Letters to the Editor

North Beach can have sensible development

Miami Beach’s North Beach neighborhood is in crisis. At the heart of the crisis is sea-level rise, MIMO apartments and misguided preservationists who are trying to tie the city’s hands.

The nostalgic areas in North Beach have already been “locally designated” and protected for preservation.

Activists associated with the Miami Design Preservation League are lobbying to preserve several multifamily properties, from 73rd to 87th streets and Harding Avenue to Crespi Boulevard, under the guise of revitalization.

These structures, erected in the late 1950s to 1960s, were predominantly built for vacation rentals. The small buildings were poorly built, with apartments that do not accommodate modern families.

Some argue that low-rent structures are needed for those who work in Miami Beach. This argument falls flat when confronted with the economic realities.

Major infrastructure investments are needed to make properties viable and insurable to protect the city’s tax base and quality of life from sea-level rise. These costs will be passed on to renters, essentially pricing out some tenants unless we create additional supply.

Because many of the arguments the activists employ fail in the face of facts, they have relied on emotion and a demonization of property owners to shape public opinion.

All agree that the development seen in Sunny Isles Beach and in the Brickell area is not the direction for North Beach. However, smart, sensible development can retain the urban/village atmosphere, while allowing for infrastructure improvements, economic growth and needed increase in housing.

If unimpeded preservation is allowed, and local government sides with the preservationists, properties will remain below FEMA minimum requirements, and true revitalization literally will be washed away.

Matis Cohen,

president, North Beach

Property Owners Association