Jul 26, 2023 - Development

Proposal to expand Surfside memorial onto collapse site fails

The site of the Champlain Towers South collapse.

The site of the former Champlain Towers South. Photo: Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

A proposed zoning change in Surfside that would have designated a piece of the Champlain Towers South collapse site for a planned memorial failed at a commission meeting last night.

Why it matters: Family members whose loved ones were among the 98 victims of the collapse have long demanded a memorial be built on a bigger portion of the site. The new owner of the property, the Dubai-based developer Damac Properties, has expressed concern over giving up a large chunk of the land.

Driving the news: The proposed ordinance would have allowed the commission to grant Damac more design flexibility for its planned condo project on the site in exchange for giving the town a 10-foot easement on the property.

  • The town is already planning a memorial park on the adjacent 88th Street, which would have been expanded onto the Champlain Towers South property under the proposal.

What they're saying: Chana Ainsworth, whose parents died in the collapse, said during the meeting that she supported getting as much of the memorial on the property as possible.

  • "It's disappointing, but the whole situation is disappointing," she told Axios after the vote. "We're completely helpless."

David Rodan, whose brother and three cousins died in the collapse, criticized the proposal for giving Damac "preferential treatment."

  • "We just want a memorial as close to Collins Avenue as possible," he said during the meeting.
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