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Owners of 7605 Collins Avenue Seek Zoning Change for Oceanfront Property Surrounded by Altos Del Mar Park

In 2001, Rudy and Betsy Pérez acquired the residence at 7605 Collins Avenue for $510,000. The couple, deeply embedded in the Miami Beach community, sought a zoning modification for their nearly 0.2-acre property, which is entirely surrounded by the oceanfront Altos Del Mar park featuring a library, sizable public parking lot, and playground.

In response to vehement opposition to the proposed zoning change, the commission unanimously decided this week to initiate discussions regarding the acquisition of the home, with the intention of integrating it into the park.

Rudy Pérez, a Grammy-award-winning music producer, has been a longstanding Miami Beach resident. His wife, Betsy Pérez, has been actively engaged in the community and made a bid for city commissioner in 2015, ultimately losing in a run-off election against the current commissioner, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez.

Upon purchasing the home, the Pérezs found it surrounded by other single-family residences that were subsequently replaced with a park, which was inaugurated in 2019. The couple was seeking a zoning adjustment to permit various uses including townhouses, office space, retail, and dining establishments — a proposition met with staunch opposition from many attending the meeting.

Critics of the zoning change argued that it would elevate the property’s value at the expense of the park and its patrons. During a fervent hour of public commentary, dissenters questioned the motives of the homeowners, evoked memories of the 1960s Freedom Flights, and accused city commissioners of undermining democracy.

Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez denounced the requested zoning change, deeming it “egregious and something that should not be done.” Commissioner Alex J. Fernandez moved to withdraw the proposed zoning alteration, asserting he was unaware of the Pérezs’ intention to sell the property prior to the meeting.

In her concluding public statement, Betsy Pérez disclosed that she did not initially have intentions to sell the property. The year-long process of pursuing a zoning change had generated so much animosity from her neighbors that she felt compelled to sell.

“This is a cautionary tale,” she expressed. “I will accept your amendment because I can’t live there anymore.”

Commissioner Ricky Arriola criticized the public treatment of Pérez as “unfair and gross,” highlighting that the leading opponent of the zoning change on the board was her former political rival, Rosen Gonzalez.

As the city commission has agreed to negotiate the home’s purchase price, Commissioner David Richardson voiced reservations about the city’s appraisal of the property, valuing it at $4.2 million.

“That property is worth a lot more than $4.2 million,” he remarked.

The negotiation for the house’s sale price will unfold in the ensuing months.

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