“We recognize the need for a gradual lifting of our street elevations, but it is indisputable that raising our streets to 3.70’ will wreak havoc to our existing trees, create costly and perhaps unmanageable drainage problems in our private properties, increase costs and problems associated with ‘harmonization’, while potentially inflating our property insurance costs and lowering our property values.” Harmonization refers to the City’s efforts to create a gradual incline from the elevated streets to driveways.
The petition says the City’s plans call for “raising the streets to a minimum elevation of 3.70’ NAVD – some 18”- 30” above existing street elevations – and installation of stormwater pipes up to 4’ in diameter under almost every street in the CBS. The drastic, exaggerated scope of this project – relative to any existing problems we have, or to recently completed G.O. Bond projects surrounding the CBS (i.e. CBN, Bayshore North, Flamingo Drive, North Bay Road, Sunset Islands), where the streets remained at much the same elevations – would be devastating to our neighborhood’s streetscape tree canopy and character, as well as our daily lives for the next 2-3 years during construction.”
Residents are requesting the City adopt the following criteria for the construction project:
- Lower the CBS’s maximum street elevation to 2.70’ NAVD.
- No net widening of any streets, inclusive of valley gutters, if required. If valley gutters are required, then they should be incorporated into the existing street width.
- All Bike Lane and Traffic Calming device locations (roundabouts, tables, etc.) in the Central Bayshore Neighborhood shall be subject to BHOA review and comment.
Given the impact of sea level rise, Mowry says eventually residents will have to adapt their homes to meet changing conditions. In the meantime, he says "The City’s improvements to the neighborhood will take into account all homes and make adjustments in the project to design a system to minimize the potential of flooding of these lower homes until the owners can either raise or replace these low elevation homes."
In their petition, CBS residents also express concern with regard to the process, which they say did not receive the public review and approval they believe is necessary. According to the petition, under a 2001 General Obligation Bond approved by referendum, a project for streetscape, stormwater and water main improvements was completed in Central Bayshore North (with the exception of above-ground landscape improvements). However, the “CBS portion of the Original Project was stopped a few weeks short of breaking ground in 2014” in favor of this new project which includes elevating roads. Petitioners are concerned the new project is able to avoid the public review process if it is funded via stormwater fee hikes versus ad valorem taxes, which would require “rigorous public review and approval.”
They want to know:
- What happened with our Original Project’s funding, paid for by our ad valorem taxes, and approved in the public process? These funds were supposed to be in a “lock-box”.
- Why hasn’t our neighborhood been given the same opportunity to review and comment on the City’s design (at public meetings, DRB, City Commission, etc.), as in every other City neighborhood?
- What is the difference in price between the CBS’s Original Project and New Project?
In the meantime, the contractor on the project began mobilizing construction equipment and staging materials this week along Prairie Avenue near Miami Beach High School. The installation of a new water main along Prairie Avenue from Dade Boulevard to 34th Street is scheduled to begin next week.
Further details are available on the City’s Planned Progress website.