Monday night’s City of Miami Springs Council Meeting was once again packed with residents interested in learning whether or not the City Council would approve or deny the new apartment / retail complex proposed to replace the Parkway Shops and old theater.
There was an initial conversation over the project along with a discussion with the architects before the meeting was opened up to the public.
Despite the overwhelming crowd, only a small portion of the crowd actually spoke up about the project. Some people were for the project. Others were against it. But even among many of the supporters, parking was a consistent concern.
Watch some of the public commentary below:
After several speakers were given the opportunity to speak, the council members began their discussion. It was clear councilwoman Maria Mitchell had the most questions and concerns over the project. It was also clear that she was not going along easily with the rest of the council on the matter.
She brought up the importance to hold this project to strict design criteria for meeting the point system that allowed the developer to build above the standard 1.0 FAR. (For the record, the new project has a gross FAR of 2.9.) She was not happy with giving the developers credit for alleyway improvements that ultimately and in all practicality is just an extension of the driveway entrance to the parking garage.
Councilwoman Mitchell wanted to review and scrutinize each point or extra credit the designers received in order to receive the allowance to build over the 1.0 FAR.
Without much questioning or discussion with her colleagues, Councilwoman Zapata interrupted Mitchell and made a motion to approve the plan without any new revisions. Bob Best seconded the motion. Without further discussion, the vote was approved as follows:
- Bob Best YES
- Maria Mitchell NO
- Billy Bain YES
- Mara Zapata YES
- Jaime Petralanda YES
At the end, despite all the resident and business concerns over parking, no further changes or amendments were requested from the developer to ameliorate the parking situation.
In other words, parking promises to get worse.
But don’t worry. It’s going to take about two years to build this project and another 6 months to get noticeable occupancy. By the time the parking situation starts to really deteriorate, no one will remember the parking study, the council members will have changed, no one will be held accountable, and our once easy to access downtown will be a memory.