Latest News from City Hall

At the Latest City Commission Meetings in January and February, Commissioners:

Voted 5-0 to grant Burger Bob’s deferment for rent due ($20,280), a forgiveness of any late fees, and reduction in rent to $1,000 per month until the end of August. Burger Bob’s is the beloved hamburger diner at the first hole of Granada Golf Course, which was closed during the lockdown. 

Voted 5-0 to reject an appeal by the homeowner at 649 Palmarito Court to overturn a decision by the Historic Preservation Board to designate the property historic. The owner argued that the property was not unique and that other homes had similar designs. The commission backed the conclusion that the 1940 building was a historically significant example of early neoclassical style; similar buildings were built many years later. 

Voted 5-0 to finalize a previous vote to establish a recycling program for cardboard discarded in the downtown, a consequence of new levels of shipping for online commerce. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Vince Lago). 

Voted 3-2 not to endorse the renaming of U.S. 1 in Miami-Dade County from Dixie Highway to Harriet Tubman Highway, despite endorsements by nine other Miami-Dade municipalities. Commissioner Pat Keon, who voted in favor, said Dixie Highway was “a name that has taken on a meaning of exploitation.” Commissioner Michael Mena, however, said the vote was meaningless politics, since the decision to rename the highway is entirely up to the State of Florida. “This is the state’s decision,” he said, adding, “I’m not a fan of erasing history… I have concerns about where this stops. We can start talking about Columbus Boulevard, and Pizarro Street, and De Soto Boulevard and the statue of George Merrick outside of this building… Is that really what we want to do?” (Sponsored by Commissioner Pat Keon). 

Voted 5-0 to waive permit fees for certain green and energy efficient improvements to residential properties, especially upgrades that save water or energy, such as solar batteries, insulation or drip irrigation. (Sponsored by Vice Mayor Vince Lago). 

Listened to an update on traffic solutions for the controversial San Amaro at Miller roundabout adjacent to UM. Residents have complained that the two-lane roundabout is dangerous and confusing, advocating a one-lane roundabout. City staff presented a recent study showing progressively fewer accidents there, on par with (or less than) other city roundabouts – and substantially less (and less severe) accidents than at busy intersections using traffic lights. City staff, concerned that going to one lane would jam traffic and slow emergency vehicles, requested another year (post-Covid) to gauge the effects of improvements made in April of last year. (Presentation requested by Vice Mayor Vince Lago). 

San Amaro Dr. and Miller Rd. roundabout

Listened to an update on the reconstruction of 427 Biltmore Way, the building adjacent to City Hall that will house all development services, such as the board of architects, and the planning, zoning, code enforcement, and building departments. Work could begin as early as April. “We have an aggressive construction schedule this year,” said City Manager Peter Iglesias.

Listened to an update on transportation planning, and toa request by Vice Mayor Vince Lago that the Coral Gables trolley service be extended to weekends, at least on Saturdays. Parking Department Director Kevin Kinney said it could happen by summer. 

Voted 4-1 to pass the bulk of the new master zoning code for the city, in the works for three years, written by city planning and architecture firm DPZ CoDesign. Vice Mayor Vince Lago voted against it. The code was passed intact, except for reductions in parking requirements (removed before the vote) and changes for the Crafts District and Miracle Mile (removed for a separate vote). Height restrictions in certain multi-family areas were also added. 

Voted 5-0 to finalize the up-zoning of the Crafts District (bound by Le Jeune Road, Santander Avenue, Salzedo Street and Catalonia Avenue) to permit mixed-use development. Zoning for the southernmost block was deferred until an agreement could be reached on height limitations. 

Voted 5-0 to defer the vote on zoning for Miracle Mile until March, pending another community Sunshine meeting.