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After four years of political wrangling, hundreds of public and internal meetings, several revisions, and one determined planning department, consultant team, and Mayor, the City of Miami made urban planning history tonight by adopting the largest known application of a form-based code. In doing so, Miami has catapulted itself to the forefront of those large American cities serious about implementing smart growth.
Hundreds of activists, students, politicians, lawyers, developers, architects and planners swarmed Miami's City Hall on Thursday for the City Commission's first reading of Miami 21. By some estimates, nearly 80% of the the 100-plus testimonials were spoken in favor of Miami 21, with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz kicking off the event with an 11-minute pro-Miami 21 paean. It was certainly one of the most eloquent, if not most passionate speech I have heard him deliver during his tenure. Strangely, Commissioner Angel Gonzalez was missing from the dais for what might have been the most important vote of the year. Apparently, the two week notice was delivered in time for him to reschedule surgery.
After more than four years of public meetings, new drafts, extensive revisions, debate, and controversy, Miami 21 is finally scheduled for its first City Commission reading on August 6th. For all who have, or continue to work patiently and dilligently on the groundbreaking zoning code, this is exciting and relieving news.