The Miami Springs council had their first regular meeting in March last Monday night (March 10) and it ended in record time, as shortly after 8 p.m. Mayor Zavier Garcia banged his gavel to mark the end.
The two issues that had been discussed at length at the last meeting and eventually were tabled to this one — parking commercial vehicles in residential areas and changes to the noise ordinance — were addressed quickly.
However, there was significant conversation by several residents in Open Forum about loud music on the weekends at Woodys West End Tavern, located in the neighborhood business district on Ludlam Drive. Woodys owner Fred Suco has been getting a special permit from the city, allowing outside music until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Several of his neighbors in residential areas were upset not only about their peace being disturbed on the weekends but that the city had signed off on such a permit. And these complaints came just prior to the four-day St. Patrick’s Day weekend, where Woodys has permission to keep the music going until 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
“We live two and a half blocks away and every Friday and Saturday it gets to be a little much,” Maggie Amaya said in Open Forum. “I am going to have to take this further if you don’t do something about it. I am asking for relief from this council.”
Neither the council nor City Manager Ron Gorland was able to respond to citizens speaking in Open Forum, nor was Suco at the meeting to defend his business.
“Woodys West End is getting to the point where we seriously have to address the issue of loud music. I live on Payne Drive and this issue is one of public nuisance,” said Arlene Hawks. “You need to revoke Woodys’ permit! It is not my business to solve this problem but Mr. Suco is not acting like a good neighbor.”
After the meeting, Suco was contacted for his reaction to the resident complaints about loud music and the “monthly” special permits he has been applying for to extend his hours for music.
“The trains and airplanes are louder than my music and they go 24 hours a day,” Suco deadpanned. “I know the ordinances and the laws; I applied for the permit, paid the $100 fee and was approved on a month-to-month basis. The key word is ‘reasonable’ and as long as I am reasonable, why should the city revoke my permit?
“Two Fridays ago, Ms. Amaya started complaining at 8:45 on a Friday night and complained every hour thereafter — that’s not reasonable. If she keeps interfering with my business, I will sue her for ‘tortious interference,’ ” continued Suco.
He finished with one more zinger. “I could get 100 people to go in front of council and speak in Open Forum in favor of the music at Woodys but why do I want to play their game in the mud!”
So, St. Patrick’s Day weekend will feature music until 11 p.m. at Woodys outside stage and there is nothing anyone can do, as long as the “reasonable” rule of thumb is applied.
As far as the two ordinances the council addressed on Monday night: a Special Meeting on commercial vehicle parking will be held on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in council chambers and the noise ordinance will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.
In other news, the council:
• Heard a presentation from Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey regarding the department’s accomplishments and services to the City of Miami Springs. Since 1979, the county has been servicing Miami Springs and the respond time in Miami Springs is 5 minutes and 40 seconds, well below the county average of over 6 minutes.
• Presented the Yard of the Month Award for March 2014 to Karl and Melanie Odin at 210 Fern Way.
• Voted unanimously on second reading on an ordinance regarding trash placement and removal of garbage and recycling receptacles. It stipulates a trash or recycle receptacle cannot be placed on the street more than 24 hours before scheduled pick-up and must be removed within 24 hours of pick-up.
• Approved unanimously a resolution amending the schedule of charges for the use of recreation facilities, establishing discounted fees for certified disabled children and adults.
• Approved in concept the construction of a sign wall near the pump house at Eldron Drive and Curtiss Parkway that would allow churches and organizations to present an informational sign. This would better organize and replace the “eyesore” in the medium at Curtiss Parkway and Morningside Drive.