Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Should Miami Beach Annex Us?

The Miami New Times reports that Ricky Arriola, Commissioner of Miami Beach, wants to talk about annexing North Bay Village.  

There's a lot to talk about in this idea and I first heard about it two weeks ago.  The MB Commission Meeting was supposed to have it as a discussion item last week but postponed it because their agenda was running long.  

The New Times article only covers the proposal and Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps dismissal of the notion.   There is much to think about.  

The Advantages to North Bay Village:
  • Property owners would most likely see a 10-15% in the value of our properties.  It's true.  Our price per square foot for similar properties is lower than surrounding communities and particularly North Beach.   
  • North Bay Village would get access to Miami Beach Rec Services and other programs that we don't have now.  
  • Currently, developers decide where and how the properties will be developed and while holding them for flipping, as they are on the causeway, have such minimal community obligations to maintain the properties that the causeway looks like a wasteland.  
  • Ricky Arriola talks about the small talent pool to run for office and we've seen the effects of that.  
  • For me, the big one would be the larger city being able to address our most pressing issue of sea level rise and hurricane preparedness.  As a national headline, "Small town by Benihana's flooded" is less compelling than "Miami Beach underwater" and our problems would have higher priority.  
The Disadvantages to North Bay Village:
  • We would lose our local police department.  Most residents like the police department but the current administration, in particular Laura Cattabriga, have been hitting them hard and it's a big question of whether the current model is sustainable.  This needs to be figured out.  
  • For single family homeowners, we could lose our side yard pickup.  Granted this only affects 10% of the homes in North Bay Village.  (Note:  we have 3,264 housing units in the Village, about 330 single family homes)
  • Miami Beach does not have district representation and that could hurt us.  
There is more.  

No city in Miami-Dade county has ever offered themselves for annexation.  While new ones have been established, only Islandia has ever disbanded and that's because nobody lives there.  Opa-Locka has an effort to unincorporate and moneyed interests are fighting them at every turn.  

We will see that here.  The developers who control the commission will fight this hard.  I suspect the police will too and Mayor Kreps, taking a cue from Kim Jong-Un, has already said, "Maybe we should annex Miami Beach." and pledged to fight this idea, which will probably be as ineffective as every other pledge she's made.  

I imagine she and her handlers are already working on anonymous email campaigns to derail things.  

But for the rest of us, it seems like it's time to discuss it.  

Kevin Vericker
May 22, 2018

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