GENERAL COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Minutes of meeting
Phil Everingham, Vice
Chairperson, called the Miami River Commission meeting to order at 12:20
p.m. on Monday, June 10, 2002 at the Miami-Dade County Housing
Authority, 1401 N.W. 7th Street, New Board Room, Miami.
Miami River Commission Policy Committee members
Officio (non-voting) members:
Staff: , Brett Bibeau, Assistant Managing
, Brett Bibeau, Assistant Managing Director
attending interested in the River:
I. CHAIRS REPORT:
Everingham opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to the June
meeting. He stated
there was a quorum present and that Chair, Bob Parks, was on his
way. Mr. Everingham
asked for approval of the May 2002 minutes.
Janet McAliley made the motion to approve the minutes.
Sandy O’Neil seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Managing Director Report
GMCC Goals Conference
Miller provided an overview of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Goals Conference that Brett and he attended.
They have some significant River goals that were adopted by the
Chamber. Under the New
World Center Group of the Chamber, a goal to support the development
and implementation of the Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan was
adopted. All the other
goals of the New World Center adopted for downtown Miami and
development paralleled the chapters that are in the Urban Infill Plan.
It was very rewarding that our plan closely matched what Mayor
Diaz discussed concerning neighborhood improvements.
There were two goals under the
Environmental Group that were presented by the Miami River Commission
and Scott Mitchell. One
was to support development of the Miami River Greenway and
specifically, the signature section of city public development called
Lummus Landing. That will
be the first major public development of the Greenway on the River
near Lummus Park. The
City has been working on the plans and implementation of this project
with Trust for Public Land. The
other goal was to harmonize the Brownfield regulations.
The federal government has revised legislation to provide
incentives and tax relief for property owners in urban areas that may
have property that is contaminated called brownfields.
The problem is that the new federal regulations are far easier
and logical to understand and implement than the state and local
regulations. There needs to be harmony with federal, state and local
regulations. The federal
changes were just recently implemented.
Our recommendation, which was accepted, was to work toward
harmonizing state and local regulations to match the improved federal
we will have many attorneys trying to define what the procedures and
rules should be for each project, which will cause delays and
excessive costs when developing a Brownfield site along the River.
Under Crime and Drug
Prevention, there was a goal passed that encourages the city and
county to adopt new regulations concerning “Crime Prevention Through
Environmental Design (CPTED)”. In other words, when a structure is being built, it should be
designed to have plenty of open spaces, good lighting, and low hedges
so it reduces crime simply by the way it’s designed.
There was a great deal of support for this goal.
The last goal that affects the
River was from the Governmental Affairs Group and they proposed to
support dredging and greenway funding at all levels of government.
The Group feels those are the two significant issues for the
Mr. Miller’s overall view of
the goal conference (specifically highlighting the group meetings that
he attended) was that the Chamber was very supportive of Mayor
Diaz’s initiatives for improving neighborhoods.
Also, Commissioner Winston’s downtown and Bicentennial Park
development carried strong support from the Chamber.
MRC Financial Report
MRC funding data was presented at an Executive Committee meeting and
they determined it was important and should be presented to the full
commission. David Miller
distributed a hand out entitled “MRC Financial Overview of June 10,
2002”. He went over the
various grants and explained each item.
Mr. Miller is very pleased with the state’s appropriation of
$200,000 for MRC operations for the fiscal year starting on July 1,
2002 and running until June 30 2003.
Discussion was held.
Parks stated that the State Lobbyist has not yet been paid and the
Executive Board is developing a “Fund Raising Working Group” to
provide unencumbered funds for this purpose.
None of the appropriated funds allow the MRC to fund a lobbyist
at the state level. David
explained that the various grants could only be used for the
specific purpose stated in the grant.
Mr. Parks feels like the MRC is in good financial shape to
finish up their tour as an agency, which will end in 2003.
The Executive Committee at it’s last meeting voted to put all
of these funds, where there were balances remaining in one checking
account. The auditors
have approved that procedure and the funds are earmarked.
The only item which was not to be included was the Riverday
funds and the Executive Committee decided to take that money and put
it in an interest bearing account until next Riverday.
Item b of
Chair’s report - MRC Sunset Issue
Parks asked if he could go back to the Sunset Issue under his report.
On June 30, 2003, this Commission is finished absent approval
by the Legislature to continue it in some form or another.
One of the important items for the July MRC meeting is the
governance structure, which is incorporated in the Urban Infill Plan.
Jim Murley has recommended a governance strategy and this issue
is not only important to the urban infill plan, but it will be a
factor with the legislative structure of the MRC, if we decide to
request and extension of sunset provision.
The MRC has sufficient funds to take us through next year;
however, the MRC membership needs to be making some key decisions
concerning what we want to do at the next Legislative session
regarding sunset provision and future funding.
Bob identified some general questions that need to be answered
such as: Do we wish to
sunset? Is there a better
group than the MRC to provide river improvements, or do we wish to
continue in our present structure.
These are the issues the MRC is going to have to deal with.
Mr. Parks believes that the MRC should have a “Sunset Review
Committee” to develop recommendations that will eventually be placed
before the Legislature. Although
the sunset issue is not until June 2003, the MRC needs to provide
recommendations well before the legislature meets in January of 2003.
Mr. Parks feels that things have gone well for the MRC as to
what they have been able to do and accomplish.
They have received a lot of responsibility and a large amount
of work for David and Brett to handle.
Bob stated David and Brett have done a great job with the heavy
workload; however, if the MRC is going to continue to take on the
projects and to see them through to conclusion, they are not going to
be able to do it with just two people working full time.
The MRC is at a crossroads and the MRC is going to have to
decide what it wants to do with itself and what it wants to ask the
Legislature to do with it.
Discussion was held. Each
MRC member will have to make a decision on whether to continue with
the present form, amend legislation to a new or improved form or
discontinue the MRC. Other groups need to give the MRC input as to
what they feel is appropriate.
Mr. Parks said that question
about the sunset provision was raised with Doug Bruce, our lobbyist in
Tallahassee, specifically concerning the timing of when to seek new
sunset legislation. Doug
has recommended that the MRC seek sunset extension in this upcoming
legislative year and not any earlier.
Doug has done a very effective job for this Commission and his
recommendation is why we have not looked at this issue earlier.
The Executive Committee wanted the full MRC to have the benefit
of the Executive Committee’s thoughts on sunset and with the
Phil Everingham said that all
the people on the Commission and those they represent are very pleased
with the work up to date. Phil
Everingham moved to extend the MRC sunset provision and create a
steering committee to review MRC legislation and make recommendations
to the MRC for approval. Janet
McAliley seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Tunnel Study Proposal for 12th Avenue Bridge
David Miller said that at the
Executive Committee meeting, a proposal for a study to look at the
economic comparison of a bridge verses a tunnel.
The Executive Committee has reviewed this item and is
forwarding it to the full MRC with a recommendation for approval.
The MRC needs to develop a future vision for the River. One of the important items along the River is the discussion
concerning bridges or tunnels. Mr.
Miller has been in contact with Richard Weisscoff who is a professor
of economics at the University of Miami.
He is currently working with TPL, conducting a study on the
economic improvements that will be generated by the development of a
Miami River Greenway.
Florida Department of Transportation always conducts a comprehensive
review of a bridge that needs to be replaced or repaired. Unfortunately, they quickly eliminate one of the options of
replacing it with a tunnel because the tunnel costs are much higher,
normally 1.6 times that of a bridge.
Mr. Miller has been in contact with several transportation
consultants, because he has learned that tunnel construction
technology has improved significantly and made tunnels less expensive
than in the past. He has
been in touch with Parsons Transportation Group.
He asked them for some basic cost data concerning construction
of a tunnel and they came back with a standard proposal.
They stated, in general, they could build a 6-lane, 375-yard
long tunnel with portal construction to go underneath a 180-foot wide
river with a 17-foot depth for approximately $24 million, not
including land acquisition. When
FDOT does their study they compare all the construction and land
acquisition costs of a bridge and a tunnel and the tunnel always comes
out more expensive. This
proposed study would take into account the long-term economic impact
of a tunnel verses a bridge to the community, not just the initial
construction cost. The
average life span of a bridge on the Miami River is 75 years.
The study will identify the 75-year community costs associated
with a bridge verses a tunnel, such as: lost time waiting for the
bridge by both vehicular and marine entities, how does the bridge
impede future community growth, cost of extra fuel burned in cars and
vessels, etc. Obviously,
the well-documented delays associated with the Brickell Avenue Bridge
and the severe negative impact on commercial and marine development
could have been totally alleviated had a tunnel been built.
The Brickell Avenue Bridge will continue to negatively impact
downtown for many decades unless an alternative route is found or a
tunnel is built. Mr.
Weisscoff feels his group can do a thorough economic study of this
issue. He has made a
proposal that they could do this study over the course of the summer
for $15,000 and a report would be available in September or October.
The main purpose is to enlighten the community about the real
costs of a bridge and the study would provide the basis for a better
review when planning the construction of a bridge or tunnel.
Sandy O’Neil made motion
to complete tunnel study of the 12th Avenue bridge vs.
tunnel for expenditure up to $15,000.00.
Motion was seconded by Janet McAliley and passed unanimously
with the provision to email scope of study to MRC members.
Miami-Dade County New Sewage Pump Station
Mr. John Chorlog, Assistant
Director for the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD),
discussed a project that is vital to the county and city, and critical
to the Miami River Corridor - the construction of a large new pumping
facility for the sanitary sewer system called CPA.
He made a presentation that followed his printed handout.
He discussed the sanitary sewer pump stations and how they
mostly are built in pairs in order to provide back up capability
should one fail. He
explained the significance of the need for a new pump station and
specifically one to back up Pump Station One, which is located on NW
North River Drive (near Garcia’s Restaurant) directly on the Miami
River. John stated that
the department would need approximately one square acre of land to
build the new Pump Station CPA. The
cost of the project is about $35 million, and this would provide a
backup for Pump Station One and also incorporate a currently
unsuitable pump station located on the median of Brickell Avenue.
John explained that the new pump station would eliminate the
risk of sewage overflows into the Miami River and that this is a vital
project to the MRC, particularly if we are advocating additional urban
infill projects in the lower river.
He explained that the current sanitary sewer system will soon
be at maximum capacity and no additional development can occur until
sewer capacity is increased. WASD
will be putting a resolution before the Miami-Dade County Board of
Commissioners for approval to evaluate and appraise certain properties
on the south side of the lower river, east of Route 95. John requests that the MRC support the proposed resolution.
WASD understands that they will be back before the MRC again
for final approval of the specific piece of property and the
development plan. There
was discussion held. Mr.
Parks stated there should not be a pump station on Riverfront property
like Pump Station One. Mr.
Parks wanted to amend the proposed resolution so that if the only
property available is on the River, then the county will reserve 50%
of the property directly on the River for open green space and under
no condition could the pump station be built directly on the River.
Mr. Chorlog said they would amend the language in this section
of the resolution to accommodate Mr. Parks’ comments.
Miller stated that the Stormwater Subcommittee reviewed this and one
of the options they didn’t want to eliminate was to remove every
property that was on the River from consideration.
If there were a suitable property on the River, WASD would
purchase 50% additional property to provide open green space on the
River. As an example, WASD would have to purchase a two-acre
property on the River to build a pump station, one acre for the pump
station will be away from the River and a full acre on the River to be
reserved as open green space. Sandy
O’Neil made the motion to approve WASD Resolution for allocating
pump station CPA. Janet
McAliley seconded the motion. A
friendly amendment was made that if Riverfront property is utilized,
the structure cannot be closer than 200’ to the River and 50% of
property nearest River must be left available in open green space.
No portion of the structure of the pump station shall abut
the Miami River closer than 200 feet. Discussion continued.
The amended motion passed unanimously.
Tamiami Canal Forward Pumping and Swing Bridge
Capt. John Smith, of Bojean
Boat Yard at 3041 NW South River Drive, addressed the MRC concerning
issues involving the Tamiami Canal.
In addition to his presentation he provided a detailed handout
for the MRC members. He reported on the poor condition of the swing bridge that
crosses the Tamiami Canal and recommended it be considered for
rationale for replacement is as follows: 1) the bridge restricts the
canal to only 47 feet between foundations creating excessive currents
and hazards navigation; 2) the bridge is the oldest bridge in the
Miami River system with a build date of 1921; 3) the bridge has a 30
ton weight restriction and Capt. Smith stated this restriction is
often exceeded; 4) Several large marine businesses must pass thru this
swing bridge and their businesses are negatively impacted by the old
bridge; 5) with the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC) development, this
bridge is seeing increased usage which will continue with completion
of the MIC.
he wanted to disagree with a proposal in the Urban Infill Plan to
realign South River Drive. His
written comments clearly support his view that the proposed road
alignment change would not be satisfactory.
Discussion was held.
Miller stated that Capt. Smith’s comments were provided to the
consultant for the Urban Infill Plan.
The plan focused mostly on the bridges over the Miami River and
somewhat neglected this one. It
is clear from his presentation that it is an old, narrow bridge; with
weight limitations that are probably exceeded and replacement would be
a good recommendation. Cleve
Jones moved to conduct a traffic study of Tamiami Canal Swing Bridge
and study restrictions to water conveyance. Sandy O’Neil seconded the motion and it was unanimously
approved. Capt. Smith
said that he looks forward to working with the MRC on this project and
looks forward seeing the draft traffic study in three to four weeks.
Humberto Alonzo of the SFWMD advised that his office would
investigate Tamiami Canal flow capacity issues with reference to the
bridge and forward pumping issues.
Dredging Working Group
David Miller said that the
dredging project is moving forward, but slightly off the previous
schedule. He gave a quick overview.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has been
published for public and agency comment.
The comment period was extended for the State of Florida to
provide their comments. Once
the Corps receives the state comments, they are going to move right on
to the final EIS. The bank to bank dredging (beyond the navigable channel) will
be an option on the Corps’ channel dredging project and will be
implemented when the local sponsor provides permits and funding. The tributary dredging will probably accomplished under a
b. Miami River
Corridor Urban Infill Plan
Murley reported that they are making progress.
Discussion took place. Copies of the second draft of the plan
are available. David
Miller said that they had a meeting with the consultant last week and
he talked with him this morning.
Basically, the city, county and MRC did not meet their goal of
getting final comments to the consultant by May 15th.
The consultant cannot complete another updated draft document
to be ready for MRC review at the scheduled July 1, 2002 MRC meeting. David said the regularly scheduled MRC meeting is July 1st
and they can still meet at that time, but there will be no Urban
Infill Plan to review. Janet
McAliley moved that the MRC Meeting be changed to July 22nd
in lieu of July 1st. Sandy
O’Neil seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Dr. Martin reported that the
Sewell Park issue of allowing horse stables and dog training for the
police department in the park is still under discussion and the city
needs to go back and look at other alternatives.
Certain guidelines were suggested.
Dr. Martin knows that it has to go before the Planning Advisory
and Zoning Boards because it is a zoning change.
Many in the community are actively opposing the recommendation
for horse stables in the park. The
Parks Advisory Committee is asking for a master plan for Sewell Park
be completed before any decision is made about the stables or dog
training being placed in the park. Ernie stated that many comments were received and the City of
Miami must thoroughly analyze all other city locations before a
decision on Sewell Park is even contemplated.
Discussion was held.
Dr. Martin said the next item
was the request by the County transit authority to lease some property
underneath the metro-rail, where the county bike trail meets the Miami
River Greenway. This is
between 6th Street and the River.
The lease proposal will most likely be for parking.
The County has advertised a request for proposal for a lease of
this property and is soliciting bids.
Dr. Martin said the County did set certain requirements, which
they included in the request for this lease RFP, mainly to provide
suitable greenspace along the River, a sitting area to compliment the
Greenway and the existing bike path has to be upgraded to newer
standards. This is to be
brought back to Dr. Martin’s group.
The Greenways committee
approved a recommendation authorizing staff to develop a grant
proposal to the FDOT for Greenway funding.
Dr. Martin made the motion authorizing the MRC staff to
submit FDOT grant applications for Greenway Funds.
Sandy O’Neil seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Dr. Martin said that the Tax
Increment Financing Committee has received some new revenue estimates
for the TIF District that was proposed at the previous meeting.
They identified an area that would be included for tax
increment financing that would basically follow the Greenway and then
go one block further north or south depending on which side of the
River it was. The County budgeting group has reviewed tax data and
revenue projection estimates and will work with Dr. Martin and his
committee. At the
city’s request, the group has removed Brickell Key properties from
the TIF District. The TIF
District is proposed to fund infrastructure improvements such as:
bank to bank dredging, tributary dredging, greenway
construction, stormwater retrofitting, road improvements and incentive
programs for development.
Economic Development & Commerce
Megan Kelly said that a draft
report for the Miami River Economic Impact Analysis was presented to
the Board a few months back. The
report was not approved due to time constraints at the earlier
meeting. The actual
research drafting of that report predates her involvement, but they
have a draft report that needs to be finalized.
In her opinion, certain language in the report was poor and it
did not read well.
David Miller said
that two months ago it came before the MRC and there were comments
made about how it was written, but there were no specific recommended
changes. The report was
mailed two months ago to everyone and there have been no comments or
revisions. There was no
final motion of approval and it is still pending for the MRC to make a
decision to approve it or not. Phil
Everingham said there were some areas that were vague.
David Miller said he would await comments and next month the
MRC could review it again for final action.
There being no further business to come before the meeting, the meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m