Miami Dade County Community Forum

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Waterfront Advisory Board Meeting. By Fran Bohnsack

Well, well, well! What an interesting meeting at the City of Miami Waterfront Advisory Board last night. The subject matter? The noxious Virginia Key Master Plan and its loads of concrete being pushed by EDSA and the City's leadership. In what was expected to be a greased acceptance by Waterfront Board members, a surprising turnabout came through in the form of a large public turnout and an epiphany from board Member Jose Fuentes who commented that the plan was overly "aggressive" in its scope. I'll say! Eleven parking garages, an overblown "promenade," a conference center, dozens of sports fields forming a major complex, dormitories, a camp ground, bike trails, an aquatic center, zero transportation but lots of room for cars, cars, cars!

Person after person stood up to decry the plan that despoils the island, arguing for clemency for the marine stadium and hands off for just about everything else. Of course, the Urban Environment League was there, as were dozens of other environmental groups who sang the same tune. In the end, the very observer who noted the aggressiveness of the plan made a motion to approve. When the vote was taken, it was unanimous against the plan -- even with the motion maker!

But we must remain vigilant. Virginia Key is still not safe. The plan is slated to go to the Planning Advisory Board on June 17th, where it's likely to meet the same fate, but observers of these boards know that the City Commission does not generally listen to their own advisory boards. So the real battle will be fought on June 25th at the Commission meeting, unless the enormity of the plan's defeat at the Waterfront Board is too embarrassing to keep the plan on track.

And there's a problem. How will what happened last night be couched by City officials? Will it be said that the Plan failed for lack of a single supportive vote (doubtful)? Or will it be implied that because no motion was passed, the plan proceeds with out a strike against it. Anyone taking bets out there?

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