Last night, the City of Miami's Planning & Zoning Appeals Board denied the City of Miami's request to allow Walmart to place loading docks along the west side of their Midtown property on North Miami Avenue, a busy pedestrian and vehicular street. The board upheld the Midtown Overlay District master plan that requires loading docks to be built on side streets, where they are out of the way of the two main thoroughfares of N. Miami Avenue and Midtown Boulevard, which have been zoned for dense, active, pedestrian-oriented uses.
Although many found Walmart's claim that an aesthetically integrated loading dock could be built to be rather ridiculous, including Curbed, the planning board's main concern was that Walmart was asking for variances and special requests even before submitting any plans of their own. Patrick Goggins, a member of the board, said "Clearly there's a little bit more going on than just the text amendment. When things happen in the open you get the best result." Walmart has been consistently mum about their eventual intentions.
As the loading dock request progresses to the City Commission, opponents would like to know why the City of Miami and City Manager Johnny Martinez were willing to submit the request for them. How did it receive that level of official approval without Walmart even having to reveal their own plans for the site?
· Dozens at City Hall speak their mind about Midtown Walmart [Miami Herald]
· Walmart wants ominous loading bays in Midtown [Curbed]