Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove

Developer, Grove Isle residents willing to use mediation in dispute

 

jflechas@MiamiHerald.com

Principals in the disagreement between some Grove Isle residents and the developer who wants to build a fourth tower on the lush island say they are willing to go through nonbinding mediation to reach a compromise.

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has asked for a nonbinding mediation to resolve the issue, which has not reached litigation. Angel Cortiñas, a former appellate judge, would preside over the process.

Citing a January 2013 opinion given by a Miami deputy city attorney, the developer claims the right to build an 18-story, 65-condominium tower at the north end of the island under old zoning codes. The plans include a private club with tennis and spa facilities. The Grove Isle condo association maintains the developer can only build under newer, stricter zoning codes known as Miami 21 that restrict building heights to five stories.

Eduardo Avila, a longtime Miami developer, presented plans for the tower and an alternate, Miami 21-compliant version with several shorter buildings and few amenities.

Reactions have been mixed on the island, with residents in the northernmost tower whose view will be blocked strongly opposing the tower and others favoring the development.

On Thursday, Sarnoff pointed to the recent compromise between a developer and preservationists working at the historic Tequesta site downtown as an example of why the process could yield results on Grove Isle.

“A good part of this process is that everyone’s in the room and they’re talking to each other and not at each other,” he said.

Avila said Friday he looks forward to reaching a compromise.

“We are in favor of it, and we have already let [the city] know that,” he said.

Tim Moore, secretary for the condo association’s board of directors, said they want to join Avila at the table to see if there’s a solution that will work for both parties.

“Our view is the purpose of the mediation is for the Grove Isle Association and the developer to exchange views on what are our respective rights and what we can expect from each other,” he said.

Follow @joeflech on Twitter.

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