Homestead Amends Planning Ordinances; Co-Sponsors Rotary Seafood Festival - South Dade News Leader: Community News | South Dade News Leader | Miami Dade County

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Homestead Amends Planning Ordinances; Co-Sponsors Rotary Seafood Festival

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Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 12:15 am

   Homestead City Council met in regular session Wednesday January 17 and approved three zoning changes.

   In the future, an open-water feature will not count as usable open space in planned unit developments. Up to eighty percent of such small lakes, often

“borrow pits” in Florida development, had counted toward a community’s required recreational space. The unanimous approval of the staff-endorsed change takes effect immediately.

   Council also agreed to change the Code providing for “net density” in calculating the maximum density for residential districts. No definition of net density was provided but the Code provides a calculation. Generally, net density is calculated by excluding public-rights-of-way with the effect of limiting the number of units built on a parcel. Despite the ordinance change, a gross density calculation would still apply to lots developed prior to 1970. Councilman Jon Burgess first brought the issue to Council’s attention last year.

   A third Code amendment added libraries to the special exceptions on approving locations for sexually oriented businesses. Such businesses cannot be located within one thousand feet of a school, church, park, or boundary of a residential district. The amendment was accepted unanimously without discussion as an attempt to protect the planned “cybrary” on Mowry Street.

A budget amendment corrected funds available under the Peoples Transportation Planning (PTP) Fund and the Multimodal Transit Center Fund (MTC) created to build Homestead Station. Because the bond issue for the project was approved, $2.224 million was transferred back to the funds. Council approved the change leaving the PTP Fund with $5,083,903 and the MTC Fund with $34,035,610.

   Three agenda items advanced the Homestead Station project. First, Landmark Entertain-ment’s bid to implement the Cybrary management and Technology Fabrication contract was agreed to. It obligates the City to pay $4.762 million by February 1 to start the work that will take about fourteen months to complete, and then pay $794,000 more each month until the $15.875 million total is paid.

   Next, New Market Tax Credit allocations for MBS Urban Initiatives CDEs were accepted as $6 million in funding could come from the New Market source – a federal program granting seven years of tax credits for investment in low-income communities.

   Council picked Miami-based Munilla Construction Management as the Construction Manager for the Cybrary at a cost of $40,000. This group City Hall and the Police Station. The contract permits City staff to negotiate secondarily with Axiom Construction if no agreement is reached with Munilla.

   Homestead was asked by the local Rotary Club to co-sponsor the Key Largo Stone Crab & Seafood Festival. The Festival successfully raised money for charities for several years but had outgrown its Key Largo base. The two-day Festival attracted over 20,000 people but traffic backed up the Keys Highway nearly to Florida City and the authorities requested it be cancelled.

   The Homestead Rotary Club plans to move the festival to the fields surrounding the old baseball stadium off Kingman Drive. The Club hired former Festival manager Paul White to run the event scheduled for the weekend of February 24 and 25.

   Council acknowledged the charitable nature of the event benefiting local scholarships and groups like the Soup Kitchen. Rotary reported $41,000 in proceeds last year for scholarships from its annual Auction. That auction would be rolled over as a feature of the new Seafood Festival.

   City staff tried to estimate City costs for clean-up and preparation. Event organizers were required to plan for sufficient police security, traffic direction, parking monitors, bathroom trailers, fire department presence, and sufficient trash dumpsters.

   “This is a great idea but I think six weeks is very ambitious,” said Councilman Burgess. “I have concerns about getting this going without sufficient advertising.”

   Other Councilmembers drilled down on actual costs including employee time for clean-up and traffic management. Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough was assured the money stays local but that Rotary choses the charities.

   “I think it’s important to quantify sponsorship,” she said.

   Event organizer Paul White said there is a large budget for advertising to start in February reaching Monroe, Miami’Dade and Broward counties and parts of Palm Beach. Current business sponsors were sufficient to cover many costs with a healthy marketing budget. He also said other local organizations promised a pool of volunteers to run the Festival.

   Councilman Stephen Shelley said he opposed the request for a $1000 fee waiver for use of the field and parking lot because an entrance fee will be charged. However, he supported the event while cautioning that the City keep track of its actual costs.

   Councilman Larry Roth had further questions on logistics as an event planner. Both he and Councilman Burgess suggested setting a cap on City costs, probably ten thousand dollars for participation. The amount was to be considered by staff later in the week and reported to all parties. City Manager George Gretsas also cautioned staff not to underestimate costs and that a cap on expenses was not actual money to spend.

   ”This could become a signature event for Homestead, moving it from the Keys, and it’s a good cause,” said Mayor Jeff Porter. Rather than delay for cost estimates, he moved Burgess’ motion to support the event which was approved unanimously.

   In other business, Council agreed to fee refunds for offsite sewer and water improvements along Mowry Drive provided by a local business Homestead 50 CDD Related. 

Council also approved $67,500 to purchase new exercise equipment at the Dickinson Community Center. It agreed to a name change for a portion of Krome Avenue to honor its late lobbyist Robert Levy.

   Councilwoman Fairclough’s recommendation to add a breast cancer screening event to the City’s legislative requests was approved.

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