The Department of Transportation has concluded that Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and Coral Gables violated 1964's Civil Rights Act when they permitted a trolley garage to be built in Village West, a historically black neighborhood in Coconut Grove that will not be served by the Gables-only trolley.
The nearly completed garage, which backs into single-family homes in the historic Bahamian settlement has pitted local pols and developers against neighbors' associations and pro bono lawyers since the controversial plans became public. Henry Torres, president of Astor Development, brokered a deal with Coral Gables to build them a new trolley garage on the Grove site in exchange for the land on Le Jeune Road where the current garage stands. It comes at absolutely no surprise that Torres plans to use the site to (what else) build a high-end, mixed-use condo.
The cities violated the law by not conducting a study of the garage's potential "adverse impacts" on the neighborhood and for failing to do any public outreach. Both say they were unaware of the requirements.
Longtime Grove resident Clarice Cooper, who lives across the site of the future trolley garage, filed a complaint with the feds in April. Even though the thing is nearly built, the county and municipalities now need to go back and perform a study on whether the garage negatively impacts the neighborhood and would be better suited elsewhere. Kids, this is what happens when you don't do your homework.
· Feds: Local Governments Violated Civil Rights in Trolley Case [Miami Herald]