On Oct. 22, the Coral Gables Commission faces a vote that will significantly alter zoning and land use regarding new commercial development along the U.S. 1 corridor.
Under scrutiny is the Paseo de la Riviera development on the current site of the Holiday Inn on U.S. 1. Under the veil of “new urbanism,” today’s zoning soup du jour, a vote in favor of the proposed development (without amendment) will change the fabric of a neighborhood that founding father George Merrick envisioned.
I support development in our city. As a commissioner, I applied the principle that it was incumbent upon the developer to show just cause when it requested the liberalization of the zoning code.
It should never be on the shoulders of the residents to defend the city’s rules and regulations against a development that seeks such an unprecedented increase in zoning intensity.
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Because of the negative affect this will have on the Riviera neighborhood, and potentially other neighborhoods in Coral Gables, I strongly urge the City Commission to vote against the Paseo de la Riviera development as proposed and also the zoning and land-use changes being requested.
Wayne ‘Chip’ Withers, former city commissioner, Coral Gables