Latest News from City Hall

In Its Most Recent Meeting, the City Commissioners:

Listened to more than an hour of residents complain about the installation of a Wawa service station across the street from G.W. Carver Elementary School. At one point, Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli admonished a particularly trenchant complaint, saying, “Miss, you have made serious accusations of corruption. If you have any evidence, please submit it to the state attorney’s office.” City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos explained again that the complaints did not constitute a public hearing and went through the long history of the site, previous approvals and ultimate settlement agreement.

Discussed for more than an hour how to deal with residents who are building playhouses for their children directly on their property lines, which invades the privacy of their neighbors. In the end, the commission voted 4-to-1 to require play structures to be set back in the same fashion as auxiliary structures (five feet) except if screened from neighboring property; then it may be reduced to 2.6 feet. The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Keon, who wanted to keep the five-foot setback.

Voted unanimously to extend the relaxation of restrictions on outdoor/open-air dining and signage for restaurants through June 15, 2021. This means restaurants can continue to create special out-front seating areas in parking spaces.

Rejected the granting of a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to retirees that would increase pension payments. At issue was the city’s recent success in reducing its unfunded liability for future pension payments from $250 to $209 million. “I don’t think the city can withstand this COLA,” said Vice Mayor Vice Lago. “It would wipe out 83 percent of the progress we have made” reducing the funding liability. Added Commissioner Jorge Fors: “If ever there was a year [for a COLA], this is not the one.” The last COLA increase was 3.2 percent in 2018.

Voted unanimously to finalize the ordinance making it illegal to keep a trash pit on Red Road, Bird Road, Coral Way, Miller Road, Kendall Drive, Sunset Drive or Old Cutler Road if the home had a second street frontage for the pit.

Decided to delay its vote on the new city zoning code – including changes to zoning for Miracle Mile – until the Feb. 9 City Commission Meeting, pending a public meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 14.