The City Manager attempted to repair self inflicted wounds. At the Monday, June 13, 2022 City Council Meeting, the City Manager said that the downtown development project did not require a parking fee because it exceeded the parking requirements and received credit for the abutting public parking.
Where does it say in the Gateway Overlay District that you don’t have to pay a fee for the abutting on-street public parking? Let’s review the Gateway Overlay District code yet again:
Parking Requirements. The CBD parking requirements as provided in § 150.070(E)(1—3) shall apply to the Gateway District, including, without limitation, the grandfathering of provided parking, if any, for existing buildings and current uses. Additionally, because of the uniqueness of the buildings, configuration of parcels, and road network in the Gateway District, the minimum parking space requirements and design for new construction or alterations to existing structures that expand occupiable space, shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. The City Planner shall have the authority to establish parking requirements for alterations and new construction by counting a combination on-site and on-street parking and other elements identified below. For any on-street parking space(s) counted towards the satisfaction of a property’s requirement, or any spaces otherwise waived as a result of one of the factors listed below, a fee shall be paid to the City for each such parking space, in an amount set from time to time by approved resolution of the City Council. The funds shall be used to fund parking and wayfinding improvements in the Gateway District and the CBD. In determining the parking requirements for non-grandfathered properties, the following shall be considered:
- Availability of on-site parking;
- Availability of on-street parking;
- Provision of bicycle parking;
- Distance to, or inclusion of, bus and trolley stops;
- Internal capture of peak traffic trips as a result of mix of uses;
- Distance to public parking; and
- Walking accessibility of the site.
As you can see, nothing in the Gateway Overlay District provides a waiver to pay the parking fee for on-street parking that abuts the property. In other words, it doesn’t matter that the project has abutting on-street parking. There’s nothing in the Gateway Overlay District that says, “No parking fee shall be assessed for on-street parking that abuts the property.”
In fact, the Gateway Overlay District clearly says in the ordinance that a fee shall be paid for “any on-street parking spaces.” In other words, it doesn’t matter whether it’s abutting or two blocks down. It doesn’t matter. A fee must be paid in order to be in compliance with the Gateway Overlay District.
Since the Gateway Overlay District clearly says “a fee shall be paid to the City”…”for any on-street parking spaces” the City should have clearly assessed and collected said parking fees. However, since there’s nothing in the Miami Springs municipal code or the Gateway Overlay District Code that legally gives credit to abutting parking, the City Manager referenced the code from other cities. Seriously. Here’s what he said last night:
“In many cities, in seemingly, in most cities with a commercial district, on street parking spaces that immediately abut a project’s property lines are counted towards a project’s required parking. This practice has become customary and is in the book’s in among other places Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, Miami-Lakes, Doral, Miami Gardens, Hialeah, and other Florida municipalities and counties.”
Okay. That’s nice that the City Administration is familiar with the code from other municipalities. But it’s NOT in the books in the City of Miami Springs. Last I checked you can’t just pick and choose code from other municipalities and apply them when and where you want. This referencing other municipalities proved to me how much the City Administration is stretching to justify the fact they never charged this developer a parking fee.
Again, why is the City Manager claiming they didn’t charge a fee for the abutting street parking? Because that’s what’s customary in other cities?
Excuse me. That’s not what it says in the Miami Springs Gateway Overlay District.
Yes. You’re allowed to count the abutting parking towards the requirements. That’s clear as day. But what’s also clear as day, is that the abutting street parking is still on-street parking and still requires a fee to be paid.
In fact, about a month ago, the City Attorney had said:
“I don’t want to shut the door on the possibility of the fee being applied to the One Curtiss Parkway project. That is something that I’m continuing to look at. I don’t want that to be shut down. It’s not a sure thing, but I do want to make sure that’s clear.”
I’m confused here. So, a month ago the City Attorney wasn’t ready “to shut the door on the possibility of the fee being applied to the One Curtiss Parkway project.” But now, that the public is becoming more aware of the City Administration failures there’s nothing to see here?
Give me a break.
The more mental gymnastics the City Administration does to explain why they never charged a parking fee, the more confidence and trust they lose.
EXCLUSIVE PARKING OR SHARED PARKING?
The City Attorney highlighted a document from 2019 that backed what we’ve been saying all along. The parking for the second floor and above are exclusively for the tenants of the apartments. We agree with the City Attorney. In fact, how else can the developer guarantee one parking space per residential unit without having dedicated residential parking?
At the same time, the City Attorney further established that the Shared Parking from the Parking Study and what was approved by the City Administration was not the same thing. The Parking Study called for four floors of shared parking, but as the City Attorney highlighted above, only the first floor was approved for shared parking with the upper floors dedicated for residential apartments only. In other words, what was approved by the City Administration did not coincide with the oft maligned traffic study.
But maybe all this pressure and exposure on the matter might be bearing fruit. You see, the City Attorney and City Manager were not singing from the same song sheet. The City Manager said “there will not be a gate” for the upper floors. Let the record show that on Monday, June 13, 2022, the City Manager, William Alonso, stated the following:
“The whole four floors are going to be for either residential or commercial.”
If they make the whole garage shared parking, that’s worse for the residential tenants, but better for the employees and customers as they’ll have access to more parking than just the ground floor which is sure to be packed.
However, there’s still a lot to be divulged here. Will there be signs dedicating certain parking spots to specific units? If so, then it won’t truly be shared parking and we’re back to square one here.
LOSS OF CONFIDENCE
I was happy to hear the City Manager say “the whole four floors [of the parking garage] are going to be for either residential or commercial” despite the City Attorney clearly showing that the project had already been approved to be purely residential for the upper floors. The problem is, we’ve lost a lot of confidence in the City Manager.
I can already envision the four floors being open to everyone initially and then slowly phased out over time in the hopes people forget. That’s if what City Manager Alonso said was true. Who knows. Only time will tell.
For the record, Mr. Alonso has always been a generally nice guy. I don’t think he’s a bad person. He expressed he had never experienced the amount of hatred during his tenure at City Hall. I can’t speak for others, but there’s no personal hatred here. However, just because we may like someone personally doesn’t mean we’ll shy away from being critical, especially, when they are the person at the top. And the fact is, we’re being very honest with you explaining why we’ve lost and further continue to lose confidence in the City Manager.
What we do hate. I mean absolutely, positively, hate is government funded bullshit. If your tax dollars are being used to sell you a bunch of BS, we’ll call it out. If someone’s feeling’s get hurt as a result, sorry, but I’m not sorry. Our job is to call ’em like we see ’em and give you the honest truth to the best of our abilities.
That’s our pledge to you.
Plus, we don’t use tax dollars and government resources to make our point.