How BHA Works
Organizational Governing Structure
Condominium associations in the Brickell area between Miami River and SE 26th Road make up the BHA Membership. A Representative from each of the member condominium associations holds a seat on the BHA Board of Directors. Each has a vote on the Board. Participation from an Alternate from each member is also encouraged in the event the primary rep cannot attend a meeting. Both the Representative and the Alternate, as well as the Property Manager and any other officers the member association wishes, are included on the BHA mailing list to receive notice of all meetings, events and timely developments.
BHA organizes its Board meetings with speakers of immediate interest to the Brickell community. These forums help to inform and direct the work of BHA, which is accomplished through a committee structure and through BHA representation on important governmental and community groups.
The advocacy work of BHA is carried out by volunteers, therefore participation of residents is important and desired in BHA activities and programs. Residents interested in attending a meeting or becoming involved in other ways are urged to be in contact with their condominium representative. Through this structure, the matter, if needed, can be brought before the larger group. Often issues require simply linking resources or officials to find resolution, and BHA serves as an information and referral conduit.
Awareness of Issues
To directly communicate with residents, timely topics are covered in the Association’s quarterly newsletter, BHA News, which is distributed to each household in BHA…some 8,000 copies currently. BHA News marked its 60th edition in 2011. Information of importance to Brickell neighbors is also covered on the BHA website which contains a comprehensive tracking of topics over time. This serves to help hold public officials accountable for timetables and promises and serves an important watchdog function. These major topics/issues addressed by BHA are chronicled under Advocacy Arena.
In an effort to ensure the BHA voice is heard in the political arena, the BHA helped create the Brickell Neighborhood Political Action Committee, an independent body that watches out for the interests of area residents in matters of local government, and supports and endorses candidates who fairly represent these interests. The PAC empowers all residents, whether or not they are registered to vote here. Awareness of the PAC’s formation in 1997 had an immediate salutary effect. The Brickell Neighborhood PAC evolved to a coalition that successfully reduced the Fire Rescue Fee in 1998 to a formula equitable with single-family homeowners, and later the BNPAC advocated for the rebate of the unconstitutionally charged fee. The PAC has helped to ensure that elected officials are aware of Brickell area residents’ viewpoints, reaching out to the ever-changing faces in office.
State of Florida, County and City Commissioners and their aides, as well as key department heads, are regular participants in BHA meetings so that they can address residents’ concerns as they arise. The BHA has been successful in fighting for quality of life issues, and where we have not met with decided victory, we have kept vigilant so BHA views are continually in front of and on the minds of governmental staffers and elected officials. Often when dealing with governmental officials, timetables that initially seem like a matter of weeks easily become a matter of months and years.
Highlights of Activities & Accomplishments
- Convinced FDOT to change the danger flashing yellow pedestrian beacon at 18th and Brickell to a pedestrian-activated red light.
- A new park for Brickell was opened at 1814 Brickell Avenue. The land was purchased and developed into a park with the efforts of Commissioner Marc Sarnoff who pledged to find more green space for Brickell when he took office in 2007.
- Finally convinced FDOT to lower the speed limit on Brickell Avenue from 40 mph to 35 mph after construction is completed on the rehabilitation project in 2012. Efforts to maintain all of Brickell at 30 mph continues.
- Secured new modern light poles for ALL of Brickell Avenue as part of the Brickell Avenue resurfacing and rehabilitation project.
- Again had to advocate for an accessible polling location in 2010-11 when Brickell residents were moved to Jose Marti Park. An agreement was struck to move the polling location back to UTD Towers in the heart of residential Brickell.
- Advocated for the re-landscaping of 15th Road, Broadway, in cooperation with The Rilea Group, and to have a traffic circle installed to improve this unsafe intersection with challenging site lines.
- Brickell Avenue Streetscape Plan, was originally conceived and launched by BHA, although several inadequacies in workmanship and design flaws continue to be pursued for improvement.
- Successfully held 18 Candidates Forums to give all Brickell residents an opportunity to hear from and address candidates for offices that impact our neighborhood. The October 2009 Forum filled the Museum of Science auditorium with interested residents and candidates.
- Persuaded the City to remove the bus benches with advertising panels that stuck out into the sidewalks and were an aesthetic eyesore to our residential neighborhood.
- The grouped news racks that were a visual blight collecting trash and offering predominantly non-desirable advertising circulars, were finally removed, overcoming the City’s shoddy attempt at advertising revenue at the cost of community aesthetics.
- Thwarted a plan without public input by Metro-Dade Transportation to relocate the Greyhound Bus Terminal to the Brickell area. (2003)
- Doggie poop signs installed on Brickell in response to Brickell neighbors’ complaints, BHA articles and request to NET.
- Canine Courtesy enforcement and education program launched and funded by BHA in 2008, reinstituted in 2009.
- Re-landscaping and planting of SE 25th Road, in cooperation with the developers of The Metropolitan which included benches in mini-park by the bay, underground irrigation, new trees and sod. (ca. 2000)
- Advocated for relief from odors from Virginia Key Sewage Treatment Plant, for several years; following the proposed development of Virginia Key. (2009).
- Stopped the owner of 1900 Brickell Avenue, a single family residence, from opening commercial establishments at the location, although a new owner continues the same battles with Brickell neighbors despite being in violation of the City’s original granted exceptions. The first prevailed in establishing a doctor’s office, then he wanted a health clinic and a spa which the City denied. He tried to pave over the front yard for a parking lot, and did pretty well do that, erect large, commercial signs and change the original use granted by City covenant. The new owner is in violation of the original variances and waivers and did not put in the promised new trees and landscaping. (1996 and ongoing).
- Worked on re-establishing shoreline debris cleaned up by County vessel.
- Successfully advocated for exempting condominium associations from commercial garbage supplemental fee, which condos were charged by the City of Miami in its financial crisis. The refund garnered for BHA Condo Associations was in excess of $25,000. (1998)
- BHA leaders have been active participants in the Airplane Noise Abatement Task Force for years, working to eliminate the gross noise pollution that has become a major concern for Brickell residents as well as for many homeowners countywide by advocating for flight pattern and pilot procedures changes.
- Involved with committee that worked on getting athletic fields on Virginia Key, and for the protection and renewal of Simpson and Alice Wainwright Parks.
- Sponsor educational seminars with for property managers and residents.
- Brickell Avenue beautification in cooperation with Bristol Tower developer (1996).
- Successfully advocated for the relocation of UTD Union meetings at the residential tower, which clogged streets, destroyed median plantings and disrupted the neighborhood ambiance (1994).
- Patrolling, signage and enforcement of liter-causing fishermen along Brickell Bay Drive.
- Removal of homeless encampment under Rickenbacker Causeway.
- Graffiti removal in cooperation with City of Miami whereby BHA reps alert upon first site (ongoing).
- Persuaded the County to pass an ordinance outlawing noisy jet ski launches on the north side of Rickenbacker Causeway (1990)
- Successful in winning prohibition of advertising lightpole banners on Brickell Avenue from 15th to 25th Roads. (2001)
- Arranged for polling site to be moved from north of the Miami River to the Sheraton Brickell Point when it first opened, and subsequently, when it was razed, to Fire Station 4 instead of Jose Marti Park as first decided by the County Elections Dept. (ca. 1990 and again 2005)
- Advocated and got Emergency Rescue at Fire Station #4. (ca. 1992)
- Successfully took the lead against the building of a memorial for immigrants lost at sea which would have been a traffic hazard at the southwest corner of 26th Road and Brickell Avenue.
- Supported the redevelopment of the blighted surrounding area to create Mary Brickell Village.
- BHA has built up relationships over the years with the City and County so that whenever anything comes up affecting the Brickell neighborhood, they ask for our input. When a developer or other private interest approaches the City, they often direct them to the BHA first for input on their concept or desire.
Member association dues at $6 per unit, per year fund communications and other related organizational expenses. Associate Members are invited who have interests in the Brickell community.