City mulls turning over public alleys to property owners

An alleyway
An alleyway

Miami’s politicians have been known to gift public land to wealthy developers. But on Monday, commissioners could decide to give away property to the people – it just happens to be land no one particularly wants.

If the measure passes, thousands of home and business owners will be gifted the overgrown and fenced-off alleys behind their properties, according to the Miami Herald.

“To me, it don’t seem to be too much of a value,” Gwen Johnson, who might receive part of a 10-foot alley behind her Overtown home, told the newspaper. “They’re giving us their trash to clean up.”

The city became interested in giving up its right to public alleys following complaints from property owners about drugs, dumping, prostitution and homelessness, according to Public Works director Ed Santamaria.

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Originally, the alleys were created by developers for public access for solid waste pickup, ambulances and other services. But a recent audit of Miami’s alleys found that 313 were unpaved, unused and often encroached upon by surrounding homeowners and commercial properties.

“These are public alleys that existed only on paper. They didn’t functionally serve their intended purposes for various reasons,” Santamaria said.

But many locals are unhappy about the prospect.

“It’s weird, to be honest with you,” said Leonvil Dareus, who would get part of a 10-foot alley behind her house on 75th Street. “Getting something for free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free.” [Miami Herald] – Christopher Cameron