Aventura seeks second opinion on legality of moratorium
By Claudio Mendonça
Aventura commissioners want a second opinion from a private law firm before deciding how to vote on a proposed building moratorium.
After City Attorney David Wolpin's presentation on the issue, Mayor Susan Gottlieb and some commissioners questioned the reason for omitting the west side of Aventura from the proposal to halt development for six months.
"I can't say I agreed with the city attorney and that is why I asked for a second opinion from a private law firm," said Mayor Gottlieb. "This is too much of a big issue."
Mayor Gottlieb said she wants to a private attorney to weigh in on whether it is legal to place a moratorium on half the city.
Commissioner Zev Auerbach also favored more input.
"I thought the workshop was very effective and in-depth and the city attorney did a great a job in preparing and explaining the issues," said Mr. Auerbach. "However, getting a second legal opinion is important to know how far can we go."
Aventura's proposed moratorium would just include the section east of US 1, according to Mr. Wolpin. In his presentation to the mayor and commissioners at the April 21 workshop, he talked about the legalities of a six-month moratorium and its advantages.
"In our memorandum, if the commission considers a moratorium ordinance, it will focus on the area east of Biscayne Boulevard," Mr. Wolpin said. "A moratorium is not the end of development but a planning tool to create status quo. We are trying to study and resolve a problem."
With overdevelopment and traffic as main concerns, Commissioner Bob Diamond proposed the temporary building prohibition to give officials time to update Aventura's master plan.
The mayor and Mr. Diamond said they hope the private law firm can make its analysis in time for the moratorium to be discussed at the commission's May 3 meeting.
According to the city's planning department, 14 projects would be exempt from the moratorium, if approved.
Those with exemptions would include:
The 24-story and 70-unit Minto Communities, two projects, both on Williams Island.
Villa Flora Town Homes, also on Williams Island.
Phase 2 of the 220-unit Peninsula Condominium.
The 410-unit Turnberry Village.
Two Islands development, single-family homes.
Hochstein & Kane Medical Office Building.
Aventura Corporate Center, phase 3.
3030 at Aventura.
The 235-unit Artech Residences.
The 119-unit Atrium.
Embassy Suites Hotel.
Aventura Medical Arts Building.