Miami River Takes Old Course Marine Use
Written by Risa Polansky on January 21, 2010
By Risa Polansky
The tide may be turning when it comes to the future of the Miami River.
The City of Miami’s past administration pushed for years for what proponents called more development flexibility along the waterway. Others viewed it as a bid for riverfront residential projects over marine industry operations.
With Mayor Tomás Regalado at the helm, it looks like new city leaders might reverse course.
"The past administration had the philosophy that the river was supposed to be a place to live and that the marine industry was secondary," he said. "I do not agree with that."
At Mr. Regalado’s suggestion, the commission voted last week to stop fighting back against three 2007 court rulings that said the city flouted its own comprehensive plan in approving land-use changes for large, riverfront residential developments.
But the court battle over the riverfront properties is only the beginning.
To address that litigation and set new policy, commissioners voted in 2008 to remove the word "port" from the existing Port of Miami River comprehensive plan element, defying industry stakeholders and their own planning board.
The state rejected the changes, but the city persisted, prompting litigation.
Deciding how to resolve the ongoing state issues and settling formal river policy "will be for the future discussion that the city commission should have," Mr. Regalado said. "My concern is that the city is still involved in a prolonged litigation.… If we abandon the appeal it’s just sending a message that we are willing to consider a change in policy."
Appeal now dead, a broader discussion with river stakeholders is set for Feb. 11.