Annexation of Little Gables Stalls as Commission Calls for Public Vote

Javier Baños

Baños is the Editor of Gables Insider

In a session on November 14, Coral Gables’ city commission signaled a potential end to the long-debated annexation of Little Gables, shifting the decision to a public vote or survey. After years of contentious debate and considerable expenditure, the commission’s decision reflects the deep divisions and complexities surrounding the issue.

The annexation, which had been in the works since a thwarted 2017 initiative, has been a persistent topic of civic discussion. The recent proceedings saw only a slender majority of 21 percent of registered voters in Little Gables approving the measure, a figure that now awaits validation from the department of elections.

While proponents of the annexation, including Mayor Vince Lago and Vice Mayor Anderson emphasized the prospective financial benefits and enhancement in property values, their arguments were met with skepticism. The potential upfront costs, estimated in millions, to upgrade Little Gables to the city’s standards, weighed heavily on the debate.

Commissioners Menendez, Castro, and Fernandez underscored the near-term financial burdens and the speculative nature of the projected fiscal gains. At the urging of Commissioner Fernandez, the commission resolved to consider resolutions at the December meeting to let Coral Gables’ electorate decide the fate of the annexation.

Mayor Lago, advocating for the commission’s authority, contended that the decision should be handled by elected officials rather than through a public referendum, suggesting that a direct vote could jeopardize the annexation’s success. However, his stance was perceived by some as an attempt to avert a likely defeat in a public vote, given the public sentiment expressed in townhalls and meetings.

The fate of Little Gables hangs in the balance as the city awaits the December convening. However, the prevailing sentiment suggests a lean toward rejecting the annexation, potentially rendering the upcoming meeting a mere formality in a process that appears increasingly likely to conclude without the annexation’s realization.

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22 thoughts on “Annexation of Little Gables Stalls as Commission Calls for Public Vote

  1. What’s the latest on the annexation friends? Considering buying a house in Little Gables….

  2. Annex “Little Gables” and delete the trailer park.

    “Little Gables” already identifies as part of our community. Home buyers often think they are buying into Coral Gables. Property values are reflective of this. If they don’t want to be annexed, they should be forced to rename their subdivision.

    This low-income housing argument against removing the trailer park is 🐴💩.

    The purpose of low-income housing is to provide affordable shelter for employees of local businesses. It’s not charity, it’s a labor solution.

    This is why Miami Beach had to take action. Without low income housing, thousands of employees for hundreds of hotels and businesses would have to be sourced only from the other side of Biscayne Bay. Convenient housing attracts better employees.

    The North Gables is quite literally surrounded by low income housing. Removing the trailer park will have little effect on the amount of low income housing units near the North Gables and the downtown corridor.

  3. What exactly are the costs and what are the city “standards”. Many of us live in areas with sidewalks and hooked up to the city sewer system, other in areas with sways and septic tanks.
    Whats the standard? Doesn’t seem to be one to me.
    Explain the pros and cons, explain yourselves!

  4. By the way, there has been a rash of breakins in the last week in the area of Lejeune and Ponce. City is keeping it quiet, but the word is out!! We continue to lose police officers (10 more going away in January). The officers we now have left are going to 12 hour shifts because we are so short.

  5. Nick: Regarding your comparison with George Merrick, let me remind you that The Coral Gables Corporation also went bankrupt while taking on debt to annex more land….developer greed!!
    Second, what’s in it for me?? Annex more land for what?? Lets deal with the $40,000 per home special assessment for Lago’s and Anderson’s sewer conversion.

  6. Sad that Ariel not supporting Little Gables annexation when he lived down the street from me, only three (3) streets from Little Gables. There is a crime/ robbery, and even home invasion problem in this area. There are many, many narrow streets some without sidewalks or narrow swales leading to Tamiami Trail, such as El Rado, Wallace, 800-1000 block of Capri, Monterey, Santiago. Why? If you ask Dr Carbonell or any Gables Historian, they’ll tell you George Merrick later annexed these North Gables areas. His intention was to annex as much as possible in the NORTH, but wasn’t able to do so. Because most people realized on public transport in the 20s and wanted to be closer to SW 8 ST, Flagler to get to downtown Miami and Miami Beach, land was more expensive in the North. Easier for Merrick to acquire cheaper land in the South. Is Ariel now opposed or questioning/ hindering Little Gables annexation because he doesn’t like Mayor Lago? Or pandering to the vocal South Gables opposition to keep his seat? The CGNA arose out of opposition to Paseo la Rivera, across the street fro UM. Those vocal people don’t care about North Gables or the North Ponce Corridor, since they hang out in South Miami.

  7. The vocal South of US 1, residents who did not get High Pines & Davis annexation so that there speculative properties would increase in value are the ones who oppose the Little Gables annexation which would gentrify the North GATEWAY to Coral Gables. Why? Envy. If there’s no benefit for them, living in reality in South Miami, miles away from Coral Way, City Hall, our Downtown Business District, then they must jeopardize the benefit of many others. Pure selfishness. High Pines is right on South Miami’s Main Street Sunset Drive, why be called Coral Gables? Why when the new Main Gables Fire & Police Department on Salzedo ST, is just a stone’s throw from Little Gables? Answer: to get more capital $$$ gains when they sell their homes. No other reason but GREED from the Southerners at the expense of the Northerners. Merrick Estate in NORTH Gables. City Hall is in North Gables. Miracle Mile is in North Gables. The Banks, Consulates, Multinational Corporations/ luxury Office Buildings are in North Gables. The ENVIOUS South Miami people don’t want the North to get better.

  8. Doug, the trailer park residents can be relocated to affordable, subsidized housing in another part of the County. The Related Group & Associates got their hands on the affordable BAY FRONT Teacher’s Union residential building by relocating residents to affordable housing elsewhere. The former longtime Teacher’s Union president accused of corruption for living in a Brickell Avenue Home & building an Arquitectónica designed office building for the Teacher’s Union, inspiring envy from the School Board and subsequent retaliations, did look out for the teachers, building a Waterfront Building, Ocean Views worth millions, for the retired teachers. We had better leadership before! Brickell living for both the Union President & the Retired teachers. We need to think and act like the Old School politicians. Miami & the Gables was a better place then.

  9. Can someone provide to all of the residents of Coral Gables the immediate cost of doing the annexation and the additional permanent cost after the annexation.
    Also to those in favor please provide what are the benefits for the residents of Coral Gables if we do the annexation. Until I have all that information very clear and I am sure is beneficial to us Residents of Coral Gables, my vote is a super NO

  10. I am not in favor of annexing little gables, the burden on taxpayers to bring it up to city standards would be too high.

  11. I am not in favor of the anexation of Little Gables. To much cost to bring it to City standards.

  12. A lot of Little Gables residents are against annexation. A 21% return on the petitions is not the majority. For those that are concerned with the surveillance of the gables and claim it comes from little gables that is not true. I live in little Gables & do not have that problem. Also, if they were to expand surveillance to little gables there will still be blind spots since they can’t add the surveillance everywhere. Again this doesn’t solve the problems.

    We need politicians that care for their community and not just for their pockets. Annexing little gables is more of a burden for coral gables, yet the Mayor is pushing it. Seems like he’s getting something out of it for his pocket.

  13. My main concern is that OWNERS of Little Gables properties are not the ones voting. All registered voters in Little Gables area can vote for or against the annexation, which should not be the case. There are many renters in the area that want to be part of Coral Gables and don’t care about the implications this will bring upon the owners of the property should the annexation go thru. Also, for those in favor of annexation, why didn’t they purchase their properties in Coral Gables to begin with if that’s where they wanted to live? Leave Little Gables alone once and for all, we are tired of going thru this over and over again.

  14. I’m afraid that, as soon as this community is annexed, the city government, the land owners and other financial interests will begin figuring out how quickly they can evict everyone living there. Greed is just too powerful an incentive for us all.

  15. Who benefits most from the annexation? Not the current residents of Little Gables, but rather Coral Gables. Coral Gables government will begin to tear down the little enclave, raise taxes, and force people there to move and find affordable living.

    I am sure Lago and his developer’s friends are salivating at the prospect of razing the area and building new and expensive homes.

    I already have my vote not only against annexation, but also to replace Lago and Anderson

  16. One of my many concerns about annexation that Neighbors for the Preservation of Little Gables have is what will happen to the residents of Gables Trailer Park. Many of the trailer park residents are elderly living on fixed incomes who simply have no other place to go. Our plan is for the County to acquire the site and through an RFP process select a qualified affordable housing developer, creating a new garden-style affordable housing development (garden-style means low-rise buildings of 2 to 3-stories – WE DO NOT WANT A HIGH-RISE!). Our plan would be developed in phases to reduce displacement and it will encourage the current residents to return, paying no more in rent for their new units as they are today for their substandard, dangerous trailers. Why don’t we trust the City to do the same? Do you know how many units of government sponsored affordable housing there are in the City of Coral Gables? NONE! THAT’S RIGHT NONE! The County’s official list of affordable housing projects is 9 pages long, it has 264 developments representing thousands of units of affordable housing (still not enough). But not one is in the City of Coral Gables! No family housing, no elderly housing, and certainly not any supportive housing! Historically the City has taken a strong anti-affordable housing position, Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY), and it is shameful! This is an abominable record. Over the years we have heard City officials and Commissioners say that Coral Gables doesn’t have affordable housing because the cost of land is so high. Well let’s look at the City of Miami Beach, it has land cost as high in cost as Coral Gables and do you know how many affordable housing projects they have? Ten! Coral Gables has never supported affordable housing and has no resources to do so. Unfortunately, the City’s attitude is the same as Marie Antoinette, but rather than “let them eat cake” – they say, “let them live elsewhere!” We just don’t trust Coral Gables to do the right thing by the residents of the trailer park.

  17. Pepe makes a good point that I, as a long-time North Gables resident, never considered. I don’t know that it is sufficient to justify what appears to be years of losses to the city (and us, as taxpayers), but it is definitely something that will be on my mind if the city allows me a vote on the issue.

  18. I am so sick and tired of the self serving, agenda promoting actions of Lago and Anderson. You two are the lowest level of politicians I have ever seen in a small community. NO, again, we do not want to annex Little Gables, and do not see the reasoning for such a high cost. Wanting this matter handled by elected officials is fine, but only if the officials support the community that put them there. Lago and Anderson have continually supported what the majority does not want, and they are blind and deaf to our cries. Let me remind you, this is OUR community and we have a say in what the decisions are. We want a vote to finally put this issue to rest so you all can then deal with the real problems we have here in Coral Gables. I also vote for a recall to remove autocratic Lago and Anderson.

  19. why would Lago and Andersen be so afraid of letting the public vote on the annexation? Is it because he rather try to save his reputation and avoid another embarrassment instead of letting us CG residents speak for themselves on this important matter? We are tired of Lago and other self serving politicians trying to ram things down our throat just to serve their own self interests. No más, I am glad the new commissioners are bringing a level of transparency and discourse to city hall that has long been missing.

  20. Ok, I’m gonna say it. The annexation of Little Gables will bring some much needed relief to the residents of North Gables. The petty crime by people coming in from the unsecured North has gotten worse. People come in from Little Gables, check our car doors and enter our homes, only to retreat to the only pocket of unmonitored Miami-Dade County land, free to invade another day. I’m not saying ‘build a wall’ like certain Red Hats, but Coral Gables police will have a much better time monitoring the City with the boundary being 8th Street. What happens to the trailer park? Progress. That’s what will happen.

  21. Lago wants to avoid the embarrassment of yet another defeat, and is willing to abandon democracy to do so.true colors showing through

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