Michael Góngora May Highlights from the Miami Beach Commission

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The City Commission had a very productive meeting in May with a variety of issues ranging from scooters, convention center hotels and neighborhood improvement projects.

Here are some highlights of the May Commission meeting: 

Scooter Issue– The ordinance is a ban on the rental of scooters during Spring Break. The ordinance is a ban on Miami Beach businesses from renting scooters during the month of March when most colleges have their Spring Break. Initially, I hesitantly supported the ordinance on first reading. After careful deliberation, I joined two other Commissioners in a 4 – 3 vote against the ordinance. I am concerned that the ordinance seems to target only the Spring Break period and the people who visit during that time period. Moreover, the ordinance is only a ban on Miami Beach businesses – not on scooter usage – so that people can go rent scooters in the City of Miami and ride them over to Miami Beach. I do not want to penalize our local businesses.

Convention Center Request for Proposals (RFP)- This RFP is for the development of a convention center hotel adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center. The RFP contained several different options involving finance structures and size of the hotel and potential land parcel. The Commission voted on Option A which is for a private developer model through a lease on the same 2.6-acre site voters rejected by voters in 2016 when it was a taller proposal for the site (Parking lot between Miami Beach City Hall and the Jackie Gleason Theatre). This option is the most streamlined as it caps the height on the proposed hotel to the same height as the Bank of America building on Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue. Since it is a shorter building being proposed, the hotel will likely only have between 500 – 600 rooms. Would you support a smaller hotel?

Mid Beach Neighborhood Flood Mitigation Project – I understand there is some confusion surrounding this vote, so I will take this opportunity to clarify. In the last Commission meeting, I made a motion to reject the RFP and issue a new RFP – this passed with a 5-2 vote. While some may feel this is a ‘pause’ it was actually a legally required motion to reject a defective RFP and to re-issue the RFP to do the work correctly. As a pioneer in the green initiatives for the City of Miami Beach, and the founder of the Sustainability Committee, I look forward to getting this project done right! Despite some of the recent negative messaging being disseminated, I assure you this Commissioner remains committed to our Sustainability Plan which I supported and championed in 2012 and which is still our plan today.

Best Practices – I sponsored an ordinance in the April meeting to establish best practices on the dais. This was done in the hopes that items on the agenda be clear and are added in a timely enough manner for both commissioners and residents to evaluate. Please click on the link to view ordinance: http://docmgmt.miamibeachfl.gov/weblink/0/doc/231058/Page1.aspx Unfortunately there are many on the floor motions that are not part of the agenda that become confusing and distract from the work of the Commission and do not allow for public input. I always push for transparency and notice to the public. I am proud to be your voice on the Commission. If there are any issues or items that you wish to discuss, I encourage you to reach out to me – I would love to hear your thoughts and turn them into action.

I invite you to attend and join me as I will be the special “one-time” co-host of Mondays with Micky on Monday, June 18, 2018, at the Miami Beach Emergency Operations Center to discuss hurricane preparedness with Vice Mayor Steinberg.

I hope each of you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend and were able to reflect on those that have sacrificed their lives defending our country.

Until next month, 

Neighbor and Community Affairs Update

The Neighborhood Committee met on May 22, 2018. Two of my referrals were discussed as our residents deserve a clean and safe city. Please see the summary of the items:

Discussion Regarding the Cleanliness Index Program– The Miami Beach Public Area Cleanliness Index is an objective measurement of performance ranging from 1.0 (Very Clean) to 6.0 (Very Dirty) and includes assessments of litter, garbage cans/dumpers, organic material and fecal matter. The results of the assessments are used to monitor the impacts of recently implemented initiatives to target areas for future improvements and assure the quality of services. The Cleanliness index data reflects most deteriorated scores in commercial entertainment areas in South Beach on the weekend during the night and late night hours (7:30 pm – 8:00 am). The Sanitation Director presented several options to the Committee to choose from. The Committee recommended to add an overnight litter crew one night per week and increase pressure washing within a 5 day cycle period in the areas of the Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and the Beachwalk. In addition, there will be a metric system to quantify the results of this increase. In addition, the Committee commented that during their budget retreat, they will recommend an increase for additional labor and equipment for the Sanitation Department.

Discussion Regarding the Increase in Crime in Miami Beach and Having More Community Policing Citywide- The Police Chief provided an update on crime in Miami Beach. At the March 21, 2018, Neighborhood Committee meeting, the Police Department presented data on the 21 percent decline in major crime index since 2013. At the April 4 meeting, the Neighborhood Committee requested follow up information of the following three items at the upcoming May 22, 2018 meeting. These requests consisted of 1) Additional crime and arrest data 2) Examples of studies of other police departments 3) Options for studying the perception of crime in Miami Beach. The Police Chief presented all these three requests and the Neighborhood Committee recommend that the City hire an outside, independent vendor/researcher- a respected law enforcement entity such as PERF or the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) or a respected academic institution with significant law enforcement expertise- to study the correlation between arrests and crime reduction in Miami Beach. The goals and desired outcomes for such study would depend upon its design and the specific scope of work. The Committee tasked the Police Chief to come up with a specific scope to provide the outside vendor and attend neighborhood association meetings in the Entertainment District, Middle North Bay Road, South of Firth and Ocean Drive to obtain input from the community. In addition, the Committee tasked the Communication Department to come up with positive programming to enhance Miami Beach. The Police Chief will report back to the Neighborhood Committee in July.

Land Use and

Development

Update

The Land Use and Development Committee met on May 23, 2018. The hot item that discussed was the future use of the area of the general mixed use district (CP-2) for 5th and 7th Streets Between West Avenue and Alton Road. It was great to see so many members of the community that care about the future of the entrance of Miami Beach present. Crescent Heights presented their proposal first and then the Gateway Community Alliance presented their proposal. In addition, the community provided their feedback on both proposals. The good thing was that the two groups are not too far apart in their proposals as they have been meeting for a while now.

The Land Use Committee was pleased that this was a healthy discussion/dialogue and was a good start to this important project. The Committee believes that the most important aspect to this proposed development is the creation of a public park. The Committee specifically directed staff to continue dialogue with both groups, analyze further the different proposed heights and study the potential for purchasing the 600 block and creating our own park, including price estimations. The item will return to Land Use Committee for further deliberation on June 13, 2018.

Quote of the

Month

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

–    Mark Twain

Have You Read MB Magazine?

Check out the spring issue of MB Magazine! Follow along on a sea turtle’s arduous journey to the big blue, revisit the Art Deco period, register for Summer Camp and learn about the City’s sustainability effort in regards to the world’s most valuable resource — water.

Click here to read the magazine online!

Condo Law Corner

To Record or Not Record? That Is The Question!

BY K. JOY MATTINGLY 

Community association boards often ask the question of whether they must record a claim of lien on a property in order to protect the association’s right to recover past due assessments on the property. Although the answer to this question changes based on the specific set of facts controlling each scenario, there is at least one scenario where the answer is NO! 

In Calendar v. Stonebridge Gardens Section III Condominium Association, Inc., the association was faced with a scenario where a property was sold at a tax deed sale and there were surplus funds in the registry as a result of the tax deed sale. Pursuant to §§197.582(2) and 197.522, Fla. State., the association was entitled to file a statement of claim against the surplus funds. However, the association did not have a claim of lien recorded in the public records at the time of the tax deed sale. The association filed a statement of claim against the surplus funds, as did the prior homeowner. The prior homeowner argued that the association was not entitled to the surplus funds as the association did not have a recorded claim of lien on the property. The trial court disagreed and entered an order awarding the surplus funds to the association. The prior owner appealed.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling, citing to the case of Bessemer v. Gerstein, 381 So.2d 1344, 1348 (Fla. 1980) and the specific language found in §718.116(5)(a), Fla. Stat, which states:

The association has a lien on each condominium parcel to secure the payment of assessments. {T]he lien is effective from and shall relate back to the recording of the original declaration of condominium. However, as to first mortgages of record, the lien is effective from and after the recording of a claim of lien in public records of the county in which the property is located.

Based on this language and the holding in Bessemer that the owner’s acceptance of a deed referencing the recorded Declaration of Condominium puts the owner on notice of the lien provisions found in the Declaration, the appeals court found that the association had a statutory lien on the subject property and that this was sufficient to protect the association’s ability to collect the surplus funds from the tax deed sale.

While in this case, the appeals court ruled in favor of the association despite the lack of a recorded claim of lien, uncertainty remains as to whether the statutory lien alone will always protect the association’s ability to collect past due assessments. In its opinion, the appeals court references scenarios in which an association also needs to have a recorded claim of lien to recover past due assessments, namely scenarios where a first mortgagee is also asserting a claim. Given this uncertainty and the various fact-specific scenarios faced by associations, obtaining the advice of counsel on this issue is the best way to protect the association and its membership.

Community Event Photos

HONORING GOOD SAMARITAN WITH A CITY MEDALLION WHO DEFENDED THE GAY COUPLE WHO WAS ATTACKED AFTER GAY PRIDE 

OPENING OF THE UNIDAD SENIOR LUNCH ROOM/COMEDOR SERVING 120 MEALS A DAY 

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION TO RAISE FUNDS FOR UNIDAD AND JCS

SPEAKING AT THE NORTH BEACH MONTHLY POLICE COMMUNITY MEETING  

MIAMI BEACH BAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL LAW DAY LUNCHEON WITH POSTER AND ESSAY STUDENT WINNERS 

NO PLACE FOR HATE-ENDING BULLYING IN OUR SCHOOLS RALLY

HANDING OUT ROSES AT ONE OF THE MANY SENIOR CENTERS FOR MOTHER’S DAY 

MIAMI BEACH POLICE MEMORIAL CEREMONY 

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH 2018 AIDS WALK TEAM- WALKING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE 

SHOWING SUPPORT FOR MIAMI BEACH GAY PRIDE 

BINGO NIGHT WITH THE MIAMI BEACH SENIORS 

VISITING THE LGBTQ ADVISORY COMMITTEE

 MIAMI BEACH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HEREOS BREAKFAST 

GUEST SPEAKER FOR A DISCUSSION ON PROTECTING SOUTH FLORIDA’S WATERWAYS 

PULSE NIGHTCLUB SURVIVORS READY TO FLIP THE SWITCH/PRIDE LIGHTS THE NIGHT TO FLIP THE SWITCH

Michael Góngora

MIAMI BEACH POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE KINDERGARTEN COP 

Michael Góngora

Michael Góngora

Miami Beach Commissioner

(305) 673-7106 michael@miamibeachfl.gov

Office of Mayor & Commission | 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

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