At its meeting Tuesday, July 21, the North Miami Beach City Council approved a new conservation zoning designation for a section of Maule Lake, granted conditional use for a drug rehab center and established the guidelines for its ad-hoc charter review committee.
The main item
After residents and conservationists expressed concerns over a developer’s plans for “floating homes” on Maule Lake, the city council unanimously approved two changes to designate part of the lake as a conservation area.
The council unanimously approved a change to its land-use map and a zoning designation to officially deem the area “water” on the city’s map and to create a “conservation district.” The city said their portion of Maule Lake, a former rock quarry, had no zoning designation.
Staff said the changes should eliminate ambiguity about the site. The zoning designation will require a second vote.
“It’s difficult to see how a large-scale, full-service residential development within the lake would be compatible with the surrounding conservation lands or adjacent residential uses,” said Assistant City Manager Richard Lorber.
Lorber and staff members said that Aventura established a similar designation for the portion of the lake within their city in 1999.
Last year, a Dutch team of developers and investors proposed the Amillarah Private Islands project: 29 high-end floating homes costing about $12.5 million apiece on 38 acres of Maule Lake.
At the city’s June planning and zoning board meeting, representatives from Dutch Docklands USA said they opposed the changes because they prevented the public and the council from further evaluating the project.
“We suggest a more thoughtful approach including all relevant stakeholders to spend the time to really understand what it is that we are proposing,” said Frank Behrens, executive vice president of Dutch Docklands.
▪ Drug rehab center: The city approved a conditional use allowing a drug rehabilitation center to open in a building near Jackson North Medical Center, at 150 NW 168th St. Councilman Frantz Pierre voted against the item.
The owner of Holistic Recovery Centers was subject to multiple conditions for the approval including having 24-hour security on the premises, limiting the center’s hours and requiring the applicant to give two monthly scholarships to city residents who need treatment.
The city also has the right to remove the conditional use approval if crime increases significantly at the site or if loitering around the center becomes a “public nuisance.”
Some residents said they thought the center would be a bad idea and expressed concerns about a potential increase in crime in the Uleta neighborhood.
“Uleta’s already suffered enough, I don’t know how you can be so callous to say, ‘I’m for this,’” resident Richard Reiss said.
▪ Charter review: The council unanimously approved a resolution to establish an ad-hoc charter review committee and to set the guidelines for the group. The committee will contain seven members and be set up for about one year with plans to offer a report to the city council by the end of June 2016.
The item was amended so the committee would not be limited to only discussing items suggested by the council at a meeting last November. The proposed changes included modifying term limits for council members.
The council also added language that will allow them to replace a committee member if they miss two consecutive meetings without an excuse.
They said it
“This is something that is way overdue, we see what a beautiful piece of water we have here.” — Vice Mayor Anthony DeFillipo discussing the Maule Lake item.
The next meeting
▪ When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4
▪ Where: North Miami Beach City Hall, 17011 NE 19th Ave., North Miami Beach