A resolution to spend $74,300 on two electric cars, 2012 Chevy Volts, was postponed until the February meeting when a couple of residents questioned the wisdom of purchasing Volts, and DuBois wondered whether it would be more cost effective to buy less expensive fuel-run cars.
Former council member Ed Feller said the only reason the village seems to be considering the Volt for use by the Departments of Building and Capital projects and Planning and Zoning is to promote itself as a green village — which was the idea when the cars were budgeted in the current fiscal year. “If the council agrees this is what they want to do, it’s not economical. The Volt is not a very popular car.” He floated the idea of leasing.
The village’s municipal complex has two solar-powered charging stations. Its fleet of 11 vehicles is aging as six are 2004 cars.
The council agreed to gather more research and revisit in February.
DuBois also urged the council to reconsider its rules on granting variances to residents who wish to modify their properties.
“We, as Palmetto Bay, have a variance ordinance that is more restrictive than Dade County’s. Ninety percent of our homes were built on the Dade County code. We should have the same variances Dade County provides to its residents,” he said.
Aside from council member Pat Fiore, who also urged leeway with variances, the other council members opposed DuBois’ suggestion.
“I don’t believe we have had any litigation that extends from variances,” Stanczyk said, calling the idea to fall in line with the county a backward move. “One of the reasons we incorporated was to control our zoning and having a wishy-washy variance ordinance leaves ourselves wide open. Some would say we are not considerate of individual people’s wishes, but the hardship variance is meant to protect the village as a whole.”
Councilman Tim Schaffer added: “We’re a village because of two big issues. One was policing. One was zoning. I’ve lived in Miami-Dade all my life and there are not a lot of things I’d want to follow Miami-Dade County on, especially zoning.”
But the council agreed to have staff look at its policy concerning the construction of Tiki huts on private property.
“The purpose is to ease the process for building new huts and provide amnesty for those who built without previous approval,” DuBois said.
Tiki huts built in Florida by the Seminole or Miccosukee Indians are exempt from permitting requirements as long as they don’t have electrical, mechanical or plumbing improvements.
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