Baños is the Editor of Gables Insider
On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the Coral Gables City Commission will hold its next City Commission meeting. Here is a rundown of the agenda for this upcoming meeting. Click here to see the full agenda.
Non-credited quotes in this article are excerpts from the memos presented to the Commission explaining the items.
Gables Insider comments on specific items can be found in blue.
The City will have one additional meeting on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. A final Budget Meeting set for 5:01 PM. Click here to see the full agenda.
- D.-1. 23-6355 A Resolution of the City Commission granting a one-day permit to the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami to sell alcoholic beverages from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 28th, 2023, on Biltmore Way for the Day of the Dead Festival as part of the International Cultural Events Initiative program. Subject to Florida Department of Professional Regulation requirements.
- D.-2. 23-6369 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the execution of a Joint Participation Agreement (JPA) between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the City of Coral Gables for disbursement of FDOT funds in the amount of $60,340.00 for 12 months to the City, for the maintenance of turf and landscape areas within FDOT’s Right-of-Way on State Road (S.R.) 5/South Dixie Highway, S.R. 976/Bird Road, and S.R.959/Red Road (East Side Only).
- D.-3. 23-6389 A Resolution of the City Commission retroactively approving the execution of an Urban Qualification Cooperation Agreement between the City of Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County.
Presentation of Boards and/or Committees draft/final minutes requesting action from the City Commission [Note: A vote to accept the minutes does not mean approval of the substance within the minutes]:
2.-1. 23-6358 A Resolution of the Historic Preservation Board requesting that the City Commission direct that any alterations to the City Hall complex’s windows proceeding pursuant to Section 1-104 of the City’s Zoning Code be done in consultation with the City’s Historic Preservation Officer and be presented to the City’s Historic Preservation Board for review and feedback.
“The Historic Preservation Board requests that the City Commission direct that any alterations to the City Hall Complex windows proposed by the City to proceed pursuant to Section 1-104 of the City’s Zoning Code be selected in consultation with the City’s Historic Preservation Officer and be presented to the Historic Preservation Board, along with a staff report on the proposed alterations, for non-binding review and feedback prior to any public hearing held pursuant to Section 1-104 of the Zoning Code.”
Ordinances On Second Reading
E.-1. 23-5916 An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the Chapter 82 Vegetation of the City Code in order to clarify tree protection provisions and associated code enforcement actions and fines. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
“During the normal course of business, City staff identified inconsistent terms and language in the existing City’s “Tree Code”, specifically Chapter 82, and therefore is seeking to update the code to clarify any issues and improve the general process.” The body of the ordinance seeks to discourage the use of palm trees as part of the canopy in the City, specifically for replacement and mitigation purposes. “Approved on first reading on September 13, 2023. No changes since first reading.”
Ordinances On First Reading
E.-2. 23-6360 An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code, Article 2, “Zoning Districts,” Section 2-403, “Giralda Plaza District Overlay;” by allowing a television screen on the inside of a window on the pedestrian street of Giralda Plaza; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
“As directed by a member of the Commission, Staff has prepared a Zoning Code text amendment for the Giralda Plaza District Overlay to allow a television screen on the inside of a window on the pedestrian street of Giralda Plaza. Section 2-201(D)(9)(g) of the Zoning Code currently states that a minimum of 60% and a maximum of 90% of the ground floor shall be transparent. Materials that obstruct visibility into the interior of the ground level space are not permitted. The proposed amendment allows television screens to be located inside the storefront, oriented towards pedestrians on Giralda Plaza. The television screen must not exceed 50% of the glass window.”
E.-3. 23-6359 An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables official Zoning Code, Article 6, “Landscape,” by amending the utilization of artificial turf on open joints of pavement; and Article 10, “Parking and Access,” by providing review of materials in pavement joints; and providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
“As requested by a member of the Commission, Staff has prepared Zoning Code text amendments to prohibit further installment of artificial turf in open joints of pavement. Instead, a list of materials is provided to utilize in open joints of pavement, as reviewed and approved by the City Architect staff.”
E.-4. 23-6396 An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the City of Coral Gables Code by Creating Chapter 2 “Administration,” Article VII “Finance,” Division 1 “Generally,” Section 2-352 Fund Balance and Reserve Policy,” to codify the Fund Balance and Reserve Policy establish pursuant to Resolution No. 2016-34 and to require a four-fifths vote of the City Commission prior to spending General Fund Reserves, except during a declared State of Emergency, and to provide that the policy may be amended by ordinance approved by a four-fifths vote of the City Commission; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored By Mayor Lago)
“The City Commission wishes to codify the Fund Balance and Reserve policy to require that, except for funds necessary during a declaration of a state of emergency, funds in the General Fund Reserve can only be spent upon adoption of a resolution (or ordinance where required) approved by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the City Commission. Any changes to the Fund Balance and Reserve Policy can only be accomplished by an ordinance approved by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the City Commission.”
E.-5. 23-6397 An Ordinance of the City Commission of the City of Coral Gables, Florida approving the Purchase and Sale Agreement between the City the City of Coral Gables, a municipal corporation existing under the laws of the State of Florida and C/LeJeune, LLC, a Florida Limited Liability Company, for the Transfer of Development Rights, as defined in Article 16 and Sections 8-114 and 14-204 of the Zoning Code, from the Coral Gables Museum Property, located at 285 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida 33134 directing that all proceeds from the Transfer of the Development Rights be placed in the City ’s Historic Building Fund; and providing for a repealer provision, severability clause and providing for an effective date. Lobbyist: Jose M. Jimenez
The proposed ordinance would allow for the transfer of TDR (permitting higher intensity development) from the Coral Gables Museum property to the receiving property development known as Regency Tower, in the Craft Section. See attached article on the Development here.
“The City was approached by the C/LeJeune, LLC, a Florida limited liability company, who expressed an interest in purchasing Transfer of Development Rights from the City, as defined in Article 16 and sections 8-114 and 14-204 of the Zoning Code.
Development Rights to be Transferred: 40,000 square feet.
Purchase Price: $40.00 per square foot. $1,600,000.00).
10% of Total Purchase Price. ($160,000.00)
Closing within 30 days of the effective date, subject to other provisions in the Agreement.
Purchaser has requested, and City has agreed, to allow Purchaser to purchase additional square feet of Transferable Development Rights up to a total of up to 61,789 square feet (inclusive of the minimum 40,000 square feet) upon the same terms and conditions, provided that Purchaser provides notice in writing to the City Manager within ten days after approval of this Ordinance of the total number of TDRs it intends to purchase.”
City Commission Items
F.-1. 23-6342 Presentation regarding Waste Management Recycling Program. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez)
Commissioner Fernandez provided various pictures of his visit to the Recycling facility.
F.-2. 23-6368 Discussion regarding businesses on Giralda Avenue. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
F.-3. 23-6372 Discussion regarding the potential installation of a median on Ponce de Leon Boulevard (South of Bird Road). (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
F.-4. 23-6384 Discussion regarding annexation. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez) This discussion is open for public comment.
F.-5. 23-6394 Discussion concerning hurricane reserve amount and accessibility of funds for disaster mitigation. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
Vice Mayor Anderson is providing a presentation on the financial consequences of hurricanes and the impact on the Budget reserves. This item is related to F-13 and F-14.
F.-6. 23-6370 A Resolution of the City Commission directing City Staff to create an income-based sewer connection grant program, contingent on the receipt of State or Federal funding, to provide financial assistance to qualified individuals who wish to convert from septic to sewer. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
“This resolution directs City staff to create an income-based sewer connection grant program, contingent on securing state or federal funding, to provide financial assistance to qualified individuals who wish to convert from septic-to-sewer. It authorizes staff to establish an appropriate eligibility criterion, application process, grant administration process, compliance checks and to perform all other administrative functions related to the grant program. It further authorizes staff to consider income levels, scope and cost of projects, citizen’s standing in regards to code enforcement violations and outstanding debt to the City, use of a licensed and insured contractor, homestead exemption, location of residence, availability of sewer connections and other relevant considerations. Finally, this resolution directs City staff to pursue a state or federal appropriation and/or grant to fund the income-based sewer connection grant program.”
F.-7. 23-6373 A Resolution of the City Commission repealing Resolution No. 2023-203 to allow public comment on all Commission discussion items. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
“While acknowledging the Mayor’s authority to preside over Commission meetings, the City Commission, pursuant to Resolution No. 2023-203, set forth a procedure for requesting that public comment be allowed on specific “discussion items” in advance of the Commission meeting. The proposed resolution would repeal Resolution No. 2023-203 and clarify that public comment is allowed on all discussion items.”
F.-8. 23-6377 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing a one-month extension of the Concession Agreement with Fresh AN, LLC for the operation of the café space at the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez)
“While City staff and Fresh AN, LLC have met to discuss potential terms for such extension, additional time is needed to continue negotiations. The proposed Resolution extends the term of the current Concession Agreement for one month, through October 31, 2023, to allow time for negotiations to continue regarding terms and conditions for a two-year extension.”
F.-9. 23-6376 A Resolution of the City Commission directing the City Manager to develop a Best Practices Guide for code violations related to the City’s Tree Protection Provisions. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
“The City Commission believes there is a need to provide guidance to property owners, developers, and residents regarding best practices for compliance with tree protection provisions, including recommendations for fines and penalties based on the size and importance of the trees involved. The City Commission believes a best practices guide for tree protection code violations will help streamline the enforcement process, provide clarity to stakeholders, and promote a proactive approach to tree preservation within our community.”
F.-10. 23-6379 A Resolution of the City Commission directing the City Attorney to prepare proposed legislation prohibiting City Commissioners from engaging in business transactions with City employees and with other members of the City Commission. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
“The proposed resolution directs the City Attorney to draft proposed legislation that would prohibit certain business transactions between members of the City Commission and employees and among the members of the City Commission”
F.-11. 23-6382 A Resolution of the City Commission directing that City Staff amend the proposed Annual Budget of estimated revenues and expenditures for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2023 and ending September 30, 2024 prior to the Second Reading of the ordinance adopting said budget in order to reallocate funds in the Capital Projects Budget from Phillips Park to the restoration of the Alhambra Water Tower. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
The resolution moves 1Million Dollars from Parks to the restauration of the Water Tower.
F.-12. 23-6381 A Resolution of the City Commission directing that City staff amend the proposed Annual Budget of estimated revenues and expenditures for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2023 and ending September 30, 2024 prior to the second reading of the ordinance adopting said budget in order to reduce the proposed salaries, local expense accounts and car allowances of the Mayor, Vice Mayor, and Commissioners. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
F.-13. 23-6380 A Resolution of the City Commission directing that City staff amend the proposed Annual Budget of estimated revenues and expenditures for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2023 and ending September 30, 2024 prior to the second reading of the ordinance adopting said budget in order to reallocate funds in the Capital Projects Budget from Phillips Park towards the City Hall Complex Windows. (Sponsored By Vice Mayor Anderson)
The resolution moves 2.5 Million Dollars from Parks to the restauration of City Hall windows.
F.-14. 23-6386 A Resolution of the City Commission directing City staff to work with Commissioner Fernandez to formulate an economic stimulus plan with the purpose of providing financial relief to residents. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez) (Co-Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez)
Commissioner Fernandez would bring the plan for review by the Commission on October 10, 2023.
F.-15. 23-6388 A Resolution of the City Commission adopting the Commission’s Strategic Priorities
Plan. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez)
The resolution would incorporate the following language as the Commission’s Strategic Priorities Plan:
“The City of Coral Gables Commission sets forth the following as its strategic priorities plan of resident-led initiatives, with the purpose of taking substantial strides towards accomplishing these goals over the next two years.
Make fiscal decisions which ensure resident goals are met, while maintaining property taxes as low as possible and a strong financial standing for the City.
As we move towards our City’s centennial, the City will seek to restore and maintain historic structures, such as City Hall and the Alhambra Water Tower, to ensure they are here for generations to come.
Advance our sidewalk repair and replacement project and ensure that City sidewalks are in optimal state, to improve the quality of life of residents. Expanding walkability of neighborhoods where sidewalks are currently not found, to ensure a fully connected and mobility friendly City.
Continue to advance traffic calming measures throughout the City to address the growing impact of cut-through traffic in our City.
PARKS AND GREEN SPACES
Find ways to continue park renovations and ensure all City parks are public places our residents can benefit from key amenities and be proud of.
Grow our City’s tree canopy by continuing our tree succession efforts and seeking ways to expand our tree canopy to areas such as Biltmore Way, the Flagler Section and Valencia.
Promote measures that improve customer service to residents and make residents the priority.
Expand on current initiatives to advance Coral Gables’ standing as a smart city, with the goal of implementing new measures that improve resident’s quality of life.
Ensure public safety by continuing to add police and fire fighter positions and provide the top notch service our residents deserve.
Continue offering open-door office hours, town hall meetings, sunshine meetings and community workshops to ensure residents have access to the Commission and that the Commission can take action on resident priorities”
F.-16. 23-6393 A Resolution of the City Commission establishing a Senior Relief Grant Fund and directing City staff to identify a source of funding. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez) (Co-Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez)
“The proposed Resolution establishes a Senior Relief Grant Fund to provide qualifying low-income seniors that reside in the City and receive the senior exemption from property taxes with a grant in the amount of $100.00 per household and directs staff to identify a source of funding.”
F.-17. 23-6395 A Resolution of the City Commission directing City staff to work with Commissioner Fernandez to formulate a Special Capital Improvement Plan to include, but not limited to addressing Alhambra Water Tower Restoration, City Hall Window Replacement, Sidewalk Repairs, Biltmore Way Streetscape Tree Canopy, and the creation of a pickleball facility at Parking Garage 4. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez) (Co-Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez
“The proposed Resolution directs staff to work with Commissioner Fernandez to create and find funding for a special capital improvement plan to include, but limited to, addressing Alhambra water tower restoration, city hall window replacement, sidewalk repairs, Biltmore Way streetscape tree canopy, and the creation of a pickleball facility at parking garage 4 to be presented to the City Commission for its consideration at the October 10, 2023 City Commission meeting”
G.-1. 23-5645 A Resolution of the City Commission approving the concept and commissioning of a work of public art by R & R Studios in conjunction with The Village development project, encompassing the city block bordered by: Segovia Street, Malaga Avenue, Hernando Street, and Santander Avenue, in fulfillment of the Art in Public Places requirement for public art in private development (unanimously recommended by the Arts Advisory Panel approval/denial vote: 6 to 0; unanimously recommended by the Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 4 to 0).
“From the Artist’s proposal:
Coral Light Way embraces the exceptional architecture of The Village by DLGV Architects & Urbanists and MG Developer with a unique series of 22 light sculptures (lamps) to create a distinctive and subtle dreamscape within the City of Coral Gables. The artwork itself is the complete series of 22 (twenty-two) custom lamps. Taken as a whole, the artwork surrounds one designated block only, with no further lamps produced or installed. Each individual lamp is constructed of custom coral-colored, painted stainless steel approximately 13 (thirteen) feet tall with five glass globes at the top. Each lamp is rotated slightly to enhance the feeling of movement as one walks along the street.” See Pictures here.
City Manager Items
H.-1. 23-6217 End of Session Report from the City’s Lobbying Team.
See Power Point Presentation here.
H.-2. 23-6385 Presentation regarding recommendations for combatting extreme heat in community spaces.
H.-3. 23-6363 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 annual budget to reverse the $5,000,000 revenue recognition from the sale of historic facility Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs), to reverse the appropriation of such funds, and to recognize as revenue a $4,000,000 transfer from fund balance to be used to cover the cost of the historic facility renovations originally funded by the TDR sale.