Following the recent “Floatopia fallout” that left politicians and residents incensed after revelers left behind heaps of discarded floats, bottles and cans on Miami Beach, city commissioners want to give the city manager options for limiting the impact of such large-scale events.
City Manager Jimmy Morales on Wednesday presented his recommendations to commissioners for deterring such events, some of which include charging a flat $100 parking rate for non-residents near South Beach, banning coolers, tents and floats and strictly enforcing an alcohol ban on the sand.
The idea is to use the city’s existing powers to help discourage events like Floatopia short of completely closing the beach. The city doesn’t have the ability close the beach since the state controls the sand east of the dunes.
“We’ve tried to focus on finding the middle ground between closing the beach entirely and just throwing a lot of money on the problem,” Morales told commissioners, referencing the $60,000 in overtime paid to city employees to deal with the crowds and cleanup after this year’s Floatopia.
Events like Floatopia present a challenge to the city because they aren’t city-sanctioned events. They’re informal gatherings that attract visitors through social media and the internet.
Commissioner Michael Grieco, who posted a video of himself in the post-Floatopia morass of garbage on the sand, said the city needs to give the city manager the power to take extra security measures during all major events where thousands — or in the case of Floatopia, tens of thousands — of people flood Miami Beach.
“This isn’t about just Floatopia,” he said. “It’s about Spring Break. It’s about Memorial Day. It’s about Labor Day.”
Commissioner Joy Malakoff suggested limiting access points to the beach.
“There were over 200 rescues that day, with very rough surf,” Morales said.
The commission voted to have Morales draft an ordinance for the next meeting, May 11. After a second vote, likely in late May, the city could then propose changes for the state-managed beach management plan, the final approval needed for any new regulations.
The manager listed these possible measures for controlling big events:
▪ Ban all coolers
▪ Ban all floats
▪ Ban all tents
▪ Ban any live or amplified music
▪ Limit certain traffic routes or allow vehicular access only to residents, patrons and employees of businesses located in the affected area (e.g. Flamingo Park, south of Fifth).
▪ Create occupancy limits on different segments of the beach, and close off areas that have reached that limit
▪ Strictly enforce alcohol ban on beach
▪ Raise the garage and lot parking rates within one mile of the site to a premium daily flat rate of $100 except for residents, monthly parkers and validated business customers
▪ Implement a license plate reader police detail on eastbound MacArthur Causeway or Julia Tuttle Causeway