Miami Lakes reaches settlement on somber home

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 0 Comments

The nightmare for Miami Lakes residents who endured a spate of disturbances from people living at a home operating as a dormitory for recovery drug addicts is over.
Miami Lakes and the homeowners, Rode Blanco and Jenny Del Pino, who leased the home to Florida Health and Life Recovery Center at 8821 N.W. 153 Terrace, reached a settlement agreement that includes terminating the lease with the agency.
The lease expires in December 2020, said assistant town attorney Lorenzo Cobiella in a report at the June 4 regular council meeting.
The somber home was used for a dormitory for recovering drug addicts who were treated at another location. But the neighbors claimed they allegedly caused disturbances and the police were called to the location to investigate. Reportedly, no arrests were made but the police had to break up several verbal and physical altercations.
Last year, residents turned to council members for help but town officials hands were tied then since drug addition is considered a disability, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, drug treatment centers can be placed anywhere under the Fair Housing Act.
Mayor Manny Cid reached out to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who’s sponsoring a bill to repeal a federal law which allows drug treatment centers in residential neighborhoods under the ADA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.
But in the meantime, Miami Lakes strengthened the town’s code enforcement standards and the occupational licenses procedures as the first step to curtail the problem.
According to Town Attorney Raul Gastesi, U.S. Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings less than two years ago on the home, but the property owners, the bank and Miami Lakes reached an agreement which allows them to return once again to the real property and use it as their homestead.
Blanco and Del Pino can stave off foreclosure by making the mortgage payments among the conditions under the agreement. If not, U.S. Bank would take over the property permanently and Blanco and Del Pino can file for bankruptcy which would kill the deal, Gastesi said.
Also, the deal includes Miami Lakes’ agreement to suspend their accruing code violations subject to their compliance with the terms of the agreement.
“The proposed settlement agreement will protect the health and welfare of the town and bring the real property into full compliance with the town’s code,” Gastesi said.
In other Town Council actions:
• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance to amend the town’s current budget to carry forward the fund balance in the special revenue fund based on fiscal year 2017-2018, recognize grants awarded to the town and donations received from specific town events, and amend select budget line items to provide funding for projects in the capital projects fund.
Some of the carry forward fund balance adjustments include general fund balance of $4.2 million for Hurricane Irma expenses for clean up and recovery efforts; $506,000 for litigation and settlement reserve; and $769,000 for one-time capital improvement expenditures ($316,670 for Miami Lakes Optimist Park master plan and $150,000 for Optimist Clubhouse storage facility).
• Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance which prohibits overnight street parking for commercial vehicles within the town’s rights-of-way adjacent to residential neighborhoods, parks and government buildings, indicating they create hazardous conditions by blocking visibility for other motorists and encroach onto travel lanes and sidewalks.
The ordinance bans parking in any right-of-way abutting either a residential district or a government facility that contains a park, public playground, library, fire station and police station.
• Council members approved a resolution to reestablish the town’s Blasting Advisory Board to resume making recommendations to resolve the damages blasting is allegedly causing to residents’ homes. But the new group will consist of about 7 members instead of 14 and given a budget for their meetings.
• Council members approved a resolution to amend conditions to an indoor shooting range in an industrial district of Miami Lakes. Andy’s Shooting Range is currently housed inside an industrial building at 14000 N.W. 82 Avenue.
The resolution would modify the final as-built layout of the facility, the allowable noise levels, the use of the range by the public and regarding the hours of operation.
• Lawmakers approved Vice Mayor Nelson Rodriguez’s recommendation for town staff to evaluate the possibility for funding for Miami Lakes Optimist Park improvements, the N.W. 154 Street Bridge Park, the K-9 Cove dog park, lighting at Barbara Goleman High’s athletic fields and a new sporting field at Bob Graham Education Center.
Rodriguez initially placed the Par 3 golf course park on his list but put it aside for now considering the amount of time it would take to get it built and up and running.
He said residents want the bridge park to prevent an I-75 interchange at Miami Lakes Drive which would generate more traffic through the town.
Rodriguez said he’s seeking a system of options where “everyone” will be happy, especially with the methods used to fund the projects.
“It’s giving the town options and letting us know the costs for hard infrastructure that has to be done right away,” Rodriguez said.
• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Marilyn Ruano’s proposal to terminate the contract with the town’s police school resource officers protecting Miami Lakes’ schools since Miami-Dade County is providing its own resource officers.
• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Luis Collazo’s proposal to review the town’s lobbyists duties since Miami Lakes was unaware about the county’s plans to change aviation regulations for Opa-locka Airport which would impede on further development for the town, and proposals to open-up the bridges at N.W. 154 Street and N.W. 170 Street.
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