Miami's three sitting city commissioners agreed Thursday to delay the sweeping Miami 21 zoning code for three months, setting the stage for what could be significant changes sought by activists and developers.
Mayor Tomas Regalado, who requested the delay, attempted to allay Miami 21 supporters' fears that he intends to kill the new code, which was approved in October after four years of vetting and hundreds of public meetings, and which he strenuously opposed as a commissioner.
But Regalado made it clear he will reopen the plan for changes, including amendments that would allow for greater public say on specific projects. Such amendments, sought by Miami Neighborhoods United, an activist group, were rejected by planners and a commission majority when the new code was approved. Some of the group's leaders strongly supported Regalado, the lone ``no'' vote on Miami 21, in November's mayoral vote.
"I will pledge to you,'' Regalado said, "Miami 21 will be implemented, but with the input of the new commissioners.''
With no public comment, commissioners Marc Sarnoff, Francis Suarez, and Frank Carollo voted to delay the code's effective date from Feb. 19 to May 20 after about 45 minutes of discussion. The item was a last-minute addition to the agenda for Thursday's regular commission meeting.
Suarez cited the need for input from the ``business community,'' though developers and their lawyers have had dozens of meetings with city planners and officials and have testified repeatedly in public hearings on Miami 21 over several years.
Carollo said he could use more time to study what he said were complex new rules developers would have to follow under Miami 21.
However, the new commission could be setting itself up for further delay in trying to reconcile often mutually exclusive changes sought by neighborhood activists and developers. Attempts by planners and city leaders to balance competing interests was one reason Miami 21 took so long to win approval.
The newest obstacle for Miami 21 is largely the result of changed political dynamics at City Hall.
Regalado defeated a Miami 21 supporter, former commission Chairman Joe Sanchez, in the race to succeed term-limited Mayor Manny Diaz, who made the new code a centerpiece of his administration. The election also installed two Regalado allies on the commission to join a third ally, veteran Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
Two Miami 21 supporters, meanwhile, were forced off the commission by corruption charges. Their seats remain vacant pending a special election in January.