The city of Miami Beach is debating a zoning change that favors the Perez family’s property

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Tomorrow, during the last meeting before the city of Miami Beach elections shift the balance of power in the city, an ordinance with exceptions to urban zoning overlays will have its second reading. This ordinance aims to convert a single residence in the historic district of “Altos del Mar” into a property with “alternative commercial uses,” such as a townhome or a restaurant.

“If this is voted on, this property will then be worth 10 times what it’s currently worth, and we’re introducing a commercial use in the middle of a public park with ocean views,” said Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez during the first reading. 

Commissioners Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Laura Dominguez were the only ones opposing the measure, despite it not being recommended by the planning board.

The residence at 7605 Collins Avenue belongs to the Perez family, who are closely connected to the city, as explained in the previous article in Caplin News. 

During the meeting on September 27, Betsy Pérez once again defended expanding the types of permitted uses due to the property’s proximity to non-residential areas. 

“I feel that the community will be better served with these alternative uses,” said Pérez, adding the property is “an island unto itself”.

Caplin News tried to contact Mrs. Perez. However, she has not responded so far. 

Opponents of the expansion argue that the residence is situated between the park and the public library, and a residential area, the Ocean Blue condominium.

Ocean Blue resident Maria Luisa Rouco expressed concern about the change and its impact on the community, saying, “the lack of a specific use opens the door to future developments that we don’t know how they will impact us or the park.” Another resident, Bob Nanes, also stated, “It’s not necessary. We already have empty commercial spaces in the area; I counted eight in total.”

Charlotte Light, a resident in the area, told Caplin News that a commercial multi-use zoning would negatively impact the neighborhood by “increasing issues of traffic, noise, pests, and trash.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Gonzalez criticized the city government for “preferring to listen to those with political connections,” such as the Perez family, while “everyone else falls on deaf ears.”

Correction: an earlier version of this story inaccurately listed the commissioners opposed to the measure.

Lorena Cespedes is a Colombian student at Florida International University majoring in journalism. She has a love of traveling, taking pictures and writing about opinion, sports and her culture.

Ingrid Moreno is a Cuban student at FIU. She is currently graduating with a master's degree in Spanish journalism. Ingrid is passionate about writing social stories that give the community a voice.

Ingrid Moreno es estudiante cubana en FIU. Actualmente se está graduando de la maestría de periodismo en español. Le apasiona escribir historias sociales que le dé la voz a la comunidad.