In a surprise move, we learned today from city officials that Chris Heid, the City Planner for the City of Miami Springs, was terminated from employment this week.
As you may know, the current City Manager, William Alonso, is resigning at the end of the month. So it was somewhat surprising to see that the City Manager would fire the longtime City Planner so abruptly just days before the City Manager officially departs from his role at City Hall.
Chris Heid drew public scrutiny over his approval of the development at One Curtiss Parkway. As we have reported repeatedly, the downtown development has insufficient parking to support the resident and commercial parking. Furthermore, the development was given credit for public street parking, but the plans were approved without ever assessing a fee for the public parking.
Almost exactly one year ago, Miami Springs resident Jim Lewellyn was vociferous in the lack of accountability and called for the resignation of the City Manager and the City Planner.
In an infamous April 2022 meeting, Councilman Fajet asked the City Planner, Chris Heid, “Chris, what was the fee we charged the Theater Property Developer?”
The City Planner responded, “Well, we didn’t. And one of the reasons that we didn’t, unfortunately, is because we never had established a fee. We talked about a parking impact fee. But since there was no fee established, it was not applicable to them. And William is right. That one is done. The permits are issued. We can’t go back to them now and say, ‘Well, you owe us a million dollars.’ In hindsight we wish we would have established a fee and charged them something. But we didn’t. This is to close the barn doors.”
While no reason has been publicly released, we applaud the City Manager’s decision. This will allow the new incoming City Manager an opportunity to move the city forward in a new direction.
Of course, that means the City of Miami Springs will have to hire a new City Planner. The City of Miami Springs recently hired a new Finance Manager, a role previously filled by William Alonso. The City also hired an executive search firm to recruit quality candidates to fill the role of City Manager. The City Council will then hopefully select a City Manager from the pool of candidates that were vetted by the search firm.
Either way, there are lots of changes happening at Miami Springs City Hall. Ultimately, we hope these changes are for the betterment of our community.