In a 4-1 vote by the Coral Gables City Commission at Tuesday’s Commission meeting, Miracle Mile was up-zoned (Valdes-Fauli, Keon, Mena and Fors in favor and Lago against), granting a huge victory for Developers over the wishes of Residents.
Discussion was minimal and resident input was down precipitously from prior meetings where the up-zoning was considered, but residents had been verbally chastised by the Mayor at prior meetings for voicing their concerns.
Although not allowing for buildings as tall as the Keon proposal and the initial proposal by City staff, this Mena proposed “compromise” option remains developer friendly in comparison to the more resident-centered option presented by Vice Mayor Lago, who was the only vote against the up-zoning.
The changes as they were approved will allow for taller buildings without the need for adding parking, a request made by Terranova, the developer who intends to build a hotel without parking at 220 Miracle Mile.
The up-zoning was opposed by most residents who spoke at public meetings leading to this vote. Many were asking for the final vote to be tabled until after the April 13th election, to allow for all residents to voice their opinion on the up-zoning through their selection of the three candidates elected to the Commission.
Instead, the Commission took up the final vote with at least two members of the Commission participating in their final commission meeting. (Valdes-Fauli is retiring. Lago and Keon are two of three candidates running for Mayor).
THE MAYOR’S LEGACY
In what was Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli’s final meeting on the City Commission, his legacy was cemented with up-zoning of both Miracle Mile and the Crafts Section, ensuring several million square feet of additional construction in Coral Gables in the years to come. In addition to the up-zoning, his final meeting also saw the approval of an additional $20 million in debt for the City, as well as his final action as Mayor, refusing to allow public comment on the last item taken up by the Commission.
RESIDENTS CAN STILL CHANGE IT
Following the vote, Gables Insider reached out to City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos, who informed us that residents do have an option to change this decision.
Sec. 10(C) of the City Charter sets forth the process you inquire about. Please find the pertinent subsection below.
(C) Power to Institute Ordinances, Initiatives. The people shall have the power to propose ordinances, including the ones that grant franchises or privileges, and to have them being adopted by the voters. This power shall be known as the Initiative. The person(s) proposing the exercise of this power shall submit the proposal to the City Commission which shall, without delay, approve as to form a petition for circulation in one or several copies as the proposer(s) may desire.
(i) Preparation of Initiative Petition; Affidavit of Genuineness of Signatures. Signatures for Initiative petitions are not required to all be on one paper; however, for each separate initiative petition paper there shall be attached an affidavit of the Initiative petition paper circulator attesting that each signature appended to the paper is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be. The affidavit shall be in the form as set forth above in subsection (vii)(B) of this Section. Each person who signs such Initiative petition paper shall indicate after their name his or her place of residence by street and number or other description sufficient to identify the place. All papers pertaining to any one ordinance shall include either written or printed thereon the names and addresses of at least five City of Coral Gables’ registered voters who shall be officially regarded as filing the petition, and shall constitute a committee of the petitioners for purposes of this Section. All Initiative petition papers shall be filed in the office of the City Clerk as one instrument.
(ii) Circulating and Filing of Initiative Petition. Within thirty days of the Commission’s approval of the form of the Initiative petition, the person(s) circulating the petition shall obtain the signatures of at least twenty percent of the City’s registered voters as evidenced by the official voter registration records for the regular election that immediately preceded the filing of the Initiative petition. The petition shall then be filed with the City Clerk. Within ten days after the petition is filed with him or her, the City Clerk shall determine whether the signatures therein are sufficient. Upon completing his or her examination of the petition, the City Clerk shall attach thereto a certificate showing the result of the examination. If the City Clerk finds that the petition is insufficient, he or she shall set forth in his or her certificate the manner(s) in which such petition is defective and shall at once notify the petitioners’ committee of his or her findings. An insufficient petition may be amended within thirty days of the City Clerk certifying that the petition is insufficient, by filing an amended petition containing additional papers signed and filed in conformance with the requirements applicable to the original petition, as set forth in this Section. The City Clerk shall examine an amended petition within ten days after it is filed. If the City Clerk determines that the amended petition is again insufficient, he or she shall file the amended petition in his or her office, notify the petitioners’ committee of his or her findings, and take no further action on such insufficient petition. The City Clerk’s finding that a petition is insufficient shall not prejudice the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.
(iii) Submission of Initiative Petition to Commission. If the City Clerk finds the Initiative petition to be sufficient, he or she shall so certify and submit the proposed ordinance to the Commission at its next regular meeting. Upon receiving the proposed ordinance, the Commission shall at once proceed to consider it and take final action thereon within thirty days from the date it is filed with the Commission.
(iv) Election on Initiated Ordinances. If the Commission shall fail to pass the proposed ordinance or shall pass it in a form different from that set forth in the Initiative petition, then the Commission shall submit the proposed ordinance to a vote of the electors at the next regular election scheduled at least sixty days after the Commission’s final action on the proposed ordinance. If, however, no regular election is scheduled within six months from the date of the Commission’s final action on the proposed ordinance, the Commission shall submit the proposed ordinance to a vote of the electors through a special election to be held not less than sixty days and not more than one hundred and twenty days from the date of the Commission’s final action on the proposed ordinance. The proposed ordinance submitted to a vote of the electors shall be in its original form as set forth in the underlying Initiative petition.
(v) Form of Initiative Ballots. The ballots used when voting on any such proposed ordinance shall state the substance of the proposed ordinance, and, below it, shall appear the two propositions: “for the ordinance” and “against the ordinance.” The form of the ballot shall also comply with any and all applicable requisites of the Miami-Dade County Elections Department and the applicable Florida law. If the majority of the electors voting on any such proposed ordinance vote in favor thereof, it shall thereupon become an ordinance of the City. When an ordinance proposed by Initiative petition is passed by the Commission but not in the same form as the proposed ordinance set forth in such Initiative petition submitted to a vote of the electors, the following shall apply: 1) the ordinance that the Commission passed shall not take effect until after the vote on the proposed ordinance set forth in the Initiative petition; and 2) if a majority of the electors approve the proposed ordinance set forth in the Initiative petition, then it shall thereupon become an ordinance of the City and the ordinance passed by the Commission shall be deemed repealed.
(vi) Number of Ordinances to be Initiated. Any number of proposed ordinances may be voted upon at the same election in accordance with the provisions of this Charter.