One Step in the Right Direction

Second and definitive reading of Ordinance PZ.13 was deferred to March 28, 2019.

The proposed Ferris wheel at Bayside Marketplace. Rendition, Bayside Marketplace.

The City Commission deferred the second and final reading of the proposed ordinance PZ.13, agreeing that it was poorly written, overreaching and lacked protections to parks and residents. Chairman Russell instructed the city administration to come up with a different plan to allow the Bayside Marketplace to construct a Ferris wheel within their property without opening the door for a future land grab of our city’s waterfront parks.

What is PZ.13?

In a nutshell, the proposed ordinance opens the doors for potentially turning Miami parks, including Bayfront Park and Maurice Ferré Park, into permanent amusement parks, and in doing so, usurp the scarce green spaces left for a growing downtown community of some 30 thousand residents.

Itai Benosh, a staunch defender of the residents’ right to enjoy Bayfront Park, commented: “This was a clear case of good intentions and poor process turning into bad legislation, as the desire to accommodate a zoning change for one specific location inadvertently opened the door for future land grab attempts in the few remaining waterfront parks in Miami. The DNA is pleased that the City Commission realized the perils of this ordinance and instructed the city administration to come up with a different approach for the requested zoning change.”

Sam Dubbin, an attorney representing the DNA, stated in a letter to the mayor, commissioners, city manager, city attorney, and city clerk:

“… We urge this Commission to pause and allow the affected members of the community to review the measure in depth with the City’s elected officials, staff, and the proponents of the measure before a definitive vote (if any) is taken. Fairness and sound government require nothing less.
“Despite the potentially far-reaching negative impact of this measure on my clients’ residential communities, the proposed ordinance was not fully vetted with them, and the communications that did occur were exaggerated to give the impression of support where it was not justified.
“Moreover, while presented to the PZAB as a narrow ordinance whose purpose is to enable a small-scale Ferris Wheel in Bayside Marketplace, the ordinance would in fact allow amusement rides in Bayfront Park, Maurice A. Ferre Park, American Airlines Arena, Watson Island/Jungle Island, Virginia Key, and the waterfront parks in Coconut Grove.”

Amal Solh Kabbani, President of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance (DNA) observed: “The DNA will engage the city’s planning department to ensure that our parks are protected as they work through a Plan B. Also, we’d like to thank Chairman Russell for sending PZ.13 back to the drawing board, and for his leadership.”

A Definition of Parks

The 2019 edition of the yearly Opera in Bayfront Park gathered over 400 downtown neighbors. Photo courtesy of Amal Solh Kabbani.

Ms. Solh Kabbani added. “We need more green spaces, not more concrete,” “When parks are allowed to be parks, communities solidify. Look around, families, children, pets, a neighborhood coming together for opera under the stars.”

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