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A plan to invest several hundred million dollars into a new proposed luxury condo at the site of the old Silver Sands hotel in Key Biscayne drew concerns about drainage and traffic issues.

Mayor Joe Rasco said one of his top concerns was weekend traffic. 

“We wanna make sure that this project doesn’t add to our issues in that area — include and incorporate that, please,” he said to the developer, David Martin. 

The plan, according to Martin, the CEO of Miami-based Terra, includes raising the building three feet to account for sea level rise and requesting a change to the village’s zoning to allow a 14-story condo  rather than a hotel. 

At a workshop led by council members Thursday, more than 60 people attended. A few expressed conflicting opinions on the project after learning for the first time about its details. Although there were worries, the majority of people appeared composed. A number of people strolled over to congratulate Martin on the effort. 

According to Martin, the 3-foot elevation is a component of his team’s plan to construct more robust buildings. These buildings will be able to store more water and exceed FEMA standards, which are subject to modification. 

In order to hold water and prevent it from overwhelming the stormwater management system, the building will have drainage wells, injection wells and water quality wells. 

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“The more we can store water to alleviate, that’ll create a mitigating effect,” he said.

But resident Al Menendez doesn’t think so. 

For the proposed condo’s water drainage plan to work, he said, other people will also have to raise their facilities. He’s concerned about unintended issues that Martin’s drainage solution could cause. 

In terms of traffic, Melendez doesn’t foresee any issues, he said, adding that regardless of the hotel or a condo at the site, there will still be traffic. Either building will simply cause traffic at different times, he said.

Martin’s team did a traffic comparison between its proposal and that of a 116 unit hotel, which current zoning rules allow on the site. He said the study found the condo project would experience between 80% and 120% less traffic during peak hours in the morning and afternoon than a hotel would create.

Martin said he doesn’t know what his next step will be if the Village denied the zoning change request. 

“My goal is to work with the community and figure out what I need to adapt [and] how can I address any of the community’s comments,” he said. “We’ve been getting a lot of warm welcome from a lot of amazing residents from Key Biscayne. We’re excited to continue to work with them.”

BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for America

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BIILY JEAN LOUIS is the senior editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. A native of Port Au Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis  has worked for Bloomberg and the Baltimore Sun. He is a corps member of Report for...