Planning Advisory Board tonight will debate Miami 21, a proposed new zoning code
for the city that has been in the making for almost four years and gone
through thousands of changes.
Miami 21 was initially sold to the community as a streamlined zoning
code. Property owners and neighborhoods were to receive equal
consideration and protections under the plan.
Critics of Miami 21 say that vision hasn’t survived years of redrafting.
Opponents point to plans for an illuminated tower to be part of Miami
Worldcenter in the Parkwest/Overtown redevelopment area north of
Under Miami 21, structures like the project’s high-profile display tower
— featuring signs, video and illuminated message technology — would not
be allowed anywhere else in the city.
The mixed-used Miami Worldcenter project, about 12 million square feet
in size, is planned for nine blocks between Northeast Sixth to 11th
streets from North Miami to Second Avenue.
The tower could be used as a source of revenue to help redevelop the
area, according to the draft. But the document doesn’t indicate who
would receive the money or how it would be invested in the neighborhood.
The new code will also allow animated and flashing signs and banners on
the ground level of commercial buildings fronting Northwest and
Northeast Sixth Street, the southern boundary of the Miami Worldcenter.
Residents of other neglected neighborhoods claim Miami 21 was designed
to benefit some areas more than others. The plan fails to fulfill its
promise of a code free of zoning concessions, said Robert Mayer, who
owns commercial properties in Little Haiti. He claims some of his
properties would be downzoned under the new code.
“Miami 21 had great goals and high expectations,” he said. “But it has
become what it was supposed to replace. It is too complex, hard to
understand and has too many exceptions and special deals for special
Miami’s Planning Advisory Board meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 3500 Pan
American Drive, Miami.
Paola Iuspa-Abbott can be reached at (305) 347-6657.