The first of more than a dozen public meetings leading up to a vote on a plan to rewrite Miami's zoning code to ensure smart growth received mixed reviews from residents and activists.
BY DAVID SMILEY
Some left Simpson Park Thursday night feeling better about a plan to overhaul Miami's zoning code, and others left scratching their heads.
About 50 residents, activists and politicians attended the first of many public meetings to explain Miami 21, Mayor Manny Diaz's pet project to create a map for smart growth in Miami's future. According to a release by the Miami Planning Department, Miami 21 -- short for ''Miami of the 21st Century'' -- includes a complete rewrite of the city's zoning code regulations that control the physical development of land and the kinds of uses, such as residential and commercial, allowed on each property.
After two hours of explanations from Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a principal of the consultants behind Miami 21, reactions were a mixed bag.
''I actually feel a little better than I did when I got here,'' said Joe Wilkins, past president and founder of the Miami Roads Neighborhood Civic Association.
Plater-Zyberk addressed some concerns people have had over what will happen to homes and businesses that would be in violation of the code when an area's zoning is changed. Owners can rebuild the same way if a storm destroys the house and can even make additions, she said.
Some said Plater-Zyberk skirted some of the more important details in the plan by reading little of the written code.
''What they say here and what we see in writing doesn't always add up,'' said Nina West, a member of the city's Planning Advisory Board.
Others worried about the inclusion of higher-density areas outside downtown and their effect on surrounding neighborhoods.
Judith Sandoval, a Miami activist, said plans to create transitions in height and density between higher density zones and single family homes could hurt the neighborhoods.
''We know some neighborhoods won't want transitions because they see it as an intrusion,'' Zyberk said, adding that each neighborhood is listened to during the planning stages.
This week's scheduled meetings are:
* West End Park, 250 SW 60th Ave. 6-8 p.m. Tuesday 7.