River Cities

Another round in fight over density of development in Miami Springs

Development plans that could increase density in Miami Springs hit a roadblock at Monday’s council meeting.

“You have been put in this position to guard our borders, not add to our density,” said Donna Hernandez, a schoolteacher who was one of many residents to address council members at the meeting. “You need to stop it now.”

Hernandez was one of more than 100 residents who signed a petition sent to the city seeking “properly documented and publicly approved commercial development.”

The petition “against road abandonment and alley vacation” started after the Miami Herald reported last February that the city yanked from a council meeting agenda a proposal to increase building height limits up to eight stories.

You have been put in this position to guard our borders, not add to our density.

Donna Hernandez, addressing Miami Springs council

The alley in question is located between La Villa and Minola Drive, near a new construction site at 4909 NW 36th St. that was razed recently to make way for a 90,080-square-foot Wyndham hotel.

Giving up the alley is opposed by a group calling itself “msresidents.com” that opposes any measure that would “inconvenience a single Miami Springs resident and prevent direct public access to Northwest 36th Street.”

Aside from the alley, the group has also issued an “SOS” to protect Miami Springs from raising its building height limits.

Currently, the maximum building height in the central and neighborhood business districts is just three stories, or about 40 feet tall, states a Feb. 8 internal city memo obtained by the Miami Herald but since removed from the city’s website.

The areas marked for height limit increases include City Hall, parts of Westward Drive, the Circle, Canal Street and Royal Poinciana Boulevard, according to a detailed map attached to the memo.

The memo did not address building height limit increases along Northwest 36th Street, the commercial district that faces Miami International Airport on the city’s south side.

A workshop to address floor-area ratio is expected to take place in October, finance director William Alonso told the Herald Wednesday.

It will be up to council members during the meeting to decide whether to also discuss height limits.

“To have people speak about something they have been given a lot of false information, or some misinformation, I think we should give them all of the facts,” said Mayor Zavier Garcia.

“Then we can listen to the people.”