While the Zika virus is the major news story now, the press passed over a greater long term threat to the well being of Wynwood's future. The Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID), a collection of property owners, voted several years ago to create a special taxing district.
The largest property owner, Moishe Mana, was among those who sought to fund additional neighborhood improvements. Mana, who is seeking his own zoning code, soon presented plans that included proposed density, height and scale significantly higher than what had been recently approved for the district.
The BID Board and most property owners who attended public meetings had grave concerns about the adverse impact of a 10 million square foot development that proposed up to 24 stories where no more than 12 was allowed, and significant density that would impact traffic and infrastructure. . As part of a concession, Mana was to pay $10 million into the Wynwood Public Benefits Fund (PBF) to ameliorate potential adverse impacts to the district.
The public process went before the City of Miami Commission for first reading in July. This week, only days before the final second hearing was scheduled, that process appears to have been trashed by Mana and outsiders who have no relationship with the BID, and have no rights to access the PBF.
Mana did not notify the BID that additional negotiations were being held with strangers, and this new proposal, which was crafted in secret, cut the BID out.
The City Commission must reject this attempt to divert funds from the BID, and must refuse to approve the change in development plans Mana is seeking. Secret deals made in the dark must never be tolerated.