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2006-01-12
Miami Beach, Fl. The Sun Sets On Home Depotís Plans

Plans to build a Home Depot in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood of Miami Beach, Florida has sunk below the horizon this week. Angry residents, who formed a group called "Stop the Swap" poured into City Hall yesterday to protest a proposed land swap that neighbors said would have paved the way for a Home Depot. Brandishing signs that said ''No Home Depot'' the residents managed to get a unanimous vote against the deal out of the Miami Beach City Commission. The plan called for 3 city-owned parcels on 18th Street to be swapped for 4 lots on West Ave. ''Miami Beach did it. We avoided the swap,'' one resident told the Miami Herald. ``I knew that if we packed the audience with people we would get their
attention.'' Residents learned that the owner of the land near Sunset Harbour was planning to bring in a Home Depot, they got organized, and told the Commission that the project was too big for their neighborhood, would create traffic problems, and compromise their quality of life. ''Obviously the people who showed up here today don't want this to continue at all,'' Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer was quoted as saying. ``If people come to city hall and they sit and pack a room, they wind up winning.'' One Commissioner suggested that the city's Planning Board should implement new restrictions on projects in excess of 50,000 s.f. in size. ''I think that particular size store in that neighborhood would be too disruptive,'' he added. After the decision to kill the Home Depot project, the landowner said he had a right to build the store without a public hearing, and vowed to find a way to bring a big box store to his parcel. But that swagger only brought an equally forceful response from neighbors. "If they still want to put a Home Depot on that land," one neighbor said, " we'll deal with that and the crowds will be much bigger.''

What you can do: Anogther Home Depot sinks slowly in the west, a victime of citizen protest. Rather than talk with neighbors, this developer tried to talk over them, and lost. For other big box battles in this part of Florida, search Newsflash by "Miami" or "Coconut Grove."










 
 
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