Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27: Bad Signs In Miami

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Violating local, state and federal zoning, traffic and visibility standards, not to mention messing up your architecture? Hey, if you're the City of Miami and you're strapped for cash, no problem.

Last week, the city commission gave unanimous preliminary approval to a plan by developer Mark Siffin to build two electronic billboards, with one potentially of 250 feet and one of 350 feet, atop a 100-foot parking garage that would be constructed next to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. According to the provisions of the deal, Siffin would chip in a lot of money for an annual permit and millions toward the construction of Museum Park in the former Bicentennial Park.

Is it all worth putting what the defunct South Florida magazine used to call "Architorture" next to the classy Arsht Center? Is it worth putting drivers along 395/MacArthur Causeway distracted by those billboards at risk? Is it worth keeping nearby residents up at night with the lights?

Beth Dunlop, who covers architecture for The Miami Herald, had an apt take:


The commission will take its "final" vote this Thursday. Expect a lot more opposition at Dinner Key than there was last week.

I put "final" in quotes because it really won't be.

-Not with nearby residents fighting this every step of the way as Miami tries to get approval it doesn't yet have from Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida and the federal government - each of whom have regulations that could prevent the sort of project Siffin's proposing.

-Not with Miami residents likely to take this project to court - which will ultimately cost the city dearly needed dollars.

-And not with questions about how the city, particularly Mayor Tomas Regalado, put this deal together and seemed to skate it past the usual review process. Regalado, who's already ticked off a lot of traditionalists with his recommendation to hold back $100,000 from the Gusman/Olympia Theater in Downtown, is making a lot more people angry with this deal.

The city commission meeting is this Thursday at 9 a.m., and this issue will come up very quickly. Have a good breakfast and head over to Dinner Key - and persuade the commission to reverse itself on what will wind up being a very costly deal.

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