How did the renovated building at the former Barry’s Cleaners location eliminate parking without a variance or City Council approval? I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s basically what councilman Walter Fajet brought up at a recent workshop meeting.
As you know, we have a parking problem in Miami Springs, despite the continued reassurances from councilman Bob Best that we don’t. (More on that in a moment.) We know the new three story apartment complex on Canal Street has a shortage of on premise parking that will eat up street parking. We know that businesses need more parking to survive and thrive.
So, while we’re all thrilled to see the renovation of the former Barry’s Cleaners property, which I’ll add is looking great, why was the parking area that was used for Barry’s customers closed off and turned into retail space without a variance or discussion of any kind?
Here’s what I’m talking about. In the picture below, you’ll see the “driveway area” on the left where people would drive up to enter Barry’s Cleaners. It was very convenient as you could get in and out quickly and didn’t have to worry about your clothes or yourself getting wet during one of our summer downpours. On the right hand side you’ll see a couple more cars parked under the overhead roof.
Now, we don’t blame the developer for attempting to maximize their footprint. Every developer wants to do that. However, we question how the City Administration allowed this to happen without any variance? As it is, there’s no street parking for this new retail strip. And as you can see below, the available parking is very limited.
Now, as an older existing building, there are certain things that are grandfathered in. It does not need to meet current parking guidelines. However, once the plans were created to eliminate the existing covered parking, somebody should have raised their hands in defense of the city taxpayers to say, “Wait a second. We need an extra look at this before you take away parking from this property.”
In case you haven’t seen or noticed it, the covered parking spaces we showed at the top of the article are all gone. The area has been encased for new retail spaces.
Where does the City Administration expect customers to park at these new businesses? Behind the private homes along the alleyway?
Bob Best Parking Plan
Councilman Bob Best has said this multiple times, so we’ll keep sharing it with you. He has said on multiple occasions that when the River Cities Festival is here that we don’t have a parking problem accommodating the hundreds of visitors.
Can someone share the following picture with Bob? Please. Does he not realize that people have always parked along the beautiful green space of Curtiss Parkway for the Festival for decades. I sincerely hope this is not the Bob Best Parking Plan.
Again, we’re excited to see the renovations at the former Barry’s Cleaners location. It’s looking great. However, our City Administration continues to give away downtown parking like its candy. As it is, we don’t have enough parking. Wait till we see the new apartments open up and we’re going to have a major calamity on our hands.
To be clear, the issue with the Barry’s Cleaners building never came up to be decided by the City Council. This was approved by the City Administration. The question is, who on Council will hold the City Administration accountable for letting this happen?
Read more about the parking issues downtown that we have covered in the past: