Miami turns holes in ground into cash
By Meisha Perrin
Earlier this year, the Miami City Commission voted to give the city the power to secure and clean up abandoned or disarrayed properties.
The ordinance stated that excavated construction sites that pose a threat to residents must be filled with soil, gravel or comparable material, to grade level in order to make them safe for passersby — and the ordinance is working, Commissioner Frank Carollo said at last week's commission meeting.
Four sites have been filled since, according to Mr. Carollo, at 22nd Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets; Seventh Avenue and Southwest First Street; 1004-06 SW Third Ave; and at 45 SW Eighth Ave.
"I think it looks awesome. It's wonderful to see the ordinance actually working," Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones said.
And the beauty of it, according to the city attorney's office, is that the city hasn't had to pay to fill any of the holes.
The owners have all done it themselves, Mr. Carollo said, and in fact the city has received monies from property owners who had to in turn seek permits to complete the work.
"After we notified them," he said at the meeting, "and they knew that the city was going to come and do it and it was probably going to cost them five times as much, they decided to do it themselves."
The city has cited them and sent letters, according to the administration, and because of the ordinance, the sites have been filled at no cost to the city.
At another excavated site, on Southwest 14th Avenue and First Street, the owner has actually sought to renew the permit to begin their construction again, Mr. Carollo said — and the permit fee was about $85,000.
Construction has already begun at that site.
"I just wanted to give an update and show that we are making improvements," Mr. Carollo said. "The ordinances that we are passing are working. We are making a difference."
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