Summary of actions taken at July 21 regular meeting

Community By David L. Snelling, The Miami Laker staff Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Miami Lakes Town Council postponed a vote to enact legislation to prevent a developer from adding homes in the Loch Ness neighborhood under the mayor’s Homeowner Protection Act despite entreaties and a petition from residents who said subdividing their community will endanger  their quality of living.

At the July 21 regular Town Council meeting, lawmakers were in support of protecting their living standards but said a vote was premature since the developer has yet to create or submit any blueprints to the town and didn’t want to violate the Bert Harris Act.

The Florida law protects the rights of property owners and while the act does not revoke the regulations overlaid, it provides victims of regulatory abuse with the opportunity to seek justice and just compensation, for the diminishment of their property rights and values.

Most of the residents who spoke at the meeting said the developer is planning to build five homes by subdividing a large single lot in the single family neighborhood.

Miriam Campos, whose late husband Sergio Campos was president of the Loch Ness Homeowners Associations for 30 years, said he worked so hard to maintain the quality of life for residents.

“On behalf of my husband, I support the Homeowner Protection Act,” she said.

A lobbyist for the developer said albeit an official plan hasn’t been drawn up yet, his client talked about building five to six homes on the property he recently purchased.

He said the homes would be larger than the original Loch Ness homes that were built by The Graham Companies years ago but the subdivided lots would be in compliance with the town’s land development code.

"Six lots meet the code but we dropped it to five to make peace and arrive at a compromise," the man said. 

“How can we draft legislation before we know what he’s actually doing to do there?” asked Councilmember Frank Mingo. “I would support it if the Loch Ness Homeowners Association were to indemnify the town for what action we take.”

Lama said the town is jumping the gun by enacting legislation to prevent a developer from building on his own property when he has yet to divulge his plans.

Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez said he attended several Loch Ness Homeowners Association meetings, where he learned about the low water pressure possibly caused by a damaged six-inch water main. 

“We’re doing research and that problem alone may stop him from building homes,” Rodriguez said.

The Town Council will host a workshop on the issue and learn more about the developer’s building plans before they can revisit and vote on the mayor’s Homeowner Protection Act.

In other Town Council News:

• The Miami Lakes Town Council gave their initial approval for an ordinance to create a new Town Center zoning district, and rezone the Town Center area to the new zoning district.

The Town Center is currently under two different districts, the RM-50 district, apartments at up to 50 dwelling units per acre, and the BU-2 district, a standard commercial district that allows all but the most intense retail and businesses uses.

Miami Lakes Town Center has been envisioned since the original master plan for the town as a walkable, mixed-use area similar to a traditional small town “Main Street,” and is centered on Main Street development east and west of N.W. 67 Avenue.

Council members' final vote on the ordinance following a public hearing is set for September. 

• Lawmakers agreed to keep the same rate of 2.3518 for property taxes for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which is expected to generate about $6 million in revenues.

The town scheduled the budget hearings for 5:01 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10, and for 6 p.m. on Monday, September 28, at Miami Lakes Town Hall.

• Council members approved Pizzi’s recommendation to revise the town’s land development code to allow residents to keep their existing air conditioning screen enclosures that were cited as a violation.

A group of residents, most of whom have lived in Miami Lakes for more than 20 years, said it would cost them thousands of dollars to replace their air conditioning enclosures, causing them economic hardship.

Pizzi’s proposal calls for town staff to draft an ordinance to eliminate the town’s requirement to replace the structures, which will go before two public hearings, first in front of the Local Planning Agency and then council members.

But before the public hearings, Pizzi suggested hosting workshops on the issue which may include a discussion on allowing homeowners associations to handle the matters individually.

• Council members approved the Lake Sandra Homeowners Association application for the Town's Neighborhood Matching Grant Program in the amount of $5,000 for a beautification program.

• Lawmakers approved a conditional use for zoning for an indoor shooting range proposed by Diez Incorporated. The proposed site is located at 14000 N.W. 82 Avenue, which is adjacent to a sporting good store. The shooting range would only open for police officers and correctional officers.

• Council members approved Councilmember Ceasar Mestre’s and Rodriguez’s proposed legislation that mandates kids in recreational sports at the Miami Lakes Optimist Club, Miami Lakes United Soccer and other physical activities have an EKG before they can participate.

The proposal was suggested in the wake of the tragic death of 11-year-old Breanna Vergara, a Miami Lakes dance studio student who collapsed and died during practice in December.

An autopsy revealed Breanna suffered cardiac arrest from a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW), according to her mother, Claudia.

She said an EKG would’ve detected the heart condition before she went to practice.

“My daughter’s death could’ve been prevented, and I think that’s what hurt the most.”

Rodriguez, a firefighter, said his nephew, who is athlete, discovered he had WPW through an EKG and doctors wouldn’t clear him to play until the heart condition was fixed.

“An EKG can save lives for young kids,” he said.

• Council members approved Vice Mayor Manny Cid’s proposal to direct town staff and the town’s consultant to integrate a Complete Streets policy into the town’s upcoming Strategic Plan.

• Council members approved the mayor's recommendation to sponsor a resolution requesting that the Miami-Dade Public School Board, either through its existing budget or community partnerships, fund the adult education programs that currently serve seniors in the town.