The proposed 11-acre development project known as “Shoppes of Cutler Bay,” featuring a large new Publix Supermarket to be located on Old Cutler Road and SW 208th Street, was denied approval by a 3-2 vote of the Cutler Bay Town Council during its Jan. 16 meeting.
Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin and Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle voted in favor of approving the project, while Mayor Ed MacDougall and Councilmembers Peggy Bell and Mary Ann Mixon voted to deny approval, according to town clerk Debra Eastman.
The project originally had been submitted to the town’s Zoning Department on Jan. 18, 2012, but the large shopping complex to be anchored by Publix with a mix of other stores, restaurants and banks for the area popularly known as the “potato field” faced opposition from some council members as well as nearby residents.
The opposition pointed out that the design did not match requirements of the town’s master plan for the area and was not “green” enough. Some neighboring homeowners also expressed concern about the effects of increased traffic in the area and late night deliveries.
After the vote to deny approval, the attorney for Publix asked the council to waive the usual one year waiting period for reapplying, and the council voted in favor of granting the waiver. But the proposed project will have to resubmitted as a new project and go through the normal procedures through Cutler Bay’s Zoning Department and other agencies.
“I didn’t want to penalize them and make them have to wait a year,” said Mayor MacDougall in a Jan. 22 interview. “I don’t think that’s business friendly. What’s important is that they come to the table with a project. I also have something else we are looking at as a possibility. We are not adverse as a town to hire an architect, put together a master plan for the Garcias [the property owners] with all pre-approvals on the table and let them take a look at it. We’ll bring a world-class project to the table preapproved. I’m sure the Garcia’s won’t have any trouble finding a developer.”