Miami-Dade County

Zoning tiff over Walmart in Midtown Miami gets personal, emails show

The bitterness between Miami Planning Director Francisco Garcia and a slew of residents upset over his decision last week to essentially grant Walmart the right to build at Midtown Miami got personal.

Garcia received an email from Brandon Berretta, who wanted to know why Garcia approved the plan given that, in Berretta’s view, it violates the zoning code. Then Berretta asked: “Are they bribing you to do this?’’

The planning director responded that the plan complies with the city’s zoning ordinance, and that administrators had worked with the community for two years to reflect neighborhood concerns.

“I completely understand it if this response does not satisfy your preferences but request respectfully that you afford my colleagues and I a modicum of respect by refraining from unnecessary denunciations,” Garcia added. “I know we have earned it.”

Garcia, sensing Berretta’s was the first of many scolding emails he was likely to receive, also wrote that he had “taken the liberty of blind-copying the vast list of stakeholders who, like you, have shown interest this project.”