Two South Miami City residents, Antoinette Fischer and Yvonne Beckman, have complained repeatedly in Soapbox about recent decisions by the City Commission concerning subdivision of large, privately owned lots.
Fischer and Beckman fail to grasp the rule of law: the City Commission does not have discretion to deny a landowner’s development request if it complies with the city’s existing zoning and land development code.
Under Florida law, the Commission absolutely cannot deny landowners’ property rights solely because other citizens prefer that property the way it is. Attempts to deny private property rights in recent years, actions urged and supported by Fischer and Beckman, resulted in unsuccessful legal fights, loss of financing, and loss of insurance, all of which cost the city significant sums.
Looking to protect the neighborhoods through lawful decisions, the current commission and administration have worked to change the codes we inherited. We have enacted more stringent tree protections and closed a loophole in subdivision ordinance, both changes that better preserve the existing character of neighborhoods moving forward. To repeatedly denigrate elected officials and city administrators who upheld the law, protected the city’s finances, and improved the codes is misleading. To insist these actions reflected a conspiracy to short the residents is plain dishonest.
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Philip Stoddard, Mayor, City of South Miami
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