At the March 11 Miami Lakes Town Council meeting, lawmakers approved the following actions:
• On first reading, the Town Council gave its initial approval to an ordinance to transmit the proposed the town’s comprehensive plan amendments to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and other appropriate agencies for review.
• On first reading, council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance to amend the rules and regulations of the appeal process for variance decisions made by the town’s Planning and Zoning Board.
In October, the Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance to allow parties affected by a variance decision to request an appeal hearing before the Town Council. In January, the Council held a workshop regarding this issue, and provided revised direction to staff to prepare the proposed ordinance.
Currently, all appeals of quasi-judicial zoning decisions are to the Circuit Court.
The proposed ordinance would allow affected parties to either appeal directly to Circuit Court or, in limited circumstances, appeal the decision to the Town Council. If such a request is received within 10 days of the Planning and Zoning Board's decision, and the applicable criteria are met, the Town Council would hold a rehearing of the variance application at a special Council meeting, with the appealing party being responsible for additional costs of processing the appeal. The decision of the Planning and Zoning Board would be set aside in its entirety, and the Council would make a decision on the entire variance application.
Criteria for an appeal to the Council includes that the decision of the Planning and Zoning Board was not unanimous; that the decision of the Planning and Zoning Board and the staff recommendation are in conflict; the variance must not have been sought to legalize a code violation, and there can be no other known code violations on the property ; and, the regulation from which the variance is sought must materially prevent the construction of a new single family house as it was designed (in the case of residential) or legally prevent a business from opening or continuing to operate (in the case of commercial/industrial).
• Council members accepted the award of funds consisting of a Local Agency Program (LAP) Agreement between the Town of Miami Lakes and the State of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the Miami Lakes Elementary School Safe Route to School Project, consisting of an 8-to-10-foot-wide greenway trail along Miami Lakeway between Miami Lakes K-8 Center and Miami Lakes Middle School.
In an effort to provide safe and accessible trails for residents and schoolchildren, the Town was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Safe Routes to School grant through FDOT.
The Safe Routes to School grant will provide for the construction of a continuous multi-use trail along the east side of the Miami Lakeway North/South right-of-way and within the park/greenway right-of-way. The trail will be designed for bicyclists and pedestrians to share the facility. The route will emphasize crosswalks, way-finding signage and bollards to provide additional safety emphasis and limit access to motorized vehicles.
• Lawmakers awarded a contract in the amount of $34,876 to JVA Engineering Contractor for paving of asphalt trails at Park West.
• Council members awarded Florida Sidewalk Solutions, an authorized representative for Precision Concrete Cutting Inc., a two-year contract for $200,000 to help Miami Lakes implement its aggressive sidewalk repair program.
The traditional solution available to the town to remedy a non-compliant sidewalk that contains a tripping hazard is to replace the sidewalk section. The cost to replace a 5’X5’ section is approximately $185, whereas the cost to fix the tripping hazard using this system has an approximate cost of $86.50. By using this process the Town saves an average of $98.50 while reducing the time to perform the work, as well as minimizing adverse impacts to residents.
• Lawmakers approved Town Manager Alex Rey’s recommendation to purchase five Ford Interceptor Vehicles for use by the town’s police department through the Florida Sheriffs’ Association (“FSA”) contract, and award the contract to Reid Ford, Inc. The purchase is not to exceed $114,545 and is to be expended from the FY 2013-2014 Police Capital Outlay Fund.
• Council members authorized a work order design award to Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. for Royal Oaks drainage and roadway improvements to address existing flooding problems in the northwest section of the town. The work order will be issued under the firm’s existing contract for miscellaneous civil engineering services in an amount not to exceed $115,861.
• The Town Council awarded a contract in the amount of $155,159 to Williams Paving Company, Inc. for drainage improvements work along N.W. 83 place, and road resurfacing between N.W. 158 Terrace and 162 Street.
• Council members approved a resolution for a proposed charter change to allow the mayor and councilmembers to appoint residents to the town’s committees instead of the current policy where lawmakers nominate candidates and the mayor subsequently appoints them. The referendum will be placed on the November ballot.
• The Town Council authorized the town manager to enter into a three-year agreement several community nonprofit organizations including South Florida Council Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida, Inc. and American Legion Post #144, for use of town facilities for meetings and events at no cost.
• The Town Council approved an interlocal agreement with Miami-Dade County for the provision of local police patrol and specialized services from November 14, 2012 to November 13, 2019.
Since November 2001, the Town has been receiving local patrol police service from the Miami-Dade Police Department via an Interlocal Agreement between the two governments. The approximate value of this contract is $6,700,000 per year.
• Town Attorney Raul Gastesi recommended Miami Lakes allow the bond insurance company to complete its process to finish the Youth and Community Center, which has been delayed for a year now, at Picnic Park East.
He said the company will comply with the terms of the bond and complete the project by way of take over and will move forward with some options.
Sharing the town’s frustration, Gastesi said it would not be a good idea to file a lawsuit against the company because it would further delay the project.
Citing the complexity of the issue, he said the current pace is going as fast as it can and less expensive to get it done.
But councilmembers are growing frustrated and indicated a lawsuit would speed up the construction process. They will give the company another 30-day deadline to get construction started.