Neighbors and residents along Granada Blvd across the canal from Baptist Health/Doctors Hospital will lose important environmental benefits, privacy, and property values from the sale of the city parking lot 24 leased to Baptist Health for valet parking.  The lot will undergo size and capacity transformation, removal of vegetation, construction of walls and a long-term plantings plan for 15 to 25 growth. There will be a huge increase in light and noise pollution in the neighborhood.

The valet parking sale will likely lead sooner or later to the construction of a parking garage or the introduction of mechanized car lifts on the lot (per the public request of Baptist representatives favoring the lift solution).  The city can control future land use only if the parking lot continues strictly as a lease.

Contrary to the current culture of consultation in the City of Coral Gables, the affected neighbors were not consulted about the sale during a process that began in 2016 until a first small meeting on June 29, 2021,in which the agreement for landscaping and parking was presented as a fully agreed upon re-landscaping and parking expansion between the City and Baptist Hospital.  

The sale and landscaping plan was presented to the neighbors as a fait accompli and will involve denuding existing land adjacent to the canal to be replanted for slow growth and low maintenance that will take 15 to 25 years!  There are big questions about the current appraisal and negotiation of the sale of $3.0 million.   Baptist Health has financed both the appraisals and the landscaping plan agreement.

The landscaping plan will expose neighbors to the full view of the hospital building, its strong 24 hour night lighting and increased valet traffic on University Drive for the expanded and reshaped valet parking lot.

In short, the city gains $3.0 million from the sale, Baptist Health gains long-term control over the parking lot and the neighbors lose a dense green barrier, lose hospital light mitigation, lose quiet traffic and suffer decreased property values.

This land sale to Baptist Health/Doctors Hospital adds to trends for single property owners and impacts on local neighborhoods of unrestrained traffic congestion, noise, strong light contamination, loss of local green areas and associated environmental benefits and wildlife, along with the possible loss in property values, and forced spending by homeowners to mitigate the damage. 

Therefore the City and Doctors Hospital/Baptist Health appear willing to sacrifice individual owner resident environmentq  for the parking lot development.

Doctors Hospital: No Green Barrier in 2008

These 2008 images show the Coral Gables-owned municipal parking lot #24 that was leased to Doctors Hospital since the late 1980’s. The lease contract requires that the hospital maintain the landscaping, which should hide the view of the building and sustain a green buffer in the neighborhood. Here in 2008 there was neither.

This is suggestive of what the valet parking lot may look like in the future if not carefully managed and overseen by the City of Coral Gables.

Doctors Hospital 2008

Coral Gables Election: NOT ONE CANDIDATE (5)…

…has demonstrated a deep concern for the environmental impact and the sustainability of the environment resulting from aggressive city development, large-scale building, the mitigation of potential growing pollution in the city and the potential degradation of remaining green areas.

The City of Coral Gables contracted a “Coral Gables Community Sustainability Assessment” (2015) that obtained very detailed verification and accounting on the status of the environment, city policies and measurement of gaps in policies and measures. In relationship to the assessment there was prepared the “Coral Gables Sustainability Master Plan” (Oct.2015). There has been little actual interest in following up on the Master Plan and a re-evaluation of the Assessment.

Another Lofty Visitor This Week

The wildlife love the canal area adjacent to Doctors Hospital because of the dense green vegetation and buffer.

Beautiful Visitor to Our Neighborhood

Enjoying this beautiful visitor to our neighborhood in this time of COVID staying at home.

This is a view of essential micro-environments for wildlife near the Doctors Hospital valet parking lot here in Coral Gables, FL.

PROTECT THE MANATEES: Feeding at Coral Gables Canal, Doctors Hospital

The dense green buffer on the parking lot at Doctors Hospital is a place on the canal for feeding and rest for manatees that seek out warmer and quieter waters during the winter. Many manatees and their calves are seen there during the months and feeding directly off the plants that grow out over the water along the edge of the canal in Coral Gables. This is clear and important environmental benefit for many wildlife along this quiet narrow stretch of the canal that deserves serious permanent protection.

See Miami-Dade County protection guidelines cited below:

Manatees and cold weather manatees live in Miami-Dade County year-round, but during the winter, large numbers of manatees move south or to springs and heated discharges from power plants. Manatees suffer from the cold when water temperatures fall below 68 degrees. They may become ill or die if they are unable to find refuge in warmer waters over a prolonged period. In Miami-Dade, canals and rivers that are influenced by warmer groundwater flows provide refuge for cold-stressed manatees. It is important that manatees be able to reach these shelters and rest in them with little or no disturbance from human activities. The best way to help manatees in cold weather is to avoid disturbing them, watch for signs of stress or injury and notify the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of any manatee in distress.

Manatee Protection – Miami-Dade County

Neighborhood Light Pollution: DOCTORS HOSPITAL VALET PARKING

This is the existing night time light contamination from Doctors Hospital, penetrating through the city-owned valet parking lot and penetrating through a very dense green buffer along the Coral Gables Waterway. The alternation, removal and installation of new landscaping may very significantly increase light contamination to the neighbors. Also, it is not known at this date if the city will allow for additional lighting on the future expanded parking lot after it is sold to Baptist Health, as planned.