Miami Beach neighborhood residents have concerns as construction is ongoing for short-term rental properties nearby.
Homeowners who live in the affluent South of Fifth neighborhood believe the new developments will only cause the same problems that have plagued Ocean Drive lately: violence, guns, and brawls.
“You have a very cheap room rate. This will be an unattended hotel where you have 4-6 people per room, no supervision, no staff, no management,” said David Suarez, who has been in the neighborhood for 10 years.
Suarez is now leading a group to protect them – “Save SoFi” has at least 1,000 signatures from neighbors calling on the city commission to intervene.
“I want to stop it forever,” said Suarez. “… Realistically, I hope they do what’s right and what’s in the zone code.”
To exacerbate concerns, residents say the city shouldn’t even have approved the developments in order to circumvent strict zoning and monument protection rules.
“I have no idea how this hotel was approved … and if this is allowed to continue, the city will be destroyed,” said Suarez. “It’s literally right next to the only Chabad in South of Fifth.”
In a twelve-page letter to the commission, the prosecutor defended the staff’s decision to streamline projects and give approval, saying everything had been done right.
But at least one commissioner says he has questions about how it happened. Michael Gongora on Friday proposed halting developments under construction – a vote he admits is likely to fail.
“I also want to keep the neighborhood safe. I agree that short term rentals and apartment hotels are generally bad for the quality of life, especially in a dense area like South of Fifth, ”said Gongora. “You can rest assured that I will do everything I can legally, politically or otherwise to maintain your quality of life.”
The city commission will deal with this issue on Friday morning. They will also consider getting approval in the first round for an article prohibiting apartment hotels from proceeding.