Red light cameras could be making a comeback in North Miami Beach.
In a 5 -1 vote Dec. 4, the council passed a resolution agreeing to begin contract negotiations with American Traffic Solutions, to possibly use red light cameras again.
In 2009 the city had two red light cameras on Northeast 163 Street, which were turned off around the time the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act went into effect in 2010.
The law requires a county or municipality to enact an ordinance in order for red light cameras to be used, and made it clear that red light cameras would fall under state regulation, not local.
The city had decided to turn off the cameras and see the impacts of the law before amending its contract with ATS.
The contract talks that City Manager Roslyn B. Weisblum will have with ATS will upgrade the language to include that legislation. If a final contract is agreed upon, the council will have to vote on the issue to make it final.
“If we could save one life it makes a difference,” said Councilman Frantz Pierre. “As far as I am concerned a life is too precious to say, ‘Oh it’s only one.’ I think if it’s only one it’s one too many. We all know if we do something wrong we have to pay the price.”
Among those who spoke in favor of adding red light cameras were was Marc Buoniconti, the president for both the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
“I am here in total support of the right light camera,” said Buoniconti , who suffered a spinal cord injury while playing college football that left him unable to move a muscle below his neck. “I have never come across a better piece of legislation to pass that is going to save more lives, that’s going to keep you from being paralyzed and brain injured than this one before you today.”
Councilman Philippe Derose was the sole vote against this measure saying the cameras are no longer in place for safety but to generate revenue.
“Since red light cameras have been introduced to the State of Florida it became a big business for most cities,” said Derose.
During the period the city did have cameras the city generated about $550,000 in revenue, according to Mac Serda, an assistant city manager .
North Miami Beach Police Chief Larry Gomer said at the meeting that new traffic studies and reviews on intersections will have to be done before final word on the number of camera lights in the city will be determined.
In other business:
The council also voted unanimously in favor of designating a properties located at 15780 West Dixie Highway, known as the TECO gas site, as a Brownsfield area.
The of designation means that developer Antigua at NMB Development, LLC, will be responsible for remediation of the roughly 17-acre property that was used in part as a gas processing and storage site until the 1970s.
As a result of the previous land use contamination occurred on the property.
Under the Brownsfield program the developer is required to clean up the area and make it a profitable property.
Recently, Antigua had pulled a permit to remove some Australian Pines that had been growing on the property. The removal process had drawn in some noise and environmental concerns from residents.
The council addressed the developer to work with the community in getting their concerns addressed during the renovation process.