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Council Delays New Development District Decision

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Posted: Friday, April 27, 2018 12:30 am | Updated: 10:02 am, Fri Apr 27, 2018.

   At the request of Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough, Homestead City Council tabled three agenda items related to a new neighborhood off east Mowry Street and Kingman Drive.

   “I still have a lot of concerns with the developer in my district,” said Councilwoman Fairclough. “You’ve stated this move to a CDD is beneficial but I seriously beg to differ.”

   The Wednesday April 18 Council agenda included requests for plat approval, inclusion in the East Homestead Community Development District (CDD), and creation of a special taxing district for street lights and maintenance for Kingman Commons.

   The staff memo explained the accompanying street light tax district (that also must be approved by the County) as: “Special assessments or general tax levies for the STD (special taxing district) for Kingman Commons to provide a revenue source for the costs associated with essential facilities and services.”

   The Kingman Commons subdivision was approved for 247 single family homes on seventy-seven acres on January 21, 2015. The original builder sold the community to Kingman Lennar LLC. The community is to be renamed Porto Vita.

   Councilman Jon Burgess focused on the extra fees for the CDD. “When a client walks in, what papers are they given? How do you present the issue?” he asked.

   A spokesman for Lennar with fourteen years of CDD experience said the required signs are posted for marketing addition to the CDD granting approval. The East Homestead CDD already approved adding Kingman Commons to its existing 357.8 acres. 

   Council’s support material describes the purpose of the CDD “to provide a reasonable alternative to the financing, construction, delivery and long term operation and management of basic infrastructure for Kingman Commons.”

   The developers explained costs of the CDD for homeowners is disclosed and factored into mortgage qualifications. The stated costs of the CDD infrastructure improvements were given as $44,400 per home (costing about $150 a month over thirty years). A homeowner could instead pay $24,564 at closing rather than financing these costs.

   HOA fees for the community were estimated at $93 per month.

“I’m not approving anything for Lennar until a long laundry list of issues in my district are resolved,.” said Councilwoman Fairclough. “I ask my colleagues to table this until we can have a conversation on the issues.”

   Council unanimously moved to defer all three items to another meeting.

The new Hyundai dealership asked for two variances for its property on US1. The requests were for a sixty foot flag pole for a very large American flag and for a monument sign twenty-one feet tall of 320 square feet. That size flagpole requires a flag of fifteen by twenty-five feet in dimension.

   Staff recommended denial of both variances, made on grounds of hardship. Planning and Zoning’s vote was tied three to three.

    Current City Code limits flagpoles to thirty feet and signage to eight feet. Attorney Michael Marcus explained that the property occupies only a short corner on US1. With adjacent landscaping and a neighbor’s monument sign, the business lacks visibility.

   Councilman Jon Burgess pointed out a similar sign variance was approved for an auto dealership about seven years ago. Councilman Larry Roth said, “This is a new time and new era. But business must do things within reason. It’s a beautiful dealership and I think a classy looking sign.”

   Councilwoman Jen Bailey commented that it was only fair to approve a variance for a larger sign since it had been done for another

dealership.

   Mayor Jeff Porter recused himself from the discussion on these

agenda items.

   Council voted to approve the monument sign unanimously. A motion to approve the flagpole variance failed on a vote of two to four; Roth and Burgess voting in favor.

   A 1.6 acre parcel on Campbell Drive at 147th Avenue was approved for a Racetrac convenience store with sixteen fueling stations. The amendment was to the Crystal Lakes PUD master plan that allowed about half commercial and half residential development on its 68 acres, across from Homestead Hospital.

Council approved this first reading amendment by a vote of six to one, Councilwoman Fairclough voting no.

   amendment to the budget to allow the police department to hire two additional dispatchers prompted significant discussion on the need for the positions. The proposed cost is $71,216 this year. Currently there are fourteen dispatchers approved but the burn-out rate is notoriously high.

    The sense of Council was the petition was a smart request as a safety necessity. The motion passed unanimously.

   Council also approved a measure to recognize $500,000 of CDD funds from roadway mitigation funds as revenue for this year’s City budget.

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