Review of agenda items at Council's meeting

Community By David L. Snelling, The Miami Laker staff Wednesday, January 22, 2014


To enhance on-street parking spaces and a pedestrian ambiance in the Town Center Downtown area, the Town of Miami Lakes is proposing a pay  per-space fee for landowners and business owners in exchange for including additional parking spaces in its required parking zone.

At the January 14 regular Town Council meeting, lawmakers, on first reading, were expected to vote for an ordinance which would establish a payment in lieu of required parking program in the Town Center area split into two districts – east and west of Northwest 67 Avenue.

The Town would use the revenues to improve on-street parking spaces, stripping and landscaping islands, and make the area more pedestrian friendly for people walking to the businesses in the area.

The town’s Land Development Code (LDC) specifies the minimum number of vehicle parking spaces that each type of land use in the Town must have, all of which must be provided on private property.

The businesses located in the Town Center area have been limited by these requirements due to the number of private parking spaces available and limited opportunities to develop additional parking lots.

For example, the parking spaces required for a sit-down restaurant is five times that of a retail establishment for the same size space. However, the Town Center area is different from other areas of Miami Lakes in that there is a significant supply of on-street parking on public streets. Despite the fact that this is routinely used by patrons of businesses in the area, it does not count toward required parking.

If the ordinance is adopted on second reading following a public hearing in February, the measure could provide several benefits, both for commerce and for urban design within the Town Center area.

It could facilitate the opening of businesses in the Downtown area that would otherwise not be possible, including dining and entertainment establishments.

In addition, the ordinance could lessen the need to develop parking facilities (parking lots and garages) on private property, which will both enhance the Town Center area as the Miami Lakes downtown, pedestrian-oriented center, and leave more opportunities for development of businesses.

The parking and pedestrian improvements funded by the in-lieu fees would make more efficient use of existing on-street parking, beautify the area and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment with such amenities as crosswalks, street trees and bump-outs/landscape islands that make crossing distances shorter.

The per space fee would be set by the Council by resolution. Town staff will present a recommended fee at the time of second reading of the ordinance.

Also on first reading, councilmembers were expected to approve an ordinance to amend the 2012-2013 budget carryover to fund the completion of projects budgeted and commenced in the prior fiscal year that were not completed, allocate a portion of the carry-over to fund park capital improvements, and establish a reserve for the Town Council to fund new initiatives throughout the fiscal year.

In addition, due to changes in legislation affecting the People’s Transportation Plan (PTP), Miami Lakes added a new section to the special revenue fund to better track the use of these funds.

In other Town Council news:

On second reading, councilmembers were expected to approve an ordinance to correct a situation where a zoning requirement to screen rooftop air conditioning equipment on townhouse properties inadvertently requires installation of a new roof or substantial roof alterations.

Also on second reading, lawmakers were expected to enact a measure that would allow the Town Council to review zoning appeals but only by a super majority vote instead of applicants taking their cases to court after their plans were rejected by the town’s zoning and planning board.

Councilmembers were expected to award a contract in the amount of $35,000 to SFM Services for street sweeping services for about 29 miles of town controlled roads on a bi-weekly basis.

The award amount consists of SFM Services bid amount of $31,668 plus $3,332 for additional services that may be required during the contract term. Funding is available as designated from the current budget for stormwater utility.  Additional funds will be allocated in the 2014-15 Budget.

• Lawmakers were expected to approve a contract with Southern Strategy Group for state lobbying services in an amount not to exceed $50,000.

The award amount consists of SSG’s proposed amount of $42,000 per year, for a total of $126,000 for the initial three year term, plus $8,000 per year for additional services that may be required during the contract term.

 The Town Council was expected to approve a lease agreement with The Graham Companies for the usage of hurricane debris storage at no cost to the Town. 

The parcel is located along Commerce Way between N.W. 146th and 148th Streets. The Town previously had an agreement with The Graham Companies for debris storage on their property, but townhouse apartments have been built on this parcel, so the Town is in need of a new storage area. The Graham parcel is the next best option as it is approximately the same size as the prior parcel (20 acres).

Councilmembers were expected to retroactively authorize the use of a contract contingency allowance account for the N.W. 154th Street Roadway and Drainage Improvements contract awarded to Acosta Tractors, Inc.

Upon review of the minutes to finalize the resolution, the town attorney determined last week that when the Town Council rejected all bids and awarded the contract to Acosta, for the same amount as the lowest bidder, it was not clear that the contingency amount incorporated in the memorandum and resolution for award to the lowest bidder, had also been incorporated into the Acosta contract.

The contingency amount was not to exceed $308,367.96.  The contingency was for primarily two factors – the potential to encounter muck during the construction work and the inclusion of the design and construction of irrigation and landscaping, which was not included within the project’s original scope.

This will increase Acosta’s contract value from $1,027,893.20 to a maximum value of $1,333,261.16.

Lawmakers were expected to approve a resolution to place a charter amendment on the November 4, 2014 ballot to determine if residents should decide in a referendum to increase the size of the town through annexation.

Councilmembers were expected to discuss Vice Mayor Manny Cid’s proposal for a town charter change to allow residents to pick the vice mayor during an election year instead of councilmembers nominating the second in command at regular council meetings.

Lawmakers were scheduled to discuss Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez’s proposal for an ordinance requiring a buyer for a single-family home and town home to obtain a permit and a letter of receipt acknowledging the town’s deed restrictions and covenants.

In light of Florida State University’s BSC Championship win against Auburn in the Rose Bowl, The Town Council was planning to discuss Councilmember Tony Lama’s request to proclaim January 6, 2014 FSU  Champions Day.

According to Lama, many Miami Lakes residents are Seminoles alumni or current students.

Lawmakers were expected to approve Rodriguez’s proposal to rename N.W. 87 Avenue to Royal Lakes Boulevard to bring both the Royal Oaks, Royal Gardens and West Lakes neighborhood together now that the N.W. 87 Avenue expansion project is almost finished.

The Town Council was expected to discuss Councilmember Ceaser Mestre’s request as part of the town's Beautification Plan to direct staff to negotiate and enter into an agreement with state officials for the maintenance of the median on N.W. 57 Avenue. He said the state would provide the funds currently allocated for the town and maintain it.