Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne residents want referendum to overturn new dog park

A committee of Key Biscayne residents who are opposed to a permanent dog park at 530 Crandon Blvd. are gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn the 4-3 vote made by council members earlier this year.

Council member James Taintor, who had voted against the site becoming a permanent dog park, urged council members to schedule a straw poll during upcoming elections in November to see where the community stands.

“The council is obviously split 4-3 and I think the community is split,” said Taintor.

The dog park site also had been discussed as a possible location for a senior center.

The referendum committee would have to notify the Miami-Dade County elections department by Aug. 5 if they meet the minimum requirement of 667 signatures to get the item on the ballot in time for November elections.

The village clerk would have to check each signature for validity. If not submitted in time, the issue would have to wait until the next regularly scheduled election, which would be November 2015.

“The rules are the rules.” said council member Michael E. Kelly, who voted in favor of the dog park. “It’s not our job to bend the rules or try to make it easier for people, and I disagree with the fundamental premise that there’s something less valid about a 4-3 vote than a 7-0 vote. There have been many important issues that have been decided by these councils with 4-3 votes that have been wonderful additions to the community.”

Vice Mayor Michael Davey told Taintor, “We have made a decision, and if you as a council member want to support them I respect that, but we as a council should not be moving these issues forward. If the public wants that, let them do the work and let them make it happen.”

Kelly addressed Taintor again, saying, “Just because you were on the losing side doesn’t mean that you should facilitate us trying give this over to the people. I think that’s wrong. I think that if we were to facilitate this after voting 4-3 it makes us look as if our votes don’t mean anything. And I don’t want to do that.”

Mayor Frank Caplan said, “We heard from a lot of people and their arguments were varied and pretty much all over the map but if anybody wants to bring an initiative, it’s their right to do so.”