Doral neighbors wary of new housing complex

Doral held a local planning agency meeting and a council zoning meeting on Wednesday, May 20.

The main item

Heated debate centered around possible changes to the city’s zoning and land-use policies that would allow for construction of up to 195 residential units at the intersection of Northwest 112th Avenue and 82nd Street. Residents and neighbors were concerned that the new residential area, in addition to the proposed 114th Avenue Park that would be built next door, would increase traffic, cause an exodus of residents, and reduce property values.

“I’m not against growth. In fact, I’m for growth, but it has to be prudent growth,” said Doral resident Alex Rodriguez.

Two items on the agenda addressed the specific issue. One item called for a change to the city’s land use that would allow a move from low- to high-density residential development. The other called for a zoning from “Industrial Commercial” to “Multifamily Residential 3.” Other uses, including possible commercial interests on the first floor, were also discussed.

Doral’s planning and zoning staff submitted a report that recommended the council to approve the changes. According to the report, presented by Planning and Zoning Director Julian Perez, the change is consistent with the goals of the council’s comprehensive plan and with zoning polices in the area that surround the property. The lot in question is vacant.

Both changes were tentatively approved. Councilwoman Christi Fraga was the only member of the council to vote against the changes.

Other business

▪ Public registry of foreclosed properties: A proposed property registry ordinance would place foreclosure properties on a public registry. The city’s code compliance department expressed concern that neglected properties lower property values and cause a risk to public safety and health. Vice Mayor Sandra Ruiz asked code compliance to return with a proposal that would address the issue of neglected and foreclosed properties without the keeping of a registry. The council chose to defer the ordinance to the June zoning meeting, in part due to concerns that a public registry that might embarrass or shame property owners that go into foreclosure.

▪ Sistering with Barranquilla: The council agreed to begin the process of a Sister Cities Program with Barranquilla, Colombia. To assess the value of the potential relationship, Doral staff will talk with Barranquilla officials to establish the scope of exchanges relating to culture and trade.

▪ Extending hours for alcohol sale: Last November, Doral started a pilot program that allowed eligible businesses to extend hours when they are allowed to sell alcohol. According to a staff report, the program “was adopted in response to the holiday season, Miss Universe, golf tournaments, and other events attracting numerous visitors to the city.” Even while expressing concerns about noise complaints and bad behavior from certain establishments, the council approved the first reading of a motion that would extend the program from May to August of this year.

You said it

“Do we need to be as compacted as a beehive? You are here to represent the value of my property and the quality of life that we have. Let’s preserve that over external private interests. The developer wants to make money, cash out and leave. He doesn’t care about who is left behind.” — Pierre Chirst, Doral resident and community activist.