Special Council Meeting Recap
RE: SW 87th Avenue Bridge Project
September 24, 2021
Village of Palmetto Bay
Last night, the Palmetto Bay Village Council convened for a Special Council meeting called upon by Mayor Cunningham earlier in the week. The purpose of the meeting was to consider approval of an Interlocal Agreement between Miami-Dade County and the Village of Palmetto Bay, which delineated several concessions from Miami-Dade County as part of negotiations between the two parties resulting from prior county action on a bridge to be built on SW 87th Avenue over the C-100 canal.

The agreement is the culmination of months of negotiations between the Village and the County following the county's approval of the bridge project on February 2nd and March 18th, by the County Commission and the Transportation Planning Organization respectively. Upon approval of the project, the Village initiated the Conflict Resolution Process pursuant to Chapter 164 of the Florida Statutes. The outcome of several meetings, which were broadcast by the Village, and bargaining with county officials, is memorialized in the proposed Interlocal Agreement.

The Interlocal Agreement stipulated certain obligations from the county to the Village. The Interlocal Agreement, as presented to the Council, commits the county to conduct pre and post traffic studies and to take certain actions based on the information provided by the studies. If the traffic data supports the implementation of certain measures, the county will:

  • install traffic circles at SW 87th Avenue and SW 152nd Street and SW 87th Avenue and SW 144th Street
  • install "no left turn' signal on northbound SW 82nd Avenue at SW 139th Terrace from 6 am to 10 am
  • install "no right turn" signs on eastbound SW 136th Street at SW 84th Avenue, SW 83rd Court, SW 83rd Avenue, and SW 82nd Court, from 4 pm to 7 pm
  • install "no right turn" signs on northbound SW 87th Avenue at the intersections of SW 163rd Terrace, 162nd Street, 161st Terrace, 159th Street, 155th Terrace, 147th Terrace, 147th Street, 146th Street, 142nd Street, and 141st Street from 6 am to 10 am
  • implement requests for traffic calming, safety or mitigation traffic features
  • make a public presentation at Village Hall addressing the project overview, design geometric constrains, conceptual design and typical section, plans for the pre and post construction traffic studies and the project schedule.
  • include the Village Manager as a member of the Aesthetics Working Group
  • revise interlocal agreement guidelines allowing more autonomy on the implementation of local traffic calming devices
  • expedite the implementation of traffic light synchronization within the Village

Manager Nick Marano carefully explained the meaning of those concessions to Village residents, particularly with item G, which would allow the Village more autonomy in approving traffic calming projects. Traffic continues to be the most pressing issue for Village residents and many are desirous of moving forward with traffic calming devices in their streets. Those efforts have been either rejected or delayed by the county in the past. "Everything here was painstakingly negotiated with the county", said Manager Marano.

In her opening statement to the residents, Mayor Cunningham clarified that the Village Council was not considering whether to approve the bridge. She explained that the Village of Palmetto Bay has no jurisdiction over SW 87th Avenue, which is a county road, and as such the bridge project received approval from the Board of County Commissioners and the Transportation Planning Organization back in March. "I just want to be very clear, we are not voting on the SW 87th Avenue bridge this evening", said Mayor Cunningham.

Following comments from the public that were received by form and also provided in person and via the Village's virtual platform, the Council had the opportunity to address questions to the legal team composed of Village Attorney John Dellagloria and co-counsel Gerry Greenberg. Village Attorney Dellagloria remarked that the Village had very limited bargaining power and that in fact the "county does not have to offer any remedial actions, it could just proceed with the bridge and say 'see you in court' if the Village wanted to challenge it." The attorneys advised that the Village would probably not prevail in court. More importantly, the legal team added that it was highly unlikely that legal action by the Village would have any impact on the project itself, including its progression.

Councilmembers also had the opportunity to express their final comments, which varied from individual to individual. Mayor Cunningham indicated that many of the comments she received from constituents, and even those heard by the Council during public comments, revolved around concerns for a lack of mitigation or protections for the neighbors to the north of the C-100 canal which will be the most impacted. Mayor Cunningham inquired whether the agreement could be amended to include those provisions after further negotiations by the county. Village Attorney Dellagloria responded in the affirmative adding the county would likely be amenable to those conditions.

In the end, the Council voted on a motion proffered by Vice Mayor Tellam to amend the Interlocal Agreement and include amendments to Section C, with regards to mitigation for neighbors to the north of the canal, adding solidifying language to Section G, concerning interlocal agreements with municipalities for traffic calming devices, and finally addressing the Western areas of the Village for traffic synchronization, which is part of Section H. The motion provided for further negotiations with Miami-Dade County to occur between now and the next 60 days to be brought back to the Council for reconsideration.

In closing, Mayor Cunningham reiterated how important it is to ensure that residential streets are protected, given the fact that the bridge project is moving forward despite consistent and unequivocal opposition by the Council. Mayor Cunningham added that Palmetto Bay is not in charge of making that decision. "This is about leading...how are we moving forward, how are we going to protect the residents?", said the Mayor.
  • Click here to watch the Special Council Meeting
  • Read the Interlocal Agreement (to be amended)

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