In February and March, City Commissioners:
Voted unanimously to finalize zoning changes in the “Crafts” district – a three-square block area bound by Le Jeune Road (west side), Salzedo Street (east side), Santander Avenue (south side) and Catalonia Avenue’s alleyway (north side). The changes will allow mixed-used development, limited to four stories on the southernmost block facing the San Sebastian Apartments, and climbing to seven stories in the northernmost block, facing Banyan Day School and Sunstate Bank.
Welcomed Warren Adams, the former City of Miami historic preservation officer, to his new role as director of Historical Resources and Cultural Arts. The position was last held by Dona Spain, who is now director of the Dade Heritage Trust.
Voted 5-0 to forgive – or write off – back rent of $175,689.55 owed to the city by Ortanique on the Mile, the former restaurant of local celebrity chef Cindy Hutson, as “uncollectable.”
Listened to the latest report on devices being tested to reduce pollution in the Coral Gables Waterway. Representatives from SCR Mechanical said that its “sponge” installed at the Riviera catch basin had successfully trapped hydrocarbons and bacteria from storm water. The next step would be to install such sponges at 10 catch basins on the waterway.
Voted 5-0 in favor of an ordinance that would limit the use of fertilizers with nitrogen or phosphorus during the June through September rainy season and restrict their use the rest of the year to 20 feet from waterways or seawalls. Public parks and golf courses, which control their use of fertilizers, are exempt.
Voted 5-0 to extend the city’s lease for Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theatre, taking it out a full 19 years. “It helps their fundraising efforts,” said Commission Jorge Fors.
Voted 5-0 in favor of an ordinance that would allow residents to question the city when it wants to remove a tree from a swale in front of their homes, by getting a second opinion from an independent arborist as to whether the tree must be removed for health or safety reasons.
Asked the city staff to re-examine its rules and regulations regarding outdoor music in commercial areas, in order to 1) make it easier and 2) to examine what decibel levels should be permitted.