For more information, contact us via email at

c/o Rosenstiel School
4600 Rickenbacker Cswy,
Miami, Fl. 33149
Fax: 305-361-4755

Minutes of meeting

Apr. 1, 2002
12:30 PM

(Important note:  The audio tapes of the April 1, 2002 MRC meeting were lost in the mail and these minutes are based solely on the written notes of MRC staff.)

Robert L. Parks, Chairperson, called the Miami River Commission meeting to order at 12:30 pm  on Monday, April 1, 2002 at the United Way of Miami-Dade, The Ansin Building, Ryder Conference Room, 3250 S.W. Third Avenue (Coral Way) in Miami. 

Miami River Commission Policy Committee members and/or Designees attending were:
  • Robert Parks, Member at Large, appointed by the Governor, Chairperson,

  • Phil Everingham, President of the Marine Council, Vice Chairperson

  • Sandy O'Neil, Mayor of Miami-Dade, Designee

  • Janet McAliley, Rep. Environmental or Civic Org., appointed by the Governor

  • Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro, Commissioner Miami-Dade County

  • Alfredo Gonzalez, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Designee

  • Megan Kelly, President, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Designee

  • Sallye Jude, Neighborhood Rep., appointed by Miami-Dade Commission

  • Ernie Martin, Neighborhood Rep., appointed by City of Miami Commission

  • Richard Bunnell, Chair of MRMG, Designee
  • Eileen Damaso, City of Miami Commissioner, Designee

  • Javier Fernandez, Mayor of Miami, Designee

  • Thomas Parker, Member at Large, appointed by MDC, Designee

  • Cleve Jones, Member at Large appointed by City of Miami Commission

Ex Officio (non-voting) members:  Ellen Roth, Senator Bob Graham’s Office

MRC Staff: David Miller, Managing Director, Brett Bibeau, Assistant Managing Director

Others attending interested in the River:

  • Clayton Clavette, Shelley Realty

  • Priscilla Prado, State Attorney’s Office

  • Carlos Espinosa, DERM

  • Fran Bohnsack, MRMG

  • Beatrice Brito, Realtor

  • Marta Neira, Investor

  • Roman Gastesi, Miami-Dade County

  • Priscilla Prado, State Attorney’s Office

  • Humberto Alonzo, SFWMD

  • Brett Doster, Governor’s Office

  • Otto Boudet, Office of the Mayor of Miami

  • Jim Murley, FAU

  • Frank Guerra, NEO

  • Andrea Soliz, Shelly Realty

  • J.G. Fergeson, Alednam Design

  • Sandra Goldstein, Sandra Goldstein Assc.

  • Yamile Marrgro, City of Miami Attorney              

  • Steve Lefton, Kimley-Horn Assc.

  • Lavinia Freeman, TPL

  • John Paul Rosser, JPR & Assc., Inc.

  • Mark Sell, Mark Sell Communications



Mr. Parks introduced himself and welcomed everyone to the April 1, 2002 meeting of the MRC.  Mr. Parks asked for approval of the March 4, 2002 minutes.  Phil Everingham made the motion to approve the minutes, Megan Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

                Mr. Parks stated that he is very excited and encouraged by the response and interest of City officials and City Commissioners with the Urban Infill Plan.  Over the last several weeks the draft Urban Infill Plan was presented to the Mayor and all City Commissioners.  The presentation updated them with the status of the plan, requested their comments and advised them of the intent to create a Tax Increment Finance District for the River corridor. 

 II.  Proposed Residential Development by NEO

                Mr. Frank Guerra, of NEO, made the presentation.  The building is 21 stories tall and will have 199 loft type residences.  The NEO ”loft lovers condominium” is located between the First Street and Flagler Street Bridges in East Little Havana.  The building is not directly on the River, but is on the southwestern side of South River Drive.  NEO does own a small property on the River that they intend to develop at a future date. Loft residences are very popular and according to Mr. Guerra almost 70% of the units are sold already.  Prices start from $118,000 and NEO offers more than 15 loft styles.  They expect to attract young professionals and the building will have resort style amenities including:  a beach entry pool, urban garden retreats, meditation garden and an oriental soak bath.  NEO is walking distance to downtown and will also have a fitness center and conference room, which is designed for today’s young professionals.  Mr. Parks opened the floor for questions and Sallye Jude expressed concern that a 21-story building was too large a scale for the neighborhood.  It was noted that this proposal meets all zoning criteria.  Mr. Guerra indicated that construction would start in June 2002 and would take 18 months to complete.  Lavinia Freeman of TPL stated she would like to meet with the NEO owners and discuss the development of the Riverwalk in this area and Mr. Guerra concurred stating that the Greenway development is important to his project.  Mr. Parks thanked Mr. Guerra for his presentation.

III.               Urban Infill Plan and Tax Increment District

                Mr. Parks introduced Jim Murley and Steve Lefton of Kimly-Horn.  Jim Murley also stated that the meetings and presentations to the City Mayor and Commissioners went very well.  Steve Lefton presented the plan and provided updated information.  Jim Murley advised the MRC of the timeline for plan approval.  A second draft plan will be presented at the May meeting and the MRC should approve the Urban Infill Plan at the June MRC meeting.  After the MRC approves the plan, then it will be taken before the city and county commissions for approval.  After the city and county approve the plan, then the proposal for the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District and the governance structure will go forward to the MRC and then to the city and county.  Mr. Parks advised all MRC members to closely review this next draft and bring comments and suggestion to the May MRC meeting.  He wants to hear MRC member issues, problems, comments, etc. with the plan in May and not have major issues come to the table at the last minute in June.  Ernie Martin commented that this would be the first multi-jurisdictional TIF District as this proposed district includes property in both the city and the county.  Janet McAlily commented that additional environmental information is needed; however, she concurred that this is a very vital plan and praised the work of Jim Murley.  Jim Murley advised the MRC that the next meeting of the Urban Infill Working Group is April 10, 2002 at 9 am at the City of Miami’s Riverside Center, third floor.

IV.  Committee Reports

a.  Dredging Working Group

                Dick Bunnell advised the group that on April 17 2002 a public meeting is scheduled for the Melrose Community and Commissioner Rolle to hear about the updated dredging plan that prohibits open air-drying of the sediments on the property adjacent to the Miami Jai Alai.  At the first public hearing the community was very much opposed to what they determined would be a problem with sediment odor and bird attraction.  Next, Dick discussed that there is a problem with obtaining permits for utility companies that need to relocate cables or pipelines that run under the River, but do not meet Corps criteria of being at least 6 feet below the Rivers bottom.  Dick and David Miller are scheduled to meet with Ms. Melissa Meeker of the FDEP office in West Palm Beach to help streamline permitting of utility relocations.  Dick also advised the MRC that the project cooperation agreement (PCA) is back with the county for final review and hopefully approval.  The PCA must be approved before the Corps can issue the RFP. 

b.  Greenways

                Dr. Martin reported that there would be a July bidding date for improvements to sections of North and South River Drives that he hopes would include roadway improvements that would accommodate the Greenway.

c.        Economic Development & Commerce

                Megan Kelly reported that the Small Business Administration has stated that the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB Zone) is now in place on North River Drive in the marine industrial area.  This HUBZone designation now gives businesses an advantage when bidding on federal contracts.  Also she advised that the “Miami River Economic Study 2001” report is completed and was provided to all MRC members.  Since most members just recently received the report, she will hold off on a motion for this meeting and will bring this item forth at the May meeting.

IV.               New Business

                Brett Bibeau advised the MRC that there is a proposal to put police horse stables, canine training facilities and a boat slip for marine patrol in Sewell Park.  Discussion ensued.  Phil Everingham made a motion that MRC Chairman Bob Parks write a letter to City Commissioner Gonzalez stating that the MRC has not received any information on this issue and per the City Resolution the MRC must provide a recommendation concerning items that go before the City Commission that impact the River.  The motion was seconded by Sallye Jude and passed unanimously.

IV. Adjournment 


There being no further business to come before the meeting, the meeting adjourned at  2:00 p.m

_______________________________Recording Secretary