This NCD exercise began as a simple rewrite to clarify a few paragraphs that were being interpreted in separate ways by residents and after several months became an exercise in “Grove Planning” by the Commissioner and the City’s Zoning Department; that’s was not what we (the residents) were looking for.
All we asked was to look at the current NCD (2 abd 3) and see where we could make simple changes that addressed these concerns and while the meetings have been well attended they still did not resolve our questions.
Instead we got a Planning exercise that no one requested and in fact our basic questions went unanswered.
1) How do we protect our Tree Canopy?
2) How do we protect against over-development in T3r and T3o neighborhoods?
3) How do we keep the character of the Grove intact?
What we did get was that “yes trees are great” BUT housing was also a need and as such we must have the “hard” conversation about density.
We understand that to meet housing needs we must have that “Hard” conversation BUT the elephant in the room that seems to never be discussed is how the City interprets the need for housing and how the residents interpret their need for housing.
When the Commissioner (and planning department) site that the “Density is already allowed within the code since long before I arrived. It exists on Grand Avenue and Main Highway and Bayshore Drive and US 1. If we can encourage that existing density to allow for more affordability, our community will be more resilient and multifaceted.”
While that sounds nice, truth is when 2 or 3 “players” are fighting for control over 12 acres of said corridor it makes it a fool’s errand to think we are going to get “more affordability”.
When 43,750 sq ft of land (six non-continuous small parcels) just sold at auction for 5.4 million dollars on Grand Ave (123 a sq ft) from one player to another, our chances of more “affordability” is a foregone conclusion, as is our Neighborhood Character.
We the residents are willing to have that hard conversation but when will the city and our commissioner “hear” what the residents need?
For a start, how about we do not renew the Grand Avenue MUSP (Major Use Special Permit), it expires on 12/8/2017 and may be a new starting point in “affordability”
Coconut Grove Village Council