Commission Meeting Recap (11/9/2021)

Below is a copy of the Commission Digest for this Commission meeting with the brief explanations of discussion taken and/or final votes cast by the Commission on November 9th.

Discussion/explanation can be found in blue. If opening on a smartphone, turn your phone horizontally to avoid having to scroll right to see how all members of the Commission voted on each item.

Non-credited quotes in this article are excerpts from the memos presented to the Commission explaining the items.

Mayor’s Comments

Downtown: We will be ready December 1st ensuring our downtown is clean. The City Manager informed the Mayor that staff has been doing outreach to businesses to ensure December 1st is the deadline and businesses are informed. Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr. reminded staff he had asked for a matrix that could be handed to businesses and all interested parties, including the Commission. Staff had not prepared one. Another cleanup has been scheduled for December 2nd. The Mayor made a motion for the Chamber, Business Improvement District and Commission to be presented with a matrix and to move the rollout to the 1st of January.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

Mayor’s Comments: “This weekend was a great one in our central business district. First, we had the inaugural of the North Gables Harvest Market which was a huge success. I hope that more people join us on Saturdays from 9 to 2 p.m. through December 18, except for Thanksgiving Saturday. Market is right in front of Coral Gables Prep. I would like to give kudos to the administration the most especially our Community Recreation Department who put this fantastic event together in a short period of time. This was an item I introduced in September and less than two months later it came to fruition. Thanks for a job well done. It’s great to have an event in the North Gables area and I know the neighborhood is appreciative. We also saw a great turnout for the Day of the Dead festival on Saturday which was sponsored by the Mexican Consulate. Giralda restaurants were teaming with customers and vendors for the festival were doing brisk business. When I gave my State of the City Address, I spoke about hosting cultural events in conjunction with our consulates. This is a great example of the types of events that I want to see developed. And I am positive that this is an event that will continue to grow. It was also great to see families trick-or-treating on the Mile for Halloween on the Mile. It was also wonderful to see so many merchants participating, it takes all of us working together to be successful. What I saw this weekend is exactly what we need to see every weekend, a vibrant Miracle Mile. Thanks to the BID for organizing. From what people have told me this is an event that keeps on getting better. And speaking of the mile, what a great concert by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Miracle Theatre. I was proud to attend and especially proud that our city supported this event. Again, a fantastic way to bring people and especially families to Miracle Mile. And to showcase how all these activities are making a difference in our Central Business district which is so vital to our economy – since 27 percent of our tax base is from commercial properties, a project I spearheaded as your representative on the Transportation Planning Organization Saturday Trolley service has been a huge success. On the first Saturday in October the day we inaugurated service, we had 543 riders and this past Saturday just four short weeks later we had 960 riders and increase of 76 percent. What an amazing result. And everyone should know that I was able to secure the Saturday service at no cost to our city.”

Consent Agenda

E-1: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to sell alcoholic beverages at Alhambra Circle on Thursday, January 13, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the Burgerliscious event to benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation, subject to Florida Department of Professional Regulation requirements.

E-2: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing a Temporary License Agreement between the City of Coral Gables and Ben & Guiles, Inc., the selected proposer for the City of Coral Gables’ Pop-Up Incubator Program with regard to the premises located at 290 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Florida 33134, for a six (6) month initial term with an additional six-month renewal option at the City Manager’s discretion.

“On November 12, 2019, the Economic Development Department (the “Department”) presented the Pop-Up Incubator Program (the “Program”) to the City Commission. The Program would be advertised, proposal/applications received would be reviewed by a selection committee, and a tenant selected to occupy the 290 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables,
FL 33134 city-owned space (the “Premises”) using a license agreement. The City of Coral Gables (the “Landlord”) would allow for a six-month term, with a six-month renewal option at the City Manager’s discretion. The Program’s presentation was wellreceived by the City Commission and the Department proceeded to hold the advertisement/tenant selection process. On December 10, 2019, the Department presented the selected/proposed tenant to the City Commission and proceeded to enter into negotiations for a license agreement. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed tenant decided not to proceed with the Program. In October of 2020, the Landlord participated in the Business Improvement District (BID) Art on the Mile Program, and allowed for Boston Art, LLC dba Ninoska Huertas Gallery to occupy the space during the 2020 Holiday Season (the “Gallery”). The Gallery subsequently remained in the space entering into short-term temporary license agreements (60-90 days each) with the Landlord, while the Department assessed having another Program advertisement/selection process. On July 23, 2021, the Department advertised the Program for sixty (60) days. Six (6) proposals were received, but only four (4) were considered, because two (2) of the proposers chose to withdraw their applications. A selection committee composed by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mark Trowbridge, Business Improvement. District Executive Director Aura Reinhardt, City of Coral Gables Retail Consultant Midge McCauley, and Assistant Economic Development Director Belkys Perez reviewed the proposals and selected Ben & Guiles, Inc as the proposed tenant (the “Tenant”). Landlord and Tenant are therefore seeking authorization to execute the License Agreement with lease terms are as follows: Premises: 850 Sq. Ft. Total Monthly Rent: $2,000.00 per month. Security Deposit: $2,000.00. Term: December 1, 2021- May 31, 2022. Renewal: Six (6) additional months (June 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022) at the City Manager’s discretion.”

E-3: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the declaration of the surplus and sale of a city-owned Self-Loader Truck purchased for the Solid Waste Division of Public Works, pursuant to Sec. 2-879 of the Procurement Code entitled “Disposal of Surplus”.

“A Self-Loader truck (2021 International Chassis Model MV607) was purchased for the Solid Waste Division to assist with gaining efficiencies in the trash and garbage operations while replacing outdated equipment. Due to the lengthy lead times associated with the assembly and delivery of this type of heavy-duty equipment, an order had to be placed in December 2020 to receive the equipment during FY 2020-2021. Prior to the delivery of the equipment (July 2021), a transition in the operational environment of the Solid Waste division happened and it was determined that a different type of equipment would be better suited to meet the operational needs of the division to achieve the efficiencies they were looking to gain. The truck was originally purchased through the Florida’s Sheriff’s Association contract # FSA120-VEH18.0 at a purchase price of $161,540. After it was determined that the equipment would no longer meet the needs of the division, several options were considered for the best method to recoup the city’s investment. The City’s Surplus Policy outlines that surplus property may be sold directly if a specific source has been identified and deemed in the City’s best interest to pursue this route for disposal and further defines surplus supplies/equipment/property as any City-owned property that is unused, unwanted or no longer needed by a department. Through the local dealer that originally facilitated the sale through the FSA contract, a buyer (EDJ Tree Service, LLC) was located that would directly purchase the truck from the city at a cost of $160,000. And, so it has been determined that this is the best option for the disposition of the equipment that would allow the city to immediately recoup $160,000 of its’ original investment without the lengthy auction process that would not guarantee such a high rate of return. Under Section 2-879 of the Procurement Code, entitled “Disposal of Surplus,” the Chief Procurement Officer shall be responsible for the sale or disposition of surplus supplies by a method or methods deemed by the Chief Procurement Officer to be most advantageous and in the best interest of the city. The Chief Procurement Officer shall have the authority to sell or dispose of surplus items in any manner authorized by the appropriate Florida Statutes, including F.S. CH. 274, entitled “Tangible Personal Property Owned by Local Governments.” All surplus items with an estimated fair market value of $25,000.00 or more must be declared surplus by a resolution of the city commission before the Chief Procurement Officer may dispose of said surplus supplies.”

E-4: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing application for a Florida Department of State, African-American Cultural and Historical Grant toward design, renovation, or installation honoring the contributions and culture of African-Americans in Coral Gables.

“The Florida Department of State has issued guidelines for the African-American Cultural and Historical Grants program. The unique opportunity is part of a continuing effort to help promote equitable access to cultural resources.
The State of Florida grant opportunity is funded by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, as authorized by the Department of the Treasury, and administered by the Florida Division of Arts and Culture and Florida Division of Historical Resources. Program Description: The purpose of this grant program is to provide funding for construction projects at facilities in Florida that highlight the contributions, culture, or history of African-Americans. Priority shall be given for, but is not limited to, projects that: encourage the design or construction of a new facility or the renovation of an existing facility in an area with great cultural significance in which no facility exists; enhance the beauty or aesthetic value of facilities named for significant African-Americans; or restore facilities on the National Register of Historic Places. Coral Gables’ Golden Gate neighborhood and the MacFarlane Homestead Historic District, a nationally registered Black historic district, have a prominent place in the City’s early beginnings and deserve to be highlighted. There is no match requirement for grant funding requests up to $500,000. A cash match of 50% of funds requested from $500,000 to $1,000,000 is required. For a public art project, staff recommends matching
funds up to $150,000 from the Art Acquisition fund. The application is due by Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. and the start of the Grant period if awarded is July 1 of the state fiscal year in which requested grant funding is appropriated by the Florida Legislature (anticipated, 2022). Municipal applicants applying for a grant with a match requirement are required to submit a dated and signed Resolution that includes the dollar amount dedicated and available to the project if the grant is awarded, and the date the funds will be available.”

E-5: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the City Manager to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Kaizen Defensive Tactics, Inc. for defensive tactics training for the Coral Gables Police Department, in substantially the attached form, for an amount not to exceed $150,000.00 (one hundred fifty thousand dollars). (Sponsored by Commissioner Fors, Jr.).

“Earlier this year, the City Commission passed Resolution No. 2021-77, expressing its support for expanded defensive tactics training for Coral Gables police officers. Increasing defensive tactics training would be beneficial to the Police Department by improving officers’ ability to engage in control and escape techniques, grappling techniques, and physical control and survival tactics, among other skills. Furthermore, officers who more frequently train in defensive tactics styles such as Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, Judo, and others, may be less likely to injure themselves and suspects during a combative encounter and less likely to use intermediate or lethal weapons because of their training. In furtherance of the goal of expanding training for officers, the City Commission desires to authorize the City Manager to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Kaizen Defensive Systems, Inc., in substantially the attached form, for an amount not to exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00). This agreement is exempt from the Procurement Code under Section 2-607 (24), which exempts consultants for professional services with special skills, abilities, expertise or of a technical nature as determined by the procurement officer.”

E-6: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing a Third Amendment to Lease with Miami Office 2, LLC, with regard to the premises located at 2121 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Suite 720, Coral Gables, Florida 33134, the City’s Economic Development Department’s offices, extending the Lease Term for a period of sixty (60) days until January 31, 2022, and for any additional time that may be necessary to complete the renovations of the H. George Fink Studio, at the City Manager’s discretion.

“Pursuant to Resolution 2015-261, the City of Coral Gables’ Economic Development Department (the “Tenant”) entered into a lease (the “Lease”) with 2121 Ponce, LLLP (“2121”) on December 15, 2015, as amended by a commencement date letter dated as of December 30, 2015, for the property located at 2121 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Suite 720, Coral Gables, Florida 33134 (the “Premises”). Miami Office 2, LLC, (the “Landlord”) succeeded to the interests of 2121 as Landlord under the Lease. The Lease had a 65-month lease term which expired May 30, 2021. Pursuant to the Lease, the Tenant paid $5,257.02 per month for base rent and $414.32 per month for Tenant’s share of common area operating expenses, for a total of $5,672.34 per month. On, April 9, 2021, pursuant to Resolution No. 2021-54, Tenant and Landlord entered into a First Amendment to Lease to extend the lease term for an additional ninety (90) days until August 31, 2021, at a total monthly rent rate of $5,857.72 per month. On August 17, 2021, pursuant to Resolution 2021-174, Tenant and Landlord entered into a Second Amendment to Lease to extend the lease term for an additional ninety (90) days until November 30, 2021, at a total monthly rent rate of $5,857.72 per month. Tenant and Landlord desire to enter into a Third Amendment to Lease to extend the lease term for an additional sixty (60) days until January 31, 2022, at a total monthly rent rate of $6,400.00 per month, while the City completes the renovations of the H. George Fink Studio where the Economic Development Department’s Offices will be located. The Lease term may be extended at the City Manager’s discretion for any additional time necessary to complete the renovations of the H. George Fink Studio. The proposed extended lease terms are as follows: Extension of Term: December 1, 2021- January 31, 2022; Total Monthly Rent: $6,400.00 per month; Tenant’s Share of Common Area Operating Expenses: During the Extended Term; Tenant shall have no obligation to pay Tenant’s share of common area operating expenses.”

E-7 is an item is an appointment to a City Advisory Board.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

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: A Resolution of the Coral Gables Waterway Advisory Board requesting that the City Commission consider improvements to Ruth Bryan Owen Park consisting of installation of a canoe / kayak launch, repairs to the barbeque area, installation of water fountains and bike rack, and additional trash cans.

“At the October 6th Waterway Advisory Board Meeting, the Board made the below motion: ‘Ruth Bryan Owen Park. (aka: The Girl Scout Hut.) is one of the only two places on the main waterway where canoeists and kayakers can regularly launch their watercraft. For safety reasons, the Waterway Advisory Board recommends that the City install a proper canoe launch at Ruth Bryan Owen Park. The Board also recommends the City repair the BBQ area, add a water fountain, add a bike rack and add more trash cans.’ One of the Waterway Advisory Board’s objectives is to seek and ensure that the waterways remain accessible for recreational use and enjoyment of all.”

Community Recreation Department will work on finding funding for this project.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

Ordinances On Second Reading

F-1: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the Cocoplum Phase 1 Street Lighting Special Taxing District, as created by Miami-Dade County pursuant to County Ordinance 20-114, to increase the proposed streetlights from 55 to 123 lights and change the method of assessment from assessing on the basis of lot frontage to applying a per parcel charge; providing for severability clause, repealer provision, and providing for an effective date. Lobbyist: Jerry Proctor.

“On April 1, 2021 the City of Coral Gables received a letter of intent from over 20% of the homeowners (“Petitioner”) within the Cocoplum Phase One Street Lighting Special Taxing District (“District”) requesting a modification to the District to increase the proposed streetlights from 55 to 123 lights and changing the method of assessment from assessing on the basis of lot frontage to applying a per parcel charge. A petition was been created and approved by the City Commission pursuant to Resolution 2021-75 on May 11, 2021. The Petitioners, in accordance with the Special Taxing District Amendment policies as adopted by the City, have circulated the approved petition throughout the District and have submitted a list of 105 signatures. The District contains 149 parcels and therefore the submitted list of signatures represents over 70% of the parcels in the District. It must be noted that some of the signatures are pending further information which Petitioner is working to provide prior to the Commission meeting. If Petitioner is able to verify at least 100 signatures to the satisfaction of the Commission, then the Commission may choose to amend the District through Ordinance with or without an election. If Petitioner is unable to verify at least 100 signatures to the satisfaction of the Commission then the amendment would, in accordance with the Special Taxing District Amendment policies, need to proceed to an election, assuming there are at least 75 signatures in favor of the petition. This item was approved on first reading on October 12, 2021 and there have been no changes to the Ordinance since first reading.”

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

F-2: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending the City of Coral Gables Code by creating Chapter 2 “Administration”, Article III “Boards and Committees”, Division 7 “Landmarks Advisory Board” providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson) (Sponsored Mayor Lago).

“The City of Coral Gables is home to various entrances, landmarks and historic features; and, presently the City has boards and committees in place which assist City staff in the oversight and maintenance of City infrastructure. There may be a gap in City board and committee oversight as it relates to the City-owned and/or maintained entrances, plazas, fountains, historically significant poles and lights, historic markers and other historically significant landmarks or item. As such, the City Commission believes that the addition of a Landmarks Advisory Board would provide resident oversight of the extensive landmarks throughout the City and allow a structure for residents and board members to review the condition of entryways and landmarks and bring maintenance issues to the City’s attention in a timely manner to avoid deterioration. The board would also be tasked with identifying and proposing new landmarks, entrances, and entrance features and identifying parcels to be acquired for same. The board would meet quarterly and hold an annual joint meeting with the historic preservation board. The board would consist of seven members, residents of the City, with a demonstrated passion for preservation of Coral Gables landmarks, and the City’s historical resources department would serve as primary administrative support staff for the board. This item was approved on first reading by the City Commission on September 14, 2021.”

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

F-3: An Ordinance of the City Commission amending Chapter 34 “Nuisances,” Article VI. “Noise,” Section 34-170, “Exemptions,” of the City of Coral Gables Code to address the operation and testing of emergency backup generators, providing for a severability clause, repealer provision, codification, and providing for an effective date. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).

“The City Code contains a general prohibition on “unreasonably loud, excessive, unnecessary or unusual noise,” and Section 34-169 of the City Code sets forth a series of prohibited acts that are declared to be loud, excessive, unnecessary, or unusual noise. Section 34-170 of the City Code sets forth a series of exemptions to the City’s prohibitions regarding noise. Included in those exceptions is “reasonable noise generated in the performance of reasonable actions taken in response to an emergency or danger, including, but not limited to, the operation of emergency backup energy generators. In CAO 2019-028, the City Attorney opined that the routine testing of emergency backup generators falls within the exception set forth in Section 34-170(3). Since that time, staff has researched Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards relating to noise in the workplace and determined that a “reasonable” sound level for purposes of the exemption, as it applies to the operation and testing of generators, is either 70 or 80 dBA at the nearest property line, depending on type of property. In addition, section 34-170(3) is unclear as to where the dBA level should be measured from. This ordinance codifies CAO 2019-028, to specify that the exemption applies to the routine testing of emergency backup generators, establishes appropriate sound levels, and clarifies that the sound level shall be measured from the nearest property line. In addition, the ordinance acknowledges the need to grandfather noise levels produced by emergency backup generators that have received a Certificate of Occupancy, Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, or in the case of single-family homes, have received a permit from the City and closed said permit. Pursuant to Commission discussion on first reading, several changes have been made for second reading: Specifies hours for the routine testing of the emergency backup generators (Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.); Specifies that in buildings or single family residences with generators that have been grandfathered in, any new, replacement, or additional generators will have to comply with the sound level requirements of the exemption; and Specifies that reasonable noise from the operation of emergency portable generators during a weather-related state of emergency shall be exempt from the maximum sound levels.”

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

Ordinances On First Reading

F-4: An Ordinance of the City Commission granting approval of a Planned Area Development (PAD) pursuant to Zoning Code Article 14, “Process,” Section 14-206, “General Procedures for Planned Area Development” for a proposed multi-family project referred to as “Gables Village” on the property legally described as Lots 1 through 22, Block 28, “Coral Gables Biltmore Section” (504, 516, 522, 530, and 536 Malaga; 503, 511, 515, 535, 529, 525, and 521 Santander; and 3109 Segovia), Coral Gables, Florida; including required conditions; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, and providing for an effective date. Lobbyists: Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Mario Garcia-Serra, Maria de la Guardia, and Jenny Ducret. (TIME CERTAIN 11:00AM).

See full list of proposed changes by clicking here.

The developer is requesting a reduction of units from 52 to 48. There are currently 85 parking spaces with an increase to 92, internal. Five drop-off areas and 16 parking spaces in the swale. Maximum height of the duplexes is 30 feet. Townhouses have a maximum height of 35 feet. No variances are being requested by the developer.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

Resolutions

F-5: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the City Manager, or his /her designee, to approve in-kind contributions to Coral Gables based non-profits with a value not to exceed $2,000.

“The City of Coral Gables is often approached by not-for-profits requesting in-kind contributions. All requests of this nature must be approved by the City Commission. To expedite the requests, City staff requests in-kind contributions to Coral Gables-based non-profit organizations, with a value not to exceed $2,000 (annually per organization) be approved administratively by the City Manager or his/her designee at his/her discretion so long as the contribution serves a public purpose. Not-for-profit organizations depend on the number of funders and the volume of donations to effectively carry out the mission of the organization. The City Commission understands the value of not-for-profit organizations and their role in creating equitable and thriving communities.”

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

F-6: A Resolution of the City Commission approving the general form and language of a surface parking lot invoice for Professional Parking Management.

“The City of Coral Gables (“City”) has received numerous complaints alleging that certain private parking lot owners and operators have been placing parking tickets on the windshields of their customers who either did not pay a parking fee or whose time for parking elapsed which have a reasonable likelihood of confusion in their appearance with a valid Miami- Dade County Uniform Parking Citation (hereinafter referred to as “Non-City Issued Tickets”). The City Commission of Coral Gables, in order to address the issues of Non-City Issued Tickets, adopted Ordinance No. 2019-37, amending Chapter 74 of the City Code prohibiting the issuance of Non-City Issues Tickets and creating a process to allow parking invoices to be issued by private operators of surface parking lots. Section 74-84(i)(a)(iv.) requires that the general form and language of the invoice must be presented to the City Commission for review and approval prior to issuance and for any changes to the form thereafter. Professional Parking Management, a local operator of a private surface parking lot within the City of Coral Gables, has prepared a new invoice form in an attempt to comply with the new requirements of Section 74-84 and is seeking approval of the invoice form by the City Commission prior to its implementation and issuance on any surface parking lot located within the City. This item was deferred from the October 26, 2021 City Commission meeting.”

Code currently requires that the signage needs to be different from the City’s signs in different color, shape and markings. No handicap invoices. A maximum fine of $45 escalating to $75. No towing can take place unless the vehicle is blocking the entrance or exit. Booting can only take place for 60 minutes past the expired time and must be removed within 10 minutes of payment and can only charge $25 for the boot placement.

Commissioner Fors mentioned that the language cites code, but is false and asks that it be stricken. Vice Mayor Mena asked that the language that this is issued by a private company and not a government agency be moved to the top above their logo. The signage on the lot also came to question, in particular the sign stating that Handicap must pay as well.

The Commission voted in favor with the requirement that the above changes must be made.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

F-7: A Resolution of the City Commission pursuant to Zoning Code Article 1, “General Provisions,” Section 1-104 “Jurisdiction and applicability,” granting Site Plan approval of a mobility hub, located at the site of Parking Garage 1, legally described as Lots 29 to 42, Block 2, Crafts Section, Coral Gables, Florida; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, and providing for an effective date. (TIME CERTAIN 12:30PM).

“The City is planning to demolish the existing Parking Garage 1 and build the new Mobility Hub at its current location of 245 Andalusia, one block south of Miracle Mile, between Salzedo Street and Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The concept of the project will include 9,688 sq. ft of ground floor lease space/flex, 8 floors of vehicle storage, and 36,540 sq. ft. of activated rooftop terrace. The site – along with Garage 4 on the 300 block of Andalusia – was part of a multi-year Request for Proposal. In March of 2019, the City Commission adopted Resolution 2019-96 which stated key objectives to: replace the two obsolete parking garages; provide public parking to meet future needs of Downtown; introduce retail and residential units onto Andalusia to support the City’s goals for a vibrant, walkable Downtown; and balance parking, planning, design, economic development, community and financial considerations. The Resolution allowed the City the opportunity to build a new parking garage structure at the Garage 1 site and granted Staff until October 1, 2022 to break ground. On March 12, 2019, Ordinance No. 2019-13 was adopted which allows City Facilities not to be subject to the Zoning Code and provided the City flexibility in siting or modifying its own City Facilities. Additionally, the approval process authorizes the Commission to review and approve site plan that supports the needs of the community. The site plan for the Mobility Hub would not be subject to the following: 7.5% ground level open space within the site, when 10% is required; Varying arcade widths between 5’ and 8’, when 10’ is required; Vehicle access from front street, when access from alley is required; 31’ wide driveway, when 22’ maximum is allowed; Parking and vehicle storage to front the street, when a 20’ parking setback is required; Encroachment of 5 feet into the Andalusia public right-of-way; 0′ front stepback, when 10′ is required; 0′ side stepback, when 15′ is required; and 0′ rear stepback, when 3′ is required.”

Staff and the architects made a presentation. The Mayor and Vice Mayor’s issues revolved around the condition of neighboring properties and not about the specifics of this new structure. Staff continued to assure the Commission that they could control that and the times of deliveries to the alley, however, as was pointed out by Commissioner Kirk R. Menendez, the issue has not been addressed by staff to this point.

Numerous residents chimed on the project. All but one were against the project, mainly on the design which they argued does not fit in with its surroundings.

Commissioners Fors and Menendez expressed that they believed George Merrick would have supported this project. Vice Mayor Mena pointed to Chinese Village and French Village as signs that George Merrick did not just use Mediterranean architecture in his plan for the City, rather incorporated different architectural designs.

Commissioner Anderson made a presentation asking the Commission to consider changing the siding to a green siding that would help curb the heat effect and make the building look less intrusive. The City Manager tried to quash this by saying it would take too much maintenance.

Following Commissioner Anderson’s explanation that she is not ready to vote in support of the aesthetic look of the building, the Commission decided to vote on the matter anyway. Commissioner Anderson voted in favor so long as her recommendations were considered and brought back at a sunshine meeting.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

The Commission voted to hold a sunshine meeting with the proposed changes considering Commissioner Anderson’s requests.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

City Commission Items

G-1: Discussion regarding reduced-density PAD bonus in Central Business District core, in properties of a certain size. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson) (Sponsored by Mayor Lago). Click here to see PowerPoint presentation.

The projects would have incentives for reducing the density, helping address traffic and parking concerns in the Central Business District. The Mayor is also asking for more green space from the projects. Anderson’s proposal calls for 5% more open space with 75% green space. Staff was instructed to present a formal proposal, which would take the necessary steps as required.

G-2: Discussion regarding illegal dumping and Code Enforcement concerns. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago).

The Mayor asked staff to enhance enforcement of illegal dumping.

G-3: Discussion regarding surface parking lot designs. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson).

Commissioner Anderson wants to ensure that charging stations that are placed in new parking lots should also be offered for handicap spaces as well. The City Manager disagreed with the Commissioner (who has specialized in disability rights in her private practice) on what is required. Staff was instructed to bring it back to the Commission.

G-4: Update on the Parks and Recreation Youth Soccer Program. (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).

A video was played outlining the success of the Youth Soccer Program.

G-5: Discussion on the funding and implementation of the Parks Master Plan. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Mena) (Sponsored by Commissioner Menendez).

Vice Mayor Mena wants staff to begin working on a plan to get the item, if it has support, on the November 2022 ballot as a referendum. The Community Recreation Department is working on the details. The Community Recreation Department will come back at the December 7th meeting with a preliminary framework on public input.

Motion was made to direct staff to move forward to pursue a referendum.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

G-6: Recognition of Carolina Vester, Community Recreation Department Assistant Director. (Sponsored by Commission-As-A-Whole).

A Certificate of Recognition was made to Carolina Vester, Community Recreation Department Assistant Director for her work for the City.

Boards/Committees Items

H-1: A Resolution of the City Commission approving artists for public art proposal submittals associated with the new Fire Station 4. (Unanimously recommended by the Arts Advisory Panel approval/denial vote 7 to 0; Cultural Development Board approval/denial vote: 5 to 0). (TIME CERTAIN 12:00PM).

“The new Coral Gables Fire Station 4 meets the requirement of a municipal construction project governed by the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances. The City of Coral Gables provides for the acquisition and maintenance of art in public places consistent with Section 2-11.15 of the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances entitled “Works of Art in Public Places.” The Arts Advisory Panel discussed the Fire Station 4 project with City staff, the project Architect, and
Fire Chiefs, and made a motion recommending a pre-qualified short list of artists. The Arts Advisory Panel recommended five (5) local artists to approach for interest in submitting a proposal for the Fire Station 4 public art opportunity: Thomas Bils, Beatriz Monteavaro, Ana Samoylova, Onajide Shabaka, and the artist team of Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares. Staff recommended one additional artist, Cara Despain. The Cultural Development Board met and reviewed the artist recommendations and the additional recommendation of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for the overall public art project and a proposal fee of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500) per approved artist for their proposal concept. After thorough discussion, the Board voted unanimously to accept the recommendations. The six artists were contacted and three stated their interest in developing a proposal for the project: Cara Despain, Ana Samoylova, and Onajide Shabaka. Funds for the public art proposal process are being proposed through use of the art acquisition fund.”

The Commission voted to combine the art for the four open projects for art projects into one at the City Hall complex.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

H-2: A Resolution of the City Commission approving a temporary exhibition of the sculpture “Mars” by Julio Larraz at the Coral Gables Museum. (TIME CERTAIN 12:00PM).

“The Coral Gables Museum approached the City with a request for the temporary exhibition of the sculpture “Mars” by artist Julio Larraz. The Coral Gables Museum is presenting a retrospect of Julio Larraz’s artwork for Art Basel 2021 and as their featured winter exhibition. The Museum expressed an interest to include sculpture as part of the exhibition, which was discussed with the Arts Advisory Panel and Cultural Development Board. At the time of their discussion, the selected artwork and location was to be determined. Both the Panel and Board supported the exhibition unanimously including outdoor installation of artwork. The exhibition is scheduled December 1 through April 30, 2022 with installation of the artwork anticipated two weeks in advance and de-installation scheduled within a week of the exhibition closing. The Museum understands that a permit and insurance is required for installation of the sculpture
and that no City fees will be used toward the installation. About the art: Larraz’s sculpture “Mars” is a cast bronze over-sized watermelon slice balanced on a bronze cabinet. The artist’s large-scale sculptures offer a vivid experience inspired by his painting and figurative work. His creations are said to suggest new realities of sociological and historical
allegories. About the artist: Accomplished painter, sculptor, and draftsman, Julio Larraz has transcended time and place for more than 50 years to become one of the most influential figures in Latin American and American art. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1944, Larraz is both a Cuban and an American artist. The development of Larraz’s work is based on studies which he then builds into larger works. He pays attention to the appearances and expressions of people he encounters in his daily life and travels, and these faces, in turn, often come to life in his work as characters from other
worlds, places, and times. Larraz refers to this collection of ideas in his imagination as “The Kingdom We Carry Inside.” Larraz has exhibited throughout the world and is in renowned collections including the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York; Fort Lauderdale Museum; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Colombia; Museo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico; Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greensburg Pennsylvania; Boca Raton Museum of Art; and Perez Art Museum among others. The Arts Advisory Panel discussed the artist’s exhibition and supported an outdoor installation
at their meeting on May 26, 2021. The Cultural Development Board reviewed the Arts Advisory Panel meeting minutes on June 30, 2021 and accepted their comments.”

The artwork is a cast bronze statue of a watermelon on a cast bronze base. It would be installed at the Coral Gables Museum Plaza from December of 2021 to April of 2022.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned

City Manager Items

I-1: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing the City Manager to evaluate site development options with Gables Projects, LLC regarding surface parking lots owned by the City and Gables Projects, LLC, that are adjacent to each other and located on the 300 block of Aragon Avenue and provide recommendations to the City Commission regarding the site’s potential for development. Lobbyists: Anthony De Yurre and Scott Davidson.

“On October 27, 2015, pursuant to Resolution No. 2015-259, the city entered into a three (3) year lease with Gables Projects, LLC, for their parking lot located on the 300 block of Aragon Avenue (Folio # 03-4108-006-3430). The Gables Projects LLC-owned parking lot is also located in between two City-owned parking lots on Aragon Avenue (Folio # 03-4108-006-3420;03-4108-006-3440). The City consolidated and renovated the three parking lots creating one parking area with pay stations. On September 10, 2019, pursuant to Resolution No. 2019-269, the City and Gables Projects, LLC entered into a new Lease for five (5) years with an option to renew for an additional five (5) years at the discretion of Gables Projects, LLC. The past and existing lease agreements have enabled the city to address the City’s parking needs in the Central Business District (CBD) where the overall parking area remains as one of the most used and is often filled to capacity. Recently, Gables Projects, LLC has approached the City regarding their purchase of two properties (Folio # 03-4108-006-3400;03-4108-006-3390) which are adjacent to one of the City-owned parking lots. Gables, LLC has also expressed interest in developing the overall site in partnership with the City. The City Manager is therefore requesting authorization to evaluate site development options with Gables Projects, LLC in order to provide recommendations to the City Commission regarding the overall site’s potential for development.”

Gables Projects, LLC owns 24,974 square feet. The City of Coral Gables owns 20,000 square feet. Due to the five properties being scattered, its a mutually necessity situation. Gables Properties, LLC owns lots 1,2 and 4. the City owns lots 3 and 5.

The Mayor stated he would only support a tasteful and scaled project that is consistent.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
SecondedMotioned
Recused Herself

I-2: A Resolution of the City Commission designating and authorizing the City Commission Liaison to the Business Improvement District (“BID”) Board of Directors as the City’s representative to complete the ballot and cast the vote on the City ’s behalf, as property owner, for the Business Improvement District’s Board of Directors Positions that are open for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year and all subsequent elections for the BID Board of Directors.

“The City owns property located in the Business Improvement District (the “BID”) and has received the attached Notice of Annual Meeting of Members and ballot for the BID Board of Directors’ positions that are open for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The City Commission appoints a Commissioner to serve as the City Commission liaison to the BID Board of Directors and the liaison is currently Mayor Vince Lago. The proposed resolution designates the Commission liaison to the BID as the City’s designated voter for the BID Board of Directors’ election for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and for all subsequent elections. Of course, this is one method of providing for the City to vote in the BID Board of Directors’ election, but the Commission may approve a different method.”

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

I-3: A Resolution of the City Commission authorizing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 annual budget to increase fulltime headcount from 846 to 848 (2 positions), and parttime FTEs from 158.99 to 159.74 (.75 FTEs) to cover Fleet staffing requirements for the Trolley Saturday Service and Extended Evening Hours pilot programs.

“Included in the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 adopted budget are two Federal Department of Transportation (FDOT) grants with City match dollars that fund Trolley operations for Saturday Service and Extended Evening Hours pilot programs. Though the programs have been approved by FDOT for two years, the City will be evaluating rider participation every 6 months to determine the ongoing success of the initiatives. If rider participation is not up to expectations, then either or both program(s) might be scaled back or stopped. The pilot programs will require additional automotive mechanics to support the expanded operation. Based on anticipated additional hours, staff is requesting authorization to create and fill 2 fulltime and 1 parttime Trolley-specialized mechanics for the two-year life of the pilot programs. This request is made with the understanding that Commission authorization will be made permanent if the programs are deemed a success and the City is able to fully fund them once the grant funding has expired. An amendment to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 annual budget is required to increase full time headcount from 846 positions to 848 positions and parttime FTEs from 158.99 to 159.74.”

Total estimate is $180,000. Source of Funds: Grant/Gen. Fd FY22 Approved New Need.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

I-4: Update regarding Doctor’s Hospital Lot. (TIME CERTAIN 11:30AM).

The City Attorney reported back that the purchase and sales agreement, entering into a covenant that would prevent them from building a structure on the lot for the duration of the covenant. Idea of reverter had been discussed at the last Commission meeting. Doctor’s Hospital is not willing to entertain a reverter or a covenant with the neighbors, but would make a covenant with the City for 30 years. It would be conditional use approval and would come back to the Commission if there is any proposed change. Staff will continue to work on the purchase and sale agreement and iron out the details.

Comments

Commissioner Menendez: the second movie, Bonnie and Clyde, was shown yesterday. He also asked that Mayor Dorothy Thomson, who chaired the 75th Anniversary, be included in the 100th Anniversary committee.

Commissioner Anderson: continuing education for architects on Mediterranean architecture.

Commissioner Anderson appointed Jane Maranos to the Landmark Beautification Board.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded

Mayor Lago appointed Donald Slesnick to the Landmark Beautification Board.

Mayor
Vince Lago
Vice Mayor
Michael Mena
Commissioner
Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
Commissioner
Rhonda Anderson
Commissioner
Kirk R. Menendez
MotionedSeconded
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2 thoughts on “Commission Meeting Recap (11/9/2021)

  1. Regarding F-7, the only way to stop the monster over-developer and its friends in City Hall is with a
    SPECIAL ELECTION. It will be the law of the land.

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