Agenda Digest: Commission Meeting (6/8/2021)

On June 8, 2021 at 9:00AM, the Coral Gables City Commission will hold its next scheduled meeting. Here are some of the more notable items on the agenda for this upcoming meeting. Click here to see the full agenda.

Mayor’s Comments

D-1: A Resolution of the City Commission adopting Mayor Lago’s Strategic Priorities Plan.(Sponsored by Mayor Lago)

Over the course of his campaign, Mayor Vince Lago explained he had specific priorities he wanted to enact in the City during his term. The Mayor has outlined his Strategic Priorities Plan, which has also incorporated elements proposed by other members of the Commission. These priorities include: transparency, accountability, outreach, quality of life improvements, business, culture, environmental stewardship, appreciation for history, safety and health, and customer service. The Commission will be taking up the strategic plan. Click here to read the plan.

Consent Agenda

E-14: A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Coral Gables, Florida, approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the City of Coral Gables Police Department.

“Due to the independent nature of the FDLE andtheir extensive resources, the Coral Gables Police Department would like to enter into an MOU with FDLE to allow for investigative and forensic involvement, assistance, and coordination by FDLE in connection with any of the following: 1. The shooting of a person by a CGPD law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty; or 2. The death of an arrestee while in the care, custody or control of a CGPD law enforcement officer, the death of an arrestee shortly after being in the care, custody or control of a CGPD law enforcement officer or the death of an intended arrestee during an arrest attempt by a CGPD law enforcement officer.”

Ordinances On Second Reading

F-1: An Ordinance of the City Commission authorizing entering into a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the sale of the City-owned surface parking lot (#31) at 350 Greco Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (Folio No. 03-4120-017-2240) to JRFQ Holdings, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.

Back for a second reading, and the third meeting in a row, the controversial sale of the parking lot at 350 Greco Avenue to JRFQ Holdings, LLC. As previously reported, many questions have arisen on the facts as presented to residents and the recusal of Vice Mayor Michael Mena, due to his relationship with the buyers. The measure would require all remaining members of the Commission voting in favor of the sale for it to move forward.

Ordinances On First Reading

F-2: An Ordinance of the City Commission of the City of Coral Gables, Florida, amending Chapter 34-Nuisances, Article VI “Noise,” Section 34-170 “Exemptions” of the City Code to create an exemption for outdoor live amplified music on private property in the Central Business District.

“The proposed ordinance creates an additional exemption to the City’s noise ordinance, such that outdoor live amplified music on private property in the Central Business District shall be allowed, if the establishment has an active outdoor dining permit and, subject to a permit approved by the City Manager or his or her designee and certain additional conditions, including hours of operation and maximum sound levels.”

City Commission Items

G-1: A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Coral Gables, Florida, Re-adopting the City’s Civility Code, Establishing a Civility Code for Members of the City Commission, and for City Employees.(Sponsored by Mayor Vince Lago)

This is an item Gables Insider has brought to light in the past. Members of the Commission have shown little respect and civility for residents who had the right to voice their opinions on issues such as the changes to the zoning code and the construction of the Wawa across from George Washington Carver. Earlier this year, Gables Insider created a civility pledge and asked members of the Commission and candidates to sign the pledge. No member of the Commission at the time signed it, but numerous candidates did. The Mayor’s proposed code would also apply to City staff, requiring professionalism towards members of the public. Click here to read the full civility code.

G-2: A Resolution of the City Commission directing City staff to resume community engagement, hold workshops with the City Commission in early 2022, and place any necessary items on the June 2022 City Commission Agenda for the Commission’s consideration of whether to place a ballot question before the voters relating to the undergrounding of Utilities Citywide.(Sponsored by Mayor Lago)

As we enter Hurricane season this week, the discussion of undergrounding power-lines once again comes up. The estimate presented to the Commission in the past was of over $250 million to underground the power lines throughout the City. This is just an estimate and the project could take over 10 years to complete. The City had started working towards starting a conversation with residents about this project in March of 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those meetings were put on hold. “Today, vaccines are widely available,the positivity rate is consistently below 5 percent, and the City will return to regular operations on June 14, 2021 (see Resolution No. 2021-118). This resolution sets forth the City Commission’s wish that staff resume engaging with the community on the undergrounding of utilities citywide, continue working to prepare for further City Commission workshops and the potential execution of the project, and,in the summer of 2022, consider whether to move forward with a ballot question in the November 2022 election.”

G-3: A Resolution of the City Commission directing the City Clerk and City Manager to schedule certain items, of great public importance, for certain City Commission Meetings that begin at 5:00pm. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson) (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)

As briefly touched upon last Commission meeting, the Commissioner Anderson and Mayor Lago wanted to move certain meetings to the evenings, to ensure residents are able to participate.

“The City Commission wishes to adopt objective guidelines for which items before the City Commission should be heard at a meeting beginning at 5:00 P.M. at least once before final action of this Commission. Adoption of these guidelines confers no additional jurisdiction to the City Commission and does not add additional requirements for items that do not regularly come before the City Commission.If adopted,the following items before the City Commission would be heard at a meeting beginning at 5:00 P.M. at least once prior to final action: 1) Ordinances amending the City Code deemed a matter of great public importance by a majority vote of the City Commission during first reading of the proposed Ordinance; 2) Ordinances amending the City’s Zoning Code; 3) Amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Map; 4) Legislation changing the land use or zoning of a particular parcel; 5) Any item related to the Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs); 6) Any item where an applicant is utilizing the Mediterranean Bonus structure outlined in the City’s Zoning Code; 7) Mixed-use projects requiring City Commission approval, Planned Area Development (PAD) applications, or any project requiring Conditional Use approval, for projects located in the following areas of the City: a.The Central Business District (CBD); b. The Crafts Section; c. The Biltmore Section; or d.Projects fronting U.S. 1, LeJeune Road, Douglas Road, Ponce DeLeon Boulevard, Salzedo Street, Galiano Street, Bird Road, Red Road, or S.W. 8th Street.”

G-4: Annexation discussion of High Pines and Ponce Davis. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)

The discussion about Annexation ended with the Miami-Dade County Commission’s decision not to proceed in 2019, following a meeting at County Hall. Both High Pines and Ponce Davis had the support necessary, at the time, to proceed with their annexation.

G-6: A discussion regarding a Commission Workshop to discuss current garbage disposal standards and potential improvements to the existing process. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago)

In his memo, Mayor Lago states as follows, “This memo serves as a request for a Commission Workshop within the next two weeks to discuss current garbage disposal standards and potential improvements to the existing process.”

G-7: A Resolution of the City Commission establishing the Cavaliers Future Leaders Program, a summer internship program designed to introduce rising juniors and seniors of Coral Gables Senior High School to the inner workings of local government. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez)

In his first agenda item since being elected, Commissioner Kirk Menendez is seeking to start an internship program for Coral Gables Senior High School juniors and seniors at City Hall.

Board/Committees Items

H-1: A Resolution of the City Commission approving artists for public art proposal submittals associated with the new public Parking Garage 7, Minorca Garage. (Unanimously recommended by the Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 5 to 0)

“A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was announced nationally inviting artists to submit qualifications and interest in developing a public art design proposal for the new public Parking Garage 7. Artists were advised that artwork is sought that is light-based and functions as a beacon to identify the public safety building location, welcoming people to the site as a place of safety, help, and refuge.The Arts Advisory Panel met and reviewed seventy-nine (79) applications from artists who responded to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The Panel, along with department staff, Police Chief Hudak, Fire Chief de la Rosa, and parking director Kevin Kinney interviewed seven (7) artists and made a motion to invite four (4) artists to submit proposals: Grimanesa Amoros, Brookhart Jonquil, Monika Bravo, and Ivan Toth Depena. The Cultural Development Board met and reviewed the artist recommendations of the Arts Advisory Panel, reviewed the artist list of respondents to the Request for Qualification (RFQ) and viewed their submissions. After thorough discussion, the Board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Arts Advisory Panel. Funds for the public art proposal process are being proposed through use of the art acquisition fund.”

City Manager Items

I-1: Presentation on Illuminate Coral Gables 2022

I-2: A Resolution of the City Commission relating to the provision of Fire Protection Services, Facilities and Programs in the City of Coral Gables, Florida; establishing the estimated Assessment Rate for Fire Protection Assessments for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2021; directing the preparation of an Assessment Roll; authorizing a public hearing and directing the provision of notice thereof.

“There are no changes in the proposed Fire Protection Assessment rates for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2021”

I-3: A Resolution of the City Commission relating to the Collection and Disposal of Solid Waste in the City of Coral Gables, Florida; determining the Solid Waste Cost and the Solid Waste Service Assessments for the Fiscal Year beginning October 1, 2021; directing the preparation of an Assessment Roll; authorizing a public hearing and directing the provision of notice thereof.

As you probably figured, garbage fees will once again rise.

“The rates for Fiscal Year 2021-22are increasing as follows:
Early Payment General Residential–From $766to $770
Early Payment Auxiliary Units –From $383to $385
Regular Payment General Residential–From $898to $902
Regular Payment Auxiliary Units –From $449to $451
The increase is to cover the anticipated 1.5% increase in the Miami Dade County pass-through tipping charge and will generate an additional $32,870.00.All residential property owners will have the ability to pay their solid waste assessment in full on or before August 15, 2021 and be removed from the Assessment Roll.”

I-15: A Resolution of the City Commission opposing discrimination against the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Community.

“The City of Coral Gables voices its support for nondiscrimination policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and encourages cities and states around the country to take action to ensure inclusiveness in their own cities, and to use their collective voices and resources to oppose discrimination across the United States.”

City Attorney Items

J-1: Report and update regarding City of Weston, et al. v. State of Florida, et. al. (case where City joined various other municipalities and counties in challenging the penalty provision of section 790.33, F.S. relating to the regulation of firearms)

A lawsuit that has already cost the City over $124,000 in taxpayer money, the City Attorney recommends the City continue to pursue a case that even she deems to have little possibility of bringing a victory for the City.

“Coral Gables has always been a leader in the effort to protect its broad home rule authority and limit preemptions by the state legislature. Significantly, the City led the effort to challenge the preemption surrounding the regulation of single-use plastic bags and expanded polystyrene. Coral Gables enjoys a unique character and provides its residents with true quality of life despite being at the center of a major urban center. This is largely possible due to the City’s ability to regulate locally. Allowing the state to continuously infringe upon that ability will undoubtedly erode the City’s ability to do that. In the instant matter, however, even more is at stake. What is left of the statute’s penalty provision allows for fines to be imposed against a local government. This drives a hole through the doctrine of governmental function immunity. Further, it allows for personal fines to be imposed on elected officials who are acting in their official capacity,thereby largely negating the protections of legislative function immunity which is likely to lead to significant unintended consequences. While success is uncertain, for the reasons set forth above, it is my opinion that joining the other plaintiffs in filing a notice of intent to invoke discretionary jurisdiction with the Florida Supreme Court will further the City Commission’s established policy goals with regard to preemption.”

J-2: Report and update regarding County/City’s fertilizer ordinances.

J-3: Presentation on notice requirements for purchase/sale of City-owned property.

How To Participate

Residents may participate in the City Commission meeting in person or via zoom at: https://zoom.us/j/3054466800.

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5 thoughts on “Agenda Digest: Commission Meeting (6/8/2021)

  1. Maybe residents should sign that pledge too, before interacting with staff or neighbors they disagree with. It’s not just employees that can be rude.

  2. Thank you Gables Insider for doing such a great job at keeping the residents of Coral Gables informed!

  3. The “civility code” should not be necessary. If someone is uncivil to the taxpayers who pay their generous salaries and benefits, they should be fired. In the private sector, if an employee is rude to a customer, they are fired. How did government workers get to be such a protected species? Unions?

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