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Sunny Isles Beach

Sunny Isles Beach moves forward in putting utility lines underground

 

Special to the Miami Herald

Sunny Isles Beach has moved closer toward completing its project of undergrounding the city’s power utility infrastructure — as well as phone and cable lines — that are currently overhead.

At their June 20 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved of the city’s entering into the second phase of the three-step project.

In February, the city signed a contract with engineering, planning and surveying consulting firm Keith & Schnars to carry out the Florida Power & Light overhead-to-underground conversion project along Collins Avenue.

While Collins Avenue is just one out of four Sunny Isles Beach areas identified as target regions in the project, the city has prioritized work along that major thoroughfare. Collins Avenue is scheduled for a resurfacing project in July 2015, and the city wants to complete the undergrounding prior to that. The other areas included in the FPL overhead-to-underground conversion project are Sunny Isles Boulevard, Center Island and the Golden Shores neighborhood.

Keith & Schnars is mostly finished with the first part of the project, which cost the city $54,680. According to an agreement between the city and the firm, Phase One of the project included establishing timelines, facilitating the FPL design process and identifying potential project issues.

Now the city has entered into Phase Two with Keith & Schnars, at a cost of $220,350. Phase two is the project’s Collins Avenue design and permitting process, including obtaining the needed approvals from permitting entities and finalization of construction documents.

“It has been a goal of the city since we were incorporated, and it has been slow coordinating the efforts with FPL,” Mayor Norman Edelcup told the Miami Herald after the meeting. “There are a couple of neighborhoods that have already been undergrounded in the city. Now, looking at the time frame, it will be over in the next 5 to 10 years. It has always been a major capital project for the city.”

Also at the June 20 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved the expansion of the Building Department in order to better handle the extra workload caused by the many high-rises coming to Sunny Isles Beach. According to meeting agenda documents, five high-rises have already obtained building permits as of April. City staff members told the Miami Herald that Sunny Isles Beach is hiring two new building inspectors, has hired two part-time employees on a full-time basis, and replaced a part-time mechanical inspector who resigned with a full-time employee.

In other decisions

The dais gave its unanimous vote approving the following items:

• Paying $75,700 for additional insurance coverage accumulated over the past seven months for capital projects, workers’ compensation, Newport Fishing Pier building risk and property insurance, among other items.

• Donating $5,000 to the 2013-14 Prestige Cultural Series at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus and another $15,000 donation to FIU’s School of Music. Sunny Isles Beach residents will receive discounted prices for the Prestige Cultural Series, which includes a musical theater performance, two gourmet wine-and-food dinners, and two gourmet wine-and-food luncheons. In addition, FIU will bring four cultural programs to Sunny Isles Beach known as the annual Four Seasons Cultural Series.

• The replotting of eight lots into 15 lots so that 15 single-family homes can be built on currently empty lots along Atlantic Boulevard.

• An amendment of the city’s contract with a South Florida drainage and sewer maintenance firm, A&A Drainage and Vac Services, to provide the additional cleaning of 40 deep-well stormwater catch basins at a cost of $3,600.

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