Could rezoning hurt Surfside survivors financially?

Not necessarily, town leaders say

Former residents of the Champlain Towers South fear that their financial payout from the sale of the land could be limited by a rezoning process that had already been underway before the tragic condo collapse.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Surfside’s town rezoning was underway before the catastrophe at the Champlain Towers South.

It adds insult to injury, survivors say. That rezoning cuts the property size — now just short of two acres — and reduces the number of units, and with that, they fear, the financial return to those who lost everything.

“It was a tragedy,” survivor Daniela Silva said. “They should not impose this new zoning on our land.”

Added Susie Rodriguez: “We all need, you know, the best outcome with the sale of the land. And I’m just appalled that they would take any action that would hurt us at this point.”

A group of 75 residents signed off on a letter to town leaders, a day after the judge hearing the cases from the condominium collapse seemed to support them.

Mayor Charles Burkett emailed an answer Thursday that the rezoning could actually increase the value with higher-end development.

“The residents have made it very clear, their most important priority is to protect their quality of life in Surfside,” said Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer.

City leaders who ran on promises to keep Surfside development controlled and high-rise-free say survivors are hearing a false narrative.

“It has been planted there in their mind by the attorneys here, by the judge, by the receiver — by everyone who’s whispering in their ear,” Salzhauer said.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."