Anyone walking in downtown after business hours is greeted with the unwelcoming sight of several storefronts closed off with shutters or metal-barred screens. It's not perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing sight. Well, a new ordinance would ban such screens in an attempt to make downtown more visually pleasing and welcoming.
Such rules are already in place in Coconut Grove, and unsurprisingly it was Grove resident and Commissioner Marc Sarnoff who brought the ordinance before the council.
The ordinance would ban most types of opaque security screens and shutters. Businesses would have two years to come into compliance, and the city will help with the cost in some cases through the Downtown Development Agency. Any building that seeks a permit to replace windows or remodel their exterior will have to comply immediately.
Business could instead install transparent security shutters on the inside or high-impact glass.
Once the buildings remove the shutters any highly reflective surfaces must be removed from the ground floor of the building. Buildings that have transparent security screens and shutter installed on the outside would be grandfathered in, but such screens would not be an option for new construction.
The amendment passed on its first reading unanimously, and a successful final vote is expected later.
"Our downtown should be like downtown Paris, or Rome," Commissioner Francis Suarez told Miami Today who also added that most business owners are on board as long as they receive some financial assistance.