On top of voting for a new Village Council, voters in the old folkloric town of Coconut Grove will get a voice in deciding the fate of some 7 acres of waterfront property.
But the push to rent out the land that now harbors the famous Scotty's Landing restaurant to a private corporation has raised many eyebrows and some Grove residents have started a political action committee to fight the privatization push.
The question put on the ballot for next week' selection will ask voters their approval for a proposed lease of 7 acres of waterfront and submerged lands to a Grove Bay Investment, LLC for a mere $1.4 million a year. The lease would be for 50 years and would be renewable every 15.
For Miami Libertarians, the problem is not so much the replacement of Scotty's Landing, but rather the obvious public land giveaway that would represent the lease.
Pushed by Abigail DuBéarn, a member of the Miami-Dade Libertarian Party Executive Committee and a Coconut Grove resident, a resolution was passed last month by the party with a unanimous vote. The resolution calls for a new plan in which "all development costs be borne by the developer... and that the lease amount payable to the City of Miami be set at an amount no less than rent paid in private ownership for the comparably valued waterfront real estate".
Indeed, at $1.4 million annual rent for seven acres, the City of Miami is basically leasing prime waterfront land for a below-market price. According to local groups, $4.59 per square foot is not a fair price and the square foot at such location would range between $30 and $40 on the market.
Proponents of the resolution claim that GBI offered the best deal to Miami during the bidding process. But critics are quick to point out that the whole process was flawed, GBI being the only company offering anything.
A "No" victory on this referendum would but the seven acres back into debate and another bidding process would start.
"The ballot measure is flawed," says DuBearn. "Not only does it constrain boaters, it is a giveaway with a 50 year lease."
The Miami-Dade Libertarian Examiner asks all Miami voters to touch #401 and reject the lease of seven acres of prime waterfront property for a below-market price. The Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade phrased it correctly when considering it a subsidy to Grove Bay Investments, LLC.