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On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 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.
The meeting date was changed to Wednesday, as Tuesday is primary election day in Florida.
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.
D-1: Discussion regarding pickle ball.
E-1: A Resolution of the City Commission confirming the appointment of Gabriela McGrath Moreira (Nominated by Board-As-A-Whole) to serve as the High School Student Representative on the Sustainability Advisory Board, for the remainder of a two (2) year term which began on June 1, 2021 and continues through May 31, 2023.
E-2: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the execution of Amendment No. 6 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Agreement for financial assistance, entered under FDEP Agreement No. 15DA2, for the purpose of extending the term of the agreement from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023.
“Funds issued under this grant have been allocated to the bank stabilization project between Red Road and Alhambra Circle. The project is currently under the permitting process and due to unforeseen delays, this extension to the agreement was requested and granted. FDEP is requesting execution of Amendment No. 6 in acceptance of the December 31st, 2023 extension date.”
E-3: A Resolution of the City Commission adopting workforce housing legislative findings pursuant To Miam-Dade County Code Section 33-193.7; providing For transmittal, a repealer provision, severability clause, and providing for an effective date.
“Section 33-193.7 of the Miami-Dade County Code requires municipalities within its jurisdiction to address the need for workforce housing, including within the City of Coral Gables (“City”). This resolution is intended to satisfy the requirements in Section 33-193.7 of the Miami-Dade County Code. The City has identified the North Ponce Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District as an area that offers workforce housing opportunities, which ordinance is attached to this resolution as Exhibit A. Notwithstanding the high value of vacant and redevelopment land within the City, the City supports and promotes access to workforce housing, and will continue to review other opportunities where appropriate to adopt land development regulations to encourage workforce housing.”
Presentation of Boards and/or Committees draft/final minutes requesting action from the City Commission
2-1: A Resolution of the Coral Gables Parks and Recreation Advisory Board requesting that the City Commission have a permanent or quasi-permanent staff member or Park Service Attendant be dedicated specifically to Salvadore Park during peak hours of usage.
“At the July 14th, 2022 Coral Gables Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting, the Board discussed the increasing popularity of the recently renovated Salvadore Park and the Commission’s decision to include a dog area at Salvadore Park. The Board believes additional staffing at Salvadore Park on a permanent/quasi-permanent basis will allow for better maintenance and security within the park space which would then improve the overall quality of life and resident experience.”
Ordinances on Second Reading
F-1: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the City of Coral Gables Code by creating Division 9, “Mayor’s Advisory Council,” in Chapter 2 “Administration,” Article III “Boards and Committees,” providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
“In Resolution No. 2021-204, the City Commission created a limited-purpose board known as the Mayor’s Advisory Council, to be created for a period of 364 days in order to facilitate the Mayor’s strategic priorities during his first term in the office of Mayor. The Council has been successful in accomplishing its purpose and the City Commission feels that having a permanent Mayor’s Advisory Council is beneficial to the Office of the Mayor and to the City, generally. This City Commission wishes that the members of the Mayor’s Advisory Council not be precluded from serving on other City boards and committees, as their work does not conflict with that of any other board or committee. This ordinance establishes the Mayor’s Advisory Council as a permanent City board. There have been no changes between first and second reading.”
F-2: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code, Article 4, “Zoning Districts,” Section 2-100, “Residential Districts,” and Article 16, “Definitions,” to increase the interior side setback of certain Multi-Family 3 (MF3) properties; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
“No changes have been made to the proposed text amendment since the July 25, 2022, meeting. As requested by the City Commission, the City is proposing a Zoning Code text amendment to increase the interior side setback of townhouses and rowhouses to 5 feet when abutting a developed property that is not a townhouse and does not abut an active alley. There is currently no interior side setback for townhouses, unless abutting a designated historic building. The proposed text amendment is requiring a 5-foot interior side setback when abutting any developed multi-family property that does not abut an active alley. The Multi-Family 3 (MF3) is a townhouse zoning district that was created from the Zoning Code Update to reflect the development rights of the Multi-Family Low Density land use designation of the Comprehensive Plan. Many regulations in the MF3 zoning district were transferred from the former Multi-Family Special Area (MFSA), including the interior side setback of 0 feet. However, there have been issues constructing townhouses with a 0-foot setback next to existing multi-family buildings. Therefore, the text amendment proposed is to require a 5-foot interior side setback when abutting a developed multi-family property, except if abutting an active alley. Planning & Zoning Board Meeting At the March 9, 2022, Planning & Zoning Board meeting, members of the Board expressed concerns about limiting the development potential of future townhouses when building next to an existing townhouse with a 0-foot side setback. Therefore, the Board recommended denial of the text amendment as presented, vote 4-0. The draft Ordinance of the Zoning Code text amendments is provided as Exhibit A.”
F-3: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for a text amendment to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code by amending Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-205, “Declaration of Restrictive Covenant in Lieu of a Unity of Title” to encourage the creation of City Parks by allowing non-contiguous building sites with dedicated park spaces; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“As requested by the City Commission, a Zoning Code text amendment is proposed that allows non-contiguous building sites if the site includes the dedication of a new park space. In recent years, parks have normally been proffered by developers only when directly abutting a proposed development. However, the Commission believes that allowing flexibility with the building site requirements and allow it to be non-contiguous and non-abutting will encourage the creation of more public park spaces. At First Reading, the City Commission voted in favor of a similar version of the proposed text amendment that only allowed a maximum of 4.375 FAR on the developed parcel. This maximum was initially proposed to control the mass and bulk of the new building to be visually consistent with the maximum size of a building in Coral Gables with Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs). The Ordinance’s sponsor has since requested to remove this limitation from the proposed text amendment after discussions with stake holders in the community and realizing the limitation would limit the use of this text amendment. This change would allow all the potential development of 3.5 FAR and density of 125 units per acre from the park parcel to be added to the development parcel. The development parcel itself could therefore be developed beyond the 4.375 FAR, subject to Commission approval through the conditional use process, and would be dependent on the size of the provided open space(s), including the park parcel. The maximum building height will still apply, as it is part of the development envelope, as regulated by the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. The draft Ordinance is provided as Exhibit A.”
Ordinances on First Reading
F-4: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the City of Coral Gables Code by creating Chapter 2 “Administration”, Article III “Boards and Committees”, Division 9, “Coral Gables Golf and Country Club Advisory Board,” providing for repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).
“Via Resolution No. 2022-121, the City Commission directed staff to draft an ordinance establishing the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club (“Country Club”) Advisory Board. The Country Club is a historic landmark that has recently been reacquired by the City from a private lessee. The City Commission believes the Country Club and the Granada Golf Course warrant the creation of a dedicated advisory board, whose purpose will be to furnish and relay citizen input, formulate recommendations, serve as a forum for dialogue regarding the Country Club and help maintain harmony between the surrounding neighborhood and the Country Club.”
F-5: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending Chapter 62 “Streets, Sidewalks and Other Public Places, Article IV “Maintenance of Sidewalks and Swale Areas,” Section 62-153 “Removal of Obstructions” and Section 62-156 “Buttons and Other Encroachments Prohibited” of the City Code to clarify provisions regarding obstructions and/or encroachments on streets, sidewalks, or swale areas; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“Section 62-153 of the City Code sets forth the procedure for removal of obstructions upon any street, sidewalk, or swale area within the City and provides that violations are punishable as provided in Section 1-7of the City Code. The proposed ordinance amends Section 62-153 to make it abundantly clear that placing, maintaining, or allowing an obstruction upon any street, sidewalk, or swale area within the City is prohibited and a code enforcement violation. Additionally, the proposed ordinance amends Sections 62-153 and Section 62-156 to specify the procedures for imposing a special assessment lien for removal of obstructions or encroachments by the City.”
F-6: An Ordinance of the City Commission creating Chapter 14 “Businsses”, Article VII “Mobile Food trucks”, providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
“Section 509.102, Florida Statutes preempts the regulation of mobile food dispensing vehicles involving licenses, registrations, permits, and fees to the state. The law further states that a municipality, county, or other local governmental entity may not prohibit mobile food dispensing vehicles from operating within the entirety of the entity’s jurisdiction. The City currently allows mobile food trucks to conduct business within the City in connection with special events. The City Commission wishes to amend the City Code to further allow mobile food trucks to operate within the City under certain circumstances and within specific zoning districts in accordance with section 509.102, Florida Statutes.”
F-7: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending Chapter 46 of the “Code of the City of Coral Gables,” entitled “Pensions,” amending Section 46-25, “Definitions” to update the definition of Administrative Manager to provide automated benefit processing for participants; amending Section 46-254 “Disability Retirement” allowing the board to reconsider a disability retirement after the disabled participant reaches his /her normal retirement; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“The City’s Retirement System provides benefits to City employees upon the occurrence of retirement, death or disability of the employees. The Retirement System is administered in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 46 “Pension” of the Code of the City of Coral Gables The Retirement Board is automating its pension administration by among other things, providing automated benefit processing and an on-line portal for participants to access their retirement information. This Ordinance updates the definition of administrative manager to allow for this. Currently, the Retirement Board can annually reconsider the disability of a participant receiving a disability retirement until such time as the participant reaches his/her normal retirement. To ensure that the disabled participant remains entitled to a disability retirement, the Retirement Board believes it is in the Retirement System’s best interest to continue to annually reconsider the disability of a disabled participant after the disabled participant reaches his/her normal retirement date. This Ordinance implement this change.”
F-8: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the City of Coral Gables Zoning Code Article 15 “Notices”, Section 15-104 “Quasi-Judicial Procedures” and amending Section 2-79 of Chapter 2, Article III of the City Code, titled “Order of Business” to clarify definitions of documentary evidence, and amend the Order of Presentation for Quasi-Judicial Hearings, providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“The City Zoning Code contains provisions which govern submission deadlines for quasi-judicial hearing and often times City staff or applicants wish to present demonstrative or visual aids, including PowerPoint presentations which repackage or duplicate information already timely submitted to the City. The City also wishes to amend the order of presentation for quasi-judicial hearings in the Zoning Code to allow for clearer presentations and provide continuity with the newly updated parallel City Code section, and in order to provide continuity between the Zoning Code and City Code provisions certain minor changes are proposed to the City Code.”
F-9: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code, Article 5, “Architecture,” Section 5-505, “Pitched roofs, material;” to expand the allowed roof materials for pitched roofs to include metal roofs, and Article 16, providing for a definition of “Standing seam metal roof;” providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago) (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
“As requested by the City Commission, a text amendment has been prepared to allow metal roofs throughout Coral Gables. The City’s Zoning Code has prohibited the use of metal roofs for houses since 1929. The only areas of the city that were originally permitted in George Merrick’s plan of Coral Gables included the Industrial Section, Coconut Grove Warehouse Center, MacFarlane Homestead, and Golden Gate Section. In 2007, the City Commission allowed a trial period for metal roofs in the City of Coral Gables, allowing building permit applications for metal roofs on single-family residences for a period of 90 days, from July to October, in the area of the city located southeast of US-1. Additional limitations were included such as: allowable and prohibited architectural styles, requirements for designated historic landmarks, allowable metal colors and materials, prohibition of painting metal roofs, etc. A copy of the ordinance is provided as Exhibit B. A total of 16 metal roofs were approved during this 90-day trial period. However, the City Commission did not permanently allow metal roofs after the trial period. Board of Architects The Board of Architects discussed metal roofs on houses at their August 4, 2022, regular meeting. The Board was receptive to permit metal roofs within neighborhoods outside of historic districts and historic Mediterranean-style homes. Members were concerned about allowing any architectural style and recommended limiting to: High Modern, Post-War Modern, Neo-classical, Key West / Florida Vernacular, and include other styles per their discretion. The Board was animatedly opposed to allowing imitation metal roofs (eg: clay tile or slate made of metal, or imitation copper), and recommended standing seam and 5V-crimp, if approved on a case-by-case basis. Members of the Board also requested to review all new metal roofs to determine if compatible with the existing neighborhood. The proposed text amendment for metal roofs is summarized below:
• Prohibited within designated Historic Districts
• Require Historic Preservation Board approval for locally designated and historically significant homes
• Limited to standing seam
• No imitation materials allowed (imitation copper, slate, clay tile, etc)
• Not to be painted after installation
• Subject to full Board of Architects review and approval
The annexed areas with pre-existing metal roofs and permitted metal roofs in the city already include many areas south of US-1 such as Coral Waterway, Hammock Lakes, Snapper Creek Lakes, Pine Bay Estates, King’s Baby, and Deering Bay. The draft Ordinance is provided as Exhibit A. A copy of Ordinance No. 2007-23 and regulations that allowed the trial period of metal roofs in 2007, south of US-1, is provided as Exhibit B.”
F-10: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for a text amendment to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code by amending Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-102.3, “Meetings; Quorum; Required by Vote” to eliminate the requirement of four (4) affirmative votes for recommendations relating to comprehensive plan amendments; providing for a severability clause, repealer provision, codification and providing for an effective date.
“The City’s Planning and Zoning Board is tasked with providing recommendations to the City Commission relating to items within their purview and serves as the City’s “local planning agency” as set forth in Florida Statutes § 163.174. Section 14-102.3 of the City’s Zoning Code requires four (4) affirmative votes for the adoption of any motion. Section 14-102.3 also provides that in the event that four (4) votes are not obtained, an applicant may request a continuance or allow the application to proceed to the City Commission without a recommendation. This Zoning Code provision is at odds with section 163.3174, F.S., which requires that the local planning agency make recommendations to the City Commission regarding the adoption of comprehensive plan amendments. In order to avoid potential issues in the future, to preserve the resources of the City, and to be respectful of the time volunteer board members dedicate to serving on the City’s Planning and Zoning Board, it is recommended that the four (4) affirmative vote requirement for recommendations relating to comprehensive plan amendments be removed. This item will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Board between First and Second Reading.”
F-11: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for a text amendment to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code by amending Appendix A, “Site Specific Zoning Regulations,” Section A-94, “Snapper Creek Lakes” to exempt platted lots within Snapper Creek Lakes from the Building Site Determination process, providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“The Applicant seeks to amend the Zoning Code to exclude the Snapper Creek Lakes Subdivision from the Building Site Determination process of Section 14-202.6 of the Zoning Code. The Applicant recently purchased the vacant property at 10600 Lakeside Drive, Block 1, Lot 8 in the Snapper Creek Lakes Subdivision. When applying for a building site determination – as required to develop all vacant property within the City, it was denied because the property did not meet the criteria, as it was used as an accessory tennis court to a demolished house on the adjacent parcel. The adjacent parcel was recently purchased by another owner. The proposed Zoning Code text amendment would effectively exempt the entire Snapper Creek neighborhood from the requirement to apply for a building site determination. The purpose is to fulfil the original intent of the 1996 annexation of Snapper Creek and retain the ‘site specific’ regulations that the platted lots are already considered building sites. This text amendment clarifies that the owners of lots platted in 1996 or earlier to be developed as intended after being annexed into Coral Gables. The Applicant’s submittal is provided as Exhibit A. The draft Ordinance is provided as Exhibit B.”
F-12: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code, by amending Article 14, “Process”, Section 14-200 “Procedures”, Section 14-202.6, “Building Site Determination” by eliminating size restrictions on residences in a separated building site based on what was permitted as a single building site; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“As requested by the City Commission, a Zoning Code text amendment is proposed that eliminates the current size restrictions on residences in a separated building site based on what was permitted as a single building site. The proposed amendment is the result of recent comments by the City Commission regarding a proposed building site separation, also referred to as a lot split. The building site separation criteria and requirements were re-written and adopted in 2016 via Ordinance No. 2016-26. At this time, the Commission requested to codify the language that was typically included as conditions of approval with previous applications for building site separation. This included the common condition of approval to limit the total square footage of new residences in a separated building site based on the square footage that was permitted on the single building site. In Section 2-101(D)(6), the maximum building floor area of a single-family home depends on the size of the property. Therefore, smaller building sites allow a higher percentage of building floor area; and as such, newly separated lots would permit additional floor area than what would otherwise be allowed with the larger single building site. The proposed text amendment would allow a separated building site the maximum building floor area based on the new subdivided lots, by eliminating condition 1 of 4 that are the minimum required for an approval of a building site that currently reads: ‘The total square footage of the residences allowed on the separated building sites shall be equal to or less than the total square footage that could be constructed on the property if developed as a single building site.’ The draft Ordinance is provided as Exhibit A.”
F-13: An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code, Article 3, “Uses”, Section 3-317, “Permanently installed stand-by generators” removing the distance requirement of ten (10) feet from any opening in a building or structure; requiring that the distance from any opening be determined by manufacturer’s specification; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date.
“A Zoning Code text amendment is proposed to remove the distance requirement of 10 feet for the installation of a permanent generator from any opening in a building or structure. The current regulations related to generators, including the 10-foot distance requirement, was amended into the Zoning Code in 2006. There has been an increase of property owners applying permits for the installation of stand-by generators as a means of resiliency against power outage during emergency events. In the last 15+ years, many of the Building Code requirements and manufacturer’s specifications have changed. The proposed amendment removes the specificity of 10 feet, and instead, requires the distancing to be per manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications which shall be concurrently reviewed by electrical, structural, and mechanical permits. The draft Ordinance is provided as Exhibit A.”
F-14: A Resolution of the City Commission establishing the “Signature Hurricane Protection Program” to make available to residents a list of providers willing to furnish and install impact windows and doors at a twenty-five percent (25%) discount to owners of single-family homes with a height les than 25 feet and less than 3,000 square feet and meeting certain income eligibility requirements and amending Ordinance No. 2015-17, as amended, waiving all City permit fees for impact window and door installations for such property owners. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
“The City Commission desires to incentivize the installation of impact windows and doors in single-family home and recognizes that the purchase and installation of impact windows and doors can be cost-prohibitive for certain property owners. Signature Impact Windows & Doors LLC, which provides impact windows and doors and installation services within the City, has offered and committed to providing owners of single-family residences in the City who meet certain property and income eligibility requirements, a discount of twenty-five percent (25%) for the purchase and installation of impact windows and doors and has requested that in such cases, the City waive for such property owners the applicable City permit fees and not require structural wind pressure calculations. The City Commission desires to establish the “Signature Hurricane Protection Program” which would (1) facilitate the creation of a list of providers committed to providing a twenty-five percent (25%) discount on impact window and doors and installation for eligible property owners of single-family homes; (2) would waive the City permit fees for installation of the windows and doors by such property owners; and (3) would not require structural wind and pressure calculations.”
City Commission Items
G-1: Update from staff on the sidewalks on University Drive, Alhambra Circle, Blue Road, Venetia Terrace and Pisano Avenue. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
G-2: Presentation by staff on the implementation of the Sliver Permit Program. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fors).
G-3: Discussion regarding funding mechanisms for historic City assets, Fire House 4, and Phillips Park. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).
G-4: Discussion regarding water coolers and the reduction of single use water bottles. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson) (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
G-5: Discussion regarding the process for residents, businesses and property owners to request signage for no parking and handicapped parking signs. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
G-6: Coral Way Strangler Fig up-date. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
G-7: Discussion regarding Camp Mahachee Tree Planting Day: Saturday, October 2, 2022. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
G-8: An update on the City property located on 2001 Granada Boulevard known as ‘Burger Bobs’. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
G-9: Discussion regarding an August recess for the City Commission starting in 2023. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).
G-10: Discussion regarding modern residential design approvals in Coral Gables. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
G-11: A discussion regarding Alhambra Circle sidewalks (between San Rafael and the bridge near Taragona Drive). (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
G-12: Discussion regarding the Rotary Club Annual Chili Cookoff, taking place on October 30, 2022, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, at Ponce Circle Park. Free Admission plus Sponsorship Opportunities to benefit Rotary projects. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).
G-13: A Resolution of the City Commission directing the City Manager and City Attorney to reinitiate the annexation process for Little Gables. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
“Little Gables is an enclave bounded by the City of Coral Gables to the East, West and South. In July 2017, pursuant to Chapter 20, Article I of the Miami-Dade County Code, the City conducted a petition process to ascertain support amongst registered voters in Little Gables for the annexation of Little Gables into Coral Gables. In response to the petition, 23.9% of registered voters in Little Gables supported annexation, surpassing the 20% required to initiate annexation contained in the County Code. Shortly thereafter, the City Commission adopted Resolution No. 2017-344, directing the City Manager and City Attorney to prepare and submit an application for the annexation of Little Gables to Miami Dade County in accordance with the County Code. The City’s annexation application received a positive recommendation from the County’s Planning Advisory Board; and from then Mayor Carlos Gimenez. On July 17, 2019, a public hearing was held on the annexation application before the Health Care and County Operations Committee (HCOC), where the HCOC laid the City’s application on the table. Without the approval of the HCOC, the annexation application could not proceed any further in the process and was effectively denied without the full Board of County Commissioners ever hearing the matter and without giving residents in the area the opportunity to vote in a referendum. There are changes to the annexation process currently under consideration by the Board of County Commissioners (“BCC”) that are relevant to this resolution. On July 19, 2022, the BCC passed an ordinance on first reading that would amend the annexation process as follows: it would require notice be sent to both property owners and registered voters for all phases of annexation requiring mailed notice; require a survey be conducted at the City’s expense once the annexation application is referred to the Planning and Zoning Board; establish a benchmark of 60% of the total properties in the annexed area respond to the survey indicating they are in favor of the proposed boundary change; if the 60% threshold is not met, then a two-thirds vote of the county commissioners in office shall be required to both advance the proposed annexation and to effectuate the annexation. Given the documented support for the City’s annexation effort, and the long-term benefits that will accrue to both the City and Little Gables, the City Commission wishes to re-initiate the annexation process for Little Gables. To fund that effort, the City Commission allocates one hundred seventy thousand dollars ($170,000.00) for consulting fees from the general fund and approves of the City covering the hard costs related to the annexation process e.g. mailings, petition process, survey, printing etc.”
G-14: A Resolution of the City Commission re-establishing and supporting the continuation of the Special Assessment District to be known as the Business Improvement District (“BID”) of Coral Gables, for a period of five years, subject to approval by a majority of the affected property owners; providing for an updated voting procedure for ascertaining whether a majority of the affected property owners approve continued existence of the BID; providing for levy of special assessments thereof; providing for location, nature and estimated cost of services to be provided; providing details of assessment procedure and future increases; and providing for publication of legal notice.
“During the June 28th City Commission meeting, the City Commission discussed the current petition process, and following discussion with the BID Executive Director and various residents, the Commission voted to cancel the current petition process; directed City staff to return with alternative methods of determining support for the continued existence of the BID; and directed to staff to review some of the concerns raised by residents and the Commission. The attached draft resolution and exhibits call for a new election period to be done via ballot, not petition process. There are various options for the election for the Commission to consider and the draft resolution provides additional details regarding the assessment process. At the July 25, 2022 City Commission meeting this item was deferred to the August 24th Commission meeting.”
G-15: A Resolution of the City Commission opposing amendments to Florida Statute 553.79 that preempt the City’s demolition permit process as applied to historic properties and urging the Florida Legislature to rescind said amendments. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).
“During the 2022 legislative session, the Florida Legislature adopted House Bill 423 (“HB 423”), altering the Florida Building Code. One such amendment, prohibits a municipality from prohibiting or restricting a private property owner from demolishing a single-family residential home located in a coastal high-hazard area, moderate flood zone, or special flood hazard area, if the lowest finished floor elevation of the structure is at or below base flood elevation, or a higher base flood elevation as may be required by local ordinance, whichever is higher. With some exceptions, the new legislation also limits the City’s ability to apply local land development regulations to such properties. The bill exempts nationally designated historic landmarks, residential structures designated on or before January 1, 2022, and residential structures designated after January 1, 2022, with the owner’s consent. The City of Coral Gables recognizes the enactment of this legislation could lead to the irreversible demolition of historic properties. Coral Gables has a longstanding history of being protecting historical properties, which foster city pride and legacy. In fact, the Historical Resources and Cultural Arts Department must approve demolition permits before issuance. The City of Coral Gables has a long-standing legacy of recognizing and protecting its historic and cultural sites. In fact, there are currently over 1,200 historic landmark properties in the City and there may be a significant number of undesignated properties now threatened by state law. The City Commission condemns state action that infringes on the City’s home rule powers and overrides its ability to regulate the protection of historic structures through its zoning authority. By passage of this resolution, the City Commission urges the Legislature to rescind the amendment to section 553.79, Florida Statutes during the next legislative session.”
H-1: A Resolution of the City Commission approving celebration of the recently installed sculpture “Mean Average” by Tony Cragg during Miami Art Week and Art Basel, application to Art Basel for an official event, and funding up to $ 35,000 from the Art Fund toward interpretive and marketing materials (unanimously recommended by the Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 6 to 0.
City Manager Items
I-1: Innovation and Technology demonstration of new homegrown Smart City Digital Twin platform and Horizontal Integration Dashboards.
I-2: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the acceptance of grant funds in the amount of $355,722 allocated to the Coral Gables Police Department as part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program Initiative; authorizing execution of the grant contract; and authorizing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 annual budget to recognize the $355,722 grant as revenue and to appropriate such funds to put toward the cost of the program.
“The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program provides assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. The purpose of this program is to combat the threat from drug trafficking regions such as South Florida. The City of Coral Gables will implement the grant funded initiative in accordance with all requirements provided by the HIDTA Program. The program initiated in FY18 awards the City annual funding based on available dollars, i.e., FY18 – $567,601, FY19 – $394,352, FY20 – 256,721, FY21 – $273,759 & FY22 – $355,722. An amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Annual Budget is required to recognize the $355,722 grant funds as revenue and to appropriate such funds to cover the cost of the grant expenditures. For all subsequent annual awards, staff recommends the Commission authorizes annual budget amendments for the life of the program.”
I-3: Update regarding undergrounding of utilities. Agenda Items I-3 and I-4 are related.
I-4: A Resolution of the City Commission directing City staff to work with Florida Power and Light (FPL) to accomplish the undergrounding of utilities within the City in accordance with the FPL Storm Secure Underground Pilot Program (SSUPP) and such other programs as may be approved by the Public Service Commission, to work with FPL on all other planned improvements, and to explore options to require attaching entities to underground co-located pole attachments. Agenda Items I-3 and I-4 are related.
“In November 2019, the City Commission was presented with non-binding ballpark estimates for the cost of conversion of overhead utilities to underground utilities. After the presentation, the City Commission adopted Resolution No. 2019-347 directing staff to prepare and execute a community engagement campaign to include educational materials, vignettes, renderings, community meetings, charettes, and written/oral surveys/polls to effectively engage with community stakeholders, listen, and learn their views, concerns, and insights on the potential undergrounding of utilities. In December 2019, the City Commission was presented a preliminary action plan timeline for the analysis, project scoping, community engagement, and expected timeline for workshops and possible City Commission action. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the community engagement efforts were suspended. On August 25, 2020, staff presented an update to the City Commission and recommended that if the City Commission wished to continue working toward the possibility of having a question relating to the citywide undergrounding of utilities on a future ballot, that the matter not be placed before the voters prior to 2022, to allow for the community engagement campaign to resume in the second half of 2021, should it be safe to do so at that time. In Resolution 2020-182, the City Commission agreed that due to the health, safety, and economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeline should be adjusted as recommended by staff. In Resolution 2021-136, the City Commission directed City staff to resume community engagement, continue working to prepare further City Commission action and the potential execution of the citywide undergrounding of utilities, hold workshops with the City Commission in early 2022 and place any necessary items on the June 2022 City Commission meeting agenda for the City Commission’s consideration on whether to place a ballot question before voters, relating to the underground of utilities citywide. After various discussions with FPL and as a result of legislative and regulatory accomplishments and strategic milestones, FPL shared with the City its plans under its Storm Secure Underground Program (SSUPP), which eliminated the need for the City to lead the project, for a voter referendum, for general bond issuance, and for the imposition of the cost of undergrounding on City residents and businesses. Under the SSUPP, FPL is seeking approval from the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to convert all remaining above-ground neighborhood (lateral) lines, poles, and individual residential and business service connections citywide from overhead to underground, under the SSUPP. The SSUPP as currently approved by the FPSC, extends for ten (10) years and FPL has planned
to convert forty percent (40%) of overhead lateral lines, poles, and individual residential and business service connection lines, that are currently not undergrounded, by year 10. Additionally, FPL plans to pursue timely FPSC approval to convert the remaining sixty percent (60%) of overhead lateral lines from overhead to underground. FPL also projects to complete hardening of above-ground main (feeder) lines in the City within the next five (5) years, and currently estimates that approximately 15% of the total miles of existing overhead feeders within the City could be converted to underground. FPL also plans to work with the City to find the opportunity, as part of FPL’s main (feeder) line hardening, to convert specific main (feeder) line sections located along the City’s signature streets where there are engineering and vegetation management issues that validate or justify the need for undergrounding of such main (feeder) line sections rather than overhead hardening. Given FPL’s current estimate of lateral and feeder underground work within the City as part of FPL’s SSUPP approved by the FPSC and its plan to work with the City, this resolution expresses that the City Commission wishes to allow FPL to proceed with the project as set forth above and not proceed with a City-managed and directed project that would have required a voter referendum, a general obligation bond issuance, and imposition of the cost of overhead-to-underground electric infrastructure conversion on City residents and businesses. This resolution also acknowledges that the SSUPP and such other FPSC-approved projects related to overhead-to-underground conversions and hardening, are subject to changes based on actual conditions experienced and requirements or modifications adopted by the FPSC. Furthermore, such projects do not alleviate the need for further coordination between the City and FPL, exploration of other avenues for implementation of electric and communication infrastructure above-ground to underground conversion and hardening, the availability and pursuit of Federal or state support for City electric and communication infrastructure projects, and potential regulatory and legislative action to ensure that co-located equipment attached to poles owned by FPL or other entities is timely removed and placed underground so that redundant poles may ultimately be eliminated and the City may achieve a higher standard of aesthetic and street beautification. To that end, the Commission directs staff to explore all avenues for the removal and relocation of such equipment by attaching entities.”
I-5: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the City Manager and City Attorney to negotiate purchase and sale agreements for the sale of transfer of development rights (“TDRs”) currently available from the Coral Gables Museum Property, located at 285 Aragon Avenue, and directing that all proceeds be placed in the City ’s historic building fund. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).
“The City owns the Coral Gables Museum Building (the “Building”) located at 285 Aragon Avenue. The Building initially served as the city’s first police and fire station. The site where the Building is located is zoned MX1 and has a significant number of TDRs available. In this resolution, the City Commission believes it is in the best interest of the City to sell the TDRs available from the site so that the proceeds from the sale(s) may be used to fund restoration of City-owned historic buildings. The resolution expresses that the City Commission wishes that the proceeds from the sale of the TDRs be placed in the City’s already-established Historic Building Fund and authorize the City Manager and City Attorney to negotiate Purchase and Sale Agreements for the sale of TDRs currently available from the Property and directs that all proceeds be placed in the City’s Historic Building Fund.”
City Attorney Items
J-1: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the City Attorney to file a quiet title action for Lot 3 of Block 44, of revised plat Coral Gables Douglas Section, according to the plat thereof recorded in plat book 25, page 69, relating to Phillips Park.
“In anticipation of a forthcoming renovation project, the City conducted a title search on Phillips Park to confirm the City owns the entire property. The title search was prompted because a small corner of the park is fenced-off and used exclusively by Coral Gables Preparatory Academy’s middle school campus. While the City was able to confirm it does in fact own the fenced-off property, the title search evidenced a deficiency in the title of Lot 3 of Block 44, which constitutes a different portion of the Phillips Park property. The City has been in actual possession of Lot 3 for more than twenty years and the real property taxes during such period have been returned in the City’s name. Furthermore, Phillips Park has served the community for decades at its current location and on its current footprint. The City Commission wishes to clear title to Lot 3 of Block 44, and by passage of this resolution, authorizes the City Attorney to take all necessary action to do so, including filing a quiet title action.”