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May 4, 2019

Hon. Mayor Suarez and City Commissioners,

I continue to experience shock at the City Commission's conditional approval of the Magic City Special
Area Plan at the First Reading on March 28th. I believe the Commission should have deferred the
reading until the numerous glaring problems with the application have been sorted out.

Mr. Garcia is to be commended for voicing his concerns although it is regrettable that these concerns
were aired around midnight on a weekday work night when most people are trying to get some sleep.

I feel greatly concerned that the Commissioners present either did not comment or otherwise appeared to
gloss over the huge procedural and regulatory problems now hanging over this application. These
problems are the direct result of the application having been hijacked by Commissioner Hardemon in
recent months, with radical changes to the Development Agreement being introduced as a result of the

With respect, do any of you (aside from Commissioner Hardemon and Planning Director Garcia) realize
how radically different the new Development Agreement that you saw on March 28th is from the
one approved by PZAB in July of 2018? Or how badly off the new agreement leaves the community
compared to the agreement approved by PZAB?

For starters, as was pointed out by Mr. Garcia on March 28th, the new Development Agreement removes
a guaranteed 600 income-restricted housing units from the table -- units that were to have been built as a
condition of approval by PZAB of the project last July.

In a City plagued by an affordable housing crisis, and in a neighborhood like Little Haiti which so
desperately wants and needs affordable housing, why on earth are we seeing funds earmarked for
affordable housing being siphoned off to a community trust for unspecified purposes? Especially since
PZAB expressly conditioned its approval of the project upon the addition of a specific percentage of
affordable and workforce housing?

Secondly, since when have developers and a Commissioner working behind closed doors been able to
write their own tickets as to the method and payment of contributions to be made in exchange for bonus
height and density in the City of Miami? Have the public benefits provisions of our City zoning code
which regulate such contributions -- how they are calculated, what the money may be used for --
suddenly become obsolete? If so, what has replaced them?

Are we all writing our own unregulated zoning tickets now?

Thirdly, since when has a City Commissioner been allowed to radically change the terms of a
Development Agreement after it has gone through the mandatory Hearing Board review and approval
process required of SAP Applications?

In other words, why bother to have a Planning Department, Hearing Boards, or Zoning Ordinances
if a single City Commissioner can simply disappear behind closed doors and work out a
Development Agreement for a 17 acre development on the very last leg of the application process
with no concern for existing ordinances or due process, basically just writing his own ticket and
then presenting it to the Commission as a done deal for a final vote and approval?

And, for God's sake, anyone who takes the time and trouble to look at the numbers can see that not only
does this new agreement remove 600 restricted income housing units from the table, but it also knocks
upwards of 30% off the value of the contributions that the developers would otherwise have had to pay to
the community and City for bonus building capacity.
Here are the differences in the two Development Agreements -- the one approved by PZAB last year and
the new agreement presented to the City Commission by Commissioner Hardemon.

Please note that I've used an "apples-to-apples" system as a basis to compare the two agreements.

PZAB Approved – July 2018 Commission – March 28, 2019

Provision for restricted income 7% of res. Units must be No specific provision for
housing Affordable Affordable or Workforce
Housing. At discretion of
14% of res. Units must be community trust.

Restricted income housing to be Public benefits regulated under Unregulated, untested,

funded by (among other things) Miami 21. Contributions per undefined “Community Benefit”
square foot starting on 13th floor cash contributions to be paid to
(12-story “of-right” ceiling): a community trust fund.
$10.81/sq. ft. Contribution Contribution per square foot
amount adjusted annually per starting on ground floor:
fluctuations in underlying market $4.03/sq. ft. No requirement to
value of real estate. use funds for restricted income
housing. No annual adjustment
of contribution amounts. No
timeline for payments.

Difference in Value of Bonus Bonus height: 15 stories Bonus height: 15 stories

Height Contributions
Example: 27-story All at $10.81/sq. ft. 12 stories @ $8.06 per square
Residential Tower foot (contributions to “of right” 12
12 stories “of right.” stories aggregated with bonus
15 stories bonus 12 stories for “apples to apples”

3 stories @ $4.03/sq. ft.

Cumulative average: $7.25/sq.


Discount value to developer for - 0- $7.25/sq. ft.= represents an

benefits contributions: approx.. 32.7% discount on the
standard $10.81 public benefits
contribution to which the
community would otherwise
have been entitled per Miami 21
and the PZAB approved
agreement. Plus, there is no
adjustment for inflation or
market fluctuations over the life
of the project or a specified
timeline for contributions to be

Mayor Suarez and Commissioners, if any of you had been in attendance at the Town Hall Meeting held
last week in Little Haiti -- I believe there were well over 100 people present -- you would have heard the
overwhelming concern expressed by community members: They want Affordable/Workforce housing. Mr.
Mayor, you ran for Mayoral office on a platform advocating for affordable housing. Please don't turn your
back on the Little Haiti community now. It deserves the best deal possible -- one that reflects the
overwhelming desire of the community for the addition of affordable housing and an agreement that is
arrived at through regulatory due process. None of that can be said for the deal that is currently on the
table and for that reason it should either be deferred until all these issues have been sorted out or the
application should be denied.

I am sorry to have to write this email and for its critical tone. But these are not small matters. On the
contrary, they are very significant and they need to be addressed.

Thank you,
Deborah Stander