Aventura - Sunny Isles

Sunny Isles Beach residents concerned about street lighting, low utility lines, traffic

Sunny Isles Beach residents have voiced their concerns about poor street lighting, low hanging utility lines and traffic in the Golden Shores neighborhood.

At the city commission meeting on Jan. 15, Commissioner Jennifer Levin sponsored the planned discussion of improvements to Golden Shores, noting she has “always [been] attracted to the Golden Shores neighborhood.”

Residents of the community created the Sunny Isles Beach Golden Shores Association last October to address the concerns of residents in Golden Shores, a community of 220 homes, according to Juan Crespi, chairman of the association, which currently has 120 members.

Resident Jacqueline Branigan said that poor street lighting in the Golden Shores neighborhood create a “danger” for people walking in the street at night on several neighborhood blocks that do not have sidewalks.

The poor street lighting impairs visibility at night in the neighborhood makes driving “very dangerous,” resident Michael Polikar said.

“Drivers don’t see people into the last minute,” Polikar said.

Low-hanging cable and FPL utility lines are also a danger in the Golden Shores neighborhood, Crespi said. Last May, a branch fell from Polikar’s tree onto a pole, causing a wire to go into a neighbor’s pool.

“It ignited sparks and fire and all of the electricity in my house went down,” Polikar said. “My music system was all ruined.”

It took eight hours to repair the electric poles, said Polikar, noting that FPL recently agreed to pay for the damage to his home.

This is not the first time Polikar has experienced this problem. Three weeks ago, one of the branches of a tree struck a light pole. Electrical lines then caused a fire in his backyard, burning his tree.

The association was also concerned about more traffic entering the neighborhood due to the city’s increasing development.

Ortiz said residents do not support creating another access point for traffic on 185th Street into the “walking community” of Golden Shores, Ortiz said. He cited a recent traffic study that gave 185th Street a poor grade for traffic during morning and evening rush hours, Ortiz said.

Resident Steve Trattner, a former city advisory committee member, voiced his agreement to thunderous applause.

“It would compound the risk of peril and would be a grave mistake,” Trattner said.

City Manager Chris Russo said Sunny Isles Beach is already working with consultants to undergo a lighting study to plan for the undergrounding of the electrical wires in the neighborhood. The city will be reviewing the cost estimates and working with neighbors.

“On the short term we can at least improve the lighting and start planning for the longer term issues,” Russo said.

In other city commission news:

▪ Commissioners unanimously approved using more than $140,000 in forfeiture funds to purchase five police vehicles including two Honda Pioneer 700 4X4 UTVs for beach patrol, a Chevrolet Tahoe K-9 vehicle, a Chevrolet Impala administrative vehicle and a Nissan NV crime scene vehicle.