By Susan Stabley
Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton vowed to delay a Miami-Dade County Housing Agency project until other derelict properties in his area are improved.
"This is the only leverage I have," Commissioner Winton said.
Commissioners Winton and Arthur Teele Jr. on Dec. 19 voted against land-use and zoning changes for the proposed Smathers Towers assisted-living facility for the elderly on 2.3 acres in the 900 block of Southwest 29th Court. The city's planning and zoning department, zoning board and planning advisory board recommended approvals for the project, according to city documents.
The project received preliminary approval in a 3-2 vote from the commission and carried a pledge from Commissioner Winton to sway his peers when the project returns for final approval.
"I will work hard on these guys to say no," he told representatives of the agency after the vote.
Commissioner Winton assailed the agency during the meeting and at a hearing Oct. 23 when the project was first proposed.
The focus of his disapproval was not the Smathers Tower project but derelict properties controlled by the county agency in his district, especially in Wynwood.
A spokesman with the Miami-Dade Housing Agency would not comment except to say that the Smathers Tower project has support from residents in the area.
Miami-Dade has the sixth-largest housing agency in the US, according to the county.