Controversial trolley garage in West Grove violates zoning code, experts say
A controversial trolley garage being built in Miami’s predominantly black West Grove neighborhood violates the Miami 21 zoning code, the ambitious blueprint approved three years ago to give order to the sometimes haphazard and inconsistent development in the city, according to the University of Miami’s Center for Ethics and Public Service.
The garage, the center argues, should be considered industrial, not commercial as suggested by the city, and therefore not allowed.
“Industrial use includes government-operated,” Zach Lipshultz, a fellow at the center’s Environmental Justice Clinic, explained at a meeting of the Ministerial Alliance Saturday. “The question we’re raising is in defining that government-operated facility. Why is it deemed a commercial establishment?”
Residents have been fighting to stop the 12-bay garage being built in the 3300 block of Douglas Road because it will back up against a single-family, residential neighborhood. The garage is part of a deal Astor Development struck with the city of Coral Gables to swap land. Astor wants to build a luxury 7-story apartment, office and retail center on Le Jeune Road where the Gables’ current trolley garage sits.
Last week residents started an online petition and Saturday held a rally at the site. About 30 people, far fewer than organizers hoped for, chanted and held signs, including one that read, “Don’t throw your trash in our neighborhood.”