Frustrated at the lack of information coming from their neighboring municipality about a controversial development on Watson Island, two senior Miami Beach officials have warned their Miami counterparts that legal proceedings may be on the horizon.
Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales and City Attorney Raul Aguila sent a letter to Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso and City Attorney Victoria Mendez Jan. 8 complaining that the city of Miami has yet to answer questions sent in April about issues with the latest approved plans for the Flagstone Island Gardens project. Beach officials have long worried that the project, which includes a mega-yacht marina, commercial space and two hotel towers, will clog the MacArthur Causeway, the main drag in and out of South Beach.
Beach commissioners, wary of city of Miami's assurances to the contrary, voted one year ago to commission their own traffic study. But Morales and Aguila say the study can't be completed without more information from the city of Miami, which leased the land on Watson Island to Flagstone and was responsible for reviewing the project.
On Friday, Morales and Aguila threatened legal action -- specifically, state-required mediation -- if the city doesn't respond to their concerns.
The warnings are similar to threats last year from the Village of Key Biscayne, which sued the city in February over plans to build an event space on the Rickenbacker Causeway next to the Marine Stadium. The lawsuit forced the two municipalities into an extended mediation that ultimately fell apart. Key Biscayne officials have repeatedly accused the city of ignoring records requests and engaging "in bad faith."
The village's lawsuits against the city are active in court. Meanwhile, Flagstone representatives say their project continues to move forward.