As we reported last month, the Miami Springs City Council voted in a 3-2 vote to basically drop the enforcement of the City’s paint color enforcement against the powerful United Teacher’s of Dade (UTD) Union who had painted a mural without asking the City for permission.  The UTD took the position, don’t ask for permission, just ask for forgiveness after the fact.

Mural at UTD Headquarters on 36th Street violates Miami Springs Code
Mural at UTD Headquarters on 36th Street violates Miami Springs Code

Now, no one we’ve spoken to is against the mural or message it depicts.  We said from the beginning, “It’s beautiful, but illegal.”  But the UTD put the City of Miami Springs in a very bad position.  They never got a permit before they painted the mural.  They just went ahead and did it.

Well, since the City Council allowed the mural, it’s opened up a can of worms.  Thanks to the UTD, the City now has pass legislation to decide the following:

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  • Does Miami Springs allow murals?  Yes or no.
  • If Yes.  Does it allow murals throughout all business districts or just NW 36th Street.
  • Does it allow murals on just one wall, all walls, etc?
  • Does it only allow murals that face east, west, north, south?
  • Does it only allow murals that don’t face the residential area?
  • Does it allow wall to wall murals or limit the size of the murals?
  • Is the size a percentage or a physical size limitation?

No Control Over Content

The City of Miami Springs is very limited over content control.  The City of Miami Springs can enforce murals that have a commercial message.  (ie Free Delivery, Financing Available, Sale, etc.)  It can also use State Statutes to enforce obscenity.

However, it cannot enforce against political content.  If someone wants to paint a wall in support of Ukraine.  That’s allowed.  A wall in support of Russia, that’s allowed.  A message of Cuba Libre.  No problem.  A mural with a portrait of Che, the City can’t stop it.  A mural of Biden and Obama.  Totally permissible.  A mural of Trump with a message: “Make  America Great” can’t be stopped.

An ugly mural with ugly colors that looks like puke must be allowed.  The City is powerless in terms of enforcing content with the exception of obscenity and commercial messaging.

So, the only thing the City of Miami Springs can do is decide whether or not to allow murals.  And if so, where those murals can appear.  And how big the murals can be.

There are many examples of beautiful murals throughout Miami.  Now that the UTD has opened the Pandora’s Box, I have a hard time siding against allowing neighboring buildings the same right.  If the UTD is allowed to have a wall to wall mural, then the rest of the NW 36th Street Business District should be allowed to do the same.  Even if I’m not crazy about what some of the businesses may put up, I think it’s fair.  Do you think that’s fair for the other property owners along NW 36th Street?

What about the rest of Miami Springs?  Should we allow murals within our neighborhood business districts?  Should we allow murals in our Central Business District?  And what about the LeJeune Road / South River Drive District?

Miami Springs Mayor Maria Mitchell hinted that it would only be fair if every district shared in the ability to have murals.  What do you think?

We believe most murals will be an attempt at good taste.  However, we also know that some murals may be done by “Tio Pepe” or “Cousin Johnny” and they may not be the professional works from true artists.

Let’s Promote Miami Springs

For anyone who’s driven by the Gables lately, you might have noticed some murals popping up in the City Beautiful.  Most notably, they seem to be sponsored (albeit we have not confirmed this) by the City of Coral Gables.  Below is an example.

Smile!  You're in Coral Galbes!
Mural that says: Smile! You’re in Coral Gables!

The mural above says, “Smile!  You’re in Coral Gables!”  And there are several similar murals through the City’s business district.

Can we have an incentive program where businesses add pre-approved murals with pre approved messaging like:

  • Beautiful Miami Springs
  • Welcome to Miami Springs
  • Enjoy Country Club Living in Miami Springs
  • Play Golf in Miami Springs
  • Live, Work, & Play in Miami Springs

These are just some ideas.  I’m sure there are more positive messages promoting Miami Springs that the community can share.

Your feedback matters!

First, let us know.  Yes or no.  Should Miami Springs allow murals?

Should Miami Springs limit murals to NW 36th Street or throughout all business districts?

Should the City of Miami Springs limit the sizes of murals?

Of course, you can also share more feedback in the comments section below or via social media.

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