A 4-foot-high, 30-foot-long bench made of oolite stone will soon decorate Balboa Plaza in Coral Gables. The massive sculpture, called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” was commissioned by MG Developer, a company building three mid-rise luxury boutique townhouses near Balboa Plaza.

Jenny Ducret, MG Developer’s chief operating officer, recently boasted that the installation will add value to the neighborhood, but she admitted to another consideration: “To get permission to build, we had to contribute to the city’s Art in Public Places program,” Ducret said.

Since 2010, Coral Gables has required that new construction and renovation projects valued at $1 million or more either contribute public art equal to 1 percent of their construction costs or contribute a 1 percent payment to the city’s Art Acquisition Fund.

While smaller South Florida municipalities Palmetto Bay and Doral followed suit in 2015, the city of Miami’s move to create similar legislation for projects valued at $3 million or more has ruffled more than a few feathers. The proposed regulation was scheduled for a vote on Dec. 14.

The art investment requirement would be determined by the value of the project. For instance, if a development costs $3 million to $5 million, the builder would have to create art that is worth 0.5 percent of the construction cost or pay 0.25 percent of the construction cost to the public art fund. The percentages increase as the cost of a development increases.

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