Gables on Right Path with Smart Development

Mayor and Commission Lower Taxes, Enhance Entertainment and Keep Residential Streets Quiet

Ecoboost Mustang convertible is the perfect weekend cruiser

Grant MIller

Contrary to a recent piece in The Miami Herald which incorrectly positioned Coral Gables development as rampant, I believe the City is getting it right. Closely following the strict guidelines laid out by City Founder George Merrick nearly 100 years ago, the current commission has essentially focused on a two-step plan: encourage and attract top-tier commercial development in its downtown corridor; and strictly limit any development whatsoever in the vast residential neighborhoods which continue to be among South Florida’s most quaint.  This responsible approach has led to excellent dining and entertainment options for residents and visitors alike, while keeping taxes among the lowest in all of Miami-Dade County.  In fact, some estimates place Coral Gables as having the 7th lowest tax rate of all 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade County, while maintaining some of the fastest-emergency response times, top-ranked police and fire, impeccable trash pickup, and more.  Furthermore, they have increased focus on city beautification and public arts projects, including the wildly-popular Umbrella Sky project. Without smart development, none of this would be possible.

Furthermore, it seems odd for anti-development people to place “blame” at the feet of current City leadership, when many of the most controversial projects that have faced opposition were voted on and approved before the current administration.  Paseo de la Riviera was approved in 2015, The Plaza (formerly known as Mediterranean Village) in the same year, and Gables Station in 2016.  These were all voted upon by the previous Commission (including former Commissioner Jeanette Slesnick) and prior to the current administration of Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli (who was elected in April of 2017).

By all accounts the current Mayor and this commission seem to be in favor of sensible development, but who knows how they might have voted on these previous projects, or what nuanced direction they would have given?  We shouldn’t lay the blame of past votes on current elected officials, nor use cheap attacks to win political points.

The City appears in the hands of reasoned leadership, and no reporter (or politician) should paint with a broad brush to characterize all development as bad.  In order for the City Beautiful to remain as such, it must adapt to the times. Sometimes, the only way to stay the same, is to change.

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4 Comments on "Gables on Right Path with Smart Development"

  1. Kenneth J Mase | February 28, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Reply

    I agree! Develop the downtown area. More luxury Condos and that will attract more traffic for our business establishments. Not to mention the increased real estate tax revenues for the city with very little additional services (costs). Not like the plan to annex Little Gables with decreased tax revenues and high additional costs for the added areas services! Our Founders had it right! Also, there needs to be stricter controls on spending. When our assessments go up each year the millage should go DOWN by the same per centage. It seems the leaders emphasize keeping millage low i.e. no tax increase. They neglect to tell us that we really are paying more taxes each year because of the increased property assessments. The city always gets more money to spend, yet the homeowner on a fixed income has to make a choice on where to cut back on his or her private spending or the city will take their house if the taxes are not paid! What’s fair about that? Proud Coral Gables homeowner and resident since 1969!!

  2. Juan Antunez | March 1, 2019 at 10:08 am | Reply

    Thank you for your good work. As a Gables resident and regular reader, it’s much appreciated.

  3. Chris Zoller | March 5, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Reply

    Right on,Grant. George Merrick envisioned the business district with limited height and front, side, and rear setbacks. Zoning is in place for many good reasons. Let’s keep our City Beautiful.

  4. Our City Beautiful is looking more beautiful than ever. Agree with you. We have to keep up with the times. Does anyone remember how controversial Merrick Park was? Look at it now.

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