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Nevertheless, the Vizcaya site isn't the only possibility for the museum. Several cities, including North Miami, Miami Beach, and South Miami, pleaded for the museum. "When we were trying to find the right location, we had areas that were really pitching us to locate there," Terilli explains. "They knew it would be good for their communities. We picked this one because it allowed us to hook into the Metrorail line and serve so many communities that otherwise might not be served. And then we turn around and get grief from some of the neighbors."
So far the museum looks like Vizcatran redux. Last month Miami's Planning Advisory Board voted 5-0 against the relocation. "The board felt that we just don't have that many nice neighborhoods in the city of Miami that we can afford to just put a high-impact commercial or whatever operation right in the middle of one," explains Chip Black, advisory board chairman. "I really don't know why that site is so critical for that museum."
At least two commissioners, however, seem to be leaning toward the museum's side. "If it's well done and the developers get together with the people in the neighborhood, I think that project could fit in there," suggests Commissioner Willy Gort. He emphasizes that potential traffic and parking problems would need to be resolved first.
Commissioner Humberto Hernandez: "I hear it's beautiful. I'm in support of this kind of project because we need it. But if it's an overdevelopment, they're definitely going to have to scale it down."
Commissioner Tomas Regalado says he has not seen the museum plans or heard from Roads residents; until he does, he won't decide how to vote. Mayor Joe Carollo and Commissioner Art Teele did not return several calls seeking comment. Commissioner J.L. Plummer could not be reached.
But Pleban is not banking on support from city commissioners. "We're prepared for a lawsuit," he says. "This is going to be won legally. It's not necessarily going to be won politically.