Google Ads help pay the expense of maintaining this site
Click Here for the Neighborhood Transformation Website
Fair Use Disclaimer
Neighborhood Transformation is a nonprofit,
noncommercial website that, at times, may contain copyrighted material
that have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. It makes such material available in its efforts to advance the
understanding of poverty and low income distressed neighborhoods in
hopes of helping to find solutions for those problems. It believes that
this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Persons wishing to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that
go beyond 'fair use' must first obtain permission from the copyright
Miami News Today Nov 8, 2001
The Miami River Commission: upper river meeting business' concerned
over residential projects
By Paola Iuspa
Some owners of businesses along the Miami River said they worry that plans to redevelop
the waterway corridor won't go far enough to protect industry from mixed-use and
Business leaders from the upper river, an industrial zone stretching from the 22nd
Avenue bridge to NW 42nd Avenue, are concerned about a master plan being drafted
for the Miami River area.
"Some people are more interested in development and (building) condos,"
said David Gregory, who said he owns a towboat company. "I would like to see
some kind of strong support for the working river, like marine-protection zoning."
A public meeting with the business owners was sponsored last week by the Miami River
Commission, a state-created group in charge of promoting the redevelopment of the
river areas and the planned dredging of the river.
The commission hired consultants to gather data and come up with a report on a master
plan, said Brett Bibeau, the commission's assistant managing director. He said the
report and master plan should be ready in six months and would have to be approved
by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
Those living and working in the river corridor are eager to see a change for the
better, said David Miller, the commission's managing director. "But they are
somewhat apprehensive that the marine industry and neighborhoods will be squished
out of there by new development."
The need for a master plan is tied to the state's Miami River Improvement Act 2000,
which calls for an urban in-fill planning initiative for the 5.5-mile-long river
and areas within one-half mile from the river's edge, Mr. Miller said.
By identifying vacant and blighted land for projects, he said, and proposing new
zoning, land-use and environmental regulations, the river commission, in a joint
effort with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, plans to transform the central
Mr. Bibeau said a tax increment financing district, or TIF, will be created to fund
improvements along the corridor once the urban in-fill plan, which includes the
master plan, is approved by the city and county, probably in mid-2002.
Although last week's meeting focused on the upper river - which includes Melrose,
Grapeland Heights and a portion of Allapattah, mostly low-income neighborhoods -
two other meetings were held in October for the middle and lower river.
The middle-river region, mostly residential, is defined as the area from the Fifth
Street bridge to the 22nd Avenue bridge while the lower area, with entertainment
and mixed-use properties, stretches from Biscayne Bay to the Fifth Street bridge.
Mr. Bibeau said more public hearings will be held likely next month and early
next year before a report on the master plan is drafted. They hope to have
work completed by mid-2002.
The commission has raised $155,000 to work on the urban in-fill plan. The state
chipped in $50,000, the county another $50,000, the Environmental Protection Agency
$20,000, the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust $25,000 and the commission $10,000, Mr.
Among changes suggested by the marine business community, he said, is to set uniform
zoning for the upper river. Mr. Miller said that it was important to update zoning
laws on county-governed land because those regulations differ from those for the
city. The City of Miami, he said, governs most of the land along the river.
While the city calls for marine-industrial use, the county permits industrial use,
leaving room for non-water-related uses in the upper river section, he said.
If there is no rezoning, Mr. Miller said, "anybody can build a cement factory
He said restricting zoning to marine-industrial use, on the other hand, could limit
or lower property values.
After Steve Lefton, an urban planner with Kimley-Horn & Associates, the consultant
firm hired by the Miami River Commission, proposed creating a buffer between industrial
and residential areas of the upper river, those who attended the meeting said they
did not want a wall between the two.
Fran Bohnsack, executive director of the Miami River Marine Group, said restricting
business owners to a limited space was not a good idea.
"There is a tremendous need for warehouses and potential for business consolidations,"
she said. "Companies in the shipping industry need to grow and for that they
need space to expand."
Others asked Mr. Lefton to include in the report a need for more police and fire
hydrants in the area. They also requested that North River Road, with many of its
adjacent lots being used as dumping grounds, be paved and patrolled.
The lack of public services and a high crime rate near the upper river is contributing
to higher insurance premiums, some said. They asked for an increase of public services
for the industrial, Melrose, Grapeland Heights and nearby Allapattah communities.
Bud Morton, who said he was with Ferrous Processing, cited dumping as an increasing
problem. He said it was happening on properties owned by the Florida East Coast
Railroad and wants regulations to prevent it.
Xavier Cortada, a resident, proposed developing what he called a marine-village
"Let's give it a village spin," Mr. Cortada said. "Residents will
be proud to live in or close to a marine village."