing floor/lot ratios based on the size of the lot. If smaller lots are not allowed a larger ratio, then decrepit, asbestos-infused houses will only fall into further disrepair and squalor.

Don't we want young families to reinvigorate our housing market and jump-start our Village? Everyone here complains about the empty store fronts in the Village. Ironically, the clamoring for the Grove of yesteryear has a very "Make Coconut Grove Great Again" tone. Without new families moving into the Grove, those store fronts will remain empty. We need to welcome progress and the future.

April 19, 2018 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live on frow ave and i am so happy the new developments are coming here finally. we have been living here 2 generations and once my neighborhood getting better people are trying to stop it. people are trying to stop developers to make our neighborhood nice and livable finally !

poor people only have small lots mostly 5000 sql . why do we have to be punished with the limited size we can build or putting more flowers around.

we want more developments more rules and cleaning. they would like to put low income residence in west grove. WHY ? because we are poor ? we need more rich people coming in and make our neighborhood better and invest more.

why don't they put low income homes or buildings in south grove and north grove ? why can't we get a break but only rich people gets what they want.

the more they build here the more i and my neighbors make money.

i am for green and i love green ! lets make it such way that we can build what we want in our lots !

i am tried of being the one saving the green ! they build this mega buildings in south bay shore dr with 5 flowers around them ! have they put more flowers ! have them build smaller buildings ! why do i have to be punished when i want to build my dream home !!!!

please guys lets make our neighborhood as good as north or south grove ! we already have the lots, some of us can sell and make lots of money and some of us can build on it with a loan from the bank !


if we let this limitation happen we will be poor always and thats what they want !

April 19, 2018 10:58 AM  

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