City commissioners will spend their time counting cars over the next several weeks. The commission deferred on an ordinance sponsored by Mayor Philip Stoddard that would reduce parking for multi-unit residential rental properties, after deciding that the research it was based on was outdated.
“I wrote this, as I explained in my cover letter, after analyzing U.S. Census data for different Census blocks in South Miami,” Stoddard said at the Feb. 3 meeting. “The search engine includes data from the 2010 Census and the 2009 American Community survey.”
Stoddard’s research brought him to the conclusion that the city requires “over twice the parking needed by rental apartments downtown” and “over four times the parking needed for apartments in the TODD/CRA area.” The cover letter stated that the city’s “two-car per unit parking requirements are about right for owned housing.”
“From personal experience, I disagree with these numbers,” Commissioner Josh Liebman said from the dais. “I think people have a higher cars per household even if they are in low-income apartments.”
At the start of the meeting, Police Chief Rene Landa presented Detective Lisa King with the South Miami Police Department’s Officer of the Year Award. The mayor and commissioners saluted King for her services, which included the recovery of more than $100,000 in property.
Commissioners went on to advance on first-reading ordinances regarding the hours of operation for construction and demolition days in the city. The new ordinances would give the commission the ability to do an evaluation of when weekend construction activity needs to happen and for how long it will happen in the future, permission currently afforded to the city manager.
“The city attorney drafted three changes,” City Manager Steven Alexander said at the meeting. “To give back the ability for the city commission, by resolution, to allow construction to happen during certain hours on the weekend, to give the ability to do a case by case evaluation on when this construction activity needs to happen and for how long. It’s basically what I would call enabling legislation.”
Stoddard continues his work on a “noise ordinance” in the city after a judge ruled the city’s “objective and unconstitutionally vague,” according to the mayor. Stoddard said he would be working on objective measurements and modeling the new ordinance after one in Sacramento.
“One of the things I’ve heard is ‘You are voting to allow construction on Sundays,’” Stoddard said at the meeting. “There is no change in the hours. What it is saying is that the commission has the ability by resolution, under special circumstances, to permit weekend construction. But its not enabled. If we approve this, people can’t just start doing demolition on Saturdays and Sundays. It still has to come before us.”