Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From The Coalition Against Causeway Chaos

Watson Island ACTION Update.

The future of the controversial Flagstone Island Gardens project on Watson Island could be decided in just 14 days. By May 1st Miami Commissioners must decide whether to once again allow this project to proceed in violation of the City Charter and state law—or finally say “enough is enough” and call a halt to 16 years of delays and costly efforts to keep this project on life support.

Here are the facts facing the Commissioners:

So far the loss in revenue to the City is conservatively calculated at $131 million including a $28 million subsidy to the private developer. In the past 7 years alone the City has granted the project 5 extensions. To date the financial community has not attracted the necessary level of financing despite two boom-and-bust cycles in Miami’s commercial real estate market.

Our citizens Coalition has fought for three years to secure public records withheld from the public by the City… has persistently pointed out violations of the City Charter …and continues to alert the Commissioners to shortcomings and dangers of past decisions in terms of traffic, public safety, and code violations.

In order to continue pursuing the public’s rights in court, citizens introduced –and passed by 84% of the vote last November—an amendment to the Miami’s Charter authorizing the right to challenge the City for violations of its Charter.

Last month Flagstone, the developer, filed suit against opponents of the project including our Coalition for Tortious Interference and Malicious Prosecution.

After 16 years of delay and the loss of millions in revenue it’s time Miami Commissioners started asking WHY?

WHY? After 16 years with so many changes in downtown Miami is there still the same need for retail space as there was in 2001.

WHY? When traffic is such a problem does the City of Miami staff ignore State Traffic Standards and laws. The Florida Department of Transportation has told the City that it can’t rely on earlier traffic studies because they don’t account for changes in the City since they were done in 2004.

WHY? On the most basic level is the City allowing below-market rent (400% lower) on public waterfront land leased a private developer in violation of the Charter.

WHY? Despite numerous misrepresentations by the legal and planning departments would Commissioners even take seriously a determination by the staff that increasing the size of the project’s retail space by nearly 70% is a “minor” modification not subject to review.


WRITE, CALL OR EMAIL YOUR COMMISSIONER. We don’t have a minute to lose in demanding that Miami’s Commissioners do their jobs.

Please contact your Commissioner and ask him take action before the May 1st deadline.

Here is the contact information for each Commissioner. To find out who your Commissioner is a map of Commission Districts can be found here.

DISTRICT I - Commissioner Wilfredo (Willy) Gort

E-mail: wgort@miamigov.com

Phone: 305-250-5430

Fax: 305-250-6456

DISTRICT 2 - Commissioner Ken Russell (Vice Chair of Commission)

E-mail: krussell@miamigov.com

Phone: 305-250-5333

FAX: 579-3334

TTY: 858-5329

DISTRICT 3 - Commissioner Frank Carollo

E-mail: fcarollooffice@miamigov.com

Phone: 250-5380

FAX: 250-5836

TTY: 305-858-5329

District 4 - Commissioner Francis Suarez

E-mail: fsuarez@miamigov.com

FAX: 305-856-5230

TTY: 305-858-5305

District 5 - Commissioner Keon Hardemon (Chair)

E-mail: KHardemon@miamigov.com

Phone: 305-250-5390

FAX: 305-250-5399

Sample Message for Commissioners:

Dear Commissioner ______

As the May 1st deadline approaches on the Flagstone Watson Island project I urge to ask “WHY?” Why should the City of Miami continue with this expensive, traffic-choking, long-delayed project?

Surely, there’s a much better use for our public waterfront land.

As Mayor Regalado said back in 2014: “What I’m concerned about is they keep changing, keep changing, keep changing the plans . This land is priceless and it’s time to come up with a real plan, not keep changing it.”

Enough is enough


Your Name

Please don’t delay. Telephone or email today. It’s time the Commission heard from the public.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an important issue. Unfortunately, local commissioner Ken Russell is a novice and easily led to the dark side by slick lobbyists. Russell already voted to up zone large areas of Watson Island. Will Russell have the courage to do the right thing?