On March 15, 2023, the City of Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) voted 6 to 3 to uphold an appeal filed regarding the County’s demolition waiver for the Coconut Grove Playhouse. This will delay implementation of the project. It is important to point out the following:
• Although City demolition waivers deal exclusively with the City’s tree preservation ordinance, the public commentary opposing the County’s plan and the PZAB discussion never mentioned a problem with or objection to the County’s Tree Disposition Plan and Planting Details and the Arborist’s Tree Resource Evaluation Report for the project.
• The City of Miami’s Zoning Administrator had reviewed the County’s demolition waiver, found that it had complied with City requirements and approved it.
• The written appeal of the City’s approval filed by lawyer David Winker on behalf of two Playhouse-adjacent property owners did not address tree protection.
• The appeal was factually incorrect and unsupported in all of its assertions and at the PZAB meeting, the Assistant County Attorneys articulately and forcefully demonstrated that the appeal was without merit.
• City staff supported the County’s position that the appeal was without grounds and maintained that the PZAB should deny the appeal.
The discussion at the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board – intended to focus exclusively on the tree preservation aspect of the project – was used as an opportunity to delay the renovation process for an unrelated appeal. The County is reviewing options with the Office of the County Attorney on next steps and remains committed to the goals of restoring theater to this iconic and historic venue. The plan for the Coconut Grove Playhouse significantly improves tree resources and landscaping on the site – as well as restoring the Playhouse’s historic front building, bringing back theater to this important site and reactivating a gateway to Coconut Grove. The plan will allow for great performances for residents and families to return to the Playhouse as well as provide additional parking not only for the theater but for the area’s businesses and educational institutions.
View a comprehensive list of all the previous project updates at https://miamidadearts.org/coconut-grove-playhouse-updates.