On Tuesday, October 24, 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.
D.-1. 23-6498 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing Beaux Arts of the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami to sell alcoholic beverages at the University of Miami Watsco Center Parking Lot on Saturday, January 13th, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 14th, 2024, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the 73rd Annual Beaux Arts Festival of Art. Subject to Florida Department of Professional Regulation Requirements.
D.-2. 23-6524 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the execution of an agreement for sewer connection for property located outside the City’s sewer district at 6565 Red Road, Coral Gables, Florida into the City of Coral Gables wastewater collection / transmission system, subject to the requirements of the Public Works Department, as provided under Chapters 62 and 78 of the City Code, Ordinance Nos. 2007-29 and 2009-39 and Resolution No. 2008-07; and provided that the executed agreement be made part of this resolution.
D.-3. 23-6515 A Resolution of the City Commission increasing the fixed rate per 1,000 gallons that the City charges the University of Miami for the collection and disposal of their sanitary sewage and authorizing the execution of a new ten (10) year sewage service and disposal agreement with the University of Miami for the continued collection and disposal of sewage flows from the University’s connection point (Ponce de Leon Boulevard) through the City’s sewage transmission system to the Miami Dade Water and Sewer
Department (MDWASD) connection point (Southwest 28th Street and Southwest 38th Avenue).
D.-4. 23-6551 A Resolution of the City Commission confirming the appointment of Zully Pardo (Nominated by City Manager Iglesias) to serve as a member of the Library Advisory Board, for a two (2) year term which began on June 1, 2023 and continues through May 31, 2025.
D.-5. 23-6558 A Resolution of the City Commission confirming the appointment of Rene Alvarez (Nominated by City Manager Iglesias) to serve as a member of the Coral Gables Retirement Board (General Employees), for a two (2) year term which began on June 1, 2023 and continues through May 31, 2025.
D.-6. 23-6561 A Resolution of the City Commission approving the execution of a Declaration of Covenants, Restrictions and Easements for the Miracle Theatre Complex.
D.-7. 23-6504 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the execution of Amendment No. 7 to the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Agreement No. 15DA2 for the Coral Gables Waterway Bank Stabilization Project for the purpose of extending the term of the Agreement from December 31, 2023 to December 31, 2024.
D.-8. 23-6505 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the acceptance of the Modification of grant funds to Agreement No. G22MI0016A in the amount of $126,787 on behalf of the Coral Gables Police Department as part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program to support Fiscal Year 2023-2024 operations of the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force; and authorizing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 annual budget to recognize the $126,787 grant modification as revenue and to appropriate such funds to put toward the cost.
D.-9. 23-6557 A Resolution of the City Commission appointing Jose A. Gelabert-Navia as a Special Master presiding over quasi-judicial public hearings for the Board of Architects pursuant to Sections 14-103.3 and 14-103.2 of the Coral Gables Zoning Code.
D.-10. 23-6563 A Resolution of the City Commission appointing Barbara Perez (Nominated by City Manager Iglesias) to serve as a member of the Economic Development Board, for the remainder of an unexpired term, which began on June 1, 2023 and continues through May 31, 2025.
2.-1. 23-6267 A Resolution of the Coral Gables Cultural Development Board recommending the City Commission to commit to completing Ponce Circle Park renovations in time for the city ’s centennial; further recommending the renovation to include infrastructure to support installation of future artworks in the park (unanimously recommended by the Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 7 to 0).
E. PUBLIC HEARINGS
ORDINANCES ON SECOND READING
E.-1. 23-6276 An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code by amending Article 3, “Uses,” Section 3-315, “Restaurant, open air dining at ground level and other location,” to provide a minimum clear distance for pedestrian traffic within any arcade or loggia that has outdoor seating, providing for repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (09 21 23 PZB recommended approval, Vote 6-1) (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
“Staff has prepared a Zoning Code text amendment to the provisions for outdoor seating to provide a minimum 4-foot clearance within any arcade or loggia and next to a public sidewalk. The purpose of the clearance is to allow for sufficient pedestrian movement when the arcade includes outdoor seating. The proposed amendment will require the Applicant to account for and illustrate the minimum 4-foot clearance in the site plans.”
Agenda Items E-2 and are E-3 are related
E.-2. 23-5979 An Ordinance of the City Commission granting approval of proposed amendments to the text of the City of Coral Gables Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element, pursuant to expedited state review procedures (S.163.3184, Florida Statutes) and Zoning Code Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-213, “Comprehensive Plan Text and Map Amendments;” to provide for additional building height up to one hundred and thirty -seven feet and six inches with parks incentives if developed pursuant to the Design & Innovation District regulations: and clarifying the Design & Innovation District as a Transfer of Development Rights receiving area; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (07 12 23 PZB recommended denial, Vote 3-2) (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
“To incentivize the development of more urban parks in Coral Gables, the [Ordinance] will allow taller buildings to be built in the Design and Innovation District in return for additional open spaces on private property. The District is the area surrounding the Shops of Merrick Park and bounded by Bird Road, SW 39th Avenue, Ruiz Avenue/Ponce de Leon Boulevard, and Le Jeune Road. The proposed text amendments provide for additional building height of up to 137.5 feet within the District when providing an on-site park that is open to the public.”
On the Meeting of July 12, 2023, the Planning and Zoning Board voted this item down as the members did not see a justifiable public benefit to merit the height increase. The item did not make it back to Planning and Zoning Board for further review despite certain changes made to the proposal from the initial presentation.
E.-3. 23-5980 An Ordinance of the City Commission providing for text amendments to the City of Coral Gables Official Zoning Code pursuant to Zoning Code Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-212, “Zoning Code Text and Map Amendments,” to create an incentive program within the Design & Innovation District to allow a maximum building height of one hundred and thirty-seven feet and six inches by providing a park open to the public, providing for repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. ( 07 12 23 PZB made no recommendation, Vote 3-2) (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
Agenda Items E-4 and E-5 are related.
E.-4. 23-6278 A Resolution of the City Commission approving receipt of Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) pursuant to Zoning Code Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-204.6, “Review and approval of use of TDRs on receiver sites,” for the receipt and use of TDRs for a mixed-use project referred to as “4241 Aurora” on the property legally described as Lots 12 through 22, Block 6, Coral Gables Industrial Section (4241 Aurora St), Coral Gables, Florida; including required conditions; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, and an effective date. (09 21 23 PZB Meeting – Board recommended approval, Vote: 7-0)
Lobbyist: Jorge Navarro
Lobbyist: Devon Vickers
“The first request is for the receipt of transfer development rights (TDRs). The Applicant seeks to utilize 25,812 square feet of TDRs to increase the permitted gross floor area ratio (FAR) from 3.5 to 4.375, which is a 25% increase in FAR. If received, the total floor area will amount to 129,062 square feet.“
70 Residential Units and 9,148 Sq. Ft. of Commercial, and 11,639 Sq. Ft. of Office. FAR: 4.375. Height: 170′. Requires Commission approval.
E.-5. 23-6279 A Resolution of the City Commission approving Mixed-Use Site Plan and Conditional Use review pursuant to Zoning Code Article 14, “Process” Section 14-203, “Conditional Uses,” for a proposed mixed-use project referred to as “4241 Aurora” on the property legally described as Lots 12 through 22, Block 6, Coral Gables Industrial Section (4241 Aurora St), Coral Gables, Florida; including required conditions; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, and providing for an effective date. (09 21 23 PZB Meeting – Board recommended approval with conditions, Vote: 7-0)
Lobbyist: Jorge Navarro
Lobbyist: Devon Vickers
F. CITY COMMISSION ITEMS
F.-1. 23-6368 Discussion regarding businesses on Giralda Avenue. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
F.-2. 23-6536 Presentation of “El Clasico of La Liga of Spain” arriving to Coral Gables. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
F.-3. 23-6549 Update on white way lights. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
F.-4. 23-6548 Update from the Village of Merrick Park management. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
F.-5. 23-6553 A Resolution of the City Commission readopting the Civility Code for members of the City Commission, expanding its applicability and providing for procedures and consequences for violation of the Civility Code. (Sponsored by Commissioner Castro)
“Resolution sets forth a policy for violations of the Civility Code. A finding of a violation by a majority of the City Commission may result in a formal reprimand or public apology.”
F.-6. 23-6562 A Resolution of the City Commission readopting the Civility Code for members of the City Commission, expanding its applicability and providing for notice, procedures, and consequences for violations of the Civility Code. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Anderson)
A competing Resolution to Commissioner Castro’s, Vice Mayor Anderson’s almost identical Resolution would allow for a longer period of review, and make it more difficult to apply the any consequence to any violation. It is a more lawyerly application of a political process.
F.-7. 23-6560 A Resolution of the City Commission supporting Israel and condemning the unprovoked and unjustified war launched by Hamas terrorists against Israel. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)
“This resolution condemns Hamas and affirms the City Commission’s support of Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and calls on the world to do the same.”
F.-8. 23-6570 Update on 140 Arvida Parkway., Alfred Browning Parker property. (Sponsored by Commissioner Fernandez)
G. BOARDS/COMMITTEES ITEMS
G.-1. 23-6296 A Resolution of the City Commission approving the concept and commissioning of a work of public art by gt2P Studios in conjunction with the Alta development project at 4101 Salzedo Street, in fulfillment of the Art in Public Places requirement for public art in private development (recommended by the Arts Advisory Panel approval/denial vote: 5 to 2; unanimously recommended by the Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 5 to 0).
The Commission will decide the approval of the installation by the developer of these two pieces of art.
G.-2. 23-6508 A Resolution of the City Commission appointing the following individuals to serve as members of the Charter Review Committee:
Mayor Lago _
Vice Mayor Anderson _
Commissioner Castro _
Commissioner Fernandez _
Commissioner Menendez _
H. CITY MANAGER ITEMS
H.-1. 23-6509 A Resolution of the City Commission approving the City’s 2024 Legislative Priorities in substantially the attached form.
PRESERVATION OF HOME RULE & PREEMPTION OF LOCAL REGULATIONS
Oppose legislation that would preempt local governments from legislating, regulating, or acting on matters of local concern in the interest of the health, safety, and welfare of their communities.
Oppose legislation that creates procedural hurdles to the exercise of home rule authority such as enacting ordinances and conducting charter referendum.
BERT HARRIS ACT
Oppose changes to the Bert J. Harris Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act that would disadvantage local governments and limit the city’s ability to quickly resolve claims.
Oppose legislation that would increase the $300,000 per-occurrence limit and/or eliminate the $200,000-per-claimant limit contained in Section 768.28, F.S.
COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TAX AND LOCAL BUSINESS TAX PROTECTION
Support legislation that protects general revenues collected from the communications services tax and the local business tax.
Oppose legislation that would further preempt local governments from regulating vacation rentals; which decrease available stock of affordable housing, decrease surrounding residential property values, and cause economic harm to the hotel industry.
Preserve the grandfather clause in Section 509.032(7)(b), Florida Statutes, which allows local regulations adopted on or before June 1, 2011, to remain in effect.
ZONING AUTHORITY AND BUILDING DESIGN ELEMENTS
Oppose legislation that would preempt a local government’s authority to enact zoning regulations, including regulating building design elements for one-and two-family dwellings.
Preserve the carve out in Section 163.3202, Florida Statutes for cities with architectural review boards established before January 1, 2020.
PROPERTY RESILENCE AND PROPERTY INSURANCE RATES
Support efforts to decrease homeowner’s insurance rates in the State, including via the statewide adoption of the Florida Building Code’s high velocity hurricane zone including the structural review criteria adopted by Miami-Dade County, to encourage more insurers to enter the market, increase competition and decrease claims exposure for insurers.
CARBON SEQUESTERED CONCRETE
Support the creation of state incentives for use of carbon sequestered concrete. Carbon sequestered concrete decreases the quantity of cement needed in concrete and strengthens it. It also helps developers earn LEED credits and improves the public’s perception of new development. Incentives could include funding grants to purchase carbon collection or injection equipment.
Support legislation that preserves local control of transportation planning and provides for a more equitable transportation funding formula between municipalities and counties, including additional dedicated revenue options for municipal transportation infrastructure and transit projects.
Support legislation that allows municipalities to receive transportation infrastructure funding directly from the State, regardless of population, and bypasses distribution at the County level.
SMALL CELL WIRELESS
Support legislation that preserves the City’s ability to exercise its home rule authority to control use of its rights-of-way for communications facilities, including small cell facilities.
Support the City’s ability to exercise authority over City-owned poles in its rights-of-way.
Oppose legislation that would expand the preemption of home rule authority already within the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act.
Amend Section 366.97, Florida Statues to require attaching entities to remove their pole attachments from redundant poles within 180 days after receipt of notice that pole is to be removed and mandate the elimination of redundant poles by the pole owner.
Amend Section, 509.098, Florida Statues to clarify that public lodging establishments may not charge fractional rates for room rentals and establish specific penalties for violating this prohibition.
DEMOLITION OF HISTORIC HOMES
Eliminate the preemptions in Section 553.79, Florida Statutes that prohibit the City from meaningfully reviewing, restricting, or denying demolition permits for historic homes in certain flood zones that are at or below base flood elevation.
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Support legislation that prioritizes the health and protection of Biscayne Bay and allocates needed funding for the Bay’s conservation.
Support the establishment of a grant program for low-income residents to achieve septic-to-sewer conversion.
Support legislation that would require inspections of residential septic tanks and sewer lines for real estate transactions.
Urge the Florida Legislature to support the adoption of a national carbon border adjustment mechanism to provide a level playing field for American manufacturers to compete against foreign manufactured goods produced with cheaper higher polluting manufacturing processes.
LIVE LOCAL ACT
Support collaborative solutions to address the statewide housing crisis; but oppose legislation that preempts the city’s zoning code, circumvents its public hearing processes, and mandates development incentives related to use, height and density without consideration of compatibility with surrounding development or residential neighborhoods, or impacts to existing infrastructure.
STALKING STATUTE AMENDMENT:
Expand prohibitions for stalking to apply to use of third parties, drones, surveillance or security cameras or other recording devices. Add additional protections for law enforcement officers.
$900k for Golden Gate Stormwater Improvement Project
$800k for Citywide Sidewalk Construction and Replacement
$500k for Citywide Traffic Calming
$300k for Coral Gables-FIU Water Quality Study
$500k for Citywide Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Additional proposed funding requests
$750k for City Hall Complex Storm Hardening
$850k for Remediation of Yard Waste Diversion Site
$600k Riviera Drive/Underline connectivity project.
H.-2. 23-6511 A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing a bid waiver for holiday decorations on Miracle Mile and Giralda Plaza pursuant to Section 2-691 of the City’s Procurement Code and authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with the Christmas Palace for custom decorations for a period of three years.
I. CITY ATTORNEY ITEMS
I.-1. 23-6510 Update regarding proposed Zoning Code text amendments regarding appeal procedures.