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 News Article:   Diaz: Rezoning Plan Nearing Completion
    Published by The Miami Herald
 

Responding to criticism that Miami 21, the city's overhaul of its old and unruly zoning code, would never see the light of day, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz announced Tuesday a new schedule to complete the oft-delayed plan.

According to Diaz: a final public workshop for Miami 21's development-rich eastern quadrant will take place on March 24, and a new zoning code for that area is expected to be in place by June. The workshop venue has not been determined.

Before then, the city's Planning Advisory Board will hold two public hearings in April to consider Miami 21's proposed zoning changes in the eastern quadrant. The City Commission will vote on the plan during May and June.

''I believe Miami 21 will pass in June,'' Diaz said during a meeting with Upper Eastside residents about the MiMo historic district.

PLAN'S BEGINNINGS

Miami 21 was launched in April 2005. City planners and lead consultant, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, targeted the eastern quadrant, which includes downtown Miami, Edgewater, the Design District and the Upper Eastside. They initially said new zoning would be in place for those neighborhoods by the end of 2005, but a first draft was not unveiled until May 2006.

The master plan for Miami's parks and public spaces by Goody Clancy, a Boston-based architecture and planning firm, has been finished and parks officials are hosting a final public meeting Saturday at Jose Marti Park so people can review it, said Lara de Souza, a department spokeswoman.

And within the past month, posters announcing Miami 21 is ''coming soon to your neighborhood'' have sprouted at bus shelters throughout Miami. But on Tuesday, City Commissioner Tomas Regalado criticized the posters in his district.

They were confusing his constituents, whom city planners have not yet informed about Miami 21, he said.

''People have been given false hopes about Miami 21 for the last two years,'' he said.

Luciana Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the Planning Department, recently said the posters are part of an ongoing media plan.

Regalado said the new timeline is a 'joke, you know . . . `Miami 22.' ''

He said new dates didn't matter after Planning Director Ana Gelabert-Sanchez told the City Commission last week her department wouldn't implement ''zoning in progress'' throughout the city before working on the north, south and west quadrants. ''Zoning-in-progress'' would pause the city's review and approval of applications for new development before new zoning rules take effect.

RESIDENTS' CONCERNS

And despite the mayor's announcement, some residents said key questions remained unanswered such as: which zoning rules will stay unchanged, how permitting will occur, whether development rights can be transferred, and how Miami 21 would affect the city's historic districts.

Miami Herald staff writer Mike Vasquez contributed to this story


   
   
 
   
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