Miami Beach Commissioners meet Wednesday to discuss party homes, a controversial tennis contract, the future of city’s Bayshore par-3 golf course and other issues.
The city will also host a town hall meeting to discuss retired English soccer player David Beckham’s proposal to build a soccer stadium at PortMiami.
The regular commission meeting begins with public comments at 8:30 a.m. in the commission chambers, located on the third floor of City Hall, which is at 1700 Convention Center Drive.
Commissioners are expected to crack down on so-called party homes by making it illegal to advertise a rental that is contrary to city code.
Miami Beach already outlaws most rentals shorter than six months and a day. Still, property owners offer glamorous homes for rent for expensive parties or events. Neighbors complain that the short-term rentals generate noise, traffic and unsavory behavior .
So Commissioner Ed Tobin proposed making it illegal to advertise a rental that runs contrary to city rules. Doing so would make it easier to catch lawbreakers, Tobin said, because city officials sometimes have to rely on testimony from the people who paid to use the home in order to prosecute the owners. Often, renters come from out of town or are unwilling to speak against property owners, Tobin said.
Commissioners are expected to finally contract a company to manage the city’s tennis centers.
The city asked companies to bid on the contract more than a year ago. The current operator, Green Square, ended up ranking last among the bidders. A company called Miami Beach Tennis Management ranked first.
Commissioners in September 2013 decided to throw out all the bids and stick with Green Square on a month-to-month basis after residents overwhelmingly showed up to support the operator.
In February, commissioners took up the issue again. However, this time, a largely new commission was in place. The new commission voted to instead give the contract to top-ranked bidder Miami Beach Tennis Management. A lobbyist who works for Miami Beach Tennis Management was a political consultant for three newly elected officials’ election campaigns.
However, the commission couldn’t move forward with the award to Miami Beach Tennis Management because it would be considered a waiver of the city’s competitive bidding process, which is required in most cases. So the commission put off a final decision until the city manager, Jimmy Morales, could issue a recommendation whether to waive the bid process. One of the city’s attorneys had suggested the recommendation was needed under city rules.
In March, Morales wrote a recommendation not to waive competitive bidding and stood by an original recommendation to negotiate a contract with the top-ranked bidder, Miami Beach Tennis Management.
With that in mind, commissioners in March voted unanimously to rescind the September 2013 commission decision to reject all bids and to reinstate the bid process in which Miami Beach Tennis Management was ranked first.
Miami-Dade County court records show that Green Square has sued the city, but a copy of the suit was not immediately available.
A public hearing will be held on whether the Bayshore par-3 golf course should remain a golf course, or be turned into a public park.
The course is bounded by 28th Street on the north, Miami Beach Senior High on the south, Prairie Avenue on the west and Pine Tree Drive on the east. The 20-acre course has been the subject of two lawsuits against the city, which were both settled.
Commissioners in January approved a $4 million contract for course improvements, but the city’s new Parks and Recreational Facilities Advisory Board recently asked the commission to reconsider. Instead, board members want land for a planned putting green to become part of the adjacent Scott Rakow Youth Center.
Meanwhile, residents who live close to the course want it to remain a golf course.
Check back for updates throughout the meeting on Wednesday.
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