Miami Beach

Miami Beach

Miami Beach commissioners to discuss deal with Mount Sinai, dog beach, bicycles on Lincoln Road

 

cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

The Miami Beach City Commission meets Wednesday to take up issues ranging from a $15 million grant to Mount Sinai hospital, allowing alcohol in movie theaters, prohibiting bikes and segways in certain areas and approving a dog beach.

Commissioners will also vote on whether to present charter changes to residents for an August referendum.

The meeting started with public comment at 8:30 a.m. in City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr.

On the agenda:

• A discussion about whether to give Mount Sinai Medical Center millions of dollars to help fund the private hospital’s expansion of its emergency rooms. The hospital is planning a $205 million expansion.

In exchange for its grant, the city would get to build — at taxpayer expense — an emergency operations center on land belonging to the hospital, which is beside Biscayne Bay in Mid-Beach. The center would be designed to withstand a category five hurricane and would be used to coordinate the city’s response to disasters. Current terms call for the city to pay the cost of building the 1,000-square foot center, which Miami Beach would use rent-free for 30 years.

In addition to the money, Mount Sinai has asked Miami Beach to pay interest, bringing the total cost to taxpayers to about $18 million.

At a committee meeting on Tuesday, commissioners indicated they would support the arrangement, but said they want to negotiate some of the terms. For example, commissioners said they want to double the size of the space being offered by the hospital, a longer lease term and to cut out the interest payments.

On Wednesday, the commission is expected to set a date for a public hearing on the matter.

• A public hearing and final vote on whether to approve the sale of alcohol in city movie theaters.

The measure was sponsored by Mayor Philip Levine.

If passed, the ordinance would allow alcohol to be sold at the movie theater on Lincoln Road, and any other theater that is at least 15,000 square feet, has 300 permanent auditorium seats, and is located in “Commercial High Intensity Districts.”

The new rules would require establishments to have separate areas where alcohol is served and have a plan to keep minors out.

• A proposal to outlaw bicycles on Lincoln Road, except between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The new law was proposed by Commissioner Deede Weithorn in response to complaints that pedestrians get run over by people on bicycles.

To become law, the proposal needs to pass two votes by the City Commission. If passed, bicyclists would still be allowed to walk their bicycles on the mall at any time, and new signage would be installed to let riders know about the restrictions.

Commissioners will also take a final vote on whether to prohibit motorized vehicles such as segways in certain areas of the city. That measure was sponsored by Commissioner Jonah Wolfson.

• A vote to establish a dog beach, a measure sponsored by Levine.

The city is proposing to allow dogs on the sand between 80th and 82nd streets from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Owners would need to get a pass issued by the city, and their dogs would need a current rabies tag, collar and name tag.

• Several proposed charter changes. Among them are proposals to strengthen term limits, and to allow architects or landscape architects who are members of the Historic Preservation or Design Review boards to lobby city officials and agencies. Members would not be allowed, though, to lobby the board on which they serve, or the city staff related to that board.

Other charter changes are also being proposed.

The city’s charter is its governing document. Any changes need to be approved by voters.

Commissioners will discuss the proposed changes at a Committee of the Whole meeting, which is usually held during the lunch break of the regular commission meeting. Commissioners have to agree to place the proposed changes on the ballot. The soonest the items would go to a vote would be Aug. 26.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter and check MiamiHerald.com for live updates throughout the meeting.

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