Art Deco Weekend Program Guide - 2016 - Page 13

North Beach residents rally on Ocean Terrace, October 28, 2015. whether the vision to transform North Beach into a haven for the jet-set aligned with the values of North Beach residents. Over the summer months, members of the community joined together and attended various meetings at City Hall and throughout Miami Beach to express their concerns and help educate the general public about the proposal. An online petition attracted supporters with the concept of a progressive North Beach development that stayed within the limits of the existing FAR. These residents joined together to become the core of a powerhouse get-out-thevote campaign that started gaining momentum by September. Voters Have the Power In 1997, residents formed a movement called Save Miami Beach to help slow the proliferation of high-rises in the city. The referendum placed the power of upzoning squarely in the hands of the voters. Activists at the time gathered over 6,000 signatures to put a measure on the ballot item which would require voters to approve increases in FAR for properties along the Miami Beach waterfront. That measure won by a substantial majority. In 2004 voters approved an expansion of the original charter amendment, requiring voter approval before increasing FAR anywhere. A coalition of activists including the North Shore Historic District Neighborhood Association, residents of Ocean Terrace, and neighbors helped lead the campaign that made history when voters rejected the upzoning, which would have significantly altered the look and feel of historic Ocean Terrace in Miami Beach. As the November 3rd election approached, the developer’s organization intensified its promotion of the conceptual condo-hotel design through an aggressively funded ad campaign, a slick website and media events supporting the upzoning effort. Simultaneously, residents opposed to the measure coalesced into a group calling itself Save Ocean Terrace. It seemed a lop-sided duel, considering that the grassroots coalition of neighborhood activists had only individual, small donations to fund their efforts, vs the significant capital resources of a company that had already invested over $70 Continued on page 12 THE ART OF ARCHITECTURE 11