Planning Board Minutes - September 24, 2015



Village Hall Conference Room

10050 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores


SEPTEMBER 24, 2015





Present:  Mr. John Busta, Mr. Reese, Vice Chairman Abramitis, Mr. Glinn.

Absent:  Chairman Richard Fernandez


In attendance:

Mr. David Dacquisto, Director of Planning and Zoning

Mr. Richard Sarafan, Village Attorney

Ms. Mariana Gracia, Clerk


Motion to suspend the rules made by Mr. Busta, seconded by Mr. Reese and the vote was unanimous in favor of the Motion.



    • Discuss amending the code to allow alternative materials between driveway pads and ribbons.

Mr. Dacquisto explains to the Board how they should proceed on each of the items on the Agenda.  Mr. Dacquisto said that the Board is probably not going to take any action on the 3rd item on the agenda and explains due to the time it may take for the first two items.  Mr. Dacquisto provided the latest information relating to the use of rocks or artificial turf in driveways as stated on the staff report. There is an artificial turf ordinance in the documents he provided.  We are only talking about the space between in the driveway. Mr. Dacquisto says that one of the things about artificial turf is that it is not made to drive on it so it is problematic when you use it between the spaces.  It is less problematic when there is less space between the pads; it starts to be a problem between 4” and 6” because most tires are going to fall into it, once the tire falls into it the gap the turf starts to imprint and deteriorate. Mr. Dacquisto said that the Board also wanted to look into the alternative of rocks.  He read into the record the language of an amendment he provided that allowed the use of rock in the space between driveway pads.  Mr. Abramitis asked questions regarding what is being proposed in the staff report and suggests ways to discuss the issue at hand.  He also said that the Board may or may not want to go with artificial turf.  Mr. Glinn asked Mr. Dacquisto to talk about the different spaces between the pads because it seems like a narrower space might be acceptable.  He says that it may not put too much pressure.  If we had narrower spaces it will allow our residents to have a grass look.  Mr. Dacquisto says that it probably would have to be 4” because larger won’t work and he not sure that you could properly install it in a 2” space.  Mr. Dacquisto says that some places require 1” diameter rock in driveways and for decorations. Not many allow ½ “basically you are looking for the bigger rock that will stay in place.  Mr. Abramitis wants to see if there is a consensus to have turf or not.  Mr. Glinn says that he would support turf but he would like to hear what the rest of the Board thinks, but he would support turf in the 4” range and he mentioned the benefits to the residents.  But if there is not a consensus about it he would be okay with it.  Mr. Busta said that at first he was supportive of the idea but the more we talked about it the maintenance and other things that have made him re think this issue.  Mr. Sarafan asked how do you hold it down.  Mr. Dacquisto responds it has to be fastened down to a wood or plastic border.  Mr. Busta expressed concern about a wood border because it deteriorates over time.  The Board discussed having the public hearing at this time.  Mr. Abramitis asked to wait until the Board gets to discussing about rocks.  The chair opened the hearing to public comment.  Carolina Rios of 150 NE 103 Street spoke about the three options that are being discussed, one being grass, artificial turf or rocks.  She does not believe that we can isolate one from the other.  She spoke about what the Board had been discussing.  She testified that rocks seem to be more sustainable.  Even if it’s a little bit more expensive.  She emphasizes that if they did not have the possibility of rocks she would consider artificial turf.  She would not discard the possibility of artificial turf if rocks would not be considered.  Mr. Sarafan suggested grass.  Ms. Rios said that it would not be a viable option because of irrigation and all the other things that were mentioned in the September 2, 2015 meeting.  Mr. Mauricio Cruz of 150 NE 103 Street testified that there might be concern about the quality of the product.  He said that if you are going to spend a lot of money in the driveway you might want to spend a bit extra for the quality.  Mr. Cruz testified that their driveway specifically has about 3 ½ “ wide impression in the cement driveway and the gap does not actually go through to the ground.  He gave more specifics about their driveway.  Mr. Cruz testified that their driveway had concrete in the spaces.  There being no additional public comment the chair closed public comment. Mr. Dacquisto says that the problem is if you install artificial turf there is a very specific way to do it, once you install it differently your warranty is gone.  Mr. Dacquisto says that the question is whether or not to allow alternatives.  He said that in looking at the alternatives rock becomes a good alternative.  Some people are still putting grass between the pavers.  The board asked about the gap between driveway pads in some of the most recent installations. Mr. Dacquisto said in terms of some of the new designs he would have to go there with his tape measure but he is pretty sure it is 8 to 12” on the driveway.  Mr. Reese says in his opinion that is too much.  Mr. Sarafan asked if you have the cement trench with rocks in it the question is where does the water go.  Mr. Dacquisto answers it goes down the sides.  He explains that is not closed in the end.  Mr. Dacquisto explains in detail the way they do these driveways.  Mr. Abramitis states the position the Board members are taking related to this matter.  Mr. Glinn says we don’t have three votes to pass the issue relating to artificial turf.  Mr. Abramitis concurs with Mr. Glinn.  Mr. Dacquisto explains that the issue has been brought to the table on our own due to an application we had before us for artificial turf.  Mr. Dacquisto read into the record the language in the report to recommend to the Council. There is a discussion about the deletion of some of the language just read by Mr. Dacquisto.  Mr. Sarafan cites a section of the code 536, 538 he looked it up in our code book. Mr. Busta asked if Mr. Dacquisto was okay with ¾ inch diameter rock.  Mr. Dacquisto said 1 is better no lower than ¾.   Mr. Sarafan cites the code section 536.a and proceeded to read it into the record.  We probably should say except as provided in section 536.a.  Mr. Abramitis asked Mr. Sarafan should we leave the language as stated by Mr. Dacquisto or should we strike through some of the language.  Mr. Sarafan thinks that Mr. Dacquisto is correct in his proposal to the Council.  Mr. Abramitis asked Mr. Dacquisto about the provisions he drafted.  He is assuming two of those pictures would not be permitted because they are more than 6” but all of the materials we see would be ok.  Mr. Dacquisto agrees.  Mr. Abramitis suggests going around each Board member and seeing if they support Section 536.  Mr. Glinn supports it as written.  Mr. Busta supports it.  Mr. Reese supports it.  Public comment. Mr. Cruz asked about using slate or great granite rocks in the spaces.  He wants to know if those are allowed.  Mr. Cruz shows the Board samples he brought.  Mr. Dacquisto asked how big they are.  Mr. Cruz responds 1”.  Mr. Dacquisto said that is fine.  Mr. Cruz is satisfied that his two rock options are allowed by the amendment being discussed.  There is a Recommendation for Council to adopt Section 536 as written by Mr. Dacquisto.  Motion made by Mr. Glinn to recommend authorizing Staff to write the report to Village Council.  Seconded by Mr. Reese and the vote were unanimous in favor of the Motion. 


  • Village Council request review and recommendation: Recommend to the Village Council that the proposed changes to Appendix A Zoning relating to alcoholic beverages and parking be adopted; or that the proposed changes be adopted as amended; or recommend that no changes be adopted.

Mr. Abramitis asked if the Valet parking is something we want to recommend to Village Council.  Mr. Sarafan states that there is no prohibition in recommending this to the Village Council.  Mr. Glinn asked if there are any substantial changes in Mr. Dacquisto’ recommendation for valet parking.  Mr. Dacquisto said that Council requested a few changes which he included in his report to the Board on pages 4 & 5.  Mr. Dacquisto read into the record the report provided to the Board regarding valet parking.  Basically what it says is that you may utilize off-street parking or valet to meet your parking requirement.  You have the option of hiring a person to do the valet parking or hire a valet company. We can do like most cities that actually have a valet parking ordinance or just leave it open.  Mr. Dacquisto provided written recommendations for valet parking to the Board.  Going on to alternative 2 as stated in the report and he read into the record. Mr. Dacquisto said that what that means is basically if we have 50 on-street car space credits in the downtown district and you need 10 parking spaces, you get credit for 10 of them now leaving 40 parking credits for the next business.  Mr. Dacquisto explained in detail the allotment of the parking spaces.  There is no limit to how far off-site parking may be located.  Valet parking is as far as the valet can run.  Mr. Dacquisto says that the language proposed has been used in other cities.  Mr. Sarafan says that the first thing he sees is section 4.61 prohibition. Nothing in the sentence talks at all about prohibition.  The recommendation is that we provide for a parking ordinance or for us to provide it at a later date.  Mr. Sarafan says that if anything there is a legal exposure.  Mr. Dacquisto says that a lot of jurisdictions choose to regulate valet parking.  They think that it is also protection for the public and in some ways protection for the business as well. Mr. Sarafan says that a lot of these municipalities have a valet parking first then a regulation.  What we are talking about is regulating a business that does not yet exists.  Mr. Abramitis points out that we could come out and regulate after the business has been set.  Mr. Abramitis brings up option 2 provided in the staff report.  We might want to consider whether we want to give 100% credit for parking spaces or other percentages.  Mr. Sarafan poses the scenario of a gallery that opens at night and the spaces are taken.  Mr. Abramitis says that this is a paper attribution and gives the example of the gallery spaces.  He is counting on spaces that are there the question is who gets to use them.  Mr. Busta asked do we give the opportunity to places that are not wine bars or restaurants. Mr. Sarafan thinks this is a very good point.  Mr. Abramitis says that most of these wine cafés are going to do most of their business at night when most of the business we see will be closed but some other businesses will be open.  That is why I don’t think we give away 100% of the parking that is available.  It encourages these wine café to be the first one in.  Mr. Glinn says that this is an incentive for somebody to get in right away rather than waiting.  Mr. Sarafan points out that this is an incentive for Council to not to go with the option of no parking required.  Mr. Dacquisto brings up a table of shared parking he has and shows it to the Board.  It shows how much available parking there is if the business are closed at least a percentage of them.  Mr. Dacquisto explains in detail the space allotment.  Mr. Sarafan there is two percentages that he is talking about.  One is the percentage of required parking that you can satisfy by available on street parking.  The second is what percentage of the spaces on the street we will dedicate to use.  Mr. Dacquisto the second question that is going to come up is why we are not using our parking lots.  Mr. Sarafan the answer is to have a separate agreement with the Village.  There is several ways you can do it, you could provide it on your site, and you could provide it off-site.  Mr. Abramitis: if I am not mistaken 100 square feet of wine café under the current one requires one space.  Mr. Dacquisto that is correct.  Mr. Dacquisto the wine café tends to be small, restaurants can be big.  Mr. Abramitis if it turns into this gold mine, which hopefully it will, then parking will be the least of the expenses.  The Board discussed how big Pizza Fiori is.  Mr. Sarafan asked the question do we talk about available spaces within a radius. Mr. Abramitis people will walk a few blocks to get to the places.  Mr. Dacquisto there is a consensus it’s just the question of what percentage.  Mr. Abramitis asked the Board, are we in agreement that we should have a parking plan as opposed to not having a parking plan. Mr. Busta is in agreement.  Mr. Glinn prefers this proposal as opposed to the status quo.  Mr. Abramitis: so we are going to have a parking plan now the question is how each of these theoretical businesses will meet their requirement.  Mr. Sarafan we have identified multiple ways and given the details as stated on the staff report.  Mr. Glinn remembers earlier in the conversation discussion being that valet parking is already an allowable option.  Nothing prohibiting it.  Mr. Glinn said: this is an incentive for people to come in early set up one of this business and take advantage of this benefit.  One more clarification now currently we could not allocate the on street parking.  Mr. Dacquisto in theory this is like a parking agreement for property owner.  We would not be giving credit for parking along the side spaces.  Mr. Sarafan what we are saying is we are giving you credit against the requirement. Mr. Sarafan said that what we are doing is we are giving credit against the requirement not giving you any rights to any particular spaces because you don’t own them.  Mr. Glinn would support that second alternative and the way it is proposed.  Mr. Dacquisto: there is a consensus on 75%.  Mr. Sarafan has a proposed revision to Article 2.  “Restaurant, alcoholic beverages establishment one space/100 square feet per square area the village may allocate, on a first come first serve basis, on street parking spaces in the B1 district along NE 2nd Avenue to restaurants with alcoholic beverages to provide for their required parking, up to 75% of the actual number of on street parking spaces available as calculated by the village; also up to 100% of the parking requirement may be provided off site subject to a parking agreement or may be provided by a valet parking.”  Mr. Dacquisto read into the record staff recommendations.  Mr. Sarafan for many years in this district any change of use required site plan approval.  Mr. Sarafan this is just saying all changes is still required for approval except for restaurants and wine café.  If someone opens up a wine café you will find out on opening day. You are not going to see the change of use.  Mr. Abramitis’s understanding is this Council wants this.  Mr. Sarafan Council wants restaurants and wine bars.  Mr. Sarafan Council would prefer without having site plan approval.  Mr. Abramitis this is just change of use not site plan review.  Mr. Sarafan if someone wants to take some retail space and they want to change it to a doctor’s office, change of use comes before you for site plan approval.  Mr. Abramitis: 2nd Avenue could become nothing but restaurants and wine bars that would be the down side.  Mr. Sarafan the way Mr. Dacquisto has written chapter 4 says no live entertainment.  Mr. Dacquisto permitted use basically he changed it so that under permitted uses restaurants subject to chapter 4 alcoholic beverages.  Mr. Dacquisto read into the record the language in his proposal.  Mr. Sarafan permitted uses restaurants, food operations, take out service.  Other than demographics what would prevent franchise food operation from opening up downtown.  Mr. Dacquisto responds nothing and he gave the example of Iron Sushi, Subway.  Mr. Abramitis asked we referred to alcoholic beverage previously.  Are we saying this parking provision is only for restaurants and alcoholic beverages why are we not calling them wine café and using different terminology?   Mr. Sarafan alcoholic beverages include them.  Mr. Sarafan the question is do we want to allow another Subway, Pizza Fiori and maybe you do maybe you don’t.  Mr. Abramitis: on a legal matter do we have the ability of saying we are limiting this parking benefit to restaurants that serve liquor.  Mr. Sarafan without research I would say yes. Basic legal doctrine is you should treat people the same.  If there is a distinction between the situations there can be a distinction between their treatments that is why we say you need a license.  Mr. Abramitis asked the Board members if we want to limit the parking benefit to what we described as restaurants with liquor, alcoholic beverage were permitted in wine café and restaurants with liquor or do we want to open up to anyone that opens a sandwich shop.  What do we want to shape here is the question.  Mr. Sarafan that is sort of where I was trying to convey and he gave some examples that he remembered previously discussed here.  Mr. Sarafan what the Council wants what they envision is more high end restaurants less like inexpensive fast food type.  Mr. Abramitis asked the Board do you think we should limit the parking to restaurants with alcoholic beverages or just throw it open to places like Subway.  Mr. Glinn likes it as written except he would encompass wine bars.  Mr. Dacquisto directs the Board to his staff report.  Mr. Sarafan we could just call it restaurants with alcoholic beverages establishments or wine café. Mr. Dacquisto refers now to chapter 4 for the Board to read.  B2 is kind of a mirror of B1 but he had to add food operations to it to make it very clear regarding restaurants and wine Cafés.  501 should not be controversial basically he took out dog track.  521 we have already figured out what we are going to do there.  610 basically what I am saying is we are eliminating everything but add the word reserved. Mr. Dacquisto has basically written three different sections, restaurants, just beer and wine, hard liquor beer and wine, wine café, beer and wine.  Mr. Dacquisto read into the record 610 which was provided to the Board. Mr. Sarafan the way Mr. Dacquisto changed chapter 4 is a significant way as far as I can see is no longer within the Village Manager authority to deny an application.  Mr. Sarafan if the Village Manager believes that administrative approval may not be a good idea then he sends it to the Council.  Mr. Dacquisto gave more details as far as what the Village Manager can or cannot do.  The Village Manager can send it to Village Council and they can turn someone down in their discretion.  Mr. Sarafan the bottom line is the Village Council can only delegate a decision to staff if it allows no discretion.  So we can say if you meet these objections or criteria you should grant it if they don’t you should not.  Mr. Dacquisto the Board is in the same predicament and gives the example of an 8’ fence he cannot approve an 8’ fence he can only approve 6’ fence. So they say I want an 8’ fence they have to appeal in front of the Zoning Board now you have the authority to overrule me either as an appeal of an administrative decision or if there is a variance. So if they can prove that they have a just cause.  So that is the difference and it is the same with Village Council.  Mr. Abramitis about chapter 4 the Village Attorney gave me an understanding that the section 4 Article 4 is not under our jurisdiction. So we are not here to deal with section 4.  Mr. Sarafan he has written two things in front of his paper, really the Village Manager is making no decision.  He only will make one or two decisions either I approve it or you have to talk to Village Council. He has no denial rights. Now he can attach a condition.  We need a provision that says the Village Manager approves with conditions and he can take that to the Village Council.  The other one Mr. Sarafan says is time deadline.  If you need to get a permit there needs to be a requirement on the permit application within x days of receiving a completed application.  Mr. Sarafan said he had put this at the end of 4-3.  Mr. Dacquisto is going to have the report ready in 45 days.  Mr. Abramitis asked what the final decision was regarding the hours of operation for these establishments.  Mr. Sarafan says this was discussed in the last meeting.  Board wanted B1 to be midnight and B2 to be 1PM.  Mr. Reese said midnight is better.  The Board is recommending have B1 close at midnight.  Mr. Sarafan regarding valet parking there is a consensus to leave valet parking as an option for parking plan. Mr. Glinn there needs to be regulation about parking for residents parking only and the side streets adjacent to 2nd Avenue.  Mr. Sarafan what are we suggesting be done to protect parking in these areas.  Right now it is lawful.  Mr. Glinn says that is his suggestion, he added that he knows this is an existing problem for residents.  Mr. Sarafan asked do you think it will spread and people would want this village wide.  Mr. Sarafan refers to Code Enforcement having to issue citations to people for the swale area deteriorated.  The people come in and say the other people are parking on the swale. He added that when people put the pointy rocks the Village comes and makes them take them down. Further, people are not allowed to put in no parking signs. So people ask what I am supposed to do how I maintain it.  Mr. Abramitis brings up the point that if this is a problem why we don’t address it.  Mr. Sarafan says the board can recommend that we take action to limit parking in the swales of the side streets for residents only. Mr. Dacquisto says if this is done it should start with a one block limit and no further unless the problem is greater.  Mr. Busta asked what can be done about parking on the swale area.  Mr. Sarafan says the Village can put up some signs saying no parking tow away zone. Or we can ticket until they get the message.  Mr. Dacquisto says you are not allowed to plant or put any objects in the swale without the village’s permission.  Many of the things in the swale were not permitted by the village.  People just do it.  Some people do a nice job and others create a problem as you can’t see the cars coming or going. That is something that the village needs to handle.  Mr. Busta mentioned an incident in Boca in the swale area where there are signs on the ground.  There is a period of about 5 minutes before the tow truck pulls over.  Mr. Abramitis if they think they have a problem they can put a nice brick path that anyone can park on.  The chair opened the hearing to public comment. There being no public comment the chair closed public comment. There is a motion to recommend to the village council approval of the zoning code amendments as amended with the recommendation that the village council consider resident only parking on the side streets leading from NE 2nd Avenue. We are hoping this parking provision will incentivize and accelerate earlier adoption.  Motion to approve by Mr. Reese, seconded by Mr. Glinn and the vote was unanimous in favor of the Motion.

  • Provide an interpretation of the zoning code regarding the approved location of decks and applicable setbacks. Discuss amending the code as necessary.

The Board decided that this item will be discussed at a later date.

On the subject of Florida friendly landscape Mr. Dacquisto informed the Board that the Council has set a high priority on the issue of Florida friendly.  The Council wants the Board to review and report on the issue with a recommendation.  Mr. Dacquisto gave some details about what the public had come up with at the Council meeting.  County code 18a – promotes Florida friendly in the preamble but only applies to new single-family and duplexes not existing and he read into the record what the code says.  Mr. Sarafan informs the Board that a few years ago Florida Friendly and xeriscape had come in front of the Council and after much work it was determined that xeriscape was not something the village wanted to pursue.  So far right now we have a provision in the code that talks about that all the green space shall be covered with ground cover and it defines it.  Whatever it is it has to be all one kind of ground cover not six different types of ground cover.  Mr. Sarafan explains he is trying to define what the problem is as defined by this group.  One of the problems they have identified for me is that we need to set up a hearing and hear from them.  The Council has referred it to the board to come up with a solution.  Mr. Dacquisto mentioned what Coral Gables did.  Mr. Sarafan said that 18a Dade County code takes the position that it governs throughout the County including incorporated areas.  Miami-Dade takes a position on everything. Once you permit Florida friendly you need to decide if and how you will regulate it and it becomes a code enforcement issue. Mr. Sarafan it’s a tension between two different approaches one is concern for the aesthetics and the other is the Florida Friendly more natural look. And that’s the tension the side that leads towards Florida Friendly is far less concerned with aesthetics, the side that is concerned with aesthetics is less concerned with whether the green grass comes from Florida or somewhere else.  Mr. Abramitis recollection for when we had the xeriscape, Florida Friendly discussions we had a couple of real experts come in and address us. The conclusion that was reached was there was nothing in our code that prohibited Florida Friendly.  Mr. Sarafan said that the group had said that you require that the ground cover be all of one species.  He said no it says of one type.  The same reason we require the roof to be of one color.  Mr. Dacquisto explains under Florida Friendly what you can plant.  Mr. Sarafan said they are saying you require we put grass there.  It doesn’t have to be grass it just has to be the same type.  The board asked for pictures of Florida Friendly yards and Mr. Dacquisto informs the Board that Anthony, Code Enforcement Supervisor is already getting all the pictures.  There is a consensus that at the next board meeting they will schedule a time to hold a workshop on Florida Friendly yards.




  1. NEXT REGULAR HEARING – October 8, 2015.
    • Regular agenda.
    • Discussion and Action Items: Recommendation to Village Council:


Meeting Adjourned. 


  1. Village Council Request: Planning Board to provide recommendation to the village council on the zoning code amendments to Appendix A Zoning related to alcoholic beverages and ancillary parking.