Q&A with the West Avenue Neighborhood Association Board of Directors, August 14, 2019
Finish the Baywalk
I’m committed to completing the bay walk citywide. As Commissioner, I would be happy to work on behalf of West Avenue residents and lead the negotiations with the two remaining properties. I live South of Fifth and I’m excited that our neighborhoods will soon be connected across 5th street. The pedestrian connection to Sunset Harbour is also nearing completion. I’m a walker, runner and biker – can’t wait!
Fix the 6th Street Pump
This one is easy. In our battle against flooding and sea level rise, we must NOT further pollute Biscayne Bay! Clear, clean water is fundamental to our quality of life. Here’s an excerpt from my campaign website page related to flooding and sea level rise:
MDB: Prioritize water quality and treatment systems.
ULI: "Pumped systems including a traditional grid, sand trap, and vortex have a tendency to underperform and fail during extreme events. Moreover, the citizens and stakeholders of Miami Beach are clearly concerned about water quality and the potential water quality implications of the pump system. Going forward, the city should implement state-of-the-art treatment systems through green infrastructure that will absorb pollutants while increasing flexibility."
Much like my neighborhood, it’s a daily challenge in the West Avenue neighborhood to maintain a balance between resident’s quality of life and local businesses. Residential + mixed use can be difficult, but it’s worth the extra effort. I have extensive experience advocating on behalf of residents and finding win-win solutions to complicated issues (as President of my neighborhood association and as a member of the Planning Board). As Commissioner, I’ll work together with you to preserve and protect your neighborhood and your residential-only zones. Here’s an excerpt from my campaign website related to my zoning and development priorities:
Mike B’s Smart Development Checklist:
1) Inform and engage residents regarding quality of life impact. Residents respected and considered full partners in the decision making process.
2) Assess the traffic impact of proposed new developments in order to reduce driving trips and facilitate the smooth flow of traffic during construction and after completion of the project. Approval of new projects contingent on an adequate traffic mitigation plan.
3) Protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods with low scale developments. 4) Prioritize tree planting, green space, open space, landscaping and play areas.
5) Require a significant public benefit with new large-scale developments.
6) Pursue new housing affordability initiatives for all income levels below the very top. Miami Beach must be more than a playground for the rich and famous.
7) Public lands should be open and available for the sustainable use and enjoyment of residents and visitors. We have a responsibility to protect and preserve our public lands for future generations. The Nikki Beach lease should not be renewed. The City owned property located at 1 Ocean Drive should be returned to public use and re-purposed as a spectacular, City owned, seaside park upon lease expiration.
Improve Trolley Service
I love our new trolley service and I ride several times per week. Speaking with residents across Miami Beach, feedback is generally positive. But wait times, number of routes, comfort and cleanliness must be enhanced for residents to consider the trolley a reliable, daily form of transportation. We need more trolleys going to more places, more often!
My campaign website includes a page dedicated to “mobility and alternative transportation”. As Commissioner, I plan to focus on alternatives to the private car. We’re off to a good start with the trolley, but we’ll need multiple options to improve mobility and reduce traffic congestion in Miami Beach.
Resident Friendly Land Use Boards
I’ve served on the Planning Board for the past eighteen months and fully agree that land use board members must consider residents and their concerns when making decisions. A resident friendly perspective is critical to maintaining a healthy balance between resident’s quality of life and business interests. Here’s an excerpt from my campaign website related to my work on the Planning Board:
The Planning Board largely deals with business issues, but there are opportunities at every meeting for residents to be heard. The Board is very sensitive to resident concerns. I've included short video clips (3-4 minutes) below where resident concerns are being addressed by the Planning Board.
Examples of My Work on the Planning Board Helping Residents:
1) The Planning Board recently handled a noise issue on behalf of the condo buildings adjacent (north and south) of the Mondrian Hotel. The residents who attended and spoke were pleased with the support of the Board and, so far, the outcome has been satisfactory.
President, Mirador 1200 Condominium Association
"we appreciate your work done on our behalf with the Mondrian"
2) The Board negotiated reduced outdoor operating hours with the developer of 500 Alton. All outdoor restaurants, located anywhere within the project must close at 12am, a big win for residents. Outdoor noise can be particularly challenging. It travels far and wide (i.e.: Mondrian Hotel). I felt that residents would really enjoy the outdoor cafes and restaurants as long as the operating hours and other restrictions prevented noise from traveling to their homes late at night (think South of Fifth). We also negotiated a restriction on the project -- no special events.
3) Last year the Board supported residents who lived adjacent to a proposed 24-hour parking lot. I made site visits, met and listened to resident concerns about the potential quality of life issues related to the parking lot. We negotiated a favorable outcome for the applicant and affected residents.