Gordon D. Sokoloff, DDS
Dr. Sokoloff is the Vice Chair of the Parking Advisory Board and the former Chair of the Transportation Advisory Board
At the July 13th Coral Gables Commission meeting, Commissioner Rhonda Anderson tried to hit the “pause button” on any more development that is looking to take advantage of the Mediterranean Bonus until the Med Bonus criteria is revised and strengthened. She was only asking for a 120-day “pause” to allow residents an opportunity to provide input and have residents/architects put together new criteria and change the process for granting the bonus.
The elected Mayor and Commissioners ran their campaigns on what continues to be the number one issue in the Gables: over-development. Anderson’s proposal was meant to briefly tap the brakes, appoint a “blue-ribbon panel” to pinpoint the issues and then suggest solutions. One commissioner stated that the pandemic was a reason NOT to pass the moratorium, although cranes never stopped swinging and the city zoom meetings continued on during the pandemic.
Several commissioners stated that a moratorium would prevent them from “doing their jobs”: voting on construction projects, – which came across as their priority OVER listening and acting upon residents’ concerns. The commission reluctantly voted on a 30 day (renewable?) moratorium since there were no pending projects in the pipeline anyway during the next 30 days; this was hardly a victory for residents.
At the meeting, Mayor Lago spewed out a list of all of the enormous projects that he voted against, but nevertheless “slipped past the goalie” and tower over the Gables today. If the commission wants to truly repair the flaws in the system and address the issues effectively, they missed a golden opportunity to represent the residents’ number one issue, instead of pandering to the developers. I hope that they will still find their way to address the flaws in the process with this blue-ribbon panel and adhere to their campaign promises. The residents who are outraged with the over-development in Coral Gables are the ones this commission should be working for. Commissioner Anderson’s proposal should have passed “as is” by a unanimous vote.