OPINION: Zoning Code Re-write Will Lead To End Of Coral Gables As A Suburb

By: Jackson Rip Holmes

Zoning Code re-write will lead to end of Coral Gables as a suburb, unless we speak up before final vote December 8.

THE NIGHTMARE IS UPON US.

The City Commission will vote December 8 on the Zoning Code re-write, which they approved on 1st Reading, which new Code can be described as ‘giving away our City to developers’, and ending Coral Gables as a suburb.

As a native of Coral Gables, and belonging to the oldest property owning family on Miracle Mile, I urge you to express your opinion by; 1] signing the petition, 2] calling and/or writing the Mayor and Commissioners, and/or 3] attending and speaking at the City Zoning Code Workshop on November 30, and the deciding City Commission Meeting of December 8, 2020. Remember, you can do this in person or by Zoom.

HOW THE ZONING CODE RE-WRITE GIVES AWAY THE CITY TO DEVELOPERS.

  1. It allows for ‘mirage’ ‘remote parking’ to be provided by developers throughout the City, including a minimum 25% ‘buyout option’ where the developer never provides 25% of the parking required, and simply pays 30% of the cost of parking spaces into a City parking trust.  Please bear in mind there is no designated remote parking in the downtown area, and developments closer to where you reside will be so financially inviting to developers, we are likely to see the volume of buildings throughout Coral Gables, including size of residences, at least double in less than a decade.
  2. It greatly surrenders ‘floor to area’ ratio to enable developers to build far denser buildings, including unlimited floor to area ratio for multi-family buildings, throughout the City.
  3. It would allow 6 to 8 story buildings along the entire length of Miracle Mile, Coral Gables’ main street.  If you were considering moving to a city, and saw its main street has 6 to 8 story buildings, would you consider that city a suburb, and WOULD YOU CONSIDER A CITY WITH AN URBANIZED MAIN STREET SAFE FROM THE CRIME BROUGHT BY URBANIZATION, as a place you would want your children to grow up?
  4. I submit to you if this DEVELOPERS DREAM ZONING RE-WRITE passes, families determined to protect their children from urbanization and crime, will move to true suburbs like Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, and Kendall Lakes, and Coral Gables demographics will lose our greatest asset, our high-achieving, purest character, residents – people like YOU.

HOW WE GOT HERE, AND HOW WE CAN CURE THIS PROBLEM.

As a longtime advocate for improvement without raising height on Miracle Mile, by bringing a department store to the downtown, which the City sabotages, and as a consequent perennial losing candidate for City Commissioner, I believe the US Supreme Court Citizens United decision, giving corporations and developers Constitutional rights, has allowed developers to spend so much money, they effectively control who gets elected. WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT OF THE DEVELOPERS, NOT A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE.

We need to do what Miami Beach, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have done. WE NEED TO BAN DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTIONS TO CITY COMMISSION RACES.

Petition · City of Coral Gables Commission: NO CONCRETE CANYON ON MIRACLE MILE! · Change.org

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18 thoughts on “OPINION: Zoning Code Re-write Will Lead To End Of Coral Gables As A Suburb

  1. Everyone has brought up good points here. I am in full agreement with the person who posted it’s not about urban or suburbs. I don’t think the focus needs to be equating “modernization and development” with crime and family values. But I will give my perspective as someone who was born and raised in Miami and has seen all the change and growth in both positive and negative light. Coral Gables is unique for the style of the buildings the architecture and the lack of intense construction and density. I think sustainability is key to the issue and it is not sustainable to continue adding more. More is not always better. Especially when you want to keep an area quaint, quaint and within it’s original character. And also we can’t keep changing politicians if all of them end up being persuaded by the same developers. It’s about convincing the politicians to believe in something greater. Instead of blame and generalizations let’s focus on empowerment and designations. This is the landmark city and it deserves to stay as a historical site, preserved in its original design. Small and beautiful settlers here.

  2. City Beautiful……We live near the monstrosity on Ponce. Our once beautiful walkways are unwalkable, the streets paved with holes, trash from the construction site lines my yard, constant noise day/nights even on Sundays, my pool has constant cement film, and I change the filter on my AC every week bc it’s black from the nasty dust constantly in the air. Doesn’t feel city beautiful and it’s slated to go on another 18months….. 🙁
    This isn’t progress no one thought of the residents or the effects it would have!

  3. I am against the Zoning Code re-write. Not only would it change Coral Gables as a Garden City, it would also create more problems than solutions. For example: How will the city cope with a drastic increase in traffic? How will the city be able to ensure enough fresh water supply to additional houses and apartments? The same question for water, electricity and other infrastructure services? Residents of Coral Gables should vote on this topic and not leave it only to the Commissioners to decide!

  4. Rezoning Miracle Mile isn’t going to help housing affordability. Have you seen the prices of the townhomes and condos that are going up all around us? Unless you have a million dollars plus in your pocket, you won’t be moving to downtown coral gables anytime soon. So with that said…LEAVE THE MILE ALONE! You’ve taken everything else! So hands off.

  5. The issue is not city or suburb. That is misdirect to the real problem in my opinion. I have attended real estate conferences on impact of climate change and heard our commissioners talk about sustainability, which is the real issue. The changes happening in Coral Gables are not sustainable. The more concrete we pour the less room for proper drainage hence we are seeing the “Houston affect.” The more density we add, both single and multi-family and commercial the less our roads, even in the residential areas will be able to handle. Water levels are rising each day (ask the people who live in buildings with basement garages) You can not double the density and expect the same streets to handle the load. None of this is sustainable in terms of quality of life. By the way for people who label thing conservative or liberal. A true conservative maintains the environment and is concerned about sustainability.

  6. Bobiack,
    We need not throw the baby out with the bath water.
    We need to listen and assess who may be coming in before we cry: “All 5 must go”. A current few are discerning on the issue and deserve consideration and re-election, Vince Lago in particular.
    Sometimes it’s a question of the devil you know…
    All cities need to evolve, ours is no exception. What we deserve is a more measured approach in keeping with City Beautiful’s character and the desires of its residents.

  7. I am against the zoning re-write– Biggest problem here is Mayor Valdez-Fauli, he has
    brought too much commercialism to this city. big MISTAKE !

  8. The current zoning allowed the current development. Keeping it as is will not change that. I am not sure what the proposed zoning allows, but anyone interested should have a look before deciding it is good or bad. It would be great if there was a link in the article

  9. Jackson Rip Holmes is so on target…..mark your calendar for Monday Nov 30 5-7 and Dec 8 the deciding meeting!!!!!!!!! I have been here since 1972 the “City Beautiful” has become the “Developers Dream”.

  10. Cities evolve. Seems like folks are afraid of change. Rezoning is the right thing to do and all cities need to go through this process as they evolve. San Francisco has a housing affordability issue because of red tape, nymbism and it doesn’t allow for more density. The irony of all this is that it’s mostly liberals that don’t want to see their cities change and evolve yet are the first ones to stand on their soap box and say we need to do more to help with the housing affordability crisis in our cities. Rezoning is any important step in addressing affordability.

  11. The commission and mayor , in their mission to civilize the residents and bring us kicking and screaming into their nirvana of modernity and sophistication do a great disservice to a large portion of the population who want a quiet , tranquil city; a refuge from the ordinary with great services.
    Remember all of them in the coming election and clean house. At the same time do not listen to empty promises from fresh candidates. Choose wisely.

  12. The development on Ponce de Leon in the Gables is a Hugh Monstrosity. I grew up in the Gables and went to Gables High. If over development is allowed to continue, we won’t be able to see
    the beautiful trees that the Gables is suppose to care about. The noise level in the Gables will get louder from more cars and congestion. It already is congested and people cut through our once quiet side streets during rush hour.
    The Mile will loose it’s charm when there will be high rises towering over us. I’m so disappointed in our Commissioners and Mayor and will remember when it comes time to vote. So should the rest of our residents. I don’t want to look out my front window to see high rises towering over the beautiful trees that line our residential streets.

  13. Greed and power rule! The solution is in our hands April 2021 at the ballot box… vote all who voted in favor out of office . We human beings tend to have short memories. REMEMBER and take action… !!!!!

  14. The fact that this commission is even considering this item is disgusting. But then again, why would we think any better about them and their representation? All 5 must go!! And NO, Vince is not the answer either!! They are our neighbors. But everyone has a price. And theirs has clearly been met. Please, commissioners, stop sending holiday postcards with pictures of your family and kids. Nobody is questioning your ability to reproduce….its your ability to keep our city a nice place to live, the way it was designed, that is in question!!!!

  15. If you THINK Coral Gables is a suburb, then you never lived in a real suburb. Miami is. Right. There.

  16. WWGEMD, what would George E. Merrick do ?
    More cement isn’t the answer. Has anyone driven by the development on Ponce de Leon The Plaza Coral Gables ? Not so City Beautiful like.

  17. I am against the Zoning Code re-write.
    GREED will quickly destroy the concept of the City Beautiful! We moved here 2 years ago to this unique and special place. We must not allow GREED to take over and ruin it. During the past 20 years we have lived on and off in a world-class small European city. It has been and will continue to be a wonderful and nourishing experience because because GREED has not and will not be allowed to take it over!

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