On Tuesday November 5, 2013 Miami voters will decide whether to redevelop the 'Grove Bay' in Coconut Grove which includes Scotty's Landing and the Grove Key Marina site next to the Coconut Grove Convention Center. The City of Miami needs voter approval to demolish the existing structures to make way for a new 17-acre park. The Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County (LP Miami) passed a resolution (seen below) urging a 'NO' on the project. The Secretary for LP Miami said yesterday, "Libertarians in Miami-Dade reject the flawed proposal for Grove Bay Ballot Measure #401. Vote No in the City of Miami Elections."
In their opposition to the proposal LP Miami is joined many angry Coconut Grove residents as well as architect Charles Corda and Mango Strut co-founder Glenn Terry who have formed a political action committee to fight the proposal, calling it a "give away" and a "scam". There are three lawsuits against the plan to redevelop the historic site. The only redeeming value to the redevelopment by just about everyone is that under the proposal the historic Pan Am hangars would be restored which have fallen into disrepair.
What voters need to realize is they are voting on one facet of an overall plan to develop more restaurants and shops to what is there now. It would include a 39 foot high parking garage, 40,000 square feet of retail space and three new restaurants including a Shula's Steakhouse. The proposal would demolish the existing Scotty's Landing restaurant as well as other existing structures.
The ballot question reads as follows:
"Shall the City be authorized to lease approximately 7 acres of waterfront and submerged lands in Coconut Grove to Grove Bay Investment Group, LLC, providing for 1) a minimum of $1.4 million in guaranteed annual rent and 2) approximately $17.9 million of privately funded improvements to redevelop an existing marina and public baywalk, construct restaurants and, partially fund a public parking garage for a 50 year term with two 15 year renewal options? "
Voters will choose Nov. 5 whether to approve the 'Grove Bay' plan to redevelop the ancient (by South Florida standards) Scotty's Landing and Grove Key Marina site adjacent to the Coconut Grove Convention Center, which the city of Miami is demolishing to make way for (ducklings) a new 17-acre park. Both are elements in the grander, and long planned, Coconut Grove Waterfront Master Plan. Together the new park and Grove Bay project would remake a sizable chunk the Coconut Grove's waterfront.
Terra Group, the father-son developer duo behind the luxe, Bjarke Ingels-designed Grove at Grand Bay, directly across Bayshore Drive from the site, are among the plan's foremost proponents, considering the park "a natural extension" to Ingels' voluptuous condo towers.
As voting day nears, a band of merry Grovesters who oppose the Grove Bay plan have been raising hell in an increasingly organized fashion, according to the Herald. Opponents led by architect Charles Corda and Mango Strut co-founder Glenn Terry have formed a a political action committee to fight the measure, calling it a "give away," a "scam" and a "120,000 square foot shopping mall," (even though the retail component calls for only about 60,000 square feet).
Additionally, the Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica designs to be developed by Grove Bay Investment Group, the only firm to submit a proposal to redevelop the site, calls for the restoration of the two Pan Am seaplane hangars, with one to be used for boat-focused retail and the other for boat storage. Existing parking lots will be dug up and planted with native flora, and parking will be limited to a four-story structure. A pedestrian walkway will bisect the site, with Scotty's Landing and the Chart House to be replaced by three new restaurants (including a new Scotty's). A monument in the center of what the plan has christened as Banyan Tree Park will stand as a reminder of the Grove's aviation history.
Further, the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade celebrated affiliate's first year at John Martin's in the Gables Tuesday, October 8, 2013.
The LPMD was proud to invite the public to its new venue at John Martin's. Featured speaker Al Crespo took questions from the field of audience on wide ranging issues concerning Miami, such as the parks and their toxicity, the Ethics Trust, and excessive gifts to public officials in Miami.
Guest Libertarian Alex Dominguez, candidate for Miami City Commission District 3 came to our networker as well to celebrate the growing success of the Libertarians locally and state wide.
Newcomers like West Miami Council Woman Mimi Planas and existing members were enthusiastic for other local candidates including Marcos Miralles for Hialeah City Council.
This year celebrates a growing party with speakers like the founder of the LPF, John Wayne Smith, Broward Chair Donald Sheldon, constitutional scholar Thomas Regnier, Aviation business leader Joseph Natoli, political strategist Roger Stone, LPF EC representative Char-Lez Braden, Miami Beach Mayoral Candidate Steve Berke, blogger of Votersopinion Stephanie Kienzle, activist Hector Roos, educational advocate Thais Alvarez, Hialeah City Council Candidate Marcos Miralles, LPF Vice-Chair Alexander Snitker, and filmmaker and blogger Al Crespo.
Furthermore, the LPMDEC passed five resolutions, privatisation of services in Bal Harbour Village, Guardianship Reform, Endorsement of Steve Berke for Miami Beach Mayor, halting Common Core State Standards in Florida, and urging a no vote to Grove Bay #401 ballot measure in the City of Miami elections.
At the State Convention in Naples, "Liberty Rising" the LPMD was represented and recommended Financial Literacy and an updated education plank to encourage free choice by parents and students in School Advisory Councils.
The next events will be upstairs at John Martin's November 12 and December 10. The LPMD annual convention will be held in January and the LPMD is accepting corporate sponsorships for this event.
Here is the complete resolution passed by the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County:
WHEREAS, the Grove Bay Project would result in a public giveaway of tax revenue for development and construction by private profit companies on seven acres of prime public waterfront and submerged
lands and would only result in $1.4 million annual minimum rent payment, which is significantly below market prices for similar private properties, and
WHEREAS, the environmental studies for water, sewage and traffic have not yet been presented to the public, so that the effect of the project remains unknown at this time, and
WHEREAS, there is a current moratorium on new water and sewage hookups in Coconut Grove, and that this project would violate that moratorium, and
WHEREAS, the voters of Miami-Dade soundly rejected the former Mayor of Miami-Dade County based on his deplorable deal with MLB Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who concealed corporate profits to receive public money to build the stadium, and
WHEREAS, the city restricted access to the meeting where plans were presented and did not give proper notice of the meeting as was indicated in a lawsuit against the City by Stephen Kneapler, and
WHEREAS, the project includes plans to build a parking garage and to reduce the number of free parking spaces for City Hall, which would result in obstacles to citizen's involvement with City business, therefore The Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County, after a vote of its Executive Committee:
RESOLVES, that the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County opposes the terms and conditions of the Grove Bay Project as it currently exists and urges the voters and the City of Miami to oppose the Project until and unless certain specific and other reasonable concerns are resolved in the best interests or the residents and taxpayers of the City and of the best interests of the preservation of the lands and waters of and concommitent to the project, and
RESOLVES, that the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County urges the project not be approved unless and until all the various environmental studies have been received and evaluated, and that
the moratorium on new water and sewer hook-ups be be addressed and resolved, and further
RESOLVES, that the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County urges that any contractor seeking to develop Coconut Grove Waterfront, do so in accordance with the Miami 21 Plan and the Waterfront Master Codes, and that all development costs be borne by the developer utilizing solely private funds, 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, and further
RESOLVES, that the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County urges that any such development on the proposed Grove Bay site maintain the architectural vernacular akin to other cultural icons in Coconut Grove.
RESOLVES, that the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County urges that the parking garage provide for free parking to conduct city business.