A six-member Homestead City Council met on Wednesday August 18 for a regularly scheduled Council meeting.

Council welcomed the application of Target for a multi-use commercial retail store, pharmacy, grocery, and package liquor store on about 5 acres east of the Homestead Pavilion Shopping Center.

A Target store was expected in association with that shopping center for several years.

Because the building lot is tucked behind the Pavilion stores and above the turnpike, application was made for a freestanding monument sign of one hundred ninety-six square feet, thirty feet high, which Council approved. An additional monument sign sixteen feet high was approved for the front of the shopping center, too.

Council approved a special exception application for commercial retail of 72,345 square feet, required by City Code for buildings larger than 20,000 square feet.

Two certificates of use for liquor and beer/wine sales for off-premises consumption were approved prior to a unanimous Council vote on the final site plan and tentative plat for the project.

Applicants’ attorney said the stores would employ about 130 people, generate about $1.5 million a year in sales taxes, and that they were aggressively pushing an October 2022 opening date.

The Florida Legislature approved a bill effective July 1 requiring local governments to add a mandate to their comprehensive plan entitled “Property Rights Element”. City staff drafted an ordinance consistent with the final legislation requiring consideration of private property rights when making local land use decisions.

The City’s Development Services Director assured Council the new mandate’s policy objectives were already considered in Homestead’s planning, and that the drafted language would pass muster with state requirements.

Council also welcomed a planned mixed use community blending commercial and residential on 17.6 acres on U.S. 1 south of Harris Field. The land was used in the past for overflow parking for the Homestead Rodeo.

Council approved rezoning the land from B-1 to New Mixed Use and amending the future land use map to permit the project. Plans show two light commercial buildings fronting US1 with parking, screening four three-story buildings of 160 apartments to the rear, circled by parking, allowing for a central landscaped lake.

The developer consented to a covenant for Council’s approval identifying this specific offered plan as the final project to be constructed. The application calls for market-rate apartments.

Council approved staff’s application for a $3.5 million federal grant for the old sports complex renovation and soccer field construction. The Travel & Tourism grant requires a $700,000 match already budgeted by the City for this new park construction.

Another Council resolution was approved to join other Florida local governments to prepare a plan for division of any settlement proceeds from pending national opioid suits.

The City had several inquiries about leasing parts of the old YMCA facility since Le Jardin’s lease was approved for two large areas of the building. After Council discussion, it was decided to issue an RFP to consider all offers for use of the gymnasium, pool, and other classrooms areas.

The City Manager said an RFP could be ready in thirty days for September release.

Two development projects with incomplete applications were deferred to an August 26 noticed special call meeting. The City Manager said both applications lacked the “public school concurrency triparty agreement” necessary for approval under the Code.

The first deferred project was D.R. Horton’s 42 acre parcel consisting of 280 townhomes of 377 residences, requiring six variances and a special exception to get an approved site plan and plat. Project land is located north of Mowry Drive, east of NE 13 Avenue, south of the C-103 canal, and west of Farm Life School Road.

The second project for PJC Investments (Keys Lake) proposed developing 25.7 acres for 231 townhomes with needed variances for the patio area and “attached storage area” for the necessary site plan and plat. The Keys Lake project is north of SW 336th Street (Davis Parkway), east of SW 172nd Avenue (McMinn Road), south of the Turnpike and west of South Liberty Avenue. This site is next to the turnpike, north and east of the outlet mall.

Prior to adjournment, Mayor Steve Losner proposed a limited building moratorium for an area bounded by Campbell Drive to Lucy Street, US1 on the east and “SW 2nd Avenue on the west”. The purpose was for Council to retain control of decisions on density and product for that narrow area, counter to the County’s push to develop the transportation corridor along the southern busway with high-rise units.

Since only the Mayor and Councilmember Sean Fletcher expressed support for such a moratorium, no Council vote was taken.

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