Miami Beach

Miami Beach voters approve all four charter amendments

Miami Beach voters chose to close a term-limit loophole and streamline the process for granting variances as they voted to approve all four proposed charter amendments Tuesday.

An amendment that strengthened term limits passed by a few thousand votes. Now an elected official cannot serve more than eight years as a commissioner or six years as mayor. Before, the limits only applied to consecutive terms, so an official could alternate between serving as mayor and commissioner without facing term limits.

Another amendment proposed granting the Historic Preservation and Design Review boards the power to grant variances. Now a request for a variance does not have to go before the Board of Adjustment as long as it is approved by another board.

Residents also approved an amendment changing the end of the supplemental qualifying period for city ballot in the event a qualified candidate dies, withdraws or is removed from the ballot after the qualifying period has ended. Before that period lasted until 26 days before election day, and now it ends 45 days before.

The last amendment makes a slight change to the date the vice mayor is to be selected. Currently, the City Commission has to choose a vice mayor within three days after the election. With the amendment, the commission can select a vice mayor at its first meeting after an election. The change accounts for the longer amounts of time needed to certify election results by allowing the commission to make that call at its next commission meeting.

Tuesday’s turnout was light. No lines could be spotted at precincts throughout day in the Beach.

At Nautilus Middle School, resident Shari Lee said she voted because she always makes an effort to do her civic duty.

“Anytime I possibly can, I vote when there’s an election,” she said. “I think it’s our responsibility.”

The 60-year-old CPA said she was split on the Beach’s proposed charter amendments, supporting the streamlining of the process to get variances and opposing the strengthening of term limits.