Builder Beware

Welcome to the new Miami Beach, where the citizens are angry, commissioners are cowed, and developers are Public Enemy #1

Some on the city commission appear just as wrathful about this process as Shubin. So much so that Commissioner Martin Shapiro, from the dais at a February 18 commission meeting, suggested that the city actually hire Shubin as a consultant to find ways to stop pending projects that don't conform to the new zoning ordinances. Commissioner Nancy Liebman seemed amenable, as did Commissioner David Dermer -- the former chairman of the Save Miami Beach group. City Attorney Murray Dubbin, though, sounded a note of caution.

"I'm concerned that a lot of the words spoken may come back to haunt us," Dubbin intoned. "We may be writing a handbook for some developer who thinks he can make more money suing the city than by building a building."

Mayor Kasdin, heeding Dubbin's warnings, did his best to quell the suggestion. With developer litigation already looming, he noted, the last thing the commission needed to do was further provoke the Lucia Doughertys of the world.

In a subsequent interview, Kasdin emphasized that it is time for commissioners to stop trying to score political points by bashing developers. "What Marty was trying to do might actually be destructive of stopping overdevelopment," Kasdin said. "While its sounds good to say over the microphone, it could get the city killed in court.

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