The Belle Isle Residents Association asked 10 other neighborhood associations to join them in urging Miami Beach to use Housing Authority land north of 17th Street at West Avenue for green space, rather than sell most of it to a hotel developer.
The Housing Authority has an agreement to sell about 25,000 square feet of land east of West Avenue between 17th Street and the Collins Canal to the Finvarb Group, which owns and operates several Marriott properties. Finvarb plans to build a 116-room Residence Inn on the property, and the proposal is scheduled to be heard by the Miami Beach Planning Board on April 30.
The Belle Isle Association letter, signed by BIRA president Scott Diffenderfer, argues the property is too small the accommodate the development and is too awkwardly places amid intersections on Alton Road, 17th Street, Dade Boulevard and West Avenue and therefore will result in added traffic congestion.
“Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods need to write to the Planning Board Members and City Commissioners,” Diffenderfer wrote. “Please circulate the attached “Green Spaces-Not Traffic” document to the residents you represent and ask those who wish to support this position to do so now before the April 30 Planning Board meeting.”
The purchase of the Housing Authority land is contingent on city approval of the hotel.
On March 13, the Miami Beach City Commission relaxed parking requirements for small hotels in the city’s historic district, and added the 17th Street parking to the the more generous rules. That decision was opposed by the Belle Isle Residents Association and the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association.
So far, four neighborhood associations have signed on to the Belle Isle association initiative, according to Belle Isle board member Herb Frank: the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association, the Venetian Island Homeowner Association, Sunset Island homeowners and the Sunset Island 3 and 4 homeowners group.
Interestingly, one member of the Planning Board, real estate analyst Charles Urstadt, is a Belle Isle association board member, and a second, architecture professor Jean-Francois LeJeune, was on the board until he resigned in March. A third, Frank Kruszewski, is the former manager of the Costa Brava condominium on Belle Isle and lives in Sunset Harbour. (Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said that Kruszewski is currently the manager at Costa Brava; he no longer is).