Miami's Urban Renewal Authority said Thursday it is ready to see its parent program put to rest.
With a unanimous vote, the four-member panel authorized the Miami City Council to ask affected property owners to decide the future of the 43-year-old Urban Renewal Plan.
The plan, a 1965 revitalization initiative that brought forth the former serpentine street design and governed improvements within approximately 56.5 acres of Miami's downtown area, may already be dead by default, according to city attorney David Anderson,
Anderson told authority members that he has been unable to find evidence of a city ordinance pertaining to the Urban Renewal Plan - a required council action that would have officially implemented the program.
“There is a city council resolution,” Anderson said. “But there is not an ordinance … not to my knowledge.”
A resolution is a public statement of opinion but it does not carry the weight of a city ordinance which is entered into the city codes and has the power of enforcement behind it, Anderson indicated.
A public vote to cease the program and a subsequent decision by the authority to dissolve the board would be the “easiest and cleanest” way out of a situation that could lead the city into litigation, Anderson said.
Local attorney Jim Thompson, a former city attorney, has threatened the city with legal action for violating the provisions of the plan.
Thompson told city officials that the lawsuit is pending on behalf of a client that he has yet to identify.
Anderson said there is more than one flaw in the documents that define the Urban Renewal Plan and there is a strong argument against its existence.
Thompson was not present at Thursday's authority meeting and has brought no violations to the attention of the board.
Bob Tyson, an authority board member, was the first to offer his support in ending the program.
“I have been on this board since 1986 and I think we have met maybe four times,” Tyson said.
Board member Steve Cline made the motion to recommend that the question of whether or note to end Urban Renewal be brought before the property owners within the boundaries of the plan.
Tyson voted in favor of the recommendation as did remaining board members Doug Weston and Frank Hecksher.