Homestead City Council unanimously approved rezoning a 17.6 acre site south of Harris Field Park for a neighborhood mixed use development. Plans are for light commercial use along the US1 corridor, fronting three-story buildings around a central lake containing apartments to be rented at market rate.

Councilmember Larry Roth asked the developer to allow the Rodeo Association to use the land for parking until construction begins. The developer agreed to the request. They also agreed to be bound by the building concept as presented to Council.

An amendment to the City’s comprehensive plan for future land use was approved allowing the mixed use development. Councilmembers complimented the developer on their good faith efforts to work with the City.

Copart of Connecticut sought a new site plan and tentative re-plat for Phase two of its vehicle storage facility on about 60 acres in the Park of Commerce. Phase one of thirty acres has been developed. This project required environmental permitting that found no wetlands on the property.

The storage facility makes no sales and is to be surrounded by an eight foot wall screened with trees and heavy landscaping. The company agreed that site traffic would be confined to Palm Drive and 137th Avenue.

Two projects are planned for the Red Lobster site that recently closed on Campbell Drive and SW 157th Avenue, at Turnpike exit 2.

Raising Cane, a fast-food chicken spot, sought approval for its building, drive-thru, and outdoor seating “strategically located” on an acre of the old site.

Todd Graves, a Louisiana fisherman who started the eatery in 1996, now has 500 restaurants in twenty-eight states. The Homestead store should create 75 to 125 jobs paying between ten and eighteen dollars an hour, according to applicant’s attorney. The company also has a heavy commitment to community service.

The chairperson of Homestead’s Art in Public Places Board (“Art Board”) commented that the entire site is a prime location for art as an important gateway to the City for visitors. Raising Cane already committed to paying the public art fee as required during its permitting process. Council unanimously approved the site plan and plat waiver for the new restaurant.

The Viking 162 developer sought site plan and tentative plat approval to build a 15,000 square foot commercial store on 1.44 acres on the northeast corner of Mowry Drive and Farm Life School Road (162nd Avenue). The store would would have fifty parking spaces, two loading docks, permeable pavers, and a screening concrete wall to the north including a landscaping buffer.

Miami-Dade County has tentatively approved a traffic signal for that awkward intersection running under the Turnpike. The developer agreed to conditions such as coordinating intersection ‘optimization’ with the County, providing a western-approach dedicated turn lane, and approval for a southern left turn lane exiting the property.

Councilmember Larry Roth made a pitch to have Farm Life School Road completed as a four-lane roadway, including expansion of the old concrete bridge north of the property, as a solution to increasing traffic at that important intersection.

The Art Board chair noted the funding of a private sculpture art piece in the project’s packet, implicitly recommending a direct contribution to the APP fund instead in order to better plan City art placement. Council ultimately approved the plans as presented for this commercial project.

Two first reading development applications were advanced by Council. An assisted living facility sought rezoning to R-4 (hotel) for its project, south of the new Sunnylea shopping center on Campbell Drive west of Farm Life School Road. The ‘Portofino Park’ facility plans 84 beds, 158 independent units, and 24 ‘memory units’ on its 13.63 acre site.

Galileo Properties proposes to build a retail shopping space on 1.77 acres behind the shopping plaza on the corner of Campbell Drive and Farm Life School Road. It agreed to restrict southbound access to the property with a right-turn only exit lane due to the street narrowing to two lanes at that point. Councilmembers and public comments also raised the issue of intense traffic congestion at the site. The developer plans an internal connection to the front plaza, owning both properties, in an effort to ease congestion.

The D.R. Horton Parker Point project, asking for six variances, one special exception, a site plan, and tentative plat, were all deferred by the developer for this meeting. The development on 42 acres off Mowry Drive near Farm Life School Road proposed 377 residences composed of 280 townhomes and 97 single family homes on limited lots.

Council accepted Target’s transportation fair share agreement, paying the City $189,844 to mitigate traffic considered overcapacity in the area.

Council approved a staff proposal to negotiate a parks master plan for the City with a budget of $155,000. Two firms are competing to provide this assessment of the City’s programs and facilities to enhance park services.

Staff brought a unique project to Council for a memorandum of understanding with a company that wants to start a crypto mining operation.

The proposal is to build Blockchain Technology Park near the Speedway for siting of heavy-duty computer banks requiring 10 megawatts of electric power annually.

For perspective, the City’s heaviest electric user is Homestead Hospital at up to 3 megawatts of electricity annually.

The Esperanza Opportunity Zone Fund offers to pay monthly 3.5 cents per kilo-watt hour, with a year end 2.0 cent kilowatt-hour adjustment for actual use. Current commercial energy rates are 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour. Esperanza proposes paying $5 million in unrestricted City funding over ten years plus other community-based educational donations.

Councilmembers found that while it added no new jobs, the proposal presented the potential of huge revenue gains for the City as well as the chance of real national exposure for Homestead. The question was whether future users could insist on the same electric costs negotiated by Esperanza.

Staff proposed hiring a consultant to crunch the numbers, planning to give Council the results in six to eight weeks. Council agreed to pursue that study leading to a potential MOU, urging staff to push hard for a fast determination of costs.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Steve Losner offered a discussion resolution in opposition to moving the UDB to bring 800 new acres forward for long-range development. The land is near the City, northeast of the Air

Reserve Base, south of the turnpike, in an area of coastal wetlands. County staff opposed the move but did not testify at the hearing. Miami-Dade Commissioners by a vote of nine to three referred the proposal to state agencies for review.

When the suggested opposition resolution failed to get a second, Council was adjourned.

Sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board, Council approved a $34,966 contract for painting business storefronts in the City’s Historic District.

(1) comment


STOP IT! STOP IT ALREADY! you are ruining homestead.

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