South Miami

South Miami commission narrowly passes land development code ordinance

An un-tabled item sparked debate at South Miami City Hall during a city commission meeting Tuesday night.

The main item

The slimmest 3-2 vote brought an ordinance off the table, calling for an amendment to the city land development code’s Transit-Oriented Development District (TODD) section, which encourages transit ridership. The ordinance called to add uses permitted in other districts to the TODD’s public/institutional zoning district.

One of those sites is City Hall, which is currently limited to government and assembly oriented uses. City staff has been looking into developing a new City Hall site, possibly involving a public-private partnership. Current TODD zoning restrictions limit this desire for redevelopment. According to the ordinance, the proposed change would be “essential” if the city wishes to encourage the creation of a grocery store or hotel on the site.

One question raised in the ordinance was whether the transfer of additional uses in the TODD PI zoning district would make that district “less restrictive” and require a unanimous 5-0 commission vote, according to the city charter. A memo from planning director Dwayne Williams stated that “the addition of less intense and more highly regulated uses to the PI district does not make the uses in the PI district less restrictive.” Williams also stated that the addition makes it more “restrictive by making the totality of uses less intense and more highly regulated.”

The commission passed the ordinance with three of five votes, with dissent from Commissioner Gabriel Edmond and Vice Mayor Walter Harris.

“[This was] the final administrative step that needed to happen so folks have a clear idea of what’s possible on the City Hall site,” City Manager Steven Alexander said. “They can then evaluate, based on available uses, size and height of the City Hall property, what the best use for that would be. Once they have that, they can send the proposal for straight land sale, lease or a public-private partnership proposal. Now with the zoning in place, those folks in the private sector can look at it and make their evaluation.”

Other business

▪ Access meetings: Residents will now be able to access the city’s Granicus system to view commission meetings on the Google Chrome browser. The commission unanimously passed a resolution adding the browser to its analog server, allowing users to view its streaming media archive. In September, Chrome users, who make up 34.7 percent of all browser users, would not be able to see Windows Media encoded content without this upgrade.

▪ Addressing commission: The commission unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that requires speakers at meetings to supply his or her name and address on its speaker list, but no longer requires speakers to announce their addresses at the podium for reasons of public safety.

▪ Back-to-school donation: South Miami Pharmacy’s $500 donation for the city’s 2015 Back-to-School event was approved on the consent agenda. The free event was Thursday afternoon at the Gibson-Bethel Community Center.

▪ Liquid funds: The commission consented on a resolution authorizing a transfer of $25,000 from Public Work’s fuel & lubricants account to its utilities’ water account. Additional water consumption, installation fees, meters and hook up charges led to the transfer request. The city installed six meters for the Sunset Phase V roadway improvement project, the dog park’s water fountain and the Sunset median project.

They said it

“As the attorney pointed out, there was an error in how the original public institutional zoning category was written,” Mayor Philip Stoddard said.

“It’s a pretty fundamental idea in city planning that you design around the main transit opportunities. When the PI was created, they made a mistake and left out the other uses on the TODD ... which are in every TODD category and are required to be in every TODD category. ... We are setting it back the way it was supposed to be in the first place.”

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. Sept. 1.

▪ Where: City Hall, 6130 Sunset Drive, South Miami.