It was Marathon Monday in Miami Springs on Feb. 10, as the council meeting lasted more than four hours and did not even address the police officers holding signs in protest who lined the chamber walls for the first hour.
What was discussed were eight new ordinances on first reading and all but one ended up passing, despite stern words between councilmen and less than unanimous support.
The one ordinance that did not pass — in fact, the council voted 5-0 against it — called for prohibiting the feeding of any animal or bird on public or private property. After hearing from Laney Silver of the CATS (Caring About The Strays) organization and several others, the council backed off the ordinance. There was some talk about making the ordinance just for ducks, but even that gained little support.
A new commercial vehicle ordinance has been in the works in Miami Springs for years and lengthy discussions have ensued on the subject at numerous regular, workshop and special council meetings. This night was no different as the definition of a commercial vehicle and where one can be parked was bantered about for more than an hour.
The ordinance, in writing and being voted on for the first time, finally passed 4-1, with Billy Bain dissenting. Mayor Zavier Garcia made it clear that this vote set nothing in stone and there would be a second reading at the next meeting, where changes can be made and citizens can have input.
The ordinance basically allows any vehicle under 10,000 pounds, less than 22 feet in length and under 8 feet in height to be parked in any approved parking location at a single-family residence. Such vehicles are allowed signage, elevated racks, and bed coverings. All commercial vehicles are allowed in approved parking for daytime parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The ordinance that produced an argument between Bain and Councilman Jaime Petralanda concerned the hours that sound-making devices are prohibited. The new ordinance set the hours from midnight to 8 a.m. where loud, unnecessary, excessive or unusual noises would not be allowed.
Petralanda, a schoolteacher concerned about his students, felt the hours were too liberal and even suggested the “kinds” of music should be monitored. He made a motion to make the midnight-to-8 hours only on the weekends but it failed, as he was the single “yes” vote.
Bain strongly disagreed with Petralanda’s position and let him know it, with some strong words across the dais. There was some discussion about making the start time 11 p.m. but a frustrated Bain immediately made the motion to pass the ordinance as stated. With a couple of reluctant “yes” votes and, of course, Petralanda’s “no,” the ordinance passed 4-1.
The other five ordinances — location of real estate signs; hours when construction and maintenance sounds are prohibited; permitting decorative gates on fences and walls; location of multi-family residential and commercial garbage and recycling receptacles; and placement and removal of trash and recycling materials — passed without any such arguments and the seven that passed on first reading will be on the agenda for second reading and public hearing at the next regular council meeting on Monday, Feb. 24.
In other news, the council:
• Proclaimed Feb. 10, 2014 Raul Miro Day for the Springs resident who died in 2010 after a distinguished career in the aviation industry. He served his country in the military and was a legendary soccer/Little League coach in Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens.
• Approved a resolution by a 3-2 vote (Bain and Lob dissenting) raising the activity fee for the Miami Springs Community Center summer camp from $100 to $150.
• Were advised that red light revenues for the fiscal 2013-14 year will have a shortfall of between $200,000 and $300,000. The suggested budget reductions of $301,086 were to be implemented immediately. Included in the reductions were $100,000 in sidewalk repairs (now paid out of CITT funds); $30,000 in contingency funds for unexpected repairs; $35,000 for a vacant public works employee position that will not be filled this year.