We Need to Support Chabad of Cutler Bay – Miami’s Community Newspapers

Posted By on October 10, 2022

Grant Miller

A final vote will come before the Cutler Bay Town Council at the October 19th council meeting regarding an application by Chabad of Cutler Bay to amend the zoning of a parcel of land to Institutional, so the Chabad can at last have a more fitting location.

Chabad of Cutler Bay has been operating out of a small rental space in the town for the past 14 years. The Chabad is the only synagogue in Cutler Bay and there is a need for a permanent, dignified home. Its current subpar rental space is inadequate to serve the community and is not suited for housing sacred texts that are older than 300 years.

Rabbi Yossi Wolf, his wife Mindy and their growing family which includes eight children, have lived in Cutler Bay since 2008. They are not developers. They are not investors or land speculators. They are residents and the Chabads basic mission is to bring heaven down to earth by providing religious services, study of scripture and Hebrew culture. Its purpose is to promote philanthropy, community, and spirituality.

Rabbi Wolff has searched for years to acquire property for a permanent and dignified home for the Chabad and found that there was no available land in Cutler Bay that was already zoned for use as a religious facility. The towns own Growth Management Plan Volume 2 and Zoning Map showed a lack of available land already designated or zoned Institutional in Cutler Bay.

The property at 19650 Old Cutler Road became available and Rabbi Wolffs in-laws purchased the property after meeting with City Staff and being encouraged by their positive response. The current land use designation and zoning would allow up to five two story houses on the property.Cutler Bays professional planning staff and outside planning consultants have recommended approval of Chabads land use, zoning, and modest variance applications.

Chabads proposed plan will be of compatible height, scale, bulk, and design with the existing single family homes in the area. There is currently a dilapidated house built in 1950 on the property.

Other institutional uses nearby include East Ridge at Cutler Bay to the northwest, Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center to the north, Dr. Edward Whigham Elementary to the northeast and Cutler Bay Worship Center l/Golden Horizon Academy to the southwest.

The Chabads plan was originally designed by renowned Cutler Bay architect David Feinberg who passed away last February. Well-known Miami architectural firm, R. E. Chisholm Architects Inc., is finalizing the project.

Rabbi Wolff has worked with staff to create lush landscape buffers from neighbors on all sides.

Since most of Chabads congregants walk to services there will be minimal auto traffic impact. Cutler Bays own traffic consultant, Diana White, agrees. Primary ingress/egress will be through Old Cutler Road with only a small service entrance on 197 Street.

Rabbi Wolff has reached out to the neighbors and found a good deal of community support. Chabad is proffering a covenant that will limit the use on the property to religious institution only, so no schools or other institutional uses will be permitted.

I see no reason why this worthwhile project should not be permitted. Let Chabad of Cutler Bay have the home it deserves.

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We Need to Support Chabad of Cutler Bay - Miami's Community Newspapers

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