A debate is brewing in Miami Shores over where a developer wants some businesses to be built.
The main concern is the quality of life and pollution at Biscayne Bay. However, project managers claim that their plan will actually be beneficial to the village.
The area in dispute is currently a vacant lot that has been bulldozed. It is surrounded by a fence at Biscayne Boulevard and 105th Street. It was once a motel, and is now zoned for multi-family or motel use.
Brad Smith, Stern Properties’ director for development, said that the project is divided into two phases.
The Aspen dental practice, a Chipotle, and a two-story building are the first phases closest to the canal. They make up approximately 70% of the project.
Carol Respondek, one of the neighbors who have criticized the plan’s 30% remaining portion, says that it is causing controversy.
Respondek stated that environmental concerns are my greatest concern.
Stern Properties also plans to build a gas station, and a 24-hour convenience shop near Biscayne Bay.
Respondek stated that we are deeply concerned about our bay. Our bay and canal have seen fish die off, with fewer manatees. We are also very concerned about the gas station.
Smith claims that the station will be built so that it doesn’t pose any environmental hazards.
He stated that we would grade the site at its highest elevation to direct water away from canals and that storm water management systems would be installed. We would also collect water from onsite and it would be prohibited to discharge water into the canal.”
Village Council approved the zone change last month. It is now up for a final vote.
None of the council members who voted for the plan agreed to an interview with NBC 6. However, they heard a lot of opinions and concerns from the public.
One resident who supported the plan said it would bring more business. Another said it would increase the tax base to support more jobs. One resident opposed to the plan expressed concern about gas tanks being compromised, while another expressed concerns about safety and crime.
The developer still needs to convince neighbors to support their plan.
Smith stated that it is more than a project to us. He said, “We want to involve the community. We are constantly trying to do this the whole time and find ways of incorporating their feedback.”
Although the council voted to proceed with a possible zone modification, the planning board staff recommended against the move, citing the same concerns that some residents.
Even if the zone change is approved, it still needs to be voted upon separately.