Report on actions taken at Town Council regular meeting

Community Wednesday, October 16, 2013


To help save applicants and residents money for a zoning appeal through the courts, the Town of Miami Lakes is sponsoring an ordinance that calls for the Town Council to review the decisions but only by a super majority vote. 

Vice Mayor Manny Cid made the recommendation at the October 8 regular Town Council meeting, saying it’s too expensive and cumbersome for the applicants’ appeals to be handled  by the courts after their plans were rejected by the town’s Zoning and Planning Board. 

Councilmembers approved his suggestion after Cid accepted Councilmember Tony Lama’s “friendly’ amendment that lawmakers review the decisions on a super majority vote of 5-2 instead of 4-3. The costs related to the appeal, including advertising will be paid by the applicant requesting the appeal. 

Town staff will create an ordinance to make it official at the November 12 regular meeting. In other Town Council news: 

• Councilmembers on first reading approved an ordinance to adopt an modification to the existing building permit fee schedule. After utilizing the approved Building Permit Fee Schedule, there has been an expressed need for a change to the fee schedule for the purpose of facilitating the concurrent electronic plan review within Miami Lakes and outside agencies. • Lawmakers on first reading approved an ordinance that would allow residents to decide through a referendum whether to increase the size of the town through annexation. The decision currently lies with councilmembers following a public hearing. 

• Councilmembers on first reading approved an ordinance to revise the town’s election campaign finance and reporting law to revert to state law, which was substantially modified in 2013. The new law provides substantial additional reporting requirements, including contribution limits. 

• Lawmakers on first reading approved an ordinance limiting the Mayor’s office to having one executive assistant to help him with town business. The four ordinances are scheduled for second reading and a  public hearing at the November 12 regular Town Council meeting. Resolutions: 

• Councilmembers approved a work order for roadway milling and resurfacing, limited drainage improvements, and American with Disabilities Act compliant pedestrian ramps with some decorative crosswalks for an area labeled as Section Four that encompasses Miami Lakes Drive to the north, N.W. 67 Avenue to the east, Miami Lakeway South to the south and west. The area also includes Miami Lakeway Drive from Miami Lakeway South to Ludlum Road. The work order is not to exceed $123,473, which is comprised of the $112,248 proposal and $11,224 for additional services. 

• Lawmakers approved a resolution to amend a non-competitive contract to repair sidewalk trip hazards with Florida Sidewalk Solutions by increasing the original contract of  $40,000 per year by $70,000 for a total of $110,000. The move represents a significant cost savings over the traditional method of replacing sidewalks. 

• Councilmembers approved a resolution accepting the award for funds from the Legislative Appropriations Budget consisting of a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for two stages of West Lakes Drainage Improvements, and authorizing the town manager to apply to FEMA for additional drainage improvements to the area. 

• Lawmakers approved a resolution for a Title VI program as required by federal law. Miami Lakes received federal grant funds in the amount of $864,000 for the purchase of two buses to expand the town’s transit system. 

• Councilmembers approved a resolution to award a contract to Cigna Healthcare for health care services for lawmakers and town staff. 

• Lawmakers approved a resolution for a work order proposal for $45,000 with town engineer Kimley Horn and Associates, Inc. for a town-wide greenways and trails master plan. One of the town’s five year strategic plan’s initiatives is to provide additional safe pedestrian and bicycle pathways, starting with the creation of the N.W. 170 Street Greenway, which has become a popular amenity for the public, and a Phase II that will be starting in the next four months. 

• Councilmembers voted to rename the Royal Oaks Park Community Center in honor of former Vice Mayor Roberto Alonso, who died two weeks ago from cancer. Alonso championed the efforts to develop Royal Oaks Park to a full-fledged park and recreation facility. 

• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Ceasar Mestre’s initiative to direct town staff to create an ordinance to allow street parking spaces to count in order to meet parking requirements for town center tenants. 

• Councilmembers approved Vice Mayor Manny Cid’s recommendation to conduct traffic studies to help create safe, efficient, and sustainable and more logical transportation systems. Cid said when residents on Alamanda Avenue and parents whose kids attend Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School, or pedestrians that bike or walk along N.W. 87 Avenue advocate for street design changes, they apply to the county. 

Cid said it’s time for Miami Lakes to cut the red tape and give residents the necessary tools to obtain information on speed or volume of cars and bikes on their streets. Therefore, Cid is proposing to direct the Public Works Department in conjunction with the town’s IT Department to begin utilizing WayCount or similar products. 

• Lawmakers approved Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez’s recommendation of renaming the mayor’s gala to the Town of Miami Lakes Foundation Gala. 

• Councilmembers approved new Councilmember Frank Mingo’s proposal to create a seven-member committee to help the town generate some ideas on how to best use the Par 3 area of the Shula’s Golf Course. 

Each councilmember will pick a member to serve on the committee, which will include presidents of the homeowners associations, or residents living near the area. The committee may go through a charrette to help guide them on what’s best for the land, including the possibility of a passive park, walk and bike paths and beautification.