Miami Gardens approaches deadline for submitting master plan to state
By Claudio Mendonça
Miami Gardens officials have seven months to complete a state-mandated master plan for the 21/2-year-old city that is being drafted by staffers and specialized consulting firms.
Newly incorporated cities have three years to submit a master plan to the Florida Department of Community Affairs in Tallahassee.
"In the past three to four months, we have been moving along with our comprehensive master plan," said City Manager Danny Crew, who expects the 10-segment document to be completed by the end of March.
Jay Marder, city development services planning director, said there is a small penalty if the state's deadline is not met but the important thing is to "show that you are making progress."
In the transportation segment, officials are concentrating on enhancing traffic flow on the city's main arteries.
Last year, Miami Gardens got a $65,000 grant from Miami-Dade's Metropolitan Planning Organization for the transportation plan. The city will hold a workshop Sept. 22 to discuss goals and the most important issues involving traffic. The meeting will be in the city council chambers, 1515 NW 167th St., Building 2, Suite 500.
The consultant doing the transportation segment, Joe M. Corradino, executive vice president of the Corradino Group, wants to pin down the city's goals and priorities.
"We are just getting started in Miami Gardens, still meeting with staff and finding out existing conditions and deficiencies" and collecting data, Mr. Corradino said. "We want to see what are some of their efforts they are focusing on." He said the transportation segment should be wrapped up in January.
"The transportation element of the comprehensive master plan is a policy document that sets direction," he said. "Every city has to have it."
One priority, said Mr. Marder, is Northwest 27th Avenue at 199th Street.
"In that intersection, there is a Wal-Mart breaking ground, a Home Depot to break ground in the next month or two and a 600-unit residential project," he said.
Another pivotal roadway, Mr. Marder said, is Northwest Second Avenue, also known as US 441. Officials want to maximize functionality there by attracting more sales outlets. Florida Atlantic University's department of urban planning has been instrumental on that project, he said, for which Miami Gardens got a $70,000 Livable Community study grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.
"We want to improve the area around Golden Glades interchange all the way to 57th Avenue," Mr. Marder said.
The city is also seeking to develop a Town Center at Northwest 183rd Street and 27th Avenue, he said.
The city already has held three sessions at North Dade Regional Library gathering residents' views for the master plan. The next, focusing on the Town Center, is to be in the city council's zoning meeting Nov. 2.
Officials aim to have four new Metrorail stations in the city when the north leg of the rail system is constructed. Part of a $900 million package, authorities want a station at the Town Center at 183rd Street and another near State Road 826. A third is sought at 199th Street near Dolphins Stadium and a fourth on 215th Street bordering the county line, approaching Calder Race Track.