Letter to the Editor - Antonio Camejo on proposed library building

We incorporated Key Biscayne to have a local government that stands up for us. We now seem to be moving backwards. A handful of people decide they want something and then negotiate in private with Miami-Dade to get it imposed from the outside. No local public hearings. No local public input. Just backroom negotiations.

That seems to be the story with the Key Biscayne Library property generously donated by Key Colony developer Fritz Scharenberg for our local library. Scharenberg’s Fininvest conveyed the Key Colony sales office building and property to Miami-Dade with one caveat: that the building be used exclusively as a library and that if the use ever changed, the county would have to sell the property back to Fininvest.

The county is now trying to renege on that agreement in order to build a “multipurpose” multi-story facility, a library in name only, to fulfill its business plan of maximizing revenues from its properties. That seems to be what they have in mind because they have filed a court action to “vacate” a key portion of the Trust Deed, the need for an architectural review committee for any changes to the building. If they are successful, the county will essentially be able to do whatever it wants with the property and building.

Of equal concern is that some well-meaning people in our Village government seem to agree with the actions the county is taking, without consulting local stack-holders. Hopefully our Village government will stand up for the rights of its taxpayers and residents, rather than with the county. Maybe it’s time that we consider opting out of the county library system and develop our own local library in collaboration with major universities. It would be far less expensive and better serve local needs. After all, we pay the county a considerable amount of money per year for the privilege of using our donated property.

Antonio Camejo

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