Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton, who represents the Coconut Grove area, has introduced a measure that would limit the size of retail stores to 70,000 s.f. This city’s Planning Advisory Board will take up the issue March 16th. Winton’s proposal comes as a group called The Grove First has taken on a battle against Home Depot. The discount home improvement chain hopes to take over the entire Grove Gate shopping center near Route 1, which once housed a Kmart store. The defunct Kmart was 70,000 s.f., but residents fear Home Depot will seek to dramatically increase the size of the Kmart footprint, and create a traffic bottleneck into Coconut Grove. So far, Home Depot has not yet filed any plans, so the size cap would be binding on their plans. ”There are good developers and there are bad developers,” Winton told the Miami Herald. “We’re going after the lousy developers who have been attacking the Grove.” Home Depot has had to hire a public relations firm to present its views to the public. Winton’s amendment would be add to the Grove’s Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD), which aims to use zoning to maintain the area’s character. The NCD currently applies to areas zoned for single family homes, but the amendment would expand the district to include areas zoned as restricted commercial. ”This is to minimize the negative effects a large retailer like Home Depot will have on the abutting properties,” Grove First’s attorney, Tucker Gibbs, told the Herald. The Grove Merchants Association has come out in favor of the size cap. ”I don’t have anything against Home Depot, per se, but if they put one at one of our doorways, they’ll change Coconut Grove for the worse, forever,” the head of the merchant’s group said. There is already a Home Depot store located within a five minute drive of the Grove Gate shopping center.
For an earlier story on the citizen’s effort to block Home Depot from supersizing the Grove, search Newflash by “Miami.”