What will Downtown Palmetto Bay look like?

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What will Downtown Palmetto Bay look like?

What will Downtown Palmetto Bay look like?It’s about time; it’s about space…

Some of you may remember the theme song from a 1960s sitcom, It’s About Time, probably better than the show itself. It goes like this:

It’s about time, it’s about space…

It’s about people in the strangest place…

Grant Miller, Publisher

In a strange way, it makes me think about Palmetto Bay and the light years it has taking to launch a downtown. I mean really, isn’t it about time for the Palmetto Bay Council to start delivering on the promises for a downtown?

Well, that time may have arrived, with new Mayor Karyn Cunningham and council members who have made it a priority. But if you ask some residents, there still is a lot left to do to make the DUV compatible to the Village of Palmetto Bay. DUV is local-code lingo for Downtown Urban Village.

Promises made
Palmetto Bay leadership has promised to create a downtown with restaurants and retail services since 2004, under then Mayor Eugene Flinn. The FT&I Zoning code (Franjo Triangle and Island) failed for a number of reasons, including a bad economy.

Fast forward to 2012, when village government began a process to kickstart development with something called the “Downtown Redevelopment Task Force” (DRTF), under then-Mayor Shelly Stanczyk. However, no zoning code was written or voted on by the council during the DRTF era.

Jump forward once again to December 2015. The new DUV Downtown Urban Village was enacted by then Mayor Flinn and council. The restaurants and retail services they promised along with hundreds of rental apartments seemed to be on the horizon.

The first multi-story building approved in 2016 by the Flinn council aroused a good dose of resident opposition towards the planned downtown. Residents objected to the size and height of the buildings, number of units, lack of promised services, and the code’s developer orientation.

By 2017, changes in the council brought moratoriums on development with assurances of changes to the code to reduce heights and density — and to be “more village friendly.”

Not everyone is happy

Not everyone is happy, though — but few people ever are in Palmetto Bay (something in the water there) — as groups of residents voiced their dissatisfaction with the DUV and the actions of the council.

In fact, in a recent resident blog I read, they were suggesting that while they are not unilaterally opposed to development in the downtown area, they are opposed to losing “our identity as a residential village with the development of our downtown as an Urban Center.”

During the last village election, the DUV was the major issue. Promises about modifications to the code were made. Mayor Cunningham has spearheaded the process with drafting sessions and consensus votes that will complete the re-write of the code in the following months. That ultimately will end the moratorium and allow development to proceed.

A recent council vote to allow negotiations on a Town Center was approved. A company called I3 developers won the bid to build a hotel, a 55-and-older apartment building, a movie theater, retail space, a remodel of Village Hall, and a parking garage. Initially, the project topped out at eight stories at $72 million with a financial contribution from the village but the recent presentation brought it down to six stories.

The downtown is struggling forward but at what cost — and do the residents of Palmetto Bay want what the council is bringing?

The saga continues.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. I like Palmetto Bay the way it is, Downtown Miami and wynwood are really not that far away so if you want a downtown scene than go there. What makes Palmetto bay the great place that it is, probably the most tranquil urban area in all of Miami as close to the highway as it is, is the fact that there isn’t some large downtown scene attracting outsiders. Leave it the way it is, if you want to enjoy a downtown scene than have an Uber take you 20 minutes away to where the downtown scene has always been.

    • Looks like Community Newpapers is on the payroll of these bulldozer happy investors! Keep spinning for your client you un trustworthy misaligned pundits who are puppets of some twisted Councilmember and lobbyists!

  2. A downtown doesn’t have to mean a night scene. Small towns have downtowns with local restaurants and shops. This could be a nice family friendly market where locals have an opportunity for growth without having to travel so far away from home.

    • There are senior citizens sleeping in their cars in Palmetgo Bay and Cutler Bay. I think a 55+ apartment building is a sound idea. If many people are moving to Miami-Dade and housing supply isn’t keeping up, we’ll have more people sleeping rough, and sleeping rough will make for rough people.

  3. Seniors can live much better and cheaper in other places outside of the high density and high priced Southeast region. If they are living in their cars, it’s because they can’t afford the price of housing here. Why would they come here to one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.A.? I think it’s more likely that they had a place to live, and were priced out. This is a ruthless, robber barron economy.

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