Cutler Bay

Liveablecutler activists fill Cutler Bay Town Hall, ask for park

More than 50 Cutler Bay residents — dressed in fluorescent yellow shirts with the words “Preserve The Vision, An Easy Decision” — came to the town’s March 16 council meeting and declared, “Protect Old Cutler Road from overdevelopment and make it a park!”

The main item

On behalf of the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition, former Tropical Audubon Society Executive Director Laura Reynolds spoke before Livablecutler green-space supporters and asked the council to purchase land on Old Cutler Road and make it a park. The land at 18551 Old Cutler Rd. was up for rezoning until town planners convinced owner Cutler Properties to pull its application, saying the change would be “incompatible with the character” of the neighborhood.

Reynolds proposed that, with the town’s help, acquiring the property could connect and expand wetlands and the Everglades Restoration Project with uplands, protecting wildlife and fighting sea-level rise.

“There are no pine rocklands (currently on the site),” Mayor Peggy Bell said from the dais. “I think it’s a little misleading to the public … to be clear on that. There are no pine rocklands. I’m a pine rockland supporter. I have checked many times with all of the agencies. We need to be clear. This is not preserving pine rocklands.”

Other business

▪ Middle school sidewalk: The town council authorized Town Manager Ralph Casals to issue a purchase order of $60,448 to R.J. Behar & Company for the Cutler Bay Middle School sidewalk connectivity project.

▪ Economic extension: The economic growth committee, which meets to promote, encourage, and assist in the development and advancement of business prosperity and economic well-being in the community, earned an extension from town council to continue. The committee requested the extension to complete its final recommendations to the town council on or before Dec. 14.

▪ Forestry grant: The town council authorized Casals to submit a grant application with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The town has been awarded $27,500 the last three years from the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program, to prune trees within the town. The town’s new application of $20,000 will upgrade landscaping at the town center building.

They said it

“We did hear some discussion about the desire that the council purchase the property,” Town Attorney Mitchell Bierman said on the dais. “Had some forewarning of this. To our knowledge, the property is not on the market for sale so obviously a voluntary purchase requires a willing seller. An involuntary purchase, which is within the power of a municipality through its power of eminent domain under the United States Constitution, is not an unlimited power. It requires a finding of necessity among other things and also creates an uncertain outcome in terms of cost.”

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. April 20

▪ Where: Town Hall, 10720 Caribbean Blvd.