Latest News from City Hall

At its last June meeting before the summer, the City Commission: 

Voted 4-1 to allow private establishments in the downtown area to have live outdoor music on their property from 5 pm to 11 pm Fridays, noon to 11 pm Saturdays, and noon to 9 pm Sundays. Previously, a business had to go through the cumbersome process of applying for a “special event” permit. “I think it’s going to help our businesses,” said Commissioner Michael Mena, who proposed the ordinance, which limits volume to 85 decibels. Only Commissioner Rhonda Anderson voted against it, calling for a workshop on the concept. (Sponsored by Commissioner Mena) 

Voted 5-0 to renew the effort to annex the High Pines-Ponce Davis area, a pocket of unincorporated county land east of Red Road between Sunset Road and Kendall Drive. If annexed, residents of the area would be served by the Gables’ new fire station on Sunset Road, dramatically reducing arrival time for emergency services. The annexation would increase the city’s tax base and make it easier to police the city’s borders. (Sponsored by Mayor Lago

Voted 5-0 to hold every other City Commission meeting in the evening instead of during the day, so that working citizens can attend. Evening sessions will begin at 4 pm, with items of community importance held until 6 pm. The first such session will be on July 14. (Sponsored by Commissioner Anderson and Mayor Lago) 

Voted 4-0 to delay the controversial sale of the city-owned parking lot at 350 Greco Ave., pending solicitation of other bids. While the city had been offered $3.5 million, the highest assessed value of the land, the commission deferred to citizen complaints that the process had not been sufficiently transparent. The loss of the $3.5 million sale could damage the city’s ability to pay for its new parking structure at the Public Safety Building, but commissioners thought it more important to make sure the sale was conducted openly. (Commissioner Mena abstained from the vote.) 

Voted 4-1 to remain part of the Weston v. State of Florida court case, in which 80 Florida cities are challenging the state’s ability to overrule local ordinances on gun sales. At issue is the power of the state to find and remove city officials who vote in favor of gun control. All the commissioners agreed – except for Commissioner Anderson – that this was an important issue for maintaining home rule and the city’s ability to represent its residents. The city did, however, put a cap of $3,000 on further court costs.