Notification and Inclusion. This is an issue for the City of Miami that keeps coming up. At first I thought it was an oversight. Then Dejavu. Then I saw a pattern, and I believe it should be addressed.
When a municipality plans to take an action that will adversely affect a neighborhood within that city or a neighboring city, there are steps and methods that are required to notify the potentially affected parties. The spirit of this intent should go even deeper. It's in the best interest of the city to bring everyone to the table at the beginning.
In this case, Key Biscayne is suing the City of Miami over Miami's planned renovation and development of the Marine Stadium property on Virginia Key. Miami owns the property and wants to develop it to its best use potential. Key Biscayne feels that over-development of that park will lead to a worsening of the traffic and gridlock on the sole road in and out of the Key.
Key Biscayne doesn't want to choke the usage of the park. But they want inclusion in the process to help mitigate the negative effects for their citizens. Maybe they can't veto or control the total outcome, but their involvement and acknowledgement should have been greater from the start.
I saw the same thing in so many issues with Miami recently. Whether it's neighborhood parks being designated as Brownfield Sites, Trolley Service Stations being placed in residential West Grove, or local workers not having a seat at the table with regard to massive development that would not include them, people just want a seat at the table from the start. It's not that the City of Miami has violated the letter of the law in all these cases. But the spirit and intent should be this. If an affected neighbor didn't know about the City's intention, then the notification didn't try hard enough.
A resident shouldn't have to wake up every morning and check the newspaper and city websites to see how they're getting negatively affected each day. It should be the City's responsibility to make sure that everyone knows. mailings, phone calls, and door to door would pretty much cover it all.
Reach out and bring the other side to the table first. -- from the very beginning. Even if it's bad news, the acknowledgement and inclusion will go a long way toward a peaceful resolution. If you have the disagreement up front, it's less painful than fighting about the disagreement and the fact that the affected parties weren't fully included from the start.
How will this resolve? Of course, now that everyone is at the table, they'll work it out, but at lots of additional time and cost to both parties.
You can guess how I might end this post: As a Candidate for Miami City Commissioner, I hope that you elect people who will prioritize transparency and inclusion. Even if we disagree, we can all get along.