To the Editor: I would like to comment on your recent article about Old Cutler Village (OCV), a development being proposed for Old Cutler Road and 184th Street.
Your article presented a one-sided look at a project that is opposed by many residents and several homeowner associations. I hope you will allow me the opportunity to present the opposing side.
Good urban planning starts with a charrette, followed by creating maps of future land use, land development regulations and zoning. This proposed development runs counter to each of our existing longterm plans for this roadway. These plans were developed with input from local residents and take into account issues such as traffic, storm water runoff, congruency to nearby developments, land elevation, etc. Randomly making changes to these plans is not in the best interest of our community.
Approval of this project means rejecting the basic tenant of the Old Cutler Road charrette, which was to rein in commercial development by confining it to the area between the two traffic circles.
To build this development, the landowner must get the zoning changed from residential to mixed use. There is no guarantee that once the property is rezoned that the owner will build what is depicted in the drawings being presented. Once rezoned, the value of the property rises and the owner can throw away the plans and sell the property at a profit.
Cutler Cay was once expected to be developed as a golf course with a helipad. Plans can change, but once this property is rezoned, we can never go back.
Additionally, if they get the zoning change approved, it opens the door to other landowners outside the current commercial zone to request rezoning and potential lawsuits should they be denied.
Our future land use map, which outlines development through 2020 specificity, provides that this piece of property allow for low density residential development or be used for conservation purposes only. Our Parks Master Plan declares that the town should attempt to obtain this property as a park.
The plans for OCV will require that the town allow the developers to access 184th Street using the 77th Ave. right-of-way. This same right-of-way is needed for pipes bringing water to the future Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Restoration project. If the town allows the developer to use this right of way, will it then be unavailable for the restoration project?
Soon traffic along Old Cutler and 184th Street will increase due to the expansion of Palmer Trinity School and its entrance being moved to 184th Street. Now add this new development into the mix and the congestion will only increase.
I commend the planners for stating the project will be green certified. But residents should be aware that a green-certified building can be up to four stories high, and that this project is being planned by the same people who created Downtown Dadeland, a project that has many critics.
Residents also should be aware that lobbyists for this project have donated to and/or worked as paid consultants for Mayor Bell’s 2014 election campaign and Sue Ellen Loyzelle’s 2011 campaign. We cannot allow outside developers and lobbyists to control the destiny of our community.
You can find out more about upcoming meetings or join the growing opposition to this project by visiting facebook.com/livablecutler. For information about the history of this property and to join an email list for updates on the fight against the spread of commercial development on historic Old Cutler Road visit livablecutler.blogspot.com.
Ed MacDougall, former mayor