Monday, January 21, 2013

I Cover the Waterfront

In my last two posts, I showed what Harbor Island and Treasure Island look like to pedestrians.  It's not pretty and if we can't take care of what we have at no cost to the Village, then how can the Village spend millions to make the Causeway "beautiful"?   

In a similar vein, there is discussion about laying out a $1,000,000 for a parcel of land on South Treasure Drive and developing a pocket park on the water.  

Here's the parcel in question.  It's lovely and the owner deserves respect for maintaining it well.  It would be nice to have  access to the waterfront on Treasure Island but here's the kicker.  We already do have access and a lot of it.  

All the waterfront condominiums built during the condo craze have rock solid requirements to provide public access to the waterfront.  And the buildings do provide openings on paper, but they lock it or threaten you to prevent anyone from walking on the public access spots.  

 Trespassers on the Bay - I mean Treasures on the Bay is at the corner of E. Treasure and S. Treasure.  When the 3 buildings were approved for condo conversion, it was explicitly conditional on public water access.  This sign wrongly asserts that if you walk the boardwalk, you are trespassing.  While I've never seen it enforced, I have heard from others that they have been told to leave.   

The  Bridgewater - On the north side of the Causeway, you will find the Bridgwater with a lovely landscaped walk along the bay, blocked by a permanently locked gate.   I snuck over to take a picture.  Looks pretty nice. 

1625 JFK Causeway (The Large Yellow Building) - Unlike the Bridgewater or the Treasures, they don't even bother to pretend.  Here's the gate and when you sneak through and look at the back, they never even put a walkway in.  

Access on West Drive
 Harbor Island - I covered these in previous posts but just to remind you, the 360 and all of the other new buildings have created access points and then permanently barred them. 
Access on East Drive

360 Access Point

Access on East Drive


Look, here's the deal.  The City, now Village, very intelligently included water access in exchange for coding variances, parking variances, height variances, building variances and in some cases tax abatements.  At no time did the city take someone's land, it simply made allowances in consideration of.   The condos block our views of the water, strain our traffic, parking and infrastructure and this access was our trade off.   And they are not living up to the bargain.   

Now there is talk again of making a waterfront park on Treasure Island.   The thing is, we already have waterfront access.  If we are going to give it up, lay out several million for a small (but lovely) pocket park and give up our rights to the water elsewhere, then the condos should pay, not us.  That would be expensive and make everyone unhappy.   

A much better, zero cost solution, would be for the village to assert its rights to public access.     We need solutions, not more debt.

special note:  I will not be posting until at least next week.  But I'll be watching.   

Kevin Vericker
January 21, 2013 

1 comment:

  1. Kevin great article...we are still waiting for Village Manager Dennis Kelly to look into this matter...he has not to this point come up with any information afer numerous request to assert the public water access priviledge. Thank you for standing up for North Bay Village.

    Mario Garcia


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