Earlier this month, the Miami Beach city commissioners held a public hearing on a new zoning ordinance that is being finalized.
The event was a fresh round of lawmaking intended to remove construction limits in the two-block neighborhood of Ocean Terrace to enable the wealthy investor Sandor Scher to build the high-capacity, high-rise residential and commercial complex he has been planning for some time.
What I observed at the meeting was a textbook case of the power of special interests in our politics.
I watched with a sense of confusion and betrayal as the mayor and commissioners endorsed the plans of Scher and literally ignored the sentiments of Miami Beach voters who spoke strongly and definitively against excessive urban development.
Only Commissioner Kristen Gonzalez voted not to promote the ordinance to second reading.
Scher is determined to implement his narrow vision of neighborhood revitalization even though Miami Beach residents don’t want it.
The commissioners can and should abandon the new ordinance on June 8 in support of their constituents, who have always welcomed progressive urban renewal within existing regulations.