A crowd of Cutler Bay residents showed their opposition to a proposed future land use amendment to the town’s growth management plan that would allow a high density mixed use development project on Old Cutler Road that would include residential, commercial and retail space.
The proposed development would be adjacent to the coastal wetlands restoration project at Old Cutler Road and Southwest 184th Street. Opponents said the land should be reserved for use as a public park.
“If and when that project is going to be on the agenda, there are three steps,” Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell said. “The first one will be everyone within 1,000 feet will be notified ... homeowners, businesses, whoever is within 1,000 feet of the property. There will be an ad in the paper of general circulation. The notice will also be posted on the property. That’s typical. That’s what happens. The agenda will be posted a week before on our website. The citizens will be aware of it.”
The meeting, which took place on Jan. 6 at the Cutler Ridge United Methodist Church, was organized by Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay.
“They have filed for a zoning change and plan change, but there is no site plan or anything else before us,” Bell said. “Right now, nothing is scheduled for them to come forward and talk about this.”
Council members also met for their annual workshop Wednesday at Town Hall, where they decided on grants to apply for and send for state approval. The town will learn if the grants are approved by direct appropriation on July 1, when the governor signs the state budget, but may learn of other successful grants throughout the year.
“Every year, we get together to review our state legislature priorities so we go in with a list of priorities that the council has agreed on,” Town Manager Ralph Casals said. “We have the priority projects we will push forward with the state. We have a good game plan approach to try to accomplish some of the priorities set with the mayor and town council. Through following those, the town council is making sure our lobbyists are working hard on our behalf.”
Last year, the town secured a $300,000 grant for a drainage project in front of Centennial High School.
This year, the town will file budget requests for the Cutler Bay Town Hall/EOC hardening project, the U.S. 1 corridor economic development plan, a town center district small business incubator, a Cutler Bay wetlands observation pavilion, a canoe/kayak launch and parking facilities, canal bank erosion protection, and storm water/pollutant elimination projects at Saga Bay and Point Royale.
At the workshop, the council also supported legislation to hamper texting while driving, and will send language to the Miami-Dade League of Cities.
Bell also said the council wants to talk to the state and county about permitting more golf cart use in Cutler Bay, because currently they aren’t allowed to be driven on county roads. Bell cited drivers being ticketed for using 87th Avenue to get to Black Point Marina.
“There is no other way to get to Black Point Marina,” Bell said. “That’s problematic. I vouched for us to address it to the state because most counties in the state let cities make their own rules about golf carts. Maybe it will be something where we take on the liability. That’s OK, too. We have about 400 people who drive golf carts. I heard a lot about it campaigning and I’d like to try to address it with the county again. If not, we will be going up to Tallahassee and see what we can get there.
The next town council meeting will be Jan. 21.
“I think we are 100 percent on the same page with the same issues,” Bell said. “I think that we will have some success there because I think there is some room for compromise and some commonality in between us and them. I have a lot of hope for it. The governor has his own priorities, but we will see what he says.”