Jumping into June – Miami Beach with Commissioner Michael Góngora

Michael Góngora


Michael Góngora

Dear Miami Beach Residents,

I would like to thank all of you that attended our 2019 Legislative Update that I moderated recently with a group of panelists that included Senator Jason Pizzo and Rep. Michael Grieco.  It was great turnout with over a hundred in attendance and the panelists were very insightful regarding what occurred during the 2019 Legislative session. Interesting topics that were discussed included legislation regarding driving while texting becoming an offense now, new affordable housing laws, an extension on compliance with Emergency Life Safety Systems and arming teachers in school districts. We had interesting questions from the audience and I encourage all of you to stay informed and be involved in what occurs at the state level as it affects our daily lives here in South Florida. If you would like more information on laws impacting community associations please reach out to me.

The Commission met on June 5th. There were a number of land use and development items on the agenda which included two impacting our historic Lincoln Road. I co-sponsored an ordinance to protect the historic character of Lincoln Road by preventing convenience stores and drug stores from opening. Walgreen’s presented a legal argument as to why they wanted to open there. I am pleased to have made the motion to finalize legislation preventing this from happening which passed unanimously on the commission. The Commission also discussed zoning changes which would allow hotels to open on Lincoln Road between Pennsylvania Avenue and Lennox Avenue which could add up to 1000 hotel rooms with no parking requirements at all. I have been very hesitant about this legislation and introduced the idea of a cap on rooms at a lesser amount to avoid multiple hotels from opening.

To read more about this item click below.

Many of you have reached out to me regarding the seaweed accumulation along our beach.  I originally placed this as a discussion item on the June 5th Commission meeting agenda but since Miami-Dade County was not available to attend the Commission meeting, this will now be heard at the next Neighborhoods Committee meeting which will be held in Commission Chambers on Wednesday, June 19th at 9 am.  I encourage all of you to attend the meeting as we work with Miami-Dade County to resolve this issue.

The City has been preparing for hurricane season all year round and encourages you to do the same. Hurricane season commenced at the beginning of June and runs through the end of November. It’s never too soon to prepare. The City of Miami Beach provides information to help you and your family get ready. Check out the information on the Emergency Management Preparedness.

In addition, for those of you who live in condominium associations, you may want to confirm that your association also has an emergency preparedness plan.  If you have questions on how to prepare one please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Until next month I remain very truly yours,


PS – Wishing all the amazing fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day, especially my own Alberto Gongora! Thanks for always being there for me dad!

Michael Góngora

Happy Father’s Day to the best Dad a son could hope for, Alberto Góngora. Looking forward to celebrating with you Dad on June 16th.

Save the Date for Upcoming Important City Commission Meetings and Other Meetings:

Finance and Citywide Projects Committee Meeting- June 14

Neighborhoods/Community Affairs Committee-June 19

May Presentations & Awards Meeting- June 26

Michael Góngora

Commissioner Michael Góngora Hosting and Moderating a 2019 Legislative Update with Panelists: State Senator Jason Pizzo, State Representative Michael Grieco, Deputy Chief Rick Clements, Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez and Chief Deputy City Attorney Aleksandr Boksner 

Michael Góngora

 Speaking to the Students of Treasure Island Elementary about this Year’s American Bar Association Law Day Topic: Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society

Michael Góngora

 Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with my mom Sandra Page Millard, stepfather Dwight Millard , Commissioner John Aleman and Jose Aleman


Agency Revisits Term Limit Issue by Joseph Adams

In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed a law which stated that condominium directors could not serve more than 4 consecutive 2-year terms, essentially creating an 8-year term limit.

The obvious immediate question was whether this law would be applied retroactively (reach back to prior years of service to determine if a director was “termed out”) or whether the law would only be applied prospectively (meaning that you would not count previous terms in calculating the 8-year term limit). The law itself did not say one way or the other whether it was intended to be retroactive.

A long-established rule of Florida law is that if the Legislature does not specifically state that a law is intended to be retroactive, it is prospective only. Because the 2017 law was not stated to be retroactive, most attorneys who practice in this field of law advised their clients not to count time on the board before July 1, 2017, against the term limit calculation.

Condominiums in Florida are subject to extensive government regulation, primarily through the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes (commonly referred to as the Division) which is under the umbrella of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (which is most commonly referred to as DBPR).

The Division’s jurisdiction includes approval of disclosure documents created for new condominium developments, education of condominium unit owners and board members, the staffing of an Ombudsman’s office, the staffing of an arbitration program, and enforcement of violations of the statute against developers and to a more limited degree, unit owner controlled condominium associations. The Division also has certain authority delegated to it by the Florida Condominium Act to make administrative rules that dictate how condominium associations operate.

The Division is not empowered to “interpret” the law in the same manner courts do, nor issue general pronouncements of law except through its rulemaking authority and in a more limited manner, through the issuance of rulings called declaratory statements. However, the Division’s “position” on the law (how they will interpret it in exercising their powers and duties) is an important factor. Based on all reports I have seen and heard, the Division’s position on the 2017 law was consistent with the bulk of the legal community’s position, the statute was not retroactive.

The law was amended in 2018 to close the loophole caused by the fact that one-year terms were not covered by the previous statute. As with its predecessor version, most assumed the law would not be considered retroactive. To the surprise of many, in September of 2018, the Division issued a declaratory statement stating that the law would be retroactively applied, meaning pre-2018 years of service would be counted against the 8-year term limit.

Legally speaking, a declaratory statement is merely an advisory opinion to a regulated person or entity as to how the statute applies to that party in their particular set of circumstances. These decisions are not “case law” like when an appeals court interprets the law. Appeals courts rulings are generally “the law.” However, the 2018 declaratory statement caused most attorneys to advise their clients that since election disputes are heard primarily by the Division, the association would most likely face a ruling that the law was retroactive.

Recently, a new Division Director, Boyd McAdams was appointed. Director McAdams has advised the legal community, through the applicable committee of the Florida Bar, that the previous Director’s application of the law in that limited circumstance (the declaratory statement) is not reflective of agency policy on the issue. I am given to understand that the Division’s position on the law is that only terms beginning on or after July 1, 2018, will be counted toward the 8-year term limit in the statute.

While the “correct” interpretation of the law is a matter only a court can decide, I think the Division’s present policy is the legally correct interpretation and give kudos to Director McAdams for tackling this tough issue in a straightforward manner early in his tenure.


Michael Góngora
Michael Góngora
Michael Góngora
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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