GENERAL COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Minutes of meeting
Bob Parks, Chairman, called the Miami River Commission meeting to order at 12:07 p.m. on Monday, April 7, 2003 at the United Way, Ansin Building, 3250 S.W. Third Avenue, Miami, Florida..
Miami River Commission Policy Committee members
Officio (non-voting) members:
Others attending interested in the River:
I. CHAIRS REPORT:
Mr. Parks called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to the April meeting. He stated that there was a quorum present and asked for approval of the March minutes. Janet McAliley made the motion to approve the March minutes. Cleve Jones seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Mr. Parks thanked Nicole Burstein for her work with the MRC and presented her with a Miami River Tile in honor of her departure. Bob Parks stated that the Corps is going to release the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the dredging project. David Miller thanked Senator Graham and Congresswoman Ross-Lehtinen for helping move the dredging project along. The RFP should be released by the first of May.
David stated that the bill to repeal the sunset provision of the MRC enabling legislation is moving through the various house and senate committees. The bill has passed three committees in the Senate and two committees in the House. The bill is on the agenda for the Transportation Committee in the Senate and the Appropriations Committee in the House this week and if passed will proceed to the floor of the House and Senate, hopefully for final approval. The bill has passed with flying colors in all of the committees thus far. Things are looking good now, but we will not know the final outcome until the Governor signs the bill and approves funding.
Bob informed the group that a letter was sent out in late March to a number of Public Relations (PR) firms for fundraising and PR activities on behalf of the Miami River Fund Inc. It is important that we move forward with the fundraising for a few reasons:
1) We need to pay our lobbyist, Doug Bruce.
2) The MRC needs to receive more recognition for our efforts and successes with both the dredging and development along the river corridor.
David stated that we did not receive any responses back yet from PR firms.
Last week Bob, David, Capt. Watson and another member of the Coast Guard, the head of the City of Miami Marine Patrol, the Chief and Deputy Chief of Police had a meeting about the security of the River and how it affects two aspects. The first aspect was about the work of the MRMG and its ongoing effort to obtain grants and secondly, explaining, especially to the new Police Chief the work of the MRC and how we are trying to get more security and a larger police presence on the River from the mouth to the salinity dam. The MRC has agreed to set up a roundtable meeting for all of the various law enforcement and security organizations to discuss the coordination of security on the River.
Wilbur Mayorga from DERM and Dianne Johnson of City of Miami updated the MRC about Wagner Creekpollution. Mr. Mayorga stated that they have implemented proper posting of signs for “No Fishing”. Dianne stated that the signs have been prepared and will be posted soon. The signs let the public know not to consume fish or shellfish caught in Wagner Creek. The signs also have a phone number to call for more information. The phone number is the City of Miami NET office. The Department of Health provided home-to-home delivery of the advisory that homes along the creek cannot utilize the surface water because of bacteriological surface water quality. DERM has conducted a survey to find out if any of the homes adjacent to Wagner Creek are utilizing the surface water. If any homes are found to be utilizing the surface water, they will be informed in greater detail of the risks associated with doing so. As of March 21, no homes were found to be utilizing the surface water. One particular home adjacent to Wagner Creek had sediment samples taken and analyzed. On March 27 a letter was written that there are no human health risks from the sediment in the homes adjacent to the canal. The next public meeting is May 17 at 10 am at the Travelodge Hotel (the same location and time as the last public meeting). Before the May 17th meeting, DERM will be analyzing sediment samples from random homes along the Creek. The contaminants of concern were present but not in harmful levels (at the one home sampled). Brett asked for information regarding the re-dredging of the first three sections of Wagner Creek. Dianne said that she could not answer that question at this time but she would get back to him. The City is in the process of preparing to dredge the last two sections presently.
Parks stated that June 7 and 8th the Marine Council Flea
Market will be taking place at the Coconut Grove Convention Center.
Bob welcomed and introduced Hilda Fernandez, the new designee
of Mayor Penelas. He then
thanked everyone who participated in RiverDay on Saturday for all of
their hard work and support. Bob
asked Captain Watson, USCG, if he had any comments he would like to
make regarding the River security meeting with the police.
Capt. Watson stated that he would be inclined to give a
presentation in the future about the federal regulations for the
River. He also would like
to see the River treated as a regular port, like the Port of Miami or
the Port of Tampa, etc. Mr.
Parks asked Ellen Roth, Senator Graham’s Office, if funding has been
made available for police (local, not federal) under the new Homeland
Security Act. Mr. Parks
stated that it was a consensus reached at the security meeting that
they would like to get the marine patrol back on a 24/7/365 basis for
River House Lofts Development Project
Bob asked if Peter
Swartz was available to speak about this project.
Jim Murley stated that he could not locate Mr. Swartz.
Jim stated that there are no zoning issues but there are
actions requiring administrative review.
On March 18, 2003 the Urban Infill Subcommittee met and
discussed this project. They
reviewed the first phase of this project based on information provided
by Mr. Swartz. Mr. Murley
said that the best thing to do would be to defer this item and he felt
it would be unfair to review this project since Mr. Swartz is not here
to respond to public and member questions.
For the record, the UIWG recommended that the MRC support the
Phase One project. Dianne stated that the planning department at the
City of Miami has not reviewed this project yet.
The riverwalk at this segment is along the right of way on
North River Drive. Discussion
ensued. Hanna Brenault
stated that he and the other citizens would wait until Mr. Swartz was
present to respond to their comments.
Michael Cox made a motion to defer this issue until the
developer is present to comment on this issue.
Janet McAliley seconded the motion.
Sallye Jude asked that the MRC look into the public access of
the greenway. Discussion ensued. Dianne
stated that the MRC should talk to the planning department of the City
to find out the specifics about public access to the greenway and
which properties would have 24/7 access and which would have limited
public access. Bruno
Barreiro asked to amend the motion.
Bruno stated that the motion was to defer this item and request
the City Commission and the City departments to hear the MRC’s
recommendation regarding Mr. Swartz’s proposed development.
Michael withdrew his motion and accepted Bruno’s motion.
Janet McAliley seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
River Clean-up Vessel Presentation
Jacque Des Aulniers, President of Water Management Technologies discussed the River Clean-up Vessel. Jacques handed out an informational brochure about the vessel. This vessel picks up floatable and subsurface trash, decontaminates the water, oxygenates the water, picks up oil sheen and has a fire monitor that can spray large volumes of water to assist in putting out fires along the river or bay. Additionally, the crew can be another set of eyes for river security and environmental protection. The bow opens and a flow of water is created through the propeller and this carries the trash in and the water is then decontaminated. Nova University conducted a study on this vessel. They found that this vessel can treat 10,000 gallons of water a minute reducing bacteria, improve clarity of the water, removing odors and reduces algae growth. The vessel has an aeration system that can add up to 150 cubic meters of air into the water column. Dick Bunnell asked what the schedule for operation is. Jacque stated that they are ready to go, and need to go before the City Commission for final approval on April 24th. Once the City Commission approves the item, they can start working. They scoop up about 9 inches of the water column so only dead fish are caught. During the testing phase of the vessel, only one small live fish was caught. Mr. Everingham asked if the vessel could handle private entities along the river. Jacque stated that they could and they have a website that private entities can review. The debris is disposed in a container on the vessel and then offloaded by a crane that dumps the trash into a shore side dumpster for final disposal at a landfill. The vessel can hold 7 cu ft. of trash. Janet McAliley asked if a standard of effectiveness is included in the contract and Jacques replied that there was not but city personnel can ride the vessel at any time. Bruno Barreiro asked about the length of the contract and Jacques replied that it was for 6 months. Capt. Smith asked if the boat would go west of 27th Avenue and into the Tamiami Canal. Jacque stated that it would. Brett informed the group that this is a specific implementation step of the Urban Infill Plan.
Dredging Working Group
Dick stated that the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Claudia Turnblum will be approving the Dredged Materials Management Plan (DMMP) and the Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and sending them from Washington to Jacksonville within the next 10 days. Jacksonville is planning on advertising the Request for Proposals (RFP) by May 1st. There will be a 45-day bidding period and a 60-day selection period. The Corps is estimating September 15, 2003 as the date for the start of dredging. Ed Swakon, EAS Engineering, commented on the state of the bank-to-bank project. He stated that 92 of the 185 parcels had granted their consent, 1 has not. This accounts for about 49% of the property owners. Discussion ensued. The one denial was from the One Miami site. They are concerned that dredging close to their seawall would undermine the seawall and possibly cause failure. Dick stated that as it stands now, those property owners would not have to pay to have their property dredged, it would be paid for by the local sponsor. David informed the group that the River has not been dredged in 70 years and the big problem with dredging is the contaminated sediments located in the River. Once those contaminated sediments are removed, regular maintenance dredging should be relatively easy and can occur every 15 –20 years.
Public Safety and Security
River Corridor Urban Infill Plan
Murley stated that they would take Dianne’s suggestion and meet with
the City of Miami planning department.
stated that the Greenways subcommittee has met twice since the last
MRC meeting. She stated
that they discussed the new developments along the north side of the
River from the mouth up to River House Lofts. One Miami stated that it would be completed in approximately
two years. They offered
their greenway designs to the Dupont so there will be continuity for
the entirety of the greenway. The
Dupont will come before the MRC early on in their design phase for
feedback. One Riverview Square will be open by September 2003 and they
are currently in negotiations with restaurants for their building.
They plan on having three different restaurants.
Tony Cabrera expressed concern about the noise on the Miami
Avenue Bridge, which is next to his property.
He will be discussing these concerns with everyone.
He also expressed a need for improvement underneath the
bridges. He would like to
have a manatee observation area at his site as well as having
riverboat dinner cruises, which could raise money for the MRC.
He owns the two eastern parcels of land that comprised the
baseball stadium site.
Economic Development &
Jones stated that they met with Ric Katz.
He is representing the Florida Department of Transportation in
their MIC project. If you
have any questions regarding that project, he is the one to talk to. The committee will try and meet with Miami-Dade Expressway
next, to find out what they are proposing to do.
sites will be cleaned up along the river this weekend during Baynanza.
Royal Caribbean will be donating money to create two new parks
in Allapatah. David
informed the group that anyone could volunteer to help clean-up on the
river sites would receive a free riverboat tour and a hot dog at
There being no further business to come before the meeting, the meeting adjourned at 1:50 pm