Tag Archives: Watson Island

Venetian Way alliance to meet Tuesday; huge Watson Island project tops neighborhood concerns

The Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance, a consortium of island organizations that ranges from Biscayne Island on the west to Belle Isle on the east, holds its annual meeting Tuesday.

Topic No. 1 is the fight against Flagstone, the huge project proposed to be built on Watson Island that would include a megayacht marina, a hotels, shops and restaurants.

The Belle Isle Residents Association in February voted to contribute $1,000 to the legal fight against the proposed development.

An organization called the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos, led by Roger Craver, Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wayne are leading that effort. They have sued the city of Miami, seeking to stop the project.

Flagstone is one of several important issues that will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at 1000 Venetian Way on Biscayne Island. Other topics:

  — Plans for the expected development of the former Miami Herald property, now owned by casino developers Genting.

— Plans for the west Venetian bridge repairs and renovation, which is expected to begin around June 1, as well as information on the east bridge lockdown and the impact of the change to SunPass.

— Electing leaders for 2015.

 

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Belle Isle donates $1K to Watson Island development fight

The Belle Isle Residents Association has given $1,000 from its legal fund to the organization suing to block a controversial megayacht marina and resort on public land on Watson Island.

The donation was announced at Wednesday’s annual meeting by BIRA President Scott Diffenderfer after a presentation from Roger Craver, one of the leaders of Coalition Against Causeway Chaos.

“We’ve been collecting dues over the last few years to protect our interests,” Diffenderfer said. “The Belle Isle Residents Association believes this is so important we have a $1,000 check for you.”

Craver told the more than 100 residents at the meeting that the proposed development threatens to overwhelm traffic on the already overburdened MacArthur Causeway, impacting the Venetian Causeway as well.

Craver and Stephen Herbits and Sharon Kirby Wynne, who filed the lawsuit, live on the Venetian Causeway. They contend the city renegotiated the 13-year-old deal with developer Flagstone Properties — which has yet to build anything — on terms that violate the city charter and some key conditions in the ballot language voters approved in 2001.

The developer, Flagstone Properties, plans to build a marina, a hotel, shops, restaurants and public spaces, in phases.

“The solution to this problem is active citizens raising holy hell,” said Craver, who referred to the project as the “Watson Island Strangler.”

“We are faced with amazing and terrific traffic gridlock,” Craver said, warning that property values will go down “when people can’t get out of their homes.”

 

Belle Isle residents meeting to focus on upcoming projects — from Watson Island to West Avenue

If you feel like that the construction projects around our island paradise never end, that’s because….they never end.

The Belle Isle Residents Association meets on Tuesday. The agenda is packed with presentations that affect Belle Isle, Sunset Harbour and the other Venetian Islands.  A sampling:

— A report from the city of Miami Beach on the construction timeline and design for the West Avenue bridge, which will extend West Avenue over the Collins Canal to connect Sunset Harbour with the area south of 17th Street.

— An overview of the upcoming reconstruction of West Avenue south to Fifth Street, including the plan to raise the roadway as much as three feet to combat flooding.

–An update on the closure and rebuilding of the westernmost span of the Venetian Causeway, which will disrupt traffic throughout the Venetian Islands

— A presentation from the organization that is fighting the proposed mega-marina project on Watson Island, which is expected to affect traffic on the MacArthur, Tuttle and Venetian causeways.

And that’s just a start. The meeting begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., and important information at 7 p.m. It happens in the card room at Belle Plaza, 20 Island Avenue.

 

Will Watson Island development turn Biscayne Bay into an aquatic expressway?

If you live on Belle Isle or the other Venetian Way islands, boat traffic on Biscayne Bay looks cool —  but creates a heck of a lot of noise and traffic backups on the causeway.

And there will be more of it if the proposed shops, luxury hotels and mega yacht marina known as Flagstone is built at Watson Island.

The Urban Environment League of Greater Miami is holding a forum, Waterfront Gridlock, to tackle the issue Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Miami, at the Miami Center for Architecture and Design, 100 NE First Ave.

Panelists include Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco; lobbyist Brian May, representing developer Flagstone Island Gardens; Stephen E. Herbits of the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos; and Maurice Ferre, former Miami mayor, Miami-Dade commissioner and longtime Watson Island development advocate.

The forum will be moderated by Paul Schwiep, chair of the Miami-Dade Citizens Independent Transportation Trust and a UEL board member.