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It's not OK to wipe out suburban nature of the Grove

Miami City Planning department has a plan to increase the supply of Housing in Coconut Grove by changing government regulations (up-zoning) to allow more units in the same space and District 2 Commissioner, Ken Russell has said he will sponsor the amendment. 

The Planning Department tried to sell us on their proposal in a workshop ostensibly to gather Resident input. Neighbors had little opportunity for input, not many attended. Everything in the workshop was about the City’s agenda. We asked to have 15 minutes to show the existing strength of our current NCD code, based on the court tested language of Coral Gables code, we were denied.

In NCD-2, it is believed there is both a need for affordable housing and an appropriate social benefit for residents displaced by condemnations, and demolition by neglect. The increase in supply will lower housing costs of buying and renting, perhaps appropriate as 85% of residents are renters. It is proposed that this area, by residents’ choice, will become part of a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). Affordable housing needs would be met by allowing developers to over-develop many NCD-2 areas in exchange for building some low income and workforce housing. 

In NCD-3, where residents have not been offered a choice, the proposed amendment would also increase supply, overburdening a fragile infrastructure, and it would lower the price of homes, so you could only sell or rent your home for less money. Where 85% of residents are owners, not in need of affordable housing, it is NOT appropriate. The average household income is $111,414 here, per the latest census data; the free market has been found to work well in allocating housing where people are prosperous. Should one of the most affluent areas in the city be entitled to subsidized housing? I have not noticed the need for such a public benefit among my neighbors.

At first I thought the idea of 450 ft. ancillary rental buildings, another part of the proposal, was interesting, maybe I could rent it as an Airbnb, use it for guests, or rent to a U of M student. But on further reflection, if all of my neighbors did it, with no additional parking or sewage, not so good. I’m O.K. with the existing cottages that are here, but having a lot more would be a problem. Where people live in the sub-urban areas of the Grove, residents need a car, each car contributes 30,000 pounds of Co2 to the atmosphere per year on average; better if U of M students live in a dorm or student housing close to campus. 

Further this would be a clear step toward making all of the single-family districts into DUPLEX Zoning. NOT What Residents WANT.  

At 3701 Park Avenue, the planning director used the existence of a 700 ft. ancillary cottage to justify creating two building sites where there was formerly one claiming it did not increase density. Center Grove homeowners often lament their district having been rezoned as Duplex, creating a much denser Urban character, let’s not allow it to happen in either of  the NCD- 3’s or NCD-2’s single family districts.

It would be better if the city followed their own plan for growth: density in the city core, along transportation and mixed use commercial corridors. The present proposal, would homogenize NCD-2 and NCD-3 codes for two very different & distinct areas. My thinking is that a plan more nuanced than the present proposal is needed not only to save the environment but also to maintain property values. 

BOTTOM LINE  It is NOT OK to WIPE OUT the sub-urban nature and character of the sub-urban areas of Coconut Grove. It is NOT OK to COMBINE NCD-2 and NCD-3 codes & swirl them around to become homogenized & UPzoned in the overall mix of Miami 21 code. 

What do you think? Let Commissioner Russell KNOW that you want him to protect your property rights, not perhaps unwittingly “deal them away” while making a very bad deal for the community. You own the property, your homes’ and you believed the Neighborhood Conservation District Zoning would protect your neighborhood’s character, livability and value. Protect the UNIQUE historic community you call HOME make sure it is there for the next generation.

Ken's email: [email protected]
Or he responds faster to tweets:

John Snyder
Coconut Grove

This post first appeared on Coconut Grove Grapevine, please read the originial post: here

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It's not OK to wipe out suburban nature of the Grove


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