Coral Gables

Coral Gables commissioners raise fees for golf and parking, local business taxes

Coral Gables City Attorney Craig Leen recognizes 12 city employees who ran in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run.
Coral Gables City Attorney Craig Leen recognizes 12 city employees who ran in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run. Courtesy of Ana Maria Muñiz-Leen

The Coral Gables city commission met 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 16. Commissioners passed one item on first reading, another on second reading, and discussed a possible building project.

The main item

Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance on second reading that refined and updated a myriad city fees. Some of those fees include a 5 percent to 7 percent increase in Granada Golf Course fees, a 5 percent increase on local business taxes, as well as a 5 percent increase in park and recreation fees.

Bumps were also made in alcohol permit fees and garbage fees. Parking fees will be raised from $1.25 an hour to $1.50 an hour.

The commission also increased fire permit fees, public works fees, historic preservation fees and valet parking fees, which will vary depending on the time of day (lunch or dinner).

The new fees will become active in October.

Other business

▪ Alcohol: On first reading, the commission amended the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance. It was unanimously passed that “the business of retail packaged liquor stores may be operated between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week, subject to state regulations.”

The ordinance as it stands says alcohol can be sold only on weekdays, except for certain holidays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The item will come back to the city commission on July 7.

▪ Discussion: City commissioners had a brief, informal conversation about “Paseo de la Riviera,” a proposed mixed-use project that would be built on U.S. 1 and Caballero Boulevard.

The location, currently a Holiday Inn at 1350 S. Dixie Hwy. across from the Bank United Center at University of Miami, would be a 12-story rental apartment building with retail on the first floor.

Vice Mayor Frank Quesada made a motion for experts to conduct a study on U.S. 1 to see “what type of project would be best for the community.”

“We want them to go talk to residents, experts, academia, business owners,” Quesada said. The motion passed unanimously.

The project will go before the Planning and Zoning Board in late July, and back to the commission for discussion in August.

▪ Awards: The commission chamber suddenly went black. It was one of the first items on the agenda and a giant spotlight circled the room as a majestic instrumental played in the background.

Abruptly, City Attorney Craig Leen stood and took out a red T-shirt that read, “A step ahead.”

Leen, wearing scarlet running shoes, placed the T-shirt over his long-sleeved dress shirt and tucked out his tie. Like a champion, the bright light shined on him.

“It’s really exciting to be here, we have had a great corporate run team this year,” Leen said.

He recognized 12 city employees who placed in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run on April 23 in Miami.

Leen, who recently ran a full-marathon in Paris with his wife (26.2 miles), was also one of the employees who placed. He finished in second place, with a time of 20 minutes, 55 seconds for the 5K run.

Brook Dannemiller, the city’s landscape services director, came in first place with a time of 20 minutes, 38 seconds. The 12 employees were awarded medals.

“Brook comes up beside me and says: ‘How are you doing?,’” Leen said. “He would turn around and look at me because he knew I was trying to catch up.”

The city commission also recognized 72 Gables employees who completed the race. As for Coral Gables as a whole, the city placed first among all other municipalities in Miami-Dade County, beating the cities of Miami and Miami Beach.

The next meeting

▪ When: Tuesday, July 7 at 9 a.m.

▪ Where: Coral Gables City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way