Orange barrels that daily fuel tempers during traffic tieups on Sunset Drive (SW 72nd Street) are scheduled to disappear by October. Reconstruction projects costing just over $1 million per mile are slated for an early fall completion to relieve drivers coping with single-lane traffic and momentary delays on both eastbound and westbound sides of the roadway, also named in 1996 to honor environmentalist Marjorie Stoneman Douglas.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has spent $5.5 million during the past three years widening medians, rebuilding sidewalks and, in some sections, creating extra room for bicyclists while patching crumbled curbs, medians and gutters.
Due for completion this fall are $3 million in Sunset Drive improvements extending west of SW 87th Avenue to SW 109th Place just west of the SW 107th Avenue intersection.
That first phase, begun in October 2011 and completed in 2012 also included new traffic separators and tree replanting from SW 69th Avenue west to SW 87th Avenue at a cost of $2.5 million.
Both projects have included rebuilding or replacing sidewalks, curbs and gutters, upgrading pedestrian ramps, new traffic signals and signage, milling, striping and repaving individual lanes.
Landscaping east of SW 87th Avenue included 330 solitaire palms and other tropicals, selected because trunk sizes will not grow larger than a maximum diameter permitted for safety reasons. The new plantings replaced 244 trees requiring removal because they did not meet standards established by FDOT for newly scheduled improvements.
“It will end by the end of October, depending on the weather or roadway conditions that may change,” said Caridad Mesa, FDOT spokesperson, adding, “There are no plans to add a new phase once the work is completed.”
Sunset Drive begins at Cartegena Plaza (also known as Cocoplum Circle) as a local Miami-Dade County road, extending 1.8 miles to S. Dixie Highway (US1) in South Miami where it becomes State Road 986 with maintenance under FDOT control west to SW 127th Avenue. Then it again becomes a Miami-Dade thoroughfare, west to SW 167th Avenue. Sunset Drive spans a total overall east-to-west distance of 12.6 miles, according to the FDOT. SUNSET,from the BU-2 District. Sale of the property by the university is contingent upon rezoning and other items. A special exception is sought to permit a package store.
As originally submitted for rezoning and land use change in 2012, development plans were outlined for 347,830 square feet of retail and office space with an adjoining a residential area of up to 1,008 units, including a clubhouse, swimming pools and similar amenities with connectivity to the shopping area.
Space for an 18,000-square-foot library and a 0.4-acre school proposed on an original site plan will remain as part of zoning for potential conveyance to Miami-Dade Schools according to a June 5 letter to Eric Silva, assistant director for the Department of Regulatory and Economic Research.
The project applied for approval as a Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) change in October 2012 to re-designate the north portion of the property from “Low- Medium Density Residential” to “Business and Office” to permit the rezoning request.
On its website, RAM describes the site as “located in a densely populated submarket of Miami, containing approximately 300,000 residents within a five-mile radius,” concluding, “The area is highly underserved for retail uses, and is primed for anchor/junior anchor space, restaurants, banks, and other service providers.”
The public hearing is scheduled to begin before Community Council 14 as a Zoning Board of Appeals at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, in Room 104 (Old Building) in the South Dade Government Center, 10710 SW 211 St. Documents on file can be examined by visiting <www.miamidade.gov/zoning/track/home.asp> with other detail available by tel. 305-375-2640.
Other rezonings on the agenda:
• An application by South Florida Real Estate Holdings LLC asks a district boundary change from EU-1 (Estates 1 Family 1 Acre Gross) to a BU-1A District (Business Limited) at the southwest corner of SW 200th Street and SW 127th Avenue.
• Sunny Holdings, LLC seeks a non-use variance to permit a single family residence with a reduced setback on a 50-by-93 foot parcel approximately 369 feet south of 18151 SW 142 Pl.