Candidate Questionnaire: Group 1 Responses

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The Miami Design Preservation League sent a questionnaire regarding preservation and development issues to all candidates for the Miami Beach November 2nd 2021 general election. We will be posting each set of responses to our blog and sharing those with our stakeholders. The Group 1 Commission candidate responses we received are listed below.

Note: MDPL is a 501c3 and cannot endorse candidates.

Group 1

Question 1. If elected, I pledge to support historic preservation in Miami Beach.

Adrian Gonzalez: Yes

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: Yes

Raquel Pacheco: Yes

Blake Young: Yes

Historic Preservation. Please select the degree to which you agree or disagree with the following statements:

Question 2. Preservation of historic structures and neighborhoods contributes to the city’s attractiveness to tourists and to the quality of life of its residents.

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Question 3. Miami Beach’s rich architectural landscape is ongoing and should be documented to identify significant structures for historic designation and ensure that designated structures are maintained and preserved, according to the objective criteria of our City code.

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Question 4. Preservation of historic structures and neighborhoods should be integrated in the City’s practices in addressing and mitigating sea level rise. 

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Question 5. New construction should harmonize with historic structures and should not overwhelm streetscapes in footprint, volume, or height. 

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Question 6. Review of building design or urban planning should be conducted in concert with generally accepted historic preservation principles. 

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Question 7. Miami Beach’s historic buildings are not only important in telling the story of our community, but are recognized as nationally significant to our nation’s history. This includes structures of all types – hotels, apartment buildings, office buildings, retail buildings, single-family homes, and more. 

Adrian Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Raquel Pacheco: 5/5 (Strongly Agree)

Blake Young: 3/5 (Neutral)

Landmarks and Historic Designation

Question 8. Some preservationists and Miami Beachers feel that the Historic Preservation Board has become increasingly lax in its regulation of historic districts and landmarked properties, in that it has allowed increasingly out-of-context changes to landmarked buildings and new construction within historic districts. Do you agree with this assessment, and if so, what have you done/would you do as an elected official to help address this? 

Adrian Gonzalez: Miami Beach is a globally recognized architectural icon. Our global status and recognition is because our architectural identity is strong and has a very specific context and point-of-view. Diluting our identity with structures that do not preserve and protect our historic, cultural and architectural identity is a problem with recent development in Miami Beach. If elected to the Commission, I would work with the Board to ensure there are measures in place that allow the Board to enforce the rules and codes that are already on the books, identify loopholes or areas that are exploited to get around the rules and propose measure to close those, and also do a better job of educating the public on the importance of preserving our historic identity.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: I pledge to appoint people to the HPB who I know and can verify that they will be purists in their love of Miami Beach and historic preservation.

Raquel Pacheco: I agree with this statement and if elected I vow to work with the Historic Preservation Board to ensure that any and all changes are reviewed by the HPB before approval.

Blake Young: I think board board does nice job work with our existing laws.

Question 9. How have you worked/would you work as an elected official to reduce the inordinate influence of the real estate industry over policy in Miami Beach and in city government?

Adrian Gonzalez: Real estate professionals and developers need to understand that there is not a conflict between historic preservation and their ability to make a living. Protecting Miami Beach’s status as a global architectural treasure makes good business sense. As an elected official I would recommend increasing the attention to education and promote the commission of studies that tie economics to preservation of our culture and role as an global architectural attraction and increased quality of life.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: Yes. I think my past record speaks for itself.

Raquel Pacheco: I believe that elected officials should do what’s in the best interests of the community at large and not just what’s in the best interest of any specific industry, in this case the real estate industry. Quality of life for residents is at the top of my concerns and I would act in accordance with that value system so strike a balance between the two. 

Blake Young: #donationfreecampaign To much money in our system to get real representation. Campaign finance reform it the best way in my opinion.

Question 10: Where does/would preserving neighborhood scale, character, and historic resources fit into your priorities, and how have/would you go about achieving it? What obstacles or conflicts have you encountered/would you anticipate, and how have you dealt with/would you deal with those?

Adrian Gonzalez: My priorities as a commissioner are to protect and grow our economy, limit traffic, address crime and ultimately maintain and improve our quality of life. Preserving our architecture is a key tenet of these goals. Ensuring our buildings are well maintained and beautiful helps to limit crime as it is well known that buildings in a state of disrepair invite bad behavior. In addition, smart development which is in the context of the beach [e.g. maintaining height and existing building codes] helps to ensure traffic problems do not escalate. In terms of economy, architecture and the historic preservation of it, is a primary tourist attraction of Miami Beach. We don’t want to threaten that with large developments that are out-of-context with our identity, doing so exchanges short term profits for long term growth.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: I believe that the MXE district is being set up for a redevelopment, and when this happens, we are going to have to fight to ensure the context and character of our postcard.

Raquel Pacheco: I am a strong proponent of maintaining the scale, character and historic qualities of our city in tact and would advocate for these measures at every opportunity. I anticipate backlash from developers who want more height but I would adhere to the city charter when considering those requests.

Blake Young: The scale of development is ultra important in small community like ours… Zoning and enforcement seems the best way to me.

Question 11: In general, are there changes to our zoning and planning code you would seek to implement or support, and if so, what are they?

Adrian Gonzalez: First, we need to do a better job of enforcing the zoning and planning codes that are on the books and review our process of making across the board exceptions to well-funded political insiders. That said, there is no one size fits all solution and we need case-by-case review – and the Historic Preservation Board needs to be involved in all those discussions and be given the authority to enforce existing codes.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: As an elected official, I spent most of my time opposing news zoning. I would consider projects that are forward-thinking in terms of pedestrian friends and include both residential and commercial options. I would hate to see our historic district become all transient.

Raquel Pacheco: I’d like to close the loophole that allows for the sale of public land without voter referendum. Additionally I’d like to rezone to avoid hotels, short term rentals, night clubs and bars in residential areas.

Blake Young: No

Question 12: What would you tell a property owner who was opposed to their property being landmarked, given that you as a City Commissioner must ultimately uphold the Historic Preservation Board’s designation based on the objective criteria in the City code when it comes before the City Commission?

Adrian Gonzalez: As a Commissioner I will follow the rules we have in place and the rules we have in place are that Commissioners are expected to uphold the Historic Preservation Board’s designations based on objective criteria in existing code. I would also look for state and Federal funding to incentives property owners to preserve and off set the high expense of historical restoration.

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: It depends on the home

Raquel Pacheco: If the property in question meets all of the criteria for designation I would tell that owner that he/she must adhere to that designation as set forth by City code.

Blake Young: Hopefully we could sell them on working with our plan and show them how they will profit more with this designation. I order to sell them properly, profits must be addressed.

Question 13. The Design Review Board should have all pertinent information on architecturally significant structures before considering their alteration or demolition.

Adrian Gonzalez: Yes

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: Yes

Raquel Pacheco: Yes

Blake Young: Yes

Question 14. I pledge to nominate and/or confirm qualified candidates to all land use boards (Design Review Board, Historic Preservation Board, Board of Adjustment)

Adrian Gonzalez: Yes

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: Yes

Raquel Pacheco: Yes

Blake Young: Yes

Question 15. The City Charter stipulates that any weakening of the powers of the Historic Preservation Board requires approval by the voters. Understanding the intent of the Charter, the governing document of our City, I promise to support and uphold the powers and lawful decisions of the Historic Preservation Board.

Adrian Gonzalez: I agree

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: I agree

Raquel Pacheco: I agree

Blake Young: I agree

Question 16. The Historic Preservation Board has a series of required duties, including recommending structures for historic designation based on objective criteria that follow national standards. If elected, I pledge to support the fact-based findings of the experts on the Historic Preservation Board.

Adrian Gonzalez: I agree

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: I agree

Raquel Pacheco: I agree

Blake Young: I agree

Question 17. I understand that my role as a Mayor or Commissioner is not to second guess or try to subvert the lawful actions of the Historic Preservation Board. The position for which I will be elected is not one of historic preservation expert.

Adrian Gonzalez: I agree

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: I agree

Raquel Pacheco: I agree

Blake Young: I agree

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