City of Homestead

Homestead City Council met on Wednesday October 23 to consider final plans for several building projects already in the works.

A 7-Eleven store with sixteen gas pumps had been proposed for the corner of Campbell Drive and SW 147th Avenue. The planned area development was amended in 2015 to permit restricted retail commercial space usage.

Council members were unhappy with the bland, generic look of the proposed store. Working with Council suggestions, the applicant incorporated new design options to produce a final building with a pleasing look. The store is to have a raised façade with forward pediment, stone along the base and on four corner columns, and to be painted a natural tan rather than the initial stark white.

Heidi Davis, the attorney for the applicant, gave a presentation on the process and the improved design. She had the company’s traffic engineer explain the delayed local traffic study. The corporation’s commitment to community charities for youth programs was pointed to as evidence of good citizenship.

“I think it was good you were able to change the design based on Councilmember Fairclough’s feedback,” said Mayor Stephen Shelley, “But I’m not a big fan of gas pumps and don’t know that we need any more. So I won’t be voting for this.”

The attorney quickly pointed out that there were only two gas stations within eight miles and area surveys showed a need for this type of business.

Council voted five to one, Shelley voting No, to approve the special exception to the Crystal Lakes PUD as well as for the project’s site plan.

A certificate of use to allow sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption was approved by Council by a vote of six to zero.

A planned development of ten single-family homes on 2.68 acres was approved unanimously by Council. The site plan and tentative plat for the community located in the southwest neighborhood south of Mowry Drive and east of 17th Avenue asked for consideration under the City’s low density designation.

The applicant agreed with Councilmember Jon Burgess that only two models would be offered but the small size of the build would still provide variety. A traffic study showed a de minimus impact due to the addition of only ten homes.

A new site plan was filed for Topflight Manufacturing for a 2/3 acre parcel within the Speedway Park of Commerce. The planned 2-story facility needed three setback reductions from the master plan that were granted by staff. The business uses computerized lathes to produce electrical interconnection parts.

A companion item asked for waiver of fees from a prior agreement-to-build bond that had a penalty fee of $48,790. Property owner John Falko testified that the bond was from a prior owner’s intent to build and was under a different parcel name when they purchased, making it impossible to discover and mitigate. “In any event, once approved, we’re heading straight to the building office,” he said.

“This is exactly the type of project we’re looking for in the Park of Commerce,” said Mayor Shelley. “The project requests are very reasonable.” Councilmember Burgess agreed.

Councilmember Larry Roth was told that five to ten jobs would be added initially with the possibility of future expansion.

Council approved both items for this project unanimously.

The Kingman Commons developer asked for a reduction in the construction bond from $6.2 million to $1.1 million because eighty percent of the infrastructure improvements were completed, which Council approved. The neighborhood is on the west corner of Kingman Drive and south of Mowry Drive.

Council approved new architectural and design standards for mixed use and non-residential development in Homestead. Written by the City’s Development Services Office, the extensive guidelines take a minimalist approach but allow Council to make final decisions. 

“You struck a good balance and gave us a framework to get going,” said Mayor Shelley. “The criteria permit discretion and are not set in stone but allow us to see how those rules are applied by applicants.”

Each year the City is asked to provide its legislators with a list of City ventures that require help through state funding. City staff provided Council with a list of 32 projects ranging from the full fifteen million dollar cost of the Losner Park expansion down to smaller cost infrastructure plans.

Council formed a consensus on three major requests from the list that is due in Tallahassee by November 15.

Councilmember Burgess spoke about the years long effort to reverse a 2001 court case requiring the City to pay County taxes on the local Speedway. Council agreed to continue to pursue that long term effort with legislators.

A project to continue expansion of the Seminole Theatre for $500,000 was given first priority by Council. To avoid being lumped in a large library category, a $500,000 request for new technologies at the Cybrarium was requested as a literacy project. A request for $150,000 to fund an automatic water main flushing system to improve the quality, taste and mineral removal of the City’s water was given third priority.

Council acknowledged Councilmember Fairclough’s request to consider a $500,000 legislative grant to improve breast cancer screening and included that as a supplemental request to the Legislature.

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