Pump stations built directly in front of homes

Miami Beach residents say city officials never asked for their input

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - With flashing lights and an alarm system, a pump station stands tall in front of Alex Podrizki's house

"It makes the house and the whole street look horrendous and clearly devalues the home," he said. "As the structure starts coming up above ground, we start getting concerned. They tell us don't worry, everything's going to be underground... We've never been kept in the loop about this."

"It just looks horrible and ugly," added Will Stein, a neighbor.

The five pump stations being installed south of Arthur Godfrey Road and west of Pine Tree Drive will pump rainwater out of the area. But those who live in the neighborhood believe city officials kept details of the plan secret.

"In fact, it was us going out, talking to the people doing the construction and saying 'hey, what's going on?'" said Elizabeth Vivero.

"We'd like this to be knocked down and rebuilt somewhere else," added Podrizki.

Some of the pump stations have been installed in medians instead of directly in front of homes.

"I think it could have been done better. I think that maybe it could have been put somewhere else," said Mayor Phillip Levine.

Levine said removing the pump stations would cost $1 million each. He said they will be made smaller, redesigned, and covered by landscaping at the city's expense.

Assistant City Manager Mark Taxis began working for the city after the design was finished.

"It was part of an engineered plan to convey storm water," he said, adding that the pump stations were strategically installed at low points so water can run down.

Residents said it wouldn't have gotten that far if they would've had some input.

"I can't say specifically that we went door to door and say you all have this type of facility directly in front of your house," said David Martinez, acting director of the city's capital improvements.

Martinez added that he didn't believe an impact study was done.

"Going forward, we will be more proactive as opposed to having to be reactive in a situation like this," said Levine.

"It looks like the city of Miami Beach is putting a big middle finger in front of our home to be perfectly honest," said Podrizki.

The city doesn't yet have a cost estimate on redesigning the pump stations.

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