West Miami-Dade

Sweetwater parking signs cause other woes for residents

Sweetwater officials are still facing consequences brought on by the parking problems revolving around the 15-story student apartment building that opened last year in the city.

The city started placing signs to prohibit parking along the streets, a short-term plan outlined in a meeting held at the 109 Tower student building last month to discourage the Florida International University students who live in the building from parking illegally.

Back in 2012, the city allowed the developer to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 224 to zero. The developer established a covenant with FIU that would require tenants to park across the street on campus. But since the privately owned building opened in August, police have gotten complaints from neighbors about cars with FIU decals parked illegally on the swale of the roads, by fire hydrants and sometimes even blocking driveways.

Placing “no parking” signs has slowly been working, but it’s affecting other residents as well.

Members of Prince Condominium Association, on 10951 SW Seventh Ter., signed and presented a petition to the city commission last Monday, outlining their parking woes now that the city put up signs along their property.

They said that for years visitors had parked along the grassy areas in front of the building because the eight-unit apartment building has limited parking — the same problem 109 Tower is facing on a larger scale.

Antonio Perez, one of the members of the association, asked the city to assign one visitor’s decal per unit for their building, so their visitors could park.

“That way you don’t create a permanent right to park,” Perez said. “This is a compounded problem. We have no choice.”

City officials were reluctant because other condominiums would want the same special permissions, but admitted that the decals idea has crossed their minds as a solution.

“We discussed the possibility of having special decals,” said Commissioner Orlando Lopez. “Yes, we are new to this. We are trying to correct it.”