North Miami - NMB

After third try, North Miami approves comprehensive plan

The land use map is part of the city’s comprehensive plan. The plan was approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The land use map is part of the city’s comprehensive plan. The plan was approved at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. City of North Miami

At its meeting Tuesday, the North Miami City Council gave initial approval to its citywide development plan after two false starts, approved pay for their outgoing city manager, and items for sidewalk repairs and new water meters.

The main item

After multiple meetings and hours of spirited debate, North Miami has approved its comprehensive plan.

Despite confusion about voting on amendments or the entire plan, the development plan ultimately passed unanimously on Tuesday night.

Unlike previous meetings, the divisive requirement over a super-majority vote for land use and zoning amendments did not stall the council, and a four-fifths vote will remain in place. The requirement was introduced as a clause in the 2008 comprehensive plan.

The only amendments at the meeting included changing a portion of the boundaries of the city’s neighborhood redevelopment overlay district. A developer wants to place a mixed-use project at 923 NE 123rd St. and faced some opposition from residents.

Ultimately the council decided to change the boundary to extend it down from Northeast 124th Street to 123rd Street between Northeast 9th and 10th Avenues. The buildings along 123rd Street will have 35-foot setbacks and a height restriction of 55 feet.

The comprehensive plan is primarily required to meet the updated state Department of Economic Opportunity requirements, including complying with Florida laws and adding an optional component to address climate change.

The city’s consultant, the Mellgren Planning Group, previously recommended that the city not even consider height and density and approve the plan but included the council’s recommendations.

The DEO will consider the plan and send it back to the city with its feedback and recommendations in about two months. The City Council will then have a second vote and final hearing on the plan. Vice Mayor Carol Keys also suggested that the city have a meeting before the second vote to further educate residents on the changes.

Other business

City manager agreement: Council members agreed to pay outgoing city manager Aleem Ghany more than 2,000 hours of unused sick and vacation time in two installments.

The city will pay a portion of his sick time within 20 days, about $71,000. The rest of the payments will be made in January 2016. In total the city will pay about $315,000 to Ghany, according to staff. Ghany’s annual salary with the city was $209,000.

The city is paying in part due to a clause in Ghany’s initial contract from 2014 that grants him unused sick and vacation pay.

The item was part of the meeting’s consent agenda and not subject to public comment. Councilman Scott Galvin voted against the consent agenda items.

City leaders selected the current deputy city manager, Arthur Sorey, to take over as interim manager when Aleem Ghany’s resignation takes effect next month.

Ghany announced his resignation last month and his deputy city manager, Arthur Sorey, was chosen to take his place on an interim basis at the Sept. 21 council meeting.

The city has not yet indicated what process it will use to hire Ghany’s full-time replacement. Ghany had worked with the city for about 19 years and previously served as the public works director before becoming city manager last year.

Sidewalks and water meters: Two items related to sidewalk improvements and advanced water meters were approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

The City Council voted for a one-year agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates to bring an advanced meter infrastructure system to the city’s water meters. The group will advise the city on the best practices for implementing the program.

Additionally, council members approved a bid with Coreland Construction for citywide sidewalk improvements. The initial cost is $250,000 and the work will initially focus on cracked sidewalks and sidewalks surrounding schools.

Business website: The City Council approved an item to create a website called Business owners will be allowed to advertise for a year at no cost. City administration will survey all the advertisements before they’re posted on the site. The city will also standards for companies to be listed, be removed or be suspended.

You said it

“We will be the city on the move to Georgia if we don’t do something about what’s coming our way,” — Resident Howard Tonkin encouraging the city to spend more to combat sea level rise.

The next meeting

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 27.

Where: North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th St., North Miami.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3