South Miami Avenue homeowners unite to voice concerns
By Catherine Lackner
Concerned that 3,000 new dwellings either under construction or on the drawing boards to the north and east will transform their quiet neighborhood, the South Miami Avenue Homeowners Association is determined to have a voice.
The newly formed group, representing homeowners along historic South Miami Avenue from Southeast 15th to 25th roads, implored Miami's Downtown Development Authority to use its influence to include them in plans for the area.
"There's a lot of excitement, but also a lot of unmet needs," association representative Colin Veater told authority board members at a meeting. "We'd like to be part of drawing up a plan for the area."
The group encourages cohesiveness between South Miami Avenue residents and their neighbors in Brickell Village and developments to the north.
"Part of it is getting neighbors to talk to neighbors," Mr. Veater said.
"There's a great opportunity being lost here," said Robert McCabe, former Miami-Dade Community College president and homeowners association member. "We have enough mix of shops and restaurants, but there's no plan nothing ties it together."
Among the group's goals are a no-truck zone and lower speed limits as well as tree plantings along South Miami Avenue.
Because of Brickell's rapid growth, "we're impacted more than anyone else," Mr. McCabe said.
But more importantly, group members said last week they want to meet with developers before projects get off the ground to make sure neighborhood concerns are being addressed.
There was, at one time, a plan for the entire Brickell area that included South Miami Avenue, said authority board member Loretta Cockrum. "That plan was put in the archives," she said.
"No one is anti-development the problem is that development is just happening ad hoc. The Brickell Village plan has just been lost," she said.
"Timing is everything and your group has come at the right time," Miami City Commissioner and authority Chairman Willy Gort told Mr. Veator and Mr. McCabe. "We just sent a request to the city manager that if a development of regional impact proposal comes to him concerning your area, your group should have the right to come to review it.
"You've got a beautiful neighborhood," he told them, "and we're going to protect it."