HOME » Press Room » Wednesday, December 17, 2008
 News Article:  Leaders to Talk About Miami 21


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 downtown Miami.

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 people.”

Miami’s Planning Advisory Board meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami. www.miamigov.com.

Paola Iuspa-Abbott can be reached at (305) 347-6657.


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