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North Miami CRA board discusses new plans

North Miami’s community redevelopment agency is still working to extend its life beyond 2016 and the board took some steps toward that goal at their last meeting.

The city council, acting as the CRA board, approved a redevelopment plan and schedule, discussed the CRA’s budget and decided against hiring a new executive director.

The city advertised for the executive director position last month but did not receive any bids by the Jan. 30 deadline. So the CRA will continue to be consulted by Redevelopment Management Associates, a Pompano Beach-based firm, and plans to hire an executive director later.

Councilman Scott Galvin, who proposed hiring a new director, accepted responsibility for the way the process went and said he trusts the staff’s recommendation.

“I can live with the vision the staff is proposing right now,” Galvin said in an interview. “We need to move with more urgency and that’s true throughout City Hall.”

The board also approved RMA’s redevelopment plan for extending the CRA, which establishes a timeline and a set of benchmarks the CRA should reach by December. The agency hopes to present a draft of a CRA plan at a community meeting by early July.

“Once that plan is done we definitely will need help, but I do feel the staff can move forward,” budget director Arthur Sorey said.

Approval of the CRA’s proposed $2.3 million budget for the 2014-15 year was deferred until the March meeting to allow staff and consultants to adjust the numbers and bring a final presentation for the board’s approval.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the findings of a traffic and parking study done by the Corradino Group. The study indicated different parking needs for planned development in the CRA and downtown area and found that if the city develops the area to its maximum capacity it would need about 8,500 spaces. The city currently has 639 public parking spaces in its nine parking lots.

“No major business is going to come to the city without a place to park,” Galvin said.

Last year, after the CRA reorganized, the city presented plans for a new multistory parking garage near City Hall along with retail and office spaces.

The CRA’s next board meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mar. 10, at North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th St.

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